Home > Behind My Words

Behind My Words
Author: J.L. Drake

Chapter One

 

 

Molly Peters

 

 

15 months ago


The punch came from behind me. I had no warning. My arms flung out, and I shot across the room and into the wall. My ears rang as someone emptied my pockets.

“Keys. Where are your keys?” he shouted while I lay on my stomach and covered my head, expecting another blow. “Come on! Where are they?” Something hard jabbed my side as he leaned down. “Where?”

“Hook.” I pointed at the wall, careful not to raise my eyes to look at him. My body was paralyzed in shock as my brain screamed in fear.

“Don’t do anything stupid.”

Hands all over me, I was poked and prodded, and my purse was torn from under my stomach. I hadn’t even realized I was on top of it. My wedding ring was roughly shimmied off my finger.

They are just things. They can be replaced.

I began to shake, and I could feel sweat run from under my collar. My stomach was in a giant knot, and I felt sick. My heart raced so fast it felt as though it would come right out of my chest.

How did he get in? We had one of the best security systems you could get. A movement caught my attention, and I spotted our little hound Bentley tucked under a chair, whimpering.

Oh, boy, please stay put!

Glass crashed around me, and I tightened my hand on my head. A photo of my daughter tumbled down and landed faceup next to me.

Fear exploded through me as it dawned on me she was due to arrive any moment.

“What’s that noise?” I felt his breath as he whispered inches from my ear.

“It’s…”

“Mom?” My son’s voice found me through my nightmare.

“Shit!” I could hear how startled the intruder was.

Bang echoed through my rib cage and froze my heart.

“No! Please don’t hurt him!” I screamed from the basement of my lungs. Not my baby! I pushed to get up but was kicked in the side of the knee. Pain shot through me as I slammed to the floor again.

“Stay down or I’ll shoot you too!”

Suddenly, a hand came into view, and my daughter’s photo disappeared from the floor. The sound of a camera click caught my ear. His breath found my nose once again, and something tugged at a memory. Something familiar.

Do I know you?

“What the hell—” My husband’s voice boomed as he burst through the door. Something dropped heavily on the floor. I strained to see him, but I couldn’t. “Please take whatever you need,” he cried, and his gasp told me he must have caught sight of our son.

“Don’t!” the intruder warned.

I broke, lost all rational thinking, and did the one thing I knew I shouldn’t. I flipped over and stared the man directly in the face.

Oh, my god!

“Hey,” he said, panicked, and his hand jerked.

Bang!

The last thing I heard as my body drained of life was another bang and my husband’s scream.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

Spencer

 

 

Present Day


The cabby beeped his horn as he pulled up the driveway. I looked over my shoulder as I clicked off the light to my small townhouse.

“Bye, house,” I whispered without a moment of regret. It was time for me to start over, and I had decided the best way for me to do that was to go back to the beginning, to the last place I was ever truly happy.

“Ready, miss?”

“Ready.” I thanked the cabby for offering a hand with my bags then slipped inside the car and drew a deep breath. It had been a month since Justin and I broke up, and it was time to go home.

I was a different person now, not simply because I left one life for another, but because I was slightly jaded and more reclusive than I once was. They said you shouldn’t let the past shape you, and I didn’t. I just had long, jagged scars that lined my soul, reminding me of what had happened. Maybe, in time, they would fade, but for now, I’d keep my head down and continue moving forward.

I caught my tired eyes and my frown lines in the reflection of the window. I missed my happy, carefree self and my smile that would warm my belly when I thought about my career or my family. Funny how everything could disappear in a snap, and you were left as a shell of a human looking in, not out.

I drew another deep breath as I stepped out and opened the door to my new start.

You got this, Spencer.

I swung a heavy box inside and nearly tripped over the little hound that never moved an inch as I recovered my balance.

He did manage a grunt as I slid him, still on the mat, out of my way with my foot.

“Always a pleasure, Bentley.” I smiled as I set my box on the wooden table then dropped onto the couch and sank into its overstuffed pillows. I looked around and noted Bentley’s water dish was full, and a half-chewed ball rested beside it. My neighbors had been looking after him for the past year while I decided what I wanted to do with the place. They had dropped Bentley off this morning. I swore the poor little guy suffered from PTSD.

I studied the room and let my mind wander. My Aunt Lisa had spent weeks at a time here while she painted and needed some time to think, so in hindsight, I was glad I never sold the place.

I never wanted to take over the family cabin after my parents died, but my breakup with Justin changed me, and I realized it was exactly where I needed to be. The city had too much white noise. I needed to be alone with my thoughts, and now that my brother had surfaced, I needed to find some source of inner strength to deal with the shit storm that was about to rock my world again.

Boxes, bags, and cleaning supplies blocked my view of the lake. I had my work cut out for me, and I only had one week to make it mine.

I pulled the crate over and opened the door to let Lloyd, my tabby cat, out to explore our new home. He jumped up on my lap then moved to my shoulder where he perched and hissed imperiously at Bentley.

“Be nice,” I scolded.

I knew the neighbors would all have heard I had taken up residence in the cabin. Everyone knew the story of what happened here. It had, after all, made headlines for months. It wasn’t lost on me that many a head turned as they walked by the driveway, and I knew they hoped I would come out to hear their sympathy. I just didn’t want it, so for the next few days, I planned to keep the blinds closed and my concentration on combing through my parents’ belongings. I needed time to make my peace with being here. I knew my parents always hated me living in the city, and there was a part of me that had never felt comfortable there. I now felt what they must have felt in that little cabin nestled alongside Whiskey Lake. A safe haven? After what happened to them there, it seemed odd to think that, but strangely, I did.

I lived on microwaved meals for most of the first week and drank entirely too much coffee, and my stomach was starting to hate me by day eight. I was settled into a bit of a pattern by then, and I kicked my feet up and used my wireless mouse on my thigh to scan through my emails, then I began to comb through six new offers.

“Let’s see, Lloyd.” I felt him circle the chair leg.

Three science fictions, one western, and two romances, but none caught my attention enough to even open the outline. The last time I settled on a book, it nearly sucked the life out of me.

“Nope, nope, and nope.”

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