Novel- The Rental by Author BF Oswald

 Now in print and available from SynergEbooks, Amazon, and the author.

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Synerge Books 2016 Best Selling Book-in-print

Readers' Reviews:

A friend suggested I read The Rental. I asked her if it was a romance because I mostly read those. She said it wasn't, but I'd enjoy it anyhow. She was right, I really did.
—Suzanne Lind, San Diego

A cast of interesting, well-drawn characters makes this a truly enjoyable book.
—The Purple Page Review

This book needs its own genre—Surprise Fiction. If you like surprises, this is the book for you.
—Lois Edwards, Avon Park, FL

I found The Rental on my Fire's carrousel; I think my daughter might have put it there when she borrowed my Kindle. I didn't have anything else to read at the moment, so I started it. I'm really glad I did because I thoroughly enjoyed it.
—Rocky Samuelsson, Sebring, FL

Synopsis:

Two romances, infidelity with a twist, a tragedy with a happy ending, several murders, a suicide, a hurricane, a struggle to save an endangered species; human nature at its best and at its worst - its all here in The Rental.

Al Murphy is a schemer and a scammer, a man of limited intelligence and even less conscience, who becomes a key player in the lives of several disparate and sometimes desperate people. 

Although many of the characters are originally from different parts of the country, their destinies and desires eventually lead them to rent one of the two mobile homes Al Murphy placed on lots he carved out of the scrub on the Lake Wales Ridge in Highlands County, Florida.

During the course of this novel one or the other of these rentals provides a respite for a family in need, a hide away for lovers, a convenience for a drug dealer, sanctuary for an abused wife, the end of the road for a troubled, world famous fashion model, the final resting place of a tyrant, and a den for a seductress. In the end Al Murphy's sudden death is the catalyst that leads to the preservation of a tract of this ancient land that has a violent past.


From the book:

God made only one mistake.
And I married him.
- Amy Murphy

JANUARY 1993

"I'm gonna put in another rental." Al Murphy was sitting on the couch, a mug of coffee in hand, watching his wife Amy doing up the breakfast dishes. Although the half wall that demarked their kitchen from their living room hid the lower half of her body, Al knew Amy was wearing that skuzzy pair of baggy sweats she always wore in the morning. Her loose-fitting sweatshirt didn't quite hide her full breasts, however. Al tried to remember how Amy used to look before she got fat and frumpy – at least he considered her fat and frumpy. (When Amy cleaned up and put on her white work uniform she still got looks from men half her age.)

Amy didn't look up from the sink when she replied. "Why? There ain't been a soul livin' in the one you already got for the last six months; not since you got rid of that little blond ‘what's-her-name. Jeez, she was OK. Quiet, paid her rent on time."

"I didn't trust her friends. She always had them big bikers hanging round. They skeert me; thought they might wreck the trailer, maybe attack ‘n rob us. ‘Sides she smoked and kept cats. The place still stinks. Hell! I can't rent it the way it is."

Amy stared at her husband, not trying to hide the look of disgust that almost always clouded her still youthful face every time he came into her sight. He had on an old stained t-shirt, chest and back hair protruded through the several holes in the fabric, and the cut-offs he had on were in similar deplorable condition; when he stood his belly hung over the waistband. He hadn't shaved for several days.

She could no longer remember why she had married him.

"Shit, Al, you know goddamn well she left ‘cause you was always sniffin' round her crotch, trying to git her on her back. Then you got pissed when she kept saying no. Started treating her like a piece of trash. She'd probably still be there if you hadn't been trying to prove you're the man you ain't anymore; at least around here."

Al glared at his wife as he poured himself another mug of coffee.

"And where do you ‘tend to put it?" Amy asked not looking at him. "We only got these three lots, and I don't want nobody up my ass between us and Sis. Besides, where you gonna git the money to pay for it?"

Al sat back down on the couch and took a swallow of coffee before he answered her. "If'n you'll shut yer nasty mouth fer a twitch I'll tell you. I got it all planned out. On t'other side o' Holly two lots down toward Live Oak there's a lot that don't need a lot o' clearing'. I kin rent a dozer, have it cleared in half a day; rent a post-hole digger – hell this close to the lake water's only down three t' four feet; put in a cheap pump, all the water ya can drink in minutes. Then rent a trencher an' run a workin' tile across lots to take care of the shit. There you go – water and sewer jus' like that. Phone's already in across the front of the lot; electric running right by there t' our rental – utilities at hand. Do it all for two fifty, maybe three hundert.

"I got two good frames, still got the wheels on ‘em; enough stuff layin' around t' built a dozen Kropfs. To do a decent job take probably three grand at the most."

"Are ya forgittin' that lot belongs to Finley?"

"Got that covered. If he makes a stink, I'll just give it to him. He can't complain about that; property's improved no cost to him. In the meantime, we'd be makin' money off'n it. ‘Sides I ain't seen a Finley down our road in donkey's years. He's got his own problems; probably don't remember he even owns the lot."

"What about yer back? That insurance guy gets down here too often makin' sure you can't work. What if he shows up when yer're up a ladder or somethin', an' ya lose yer disability?"

"Got that covered; I'll do the outside work evenins an' weekends, get Sis to help during the day. It'll just look like I'm supervisin'"

Amy huffed and looked up at the ceiling so Al wouldn't see the sadness in her eyes. "How you gonna keep her sober ‘nuff to do anythin'? ‘Sides she's on SSI. A governmint man sees her doing work, she'll lose that, and we'll be stuck supportin' her agin."

"Goddamn it, Amy, I got this all worked out nice and neat, and yer're tryin' to fuck it up. ‘Sides Social Security don't come out here t' see her, she has t' go t' them."

Amy walked over to the stove and lit a flame under the coffee pot, then walked back to the sink to finish the dishes. "OK, here's the big un. Where d' ya ‘spect to get yer hands on three thousand dollars?"

"Outa that shoe box ya got hidden in the back of yer closet."

Amy stiffened, her head snapped over her left shoulder, her eyes fixed on her husband; the color had drained from her face. "How'd ya find that?" Her words rode toward her husband on a strangled whisper. That was her ‘escape-this-godawful-marriage' money.

"By the way, where'd ya come by that much bread? Ya didn't get it makin' beds; ya probly got it bein' made on them beds. What do ya get fer a straight fuck? Twenty maybe? Head- ten? Kinky stuff – fifty? Ya must be wearin' yer cunt raw to git that kind of money; I know I hain't getting' none," Al said maliciously.

Amy collapsed onto a kitchen chair and cupped in her head in her hands. Al was now standing over her glowering. "Well?"

Amy's shock turned to anger. "Ya filthy-minded sonabitch," she snarled. "That money come from my Aunt Bess. She willed it to me. It's mine an ya hain't gittin' yer hands on it."

"Too late," he chuckled. "I got my hands on it, an got it hid so's ya'll never find hit. Looks like I got me another rental."

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