Cover and Teaser for Lost in the Apocalypse

“Miss Rivers?” I was rather taken by surprise when a male voice, bearing a slightly Russian accent, addressed me.

I turned to find a tall blond man in a casual grey sweater and dark jeans, with a pair of sunglasses sitting high on the scarred bridge of his nose. Not exactly professional attire.

He looked vaguely familiar but not so much that I could place him immediately.

“Yes?”

“My name is Keagan Zakharov. Mr. Richards was not able to make it to your meeting and sent me in his place.”

“I see,” A bit odd. Evan was playing with fire. Something he rarely did. “Might I ask under what authority you’re working?”

“Secretary.” The smile I was given was cold. Practiced. He was at least versed in the ways of business.

The man seated himself and sat with a relaxed back but tense shoulders. A thing I was used to from my bodyguards, not clients. Who had Evan sent to me?

“Might I ask what has become of Anita?” Evan’s actual secretary, or the one I knew, was an elderly lady who had been his mother’s nanny growing up. I couldn’t imagine Sarah would be happy she’d been replaced.

“Retired.” He answered simply, placing folded hands on the table as he did. I could see a large manila envelope curled tightly in his fingers. My heart sank when I saw the branding.

“I suppose Mr. Richards told you what this meeting was about?” Unlikely, as it was clear this was a snub meeting. I should have known he wouldn’t come.

“Other than he was too busy to worry about it? No.” The man spoke like he was mocking me but his expression didn’t change. I wasn’t sure if those were Evan’s actual words or not but there was no humor in the man before me. I didn’t think he was joking.

“Then that’ll make this easier,” I tried to keep the dejection out of my voice. I had hoped to avoid this but it was a long time coming. Arranged or not, I had cared for Evan.

I removed an envelope of my own and placed it on the table. A pure white thing it was. Odd sparkles and swirls of glitter decorated it and just looking at the thing made the little sparkly abominations get on you. “As Mr. Richards has refused to speak with me on the phone, and now in person, on every occasion I’ve tried to reach him I now leave this message to you to pass on.” I push the envelope across the table and happily watch as Mr. Zakharov inches away from it. “That is the engagement contract, signed and dated for one year. That year has passed. Mr. Richards has broken two of the agreements signed upon and thus has rendered our engagement null. Please do inform him of such.”

Rachel passed by and handed me the bag of Danish I’d ordered and my receipt from my tab’s card. I’d sat here waiting to try and fix something I’d not broken only to have this happen?

No. I stood and, trying to remain cordial despite the tears burning at my eyes, gave Mr. Zakharov a smile. “Oh, and River’s Food and Pharmacy will no longer hold contracts with Sanctity.” I looked down at the envelope he still had, the emblem emblazoned on it from Goldenrod Inc., a rival supplier of ours. “Though I don’t think that’ll be an issue for him.”

I walked away, saddened and somewhat incensed at the audacity of Evan to even dare pull something like this. I’d went out of my way to let him down easy. To try and fix the contract and explain to him the better way to go about dealing with father, but now? Now he’d not only sent a stranger to our meeting but he’d sent an underhanded jab too.