When James’ last manuscript ended with the protagonists committing suicide, his agent from Blake Publishing sent two emails. The next day a copy of his contract arrived. Highlighted in yellow were the terms for James’ chick lit series. In the margin was a note in blue ink:
“You can not kill Muffy McPherson and Billie Bains!!! We need them to live for at least three more books! Read paragraph 8 on page 23! If you’re having some pre-midlife crisis, stop it NOW!“
The exclamation points made James smile slightly. He closed the front door and used the papers to create a path to the lighted fireplace. The papers began to absorb the gasoline on the floor. Flames from the fireplace created a pathway, moving from one sheet to the next.
James knew the details of the contract. He also knew the end he’d given Muffy and Billie had been the best possible solution, if not a moment of parapraxis. If his doctor’s diagnosis was correct, he wouldn’t be around for three more books anyway.
James grabbed a pitcher of water and a bottle of sleeping pills from the table in the foyer and headed upstairs to rest.