What do you learn when you’re on the run?
Timing is everything.
Coincidences are more reliable than a rising sun.
And my heart can bear a thousand more nails than my coffin.
Ben Cortez is after me. His family murdered my parents, and he won’t give up until I’m his. When he stepped over my threshold, he sealed his fate and mine. When he stole the life that kept my heart beating, I snapped and changed the course of my future with one flick of a matchstick.
Now, I run to survive. I run to protect those I love. I run so that my daughter doesn’t have to.
With danger lurking over my shoulder, trust in my new friends is essential, but trust in the unknown can also be dangerous. Barely alive, I placed my life in the hands of the handsome and mysterious bounty hunter Xavier Black.
He gave me everything and asked for nothing. He showed me love, gave me hope, and nurtured my faith. He helped me live again; but now, he’s the one who needs to run with me.
We both have a chance to stop the hunt, but if one of us chooses wrong, that extra nail won’t be driven into our hearts but straight into our coffins.
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The smell of burnt flesh lingered in the air. I closed my eyes, remembering the flame’s heat on my skin when the fire stopped me in my tracks. I had focused on the blaze that was consuming my family home, wanting nothing more than a giant bucket to tilt from the heavens, but it didn’t. Each time I took a step forward, the flames’ heat would force me to take two steps back. The inferno simply wouldn’t let me move any closer. I couldn’t get to my parents in time.
I was helpless.
I opened my eyes and lifted my head to look up at the cross above me. My knees dug into the wooden bench as my weight shifted. A single tear escaped from the corner of my eye at the memory of their screams. It had been four years since their death, but it still felt like it had happened yesterday.
The sound of a low hum, almost a buzz with an occasional hiccup, drew my attention to the small window, and I pushed one of the colored glass panes to the side. The approaching blue car sounded like it was about to give up on life.
I waited as the stranger pulled up to the front door and the swirling dust settled. I shifted my attention to the left of the front entrance, where a man wearing a suit was stepping out of a beat-up Dodge.
Who wears a full suit in August in Arizona?
My initial instinct to laugh was doused by a strange feeling in my stomach. I wouldn’t call it the fluttering of butterflies, more like a stampede of raging bulls headed straight for me. My stomach twisted into a giant knot at my sudden realization that this stranger stepping out of the car had to be part of my life; because if he wasn’t, then I’d rather stand still as the bulls ran over me.
I held my breath, watching him approach with confidence. I knew he couldn’t see me yet because it was too bright outside and too dark in my family’s chapel, and his sight wouldn’t have had time to adjust yet. I took the opportunity to assess the power that he carried on his feet. It made me want to run away from him, yet at the same time be closer. He held a mysterious tension in his jaw as he stopped and looked up, shading his eyes with his hand.
He’s reading the quote I chose for my parents: “Learn from yesterday, Live for today, and Hope for tomorrow.”
He gave an exuberant smile, and I gasped. I’ve never seen such a set of perfect teeth. Mine were close to being nice, because I’d seen Mr. Garcia pull out a molar with a wrench once, and I’d never missed a day of my hygiene routine since that incident.
A dry gust of wind blew through the side window, gently grazing the back of my neck. An unexpected chill passed through my body, and just as fast, it was gone. Feeling the sweat stream between my breasts, I fanned myself. The stranger stepped over the threshold and removed his sunglasses. I felt my mouth open in awe at the brightness of his eyes. The green color was a rare sight in these parts of the country, as unique as mine. They drew my attention like a pair of emerald stones. Owning gemstones in Pace was dangerous.
“Hi,” he said with surprise. “I didn’t think I’d run into anyone out here.”
It took me a moment to remember where I was.
“Hi,” I replied. We stood there for much longer than appropriate, two strangers from two different worlds, in a small chapel in Arizona, assessing one another. Read more…[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]