Theresa sat forward, the seatbelt tugging at her collarbone. She smiled as she stared at the crooked, brown, furry trunks that split into thick branches—a melon-sized clump of green reaching for the sky atop each branch. “I’ve killed a cactus before. More than one, actually.”
“Ah. Did the cactus do something to deserve an early demise? Or, are you just a silent psychopathic killer of cacti?”
She cringed a little at his choice of words but hid it with a small chuckle. “Neither. I’m just really bad at keeping plants alive. My thumb is not only decisively not green—it’s necrotic. I have necrotic thumb syndrome when it comes to plants.”
“Hmm. I see. So, how, exactly, do you go about killing a cactus?”
“Well, there are several ways actually. Too much water. Not enough sunlight. And, surprisingly, not enough water. Apparently, you can’t just ignore one and hope it sucks up enough moisture from the air to survive.”
“Okay. Necrotic thumb noted. There will be no gifts of living plants from me in your future. How do you fare with the plastic versions?”
She snorted at the fake seriousness in his voice. Turning to him, she wrinkled her brow to match his tone. “I can’t guarantee the safety of even synthetic greenery in the care of my black and decaying thumb.”
Mouth twitching, he narrowed his eyes and placed a finger alongside his jaw, nodding. “I see. This is more serious than I thought. Dead flowers and chocolate will have to suffice, I suppose.”
She laughed, then turned serious, laying her hand on his arm where it rested between them. “Or, we could just say that saving my life and taking care of me when you really didn’t have to is enough of a gift to last an entire lifetime and then some.”
The warmth of his touch on her hand lingered as he let go and reached to shift the car into drive. She covered the warmth with her other hand, holding them both in her lap, hoping to keep the feeling with her longer. The strength in his hands meant safety to her bruised mind. The warmth of his touch brought solace to her shattered heart. Even though she knew it wouldn’t last—whatever it was between them, this temporary arrangement—she held tight to it for the rest of the ride. She let herself have that moment of peace, of hope for better things because if she didn’t, she was afraid her mind and heart would shut down. And she would just stop being.
The phone buzzed. Theresa flinched, almost dropping it. She pressed the message icon and saw a web link from the same number Sergeant Medina had called from. She clicked it, pulse increasing as the video loaded.
She clenched her jaw, not breathing through most of the three-minute video. It was him. It was definitely him. She recognized him even though his haggard appearance. His greasy hair had grown longer and he had a patchy beard. She couldn’t see his eyes in detail but felt sure they were glazed over with insanity. The video had no sound, but she heard his voice in her head as she watched—his crazed voice, so full of rage.
Author: H.L. Anderson (Holli Anderson)
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Theresa Kent is a wife, mom, and hardworking nurse living in rural Colorado. Life is good until her increasingly despondent, unemployed husband suddenly snaps—his vicious attack leaves Theresa fighting for her life as she tries to escape the insane version of the man she loves.
Ryan Tucker appears to have it all, except he’s been merely existing, not living, for the last three years. His emotions get a much-needed jump start when he rescues Theresa from the torment her life has become in just a matter of days. Ryan feels an instant and fierce desire to protect this stranger that fell into his life.
Hanging over their heads is the knowledge that Theresa’s husband is still out there, hunting for her.
Can two broken souls be repaired, or will the demons of the past and present come between the repressed love that grows between them?
~ Author Bio ~
Holli Anderson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing—which has nothing to do with writing, except maybe by adding some pretty descriptive injury and vomit scenes to her books. She discovered her joy of writing during a very trying period in her life when escaping into make-believe saved her. She enjoys reading any book she gets her hands on but has a particular love for anything fantasy.
Along with her husband, Steve, and their four sons, she lives in Grantsville, Utah—the same small town in which she grew up.
Win a digital copy of Saved by author Hollie Anderson.
~ R A F F L E C O P T E R ~
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