ESCAPE To Patonga – eBook

An Intriguing Mystery

Intrigue – Gossip – Temptation

This is a modern Australian tale about living the dream, the vicious cruelty of gossip, and the inescapable pull of temptation. The suspicions of a close-knit sea-side village are aroused when a reclusive and dubious male rents an isolated shack.

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ESCAPE To Patonga – eBook

SKU 978-0-6458633-0-7 Categories ,

Description

Riley’s life is falling apart. He’s on the brink of losing his business and marriage. Everyone wants a piece of him. Overwhelmed, he escapes to a childhood haven.

But when he isolates himself in a run-down shack on the far side of the creek, the cheerful occupants of the sleepy seaside village grow suspicious of him. His odd behaviour, coupled with the disappearance of an employee, has tongues wagging with intrigue and speculation as to what he is doing over there.

Even Riley doubts his decision when unwanted intruders come knocking. Paradise is not so welcoming any more, yet he digs in, determined to prove them all wrong.

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Spoiler Alert!

No seriously – if you don’t want to know the twist or the ending, DO NOT read any further.

Riley had always been so careful with his decision-making, yet he had just shaken hands with Bryce, a known swindler who flaunted his ill-gotten wealth unashamedly. The deal was done. It was the stupidest thing he had ever agreed to. But the money on offer was too good to refuse, given the recent struggles in his personal life.

Most people knew Riley as a quiet, successful small businessman and investor, happy to be left alone to oversee remotely the operations of a small Sydney import warehouse. However, the strained relationship with his wife Judith recently had him diverting to the pub to avoid working from home. It was there that Bryce appeared and infiltrated Riley’s world with his questionable deal. The three gun-toting, suited henchmen confirmed that the deal to import suspicious truck parts from an obscure nation had to be illegal. Bins were set on fire as a warning to comply with their demands.

Stuart managed the warehouse for Riley. He was self-obsessed, ego-driven, and a stickler for abiding by the rules. Nick, one of two warehouse workers, honestly thought he was God’s gift to women. He kept Stuart on his toes, taunting, teasing. His coworker, Kiera, revelled in deflating Nick’s ego. She flirted and teased him to the brink of obsession.

During one of his visits to the warehouse, Riley found Nick tussling with Kiera in the lunchroom. He insisted that the police were not to be called. Bryce’s mysterious pallet was still in the warehouse awaiting pickup, so the last thing he needed was for the police to start snooping around. Instead, he fired Nick on the spot and offered to drive Kiera home, much to Stuart’s chagrin, for he wanted to take Kiera home, to hold her, to care for her. The next morning, Riley lied to Stuart that he was going away to Canberra for a while until things cooled down.

At home, tensions with Judith escalate to a new crescendo. Riley could no longer stand her pointed questions about his weird behaviour. He was depressed, did not consider himself a good father, had made a deal with the local drug lord, and now faced a possible police investigation due to an over-sexed employee.

Instead of seeking professional help, Riley chose to escape to the secluded village of Patonga to isolate and protect himself and those he loved, to tame the anxiety beast within him. He just needed some time out. Initially, Riley enjoyed the peace and quiet that Patonga afforded him. It was an idyllic lifestyle, and he slowly became entwined in the lives of the people who lived there, to the frustration of most.

Leonard owned and ran the small general store which adjoined the fish and chip shop which his daughter Crystal managed. He was suspicious of Riley’s insistence on renting one of the most isolated shacks. Crystal, on the other hand, literally threw herself at him, but Riley refused all her advances. Danny was the only resident who saw Riley for who he was; a quiet guy wanting some peace and quiet. Riley rarely spoke or interacted with anyone, except the swearing cockatoo that also called Riley’s shack home. It was not long before people started to make up stories and joked about him behind his back.

The local council decided to move a WWII monument which had the community up in arms. They rallied as one to fight the absurdity of government. Riley’s absence from the cause did not go unnoticed. In the end, the council backed down, leaving the community both triumphant and suspicious of what their next move would be.

Crystal became frustrated with Riley’s rejections, especially when he refused to reveal the secret of his locked spare room. Together with her offsider Mavis, they set the residents’ tongues wagging, filling the gaps of what little they knew about him with gossip and innuendo. When news broke that a young woman had been kidnapped and that Riley had also been reported as missing, everyone suspected Riley of the heinous crime; his locked spare room, the hostage chamber.

Riley denied the allegations. Leonard called the police to dob him in. They visited his shack but left without arrest or comment. Still, Riley was tight-lipped. The community gathered to throw him out, convinced he would only bring their village into disrepute.

But before they could act, Judith arrived unannounced. After a tense few hours, she emerged and left as suddenly as she had arrived. Riley confessed that the only crime he had committed was running out on his wife and kids. Then the police visited again and revealed that Stuart had been arrested for kidnapping and doping Kiera.

Riley rented a house in the village backing onto the creek, and Judith returned for the school holidays with the kids. The residents treated them like visiting royalty, a vain attempt at an apology for the way they had treated Riley. He stayed on, but Judith and the kids left. They would divorce on amicable terms now.

Soon after their departure, Bryce called, wanting to do another deal. He had found Riley’s hideout. Bryce threatened to visit. The thought of the drug lord interrupting the peace and tranquillity of Patonga sent Riley’s world collapsing around him once more.

 

The story continues in the sequel: UNREST In Patonga.