The Traveler: No Turning Back
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From New York Times bestselling author Omar Tyree, with 18 books and over 2 million sold, comes The Traveler: No Turning Back, a book series about culture, romance and endless excitement.
Gary Stevens is a handsome American who restlessly travels the world in search of purpose, peace of mind, world culture and unconditional love. Skipping from continent to continent, our globe-trekking explorer can’t seem to keep his nose out of helping misfortunate victims. Gary is motivated to avenge the vicious murders of his mother and his best friend to random acts of terrorism. Through an inheritance of wealth, the guidance of a sexy and dangerous mentor, and a mysterious father he has never met, “The Traveler” transforms from a brash frat boy into a thoughtful man and a fearless hero, willing to eliminate anyone who stands in his way.
No Turning Back is the prequel to The Traveler and marks the launch of this thrilling new series, created by New York Times bestselling author and journalist, Omar Tyree. Book Two: Welcome to Dubai, launches in October.
No Turning Back is available now as eBook via all major digital devices, including Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Google Books. Go to the Traveler website.
About the Author
Omar Tyree, a New York Times best-selling author and a 2006 Phillis Wheatley Literary Award winner for Body of Work in Fiction, has been cited in 2009 by the City Council of Philadelphia for his work in Literacy, and has published 18 books with 2 million copies sold worldwide. With a degree in Print Journalism from Howard University in 1991, Tyree has been recognized as one of the most renowned contemporary writers in America. He is also an informed and passionate speaker on various community-related and intellectual topics. Now entering the world of literacy programs, business seminars and feature film making, Tyree is a tireless creator and visionary of few limitations. For more information on his work and titles, please view his website at www.omartyree.com
After a brief and ineffective phone conversation with her son, Gary, Gabrielle slid her cell phone back into her purse and reentered the Civic Center conference room in Frankfort. She was now fervent about cutting the emotional and financial umbilical cord to her son. Gary had just convinced her that he had taken her generosity for granted.
That boy couldn’t give me five stinking minutes! she piped. Who did he think he was talking to? I helped him buy that damn record store.
She planned to give her son the shock of his life by informing him, face to face, that it was time for him to carry his own weight and provide for his own living expenses. If he was unable to do so, he would suffer the consequences with a loss of his loft on Main Street, and the closure of his record store.
As Gabrielle continued to mull her decision, she could no longer concentrate on the busy day ahead of her in Frankfort.
He just blew me off as if I were one of his flunkies, she incensed. I do not deserve that, nor do I appreciate it.
She then made up her mind to return home. Her events in Frankfort were not mandatory, and she already knew how to reach most of the professionals there for updates or networking. A frank and overdo discussion with her flippant son had become more urgent.
Gabrielle excused herself and rose to her feet in the middle of another address. She bolted for the Civic Center exit doors and quickly found her dark green Volvo outside in the parking lot.
After working a decade in local and state politics, she was well aware the stereotype about women having overwrought emotions. But at the moment, her emotions had gotten the best of her. So she asked herself if she had failed as a mother.
Oh, so what? she snapped of her emotional battle. There’s a time in life for everything. And she refused to feel guilty about leaving.
Twenty miles west of Frankfort, a dirty, dark blue Saturn with West Virginia tags headed toward Louisville on Interstate 64. The car exited the freeway near Shelbyville, about halfway from Frankfort. Two men eyed each other inside, wearing cheap, dirty baseball caps with summer T-shirts and worn jeans. They looked like a pair of hard-edged construction workers after a long day of labor, with their white faces sunburned and unshaven.
“What we gon’ do now?” the passenger asked the driver. “We ain’t got enough money left for gas to make it all the way to Indiana.”
Their destination was hours away. The driver had a couple friends there who would help them hide out until they could plan their next move.
With the car tank on E, the driver answered, “We take another car near the light at the gas station. We’ll wait for somebody to fill up and then get ’em when they stop at the light. Then we take them hostage for a few miles and take their cell phone so they can’t call nobody when we kick ’em out.”
The driver in his late twenties, was as self-assured as a desperate criminal could be. However, his younger partner was not.
The younger man in his early twenties searched the driver’s stoic face and blurted, “We just gonna jack another car, right out in the open?” He thought the idea was insane. But how sane had they been already to commit a murder and steal a car to avoid their capture?
The driver said, “We ain’t got a choice, unless you wanna walk or hitchhike the rest of the way.” He understood the situation they were in as soon as their botched robbery tuned into murder in West Virginia.
His young partner countered, “We’d be better off if we just stole a parked car instead of carjackin’ somebody.”
“And what if that parked car ain’t got enough gas in it?” the driver questioned. “We gonna keep stealin’ different cars until we get where we’re goin’? Now like I said, we ain’t got no choice,’’ the older man snapped. “And if we jack a car with a driver in it, we can get some more money out of it.”
He pulled the car over alongside the first gas station to the right of the exit and told his partner to get ready to move.
“We ain’t gonna have no time to hesitate either,” he warned. “We gotta do this fast and get back out on the road.”
His partner prepared his gun under the seat and took a deep breath with a slow nod. He was still trying to build up his nerves. “All right,” he muttered. “Let’s do what we need to do.”
As soon as Gabrielle merged onto Interstate 64 in her Volvo, she remembered she hadn’t filled up her tank while rushing to keep her schedule that morning. She looked down at her fuel gauge. She had less than a quarter of a tank.
“I can make it a few exits,” she told herself, driving west toward home.
By the time she approached Shelbyville, her gauge was on empty and she needed to use the restroom. She pulled into the first gas station to her right and stopped at a self-serve island. She used her credit card to fill up with premium gas. She then walked into the gas station convenient store to use the restroom.
Gabrielle walked out, refreshed with clean hands, and returned to her car to drive off. Right after making her left turn into the street, the stop light changed from yellow to red, forcing her to pump the breaks.
Dammit, I just missed it, she peeved. She relaxed behind the wheel, awaiting the light to turn green. At least it’s a beautiful day out; bright sunshine on a perfect Saturday.
Gabrielle smiled, no longer feeling anxious to rush home. She figured she’d take her time and enjoy the drive. Gary wasn’t going anywhere. His record shop didn’t close until eight o’clock on Saturdays.
Less than twenty feet away from Gabrielle’s Volvo, the two fugitives prepared to make their move from the parked Saturn.
“You don’t want that car, do you?” the passenger asked with wide eyes. “Those things have those self-locking doors, and it’s too fancy. We’ll draw too much attention,” he panicked.
The driver thought more about the moment. It was perfect. The Volvo was stuck at the light with a lone driver, and no other cars were approaching.
Hell, it’s either now or never! he calculated. And it’s a woman! So he pushed the door open and barked, “Let’s go!”
His skittish partner had no choice but to rush into action behind him. They had no time to waste.
“Hurry up and put the gun to her window,” the ringleader demanded.
His younger partner did it quickly.
“Open the door or you’re dead! We only want the car!” the ringleader yelled through the rolled up window and locked door.
Gabrielle heard the man’s grave and urgent demand from behind her wheel. She turned to face the two, baseball-hat-wearing assailants to her left, and spotted the wide open barrel of a gun placed against her driver side window. The barrel was pointed at her head, just inches away. All she could imagine was a swift bullet splattering her brains all over the car. Even with the window rolled up, the gun was too close for her to duck for cover.
Stay calm, they only want the car, she repeated to herself. Don’t make any rash moves.
“Hurry up and get over!” the man shouted through the window.
Gabrielle calmly pressed the button to open her car doors before placing the gear in park. She then moved over into the passenger seat, while praying that a police squad car would show up to catch them.
Where are the fucking state troopers when you need them?
The lead man rushed to open the driver side door and jumped into the car behind the wheel. His gun-holding partner leaped into the back, and before Gabrielle could jump out on the passenger side, her green Volvo was headed down the ramp for I-64 West, ahead of the green light.
Okay, just remain calm, she told herself. You want to remain rational.
As they made it onto the expressway, the gun-holding man in the back seat asked her, “You got any money in your purse? Where’s your cell phone?”
Gabrielle hesitated before she moved to gather her purse and cell phone.
“Don’t touch anything, just give it to me!” the gun-holding man shouted at her.
She did as she was told and passed her purse to him in the back seat.
The driver kept silent and paid strict attention to the traffic on the road, while his partner began to dig through Gabrielle’s purse.
“You only got forty-fuckin’-dollars in here,” he pouted. “And you drive around in a nice car like this?”
Before she could respond to him, the driver shook his head at the wheel and commented, “They use credit cards, asshole. Where have you been the last twenty years?”
The gun-holding man looked at him and didn’t respond. He also found a new iPhone in her purse. “Hey, she got one of those new fuckin’ phones, too.”
“An Apple?” the ringleader asked him. The marketing had been all over the national news.
“Yeah, look at this. It’s nice” He showed it to him while Gabrielle remained calm. She could buy a new one.
The driver said, “That phone’s worth five hundred bucks.” He looked over at Gabrielle from the wheel, and she refused to respond to him. She assumed that the driver was in authority. He looked older, taller and calmer.
Okay, just deal with him, she decided.
She looked into the driver’s face and said calmly, “Look, you keep the car, keep the phone, keep the money; you’re welcomed to have it. And you can just drop me off wherever you like, and I’ll find a way to get back home.”
It made the most sense to her. She could replace everything.
The driver grinned and began to chuckle without looking at her. He nodded behind the wheel and said, “I like you’re demeanor, I really do.”
His gun-wielding partner in the back was not as flattered.
He said, “Well, what’chu gonna do after that, call the police on us and tell them your car’s been stolen, and your pocket book, and your fancy cell phone? What’chu gonna do?”
He paused and waited for Gabrielle to respond to him. Then he said, “Wait a minute. This car doesn’t have one of those sensor things in it that helps the police to track us down, does it?”
When he asked her that, even the driver peeked at her for an answer.
Gabrielle couldn’t remember if the car came with a security system. She hesitated and stammered, “I don’t . . . I don’t think so. I don’t know.”
The gun holder looked back to the driver. “Sounds like she’s lying to me,” he deemed. “Whadda you think?”
The driver gave her another look. “This car got one of those stolen car detectors or what?”
He didn’t look or sound as reasonable anymore.
Gabrielle still didn’t know the answer. Jesus Christ, I can’t remember! she fussed to herself. “Look, I don’t know. What do you want me to tell you?” she pressed.
Both men fell silent for a moment as they continued to drive toward Louisville.
I wonder where they’re trying to go, Gabrielle pondered. She also wondered if someone would recognize her car as they drove closer to the Louisville city limits.
The gun holder in the back finally broke their anxious silence.
“You know what? You think you’re smarter than us, don’t you?” he asked. “You’re gonna sit up there all cool and calm and then get us arrested as soon as we drop you off somewhere. Well, what if we don’t drop you off at all?”
Gabrielle took a breath and responded boldly. “I don’t think you want to add kidnapping, along with car theft and whatever else you’ve done. So if you just let me out like you promised, then that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about.”
The gun holder failed to respond to her, but the driver asked her, “Where do you live?”
That took her by surprise. Why does he want to know where I live?
She promptly decided to lie. “I live in Frankfort.”
Gabrielle frowned and barked, “What? I’m not telling you that. For what?”
The driver kept his cool. He said, “Find her license back there in her purse.”
Gabrielle heard that and panicked. Shit! “Why do you need to know where I live?” she asked him. She was nervous enough to try and snatch her purse back, but she thought better of it.
“I wanna see if you’re telling us the truth,” the driver answered. He clicked on the right turn signal and headed off the last exit before reaching Louisville’s city limits.
Gabrielle looked up the exit ramp and asked him, “Where are you going?”
The driver looked into her tense face. “You want us to drop you off, right? Well, we gotta find someplace to do it then.”
“You can drop me off anywhere?” she insisted. “Just let me out right here.”
She was ready to leap right out of the car before they found her license.
“Hey, she doesn’t live in Frankfort. She lives in Louisville.”
The gun holder had found her license in her purse.
“That’s an older license,” she lied again. Her heart was racing inside of her chest. She had remained calm since the moment she first saw the gun, but now they had caught her in a blatant lie.
“Well, where’s your new one?” the driver asked her calmly. He seemed to be toying with her; a sinister cat who had trapped a mouse.
She said, “It’s at home in Frankfort. I use two ID’s to receive benefits in both cities.” She continued to lie, desperately trying to save herself from harm.
The gun holder in back winced. He asked, “What, like a tax cheat?”
Gabrielle paused. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for her to seem imperfect. They would all have their flaws and subversions in common.
“If you liked to call it that,” she told him.
The driver listened to her and smiled. “So, you’re a pretty good liar then,” he commented.
Oh my God! Gabrielle dreaded. Will I be able to get out of this or not?
A Kentucky state trooper cruised by them in a squad car headed in the opposite direction. The tension inside the green Volvo rapidly escalated.
Gabrielle thought of yelling out loud and grabbing a hold of the steering wheel to gain the trooper’s attention, but his squad car had passed them by too fast for her to react in time.
“Shit!” the gun holder shouted from the back seat. His racing heart had jumped into his throat until it was over. He said, “All right, man, what the hell are we gonna do with her? She’s lying to us, and we need to get the hell out of here.”
“She’s gonna have to go with us then,” the driver asserted.
“Go with you where?” Gabrielle asked him. She had lost her reserve.
“You’ll go wherever the hell we take you!” the gun holder snapped. He aimed the gun at her head from the back seat.
Gabrielle ducked down and leaned into the gear shifter.
“Fuckin’ put the gun down, Johnny! Put it down!” the driver yelled into the back seat at his accomplice.
The younger man eyed him in disbelief. “You asshole, you fuckin’ said my name, Eugene! Now we’ll both have to kill her.”
Gabrielle attempted to leap out the passenger side door in the middle of traffic. Her act of playing it cool was over.
I have to get out of here NOW! she enraged.
Right as she opened the passenger side door and leaned sideways to make her move, the driver grabbed her by her left arm to hold her inside of the car.
“GET OFF OF ME!” she screamed and leaned back to bite his right hand.
“FUCK! You bitch!”
The car jerked left and right as it sped in traffic. The passenger side door swung open with Gabrielle trying to fight her way out of the moving car with kicks and punches.
“Get off of me, you motherfucker!” she cursed driver back.
His partner, Johnny, aimed his gun at her head again from the back seat.
“I’m gonna shoot ’er, Eugene! I’m gonna fuckin’ shoot ’er!” he shouted twice.
“NOOO! Just wait a minute!” Eugene hollered back.
While struggling to control the wheel of the car with his left hand and holding onto Gabrielle with his right, the driver miraculously weaved through traffic until the green Volvo finally smashed into the driver’s side of a Ford truck.
The car bounced to the right and spun into the rear end a dark blue Chevrolet.
The Volvo continued moving and hit the curb, running up on the sidewalk. The sound of screeching tired, crunching metal and splintering glass could be heard for bocks.
Angered by the turn of events, and tired of being civil to a lying woman, Johnny fired the gun as Gabrielle finally seemed to make her escape.
With Eugene losing control at the wheel, all three bullets missed. But when the passenger side door slammed hard into a street pole, the heavy green door mashed Gabrielle’s right arm and shoulder.
“AHHH!” she groaned in agony. The door swung back open as she began to hang halfway out of the car.
Johnny took aim at her with the gun at point-blank range. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, the passenger side door slammed hard again into a telephone pole with a final loud splat.
The ferocious jolt of the pole against the swinging car door crushed Gabrielle in between the hard metal and the pole, while Johnny’s head bashed into the windshield, breaking his neck.
The windshield shattered into broken shards of glass as the man’s body went limp against the dashboard.
Once the car had come to a stop on the curb, only the driver, Eugene, had survived the wreck, with a broken left wrist, a dislocated shoulder, and minor scratches to his right arm, face and neck. Gabrielle’s battered body slumped out of the passenger side door.
“Oh my God!” a young mother bawled from the sidewalk with her daughter in hand. She couldn’t stomach to look at it. She sunk her head into her hands and closed her eyes as her daughter broke into terrified tears.
As soon as Gary reentered his downtown record store, his friend Taylor’s expression was stoic. “It’s about your mother.”
Gary stopped and questioned him for clarity. “My mother? Well, what . . . ?” He rushed over to the cordless phone behind the register to answer the awaiting call.
“Yeah, this is Gary Stevens.”
He listened to the grave news as Taylor watched his face and body language. Gary suddenly froze, looking stunned, speechless. All that moved was his chest from deep breathing, which accelerated.
“I’m on my way,” he responded abruptly and hung up the phone. “Joyce, Stephanie, you guys run the store and call Raymond in to manage. I have an emergency to take care of,” he told his staff members. “Taylor, I need you to drive,” he informed his friend.
He trotted straight for the front door, Taylor quick-stepping behind.
Taylor said, “I parked the car out back, remember?”
“I’ll meet you around the back then,” Gary told him. He seemed confused and hasty with a burst of reckless energy.
Stephanie, Joyce and Valerie looked around inside the store, all wondering what was going on. As soon as Gary returned to the sidewalk on 4th Street, he turned left and headed down the block toward the corner.
“What’s going on?” Melissa, asked him, still standing there outside, disgruntled.
“My mother’s in the hospital,” he answered gruffly. “She was in an auto accident.”
He marched with urgency, pumping his arms and legs with all nerves and adrenaline.
“I’m going with you,” Melissa told him.
“No you’re not!” Gary piped at her without looking.
Melissa followed, determined to support him, while leaving her friend Valerie behind.
Valerie ran out of the record store behind her and yelled, “Where are you going?”
“I’ll be back. I’ll call you later.”
When Melissa caught up with Gary, they made a swift left at the corner and headed toward the parking area at the back of the storefronts.
“I’m going with you,” she continued to insist.
Gary marched forward like a robotic zombie on a mission. He was too frantic to argue. And when Taylor pulled up in front of them in his black Audi, Melissa promptly jumped into the back seat as Gary climbed into the front passenger side.