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The thrumming in her head started at the Essex County line and crescendoed into a pounding by the time she'd reached State Route 74. She wiped one hand, then the other on her jeans and gripped the steering wheel of her rented SUV. She was in control. She was Emily Hazard, assistant art director at an award-winning New York City advertising agency. Not Emily Hazard, the klutz-queen jinx-deluxe of Schroon Lake Central High School.
She drove through Hazardtown, the four corners community in New York's Adirondack Mountains that her ancestors had settled two centuries ago. Little remained to show the bustling logging town it had once been. A new name on the diner told her it had changed ownership again. The gas station convenience store proclaimed Souvenirs Here in a big red, white and blue roadside sign. Kitty-corner, the Community Church sat as it had for the past one hundred and fifty years with its double entry doors that had originally separated the women parishioners from the men. As a teen, Emily had made a point of entering through the men's door. The newish brick volunteer fire department building occupied the fourth corner. Ironically, the old clapboard hall had burned down when she was in college.
Paradox Lake came into view on the left. A patch of blue nestled in the greens and browns of the hardwoods and mountains surrounding it. Her heart beat double-time. As she came around the curve to Hazard Cove Road, a mama duck and her ducklings waddled onto the highway. She hit the brake pedal and sensed the pickup truck behind her before she heard the screech of its brakes. The truck touched the back bumper of the SUV and nudged her forward just short of the little family.
Last weeks First Page was bravely submitted by author Cindy Sproles. Her agent is excitedly shopping around her manuscript.