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Pyramids and Promises

Pyramids and Promises

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Jessica left her cheating husband 4000 miles away. 

But he's a crazy stalker and found her anyway.

Just as he's about to hit her, her hot new neighbor's dog attacks him...


Jessica Erickson's never been one to run from her problems, but she has no choice this time. The only way to escape her cheating, mentally abusive ex-husband is to flee her beloved second home in Russia for the dusty, hot Cairo desert.

It's the absolute last place in the world she would actually want to go, but the only option available to her. Unfortunately, the sand isn't the camouflage she hoped it was and her stalker ex is still able to track her down.

Egypt isn't as terrible as she had initially believed though. She lucks upon a chance meeting with Conner Locke, who's as hot as the Sahara and determined to show her the beauty in what she finds ugly. Not just in Cairo, but in herself.

As a therapist, she knows that rebound relationships never last, but she can't stop from tumbling head over heels for him.

But Conner's own demons might shred their new happiness before either one of them get the chance to believe it's truly real.

First Chapter

The dry heat sucked all the moisture out of Jessica’s
skin. She wasn’t sure which was worse, Russia’s
bitter cold winter or this. She squared her shoulders. She
wanted this. There wasn’t going to be any wallowing in self-
pity. A man waited for her just outside the gate. He wore a
nice suit and held a sign with her name on it. She waved him
down, and he took her carry-on bag.
“Welcome to Egypt!” He beamed at her. She gave him a
weak smile, and he continued. “Did you have a nice flight,
Mrs. Erikson?” he asked in a thick Egyptian accent.
“I did. Thank you.”
She followed him into a chaotic mess of people. The line
at passport control was as long as any Jessica had ever seen.
When they finally reached the front, he took her passport
from her. The man spoke in rapid Arabic to the agent on the
other side of the glass, and within seconds they were on their
way to the baggage carousel.
He was efficient, moving her through the crowd quickly.
She wanted to stop and look out one of the windows. Every‐
thing she’d seen outside of her airplane window had been brown sand. One of Jessica’s biggest fears moving from
Moscow to Cairo was the lack of color. Moscow had been so
full of color. Even in the winter, the buildings were red and
gold. Here, there was only desert. She hated brown. And
sand. “Do you have many bags?” he asked. He was two steps
ahead of her and already watching bags roll down the
carousel. Jessica pushed her way through throngs of passen‐
gers to join him.
“Three. They are fairly large.” She would be getting a
shipment in a few weeks, but she knew from experience that
living in a foreign country would be easier if she started out
with as many comforts from home as possible.
People were everywhere. They shoved in all around her.
Hands grabbed at bags. Not all were careful where they were
grabbing either. Claustrophobia threatened to overwhelm
her and send her into a panic attack. She never felt that way

in Russia. Moscow hadn’t been quite this intense. The wide-
open spaces of the countryside allowed her to feel at home

even though she was a long way from South Dakota.
They weaved through the masses of humanity to the
sliding doors leading out of the airport. The heat smacked
her like an exhaust pipe blowing in her face. It wasn’t humid
like summer in South Dakota, but it certainly was the hottest
air she’d ever breathed. Her thick blonde hair clung to her
neck. If only she had a hair tie. She imagined from now on
she’d be wearing lots of ponytails.
Three women waved excitedly at her from the pickup
lane. They stood next to a white SUV that was nicer than
most of the vehicles that whizzed past. But it wasn’t the
vehicle that caught her attention.
All three wore varying shades of the brightest flowered
sundresses that Jessica had ever seen. It was the same simple
dress, but one was blue, one was pink, and the final one was yellow. They were their very own bouquet. Jessica glanced
nervously at her guide.
“There’s your ride,” he said with a hint of a smile. “The
Embassy Welcoming Committee. You’ll be in good hands
with them.”
“You’re leaving me?” Panic rose up the back of her throat.
He was quick, long-legged, and for heaven’s sake, she didn’t
even know his name, but she didn’t want him to abandon
her. They had a community liaison office (or CLO as
everyone called it) in Moscow, but that was pretty low-key.
Diplomatic housewives who would help new families settle
in and organize local sightseeing trips. But this was
completely over the top.
“I work here at the airport, getting everyone through
customs.” He dipped his head as the flowered ladies ran up.
“They are a lot to take in, but they mean well.”
He melted back inside as Pink Flower grabbed her into
a hug.
“Welcome to Egypt!” She squeezed Jessica tight. “I’m
Melinda. And this is Marcy and Molly.”
She gestured to Blue and Yellow respectively. Melinda,
Marcy, and Molly. Goodness. This was like something out of
a Disney movie. All they needed were wands and wings, and
they could be fairy godmothers.
“My husband, Jeff, can help you with your bags,” Melinda
drawled out in a thick Texas accent. Jessica hadn’t even
noticed the poor man following the women. He smiled and
took Jessica’s luggage cart from her.
“We’ll get you settled into your apartment, and the gals
here will show you around Maadi,” he said. He was a small
khaki blob in comparison to his brightly-colored wife. He
had dark circles under his eyes like he hadn’t slept in days.
“It’s nice to meet you. Thanks for the welcome,” Jessica
said. Melinda linked her arm through Jessica’s and pulled her
toward the SUV. “Your apartment is right around the corner
from ours.”
“And only one floor down from both of us,” Marcy
chimed in.
“It’s unusual for a transfer to happen in April. Did your
paperwork get held up or something?” Molly had the cutest
brown bob of curls that popped against her yellow dress.
“Molly.” Marcy elbowed her friend in the stomach. “We
agreed we wouldn’t ask. Yet, anyway.” But she looked at
Jessica with curiosity in her eyes.
“Something like that.” Jessica nodded. Her flight had been
long, and she was tired. Not from flying, it wasn’t really that
far, but for the first time in months, she felt like she could
relax. Here in Cairo, she didn’t have to look over her shoul‐
der. She’d answer all their questions, but in due time.
The sheer number of people and volume of the chatter
was like nothing Jessica’d experienced before. Most moved
out of the way of the brightly-colored Americans though. As
a group, they were quite intimidating. Several men accosted
Jeff, trying to take the cart or asking “taxi?” a thousand times.
Jeff was doing a nice job with the luggage trolley and
successfully dodged the masses.
Jessica sat in the backseat, sandwiched between Molly
and Marcy. Melinda twisted around from the front.
“So you came from Moscow. That must be an interesting
place. Our last assignment was in Venezuela.” Melinda
smiled brightly.
“And the weather is so different. Did you decide you
hated the cold?” Molly asked.
“Molly!” squeaked Marcy. “You’ll have to excuse her.
Molly is the newbie of the group. This is her hubby’s first
assignment. She’s still learning the ropes of how these trans‐
fers work.”
Jessica hung her head. While on the plane, she tried to
come up with a good story. Fantastic opportunity. Lifelong
dream to see Egypt. Or some such nonsense. Right now
though, she couldn’t remember a single line of it. She was
going to have to do better before she started work.
“Thanks for picking me up,” she said instead. “Do you
know how long it takes for our cars to arrive?”
Melinda pursed her lips. “Around two months or so. But
there is a lot of public transportation. Be sure you attend the

meeting on what you can and can’t take. The metro is off-
limits. Also, never get into a black cab.”

Jeff hopped in behind the wheel as Melinda finished.
“Most cabs are white. Make sure they have an orange
license plate, or you’ll be getting in a car with someone who
isn’t a taxi driver. That’s the only distinction between
normal cars and taxis,” he said. “You’re welcome to catch a
ride with me to the embassy until your car does come
“Thank you. That’s very kind. What’s wrong with the
black cabs?”
“Some people will tell you nothing, but they aren’t
metered, and they are old, old cars. Most expats will risk
them anyway, but the embassy tells us we can’t.”
Marcy leaned forward. “One of my friends got in a black
cab, and there was cardboard on the floor. She thought it was
just to protect the carpet, but her foot went right through
and landed on the street.”
Jessica sighed. There were all these unspoken rules she’d
have to learn all over again. She’d just gotten the hang of it in
Moscow. Plus, there she knew the language. Here, she didn’t
have a clue what was being said.
“You must be exhausted.” Molly’s mop of curls bounced as
she patted Jessica’s hand. “Traveling always does a number
on me.”
“Yeah, sorry. In spite of the fact that I should be good at
this, I’m not,” said Jessica.
“Don’t be sorry,” Marcy said and patted Jessica’s other
hand. “At least you’ve got a few days until you have to be to
That was true. It was Wednesday, and she didn’t have to
report to work until Monday.
“A few days rest and you’ll be right as rain,” Melinda
added from the front seat.
The cars around them honked and swerved. Traffic laws
didn’t seem to apply. It was like a school of fish all moving
around each other. Terrifying. She laughed out loud when a
small sedan passed them, and she saw no less than ten people
crammed into the small space, with another three sitting on
the trunk.
Melinda pointed. “You’ll see stuff like that all the time
here. I hope you have a good camera.”
Jeff had achieved expert level at navigating the crazy
streets. He turned just in time to avoid a collision with a
small truck and a tiny car. Lots of honking and shouting, but
it didn’t faze him in the slightest. Another turn, another near
miss, with a group of pedestrians this time. Still Jeff was as
cool as could be.
“How long have you guys been here?” Jessica asked on a
particularly stomach-churning curve.
“Two years.” Melinda leaned into the curve and shouted
over her shoulder as Jeff laid on the horn. “We were
supposed to be moving on next year, but we asked for an
extension because our oldest wants to graduate here.”
“How old are your kids?”
“Ten, fifteen, and seventeen. All girls.”
Poor Jeff. He had no male backup in his house. No
wonder he looked exhausted.
“We’ve been here a year and have two boys,” said Marcy.
“They’re eight and four.”
“And like they said, we’re the new kids. Only been here
six months. Some things we’ll learn together.” Molly looked
as green as Jessica felt as they rounded yet another curve on
two wheels and screeched to a halt in front of a tired-looking
building. Then again, all the buildings around her either
looked tired or under construction.
Jessica and the Ms took the elevator. It was small, and
there was no way Jeff and the bags would fit with them. He
said he’d catch the next one up. Melinda unlocked the door
and handed the key to Jessica with a smile.
“You do the honors.” She stepped back so that Jessica
could open the door.
Dozens of Gerbera daisies littered every available surface.
Jessica sucked in a breath as all three of the Ms breathed
out an excited sigh. Vases full of the daisies vibrantly colored
and varied as the rainbow had been expertly arranged.
Jessica wanted to back up and shut the door. To her, it was
like coming home to a crime scene. Melinda, Marcy, and
Molly stood right behind her, and she had no choice but to
go inside.
“Someone is very glad that you’re here.” Melinda’s eyes
sparkled with delight as she stooped to sniff a pretty pink daisy.
Most people would love to receive a welcome like this. But to
Jessica, it meant that her problem had followed her straight to
Cairo. She knew Rick would find her. They both worked for
the State Department. She had hoped it would take a little
longer than her flight for him to track down her apartment.
“They are absolutely gorgeous,” said Marcy.
“Gerberas are my favorite.” Molly gently petted yellow
petals that matched her dress.
How did Rick get all of this delivered? Jessica shook her head and dropped her bag. State Department. He could get
just about anything. If she tried to get another apartment, he
would just figure that out and do this again. This, all the
flowers, was to remind Jess that he could find her.
She turned her back and wound her way through the rest
of her apartment. Her bedroom was flower free, and her
kitchen was American, thank goodness. In Russia, it hadn’t
been, and cooking was a challenge.
“CLO made sure your fridge was stocked.” Melinda
followed her. “They left some cereal and bread in the pantry.
We’ll need to take you shopping tonight or tomorrow. We
can drive you to the commissary.”
“That’ll be fun.” Marcy clapped.
“I need to pick up a couple things.” Molly nodded.
“We have a commissary?” Jessica asked, surprised. Most
posts didn’t have one.
“Yes, it’s a huge perk. A lot of people still order some
things from Amazon or Walmart. If you plan it right, you
never have to shop at the local markets, but the produce is
fresh here. If you buy it at the commissary, it’s shipped in
from Europe.”
Jessica leaned against the counter. Her shoulders slumped
with exhaustion and disappointment. It had been silly of her
to think a move like this would completely free her of Rick.
Melinda gave her an understanding smile. She was obvi‐
ously the leader of this band of merry ladies. “We’re going to
leave you alone. Get some rest and enjoy your beautiful flow‐
ers. Would you like to go shopping tonight or tomorrow?”
Jessica rubbed her eyes. “Tomorrow please. Is my internet
hooked up?”
Molly nodded. “Yep. The password and things are on
your desk.”
“Shall we pick you up at noon?” asked Melinda.
“That would be wonderful. Thanks for being under‐
“We’ve all been there, dear. See you tomorrow.”
As soon as they were gone, the flowers went in the trash.
It took three bags to get them all. The vases she washed out
and lined up on the kitchen counter.
She didn’t call her sister. Rick’s stunt had exhausted her.
There had been a card in one of the bouquets. It went into
the trash unread. Probably more drivel about how he missed
her, and she needed to come home, back to Russia. He really
didn’t understand what a divorce meant.
After checking the locks for the fourth time and deciding
against pushing her couch in front of the door, she found her
new bed, which had been beautifully made up, probably by
the three Ms, and crashed.

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