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The Wrong Girl (John Taylor #3) - Oct. 11th

October 3, 2017
Posted at 9:41 pm
 

Here we go. The next Taylor book starts posting next Wed. As usually, it is complete and I will load everything up in the system so you are guaranteed to get it all if you're patient. (New Chapters ever Wed.)

If you're not patient, you can pre-order it here (and buy it after the 11th, it goes on sale the same day chapter 1 posts here.

http://amzn.to/2g8AmYQ

Here is a preview of what you'll see:

His breathing filled the otherwise silent room, the sound flooding her ears as she huddled against the wall, knees pulled tight against her chest. She knew he was standing in front of her, watching. Just like she'd done with the monsters she once thought lived under her bed, she kept her eyes pressed closed, hoping he'd go away. She knew it was absurd, of course. He would still be there when she opened her eyes. But it was human nature to hope for the absurd, when all real options were gone.

And Samantha Thompson knew her options were gone.

Just five days before, she'd been a normal, happy kid. More than halfway through the fifth grade, fresh from winter break, Samantha had been in a great mood. Even her mom being late for pick up after soccer practice and not answering her cell phone hadn't ruined Samantha's day. So, when a teacher asked if she needed a ride, she only hesitated for a moment before agreeing.

Sure, she'd been given lectures about never accepting rides from strangers, but this wasn't a stranger. It wasn't even just any teacher. Mr. Brown was her favorite teacher. He'd always been nice to her, always cheered her on when she'd tried her best on an assignment, and her mom always had good things to say about him to other parents.

So, Samantha decided it was safe to get a ride home from him.

For five days, she had thought of little else but that decision. Samantha knew, in her heart, it had been the decision that was going to cost her life. She'd spent most of the last week in the dark, silent room terrified, with nothing to occupy her except dwelling on the choices she'd made. Samantha couldn't remember everything that had happened over the past week. A lot of it was a blur, as her mind protected her from the worst moments, blocking out the traumatic memories or shutting down when things got too bad. The parts she could remember, however, she wished she couldn't.

She trembled as the breathing came closer, squeezing her eyes closed tighter, holding her breath.

"Open your eyes, Sam," Mr. Brown said.

Samantha hated how he knew she liked to be called Sam. The intimate way he used her nickname made her skin crawl.

She shook her head, refusing to look at him. She knew if she looked, he'd look like the teacher she remembered. His voice, however, had changed completely. Gone was the familiar baritone that greeted her in the morning for class. This voice had no trace of friendliness, no hint of caring. This voice was cold and heartless. Samantha was certain this was what the Devil sounded like. Each time he spoke, it sent shivers down her spine.

"Open them," he said, his raised voice becoming an angry growl.

She felt something sharp and metallic pressing against her throat. Her eyes snapped open. His hair was different, blond instead of the brown it'd been, and he wore glasses now. Samantha thought that was strange, yesterday he had looked the same as before.

A tear made its way down her cheek, bouncing off the blade of the knife.

"Don't worry," he said, using an almost mocking imitation of the voice she'd once looked forward to hearing. "It's going to be over very soon. Shhh . . . don't cry."

Samantha looked into his eyes and could see it. She knew this was the end.

A sudden, thunderous crash made both of them jump, the knife pulling away from her throat as Mr. Brown twisted to look at the door to the small bedroom; or rather, what had once been a door. The frame was splintered and cracked along its length, showing the light brown of wood that hid under the sterile white paint, as the door itself swung in the other direction and banged against the wall before the top hinge shattered, leaving it hanging at an angle.

In the now open doorway stood a man, his foot following through the opening after smashing through the obstruction. He wore a leather jacket, blue jeans, a plain T-shirt, and his face was covered in dark brown stubble. Samantha took all that in as she watched him enter the room. The things she couldn't keep her eyes off, though, were his hands.

He was holding a large, black gun steady in front of him, pointed in their direction. If she'd thought the sound of the door caving in was loud, the next sound was deafening. She watched as fire leaped from the end of the gun, and the entire room filled with its report.

Mr. Brown let out a howl of pain and fell away from her, clutching his shoulder as the knife went skittering across the room. Samantha tried to scrunch closer against the wall, if that was even possible, as the man strode the handful of steps between them and stood over Mr. Brown, who now lay on the floor next to her. Pointing the large gun at her former teacher, the stranger looked at him with a cold hatred.

His face was as scary as anything she'd seen from her abductor. Even a child could read the rage in his expression, as he aimed the weapon.

Mr. Brown was crying now. Not just crying, blubbering. He begged for his life. Samantha could smell an ammonia stink as the front of the tan slacks Mr. Brown wore darkened. She couldn't tear her eyes off the stranger as he glared at Mr. Brown.

She wasn't sure what noise she made, maybe a squeak, and she didn't even remember making it. But the man turned, still pointing the gun at Mr. Brown, and looked at her. The rage on his face remained but changed slightly as they made eye contact. The anger softened, and his brow furrowed. He turned his head to look at Mr. Brown then back to look at Samantha again.

He did this twice more before letting out a deep sigh and sliding the weapon into a holster at his belt, behind his back. Reaching into a pocket, the stranger pulled out several black zip ties. Kneeling, he rolled Mr. Brown over on his stomach while keeping a tight hold on the injured arm.

Mr. Brown screamed in pain then grunted as the man put his knee in her former teacher's back and pressed. Grabbing one hand then the other, the stranger wrenched Mr. Brown's arms behind his back, which brought another round of screaming. Although Mr. Brown alternated between howling in pain and a ragged form of crying, he didn't fight the stranger. In moments the zip ties were locked tight, pressing Mr. Brown's hands together.

Standing, the stranger put his foot on the now bound hands of the sobbing Mr. Brown and pulled out a phone, dialing a number.

"Hey, I found her," he said into the phone.

His voice was gruff, but not mean.

He listened to something from the other end and swiveled his head to look down at Samantha.

"She looks fine. Physically I mean. You can guess at . . . yeah, probably."

He paused again as the person on the other end spoke some more then said, "Six-one-five Cherry Blossom . . . Yeah, still alive. He probably needs an ambulance. Make sure they know to check on the girl first, this asshole can wait."

The stranger pressed his foot harder, smashing Mr. Brown's fingers into his back, eliciting renewed cries of pain.

"Tell them we're in the back. And make sure they know not to go all 'Rambo' through the door, and shoot me . . . alright, thanks."

Putting the phone back in his pocket, the stranger crouched next to Samantha, his arms resting on his knees with his weight on the balls of his feet. Looking into her eyes, the stranger directly acknowledged her for the first time. His eyes were nothing like those of Mr. Brown's. Gone was the rage she'd seen before, when he was standing over the teacher. That had been replaced by dark brown pools radiating warmth and sympathy.

"Sam, my name's John. Your parents sent me to find you."