by Ravyn Wilde
When Jenna, a successful financial analyst, walked into a bar after the worst day of her life, she met Cole. Ex-military, he is now an authority on terrorism. The attraction between the two was overwhelming and powerful, and the sex steamy. But Jenna’s ex-husband is trying to kill her. All Cole would ever be is a happy memory, one she can take out and enjoy while she is on the run.
Cole is teaching a counter-terrorist seminar for Dallas’s military and law enforcement personnel. He ran into Jen at the hotel bar and thought the hot, curly-haired blonde would be the perfect diversion for a night or two. When she disappears before their last date, he discovers Jen stole something from his room that could put thousands of lives in danger. But Cole has a secret, one that guarantees he’ll see Jen again.
Note: This was first published in 2005 by Ellora’s Cave. This edition has been edited and significantly expanded.
Genre: Erotic Contemporary RomancePurchase link(s): Amazon ARe iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Psychic, Thriller, Suspense, Small Town, Paranormal
Release Date: September 4, 2016
Excerpt & More
Glancing out the window, she noticed night had fallen. Jenna figured she’d strolled down memory lane long enough. Gathering up the papers and checks, she stuck them back into her purse. It was time to make dinner and then do a final walk through of the house to make sure she hadn’t missed anything.
Over the last month she had been packed up and sorted everything into three piles. One pile was made up of boxes and furniture for Rick to pick up Sunday after she was long gone. The second pile held items intended for charity, and the last bunch included a few things for the movers tomorrow. Since she didn’t know where she was going, the movers would take it to a rental storage unit.
The most important things were already loaded in her SUV. Those items included a few family heirlooms and teapots Rick hadn’t destroyed in one of his rages. There was also a suitcase that held her favorite clothes, shoes, and jewelry. Her bathroom bag sat beside the shower along with a change of clothes. She figured it would take her another hour, tops…before she was out the door for the last time.
For the next week or so she would live in a residential hotel. She would use the time to decide if she should stay in Dallas or not. The only thing holding her in the city at this point was a job she loved.
Deep in thought, Jenna turned to set the cast-iron skillet on the burner. The pan had been her grandmothers, and was to go in the box on the table, and then into her car. She left it for last because she wanted pan-fried hash browns and scrambled eggs for dinner. The meal served the dual purpose of providing comfort food while using up the last few ingredients in her refrigerator.
Picking up a potato, she turned to get the grater and saw Rick standing in the arch to the dining room. Tall and wiry, her ex-husband had short blond hair and moss-green eyes. He was dressed in jeans and a dark-green pullover sweater that enhanced his eye color. The eyes that used to look at her with such love, now sparked with intense hatred.
Jenna squawked and dropped her potato. “Rick,” she stuttered. Her heart beat as fast as a hummingbird’s and her hands started to shake.
“It was stupid to leave the French doors unlocked, Jenna,” he sneered.
Jenna frowned. The doors in the dining room weren’t locked? She had checked them last night and hadn’t used them since. If he had tried to break in this evening, she would have heard him. He must have come by while she was still at work and set this up. The violence always escalated when Rick took time to plan things out, instead of just reacting. Her entire body quaked in alarm and she took a deep breath, struggling to still the panic.
She worked to appear calm, keeping her breathing under control, choosing her words carefully. She didn’t want to upset him. “Hi, Rick. Why are you here?” She tried to smile, and knew she failed.
“Don’t act so damn dumb, Jenna. I got something in the mail today that pissed me off. You piss me off. The divorce papers, Jenna. I fucking told you not to go through with it. I fucking told you you’d be sorry.” His eyes were now completely focused on her. This close, she could see those green eyes were bloodshot and wild. The vein in his neck bulged.
None of these things were good signs.
The physical signals and his tirade answered a few questions she wouldn’t have dared to ask. Rick didn’t swear unless he was high, he was in a violent mood…or he was threatening her. Knowing her neighbors weren’t close enough to hear her scream meant she was on her own.
Damn, Rick for putting her through this again! Her pulse leapt in fear and she could feel a trickle of sweat creeping down her lower back.
Just breathe, she told herself, and started praying. Help me. Oh, God, helpmehelpmehelpme.
Rick took a step toward her.
Stifling a squeal of distress, Jenna took a step back and bumped into the stove. She was trapped. She started to rub her sweaty palms on the legs of her jeans, and then consciously curbed the nervous reaction.
“You need to leave, Rick,” she pleaded. She hated the whiny tone in her voice and knew nothing she said would help this situation. Her mind scrambled for a way out—landing on and discarding things she might say to diffuse the assault she knew was coming.
“What I need is to teach my wife a lesson. You don’t understand, bitch. I’ve told you before but you don’t listen. You’re too stupid to be on your own, and no one will ever want you but me,” he spat out, as he again moved aggressively toward her.
Widening her eyes, she pushed back into the stove in an unconscious effort to get away. Her hands went behind her back as if she could brace herself for any blow he would throw. Her right hand settled over the handle of the iron skillet, a very solid weapon of defense.
Jenna knew she would only get one chance.
“You are such a bitch, Jenna. You’re a fucking lousy screw, and are so fucking brainless. You thought you would just sign me out of your life. And could get the cops to keep me from taking what’s mine. You haven’t learned your lesson, bitch. You can’t leave me. You are mine! You need to realize you can’t get away from me, wife.” Rick snarled at her and came around the table in a lunge, his fist rising to hit her.
Without thinking, Jenna grabbed the skillet in both hands, like a baseball bat. With form worthy of a major league hitter, she swung the skillet with everything she had and connected with the side of Rick’s head.
His fist glanced off her left cheek, hurting enough that she cried out…then she watched him crumple to the floor without a word.
Yes! Sobering for one moment, she allowed herself to feel a measure of remorse for hitting him in the head. That couldn’t be good for the TBIS.
Pushing all her guilty thoughts away, Jenna swayed and quickly stepped around Rick’s sprawled body to dash for the cell phone she always left charging in her bedroom. Skidding to a stop, she muttered, “I am not Too Stupid to Live—like all those dumb women in horror stories.”
Spinning around, she grabbed the duct tape off the table. She’d been using the tape to seal packing boxes. Carefully poking Rick’s legs with her foot, she set the skillet beside her when he didn’t move, and in jerky motions, taped his wrists together and then his legs. Wrapping around his legs several times, she wound the tape over itself to form a strong bond, leaving the end of the tape secured in back. No way could he move. For good measure, she snipped off a piece to put over his mouth.
When she was satisfied he wouldn’t be able to free himself if he regained consciousness, she left the room to grab her phone. Calling 911 when she got back to the kitchen, she held the cell phone in one hand and the iron skillet in the other as she stood over the limp body of her ex-husband.
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Be on the lookout for Ravyn Wilde's future release(s): Alien at Her Door coming Sept 2016 Saved By The Book coming Sept 2016, Unholy Magic coming Sept 2016, Undying Magic coming Sept 2016, and Uncontrolled Magic coming Sept 2016
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