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𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒔𝒂𝒚 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒆𝒕 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒇𝒊𝒓𝒔𝒕 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆…
𝐴𝑠 ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝑎𝑠 𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝐼𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠, 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑛’𝑡 𝑒𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝐵𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑝. 𝐿𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑠 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑠. 𝐻𝑜𝑙𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑤𝑎𝑖𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑜𝑓 ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑏𝑖𝑘𝑒…
𝐵𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑠ℎ𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑎 ℎ𝑎𝑙𝑡 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑎 𝑓𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑒𝑥 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑜 𝑗𝑎𝑖𝑙.
𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑤𝑎𝑖𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 ℎ𝑖𝑚, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝑡𝑜𝑙𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟. 𝑆ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑒𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝐻𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑘𝑒𝑛, 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑏𝑠𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑒𝑥 ℎ𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑒𝑟, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑜𝑝𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑙𝑒𝑓𝑡: 𝑅𝑢𝑛.
𝑆ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑓𝑟𝑒𝑠ℎ 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑡𝑜𝑤𝑛, 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑛𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑦 𝑠𝑎𝑓𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑑𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑡𝑟𝑦𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑜𝑦 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑘𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑡.
𝐿𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑙𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑒𝑠 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑠𝑎𝑤 𝑒𝑎𝑐ℎ 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟, 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑑.
𝐹𝑜𝑟 𝑡𝑤𝑜 𝑦𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑜𝑛, 𝑎𝑙𝑙 ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑡ℎ. 𝐻𝑒 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑟. 𝐻𝑒’𝑑 𝑎𝑙𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑟. 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑖𝑑 𝑢𝑝𝑜𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑔𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑜𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑓𝑜𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑟…
𝑂𝑛𝑙𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑑 𝑎 𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑜𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑛𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑡.
𝐹𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑠𝑡, 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝑏𝑙𝑎𝑚𝑒𝑠 ℎ𝑖𝑚𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑓 𝑓𝑜𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑒’𝑑 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑙 ℎ𝑜𝑝𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛, 𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑙 𝑎 𝑡𝑤𝑖𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑓𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑏𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟.
𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑙𝑜𝑤 𝑡𝑜 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑠𝑡. 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑘𝑒𝑟 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑢𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛𝑠, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦’𝑟𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑐𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑡 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑎𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒…
𝐵𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑡 𝑟𝑖𝑝𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑎𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑.
𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝐼𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑑, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝐵𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑝 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑖𝑛. 𝐿𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑠 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑠. 𝑅𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑛 ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑏𝑖𝑘𝑒. 𝐵𝑢𝑡 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑘𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑒𝑥-𝑏𝑜𝑦𝑓𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑗𝑎𝑤 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑗𝑎𝑖𝑙𝑒𝑑, 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝑑𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑦𝑒𝑑 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑖𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝐴 𝑠𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑡 𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑟𝑎𝑛, 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑛𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑏𝑠𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑒𝑥 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑜𝑦 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑏𝑟𝑜𝑘𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑡.
𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑟𝑒𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑠, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑖𝑠 ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑏𝑖𝑔𝑔𝑒𝑠𝑡. 𝑇ℎ𝑟𝑒𝑒 𝑦𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟, 𝑡𝑤𝑜 𝑏𝑒ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑎𝑟𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑖𝑡, ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑎𝑢𝑔ℎ, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑦 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑒𝑙𝑡 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑖𝑚 𝑜𝑛 ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑏𝑖𝑘𝑒. 𝐵𝑢𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑛𝑜 𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑒 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑒𝑑 𝑚𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑟 𝑢𝑝𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑓𝑖𝑙𝑒, 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑠𝑡. 𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑖𝑠 𝑔𝑜𝑛𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑒’𝑙𝑙 𝑛𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑖𝑣𝑒 ℎ𝑖𝑚𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑓 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑝𝑢𝑠ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑦.
𝐴𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑛 𝑢𝑛𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑟𝑢𝑛-𝑖𝑛 𝑔𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑎 𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒, 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑠. 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑤𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑇𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑙𝑜𝑤 𝑡𝑜 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑠𝑡, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑥 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑎𝑛 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑛𝑠 𝑠ℎ𝑒’𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑛𝑠 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒, 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐾𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑛 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑡 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑎𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒… 𝐵𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑡 𝑟𝑖𝑝𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑎𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑.
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“Lane’s down this weekend if you wanted to come over.” I said when I put the phone to my ear. “You can crash on my couch.”
“Maybe, I’ll let you know. I’ve got… things I need to look into.”
There was a tone to his voice. Tension. Hesitancy. And my whole body went stiff. Cas and Rev watched me closely, and I turned away from them and put my finger in my ear to drown out the music so I could hear Isaac better.
“What’s going on?” I asked, swallowing against a tight sensation in my chest. “Hannah has been texting me all day. She said you were gonna call.”
“Yeah. I needed to wait until I got off. Wanted to be able to talk.”
A chill slid over my shoulders, like tiny ice cubes sliding over my skin. Isaac rarely called me to “talk.” We sent texts unless it was something major like Hannah moving down, or his parents moving to North Carolina. I tried to think of what it could be. Maybe something to do with my dad. Another DUI he was trying to have covered up, or he’d put the house up for sale?
There was only one other reason Isaac might call to talk. And it had been a reason I’d been dreading for a while.
There was an update on Tatum’s missing person report.
My jaw clenched, and it took a second before I could work it lose to speak again. “Isaac, what’s going on?”
There was a beat of silence, then he sighed. “You in a spot where you can talk for a minute?”
I must have made a noise, or a face, because Cas leaned over the bar and Rev elbowed me. They wore identical concerned expressions, the type that said they could switch to commiseration or backup depending on what I asked of them.
But neither of them could do what I wanted. Unless they could bring someone back from the dead.
I got up from my stool, half numb as I walked outside the bar. Even the humidity in the air couldn’t keep the cold chill from consuming me, and once the door was shut and the music from the speakers dulled to a low thudding pulse, I let out a breath, steeling myself for what I knew was coming.
What I’d known was coming for a while.
“Just get it over with. Where’d you find…” I took a breath, my throat burning when I swallowed, the alcohol in my stomach threatened to come back up. “The body?”
“Didn’t find one,” Isaac said, his tone calm, but otherwise devoid of emotion. “Tate’s alive.”
The knot in my stomach clenched, then slowly eased, unwinding itself back into a thin loop of rope. A second later, the breath I’d been holding left my lungs, and I sagged against the railing on the small porch that surrounded the bar.
Tatum is alive…
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Read the First Chapter HERE!
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Anastasia Fenne is an author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. When she’s not dreaming up the emotional turmoil she can put her characters through, she’s busy playing video games, reading romance and fantasy novels, and being a general nerd. She resides in the Midwest with her four children, three cats, one dog, and a bewildered spouse.
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