Blind Date: Never Go Home With a Stranger by Nick Clausen is a well-written 32-page story. A clever twist near the conclusion caught me completely by surprise. On sale for USD 0.00 on Amazon, this is a win-win read in terms of price and entertainment value for the reader.
Lily was on a first date with Jake; a girlfriend, Georgia, had arranged the get-together and assured Lily that Jake was handsome. Lily concurred only to the extent that Jake was cute enough for her, his smile was attractive, and she could put up with his quirky sense of humor. Lily was impressed that Jake had created and ran an IT company at the age of twenty-one. Lily had a minor regret that she had allowed herself to become so intoxicated, she felt as if she were losing control of herself.
The restaurant closed at 10:00, still too early to go home. When Jake invited Lily to his house for coffee, Lily accepted while debating where the night was going and where she would wake up the following morning. On the way to his home, Jake repeatedly looked at messages on his phone. Annoyed, Lily asked, and Jake replied that he was having trouble with a former business partner. The two had started the IT company and Jake had recently forced his erstwhile partner out. Threatening text messages had annoyed Jake since the company breakup.
Arriving at Jake’s mansion, Lily observed the fruits of Jake’s research and IT app development in action. The house was wholly controlled by the application on Jake’s phone. A security system monitored every room, controlled lights, adjusted the temperature in occupied rooms, and turned appliances on and off. After entering, the phone locked all doors and windows.
Jake went to a bathroom while Lily mixed drinks. Jake was gone a long time. Lily found Jake with a severe head wound caused by a hammer strike; Lily found Jake unconscious in a bathtub and the hammer in a plastic bag in the sink. Someone was in the house. Lily heard the noise as the intruder began searching for something. Lily was able to hide but knew she had to find a way to escape. Waiting for the intruder to leave was not an option. To go, she needed Jake’s phone. Lily would have to emerge from hiding and search Jake’s body for the phone controlling the house. The intruder also had a phone able to control and monitor the home. If Lily moved around the house, the intruder would be able to track her movements. It became apparent after overhearing a phone call that Jake’s partner had hired someone to eliminate Jake. The intruder had detected her perfume; he knew someone was in the house. Then he found her purse.
The action sequences are well-described as the cat-and-mouse game played out. The conclusion is intelligent enough for me to give the story four plus Amazon stars. I will read more by this author because there are links in this book that allow me to get two free novels from the author.