Anna has kindly prvoided a except from her book Her Forgotten Betrayal one of the launch books for Dead Sexy Line.
A crash beyond the kitchen's door jolted Shaw from her thoughts. The wooden spoon rattled from her fingers to the stovetop. She whirled toward the dining room.
“Esme?” She raised a hand to cover her heart.
She was scaring herself senseless for nothing. She was going stir crazy, that was all. She’d simply been alone for too long. The unexplained rattles and noises and sometimes even voices she kept thinking she heard were symptoms of cabin fever.
The house answered her with silence, except for the soft hum of the refrigerator. She took an uncertain step forward, determined to conquer her fear. There was no one there, she told herself firmly. No one was ever there. There was no threat, except from her own panic. All she had to do was turn on the dining room lights, and there’d be no one lurking around the next corner, waiting to attack her.
She reached for the door.
“Sorry, Shaw,” the faceless, scratchy-voiced man whispered from her nightmare.
She clenched her hands into fists, her nails digging into her palms.
“Don't be such a baby,” she said out loud. “Stop this.”
Fear and the amnesia it fed had stolen everything from her. She had no recollection of the four high-tech research centers she was said to oversee. Or how she’d come to be the sole living heir to an estate that included not only this mountain house near the North Carolina border, once used by her family as a summer retreat, but also a loft in Atlanta and homes on several other continents. And to add insult to injury, no one had yet been allowed to tell her more. Doctors orders.
She wanted her life back, damn it. She smoothed her hand against the dining room door, and braced herself to push it open. She could do this. She had to.
Sudden darkness swallowed the kitchen.
Her thoughts were immediately swamped with the panicked claustrophobia of being trapped in a closet, waiting to be discovered.
“No.” She blinked, willing the lights to come back on. Her imagination was merely playing tricks on her, anticipating the worst.
But regardless of how many times she tried to force the room into focus, there was nothing to see. Someone had killed the power for real. Her nightmare was coming true. It was waiting for her in the very next room.
She backed away.
Fell over one of the kitchen chairs.
Landed hard on her backside.
“There's no one there,” she insisted. “The electricity's gone out. That's all.”
Something else crashed in the dining room, followed by the distinct sound of a man's footsteps, inching closer. She covered her mouth with her hand. She scrambled backwards on the floor, her nightgown and robe twisting around her legs. Disjointed dream memories swirled through her mind. She lurched to her feet. She felt her way along the wall, blindly heading for the storage room and its back door to the outside world.
She was a fool, a weak, clueless fool. But she couldn't stop herself from panicking.
“Kill the bitch...” the night whispered.
She clawed at the back door's stubborn deadbolt. A glimmer of sanity kept her from running into the freezing, moonlit darkness. If she really was in danger, heaven only knew what waited for her outside the mansion’s protection. And there was suddenly nothing but silence behind her, no movement whatsoever.
She tried to believe this was just like all the other times when she’d freaked herself out and then realized how ridiculous she’d been. She was running from ghosts. She tensed to turn back, to confront her paranoia. And heard footsteps again. Closer than before. Behind her. Coming for her. And there she stood like a paralyzed idiot, trapped between the shadows beyond her family's home and the nightmare crowding closer within.
A hand clenched in her hair. A gun pressed into her skin. When it fired, the sound of the blast shattered her reality all over again.