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Julianna can’t stand Buck Abercrombie! He’s rude, chauvinistic, and exasperating, and he’s her new boss. Why wouldn’t the bank loan her the money to buy The Welcome Inn? As manager she has proved her worth.
Worse yet, Buck’s criminal brother Travis works for him, and her friend Melanie likes him!
She wasn’t alone in the bedroom. She saw a shadowy figure silhouetted against the drapes, and Julianna supposed he must have made a noise that wakened her.
She broke into a cold sweat. Should she scream or pretend to be asleep? She quickly made her decision as the dark figure approached the bed. “Buck, help me,” she screamed.
She had hoped that the noise would frighten the attacker away, but instead he crossed the room in two big strides and grabbed her. Julianna struggled mightily, but the bedcovers hampered her, and the intruder was a strong man.
His hand clamped over her mouth, and when she refused to stop struggling, he drew back his fist and hit her solidly on the cheek. Momentarily stunned, Julianna relaxed into the bed. The attacker ripped the covers off and dragged her from her bed. Seconds later her limp body hit the floor with a thud as the intruder turned to face an enraged Buck Abercrombie. Buck’s fist smashed into the man’s face twice, and he lay still.
“Julianna! Are you okay?”
Buck cradled her gently in his arms, and if the situation hadn’t been so serious Julianna would have melted as her fear receded somewhat in the comfort of his strong, vital presence. “I’m okay,” she muttered.
“We have to get out of here. I had to fight off another one in my room, and who knows how many are waiting outside.”
“Call the sheriff.”
“Can’t. They did something to the phones.”
“My cell phone.”
“Smashed, and mine’s in my room. Get dressed in a hurry.”
Returning fear sped Julianna’s efforts. Her hands shook, but she pulled on jeans, shirt, and sneakers in record time.
“Let’s go,” Buck whispered.
In the living room he cautiously peeked out of the drapes. “Is anyone out there?” Julianna asked.
Buck turned a grim face to her. “Yep. There’s a van with no windows and a couple of big guys.”
“Can we get by them?”
“I’m afraid to try. There might be more than just those two, and they could be armed.”
“What are we going to do?” Julianna quavered.
“If you cry I’ll turn you over my knee the minute I get a chance,” Buck savagely growled.
Julianna bit her lip and willed her fear to go away. “Don’t worry. I’m not getting hysterical on you.”
“Is there a back way out of here?”
“Just the bedroom window, but it’s real small. Can you get through it?
“Let’s find out.”
They ran to the bedroom to look at the window. “It’s small, but I think I can make it. I’ll go first. If there’s nobody out there, I’ll help you through,” Buck said.
It was a tight fit, but he only got stuck once when his shoulders had to go through. He dropped to the ground with a grunt, and helped Julianna out the window. “I think we got lucky,” he whispered. “I don’t think it occurred to them that anyone could get through such a small opening.”
“Let’s hurry, Buck. One of them is starting to move around in there.”
Buck cautiously eased away from the window. “I’m thanking my guardian angel that the Inn has two parking areas and that I’m in the back while the bad guys are in the front.”
“Do you have your keys? Oh, please say yes.”
Buck grabbed her hand, and they ran for his truck. “Duck down so you can’t be seen,” he ordered. “I’m going to slump over. Maybe they won’t recognize us.”
He exited the parking lot at a normal rate of speed, and to his surprise, no one followed. “I think we got away,” he exulted. “You can sit up now.”
“Are we going to the sheriff’s office?”
“No, I’m not. Mitchell hasn’t helped us so far, has he? All he’ll do is look around and tell us to be careful. I’ve got a plan...”
“Oh, Buck, tell me!”
“Later. After we’re really safe.”
Absorbed with watching the road behind them to be sure nobody had followed them, Julianna didn’t press him.
Do you own any property at Robinson Lake?” Buck asked.
Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She holds a Master’s degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writer’s of America. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love contest sponsored by Oak Tree Press. The book was released in 2004. In 2005 her second novel, Grandfather’s Legacy, was published by All Romance Books. At present she teaches high school social studies.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 258
Paper Weight (lb): 10.8
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