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As a teen, party girl, Sabrina Spencer was the lone survivor of a serial killer’s attack on her family. Her testimony put the killer behind bars, and she spent the following decade carving out a new life and trying to forget. But someone hasn’t forgotten. Two weeks before Christmas, she begins receiving bizarre messages with demented references to the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Handyman Josh Cravens is remodeling the lake house she rents each year to escape the painful reminders Christmas brings. While his dimples and blue eyes are hard to resist, he’s the exact kind of player she’s been avoiding since she outgrew her wild days. But the isolated cabin and threatening messages boost her paranoia to fever pitch.
As Christmas draws closer, she’s torn between finding comfort in Josh’s arms, and fear that he might be behind the twisted countdown to the twelfth day.
Page Count: 94
Word Count: 22155
A contented quiet settled over them. She no longer felt lonely. She was oddly peaceful, happy, in spite of the horrific images that had plagued her moments before.
“So,” Josh’s warm, husky voice caressed her. “You want to tell me what that was all about earlier?”
She lifted her hot chocolate to her lips, blew on it, and took a sip. “I’m not sure if I do.” The only people she’d discussed the tragedy with were the police, her counselor, and her best friend, Lindsey. And, she hadn’t told them everything.
“Sometimes talking makes the nightmares go away.”
She let out a humorless laugh. “These nightmares will be with me for the rest of my life.”
Josh took her hand and rubbed his thumb along the back. “You don’t have to talk about it if it’s too painful.”
Warmth filtered from his touch and blossomed in her stomach.
She remained silent for a few moments, sipping her hot chocolate. The need to talk outweighed her need for privacy. Although she didn’t know Josh well, and she wasn’t sure what she truly thought of him, his presence inspired security, comfort. Drawing in a deep breath, she said, “How long have you lived in Green Bay?”
“Five years, why?”
“Maybe you didn’t hear about the murders that took place in 2005. The Rosewood murders.”
“I did hear something about that. I don’t know all the details, though.”
Her lips pinched together. “I do. I know more than I want to.”
He frowned, but didn’t speak.
She took another deep breath. “My family were the ones who were murdered that night.”
“Oh, my God, Sabrina.” He took her hands and squeezed. “I’m so, so sorry. I don’t know what to say.”
She gave a jerky nod. The events of that evening two weeks before Christmas unfolded in her mind. The party at the bar she’d been too young to get into. Dancing, drinking. Unaware she’d been targeted. That Samuel Goodman had chosen her as his next victim and followed her home.
Her voice was steady as she relayed the details. “I got home, somehow. I could have killed someone on the way as much as I’d been drinking.” She grunted a half sob, half cry. “Instead, I led a killer home to my family.”
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