A terrible secret haunts Dr. Jama Keith. But she must return to her past--her hometown of River Dance, Missouri--and risk exposure. She owes a debt to the town for financing her dreams. If only she can avoid ex-fianc� Terell Mercer--but River Dance is too small for that.
When Terell's niece is abducted by two of the FBI's most wanted, Jama can't refuse to help--Terell's family were like kin to her for many years. The search for young Doriann could cost Terell and Jama their lives. But revealing her secret shame to the man she loves scares Jama more than the approaching danger....
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December 31, 2008
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Excerpt from A Killing Frost by Hannah Alexander
Doriann Streeter had never been kidnapped before, but if she'd ever tried to imagine what it might be like--which she hadn't--she'd have been wrong. She would've expected to be brave, but right now she couldn't stop shaking. If she weren't trying so hard just to breathe, she'd be surprised that she'd never expected anything like this, because she had a good imagination.Her hands shook as she clenched them in her lap.What had she done wrong? Why was she stuck inside a stinking, rattly old pickup truck between two dirty people with black beneath their fingernails, who reeked so badly she thought she might puke?And what if she did puke? It could happen.She dared a glance at the dirty man's pocket. It was where he'd stuck her cell phone when it rang. He'd grabbed it, turned it off, shoved it into his pocket with an ugly chuckle, nearly driving the truck into the ditch when he forgot to watch the road.Some things just never occurred to a girl.The call had to have been Mom checking up on her. Or Aunt Renee.Please, God, make them worry when I don't answer. Please!They knew she always answered her calls, even when she was up to something she knew they didn't want her to be doing.She gagged again at the smell that filled the hot cab of the pickup. She had a decision to make. Get sick in the truck and get killed, or ask for some fresh air and get killed."Could you open a window or something?" she asked finally, after working up her nerve to speak. She hated the way her voice shook. Not strong, the way she'd always thought she'd sound during a crisis, but scared, like a little kid. She hated that these two loser bullies scared her.Neither of them said a word.Doriann crossed her arms, holding them tightly against her stomach.The windows stayed up.This was not the time to throw a tantrum the way her cousin Ajay would do.She dared a glance to her right at the skinny woman called Deb, who had teeth missing.Maybe it was better that these two bullies didn't listen to her. If they saw her as a threat, then she'd be tied up and thrown into the back of the truck. But since she was just a kid to them--as if an eleven-year-old who'd already graduated from her trainer bra and had a 153 IQ could possibly be considered just a kid--they figured they could handle her between the two of them.Doriann's face still stung from the slaps the woman had given her for screaming. Tears had dried on Doriann's face. The farther the dirty man drove from Kansas City, the faster the tears had come for a while. She'd even been afraid to ask for a tissue, so she'd had to wipe her nose on the sleeve of her jacket.Can't panic. Don't let them see how scared you are. Think of something else.Deb's teeth, maybe. Deb was a stupid name for a kidnapper. Deborah was a name from the Bible, a judge and prophetess in the Old Testament. Deborah was Mom's hero, because she "held a position of honor in a world that honored only men."Good thing Judge Deborah was in heaven now. She didn't need to know how her nickname was being besmirched down here in Missouri.Besmirched? Yes, that was the word.They passed a road sign on I-70, and Doriann felt her eyes go buggy. Could that be right? Hadn't they just left Kansas City less than an hour ago? According to the sign, they were almost to Columbia. Halfway across Missouri. She knew this road well, because she traveled it with Mom and Dad whenever they went to River Dance to visit Grandpa and Grandma Mercer--which was never often enough for Doriann.But if that sign was right, that meant they'd been on the road fortwo hours!How could that be? During homeschool study hour, Aunt Renee always said that time crept by when a person was in a state of high stress, so if Doriann and her cousins would just relax and be quiet, they could complete their lessons in half the time, then go out and play.This wasn't right, b