Availability date: 03/25/2016
Held responsible for a student's tragic death, teacher Deborah Kent was fired from an exclusive girls' school in Fairfield, Vermont and left town in disgrace. Now, she’s back in Fairfield with the intention of operating a bed and breakfast from her guardian's Victorian home. When threatening notes indicate someone isn’t happy with her return, Deborah suspects her student’s death was no accident. The man she turns to is the one least likely to help.
Horse breeder Milo Jordan has long harbored anger toward the woman he blames for his younger sister's death. Too many questions have gone unanswered, but now Deborah appears to hold the key to the truth. Can he put aside his anger, and his growing attraction, and work with her to solve the puzzle of the deadly event?
After a productive day working on her projects, on Tuesday evening Deborah prepared for bed. She went through the house, checking the locks on the doors and windows, and drawing the curtains. In the kitchen, as she reached over the sink to close the blinds, she saw movement outside. Was someone in her yard?
Her heart thumping, Deborah stared out into the dark night, studying the yard. Nothing. All was still. Perhaps she had seen only her own reflection in the window.
Her feeling of unease remained, though, and after turning off the overhead lights, plunging the kitchen into darkness, she crept back to the sink and peered between the blinds’ slats. Her gaze swept the yard, settling on the hedge between her property and the Healys’ housing development. A shadow shifted. Was someone hiding behind the hedge?
Sure enough, in the next moment a figure slunk from the bushes into the open. He—or she—wore black clothing, gloves, and a knit ski mask with only slits for eyes, nose, and mouth. The person turned toward the kitchen window.
Deborah shuddered and ducked out of sight. Her heart hammered and her throat dried. She let a few seconds elapse and then eased upright. She inched to the window and again peeked through the blinds’ slats.
The person was still in the yard. He pranced around, waving his arms and kicking his feet through the pile of leaves she raked earlier that week. Oh, oh, now he aimed toward the back door. Footsteps thudded up the steps and across the porch. The doorknob rattled and shook.
She wanted to scream, “Go away!” but the words stuck in her throat.
She must call 9-1-1. The closest phone was her cell phone in the parlor. She was about to run down the hall, but then the doorknob stopped rattling. Footsteps pounded across the porch. Was he leaving? Or heading for another entrance?
Deborah ran to the kitchen window in time to see the person plunge into the hedge.
Moments later, he burst out the other side and sprinted into a backyard of the housing development. Then he disappeared into the darkness.
She kept a vigil, her senses tuned for the intruder’s return. But something told her he wouldn’t come back. Not tonight, anyway. All he’d wanted was to terrorize her.
Still, in case he lurked and planned to make another appearance, she’d better have the police investigate. She hurried down the hall to the parlor, snatched up her phone, and punched in 9-1-1.
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