Kerry listened to Cutter’s footsteps as they thudded against the hollow floor of the sagging porch. She rubbed her hands against her arms, feeling chilled to the bone.
She was so confused she was getting a headache. Was he really who he said he was? Yes, he had shown her a badge. Wait a minute… He’d never shown her his badge. Kerry rubbed her hand over her face as the events of the last ten hours rolled past like a slow-motion slide show.
He’d tried to ask her on a date in the mall. Then he’d pointed out the man following her. He said he was taking her to a safe house. But that place had proven to be anything but safe. She had the scratches and contusions to prove it. But who were they really running from? Could he right now be calling Dom’s men to come and get her?
Kerry moved over to sit on the sagging couch. She stared into space while she tried to puzzle this out, fingering her necklace with the locket that her father had given her when she was sixteen. She had to admit the truth. She had no hard, irrefutable proof Cutter was helping her. She did have plenty of doubts. Each scene they’d just been through played through her mind again.
Her mouth suddenly became dry. She felt a tingling down her arms and she wiped sweaty palms on her leggings. She was alone in the middle of nowhere with a man she knew nothing about. This could be the moment of her death. This could be the last place she’d ever see.
She longed for her little apartment, with its bright walls and multi-colored pillows she’d ordered via the online catalogue.
Stupid, stupid. That was just a place. This is your life.
Her headache was now a full-blown panic event.
She didn’t know where they were. She had no means of communicating with the outside world, no way to get help.
It seemed all her running was about to come to an end.
It seemed she had no more time to hide.
Available now, Karen Troxel's spine-tingling mysteries, southern-style presents suspense with a heavy romantic twist: Tempest, available at all ebook retailers!
Widowed ex-private eye Allison Calhoun has left behind the career of her heart and her native Boston for the sleepy Tennessee town of Piney Bluffs. All she wants to do is heal and write the great American novel. Only Piney Bluffs is a hotbed of decades-long secrets and lies all seething just under the surface of the humid summer.
Enter C.J. Lanahan. Once the best friend of Ally's husband and always a thorn in her side, journalist C.J. pushes all of Ally's buttons and not all in a good way. On top of that, his newspaper and editorials seem to be stirring up a hornets nest folks 'round here want left alone. When C.J. is a murder suspect and then almost killed himself, things go from hot to deadly quicker than a heat-driven storm in this Tennessee valley.
Can Ally and C.J. live long enough to expose the truth or will the long-held secrets stay buried forever?
... “Anyway, I came here today to see if I could hire you.”
Although she didn’t look at him, C.J. had the darnedest feeling she was very interested now.
“I know,” she said.
“You know? How could you?” He was thrown off track. Had he been that easy to read? “Well then, what do you think? You interested?”
“I shouldn’t be. I decided, when I moved here, I wouldn’t do it anymore. I have other things in my life.”
“Like what? Sitting on the back porch and watching the days go by?”
He leaned back, slowly removed his glasses, folded them and put them gently on the table. He looked her straight in her deep blues. They weren’t empty now.
“No. I’m going to be a writer. I’ve written one novel and sent it off to an agent.”
He nodded. “Okay. What else are you going to do?”
“I’ve got to rebuild the house. It’s what Michael wanted. It’s what we’d have been doing if he hadn’t been killed.”
“That would have been enough for you?”
“Sure,” she replied. “Wouldn’t it be enough for anyone?”
Now C.J. laughed. “Oh, yeah, that’s enough for most people.”
She frowned. “I hear a ‘but’ in there.”
“The ‘but’ is I can’t see you being happy doing that in a million years.”
Ally frowned. “Why?”
“Because you’re an adrenaline addict. You always have been, and you always will be. That’s why you talked Mike into starting a private investigation agency in the first place. That’s why you took cases you didn’t have the experience or the manpower for.”
He saw the change in her face. It went from questioning to guilt to flushed anger. Any of the three were better than the blankness he’d seen there before. “What are you implying?”
He looked at her again. “I think you know what I’m saying. I’m saying if Mike had been calling the shots, you wouldn’t have taken that last case.”
“The case that killed him, you mean,” she finished for him.
He didn’t speak, just nodded his head slightly in response.
She opened her mouth as if to talk, but stopped at the sound of Ed’s low growl and abrupt movement from sleeping pet to quivering attack dog.
At that moment, a Piney Bluffs sheriff’s car rounded the bend and pulled to a stop beside C.J.’s Camaro. He recognized Eggleston immediately. So, apparently, did Ally as she stood.
“Hey, Duffy,” she called, waving to him from the table. “We’re over here.”
Bad timing, was all C.J. could think. Really bad timing for the sheriff to be arriving here now before he’d had a chance to settle things with Allison. Eggleston removed his mirrored sunglasses and calmly placed them in his front shirt pocket as he walked toward them. Eggleston still had the body of an athlete. C.J. knew he had been a star football player in college before a knee injury had ended his career. Duffy kept himself in shape. C.J. knew Duffy’s bulk was one of his most effective weapons when it came to the few drunks and rowdy kids who were the bulk of his casework.
“Eggleston,” C.J. said, inclining his head and moving closer to Ally. She edged a few inches further away from him in response.
“Lanahan,” Eggleston responded, keeping his feet spread slightly and his hand on the gun fastened to his hip. “They told me at the newspaper office you’d be here. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to come back to town with me now. I need to ask you some questions about the night Malcolm Roop was murdered.”
Great, just freaking great. He’d just apparently moved from being a suspect to the suspect. Why in hell had he ever stayed in this one-horse town in the first place?
Subscribe to my newsletter for free stuff and updates.
Available now, Karen Troxel's spine-tingling mysteries, southern-style presents suspense with a heavy romantic twist: No Time to Hide, at Amazon!
A coward dies a thousand times......
Kerry Simpson, aka so many different names she can't keep them straight, lives this adage. Ever since she heard her fiancé order the death of her hitman father and turned state's witness, her life has been spiraling out of control. Kerry is desperately seeking the courage to face her biggest fear, but time is running out. Will she find the strength to break free or remain enslaved forever?
Death is more acceptable than failure......
U.S. Marshal Cutter Snead's biggest failure caused the death of the only people he loved. Now, burned out, he has one final job before he can start anew--even if it is without his wife and unborn child. He wishes his last assignment would be anything but babysitting a mob daughter who looks like a kindergarten teacher and acts like a tiger mouse. Kerry Simpson should stand for everything Cutter hates, but each minute he spends with her, she opens emotions he thought had died years ago.
Time stops for no one......
Can Cutter and Kerry beat the ticking clock, an evil criminal, and a dangerous mole to discover the truth that will set them free to find the love and life they both deserve?