What is the real story beneath shadow lake?
In an instant Anna Collins loses control of her car and careens into isolated Shadow Lake. Near death, she's rescued by a man named Jack Fairbanks. But how could that be? Everyone says that the reclusive Fairbanks, scion of a powerful political family, is dead. Anna is sure Jack's astonishing appearance is related to the hit-and-run that killed her son and destroyed her marriage. But when her friend's body is discovered in Anna's waterlogged trunk, she's not sure what to believe anymore. How did the body get there? Is Anna actually a murderer? Only one person knows, but finding him threatens to expose Anna to a deadly encounter on the banks of Shadow Lake.
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October 09, 2007
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Excerpt from Shadow Lake by B.J. Daniels
Like the other great tragedy in her life, Anna Collins never saw this one coming.
Just minutes before midnight, a deer bounded out of the rain and darkness onto the isolated two-lane highway directly into her path.
She'd been driving too fast, terrified and already out of control in her panicked state. So when she saw the deer, all she'd been able to do was react instinctively.
She slammed on the brakes and cranked the wheel. Through the driving rain and slap of the wipers the doe's huge eyes caught for an instant in the headlights, then it bolted, disappearing in the pines lining the road as the car skidded across the wet blacktop.
Anna turned the wheel hard, overcorrecting, sending up a shower of puddled rainwater. She caught the blur of pines and the steep face of a rocky cliff an instant before the large, heavy car left the pavement on the opposite side of the road, and plunged down the mountainside.
Mute with terror, she didn't have time to scream even if she could have made a sound. Nor would that scream have been heard over the crash of the car as it plummeted downward. Branches snapped off, the sound like gunshots, as leaves and bark pelted the windshield, the car gaining momentum.
A limb slapped the windshield an instant after she saw something dark and deep beyond the glow of her headlights.
The lake came into view a heartbeat before the car went airborne. The tires crashed down hard, the undercarriage shrieking in a scream of metal on rock before the vehicle hit the rain-dimpled black surface of the water.
At some point the air bag had exploded in her face. Before that, her head had slammed hard against the side window. Now everything glittered before going black, then gray as the front of the car pitched forward, inky liquid lapping up over the hood.
Dazed, Anna lifted her head and touched her temple, her fingers coming away sticky with blood. She stared in confusion. Icy water lapped over her feet, quickly filling the floor-board as the car nosed forward at a steep angle, her seat belt cutting into her breasts.
She could hear static coming from the in-car emergency system just before it shorted out in a flash of orange as the car began to sink. Water gushed over the hood to lap against the windshield.
She tried to open the door but it wouldn't budge against the water already up to the side mirror.
She could hear the motor gurgling and realized it was still running. Would the electric windows still work? Frantically she hit the button as she fumbled with tremulous fingers to unlatch her seat belt.
Her side window hummed down. Ice cold water rushed in. She gasped as the water cascaded over her, filling her lap. The car pitched farther forward, the seat belt tightening painfully as the weight of her body pressed into it.
Hurriedly, she hit the window button. The glass began to whir back up, but a few inches from the top, it stopped. She pushed harder on the button as water cascaded over the top of the window, but the water had shorted out the rest of the electrical system.
Frantic, she grappled again to unlatch the seat belt as the breath-stealing cold water rose higher. The belt wouldn't unlatch. She tried again and again but it was useless. The seat belt was jammed. The weight of her body seemingly binding it.
The freezing water splashed over her chest to her neck as the car steadily sank. She was going to drown. She gasped, now panicked and choking on the foul-smelling water that flooded her mouth and nose.
She fought to keep her head above water, but it was impossible. The car was sinking too quickly. The interior was almost completely full now, the water only inches from the headliner.
She closed her eyes and sucked in one last breath as the car completed its slow somersault to land on its top with a jarring thud on the bottom of the lake.
For a second, nothing moved. Anna hung upside down, suspended in the icy water by the seat belt, all sense of direction lost. She opened her eyes, still holding the last breath she'd taken. Her gaze followed the eerie dim path the headlights cut through the murky water.
Lungs bursting, mind starting to drift like her hair now floating around her face, she tried the seat belt release one more time even though she knew it was futile.