- Shirley Ziegler is afraid of just about everything. But when a real emergency comes up at Whit's End, she is forced to face her worst fear. Theme: Dealing with fear. Adventures in Odyssey® 010: Nothing to Fear.
- Nothing to Fear? An Analysis of College Students' Fear Experiences With Video Games. May 2015; Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 59(2) DOI: 10.101.20.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you but shall not find them; they who war against you shall be as nothing, as nothing at all. Cross references: Isaiah 41:10: Acts 18:10. Pray and give thanks. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication.
She was certain he’d be extremely good at it. Good enough to top her off for a good long while. Because who knew how long it would be before another man like Ethan Buchanan came along? Whatever kind of man he was.
She was contemplating an affair with a man she barely knew. Well, get to know him better, urged the voice in her head. She pushed aside the hem of the glove to glance at her watch. Less than ten hours until breakfast. When the getting to know him would commence. Then she’d decide. For now, she had a driver’s license to forge.
Sue’s palms stung as the nails of her clenched hands dug deep, the pain a welcome distraction. It would have been such a pleasure to tell those two interfering bitches what to do with their help. It would have been a greater pleasure to see their smiles wiped away. Permanently. But that wouldn’t do. Not today. Today she needed them, no matter how much she hated to admit it. No matter how much she hated them.
Sue hated social workers. She’d forgotten just how much until today. They were nosy and poked their fingers into everyone else’s business. Telling you to stop smoking and checking on your kid like you weren’t smart enough or good enough to take care of him yourself. They were high and mighty and interfered where they were not wanted. She narrowed her eyes at the door she’d closed in Dupinsky’s face.
Sanctimonious bitches, all of them. Her mother had managed to keep them at bay for years. Moving from one ratty apartment to the next when she could no longer lie her way out of a referral from a “well-meaning” neighbor or teacher or some other busybody with too much time on their hands. They’d gotten along just fine. Until the day a social worker invaded their apartment with the cops and took them away. Her mother had been too stoned to protest. Bryce had been just a baby, screaming as they took him away.
She’d been twelve. The same age as Alexander Quentin Vaughn. Sue turned from the door to sneer at the sleeping boy. A few lousy threats and he folded like a kicked puppy. At twelve, she was already hard. She’d escaped the foster home with its rules, found her father who hated social workers as much as she did.
Together, they’d gotten Bryce back and gone on the road. Until her father had the bright idea of knocking off a convenience store one night with his kids in the car. Like father like son, she supposed, wondering how much of his guts Bryce had already spilled to the cops. Remembering how her father had spilled his guts, quite literally, on the store’s floor when the owner blew him open with the rifle he kept behind the counter.
And she and Bryce had gone to live with Lucy and Earl. They’d been better off with their mother. She looked at the kid dispassionately. So had he.
Calmer now, she considered her next steps. She was here in a place Dupinsky assured her was “safe.” There was a sweetness to the irony, even if she did have to put up with Dupinsky for a few days. Social workers defending her, keeping her safe. It was justice.
Now for a little more justice. From her backpack she pulled a sheet of paper, each name on the list bringing back memories. Bad ones. Vaughn’s name was there of course, or the name as she’d known it back then. Next was Vickers, the slimy sonafabitch who’d testified against her at her trial. She’d faced ten years for drug trafficking, same as all the boys—except Vickers, who’d copped a damn plea. He’d testified against Sue in exchange for a reduced sentence. That she’d be convicted for drug trafficking had been a done deal. She’d done it. The cops found the proof. That she’d been arrested to begin with wasn’t Vickers’ doing. But his story wasn’t about simple drug trafficking. Oh, no.
She’d used mules, Vickers said on the stand. Drug couriers. But not only had she used them, she’d killed one of them. They couldn’t prove it. They found no body, because there’d been no damn murder. Still, the prosecutor was determined to get a conviction and managed to tack another five years onto her sentence for “reckless endangerment.” Fifteen years was her sentence, longer than everyone else’s thanks to that little fucker Vickers. She’d recklessly endanger him, she thought savagely. He’d pay, and soon.
There were a few others who’d played significant roles. An old neighbor. The arresting cop. The damn prosecuting attorney. They’d all conspired to steal those years of her life. And they’d pay before the week was over.
Then there were other names that brought back better memories. Her partners in moving the stash. Their product had been so fine. They’d done the importing themselves. Walking right by the airport dogs, knowing the cops would never find their hiding place, knowing they’d won . . . What a rush it had been. But then they’d been betrayed. Caught.
As far as Sue was concerned, Vickers and the others were merely side items. The main course, the focus of the revenge was their betrayer, the one who’d set it all in motion. The one who’d destroyed their business. Their lives. Let’s see if they still feel as strongly about our common tie as I do. Donnie Marsden had been their leader and a long time ago, her lover. Donnie had served seven of his ten-year sentence. He was a bookie now, but rumor had it he still kept his hand in the old candy jar. She dialed his number, hearing a flurry of activity in the background. “Donnie. It’s Sue.”
There was a beat of stunned silence that stretched on just a little too long and then Donnie sighed. “Hell, Suze, what’d you do?”
Her teeth clenched. James. “You got a visit from my pal. How much did he offer you?”
Sue wasn’t sure whether to be annoyed or insulted. “Shit.”
Donnie chuckled. “Don’t pout, Suze. And don’t worry, I’m doing well enough that I don’t have to sell out for fifteen. Sixteen maybe. But your friend wouldn’t budge.”
“Good of you, Donnie,” Sue said dryly. “Can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.”
“Why are you callin’ now, Suze? I heard you got out months ago.”
“How would you like to get your hands on the little bird that put you in a cage?”
Donnie’s voice was perfectly sober, perfectly cold. “You know who set us up?”
She’d always known. But she’d hoarded the secret, just waiting until she could exact revenge her way. I’m pulling the strings now. “I do. You interested?”
“In dealin’ the bastard that stole seven years of my life? Hell, yeah. What’s the plan?”
“I’ll tell you in time. Just clear your calendar for the weekend.”
“True. Okay, I’ll wait. But, Suze, you need to watch your back. That friend of yours seriously wants a piece of you. What does he have to do with all this?”
“Nothing. I just have to steer clear of him until the deed’s done.” Until the game was completed. Until I win.
Chicago, Sunday, August 1, 10:45 P.M.
Dana eased back into the shadows, wearily leaning against the wall of the bus station. The bus was an hour late, all she needed tonight. Her shoulders were stiff from hunching over Beverly’s license, but worse was the chill from Evie’s cold shoulder.
“What took you so long, honey?”
Dana jumped at the amused drawl, nearly cracking her head against the wall. Caroline stood a few feet away. “What are you doing here?”
“Ruby heard you tell Evie you were coming and Ruby told Beverly who called me. Under the circumstances, we didn’t think you should be venturing out alone anymore.”
Dana eyed Caroline’s bulky middle balefully. “So you’re going to protect me from Goodman? With what, a belly-buck? Or maybe you’ll grab him and let the baby kick him?”
Caroline merely raised a brow. “I didn’t come alone.” She looked into the waiting room where Dana saw a familiar cane and a tall man reading a newspaper.
“You brought Max,” Dana muttered. “You’re insane, you know that?”
“And you’re not? Coming out into the night alone? Do you think you’re bulletproof?”
With a sigh Dana let her head fall back against the wall. “No, I’m not bulletproof.”
“You can’t lecture Evie about going to Lillian’s funeral and then run around at night by yoursel
f. If you don’t want to think about your own safety, think of mine.” She crossed her arms over her belly. “All this stress is bad for me. I’m delicate.”
Dana snorted. “Hell.” She rolled her head sideways to look at Caroline in the shadows. “Evie’s pissed at me again.”
“I’d say she has a right this time. Why didn’t you call me?”
“Because you’re delicate,” Dana retorted and Caroline’s dimple flashed.
“Touché.” She sobered. “You go home. I’ll get this one and deliver her safely.”
“She’ll be afraid of Max.”
Caroline shook her head stubbornly. “You always say that. I think we can manage.”
“No.” Fatigued, Dana let her eyes slide closed. “End of discussion.”
“But—” Caroline didn’t finish, instead widening her eyes and staring. “Mercy. It’s him.”
Dana’s eyes opened and grew wider than Caroline’s. “Holy hell.” It was. Ethan Buchanan in the flesh, walking out of the security office with the man she knew to be the head of security at the bus station. Ethan shook hands with Bush and started their way, headed for the exit they were hiding next to.
Dana pulled her from the shadows. “Come on. I don’t want him to think I’m always hiding in dark corners. You and I are here to meet a friend who’s so flaky she gave the wrong bus this morning. That’s why I was here this morning and again tonight. Got it?”
“Got it. Ouch. Stop pulling so hard.” Caroline was grinning. “I’m delicate.”
“Hell.” Dana stopped them next to a bank of chairs. “Sit, then.” She looked up to find Ethan had already seen her. He stood staring and once again she felt his gaze as palpable as a touch. It raked across her skin, leaving her tingling head to toe.
He started walking again, this time closing the distance between them in purposeful ground eating strides. And her heart fluttered. She wondered what to say, then felt her cheeks heat as her mind flooded with all of her earlier daydreams of a fling with him.
And then he was there, standing inches away. Looking down at her with those steady green eyes. And damn if she didn’t want to swoon. “Hi.”
He smiled. “Hi, yourself. Are you stalking me, Dana?”
Dana smiled back even as every nerve in her body zinged. “No, nothing so deliberate, I’m afraid. My friend called back, just like always.”
He looked over her shoulder down at Caroline. “She doesn’t look too flaky to me.”
Caroline chuckled. “Haul me up, Dana, so I can meet your war he-ro with dignity.”
Dana didn’t miss the way his eyes widened as he held out his hand to pull Caroline from the chair. “Easy there, ma’am. I’ve done many things in my life, but labor and delivery are not among them.”
Caroline smoothed her maternity top in place, then shook the hand he offered. “I’m not the flaky friend. Her bus is an hour late. Nor am I about to go into labor. I’m Caroline Hunter, Dana’s not-flaky friend.”
“Maybe,” Dana grunted. “Jury’s still out on that one. Caroline, this is Ethan Buchanan.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Buchanan.”
“Please call me Ethan.” He met Dana’s eyes and she could now see the shadows of fatigue on his face. But it was more than simple fatigue. There was worry and something akin to despair. The smile that still curved his lips didn’t come close to reaching his eyes. “So there really is a flaky friend. I admit I had my doubts.”
She so wanted to lift a hand to his face, to smooth away the worry. But she didn’t, keeping her hands fisted at her sides, keeping her voice light. “So you really are a security consultant. I admit I had my doubts.”
“You were busy today,” Ethan remarked. “Checking up on me.”
“It’s only prudent. I’m a single woman. I can’t be too careful.”
He looked surprised at the notion. “I guess you’re right. Did I pass muster?”
“For now. You look tired, Ethan. Have you been working all day?”
“Not all day. After I left you this morning I caught some sleep, then made some more calls.” He gestured to the security office with a jerk of his head. “I got an appointment with the head of security here.”
“At ten-thirty at night?” Caroline asked. Dana had almost forgotten she was there.
Ethan shrugged. “You take a sales appointment when you can get it, ma’am.”
Caroline was boldly assessing him. “So you got injured in Kandahar.”
Ethan’s brows lifted. “Thereabouts.”
Caroline’s eyes took him in head to toe and back again. “What did you injure?”
He grinned now, a slow sure grin that made every ounce of sensation pool between Dana’s legs. “Nothing I can’t live without, ma’am.”
Caroline laughed, then pursed her mouth. “What are your intentions, Ethan?”
Dana blew out a breath, mortified. “Caroline,” she gritted. “Don’t.”
Caroline just shot her a look. “Hush.” She turned back to Ethan who stood looking mildly perplexed. “Well?”
“I’ll be a gentleman, if that’s what you mean. Is that what you mean?”
Caroline looked satisfied. “Close enough. Do you see that man over there? The one behind the newspaper?”
Ethan looked over his shoulder, then back. “The big one?”
“Yes. He has two brothers almost as big as he is. Dana’s our family.”
His very nice lips curved and this time the smile crept up into his eyes. Dana’s knees went weak at the sight. “I’m glad Dana has family that cares about her. You won’t have to sic them on me. That I can guarantee.”
Caroline smiled back. “Good. Dana, have you eaten dinner?”
Dana coughed. “No. Caroline, I—”
“Hush. Ethan, have you eaten dinner?”
Ethan shot Dana a slow smile. “No, I haven’t. I was just going to grab a burger.”
“Well, Dana loves burgers. Make her eat a salad, too. I swear if I didn’t make her eat vegetables she’d have scurvy in a week. Woman lives on French fries.”
Ethan’s lips twitched. “Scurvy comes from lack of vitamin C, ma’am.”
Undeterred, Caroline nodded briskly. “Make her eat that, too. Dana, give me the keys to your car. I’ll take our friend home.” She held her hand out, snapping her fingers. “Well, I haven’t got all night and Ethan hasn’t had supper. Give me your keys.”
Dana frowned. “Ethan, would you please excuse us?” She dragged Caroline over to where Max still read his newspaper. “What are you doing?”
“Helping you. You said you didn’t want tonight’s client frightened by Max, so that’s fine. I’ll drive her to Hanover House in your car and Max can follow in ours. I’ll get her settled in and Evie can take over.”
“How will I get home?”
“Take the El. Or take a cab.” She dug into her purse and pulled out two twenties. “Cab fare. Dana, don’t argue with me. Go eat dinner with that man.”
Dana pushed Caroline’s hand away. “Keep your money. I have enough for a burger with enough left over for a token. Why are you doing this? He could be an ax murderer.”
Caroline sniffed. “Man hasn’t had so much as a parking ticket. He’s squeaky clean.”
Dana narrowed her eyes. “And you know this how?”
Caroline’s eyes took a tour of the ceiling. “Mia ran a background check.”
Dana pressed her fingers to her now-throbbing temple. “A background check.”
Caroline grinned. “It was prudent. You’re a single woman. You can’t be too careful. Keys, please.”
Max lowered his newspaper. “Dana, just do it. I don’t want to have to listen to her gripe all the way home if you don’t.” Up went the newspaper before she could protest.
Dana slapped the keys into Caroline’s palm. “Her name is Shauna Lincoln.”
“I’ll take care of it.” Caroline gave Dana a hug. “Call me tomorrow.”
Dana hugged her back, more grateful than angry. It was a st
ep she might not have gotten around to herself for several more days. If ever. “Don’t ever do this again.” She rattled Max’s newspaper. “Thanks, Max.”
“Don’t eat onions in case he wants to kiss you,” he said evenly.
Dana rolled her eyes and walked away, hearing Caroline’s chuckle behind her. Ethan stood watching as she approached, his eyes slowly lifting to hers and just that fast her body heated. He’d been staring at her breasts. The very notion sensitized them and Dana didn’t have to look down to know her very modest polo shirt was now showcasing her very erect nipples. She nearly crossed her arms over her chest, then decided no. He was obviously interested and so was she. Flings didn’t happen for shy women.
He swallowed hard when she stopped in front of him. Tried to smile. The fatigue and worry still shadowed his eyes, but now there was a sharpness that hadn’t been there before. Perhaps they could make each other’s worries go away for just a little while. And what harm could there be in that?
He glanced over to where Dana knew Caroline stood watching. “Was she trying to pay you to go to dinner with me?”
Dana shook her head. “Mad money,” she said, her voice gone husky.
“You didn’t take it.”
“I never take her money. Besides, I have enough to get home on the El.”
“I’ll take you home.”
His voice had dropped to a caress and she shivered. “We’ll see. For now, how about a real taste of Chicago?”
His lips curved. “Can you eat vegetables there? Wouldn’t want you getting scurvy.”
“French fries are potatoes. Come on. Let’s go to Wrigleyville. We’ll take the El.”
“I have my car.”
She shook her head. “We take the El.” And waited for his temper.
Instead he considered her with those steady green eyes, turning up the heat several notches. “Single woman. Prudent. Got it. The El it is.”
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because a great door for effective work has opened to me, even though many oppose me. 1011
No one, then, should treat him with contempt. Send him on his way in peace so that he can return to me, for I am expecting him along with the brothers.…
10: Nothing To Fear Inoculum
Berean Study Bible · Download
10: Nothing To Fear The Walking Dead
10: Nothing To Fear Thy
Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where he found a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman and a Greek father.
1 Corinthians 4:17
That is why I have sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which is exactly what I teach everywhere in every church.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast and immovable. Always excel in the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
2 Corinthians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:
I have nobody else like him who will genuinely care for your needs.
But you know Timothy's proven worth, that as a child with his father he has served with me to advance the gospel.
10: Nothing To Fear Greed
Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he works the work of the Lord, as I also do.
1 Corinthians 4:17
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.
1 Corinthians 16:11
Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.
1 Thessalonians 4:12
That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
2 Corinthians 6:1
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.