When an apparently random bank robbery turns out to be a sinister plan, single mother China Beckett is thrust into a nightmare. A group of mercenaries take over her life, threatening her young daughter and everyone they love. She’ll fight to the last breath to protect her child, but that might not be enough.
With time running out and no one to turn to, China fears the worst for her daughter. But then, a startling truth is revealed, and she discovers that the only person who can save them might be a ghost from the past.
China gasped. “Are you insinuating I had something to do with Sophie’s murder?”
Detective Boyle turned an innocent look her way. “I’m insinuating nothing of the kind. Why would you think that?”
“I just thought…you sounded like…” She blew out a breath. “Never mind. Please, let’s just hurry and get this over with.”
“As I was saying, you were spared. The robbers called you by name. They seemed to almost defer to you in a way.”
“Defer to me?” Her laugh was short and devoid of humor. “I was nearly killed. They murdered my boss in front of my eyes. Pointed a gun at my best friend—”
“And didn’t shoot her when you told them not to,” he cut in.
“Dear God! You think they were following my orders?” She shot to her feet. “Do you think I’m glad they shot my boss? This is bullshit. Are you charging me with something? Do I need a lawyer?”
“Do you?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Take it easy, Miss Beckett. Please sit. I’m not accusing you of anything. I’m simply trying to solve a crime. Trying to catch some bad guys. You want to help me with that, right?”
More than you could possibly know. She now wished she’d let Vanessa come with her, although the detective probably wouldn’t have let her sit in on the interview.
He stood and held a hand out toward the door. “Come with me. I’d like to show you something.”
China followed him into a large room that held a long table with chairs on either side. At one end of the table was a small television. Detective Boyle walked over to the television and pointed at the chair nearest it. “Sit, please.”
She did and he turned the power on the TV, then pushed a button on a remote. A grainy, black and white image appeared on the screen. The quality wasn’t state-of-the-art, but she recognized the scene. The bank. The robbery.
This time, she was able to see the shooting taking place, not just the end results. The guy who’d pointed the gun at Vanessa—and not the one who’d been China’s escort—had pulled the trigger. Had killed Sophie. Marcel, she was certain. She watched the glass shatter. Jerked when Sophie’s body jerked and blood blossomed on her blouse—dark gray now, not the vivid red she knew it to be.
There seemed to be no way the gunman could have missed her. She was standing there. Right there in front of Sophie’s desk, nearly blocking Sophie from the robber’s view, yet the bullets had gone straight past her and into Sophie’s body.
Her insides trembled with remembered terror. She stuck the knuckle of her index finger between her teeth and bit down. Tears filled her eyes, spilling down her cheeks, over her fingers. “Oh, God, Oh God, Oh God,” she whimpered over and over.
“You really should take it up,” Detective Boyle said.
“Huh?” She dropped her hand from her mouth and turned to him, seeing his face through a fog of horror and disbelief. This couldn’t be happening. The robbery, the men, the hell that her life had become. It couldn’t be happening. “Take it up?”
“Gambling. You should take it up. I mean, with your luck and all, you’d make a killing.” He studied her, his brows reaching for his hairline. “No pun intended.”
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Alicia Dean is the mother of three grown children, and she lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She writes mostly suspense and paranormal, but has written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL, and watching her favorite TV shows.