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Echoes of the Past Book 2
BY RACHEL TRAUTMILLER
What if someone knew everything about you? Your biggest dreams. Your deepest fears. Secrets you’ve never told a soul. What if they promised to exact revenge for crimes you didn’t know you’d committed?
With years of police experience, homicide Detective Amanda Nettles is no stranger to high risk. She’s built her career on it. Saved lives. Protected the hometown she loves. One faceless madman wielding threats won’t scare her off.
When an explosion rocks downtown Charlotte—with Amanda in the middle of the blast zone—she knows this is the work of her stalker. Injured and struggling to gather clues, she discovers they eerily and indisputably lead directly to her. And suddenly everyone is the enemy. With no one to trust, she’ll have to risk involving the one G-man who’s as by-the-book as they come and hope that their camaraderie will hold long enough for her to prove her innocence.
FBI Agent Baker Jackson Robinson’s life has never been a cakewalk. Before his sister’s accident, he jumped right into the chaos and danger if it meant saving a life. Now that he’s raising a pre-teen alone, he needs to skirt around danger at all costs.
With the city in a state of emergency, Robinson must decipher the incriminating information against the suddenly elusive Detective Nettles. The woman he knows would never lay waste to her hometown—with herself in the center. She would face pure evil head-on for answers. Would never hide out.
In order to stop the escalating casualties, Robinson must make an agonizing choice—trust the facts or his gut. Wrap this case up, turn in his friend and colleague, or find a way to disconnect and rush into the danger to discover what really happened.
The clock is ticking down. Because the game this killer is playing isn’t only about Amanda. Countless innocent lives are in his crosshairs.
**This book is part of a series. Reading the books in order will heighten your enjoyment of the characters within each story.**
© 2015 Rachel Trautmiller
THOSE FIVE WORDS, uttered with dejection, stole Robinson’s breath.
The urgency oozing from every pore of her body made sense then. “She was down here with you? You’d already met her?”
“You were listening.” The words didn’t meet her usual playful tone. She tried for a patronizing you’re-an-idiot smile, but a ripple of pain showed through.
He’d tasted the bite of the Taser once at Hogan’s Alley in Quantico. While he didn’t plan to repeat the experience, as soon as the volts disappeared so did the muscle contractions, paralysis, and pain. He hadn’t been laid flat by an explosion first, however.
“Kind of hard not to when you never shut up.”
Her eyes met his then, a fire blazing behind them. “Never mind.” Again, she tried to step past him.
He moved into her path. An apology sat on the tip of his tongue, the thought of the phone call he couldn’t stop himself from making earlier, fresh in his mind. He’d almost hung up, but then, she’d answered. And normal words had left him exposed. Because, I hope everything goes well today with Beth implied a lot of things he wasn’t entitled to think about.
Sure, it sounded friendly to the innocent bystander.
Robinson could come up with excuses a mile long. A half-truth still remained a difficult pill to swallow at the end of the day. Luckily, sarcasm had come to his rescue and any words of encouragement, mixed with deeper meaning, had stayed locked inside his head.
If he could find a delete button for the feeling, he’d gladly hit it. Reset would work just as well. Even Ctrl-Alt-Delete followed by End Process would be an improvement.
“I’ll call the hospital and figure out the details, but you’re not going anywhere, Nettles. We’ve got to talk.”
Wariness stole over her features. “I can’t do any favors for you right now.”
“No favors,” he agreed. The fact that she assumed all he wanted from her was exactly that, decked him square in the teeth. The words shot a big hole through the center of his friendship theory. “I’m not that big of a jerk.”
“I’ll call the hospital myself.” She patted her pockets and when she came up empty, threw her head back. “Any chance my cell is still in working order in my car?”
Since verifying the story of two witnesses was top priority and he needed her to do so, he motioned her toward the café. “Only one way to find out.”
Then he dialed Mercy hospital as he followed her to her car. He tried to ignore the sway of her backside, in hip hugging jeans.
The government should consider using Amanda Nettles as a distraction tactic.
He shook his head.
At least two witnesses found her behavior odd. Both agreed, separately, that someone had called the café looking for her, seconds before the explosion. Part of him thought the whole thing might be nothing more than a coincidence. The other part, the one not influenced by his male chromosomes, told him something didn’t sound right.
When an operator at the hospital answered, he informed them who he was and that he was looking for Bethany Markel. It took his mind from the detective, for once.
“All of the victims are being routed here, but she hasn’t been admitted at this time, Agent Robinson.” The girl on the other end of the phone said. “But we can call you if she arrives.”
“Perfect.” Then he disconnected and relayed the information.
Amanda’s Camry had a flat tire and all the windows were blown out. Glass crunched beneath their feet as they neared. Careful to avoid the jagged edges of glass, she reached through the window and grabbed her phone from the passenger seat.
“What do you know?” She jiggled the device. The cracked faceplate looked as if someone had thrown it against the ground. “Twenty-seven missed calls.”
“Speaking of calls. Several people said you received one a few minutes before the explosion. Care to elaborate?”
She stilled for a fraction of a second, the motion so slight he might have missed it, if he hadn’t been paying attention. Then she shrugged and resumed listening to the messages on her phone. “As you can see, I forgot my phone in the car.”
“According to my source, the caller described you in vivid detail, right down to the kind of shoes you’re wearing.”
Another shrug. “At least someone’s paying attention.”
Robinson clenched his teeth together. How could she be so flippant? It wasn’t like her.
A deep sigh came from her mouth. “Beth got stuck in traffic.”
“That’s great. Can we focus?”
She hit a button on her phone and continued listening. “I’m focused, Special Agent in Charge Baker Jackson Robinson.”
“The Fourth.” The words came out, unbidden, but ingrained in him from birth. Be proud of your heritage, son. Someday, you’ll pass the name along.
“If you’re going to spit that mouthful out, complete it.” Irritation he couldn’t squelch, laced each syllable. “It’s Baker Jackson Desmond Robinson, the Fourth.”
“Geez, there’s more than one of you walking around?”
Not anymore. “Stop trying to sidetrack me.”
“You?” She shook her head. “Not possible.”
He crossed his arms over his chest. Difficult described his entire day. Why would this discussion with a sassy detective be any different? Except this was Amanda and she didn’t put up a fuss over nothing. Not on a normal day. A little light-hearted banter, sure.
“Who was the caller, Amanda?”
Those warm eyes met his and then searched the area around them, before landing on the Camry. The color drained from her face as the phone dropped from her hand. It hit the pavement, pieces of the red device flying in all directions.
“Run.” She pushed him away from the vehicle.
He stumbled backward a step. “What?”
“Just do it.”
And then, because he’d never seen fear etched so deeply on her face in all the years they’d worked together, he listened, keeping pace with her as she ran.
Rachel writes novels filled with murder, mayhem, and romance that leave her readers wanting more incredible twists and turns.
SIDE NOTE: A night-light may be required. Some bleary-eyed mornings have been known to occur. Coffee is recommended.
Rachel began weaving tales well before she could actually write. Those early stories included danger and mystery, Barbies and G.I. Joes, a few sensational heroes and their villainous counterparts. Sometimes the hero had to time warp through a hole in her backyard to save the damsel in distress and sometimes he only had to outwit the aforementioned villain.
Nowadays, she leaves the Barbies to her extremely cute daughter (who loves to create her own stories). When she’s not riveting readers with the chaotic and sizzling mess of her character’s lives, she can be found poolside with her husband, daughter, and two super snuggly dogs. She enjoys football, reading, spending time with her daughter, discussing the NFL draft with her husband, and spending time with friends and family. She also loves anything to do with the FBI, law enforcement, and the military. Although she’s extremely knowledgeable about time travel, she has never admitted she’s used this technique herself…
Links to Rachel’s website, blog, books, etc.
Linked (Book 1): www.amazon.com/dp/B00NZ8FAZO
Disconnect (Book 2): Aftermath (Book 3): Obsession (Book 4): Knight Revival (Book 5):
Threshold of Danger (Book 1):
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Thanks, Rachel, for sharing your book with us!
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