After Midnight

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Book: After Midnight Read Online Free PDF
Author: Kathy Clark
the hooker, or the “actress.” It wasn’t just her name he didn’t know; it was her story. Who was her pimp? Why had she been there last night? Why had she come by today? Why had she saved his life? Damn, he wished he had been alert enough to at least find out how to contact her.
    He flexed his shoulder and winced. He needed to get out there. He needed to find her. She had all the answers.
    Kate was still so shaken by last night that she muffed her cues and scrambled her lines until she was practically in tears by the end of rehearsal. The small acting troupe at Heritage Square Music Hall were, of course, unaware of her part in last night’s drama on Colfax, but they were friendly and supportive and, most of all, patient.
    Live theater in the Denver area struggled but somehow survived through recessions and competition by the multitude of other forms of entertainment in the area, not the least of which was the lure of the great outdoors. Heritage Square Music Hall enjoyed one of the longer runs and managed to put out four new shows each year, written and choreographed by the actors themselves. Each show consisted of a two-act melodrama, followed by a musical comedy revue.
    With only six actors making up the core ensemble, there wasn’t a lot of room for outside performers, so Kate had felt lucky to make it through the audition process and be chosen to be part of the talented group. The pressure of being the new kid on the block was tough enough, but her horrible performance today made her feel even more vulnerable.
    After tripping on her own feet and nearly taking down her partner during a dance number, she sat on the stage and buried her face in her hands. Andy, one of the regulars, tapped her on the shoulder, then helped her back to her feet.
    “Are you okay?” he asked, genuine concern showing on his handsome face.
    “I’m fine.” A flush of embarrassment burned her cheeks. “Guys, I’m so sorry,” she apologized with a shrug. “I’ll do better. I promise.”
    Carrie, who while only in her midthirties was the senior female member of the troupe, shrugged it off. “Don’t worry about it. We all have bad days.”
    Andy snorted. “Be glad you’re getting it out of the way in rehearsals. Usually our biggest screwups are during a show.”
    “Yeah, remember when Matt tripped over the chair and fell off the stage into that old lady’s lap? She thought he was her door prize and didn’t want to let him go.”
    “Or the time Carrie got tangled up in that pink boa and disappeared behind the couch? She was laughing so hard that we all lost it. It took us ten minutes to get it together enough to finish the play.”
    Their stories got crazier and funnier until Kate found that she was relaxing and enjoying herself. Surrounded by these incredibly talented and surprisingly warm people, she was momentarily distracted. She managed to finish the rehearsal without doing any more damage.
    Everyone walked together to the parking lot. Kate wished someone would suggest dinner or even drinks, but all the other actors called out their good nights and separated into their own vehicles and drove off. Kate climbed into her bright yellow Ford Escape and sat, too drained to even start the car.
    It was after seven, but the sun was still shining brightly over the Rockies. Sounds of screams and laughter echoed off the foothills that surrounded the parking lot. The lights on the Ferris wheel flickered on and the horses on the merry-go-round waited patiently for their riders to settle onto the wooden saddles before easing into a new lap of a never-ending race.
    The Music Hall was part of Heritage Square, a small amusement park that in the 1960s had originally been planned as a scaled-down Disneyland. But investors had dropped out and money dried up, so the park had transitioned through several owners, eventually finding its own identity as a local favorite. It was located about fifteen miles from Denver, closer to Morrison, nestled
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