(Savage Security #6)
By Karen Tjebben
Publication Date: November 21, 2018
Genre: Psychological Romantic Suspense
Lizzy Adams spent the summer pining for Tyson Smith, the sexy security agent whose instruction at a safety seminar saved her life. Now, every man she meets is measured against the absolute awesomeness of the brawny black man with the soulful eyes, the baritone voice that whispers over her like a velvet caress, and a smile that turns her knees to jelly. Now she just had to get him to notice her.
Tyson Smith had a lot of respect for Lizzy Adams, the spunky teacher who freed herself from the clutches of a deranged miscreant who’d wanted to take her hostage. But his concept of her wholesome ‘girl-next-door’ image was challenged the night she showed up at a company barbeque dressed as a flirty cowgirl. Always the gentleman, he managed to keep his eyes off her assets as she strolled around the farm. His mother had raised him better, but there was no denying that she was every man’s ‘American Beauty’ fantasy. But the night he’d shown up at her doorstep to help her out altered their relationship forever. Between the fear in her eyes and the baseball bat perched on her shoulder, his protective side surfaced, and he handed her a piece of his heart.
Their whirlwind romance is threatened when a man from Lizzy’s past attacks her. Sam Clark wants vengeance for his son. He blames the jurors from Jason’s trial for Jason’s death and crafts a hit list. But killing Lizzy, the scrappy survivor, is harder than he thought. After Sam fails at his first attempt on Lizzy’s life, he resolves to kill her before he’s forced into hiding. He just has to get past the big, black man who appointed himself Lizzy’s protector.
Sam circled the apartment complex and made his way back to his car. Fate was on his side. Lizzy walked out of her apartment with two trash bags. He’d already scoped out the garbage dumpsters on an earlier trip. In order to keep the apartment complex looking nice, the dumpsters were behind the apartments, tucked away behind tall, wooden privacy fences. That would be the perfect place to take her. Let her die among the garbage and refuse of the community.
He picked up his pace and walked around the opposite side of the building as she walked around to the back on the other side. Glancing around, he looked for anyone who could interrupt his time with her.
Lizzy walked into the garbage area. Two large garbage dumpsters and two recycle dumpsters were tucked out of sight. Setting one of the bags on the ground, she swung the other bag into the garbage dumpster. The plastic bag disappeared into the dumpster. Grabbing the remaining bag, she hefted it into the dumpster too.
Sam stepped behind the wooden slats and watched as she tossed the bags into the dumpster. Her back was to him. The thought of dumping her body into the dumpster brought a smile to his lips. She’d just disappear from sight without a trace. But if her body was discovered, it would be obvious that she’d been purposely disposed of. That revelation would destroy the appearance of a natural, fluke death.
No. He could not throw her away. He could leave her body to be discovered in the garbage area. That would have to be good enough.
Turning around, Lizzy came to a stop when she noticed him. Her lips arched into a gentle smile, but then she paused. The smile slid off her face.
“Hi,” she said, pausing for a moment to take the man in. Was he the same guy that nearly bumped into her minutes earlier? He didn’t have any trash bags. Why was he back here? The beginning tremors of her flight or fight response zapped to life inside her gut.
“Hello,” he replied with a smirk.
That one word, laced with anger, brought a chill down her spine.
He pulled the cap off the needle but kept it hidden in his hands. His knuckles were white from clenching the needle in front of him so tightly. She wouldn’t get past him.
She’d been attacked before. She knew that a stranger could go from intimidating to dangerous in a heartbeat. “Can I help you?” she asked, her voice full of anxiety. “Are you looking for something?”
Sam couldn’t help but taunt her. “I’m looking for you.” He hoped the admission scared her. He wanted to treasure this interaction. Maybe it would replace the nightmares that haunted him.
Lizzy cocked her head to the side, “You were looking for me? Why?” The sinister look in his eyes confirmed the warning bells clanging in her ears.
“Don’t I look familiar?” he asked, taking a step towards her.
This was way past creepy. “Do I know you from somewhere?” Her eyebrows pulled together as she desperately tried to place him. Where had she seen his face before?
“That’s because we’ve met.” He took a step towards her, a fake smile plastered on his face. Once he got close to her, he could slide the needle into her flesh with very little chance of a fight. If it did come to a fight, he knew he’d win. He may be nearing retirement age, but he was still stronger and bigger than her.
“Huh,” she looked around for something to pick up to use as a weapon in case she needed to defend herself. Rocks and some sticks lay on the ground along the fence wall, but she’d never get to them before he’d get to her.
Her flight or fight response flooded her body with adrenaline. Her pulse beat wildly and sweat coated her. “You do look a little familiar. Do you have a child at Carrisburg Elementary School?” If this was a parent from school, this scary vibe would be a first. Parents were always friendly when they saw her outside of school but following her to her apartment building and the trash bin was beyond disturbing.
She tried to think back to her list of students. Did any of them have special arrangements because of family issues? Any custody issues or abusive parents that she needed to be aware of? She didn’t recall any.
Sam bit out a harsh grunt. “No. You don’t know me from school, but you do know my son. His name is Jason. Does that name ring a bell?” Would the callous bitch recognize Jason’s name?
“Umm,” she mumbled. She’d had a Jason a few years ago, but this man didn’t look like his dad.
Sam stood shocked, angered, ready to blow. “You dumb bitch,” he seethed. “You don’t even remember the young man you destroyed. The life you tossed away,” he motioned with his arm as if he were throwing something away.
Damn! Lizzy had no idea what he was talking about, but she knew enough to recognize crazy and dangerous. “I’m sorry. I think you have the wrong person,” she stated as firmly as she could. Should she try to rationalize with the man? Get him to see that she is not the person he’s looking for?
“I’ve never killed anyone, not even by accident,” she stated. She’d been in a fender bender a few years ago, but everyone had been fine. There hadn’t even been a boy in either of the cars.
Her mind screamed for her to run, to get away from this man, but logic kept her feet planted. She had nowhere to go. He blocked the exit. If she ran, she’d be running towards him. And the wooden fencing that surrounded her on all the other sides cut off any chance of escape.
“Jason Clark,” Sam said the name with perfect enunciation. There would be no mistaking the name he said. “Does that ring a bell?” His grimace took on the diabolical look of Pennywise.
Lizzy took in a strangled breath as memories of Jason and his father on the witness stand rushed through her mind. Jason had murdered a man, and she’d sent him to jail.
Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, and two hamsters. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her new career in writing. She loves to create worlds filled with unique characters that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters' eyes.
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