Grieving and guilt-stricken after her husband’s suicide, Kasey Martin has closed her energetic healing practice and retreated to her Oregon horse ranch. One night, she rescues a badly injured man, and against her better judgment, uses her neglected skills to save his life. This starts her on an unexpected journey of healing and danger. Complicating her life is Jim Bradley, an old friend who has long been in love with her and wants her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.
What others are saying:
Loved this story and loved these characters. Kate Wyland is one author you will want to keep an eye on if you are a smart reader who loves well-written stories. Kate has the unique talent of making her characters come alive on the page. Carol Hughes, author of the Deep Story books
Here’s a short excerpt from the beginning.
The rain reverberated like muffled gunshots off the hood of the car. Pulse hammering, Scott fought to keep the Corvette from plunging off the winding highway while sheets of water swallowed the headlights, obscuring the road and his turnoff.
Something hit the car and he wrestled for control as a loud, sharp blast resounded in his mind. For a moment he was no longer in the storm, but crouched in a dark room with the echo from an explosion ringing in his ears. He sucked in a desperate gasp of air and pushed his speed to a dangerous edge. He had to get to Tommy.
Then he could rest. And maybe get rid of the pain.
He resisted the urge to massage the area around the knot on his head. If only he could remember how the hell he got hurt, then all this might make more sense. But first, he had to find the turnoff.
An opening appeared to his left.
Turning onto the dirt road, he navigated around puddles disguising tire-eating potholes. The sound of the sports car scraping bottom made him wince. The narrow lane twisted and turned, then, to his surprise, started climbing, heading up the mountain. Shit, he must have taken the wrong road. He remembered a more level one.
His knuckles whitened as he gripped the wheel, fighting the terrain. He didn’t dare stop on the treacherous incline. Slipping and sliding on the muddy track, the powerful car crawled up the grade while he peered ahead looking for a place to reverse course. The night became even blacker as the woods closed in around him, blunting the force of the storm.
When the forest opened again, his headlights showed the road widening up ahead. He accelerated, eager to find a spot to turn around, but the ground was too slick. His tires spun in the mire and he lost the battle. The car slid sideways toward the drop-off on his left. He twisted the steering wheel, turning into the skid, but to no avail. The Vette careened over the embankment, briefly airborne, bounced, then crashed to a stop. His head smashed into the door frame.
A scalding pain in his hand brought him back to consciousness, and a fierce heat drove him from the car. He staggered in the mud, fleeing the fire. A tangle of berry vines grabbed his ankles and he slammed into the rocky ground.
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One dead body is frightening enough, but a second one, plus a dirty cop, sends chef Mikela Richards fleeing for her life. The ultimate city girl finds a safe hiding place on a Wyoming Dude ranch, where she tries to discover if the murders are connected to the mysterious computer memory stick she found in her car. But her fragile feeling of safety is disturbed by a compelling Marine, home on leave.
Back from Afghanistan to heal both physically and emotionally, Shawn Saunders recognizes the type of fear in Mikela’s eyes—it’s one of the things he’s come home to forget. Even though he knows it’s a bad idea, he can’t stop himself from trying to help her, while she’s even more afraid of letting him. In spite of their reservations, neither can resist the pull of their attraction.
What others are saying:
The suspense in this novel begins right away and the reader doesn’t have to wait very long to get to the interesting parts. For me, the main character was the perfect blend of innocent and needy combined with independent and authoritative. ,,, If you are looking for an interesting book with the right amount of just about everything, pick this novel up and give it a try. Iona Martin, Amazon top 500 reviewer
Here’s a short excerpt from the beginning.
The gunshot reverberated through the cool morning air and jolted Mikela Richards to a halt. At a second ear-splitting crack she plunged through the button bushes to hide behind an old hickory tree. Breathing hard, she scanned the wooded trail but saw nothing. Who the heck was shooting in the park? She’d spent enough time on the firing range with her grandfather to know that it hadn’t been someone plinking at a tree with a twenty-two. Those reports had come from a large hand gun, probably a nine millimeter. Her heart rattled her rib cage while she listened for another blast.
She’d been coming to these woods outside Providence for the past two years and had never heard of any problem. She even felt safe enough to run alone in the quiet and solitude. Now some idiot had decided to play games with a gun?
No further shots disturbed the forest and the birds began to chirp. Mikela took a tentative step from her hiding spot. At the sound of heavy footsteps pounding toward her, she jumped back into the greenery.
A slim man in a leather jacket ran into view, headed toward the parking area. He looked somewhat familiar and her shoulders relaxed until she caught sight of his glazed, panicked expression.
And the black nine millimeter pistol in his hand.
Her heart thumped so loudly, she was surprised he didn’t hear it. But something caught his attention. He jerked to a stop and backed around in a small circle, peering into the bushes, and brought the gun up into the firing position she knew well.
Thank heavens she’d worn her navy tights and top, instead of her usual bright colors. If only the shadows cast by the oak trees would screen her blond hair. Completing his circle, the man lowered his arms and jogged up the trail.
She sucked air into her starving lungs. Had he fired those shots? Or had someone shot at him? She reached for her cell phone, then swore softly. Of all the times to leave it at home. Her insides contracted. Even if she had the phone, would she really call the police about a couple of gun shots? After what she went through before?
Mikela stepped out of her hiding place and hurried down the path, away from the intruder and his gun, taking an alternate route back to her car. She jogged on tiptoe, listening for sounds that didn’t belong in the forest. When the trail junction appeared, the tightness in her chest eased.
She turned onto the new path and slammed to a stop. A strange mound lay near the flowering azaleas a few feet away. A dreadful sense of déjà vu swept over her and she had to force herself to move.
Not again, please God, not again.
She took a quick glance then looked away, fighting to control her stomach. A dark-haired man lay sprawled on his back by the side of the trail, his eyes wide open. A dark red stain spread from the middle of his tan polo shirt. The air reeked of blood and human waste. She gathered her courage and inched toward him, then bent to touch his neck. His skin was warm, but no pulse moved against her fingers.
A rustling in the woods jerked her upright and around. At the sight of a dark form advancing through the trees, Mikela bolted. The crashing of underbrush and a man’s curse goosed her even faster.
Wishing for the umpteenth time she had longer legs, she sprinted up the trail, unsure where to go. Even if she made it back to her SUV, the signs advertising Mikela’s Kitchen, her catering business, would tell her pursuer who she was. Hers had been the only vehicle in the lot an hour ago. Had others arrived to provide some cover?
The footsteps following her faded. She glanced over her shoulder as she rounded a bend and spied no one. Had he stopped chasing her? Or had he used the shorter trail? She reached the edge of the parking lot a few minutes later, paused behind a bush and peered out. No one was in sight.
The five or six vehicles now scattered around the parking area reduced her car’s conspicuousness. She dashed to the SUV, ripped off the magnetic signs on each side, and threw them inside. Moments later, her tires squealed on the asphalt as she sped out the exit.
A few blocks away, Mikela pulled up in front of a gas station with a public pay phone. She stared at it for a long minute. Did she dare take the chance? She could ignore the gun shots, but a dead man was different. She’d have to trust the cops couldn’t trace the call to her. Bracing herself, she dialed 911. Talking fast and loudly, she reported the murder and the man with the gun. When the operator asked for her name, she hung up. She knew what could happen after you found a body. She knew the police were not her friends.
She knew that a determined cop could make her life hell.