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Down Two Paths: Borderline, #2

Down Two Paths: Borderline, #2

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Down Two Paths: Borderline, #2

299 pages
4 hours
Apr 1, 2019


Two lifetimes, two parallel realities—based on one true story.

Dee continues her survivor story in two alternative realities. In America, she and her new family move to California, where she faces cultural shock, financial struggle, and dealing with thorny personalities. Back in Finland, she embarks upon another kind of a cultural shock: taking care of her baby. The two fast-paced stories intertwine perfectly and are filled with unconventional families, second chances, and a peek into the human heart.

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS the second book in the "Borderline" series, offering a compelling story of one woman's journey back from the edge of despair—two tales, of two parallel realities, based on one true story. [DRM-Free]

"Borderline" Series by Taya DeVere:

  • Book 1 - Between Two Doors
  • Book 2 - Down Two Paths
  • Book 3 - Around Two Corners

More Great Women's Fiction from Evolved Publishing:

  • All the Tomorrows by Nillu Nasser
  • Participant by Carmen Kemp
  • White Chalk by P.K. Tyler
  • Cassia by Lanette Kauten
  • Yours to Keep or Throw Aside by E.D. Martin

Apr 1, 2019

About the author

Taya is a mix of a bubbly and stubborn personality trapped in an old, sad soul. She believes there’s something extraordinary in each being, that no one is too small or insignificant to deserve a second chance in life. Her chaotic identity took a hit when her father suddenly died. Clawing her way up from the murky hole his death created forced her to face the facts of being tangled in toxic relationships, and depression that had a violent hold on her muddled mind. She wanted to be whole again. Her restless feet and burning passion for animals led to leaving her home in Finland, and to accepting a working student job at a horse farm in Hereford, England. Long hours, hard physical labor, and countless nasty bunions ruined her body—but was Xanax for her soul. To further her career in dressage, Taya moved to America, and lived in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and California. Each mile traveled, she felt healthier, more independent, stronger. She didn’t need another person to make things happen for her, to heal. She needed only to live free. And just then, when she least wanted it, she found a being whose heart loved the same way as hers did. For years, she and her little menagerie traveled. Struggle was no stranger in their lives, but not a day went by without laughter and a new experience from which to grow and learn. After living through 1001 bizarre tales, Taya returned to Finland to take a breather from her shenanigans, and to finish her first novel in the “Borderline” series.

Book Preview

Down Two Paths - Taya DeVere





Borderline – Book 2

Copyright © 2019 Taya DeVere

Cover Art Copyright © 2019 Kabir Shah


ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622532643

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-264-3


Editor: Becky Stephens

Interior Designer: Lane Diamond



At the end of this novel of approximately 70,872 words, you will find two Special Sneak Previews: 1) DOWN TWO PATHS by Taya DeVere, the second novel from the Borderline series, and; 2) ALL THE TOMORROWS by Nillu Nasser, another women’s fiction novel we think you’ll enjoy. We provide these as a FREE extra service, and you should in no way consider it a part of the price you paid for this book. We hope you will both appreciate and enjoy the opportunity. Thank you.


eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Books by Taya DeVere


1 – Between Two Doors

2 – Down Two Paths

3 – Around Two Corners (Release June 2019)




What Others Are Saying about Taya DeVere’s BETWEEN TWO DOORS:


"The narrative is poignant, evocative, and unveils strong emotions. The emotional intelligence and depth of character give the narrative its unusual strength. The novel explores existential themes and delves deeper and deeper into a human soul in search of balance. The narrative begins with a powerful dilemma, two doors literally opening up for the protagonist, and in that fleeting moment she has to make a choice. It is in this choice, in this dilemma, that the author builds the tension and nourishes the conflict.

"The writing presents vivid and insightful descriptions, allowing readers to easily imagine scenes and form ideas of places. Written in an engrossing first person narrative, Between Two Doors is captivating, cinematic, and utterly delightful. A book with a protagonist that reflects something readers share—humanity. It kept me awake through the night." ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Divine Zape (5 STARS)


"Taya DeVere understands ‘trust the reader.’ She pulls us along with perfectly factored information without bogging us down in descriptive histories that would only stall the pace of the novel. I was forced to slow myself down to not flip pages too quickly and ruin the story. I just wanted to know what was going to happen!!

"The heart-wrenching struggles of the MC are real, are powerful and relatable even as I’ve never experienced what she was going through. Well done! The straight-forward telling of events, without reason or excuse or fluffed meanderings of explanation, make this experience perfect for the reader. I was in this story, and while I typically shy away from ‘real life’ tellings (I’m a fantasy/sci fi girl as I like my fiction fiction) I would recommend this book to everyone. I even ravaged the pages we’re given to tease us for book two. Unnecessary, by the way—I’m already hooked!" ~ Cynthia Martens


We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book.


In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the First 2 Chapters of Taya DeVere’s AROUND TWO CORNERS, the third and final book in this Borderline series.





The BORDERLINE Series at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the First 3 Chapters of Carmen Kemp’s award-winning PARTICIPANT, an extremely engaging, enjoyable read.





CARMEN KEMP’S BOOKS at Evolved Publishing

Table of Contents


Books by Taya DeVere


Table of Contents



Chapter 1 – California

Chapter 2 – Depressed Mosquitos

Chapter 3 – Black Widows and Rusty Old Nails

Chapter 4 – Strippers and Dirty Clothes

Chapter 5 – Poop Girl

Chapter 6 – Baby Gates and Cheese Balls

Chapter 7 – The Voice of Past

Chapter 8 – Snake and the Brown Hare

Chapter 9 – You Can't Call Him

Chapter 10 – Beating Bushes

Chapter 11 – Before the Dark

Chapter 12 – Boring Black Coffee

Chapter 13 – Our Babies

Chapter 14 – Flying Bean

Chapter 15 – The Message

Special Sneak Preview: AROUND TWO CORNERS by Taya DeVere


About the Author

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: PARTICIPANT by Carmen Kemp


For my wonderful Äiti.

Thank you for my wings.

Your Daughter.

Chapter 1 – California

Shit! I think that was our exit.

Matt hits the steering wheel with his fist and then calms down to wait for the GPS to recalculate our route. Watching him move makes my stomach twist. I feel as I’ve been on a rollercoaster for days. How can anyone be so full of passion and reassurance, all at once?

Should I drive?

Matt looks at me and gives me an amused grin. Then his eyes fly back to the towing mirrors, placed on both sides of his old Ford F150. He nods approvingly after triple-checking that the U-Haul trailer is still attached to the truck. The fully loaded trailer wobbles and shakes every time Matt steps on the gas paddle and tries to go a tad faster than fifty miles an hour.

Sure thing, Dingalee. Why the hell not?

Our massive moving load slides slowly by an enormous road sign. The green sign presents junk food chain logos, conveniently at our service, only two miles away. I remain fascinated by the endless options of different brands of burgers and other wrapped goods in this country. No matter where you go, you’ll have the option of delicious, greasy food, in all its varieties.

It’s too dark to see which restaurants wait for us at the rest stop, now only one mile ahead. My eyes hurt when two trucks pass us, their bright lights blasting. Matt taps the turn signal and slows down to take the upcoming exit.

We ate today, right? I ask Matt.

Did we? He looks back at me, frowning. I shrug my shoulders and smile at my husband. It takes all my willpower to rip my eyes off him. Staring at my own spouse feels oddly inappropriate.

We park at an enormous highway rest stop, taking two parking spots with the Ford and the rickety trailer attached to it. Matt’s eyes calmly wander around the parking lot. He stays quiet, still figuring out what our diet had been earlier in the day. The cab is soon filled with his low and rumbling laughter. Hearing him laugh makes my forehead tickle with pleasure.

Damn. How many days you think ’til Cheetos and Redvines would go bankrupt without us?

Don’t forget Wendy’s. I’m sure they’re stacking up on burger buns and chocolate Frostys in total panic as we speak.

Matt’s eyes lock with mine. The laughter shakes his whole body. His punch lands on the back of my shoulder slightly too hard. It reminds me of my best friend back home, who used to leave my arms covered in blue and gray spots, play-punching my tender and easily bruised skin almost daily.

Is punching and cracking jokes normal behavior for newlyweds? Maybe not. But it could be considered normal behavior for people who have run away from a manhunt, arson, personal bankruptcy, and losing their house and fortune overnight.

I reach to open the glove compartment and pull out an envelope full of dollar bills. As soon as my fingers rattle the paper, a sniffing, wet nose appears to investigate my treasure, making sure said greedy nose wouldn’t miss any Cheetos or other snack food hidden in the truck.

Back off, Cullin. You’ve already eaten half of our money, I say and gently push the dog back toward the backseat.

Ah shit. That reminds me. We’re out of kibble, Matt says.

I peek in the rearview mirror and see three pit bulls sitting next to one another in the backseat. All three have stern looks on their faces. Kiwi’s upper lip is stuck on her gums, which makes her look like a hillbilly about to ask a dumb question.

Kiwi’s best friend, Riley, notices me watching them in the mirror. He wags his tail, spanking his friends sitting next to him. He’s excited that we’ve finally stopped driving. Cullin abandons his seat and places his hind paws on the cab floor, his front paws resting between the driver seat and my seat. He re-investigates the money in my hand, huffing and sniffing in disbelief when he realizes I have zero treats to offer.

We can get kibble. But I’m not sure we’ll make it to California, I say to Matt.

What do you mean, D-money?

Matt has spent the past two weeks coming up with nicknames for me. I don’t think he has called me Dee since his notary friend came by the city hall, marrying us a few hours before we took off to the west coast.

Petrol. We've spent twice as much as we planned.

Matt’s eyes fill with warmth when I accidently use the word petrol instead of gas. He never corrects my English to make it more correct or more American. Matt silently finding me adorable makes me vaguely embarrassed, but I don’t want him to know that.

Yeah, the trailer’s heavy. Takes shit tons of ga—um, petrol to pull that rock, Matt says, trying to keep a straight face.

How many miles to Chula Vista? I ask, ignoring the amused look on my partner’s face.

Until we’re there? Just a sec.

Matt turns the GPS screen toward him and taps the screen. A concentrated frown appears on his tanned, flawless face.

Two thousand two hundred sixty-eight miles.

And how many miles have we driven?

We stare at the receipts stacked between us on the dashboard. The budget plan we came up with late at night at Matt’s house in Boston turned out to be way too optimistic. He peeks in my direction giving me a wild grin before he turns back to face the GPS, resetting the route back to Boston.

Seven hundred fifty—no, seven hundred eighty-three miles. Damn, that’s it?

Matt runs his hand along his shaved head. The gesture makes me wonder if he used to have hair and just recently started to shave his head bald. His frown returns as he works the calculator on his smart phone. I rip my eyes off my broad-shouldered husband and force my tired brain to count the money in the envelope.

Cullin barks, just once, when a man wearing a brimmed hat walks by the truck. Cullin’s low but impressive bark makes the guy step back before he continues to search for his car in the now pitch-black parking lot.

Well, if I count correctly, we’ll make it to Chula Vista. But that’s about it, Matt says, looking at me carefully, his forehead furrowed.

The envelope has both of our savings in it. We estimated that we would have some money left once we arrived in our new home in California. I found us a working-couple job at a horse farm, where we’d also have an apartment to live in. The supposed left-over money was our back-up plan in case we didn’t like the place or our jobs and wanted to move elsewhere and start over.

It’s official then. You’ll have to start stripping, I say to Matt and it’s almost impossible to keep a serious expression on my face.

Matt’s frown disappears, and his eyes shine again when he looks at me, pretending to be just as serious as I am.

Well, great news then! Stripping is part of the Stockbroking for Dummies course I took five years ago!

My giggle fills the cab. Matt reaches over and pulls me to sit on his lap. I wrap my arms around his neck and pretend that I’m not uncomfortable, lying on top of the GPS, piles of snack food bags and Riley’s front paws. The nosy dog decides to join our cuddle and fiercely licks Matt’s face.

Man, Riley. What have you been licking lately? Actually, don’t tell me.

My giggle turns into full laughter, which makes Riley choose me as his newest victim of fishy-breath kisses.

We crack the truck windows open and leave the dogs to guard our Earthly fortune on wheels. We walk hand in hand and almost get stuck in the revolving door. Matt laughs loudly as he finally pulls us out of the spinning carousel. I feel drunk, but I haven’t had a sip of alcohol since we left Boston. Nights slept in the truck are starting to take their toll.

It's late at night and the rest stop is almost empty of customers. A handful of people are in line to get pizza slices or a steaming cup of Frappuchino from Starbucks. Smelling the freshly brewed beans makes me crave black coffee.

We stop in the middle of the food court and look around, contemplating what we would enjoy for supper.

Let me guess, D-man. Wendy’s?

After he gets a smile and nod from me, Matt leads us to the empty Wendy’s counter. We look around for a cashier but there’s no one to be seen. At the back of the restaurant, a girl laughs and talks on the phone. She hasn’t seen us arrive and isn’t aware she has customers waiting by the counter.

You know, let’s just get some pizza, I tell Matt after we’ve waited half a minute for the girl to end her phone call.

Miss! You have a second?

Matt’s clear and carrying voice makes me jump and I look at him in shock. Is he always this rude to waiters?

Shit! Hold on, Bels. Customers, the cashier says to her friend on the phone. She appears behind the corner and gives Matt a wide smile.

Sorry to keep you waiting, sir. What can I get you?

I stare at the girl in disbelief. She doesn’t seem the slightest bit offended by Matt raising his voice to her. Back in my home country, anyone would be offended by such behavior and they may refuse to serve a rude customer. But I’m not in my home country anymore. Probably never will be again. I wonder if I’ll ever fit in with all these outspoken, confident people.

Matt smiles back at the cashier and orders our usual: cheeseburger meals and two chocolate Frostys. As soon as we sit down to eat, the girl fast-walks back to her phone and continues her conversation with Bels.

Finishing a big meal this late at night makes me drowsy. I cover my face with my hands so no one witnesses how a jaw breaking yawn makes the chocolate drip from both sides of my mouth. I regret asking Matt if I could drive.

I sit on a red, plastic chair and sip my chocolate Frostys while Matt browses a tiny grocery store next to Starbucks. He’s trying to locate the right brand of dog food from the store’s lower shelves.

The speakers play a familiar pop song from the nineties. I can’t remember who sings it or what the name of the song is. I do remember listening to the same song with my dad, driving home from elementary school. Dad joked how the singer sounds more like a girl than a teenage boy. Thinking of Dad makes everything around me seem surreal, like this isn’t a real world, and the people around me are cartoon characters, products of my imagination.

My tired, sloppy eyes examine the half empty food court. Two truck drivers are having a lively conversation over a slice of pepperoni pizza. They argue about someone named Bobby who has taken more sick days over the last two months than the two of them have in years. They take turns making wild gestures with their hands and repeat the phrase Fuck that so loud I’m amazed how the family with three teenage kids eating next to them does not give them dirty looks for cursing.

The Wendy’s cashier has ended her phone call with Bels. She leans on a wall behind the counter, and vividly flirts with a security guy who stands in front of her, arms crossed on his chest, his chin set slightly too high. His posture makes him look down his nose at the girl. The girl stretches out her neck, gently rubs her collarbone and slowly curls her hair around her index finger. She lets out a high pitch squeal and punches the security guard on the shoulder. He smiles and puffs out his chest. He reminds me of a cocky rooster on a dairy farm, guarding his premises.

The open rest stop is filled with red, orange and yellow. The space is full of commercial signs and plastic furniture, all oversized and bulky. Hectic colors, one- to three-word sentences, and extra-large signs make me feel like I’m sitting in a dollhouse designed by a five-year-old with crayons.

People come and go. They smile and carelessly ask, How’s it going? without waiting for a reply. They speak over one another, smile showing a row of white teeth, pat each other’s backs, and walk back to their trucks, carrying fast-food bags and boxes, filled with curly fries and jalapeño poppers.

A thought of Dad doesn’t fit, not here. To think of him feels strange, like he doesn’t belong in this new reality I’m now exploring. I shake my head to get rid of the memory of him and pop off the chocolate Frosty’s plastic lid. I lick off the remaining chocolate inside the cup. For a minute I contemplate if I should rush and buy another shake before Matt comes back. He would never know. The shameful thought of him catching me double-fisting dessert stops me from getting up and interrupting the flirting rooster and his hair-curling prey.

We head back to the parking lot, Matt carrying a huge bag of dog food on his shoulder as I wipe off the chocolate stains around my lips. Matt reaches for the truck’s back door and nods toward a small fenced area between the parking lot and the highway. The gate has a sign with a silhouette of a dog on it.

You want to feed the beasts? I’ll fill up the tank.

After I nod, Matt opens the truck door. Three pit bulls jump out of the truck, stretching and wagging their tails. I unlock the trailer’s side door with a key I keep in the chest pocket of my sweater coat. I find three metal bowls right beside the doorway, stacked next to four flashlights, duct tape and a collection of different size batteries.

For the first time in my life, I don’t own a key chain for a house, car, garage, storage or any other kind of property. It feels surreal, making me feel rootless and free. The rental trailer is the closest thing I can call home now. There’s no door sign or a mailbox anywhere in the world with my name on it. I don’t have a mailing address. Having nothing but a suitcase full of dirty barn clothes and a change of shoes is what my life has become. And I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

I open the gate and let the dogs run around. Kiwi squats in the corner of the tiny dog park while the boys stick around me, patiently licking their lips, watching me closely as I pour the kibble into three feed bowls.

Go ahead, I say, and the dogs dig in, munching enthusiastically. Kiwi gets up and trots over, sniffing and picking a bowl to eat from. All three dogs have their own dishes but sometimes it’s a challenge to not steal from their neighbor’s dinner plate.

The dogs finish their supper and I pick up the dishes and open the gate for us to head back. The sound of soft padding and clicking of nails on the asphalt surrounds me as we walk through the dark parking lot, making our way back to Matt who sits in the truck, this time on the passenger seat.

I open the back door and let Riley, Cullin and Kiwi jump into the back seat. They all move around with ease, choosing a place to lie down, behaving like they have lived on the road all their short doggy lives. Since we’ve started traveling, the only time I see them tense up or bark is in the middle of the night, if someone approaches our truck while Matt and I are asleep in the front seat, gathering our strength so we can drive another day toward the California sun.

Cool drizzle reaches my face just as the beasts settle on the backseat. I close the truck’s back door and walk around the truck. I won’t be sitting on the passenger seat this time. Before I open the driver’s door, I look behind me and read a road sign right across from the diesel pumps and two enormous eighteen-wheelers. South Vienna, Ohio.

I envision the map of North America in my head, but I have no idea where to pin us on that map. The drizzle turns into rain. I open the truck door and climb in next to Matt, who is examining a receipt he got after filling the gas tank. A worried frown has taken over his face. I sit next to him and he instantly snaps out of his murky mood, and an affectionate smile makes the frown disappear.

All right, Schumacher. Let’s see what you’re made of.

Driving the truck and trailer is surprisingly easy. Turning on a smaller road makes me slightly nervous. Tight turns make me hold my breath, but as soon as I understand to make my turns wide enough, so the trailer has enough space to turn, I relax and enjoy the ride.

The farther we drive, the less green our surroundings get. Little by little the view turns completely flat, and all I see is a straight, empty road ahead of me, accompanied by endless corn fields, resting dead still in the humid air. The heavy humidity has the dogs panting. I crank up the air conditioning. It doesn’t seem to get any cooler in the cab.

Gibbon, Nebraska, I read out loud. The road sign has a picture of a horse and a carriage on it. Riley perks up in the backseat. He makes a whining sound that seems like a question. He thinks I said kibble, which makes his greedy doggy brain think it may be lunchtime.

Matt snoozes next to me, unaware of the corn fields or the lunch-craving dog drooling behind him. He drove the entire night last night while I slept, so I would get enough rest to drive during the day. We hope to arrive on the east coast in three days, without stopping for motels or B&Bs. All our money is spent on gasoline and junk food. Sleeping on an air mattress in the trailer is not an option because it’s filled, floor to ceiling, with Matt’s belongings.

With us taking turns driving, our estimated time of arrival doesn’t seem impossible to achieve. But we can’t be awake at the same time. One must sleep while the other drives. It’s an odd feeling to miss someone who is right beside you, close enough to touch.

No, Riley. I said Gibbon, not kibble, you greedy butt-licker.

The black and white pit

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