by Sam Cheever
Dead End Job: When the only thing on tap is death.
A corpse discovered in a popular bar. An old acquaintance still nursing a mad-on from fifteen years earlier. And a cast of characters possessing secrets they’ll do almost anything to keep. It’s enough to make reformed (sort of) party girl Blaise Runa want to quit her dead end job. But in the meantime she fully intends to grab her sexy private eye fiancé and dig into the mess. Because she might be trying to adult, but that doesn’t mean she’s gotten any less nosy!
She struggled against her bonds, the ropes around her wrists chafing as she wriggled her hands to loosen them.
She’d been fighting to loosen the stupid things for hours…maybe days…beneath the foul-smelling bag they’d thrown over her head she’d lost track of time.
Nobody had come to check on her for a really long time. Nobody had brought her food or water. Nobody had asked if she had to pee.
Tears burned her eyes at the thought that she was going to die a long, agonizing death of dehydration in that horrible place.
It was cold and damp. Her clothing had grown heavy against her skin with the moisture. Water trickled nearby, tantalizingly close, and the smell of rotting vegetation told her it had probably been running for a long time.
Occasionally something skittered past, causing her to jerk her feet up until they were tucked close to her body. She made herself as small as possible, not knowing where danger would come from and unable to avoid it when it came.
Fear was an icy fist in the center of her chest, making it hard to breathe, even if the rope around her throat wasn’t already slowly choking her to death.
She sat as quietly as possible, trying to hear something…anything…that would tell her where she was. But in her panic she couldn’t hear anything except the constant trickle of water and the skittering of little rodent feet close by.
Beyond tears and exhausted from the emotional and physical mistreatment, she must have dozed off for a while. She was torn awake by the long, low boom of thunder. The air was thick with the smell of rain. A flash of light pierced the fabric of the bag covering her head and another thunderous groan soon followed. The storm was right on top of her. But when rain finally came, an impossible crashing of large, hard drops against the roof high above her head, she realized she was nowhere near the city.
If she were still in Indianapolis she’d hear traffic, horns honking, the occasional bleating siren. The realization brought tears stinging to her eyes again. She was all alone. Abandoned. With nobody to turn to for help.
A sob escaped and she slammed her lips closed over it. She wouldn’t give in to despair. She would find a way out of that place. And then she’d find a way back home.
She wouldn’t let them beat her.
No matter how low her odds of escape.
The darkening of the sky beyond the opening was all the impetus Blaise needed to stop feeling sorry for herself. If she didn’t get out of that well before it got dark she’d be working in pitch black conditions. She didn’t fool herself into thinking a fat, silver moon was going to cast light down the well to guide her way.
Her best shot was to get out of there while she could still see.
She shoved herself back onto the ledge and extended her legs again, pointing her toes until they reached the other side. Pressing against the wall, Blaise realized her toes were never going to hold all the way up. She arched her back and managed to flatten her feet against the wall. Happy she was wearing sneakers instead of her usual heels, Blaise took a deep breath and shoved against the wall with her shoulder blades, walking her feet up a few inches. Then she pressed her sneakers against the wall and, using her hands to help, shimmied upward a few inches.
Her back and calves started screaming after only going only a couple of yards.
By the time she’d gone half a dozen feet she was in tears. But by the time she was an arm’s length from the top the pain had become almost white noise in the larger problem waiting for her above.
As she’d neared the top of the well, she’d become increasingly aware of a crackling noise and the sharp scent of burning wood. The air above the well was dense with a gray haze she realized was smoke. But it wasn’t until the terrified shrieking started that Blaise realized what she was up against.
Somebody was trapped in the fire she could smell and hear.
Beneath the strident threads of pure terror in the chilling screams was a familiar note. Blaise recognized the voice. And it made her clumsy with renewed fear. Her feet slipped and, before she could stop herself she’d slid downward almost eighteen inches.
Blaise screamed in frustration and dug in again, determined to get out of that well to save Suz.
USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.
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