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A Thorne’s Thorns Novel
BY K.L. DOCTER
Some secrets are better left dead.
Rachel James’ ex-husband is released from prison determined to reclaim her and her little girl — the child is his key to controlling the James fortune. Frightened, Rachel flees to Denver with the child who hasn’t uttered a word since her daddy went to prison.
Contractor Patrick Thorne wants nothing to do with another of his parents’ charity cases. He failed his own wife so abysmally she took her own life as well as his unborn son’s. After two years, it’s time to concentrate on the bid he’s won and the saboteur trying to destroy his construction firm.
There is no room for trust in either of their hearts. But trust is all that will untangle the secrets that dominate their lives, free a little girl of her silent prison, and save them all from a serial killer who stands too close.
(A Thorne’s Thorns Novel)
A Thorne’s Thorns Novel
BY K.L. DOCTER
At the first crack of gunfire, Rachel dove headfirst into the garden she was weeding. Listening for the second report she expected to follow, she prayed Amanda stayed at Patrick Thorne’s house where she’d gone an hour ago to play with her new friend, Suze.
Gasping for air, she inhaled the rich, spicy scent of freshly turned soil and crushed nasturtiums instead. Dirt and grit bit into her cheek and the bare flesh exposed by her cutoffs and T-shirt. The mid-afternoon sun beat hot against her shoulders and legs, and all she could do was lie there and watch a fat bumblebee dip into a russet blossom three inches from her nose.
Had she run almost nine hundred miles only to die like this, grubbing alone in the dirt like a spineless worm?
A surge of anger gave her impetus to lift her head. She peeked over the flimsy wall of twelve-inch annuals between her and the street. A second gunshot rang out, belched in a cloud of black smoke from an ancient Volkswagen bus that disappeared around the corner.
She groaned, more relieved than embarrassed by her overreaction. Her chin dropped. Taking several deep draughts of the thin Colorado air, she worked to calm the pound of her heart against her ribcage. Her efforts made her head swim. A minute later she was able to push herself out of the three-foot section of garden she’d mown down.
Her nerves had been on edge since she fled Dallas on Friday, five days ago. If she weren’t so overwrought it would have occurred to her Greg would never stand at a distance and take potshots at her. No. Greg liked to look into her eyes when he meted out his punishments.
An icy shiver skimmed her skin. Each day that passed without his appearance should have reassured her she’d made the right decision to accept Katy’s arrangements with the Thornes. As long as Greg didn’t track her and Amanda to Denver, they were safe.
Problem is she hadn’t felt safe since Amanda was born and she discovered what kind of man she’d married. Now she couldn’t pluck enough weeds from Evelyn Thorne’s gardens by day to tear the anxiety from her heart at night. Her growing sense of trepidation kept her awake long after the morning stars dimmed above the mile-high city’s cloudless skies.
How could the justice system simply hand Greg a “get out of jail free” card? She’d always known the man had connections in high places, but how had he arranged for the evidence in his case—evidence she’d risked everything to provide—to disappear before he even went to trial? If he’d accomplished that feat while behind bars, how in the world was she and Amanda going to stay out of his clutches?
She felt like there were giant bull’s-eyes painted on their backs, that it was only a matter of time before Greg tracked them down. During their marriage the man would spend weeks, even months, laying meticulous groundwork for one of his cons. He’d had six months to plan dozens of new punishments for his betrayer.
“‘Til death us do part, darlin’.”
His words echoed over the expanse of time and distance, ringing a fresh peal of dread in Rachel’s breast. With one hand, she brushed clumps of soil off her tangerine T-shirt and whispered a small prayer. Please don’t let him find us!
She tossed her worry as well as a forgotten fistful of dandelions clutched in her hand into the metal bucket at her side. She flicked cotton dandelion seeds from her fingertips and rubbed at an ache in her lower back.
Examining the flowerbed she’d weeded before lunch, she sighed with satisfaction. She’d made it her mission today to eradicate every weed in the nasturtium bed that ran the length of the house. As missions went, it wasn’t much. But it was something she could control, and the very least she could do for the woman who’d given her another hole to crawl into, saving her from running one more mile.
There weren’t many people who’d hand over their home and greenhouse to a total stranger for a month. Evelyn Thorne was either a saint or naive as sin. Exactly the kind of mark Greg specialized in conning out of their life savings.
Her insides twisted at the thought of how many innocents had suffered at Greg’s hands. But it was the last innocent, the little girl who’d built an impenetrable wall around her world that tormented Rachel most.
Amanda hadn’t said a word when her mother pulled her out of bed on Friday and drove her away from the sparse home they’d built with Katy. Just as she hadn’t spoken that awful night when Rachel’s doctor friend, Simon, hustled them out of their house to his clinic where he tended Rachel’s broken body. In pain, sedated, she hadn’t registered that her daughter had gone completely mute until the next morning when she woke up in the hotel room where Simon had stashed them. The child just stood there at the side of the bed, her doe-like brown eyes fixed on her mama, clutching the doll her father gave her a week earlier to replace her puppy savaged by a rogue coyote.
Simon hadn’t missed the signs though and, when he gave Rachel money to escape San Francisco, he’d given her enough to take Amanda to a doctor when they got settled. Now that they were on the run again, Rachel despaired of helping her little girl back to normalcy.
Bestselling author, Karen Docter writes two different kinds of romance novels…Contemporary Romance w/a Karen Docter and Romantic Suspense w/a K.L. Docter.
Karen’s contemporaries are cute & spicy romances. She loves writing about real men and women with dreams and goals that don’t allow for a relationship just so she can throw them in each other’s path…with a tickle and a smile. Her romantic suspense novels are also filled with romance, although the dangers the hero and heroine face are intense, usually because a serial killer is bent on ending one or both of their lives before they can fall in love.
Karen’s an award-winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division.
When she’s not saving her characters from death and destruction or helping them fall in love, she loves camping and fishing with her family, reading, gardening & cooking. If she can do most of those things over a campfire, all the better!
Links to Karen/K.L.’s website, blog, books, etc.
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Season of Thrills Box Set
5 full-length Suspense/mystery/thriller Stories
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Catch That Santa (ONLY $.99 or FREE/Unlimited):
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Comment on the following question for a chance to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card I am giving away next week!! There are actually two villainous characters working their machinations in Killing Secrets. Name your favorite villainous character in a book or movie or TV, and tell us why you enjoy him or her.
Don’t miss the chance to read KILLING SECRETS this holiday. Happy Reading!!