Snowbound (The Tattered & Torn #0.5) Read Online Catherine Cowles

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors: Series: The Tattered & Torn Series by Catherine Cowles
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Total pages in book: 8
Estimated words: 6941 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 35(@200wpm)___ 28(@250wpm)___ 23(@300wpm)
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A woman on the run, snowed in with her brother’s best friend…
What could go wrong?

A Tattered and Torn Short Story

FULL BOOK START HERE:

1

EMERY

I leaned forward, squinting into the inky black night. Did rural Oregon not believe in streetlights? I’d thought I had seen darkness before, but it had nothing on this. The only light came from my headlights shining against the thickly falling snow—and the occasional passing vehicle.

My stomach twisted as the road made a sharp curve, taking me higher up the mountain. I gripped the wheel harder, my hands damp with sweat. This had been a no-good, very-bad idea, but it was too late to change course now.

A pair of headlights shone in the distance in my rearview mirror. The rhythm of my heart picked up to an erratic pace. I strained to make out the color or type of vehicle as I shuffled through the registry of cars I’d seen behind me so far. Gray Mercedes SUV. Red pickup truck. White Honda sedan. Black Toyota 4Runner.

But I couldn’t make this one out; it was too far back. That was probably a good thing. They couldn’t be trailing me from that distance. Except it was the dead of night, and I had my high beams on.

I swallowed hard and considered turning them off. I was already terrified of careening off one of the steep drop-offs. Traversing the mountains of Wolf Gap in the pitch-black darkness pretty much guaranteed it.

“It’s not him.” I spoke the words quietly to myself, saying them over and over like a mantra or a whispered prayer. Unfortunately, my prayers had basically gone unanswered of late, which was why I had made the ridiculously rash decision to pack a bag and drive two thousand miles from Nashville to middle-of-nowhere, Oregon, just days before Christmas.

Because I wanted to feel safe for the first time in a year. Wanted to remember what it was like to breathe deep and feel free. And there was only one person who’d ever made me feel that way.

It wasn’t that my family wasn’t amazing. My mom and brother would do anything for me. But they’d already done everything they could and had paid way too high of a price.

That twisting sensation came back. Guilt. It ate away at me more and more with every moment that passed. Because I was potentially bringing trouble to someone else’s doorstep.

I let out a long, steadying breath. “He doesn’t know where you are.”

I’d taken every precaution imaginable. Left my cell phone at home, opting for a convenience-store burner instead. Took off in the dead of night. Slept in my car in campgrounds on the way here, instead of checking into hotels. And hadn’t told a single soul where I was going. I was safe. For now.

The snowfall picked up speed and strength. The thick, white flakes clogged my windshield. I clicked my wipers so they moved at super-speed.

Normally, all of this would’ve enchanted me. There was nothing that said Christmas like a snowstorm, and the snowfall we got in Nashville was rare and a sad imitation of what was around me now. But I’d also never driven in it.

A fork in the road up ahead had me panicking and reaching for my printed directions. I didn’t remember anything about a fork. I quickly scanned the paper and then jerked my head up. The deer came out of nowhere—a majestic buck with a rack that could do more damage than I wanted to imagine.

This wasn’t happening. I wouldn’t recover if I killed Bambi in my quest for freedom. I slammed on my brakes. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

My car slid to the right and into a hard spin. The sound that came out of my throat resembled that of a hyena—or maybe a cat forced into water. I struggled to correct the wheel, but it only spun faster in the opposite direction.

My eyes squeezed shut. It was instinct. I didn’t want to see whatever was coming. I simply braced for impact and prayed I didn’t take Bambi with me when I went.

Blood roared in my ears. The world went silent around me—and there was one face I saw in my mind. One I hadn’t seen in years but would’ve given anything to trace with my fingertips.

My car slammed into something with a sickening crunch, and my eyes flew open. Some sort of whine came from the front of my vehicle, and then the engine simply died. I pressed my hand to my chest, willing my heart to slow as I took in my surroundings.

I’d landed in some sort of snowbank. I leaned forward towards the point of impact. No, not just a snowbank. A boulder covered in snow. The entire front end of my car was smashed in. The kind of destruction that said there was no way it would run again. Not without some serious repairs, at least.


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