Ricochet by Lissa Lynn Thomas.
The Truth is a Trap…
Ransom’s behavior is under my skin, making my brain go in circles looking for the real reason he was following me. I feel like I’m under a microscope. And I don’t like it. In fact, I really hate it.
I don’t like feeling weak. I can’t figure out his true motivations and it’s pissing me off.
Worse still, that tingling itch that someone’s watching my every move has not abated. I had planned to work here until it was time to leave for the airport, but I’m too unsettled to focus. I pack up my belongings, angry at my overactive imagination and Ransom Lewis’s earlier stalking. I’m heading to the airport. They have security and then I’ll be on the plane and I can’t imagine anyone will have a chance to bother me there.
Looking around, I realize the families and couples have all cleared out while I was lost in my head. I didn’t even notice. I don’t know what that says about me exactly, but it’s probably not great.
The picnic area I’ve been in is actually a good five minute walk from the parking lot. I’ve never minded it before, but now it feels like I’m being shadowed again. I’ve only taken a few steps away from the tables when I hear the scuffing of sneakers in the grass behind me. I tense for a moment, debate turning around but tell myself I’m overreacting.
No one will be there. I’m fine. I’m all alone.
I’ve barely taken ten more steps when I hear the footsteps again, closer, heavier. As though someone is closing the distance between us. Before I can stop myself, I glance back and see a wiry looking man, tall and lanky with a head full of unkempt sandy hair. He’s not far from me, maybe six feet back, and he stops moving when I catch his eyes.
There’s a moment where neither of us moves. I don’t breathe, and I’m not sure he does either. We just pause, stare at each other, the cat caught stalking the mouse.
Then he smirks and I whirl back around, taking off toward the car at more of a trot than a walk. Listening to hear if he gets closer over my own panicked breathing is nearly impossible.
I force myself to keep my head forward, move faster. This is it, the culmination of all the weirdness of the day. My heart is racing, my hands shaking. My mace is buried at the bottom of my bag, useless to me.
I know better than this, damn it.
I lengthen my strides, consider kicking off my slippery shoes so I can run easier. I can’t stop moving, though. I can almost feel his hot breath on the back of my neck. Sense a hand reaching out to snatch me into the night.
No one would even know.
Fighting back a panicked scream, I make out the outline of my car in the shadowy parking lot and almost whimper with relief and anxiety. It’s so close and still so far.
Almost there. I can make it. I can do this. Who knows? Maybe I’m being ridiculous and he’s not really following me. He’s just behind me and a douchebag?
I hit the button on my key fob to unlock my doors and break into a flat out run when I’m ten feet away. The car means safety right now. I can get inside, get far away without injury. Hopefully. I can at least call the cops and lock the doors.
Please, please, please, I beg silently as I pant and run, then stumble to the ground when my shoes hit the asphalt and can’t get traction to stop. I hit my knees hard, my palms kissing the road, a shriek ripping itself from my throat. Pain or fear, I don’t know which for sure. I don’t allow myself to give in to my terror and look behind me. I can still hear my pursuer following. Taking his time. He’s not panting, he’s not running for his life.
It takes me a moment to collect my bag and return shakily to my feet. My knees are screaming, my wrists and palms aching. I have to keep moving, have to move through it. I’m mere inches from my car door when an arm comes from behind me and lassos me, stopping me in my tracks and yanking me back against a solid, sweaty chest.
All the air whooshes out of me in one gust and I kick and struggle for freedom. I don’t even have words; I can’t get enough air in my lungs to scream. I sob and struggle as the man tries to drag me back towards the trunk of my car. I connect with his shins a few times, causing him to loosen his grip on me. I wiggle, nails dragging over any skin of his I can feel.
He grunts, annoyed or in pain, I don’t know and I don’t really care. I struggle harder.
My attacker shakes me like a ragdoll until my head feels separated from the rest of my body, and orders, “Stop it! You’re only making it harder on yourself.”
He doesn’t sound like some sort of vicious killer. He sounds normal, like a mail carrier. I file that away to mull over later and try to use my head like a weapon as I’ve learned to in self-defense class.
I manage to connect with his chin but I see stars and he still doesn’t let me go. Instead, he moves his arm up so he’s holding me in a headlock, cutting off my oxygen. Whimpering, I dig my nails into his forearm, drawing blood and causing him to curse in my ear. He doesn’t even twitch, though. The world is starting to spin now. Spots forming behind my eyes, blood roaring in my ears. I struggle and fight to no avail.
“Frank?” I hear a man’s voice ask right as something solid hits the man and we go careening to the asphalt. My head hits the ground hard.
My last conscious thought as the world is going dark is that my savior sounds an awful lot like Ransom Lewis.
Adelaide Jensen has the scoop of the decade and something to prove. She’s not about to let the sleazy press secretary, Ransom Lewis, stand in her way. She wants justice for the senator’s son who died under what she believes are suspicious circumstances. More than that, she wants the truth.
When Adelaide starts snooping around secrets that have long been buried for the good of the senator, his campaign manager gets nervous. Now another man has caught Addie’s eye, and Ransom is lingering around her like he’s the only thing standing between her and certain death.
Soon, her discoveries begin to ricochet beyond her control. Will the reporter recover her scorched reputation? Or will this family’s past be the end of them all?
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/mvnvZ8
About the Author-
Lissa Lynn Thomas writes flawed individuals living in stories that mix humor with the darker side of life and love. With Helena Novak, she’s one half of A.L. Shea.
Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/308784343181399/