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1546307702 (ISBN13: 9781546307709)
After a party gone wrong and in desperate need of money for the fall semester of college, twenty-year-old Nora Robertson needs to escape her hometown.
She accepts a summer long live-in tutoring job for a handsome man and his little sister at a secluded home deep in the mountains.
There is no running water.
No internet or cell service.
When her tutoring job ends she’s hit with a brutal turn of events … she’s not permitted to leave. After months in captivity, she makes a harrowing escape with her student that ends in a car accident on a desolate road. When Nora comes to, her student is missing. In a desperate attempt to find the girl, Nora will have to recount her time held captive.
The good and the bad.
Can Nora and the authorities work together to find the man who took her? Will they rescue the girl Nora tried to save?
Author’s Note: This is a dark romantic suspense.
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All of them.
This is not a romance.
It will not elicit warm and fuzzy feelings.
Not just any woman will do. I require a special woman. I honored the last woman by staying with her overnight. Outdoors in the woods. I am not a monster. Because she was so lovely to look at and at one point I had wanted her. I tried to make her understand me but she never returned my affection. I can still picture her begging me to let her live. She promised to do anything, if I just let her live. But she wasn’t worth saving. None of them are. No matter, though. I will find another. There is always another. I will keep searching until someone is worthy of keeping. They are easy to find, when you know what to look for.
A simple classified ad. A few interviews. Does she turn her body toward me in the interview? How about a wide open and innocent gaze? Does she bow her head slightly or sit with her shoulders rounded forward? Does she blush or become flustered at something I say? Given a compliment, does she dismiss the validity of my praise or laugh nervously?
All these little characteristics help me choose the right woman. A background check seals the deal. No family—or—no family that cares, and no older than twenty to start.
Not just any woman will do. She has to be the right kind and I am a master at finding them.
I am a logophile. A lover of words. Perhaps it’s because of my namesake or maybe just because I’m quirky but since I was a child, I’ve loved words. I assign all the important people in my life words.
For instance, Aubry, is winsome, callipygian, multifarious and capricious. Just pronouncing those words makes my brain happy. Me? I’m demure, acquiescent, and a logophile. Words inspire me. Always have. Certain ones sound magical when said aloud. Aubry thinks I’m ridiculous but that’s because her attention to detail is evanescent. Without Aub though, I’d be a total outcast. She basically saved me throughout high school—socially that is. Aubry is my toran to others; her peremptory confidence paves a way for me and my slight self-consciousness.
“So, are you going to be ready when I pick you up tonight?” she asks.
I roll my eyes. “Aub, you know I hate parties.”
She holds her hands up. “Wait, wait, if I play your game, will you go?”
“What game?” I ask and make a face.
She looks all over the living room quizzically. “Um, nadir optimum,” she says, before bursting into a fit of giggles. When Aubry Clark laughs, everyone laughs. She has an infectious air about her.
When I stop laughing, I mock seriousness. “Fine.” I cross my arms over my chest. “What’s your nadir?”
“Ugh, the new manager at the burger joint. He is so crude.” She pouts and shakes her head.
“Okay,” I say. “And the optimum?”
Aubry’s eyes light up. “My bestie is going to a party with me tonight. Woo!” She jumps up and does a little victory dance, causing me to laugh all over again. I clutch my stomach because it’s too much to attempt keeping a straight face.
“Okay, girls, dinner’s ready,” Angela, Aubry’s mom calls from the kitchen. Anton and Aimee start arguing over who has to set the table, while Aubry stares at me.
I shake my head. “Nope. Especially nope if you want me to get ready for a party.”
She lolls her head back and groans. “Fine, turd. I’ll see you at eight.”
I call out goodbye to Angela while walking to the front door.
It’s warm out. Summer has just started and I can practically smell it in the air. My walk home takes me down quiet side streets. I like to look into people’s windows as I pass by. Families gathered around tables, passing food to each other. It makes me smile while simultaneously causing a pang of loneliness in my gut. There will be no family dinner for me.
Most of the time, it doesn’t bother me. I prefer to be alone. I prefer books to parties, fictional characters to live friends, music to concerts. I’m a little antisocial. I’m also a little laser-focused on my goal of going to college. Aubry and I graduated a year ago and I have until August to save up enough money for my second year’s tuition. I sigh and jam my key into the lock. The door clicks open quietly. I flip switches on as I walk through the house, illuminating it room by room. Tossing my purse onto the kitchen table, I purse my lips and deliberate what to make for dinner. I haven’t gone grocery shopping in a week and the pickings are slim. I settle for an apple cut up, paired with some slices of cheddar cheese. I take my plate to the living room and curl up in the oversized arm chair. Pulling my book from the side table, I open to the dog-eared page and dive back in while popping apple slices and cheese into my mouth occasionally.