Releasing myself—even with the key in my possession—is easier said than done, because the shackle is holding my elbow up behind me, which forces me to contort my body in a strange acrobatic feat while dangling from the chain, in order to reach the key lock. But somehow, the urgent need to escape the blaze sends a charge of adrenaline through me. I twist around despite the spinal pain, catch the lock, and push the key into it.
And blocked by fire.
Until now, it’s been playful, flaring, leaping into a shower of sparks in the center of the room, where it’s consumed the heap of papers. Nothing remains of them but glittering ash. At this point, the flames blaze into a hungry inferno, chasing me as I leap out from under the closet rod and run around the room along the array of targets, all of which are riddled by bullet holes.
Through the gathering smoke, I hurl myself down the spiral staircase with a speed I never thought was in me. I slip down, swinging around the central industrial pole that holds the treads. It feels hot to the touch, but I ignore my scorched skin and pay little attention to the burnt smell of my hair.
I must act fast, or Timmy will not make it.
At the bottom step, I stumble over Mrs. Gore’s body. She is crumpled in a strange, unnatural position. No breath, no pulse. By the flicker of light, I see my cellphone lying next to her mangled legs. I’m not sure if it still works, after being banged, kicked about and thrown down here by my captor.
I grab it anyway and climb through the hole, out of the broken wall and into my living room. As I roll across the floor, trying to extinguish the fire that has caught my hair, I hear three things: my dog, barking in the backyard. Sirens, coming closer. And my cellphone, buzzing--
★ Love Suspense? Prepare to be thrilled ★
(Volume II of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
The last thing Ash expects when she lands in Clearwater, Florida is to be stalked by a troubled teenager. If that's not bad enough, she is caught in a shooting spree next to the nearby elementary school. The cops think it’s an attempt at mass killing, but Ash wonders if the only victim was specifically targeted by the killer. Will she manage to identify him and have him arrested before he comes after her?