A GIRL WITH SECRETS: Eighteen-year-old Victoria, the daughter of inventor and visionary-genius Bill Faraday, was almost murdered by a stranger four years ago. She’s been trying to forget the incident ever since. When Victoria discovers something that might explain why she was brutally attacked, she heads home from college to uncover the truth. Then, she’s kidnapped. A GUY FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS: Sam’s just a poor kid from Toivo, an experimental utopia gone wrong, but he knows who Victoria is as soon as his cousin Craig drags her from the trees. He doesn’t want anything to do with what appears to be a revenge kidnapping, but Craig has a gun and needs someone to take the fall if things go wrong. A DESPERATE PLAN TO SURVIVE: Craig and his buddies imprison Sam and Victoria in an abandoned mountain cabin to await ransom. Putting aside mistrust for tentative friendship, Victoria and Sam conspire to escape together, and the close quarters ignite a startling attraction between them. Then they discover strange tunnels beneath the cabin. And what they find inside the tunnels proves more bizarre. With a plan in place to escape, freedom seems within reach. But Sam and Victoria are both keeping secrets about their past. And secrets can be deadly.
You’re never prepared for the sound of someone breaking down your front door.
The wood splinters, the sound like a bone snapping. The doorknob hits the wall. My adrenaline is a gunshot to my chest.
For a moment, I am perfectly still, the frog in the flashlight beam. My book falls onto the covers with a muffled thump. My hands are shaking and my vision is blurry. I can’t breathe right. This doesn’t feel real, but I know it is.
We have a security system, state of the art, but it doesn’t go off. Why doesn’t it go off?
More splintering sounds, a loud thud, a slam. Footsteps.
I hear voices.
I run toward the window. It doesn’t have a latch. It isn’t supposed to open. Of course not. I hit it with the heels of my hands, but I know the glass won’t break, because it is bulletproof.
They had to have heard that. I have to get out of here now.
I kick the glass so hard I fall back on the bed. When I push myself up, somebody’s in the doorway.
Everything slows down and becomes painfully distinct.
He’s not tall, but he’s muscled, with a blunt, square face. The dark shape of him in my doorway is foreign and wrong, like a spider in the shower. He’s blocking the hall, and behind him, I barely hear the shatter of things falling in the kitchen over the roaring of blood in my ears.
He’s looking at me, and I’m looking at him. My mind jumps ahead to what is going to happen next, but then I stop thinking about that because I’m not going to give up yet. The feeling surges inside me, a wave of fierce and terrible protest.
He yells something to someone in another room, but I can’t understand him. My brain has stopped processing language. Instead, I’m seeing the room around me. The exits. There’s no door out except the one he’s standing in. I can’t run through the walls.
The world slows down. Time feels like cement, and every eye blink takes a thousand years. I reach behind me and grab anything I can reach—a hairbrush. It’s the most worthless weapon in the world, but I clutch it to my chest like it’s a knife. I’m thinking, WHERE IS MY CELL PHONE?
I can’t breathe.
A girl steps into the doorway beside the guy. She has dark brown hair and a flawlessly beautiful face, but her smile is angry. A toboggan hat is pulled down almost to her eyebrows, and she’s wearing slouchy torn jeans. She’s chewing gum, and she blows a bright pink bubble as she points at me. Her fingernails are painted sky blue.
They come around the bed. I back up to the wall. My heart slams against my ribs.
Fight, flight, or freeze. Those are my options. I can’t flee, so fight or freeze?
I pick fight.
Kate Avery Ellison decided she wanted to be an author when she was five years old, and with hard work, determination, and the support of loved ones along the way, her dreams of telling stories for a living came true in 2011 with her first novel, The Curse Girl, and continued with her Amazon bestselling series The Frost Chronicles and numerous other fantasy and science fiction novels. She loves putting a dash of mystery in everything she writes, an ode to her childhood spent reading Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes, and she can’t resist adding a good twist in the story wherever she can. Kate wishes she could live in a place where it’s always October, but until that’s possible, she makes her home in humid Atlanta with her husband, son, and two spoiled cats. When she isn’t dreaming up her next novel or holed up writing it down, Kate can be found binging her favorite shows on Netflix, reading on her Kindle, building intricate train track configurations with her toddler, and playing board games with her husband and friends.