This is the continuation of the story told in AWLL 1 and AWLL 2, Books 1-6. If you haven’t read those, you’ll have serious difficulty following the story. I strongly encourage you to read all that has come before this book!
As with the earlier books, there is a lot of dialogue and introspection. There is also a decent amount of sex, some of it explicit and juicy, and some of it agonizingly erotic in its simplicity.
Please note that this book will skip time. Watch the section headers and dates!
A special thanks to Steve Smith, my editor, who has done an incredibly fantastic job helping me bring these characters to life. Also, to my proofreaders and the members of the AWLL email group and Discord server who get to read the pre-release chapters and point out the remaining typos and misses.
I can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please consider joining our AWLL group on Discord: https://discord.gg/UE8tAG5
Or, for low-volume email updates, join our mailing list: https://a-well-lived-life.com/mailman/listinfo/awlll
Additional content, including images of some of the people in AWLL and stories about Ray’s time in the Navy, OSS, and CIA is available via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/MichaelLoucksPrologue
March 5, 2006, Chicago, Illinois
“I will NOT accept ‘no’ for an answer! You’re going and you aren’t arguing with me!”
“Fine!” I grinned. “I’ll go!”
Samantha laughed, “Like there was ever a chance you would refuse tickets to the 5th Anniversary show of Mamma Mia! with backstage passes so you can meet Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson!”
“You fight dirty, young lady!”
“I’m 31, married, and have two kids! I’m hardly a ‘young lady’!”
“Compared to me?”
“The age difference isn’t such a big deal now as it was when we first met.”
“True. Got details for this trip yet?”
“Yes. Private Jet to London on the 1st, a week in a suite at the May Fair Hotel, the best tickets possible for the show, and a backstage pass. You’ll fly home on the 8th.”
“Sounds good,” I said. “How are things? I haven’t talked to you at length in a couple of months.”
“Busy. I’m really worried about the ‘no-doc’ mortgages, and the associated credit default swaps. But, we think there’s a ton of money to be made by buying as many of those credit default swaps as we can.”
“If I understand it, you make money if the borrowers default on their mortgages?”
“Which they will if property values stagnate or, God forbid, decrease. Many of them are ‘interest only’ payments, so if the borrower doesn’t flip the house before the principal comes due, they’ll default. There are other problems as well.”
“How much will you make if you bet correctly?”
“Three, maybe four hundred.”
“Jesus!” I gasped. “What’s your downside?”
“The cost of the swaps, which is a few percentage points per year. But I think it’s a very safe bet.”
“How much of that is your money and how much is clients’?”
“About half is mine.”
“Damn, Samantha!” I chuckled. “That’s nuts!”
“Sending you to London is pocket change,” she laughed.
“I know you usually won’t let me do stuff like this, but I figured I could tempt you with Mamma Mia and meeting Björn and Benny!”
“You do not have to ask twice!” I laughed. “Shall we go to dinner?”
“I love that you still include me in the family dinners despite me being married and having kids!”
“Your family is always welcome here. You’ve been like a daughter to me for almost thirteen years.”
“And before that?” Samantha smirked.
“A wonderful year we do NOT talk about in front of your husband or sons!”
“True! It was wonderful. Well, minus one afternoon in Monaco I’d prefer to forget. Can I entice you and your family to come to St. Martin sometime this summer?”
“I’ll think about it.”
“I think I know eight eighteen-year-olds if you prefer to come down alone!” she smirked.
“Once was enough!” I grinned.
“For you? Once is NEVER enough!”
We hugged and headed to the dining room for dinner.
[Author’s Note: If you want to see why Thomas Jefferson hated banks more than standing armies, and find out more about how credit default swaps almost destroyed the financial system, read The Big Short, by Michael Lewis, available from amazon.com]