A New Beginning: John Hayes #3 (PAPERBACK)
A New Beginning: John Hayes #3 (PAPERBACK)
Size: 5" x 8" (147mm x 243mm)
Series: Book 3, The John Hayes Thrillers
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Read a Sample
Read a Sample
John pumped his arms harder, increasing his pace for the last four hundred meters. He weaved between slower runners and walkers, carefully avoiding a small child who had wandered off the grass onto the pavement. Sweat ran into his eyes as he sucked in deep lungfuls of air. Crossing an imaginary finish line beside the turtle pond, he slowed and reduced his pace to a jog before slowing to a walk. Sweat drenching his clothes, he stopped, bent over, placed his hands on his knees, and inhaled deeply. Finally catching his breath, he straightened up, smiled, and nodded at another regular runner, then moved over to the grass and sat with his back against a tree.
Benjasiri Park was filled with joggers and walkers, exercising in the cooler morning hours. Down by the lake, a few families had brought their children to feed the brightly colored Koi carp before heading off to school and work. A burst of laughter caught his ear, and he glanced across to the Takraw court where four men, stripped to the waist, performed incredible feats of athleticism to launch a small rattan ball over a volleyball net with their feet. John recognized them. They were here most mornings, and he had spent a lot of time watching the game.
John closed his eyes and leaned back against the tree. He felt good. He was fitter than he had ever been, regular runs and workouts in the park making him lean and tanned. His diet, consisting mainly of Thai salads and grilled meats, was working wonders on his energy levels. He was sleeping well and hardly drinking. It had been three months since he moved to Bangkok from the beaches of Phuket. There was only so much time one could spend lying on the beach, and with his new shareholding in Pegasus Land1, he no longer had to worry about keeping his expenses low.
John had taken a short-term lease on an apartment just off Sukhumvit Road, a major thoroughfare running west to east through the massive city. The streets that ran off Sukhumvit were called Sois and he had chosen an older building on the south-west side, around Soi 24, an upscale area of luxury apartments and large houses, nestled in walled, tropical gardens. It was a location popular with Japanese expats, and many of the stores and restaurants catered to that nationality.
Compared to his previous home in Hong Kong, the apartment was huge. Large balconies, lined with red flowering bougainvillea, wrapped around the two sides of the corner apartment from which he had expansive views out across the suburbs.
An elderly Thai lady came twice a week to prepare food and clean the house, but otherwise, he was left alone. It suited him. He spent his time keeping fit, exploring the city, and had enrolled in a local Thai language school to try to pick up the rudiments of the language. He was enjoying the relaxed pace of his life and had no rush to get involved in anything that would tie him down.
One of the young men from the Takraw court wandered over and sat down, his body glistening with sweat, wiping his face with a small white hand towel.
“Sawasdee krup, Khun John.”
John smiled and returned the greeting. “Sawasdee Krup. Good game?”
“Kup,” the young man nodded. “Yes,” he grinned. “You should join us, Khun John. Much more fun than running in circles.”
“But I’m not as flexible as you, Khun Phichet. There is no way I can do that somersault kick of yours,” John laughed.
“You can, just practice.”
John smiled at Khun Phichet. They met a month ago when John had been watching them play through the chain mesh fence surrounding the Takraw court. The game was like volleyball, but instead of using one’s hands, only the feet and the head were allowed to touch the ball, a rattan ball about half the size of a football. The game was a good workout, and the flying kicks and somersaults performed by the more skilled players kept them lean and flexible.
Phichet had invited him to join them, but John had declined, wary of injuring himself badly on the asphalt court. Over the next few weeks, they had struck up a few conversations, sometimes enjoying an occasional coffee together after the game. Phichet worked for a small import-export company, dealing in machine tools and lived with his wife, young daughter, and parents in a small apartment in one of the back Sois near to the park. He had explained to John the hour he spent playing Takraw every day was the only time he got for himself, the pressures of work and family life taking up the rest of his waking hours.
“Have you got time for a coffee?” John asked.
“Mi mee, Khun John. No, I’m sorry.” Phichet checked his watch and frowned. “We have a client visiting from Europe, and I have to meet him for breakfast.” He jumped up, wiped his body with the hand towel, and pulled on the t-shirt he had tucked into his waistband. “See you tomorrow?”
John stood too and dusted the grass from his shorts. “I’ll be here. Have a good day.”
Phichet nodded, gave a slight bow, and headed toward the main gate.
John stretched and looked around. Laughter and birdsong filled the park, the air warm and scented with the incense burning in the small spirit house beside the side gate. He grinned. Life was good.
1 See “A Million Reasons” - John Hayes#2