As charming as Reece Yeager was, Emerald had been forced by circumstances to accept that his infatuation had been fleeting. She’d never thought to see him again, but when he show up one day years later, ready to take up where they left off, she realizes life has handed her one more chance to find happiness with the one man she can not resist.
Or has it? A killer has arrived on his heels. Deadly and brutal, the serial rapist has already struck twice. Is Emerald to be the killer’s next victim?
Original Publication: October 2003
Word Count: 32,575
Genre: Erotic Romance
Rating: Erotica. Contains light bondage, explicit sex and graphic language.
Available formats: : PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, October 2003
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Emerald Green knew the moment she swam toward consciousness in a sickening wave that she’d been chloroformed. She tried to open her eyes and found that she couldn’t. Something was tied around her head … fabric she realized. It felt thick—a T-shirt, maybe? It occurred to her quite suddenly that it was probably the knit dress she’d worn to the dance. Cool air wafted around her, trickling over parts of her body where it would not have touched her if her dress had still been on her instead of tied around her head.
Her mouth was covered too. Her lips and cheeks felt compressed against her teeth. Tape, she realized from the smell of it.
She remained perfectly still, trying to master the nausea. She was in real trouble if she threw up.
To distract herself from the threat of strangulation by her own vomit, she concentrated on trying to conjure her last conscious memory. After a few moments, it came flooding back to her. She’d been chaperoning the seniors’ graduation dance. Someone—Mike Todd?--had told her he thought Chrissy Stevens might have OD’d, that she’d gone into the teachers’ lounge and collapsed. Alarmed, she’d rushed to check on the girl, never considering it might be nothing more than a ruse to get her away from the crowd.
She hadn’t made it to the lounge, though. She’d barely stepped three feet into the darkened corridor when someone had grabbed her from behind and smothered her with a cloth coated in a sickly sweet liquid. Beyond that, she couldn’t remember anything except the feel of the body that had pressed so tightly against her. It had been male … probably Mike … although he’d been beside her, she thought. One of his lapdogs?
The more real question, though, was why had they done it? And, more importantly, what did they have in mind for her?
She was afraid she was going to find out. The nausea, which had mostly subsided, threatened once more and she forced herself to take slow, calming breaths, turning her mind to the task of trying to figure out where she was, how dangerous her situation was, and how imminent the threat—no easy task when she could hear little and see less.
She lifted her head slowly, realizing as she did so that she was sitting upright—there was something hard and painfully unyielding behind her, something soft beneath her. The muscles in her neck protested as she lifted her head. Obviously, she’d been unconscious for a while, her head hanging down against her chest.
The stilted movement seemed to elicit a chorus of snickers and her heart jumped into her throat, thundering in her ears until she had to strain to hear above the clamor. She twisted her head, trying to figure out if she had interpreted the sounds correctly, or if the cloth wrapped around her head had distorted some other noise.
But she knew it hadn’t and a shiver skated along her spine at the thread of malice in the laughter.
Unnerved by the realization that she had an audience, she tried to sit up higher, to move her arms, her legs, and found she couldn’t move any part of her body except her head. Panic wafted through her, accelerating her heartbeat, and she struggled harder for several minutes until she realized that her efforts were not only useless, they seemed to be exciting whoever was watching her.
As the panic subsided fractionally, she realized the snickers belonged to four different people. One sounded female. She was almost certain the other three were male.
“Snotty bitch!” someone said, their voice vibrating with hatred.
“You fucked up our lives. Now we’re fucking yours up. How does payback feel, bitch?”
She was certain she recognized the last voice. It was Mike Todd. The first one had sounded like his girl friend, Chrissy Stevens. There were still two she hadn’t quite figured out, though their malicious snickering sounded very familiar.
She conjured a picture of the class troublemakers who always congregated at the very back of her classroom, talking, laughing, heckling her when they felt nervy enough—Mike, his girlfriend, Chrissy, David Bennings, Charley Moyer, Tina Patterson and Jeffery Miller. Mike was the only one of the group that had graduated—by the skin of his teeth, which wasn’t going to take him far when it came to college—and it was probable he wouldn’t even have managed graduation at all except that he was better at cheating than the others, although he was bright enough he might not have had to, even though he rarely paid attention and never handed in homework assignments.
As the accusation sank in, her fear yielded to anger. She’d screwed up their lives? By delaying graduation a year? Because they were too spoiled and lazy to do their work?