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Authors: Melissa Schroeder

Her Mother's Killer

BOOK: Her Mother's Killer
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woman who can’t escape her past.


Althea Johnson would like to leave the past behind. The memories of her mother's murder lurk in her dreams and someone wants her to remember. Deciding to return to the small Texas town where it took place to deal with the demons from that night.


A man who will do anything to protect her.


Duncan can’t believe his best friend’s little sister has grown into such a wonderful bundle of curves. He is at first stunned by his reaction to her, but never one to be slow, he starts putting the moves on her. It isn’t until he is completely seduced by her that he realizes that she is putting herself in danger to solve the old crime.


A killer who will do anything to possess her.


As both of them fall in love with each other, the stalking and danger escalates. Women close to Althea’s description are being found raped and murdered. The new lovers work overtime to figure out just what went wrong 20 years earlier, not realizing the mysteries they will reveal could jeopardize everything they are fighting for.


eBooks are
transferable. They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.


This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.


Her Mother’s Killer

Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Schroeder

Cover by Scott Carpenter




All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Her Mother’s Killer




Melissa Schroeder



To Les and the girls for everything you three do.






A flash of light in Thea Warren’s rearview mirror sent her stomach tumbling.

There isn’t anyone following me.

Several strange letters and a few hang-ups late at night didn’t mean anything. Neighbours from her small subdivision in a rural suburb of Atlanta frequently used this road late at night. No reason for the chills racing down her arms.

She gripped the wheel tighter, her knuckles aching from the pressure. The car drew closer, and she slowed her pace thinking he would pass her. Praying he would. He matched her speed. Panic snaked down her spine.

At least five more miles
. She scanned the side of the deserted road. No shoulder and no turnoff before she reached her subdivision.

No one to witness an accident, no one to testify in court.

She shoved those thoughts to the back of her mind.

The light reflected in her mirror brightened then dimmed. He flashed his brights. She sped up. If he wasn’t going to pass her, she was going to try to put some distance between them.

He kept pace, inching closer to her bumper. Sweat gathered between her shoulder blades and dribbled down her back.

If she could keep him away from her bumper for a few more miles, she’d be safe.

“Just a few more miles.” She repeated it over and over like a mantra.

A moment later, the driver slowed down. She sighed but kept her hands tight on the wheel. The wooden fence surrounding her development came into view. A small trickle of relief relaxed the muscles in her shoulders.

Lights flashed in her mirror as the car sped toward her. The bump jolted her. Her tail end fishtailed. Terror screamed through her system. 
Avoid the brake and turn into the spin.

The moment she straightened the car, the other driver jammed her bumper again. A spike of fear spread through her as the car spun out of control. This time, her whole body flew forward, her hands losing their grip on the steering wheel. She closed her eyes against the dizzying landscape soaring past her window. The car crashed into the mud wall of a ditch. A shard of pain radiated from her forehead after it hit the steering wheel. She blinked, bright stars flashed in front of her eyes. The squeal of the other car’s tires sounded and then everything faded into darkness.









Chapter One


Thea jerked awake.

Where am I?

She sat up. Sitting on the unfamiliar bed, fear slithered down her spine, paralyzing her. Then the scent of stale cigarette smoke filled her senses.

The motel in Vicksburg.

The last cobwebs of the nightmare drifted away. She sighed as the terror drained from her mind.

There was something new about the dream. She could still hear the screams, taste the fear she felt that night. But the dream was sharper than it had been in years. Since her accident six months earlier, her fear achieved a higher level. Somehow, the night of her accident and the night of her mother’s murder had melded together in her subconscious and terrorized her in her dreams. She shivered as a trickle of sweat dripped down between her breasts. She licked her lips, her mouth as dry as cotton.

Thea shoved the covers aside, rose from the bed and padded barefoot to the vanity and flipped on the light, wincing at the harshness of the glare. Her red-rimmed eyes spoke of her lack of sleep and her hair looked like a rat’s nest. She rubbed her temple trying to grasp what the dream had been about.

Screams, yelling, blood-chilling terror

Nothing new.

Every night for months after her mother’s murder, she woke, screaming, her hair soaked with sweat and the stench of death filling her senses. She never remembered what had happened that night almost twenty years ago, but the dreams still haunted her.

Eventually, time had withered the sharpness of the memory, and there were times when all she could remember from the dream were shadows and assumptions. But lately, especially since the letters began arriving, the fog surrounding her memory seemed to be evaporating.

It was one of the reasons she decided to return to Texas after her divorce had been finalized. Going home just might put it all to rest or it could cause her another whole multitude of problems. Either way, she couldn’t sit around waiting for the next incident to occur. It would’ve really driven her insane.

As she undressed, she remembered her ex-husband’s reaction to the letters that had begun arriving five years ago. Jason had accused her of sending the letters to herself for attention. Then about two years ago, she started receiving hang-ups at home. The number had been blocked and she never had any proof of anyone stalking her.

So, she’d tried to ignore it. But during the past year, every now and then, the hair at the nape of her neck stirred as if someone’s gaze followed her every move. She’d made the mistake of telling Jason her worries. Not only had he proclaimed her insane, he’d spread it around work that she’d become delusional. Two weeks later, her one-car accident confirmed everyone’s suspicions.

She sighed once again, shaking free of the morbid memories. Living in the past was what got her in this mess. Stepping into the shower, she allowed the hot water to relax her muscles and numb her mind. She’d worry about the past once she got back to Crocker.

* * * *

Duncan Perry did a double take at the ruby-red SUV that pulled into the gas station. It wasn’t familiar to him, and neither was the curvy brunette who stepped out to fill it up. In a town of less than five thousand, he knew most everyone, especially the curvy brunettes. Figuring his job as sheriff gave him the opening he needed, he pulled in opposite her on the other side of the pump.

He watched, bemused as she dropped her credit card and cursed. The particular word had him raising his eyebrows. She bent over to pick up the card drawing his attention to the denim material drawing tight over a well-rounded ass. He sighed in appreciation and stepped out of his patrol car.

She turned around just as he straightened from the car. The moment their gazes met, she smiled and for a second his mind stopped working. Full, red lips, porcelain skin, marred only by a rash of freckles over an upturned nose and the most amazing green eyes he’d ever seen. He found himself responding in kind.

“Hi.” Her husky voice had a hint of Texas twang.

Heat raced along his nerve endings. “Hi, yourself.”

Her eyes widened slightly at his flirtatious tone, then she laughed. And not a simple little giggle, a flat-out belly laugh.

“I’ve been accused of having a sense of humor from time to time, but I rarely get that kind of reaction from saying hello.”

“I’m sorry, this is just too funny.” She snorted a few times and visibly tried to get her mirth under control. “Wait until I talk to Jed. He’ll get a real kick out of this.”

The mention of his lifelong best friend had his mind reaching a conclusion his body didn’t want to accept. He shook his head. “Thea?”

“In the flesh.” She stepped forward and gave him a quick hug. The feel of her warm curves pressed against him had his blood heading south before she broke the brief contact.

He cleared his throat trying to get his hormones back under control but didn’t have much luck. “I had no idea you were back in town for a visit.”

She cocked her head to one side. “I never said I was here for a visit.”

Oh, yeah, now he could remember that smart mouth. It’d gotten her in more than one argument in school, and with her brother. And if she thought someone wanted something from her, she would make dang sure they didn’t get it.

“Jed didn’t mention you were coming into town.”

She snorted. “Sorry. I forgot to check in with my warden, but Jed doesn’t know. I mentioned I was moving back to Texas, I just hadn’t said where.” She shrugged. “When I decided, he was unreachable.”

On assignment undercover for the Texas Department of Safety is what she meant. “Yeah, he said something about being gone for a while the last time we talked.”

“Anyway, I gotta get going. I’m staying with Gwen Childress and I want to get there before she has to run out for some parent’s meeting or something at the school.”

“Thea, it’s Friday night, in October.” When she looked at him strangely, he said, “Football, darling.”

“Oh, yeah, well they have that in Georgia too, but when you live in a big city…it’s just a little different. And I know Gwen doesn’t like to miss any school events.”

She leaned up on her tiptoes, brushing her lips against his cheek. For a moment, his heart almost stopped at the soft feel of her mouth against his flesh, the spicy scent of her clogging his senses. When she stepped back, he drew in a deep breath, trying to calm his reaction.

“See ya around, Duncan.”

A moment later, he was watching her taillights as she drove down the street. He rubbed the tight ball in his stomach and willed away the attraction. It wasn’t that dating a sister of a friend was that off limits, but seeing that he practically grew up as Thea’s surrogate older brother, it seemed somehow…well, not right.

Sliding into his car, he decided to head back to the office to see if he could locate Jed. It’d be interesting to find out if Jed had any ideas why his sister might be back in town.

* * * *

Thea dropped the last of her three suitcases on the floor in Gwen’s guest bedroom and then collapsed on the bed closing her eyes. She wasn’t unloading all the pots and pans she’d brought. Those dang things weighed a ton, and even if they were her pride and joy, she figured it wouldn’t hurt to leave them in her vehicle until she moved to her rental house.

God, she was tired. It wasn’t enough that she’d driven the six hours from Vicksburg and looked horrible, she had to run into Duncan Perry. She sighed.

BOOK: Her Mother's Killer
6.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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