She needs a total life reboot…even if it means marrying a stranger
Taya Maverick has just volunteered to marry a random Navy SEAL as part of the military’s new spouse-matching program. What other choice does she have? Her former best friend killed her father and torched her house. Taya’s determined to start over, but to be safe she has to disappear. The program is the perfect opportunity, complete with refuge and a built-in bodyguard. Her Navy SEAL husband can keep her safe, right?
After one spectacularly disastrous marriage, Jim Stephens nixes round two. But his commanding officer never accepts no for an order. While an injury may have sidelined him temporarily, Jim still needs to salvage his career after a mistake in combat puts him in leadership’s cross-hairs. Being the first in the pilot program guarantees him his rank and eventual active duty clearance…as long as he can last the trial year.
The I dos are barely uttered before Jim and Taya realize they’ve each miscalculated. Their sizzling chemistry might lead to bed, but neither is prepared to open their heart. And then Taya’s past comes knocking…
About the Author
Paris Wynters is an adult romance author repped by Tricia Skinner at Fuse Literary. She lives on Long Island in New York with her family, which includes two psychotic working dogs. Paris is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago. Paris and her son are nationally certified Search and Rescue personnel (she is a canine handler). She is a huge supporter of the military/veteran community. When not writing, Paris enjoys playing XBOX (she is a huge HALO fanatic and also enjoys FORTNITE), watching hockey (Go Islanders), and trying new things like flying planes and taking trapeze classes.
I bent down, slipped off my high heel shoes that were sinking into the mud, and peered over my shoulder, scanning the football field. Darkness loomed like a haunted cemetery, as if waiting for the dead to rise. I couldn’t see a damn thing in front of me or behind me.
Water splattered behind me. I knew I had to get out of here fast.
I turned around too quickly and stumbled forward. My foot had caught the fabric of my homecoming dress, causing me to trip, but managed to catch myself before falling completely to the ground. Once I righted myself, I took off running again.
The light posts that stood along the edges of the field casted a faint glow, but it wasn’t enough for me to see where I was going. Suddenly, a lightning bolt shot across the sky, lighting my way. Up ahead I could see the bleachers. The same bleachers I had sat on since the beginning of high school at Craven Falls High.
It was where all the football games were played in our small, quaint town. It was also the only place to hide from the person that was chasing me.
“I’m coming for you, bitch!” the voice closing in on me hollered.
I didn’t stop; I just kept running until the connection of something hard hit my head, sending shock waves of pain through my skull and down my spine. My eyes squeezed shut, an instant reaction to the pain coursing through my cranium. The automatic reflex of my hand went to my head. Feeling something warm and wet. I was sure it was blood and not the rain that had begun to fall from the sky. I didn’t have time to think about how the person had caught up to me so fast.
I had to run.
I had to hide.
By the time I made it to the bleachers, hoping to find shelter, I was hit once again; this time on the back of my leg. My high heel shoes and clutch purse flew out of my hand as I fell to the ground like a hundred and twelve-pound bag of potatoes.
I tried to scream, but the sound was knocked out of me when my body smacked the wet, hard ground.
This was a nightmare. A bad dream. I couldn’t be living this, but I was, and it was more real than anything I had ever experienced before in my life.
I grabbed my right leg as the pain shot through my body. Undoubtedly, my leg was broken. Shattered in several places. I crawled, dragging my right leg across the wet, freshly cut grass, gritting my teeth as I slinked along, fighting the sharp, throbbing pain coursing up my leg and into my back. I would be killed if I didn’t find safety, but the bleachers wouldn’t save me, only camouflage me behind the monstrous metal seats, still I moved toward them.
Once under the bleachers, I collapsed onto my side. My breath rushed out in quick gasps. I couldn’t go any further; not only from the pain, but because I was losing blood from the large gash I had on my head.
Someone wasn’t just trying to hurt me. They wanted me dead.
Water slid between the metal slats of the bleachers and fell onto my face. The rain changed from a light drizzle to pouring down in an instant, dropping onto my bloody split-open head. My vision was hazy as I looked out the corner of my eye, blinking away the water as it fell harder from the sky.
My head pulsated from the blow I’d received just minutes ago. A headache wasn’t surfacing; it was already there, shouting out obscenities. My reflexes took over when a movement to my left appeared. I curled myself into a fetal position, which caused me more excoriating pain, but I needed to shield myself from what looked like a wooden bat about to slam into my body.
“Please, stop!” I screamed as the bat came down, shattering the bones of my ribs. Sharp pain surged through me. It became harder to breathe as I sucked in an agonizing breath and cried out again, “I’m begging you. Please stop!”
They didn’t stop.
They weren’t going to stop until they ended what they had started. This person would finish the job, and I would die here. No one would ever know the truth of how I died. School was closed on Monday. By Tuesday, who knew what I’d look like after lying in the wet, soaked grass for two days?
The blows came down hard one after another, hitting every part of my body. I could feel the anger in each hit. I believed my attacker hated me with everything they had inside of them. I wasn’t going to leave here alive. They would make sure I didn’t because I knew the truth about what they had done.
I forced in another breath, holding it as I laid immobile on the ground.
It was as if the world had stopped around me.
The rain dripped onto my head and ran down my face, mixing with my salty tears. I looked out the corner of my eye, not one, but two shadows were standing over me. Had there always been two people chasing me?
The second shadow knelt in front of me. I drew in haggard breath, nearly choking. My lungs were screaming for me to exhale as piercing pain sliced through my chest. I couldn’t believe with my own eyes who was kneeling in front of me!
“I’m sorry, but this needed to be done,” the voice said.
“Yeah, you should’ve known better than to fuck with us, bitch!” another voice echoed.
Immediately I recognized the voice and I knew who had beaten me to a pulp, leaving me broken and bleeding, unable to move. It was the one person I truly hated with every essence of my being.
I blinked several more times, unsure of what I was seeing. My vision was not only distorted by the rain and the darkness surrounding me, but from the blow to my head, making things blurry. I was hoping I had imagined it all, but I hadn’t.
The person stood and walked away without a single goodbye, as if I meant nothing to them. The faint sounds of laughter were drowned out by the raindrops that splashed off the metal bleachers all around me as my killers left me here to die.
Another drop of rain fell from the black, thunderous sky above and landed on my body, soaking my already wet and ruined clothes. Pain surged through me, like a fury of fire.
I couldn’t move.
I was afraid to move.
My body was shattered.
Broken into pieces as I was left to die here under the bleachers.
No one would come looking for me, not on a night like tonight. Not in the pouring rain. I sluggishly blinked as I drew in one last and final breath, staring out at the football field.
The Dead Girl Under the Bleachers
A Craven Falls Mystery Book 1
by Donna M. Zadunajsky
Genre: YA Mystery
Three dead bodies…
The quiet town of Craven Falls is depleting in population. One by one…
Scarlet Fitzgerald thought it would be fun to play a game on Laura Stevenson, a nobody at Craven Falls High. But what happens when the game unleashes buried secrets Scarlet doesn’t want anyone to know? Secrets that could get someone killed, including herself.
Three can play a game, but one of them ends up dead…
Donna M. Zadunajsky started out writing children’s books before she wrote and published her first novel, Broken Promises, in June 2012. She since has written several more novels and her first novella, HELP ME! Book 1 in the series, which is about teen suicide and bullying.
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