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When Grace Garret makes an unannounced after-hours stop at her husband Andrew’s law offices, their lives begin a downwar
Grace put a pork roast with stuffing and a sweet potato casserole into the oven late Saturday afternoon. She prepared a tray of fresh fruit and vegetables and put them in the fridge to chill. Then she went out to the pool to make sure it was clean. Shadow went with her. He loved the water and had his own little raft to lie on in the pool. Logan would come at eight.
The pool had only a few leaves for her to remove. She decided to swim for a little while before Logan arrived. She went into the house and wrote a note to put on the front door. She stuck it in an envelope with his name on it and clipped it to the door. Then she went back to the pool house and changed into her suit.
When she and Shadow stepped out and headed for the pool, the hackles on Shadow’s back stood up, and he began to bark. He ran to the far side of the pool house and Grace followed him. There was a soft rustling sound coming from the bushes on the other side of the four foot brick wall that surrounded their yard. Then everything was quiet. She saw nothing.
“Silly dog,” she said. “That was probably the neighbor’s cat. He’s always prowling around in these bushes.”
She went back to the pool and put Shadow on his raft and placed it in the shallow end of the pool. She swam several laps then climbed out and sat on the side of the deep end of the figure-eight shaped pool. The sun had almost set now, and the yard lights came on dimly. They would brighten as the night grew darker. She checked the time on the bathhouse wall. Logan should arrive in a few minutes. She felt relaxed. She leaned back on her elbows and closed her eyes for a few moments.
Shadow’s vicious barking jolted Grace awake in time to see him jump from his raft and start swimming toward her. She felt something strike her right shoulder. A piercing pain shot through her. Instantly, she was shoved forward and fell into the pool. A circle of scarlet formed out around her. Grace knew it was her own blood. A strong hand struck the back of her head and shoved it under the water.
Grace struggled with every ounce of force she could muster, and as her face rose out of the water gasping for air, she caught a glimpse of her assailant. Kelly Grant! But today, her hair was dark brown, and her eyes wore a wild expression. Grace wondered if she was high on something.
Shadow had almost reached Grace, barking shrilly as he paddled toward her. When he was within arm’s reach, Kelly landed a forceful punch on his side. He let out a wounded yelp. Then Grace couldn’t see him.
“No!” She managed.
With overpowering strength, the woman pushed Grace’s head under once again, and again, she struggled to break free. Her shoulder was beginning to throb and from the water around her she knew she was bleeding profusely. She could barely move her right arm now. She shoved the woman away with her left arm, and as she did, the knife dropped from Kelly’s hand and sank. Grace broke free for a moment and tried to swim away, but the woman grabbed her by her hair and pulled her back.
They were both treading water now. “Why?” Grace pleaded, gasping for breath. “Why…? What’s your quarrel with me?”
“You!” she shouted. “First that girl, Laura! Then you! You ruined everything for me! He loved me. I was going to marry a doctor and have a good life. But you took it all away from him, got him in trouble with the law, and then you made him leave me. And I promised you’d pay one day. Well today’s the day! This is your farewell party, Mrs. Garrett.”
Grace felt faint. Her vision was blurring, but she managed to turn her head and focus on the clock. It was after eight. Where was Logan?
She felt her head being forced under again. The blood loss combined with the vicious blows delivered by her assailant left her too weak to continue fighting.
Dixie Land knew she wanted to write from an early age. An only child, she enjoyed a close relationship with her parents and often read aloud to her mother. When she was in seventh grade, she wrote a play for English class and the students performed it for the rest of the middle school. Land became a registered nurse after graduation and later married her high school sweetheart. When their son was born, she became a stay at home mom but also helped her husband part time as the office manager in his business. After their son was launched, Dixie decided to pursue a dream she had set aside for years—to write a novel.
Fourteen years and nine books later, with a tenth on the way, Land continues to weave stories that garner favorable reviews from Our State Magazine, in North Carolina and Writers Digest.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 260
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