Authors: Becky Due
is the most realistic account I have ever read about a unique and scary struggle that confronts many women—and how to handle it. It keeps you on your toes and the reader begs to know what is coming next. An outstanding read!”
—Steve A. Kovacs
Columnist, Radio Talk Show Host and
Author of Protect Yourself: The Simple Keys
Women Need To Be Safe and Secure
and all of her other books, Becky Due embraces, encourages and supports women in our quest to become empowered and to finally get beyond our pasts and find the true happiness that we all deserve.”
—Melody Lee of Melody Speaks
Women’s Advocate and Public Speaker
is a thought provoking and exciting read. I was so engaged in the story that I wanted to rescue Rebecca myself. Both women and men should read this novel.”
Author of The Mystique of Love Unveiled
A Suspense Celebrating Women’s Strength
By Becky Due
Published by Due Publications
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, business establishments, locales or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2010 by Due Publications
Library of Congress Control Number: 2010900203
13 ISBN: 978-0-9746212-3-4
All rights reserved. No part of the book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.
First Edition 2010
Printed in the United States of America
Returning Injury, A Suspense Celebrating Women’s Strength
PO Box 883
Loveland, CO 80539-0883
Edited by: Jane Albritton of Tiger Enterprises and
Bevelyn McLise Park of Editors Ink
Layout, Book Cover and Production by: Craig VanWechel of VW Design
Rebecca was in a hurry. She had been cleaning out files the last few days, trying to better organize her office, because she planned to throw herself into her work for the four days Jack would be out of town on business.
“Honey,” Jack hollered, “it’s three o’clock.”
“I’m coming,” she yelled back, grabbing a stack of old folders that she still needed to go through and hurrying to slip them into a drawer. The bottom folder slid across the desk and onto the carpet, spilling its contents across the floor. “Ugh!”
She picked up the first thing she saw. It was a small card in an envelope, like the kind that comes with flowers. On the front of the envelope was a fancy R. She knew exactly who it was from and when she had received it. Her heart started racing. Wondering why she still had it, she opened it and read, To: Rebecca, An Angel in my Heart. From: Roy.
Jack peeked into her office. He was a clean cut, handsome man with brown hair and brown eyes. He was in shape with meat on his
bones, and looked great in his jeans. Rebecca thought he was the sexiest man alive, and no matter what he was wearing, he always looked like somebody important, somebody who wore a suit for work. “You ready, honey?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Distracted. I have a lot of work to do.” She tossed the card upside-down on the papers lying on the floor.
“Well, you won’t have me around bugging you for four full days,” he smiled.
Rebecca smiled back, grabbed her bag and gave him a quick peck on the lips. “I’ll miss you.”
“Sure you will.” He gave her a big hug. “You love it when I go out of town.”
“…but I still miss you.” Rebecca did like it when he left town. The house was always clean. She did what she wanted when she wanted. She worked when she wanted, slept when she wanted and ate when she wanted. But most of all the house was quiet, and Rebecca liked quiet.
Jack liked noise. He liked loud sports, speedboats and motorcycles. Rebecca liked reading, and she would rather go sailing or bicycle riding. Jack liked the TV loud, he liked to talk on the phone loud and he liked to be around crowds of people in bars, sporting events and rock concerts. Rebecca did like to turn up her hip-hop dance music while cleaning the house or working out, but for the most part, she would rather go to a museum or gallery or spend time at a library or coffee shop. Jack was an extrovert who
liked to keep busy and have fun, while Rebecca was an introvert who liked to spend time alone.
Jack switched gears easily when he was around Rebecca, and Rebecca switched gears when she was working. Rebecca was a go-getter and she loved the challenge of her work. She had recently started her own PR firm, and she took pride in getting her clients the recognition they deserved. Because of Jack’s support, Rebecca was able to be extremely picky about who she represented.
Jack kissed her again, on the lips this time slowly, tenderly. “I’ll miss you, too.”
Rebecca knew he meant it, because he always missed her. He really loved her. No one had ever loved her like Jack did, finally making her understand why people wanted to find love, be in love. She couldn’t believe how much her life had changed. “You smell great,” she murmured as she leaned in closer to his warm neck.
On the way to the kitchen, Rebecca grabbed Jack’s suitcase and headed for the garage.
“Wait, Reb, I got it.”
“I got it,” Rebecca teasingly snapped back, suggesting she was perfectly capable of carrying a suitcase.
“You’re so stubborn,” he said and tried to grab it from her.
“Yes, I know.”
He quickly got in front of her and opened his hatch. Before he had a chance to take the suitcase from her, she had already hoisted it up into the back of Jack’s white Porsche Cayenne.
“Thank you,” he said, playfully patting her bottom.
“You’re welcome.” Rebecca had always taken care of herself, which was one of the reasons Jack fell for her. And one of the
reasons she drove him crazy. Jack was so good to her, and she felt she didn’t do much for him in return. If she could carry his suitcase for him, fix a leaking toilet or put oil in his car, she was happy to do it. Plus, she recently learned that if you don’t use your strength, you’ll lose it. She remembered going out of town on a business trip herself and struggling to lift her computer bag up into the overhead compartment. That bothered her so much she started working out and lifting weights again. She loved feeling strong. But she had become a little lazy and comfortable after she and Jack were married.
It was gray and rainy on the hour and forty-five minute drive to the airport in Billings, and Rebecca was quiet.
“So you have a lot to do this week?” Jack asked.
“I do. My goal this week is to organize my office, clean out my files and become as paperless as possible. And I have to get more familiar with my new client Angie.”
“Who is Angie? What does she do?”
“She’s a writer and an advocate for women and children. She is doing incredible things. In fact, she sent me a packet full of what she is working on, her goals… I can’t wait to dig in.”
“Sounds like you’ll be busy.” He reached over and took her hand.
“You know, it’s crazy. I thought this move to the country would ruin my career, but instead I love having a home office and the space. I have everything I need: computer, Internet, fax and phone.”
“Oh, that reminds me, be careful when you take Lily for her walks. I saw another coyote close to the house.”
“Next to the trees off the kitchen deck.”
“Reb, you know the coyotes won’t hurt you, but just make sure Lily doesn’t get away from you. There’s been too many lost cats and dogs in the area.”
“Yeah, I know, it’s awful. Don’t worry. I won’t let anything happen to our baby Lily.” She lifted his hand and kissed it.
He pulled her hand to him and kissed hers back.
His phone rang, and he dropped her hand to answer it. Her hand rested on his thigh, and he tapped it as if to say I’m sorry. “Hello.”
Rebecca noticed that her hand immediately went into its nervous position, her thumb nesting between her index and middle finger, which reminded her of the joke adults used to play on children about taking off their nose or removing their other thumb. Trying to distract herself from Jack’s loud voice, she noticed her other hand was in the most nervous position—her thumb was between the middle finger and ring finger. She knew why; she most definitely knew why.
Rebecca remembered the night she was attacked by Roy Smythson. She was in Cheyenne at a friend’s house planning to spend the night, but she became overwhelmed with the feeling she needed to go home. So she drove the hour drive back to Fort Collins, unsure of what was pulling her.
Rebecca unlocked the front door of her upstairs apartment, her keys jingling. Her cat Buddy was not meowing on the other side, awaiting her entrance as she normally did. It struck her as odd, but
she continued inside. Buddy walked from her bedroom followed by Roy Smythson.
Shocked, Rebecca asked, “What are you doing here?”
Roy was somebody Rebecca had dated, but she hadn’t seen him for several months.
“Hi, how are you? I thought I’d surprise you,” he said, reaching out to give her a hug.
Rebecca put her hand up to stop him. “Give me my key!” she demanded. Suddenly it all made sense, the days she would come home from work and find things not quite the way she remembered leaving them. She’d thought she was going crazy.
“I don’t have a key. The door wasn’t locked. Here, check my pockets.” He stuck his hands in his Dockers pockets and pulled the insides out. “I don’t have a key. The door was open,” he said, trying to sound convincing.
“The door was locked. I remember locking it.”
“Well, I saw your landlord up here; maybe he forgot to lock it.”
Rebecca wasn’t going to let him talk his way out of it. He let himself into her apartment and back into her life uninvited. “Give me my key!” Rebecca said sternly, hiding her anxiety as she put her hand out again.
“Rebecca, I love you. Can we talk about this? I’ve really missed you. I want to work it out. Please, can I stay? Can we talk?”
“Where is my key?”
Roy grabbed Rebecca’s hand and led her to the couch. “Rebecca,” he said, starting to cry. “I want to tell you the truth because I want to make this work…” He took a deep breath. “Your key is downstairs in your mailbox. I took the extra key out of your desk drawer a long
time ago.” He reached out to her with his crying eyes begging her to comfort him.
“Rebecca, I want to come clean for us. This is really hard for me…” He breathed another ragged breath. “I followed you to work every day. I stayed at your place all day while you were working. I’ve been reading your journal.” He looked up at her. “I thought you were staying at your friend’s house tonight? You wrote that you were staying with your friend.” He paused then continued. “I’ve been through your garbage.” He put his head down. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” he sobbed, his tears pleading for sympathy.
Rebecca gave him none.
“It hurts me so bad, what you write in your journal about me. Are you really happy to have me out of your life? Am I really that bad? Can’t we work this out?”
Although Roy had made Rebecca nervous during the time they spent together, he was really scaring her now. There was nothing to save, in Rebecca’s opinion. They never had been in a relationship; they had only dated. And his oblivion to what he was doing and had been doing to her terrified her. Roy was stalking her.
Keeping her anger and terror hidden, Rebecca said, “Why don’t we start by you going downstairs and getting my key.”
He stood up and happily dried his tears. Prancing, he left her apartment in stocking feet and without his coat. She hurried to the door and locked it—this was her first mistake and panic kept her from fixing it. She was supposed to make the 9-1-1 call first, then go to the door and hold it locked until the police came. It was February and very cold outside. So Roy would be less likely to run without his
coat and shoes. He would be arrested by the police and she would be safe. Fear froze her as she stared at the phone across the room. Roy was out of her apartment and she was in control of the lock, but she was scared.