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Ambition Cliff

Ambition Cliff

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Ambition Cliff

219 Seiten
3 Stunden
Jan 27, 2011


A fathers abandonment and subsequent death of his mother leave a young Nick Covington struggling to control his destiny. Emotionally hardened and yearning for a sense of security, he sets out to build a life believing that only financial success can provide the stability he seeks. He will do anything to achieve his goal and as obstacles crop up, Nick resorts to reckless behavior, breaking ethical and moral boundaries. His journey leads to stints in the Pennsylvania coal mines and Texas oil fields before ending in arctic Northwest Canada where the stakes are high and the outcome doubtful. Book website -

Jan 27, 2011

Über den Autor

Dan, a successful entrepreneur, writes and plays the tenor saxophone. A keen observer, Dan has his own take on the world and freely expresses his insight. Married with two daughters, he splits his time between Naples, Florida and Holmdel, New Jersey. Check his blog out

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Ambition Cliff - Dan Petrosini



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty One

Chapter Twenty Two

Chapter Twenty Three

Chapter Twenty Four

Chapter Twenty Five

Chapter Twenty Six

Chapter Twenty Seven

Chapter Twenty Eight

Chapter Twenty Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty One

Chapter Thirty Two

Chapter Thirty Three

Chapter One

Nick Covington and the night darkened as he drained a bottle of expensive scotch. His omnipresent buddy, Sugar a beloved Maltese, detected the negative vibe and abandoned Nick’s cushy lap for the suede couch. The scrappy, hard charging entrepreneur, who had beaten back his demons to build a ‘game changing’ company, now found himself in a fight to maintain control.

Cursing his enemies as he tipped the single malt bottle for another pour, a troubled Nick began to fear losing it all again. Exhausted and beginning to feel the effects of the booze he hunted for a solution to his predicament. Eerily, Sugar growled as thoughts of suicide cascaded through Nick’s mind as an appealing way out of the latest crisis to hit him. Nick adjusted his stocky frame and failing to entice Sugar back to his lap, sipped away as consolation.

The sting of his father’s desertion, almost 40 years ago, still played a significant role in his life. It was the monkey in the seat next to him; an insecurity that drove Nick to both phenomenal success, and at times, unreasonable behavior.

He barely acknowledged its existence in spite of the many reminders he was given by anyone brave enough to broach the subject. At one point, prodded by an ex-flame in a rare moment of weakness, Nick agreed to go for a couple of therapy sessions. Nick had wanted to please a girlfriend alarmed by his episodes of paranoia. She reminded Nick of his mother, before she was destroyed by his father’s disappearance, and he wanted to hold onto her. When Nick’s girlfriend left him for a wealthy, high profile hedge fund manager it added another brick of insecurity to his load and brought the therapy to a screeching halt.

Nick operated best when he focused his anger and energies towards one target. Although there were a cast of collaborators now trying to take him down, he needed to demonize one of them. In that way he would be able to personify the crisis, faulting one person, as he had done with his father, for his current dilemma. Nick laid out the lineup of candidates in his head and like a victim of a crime, began to review the suspects. He pictured, Gregory Barth, in his mind’s eye and startled himself when the image morphed into a resemblance of his father.

Nick opened his eyes, shook the image of the investment banker from his mind, and pushed back his graying hair as he began to tread again over the ground that had shaped his view of the world. He was merely twelve years old when his cozy, secure world started to crumble.

Chapter Two

The Covington family lived in Squirrel Hill, an upper middleclass suburb of Pittsburgh. John Covington, born and raised in the steel city, had just married his old schoolmate, Christine, after a stint on the West Coast. The two had dated in high school but drifted apart when Christine dropped out of high school and John went off to Penn State. They rekindled the flame when John came back to Pittsburgh, taking a job with a local, commercial realty firm. John’s wandering eye led to two years of tumultuous dating, ending abruptly when Christine caught him at a local bar holed up in a booth with a vivacious, female co-worker.

Smooth talking John responded by courting Christine with a passion and swore off philandering. He was a master at persuasion and a big talker whom most in town considered a bull shit artist. John’s persistence in stating his grand plans for a family together finally convinced the emotionally fragile Christine, he was the one for her. She accepted his marriage proposal and after a modest celebration the two of them moved into a small, rented house, setting out on a new life together.

Christine quickly became pregnant and the Covington’s were blessed with a baby boy sporting a bright shock of blond hair. The couple named their new son after John’s grandfather, Nicholas. Like many first children, little Nicholas was spoiled by his mother and the new family was initially inseparable. Christine, who grew up in a foster home, reveled in the joy of her own family.

John, however, frustrated by the gap between his existence and his grandiose talk, quickly became a tough, task master for his son. He sowed the seeds of Nick’s insecurity, pushing his son hard, even as an infant; lavishing attention when Nick succeeded and making his disappointment obvious when he often did not. Young Nicholas slowly adapted, trying to learn how to push the right buttons in order to receive the attention and approval he craved from his father and the family reached an uneasy equilibrium. They socialized with the neighbors and built friendships with other families through their child’s playmates, providing their son with a sense of security.

When Nicholas was about to turn eight, the center of attention suddenly shifted from him to the families new arrival, a baby sister named Ann. During Christine’s surprise pregnancy, Nicholas had been caught up in the excitement and eagerly anticipated the appearance of a sibling. However, when he was left with a neighbor when his mother went into labor, little Nick was hurt and confused by his mother’s pain. As his insecurity surfaced along with concern for his mother, he began to resent the coming baby.

Nick’s fears worsened when his baby sister came home. His mother was naturally preoccupied with caring for the new born leaving Nick to feel abandoned. He was unable to turn to his father for comfort, as he had stayed out late the first week, under the guise of celebrating with the boys. Nicholas was distressed and confused by how his life had seemed to instantly turn upside down.

With no improvement in the situation in the following week, Nick began to withdraw, sulking silently, catching his mother’s eye. She sprang into action, helping him to understand why the baby needed so much attention. She involved Nicholas in helping to care for Ann helping to restore Nick’s sense of security and cemented the eternal bond between brother and baby sister. Life settled into a new normalcy for young Nick who regained his shaky footing and temporal happiness.

The unsteady, young boy never felt he measured up to his father’s expectation. Always pointing out that this or that person was the best centerfielder, linebacker or even most incredible butcher made Nick feel inadequate. He never received the same praise his dad generously lavished on others and desired to be the best at something. Nick moved from hobby to hobby looking for the perfect fit while his father, who still talked a bigger game than he delivered, nonetheless was moving up the economic ladder. Nick’s father received a couple of minor promotions and the additional income he brought home enabled the young family to enjoy some of the bounty of America.

A symbol which confirmed the young families increasing prosperity was Nick’s over booked schedule. He played baseball, soccer, took trumpet lessons and had an interest in painting to go along with his demanding school work. Nicholas was not a gifted student; he realized early on, when a string of low marks caused his father to lambaste him that he had to work hard in order to please his dad. As a result, Nicholas was willing to put in long hours of study at the kitchen table to gain his father’s praise.

John Covington continued climbing the ranks and was given more responsibility and money. In what would turn out to be a career maker, he was asked to help manage the firm’s newest and largest project. The highly anticipated renovation of the old rail terminal and surrounding acreage into a retail mecca was expected to transform the downtown area. It was hoped the undertaking would revitalize a city that had been decimated by the meltdown in the steel industry.

As the project rolled out, it became a monumental success; creating hundreds of jobs but more importantly transforming the psyche of the resurgent town from gloomy, Rust belt to hope and service belt. The rejuvenation, which also created a hip scene, helped to attract yuppies to the area as well as many technology companies and became a model for converting dying downtown areas across America.

Nick’s father gained a certain notoriety from his association with the successful development and was in demand from others looking to duplicate the success of the rail station project. The pull of the fast life combined with frequent absences from home tugged at the already tenuous relationship with his family.

Despite the tension, John Covington jumped ship to a national firm, receiving a hefty raise as compensation for a heavy travel schedule. Traveling in two different worlds, the gulf between him and his family widened. His wife was angry at being left alone and given his past transgressions, worried about her husband’s travel. Ann missed her father and could not understand why he was gone so often. Twelve year old Nicholas, whose friend’s dads also traveled was more understanding but he longed to be with his dad. Nick’s mother, bitterly disappointed at the wrecked image of family, gradually increased the pressure on her husband.

Under his wife’s weight, John relented somewhat and in an effort to bridge the gap and assuage his guilt; he rented a large home in a wealthy enclave of Squirrel Hill and filled it with rented furnishings. John, talking grander than ever promised big things, including a cut back in his travel, and the family attempted a new start. The Covington’s began to collect the trappings that went with their upscale neighborhood and their outlook was deceptively promising.

The excitement of the new beginning and subsequent move lasted a blissful year and a half. The family’s newfound rhythm was disrupted, when John jumped ship again, taking a position with the international side of Morgan Stanley’s realty business before the summer started. The position was prestigious and the money so good it enabled them to immediately look at the possibility of buying their first home. The kids were excited with the prospect of a large yard with a swimming pool and enjoyed the new toys they were given. Christine was ecstatic over the opportunity to finally have a home she could call her own. However, it wasn’t all peaches and cream as the downside of the extensive travel that came with the position quickly outweighed any of the material benefits.

By the time the leaves began to turn color; the seams of the marriage began to fray as John had been traveling in Europe over seventy percent of the time. Christine was struggling to take care of both kids and resentment began to build about being left at home while he lived the high life in Europe’s capital cities. The accumulation of nights spent alone in their bed, coupled with her suspicions about her husband’s faithfulness began to consume her.

Taking action, she finally confronted her husband when he called from Prague one morning as the kids were getting ready for school. The call quickly turned ugly and John hung up before the kids had chance to speak with their father. Nicholas was almost as inconsolable as his mother was and refused to go to school.

The distance between the couple widened considerably the following week when John finally came home. Christine’s female intuition alerted her that John hadn’t been faithful and she vacillated between raging over minute issues to completely shutting down. The children also detected an emotional distance in their father and when Nick asked his mother what was wrong with his father, Christine’s fear deepened. She confronted her husband about his disregard for their family and rather than defend himself he shocked her by saying he had to cut his trip home short and return to Europe the next day. A bitter fight ensued with the frightened children, tears streaming down their faces, as spectators.

When John got up early the next morning to leave the house undetected, Nicholas was waiting and bounded out of bed to see his father off. His instincts were on the money as it would be the last time he would see him. His dad put his finger to his lips to silence him, tussled his blond hair, and slipped out, suitcase in hand, in the early light of the day.

John Covington essentially vanished, completely abandoning his family, neither calling nor writing. He had quietly paid the rent on the house for six months in advance but that was the only support he gave his family and it was unsettling to discover he had arranged the payment weeks before he disappeared. Christine, in the thick fog of denial and shock, tried vainly to reach him through Morgan Stanley. When she was advised he had left the firm’s employ over a month ago, the reality that the marriage was a lost cause finally sunk in. She consulted with an attorney, but without the resources to pursue him internationally, he advised her to get on with her life.

Chapter Three

The shock and embarrassment of John’s abandonment took its toll on the family. Christine tried maintaining a positive spirit for her children but the emotional damage cast too large a shadow. Between the three of them, someone was always on the verge of tears. It broke Christine’s heart when the kids would ask why their father had left. She had heard various rumors that he was living in Belgium with a former co-worker but, attempting to protect her kids, never shared what she knew.

After it became apparent that his father was never coming back, Nicholas stopped feeling sorry for himself and tried hard to fill the empty shoes his father left. He became very protective of his sister and mother and helped as much as fourteen year old could. Nick, who took to wearing his blond hair slicked back, lost his childhood aura, becoming serious and responsible.

The disturbing emotional loss of their father was compounded by the loss of the household’s bread winner. As a stay at home mom and high school dropout, Christine’s employment prospects were bleak. She applied for welfare benefits and prepared to move from their manicured neighborhood to the other side of the Alleghany River, into the poor suburb of Westwick, when the prepaid rent ran out.

Christine, who had just taken a job sorting scrap metal, could only afford the rent on an old trailer home. When moving day came, Nick, who knew he had to be strong for his mother and sister, kept a jovial attitude as they packed the U- Haul truck. When they pulled into the shabby trailer park the fake smile melted from his face. As his mother parked next to a trailer whose aluminum siding had faded to a pale blue, Nick was taken aback and could not help from murmuring,

No way. We can’t live here.

We’ll be fine Nick, besides it won’t be for long. His mother said forcing a smile that her son knew was false.

Nick climbed out of the car and stared at the small, tattered trailer. As a loose piece of aluminum siding swayed in the wind, Nick was overcome with a strange, new feeling. The embarrassment he was feeling made him want to hide. He quickly turned his head, surveyed the area and with no one in view, hurried

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