Dark Waterby Sharon Sala
The water is dark and cold....
Two decades ago, Sarah Jane Whitman's father disappeared with an embezzled fortune from his local bank, an act of betrayal that subjected his wife and daughter to a vicious scandal. Now a body has been pulled from its watery tomb, a body that is identified as Frank Whitman's. This grim discovery proves Sarah's father was/p>
The water is dark and cold....
Two decades ago, Sarah Jane Whitman's father disappeared with an embezzled fortune from his local bank, an act of betrayal that subjected his wife and daughter to a vicious scandal. Now a body has been pulled from its watery tomb, a body that is identified as Frank Whitman's. This grim discovery proves Sarah's father was innocent...and that the real thief got away with murder.
Now Sarah's obsession with uncovering the truth is making some people in Marmet, Maine, very nervous. Suddenly the prosperous citizens of this community are under intense scrutiny--including Tony DeMarco, who grew up with Sarah. But is the concern Tony shows for Sarah's safety genuine or is he hiding something dangerous? And can she trust him with her future as a desperate killer tries to shut the door forever on the past...?
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Read an Excerpt
By Sharon Sala
Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Copyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIf Avery Wheeler hadn't robbed an armored truck in Farmington, Maine, and taken a woman hostage, the state police would never have given chase when he headed north up Highway 27. He made it all the way to the outskirts of Stanton before taking a side road toward Flagstaff Lake. The police were only a minute or so behind him, and even though it was almost dark, he knew he wasn't going to make it to the Canadian border before they caught up with him. His plan, for the moment, was to get lost in the woods around the lake and hope for the best.
At that point he was wishing he hadn't dropped out of high school back in the seventies and had taken that job in his uncle's meat-packing business. Even more, he wished to hell he'd never laid eyes on the woman in the seat beside him. She hadn't stopped screaming since he'd shoved her in the car at gunpoint. Now all he wanted was to start this day over. But since that wasn't possible, he opted for making a new start, and to do that, he had to get rid of the police and that damned screaming clerk. As he rounded a curve in the road, he saw the opportunity to do both.
With the setting sun coming in through the driver's side of the windows and the dark water of Flagstaff Lake before him, he unbuckled his seat belt, lowered the window, then stomped on the gas. The force of the acceleration slammed both him and his hostage against the back of the seat. Gritting his teeth, he braced himself against the steering wheel while the decibels of her shrieks rose. Out of patience and time, he backhanded the woman into a state of semiconsciousness as the car went airborne.
The silence that followed was surreal. Even the sirens from the police cars seemed to fade. For Avery, everything began passing in slow motion.
The slight whistle of the wind coming in through the open window blew soft against his cheek.
The last rays of the dying sun glittered on the dark, mirrored water like broken glass on spilled coffee.
The soft moan coming from the woman's lips mingled with his own panicked breaths as the water grew nearer and nearer.
Then they hit. The impact was sharp and jarring, and Avery wondered how something so fluid could be so hard. The displaced water sent a ten-foot spray into the air, and then the car began sinking, faster than he would have imagined. When the water began spilling in through the open window, his heartbeat accelerated, even though this was exactly what he'd planned. He reached into the seat behind him and grabbed the bag with the stolen money. As he did, the woman he'd taken hostage began to come around.
A thin trickle of blood was coming out of her nose from where he'd hit her, and when she reached toward her face, it smeared across her cheek. She opened her eyes in blank confusion, then reached down for her seat belt, brushing at the water on her clothes as if it was dust. When it wouldn't come off, she looked up at him with a wide, frantic stare.
"Can you swim?" he asked. She shook her head no. "Sorry," he muttered, and pushed the front seat all the way back to give himself more room in which to maneuver out the window. She was going to drown. There was nothing he could do about that.
"Don't leave me!" she screamed, and grabbed at his arm.
He hit her with his fist. Her head snapped backward from the blow as she slumped down into the seat.
"You'll thank me later," he muttered. At least her death would be painless.
As he started out the window, the car began to flip. Panicked, he slung the shoulder strap of the bag over his head and began climbing out the window, desperate not to get caught in the sucking undertow. Twice the bag got caught - once on the gearshift and once on the side-view mirror on the outside of the door. Both times he thought about just letting go and saving himself, but he'd gotten into this mess because of the money. He wasn't yet ready to give it up.
Suddenly he was free, and the elation of the moment gave him renewed hope. He felt along the underside of the frame until he came to a wheel, climbed up on it and pushed himself off, praying that he was swimming up and not down.
The water felt thick, as if he was swimming in gelatin. He knew it was from the weight of the bag, but he was strong and a damned good swimmer. Moments later he surfaced, only to realize the sun had gone down. Treading water, he dared a glance at the shore. Although he could hear shouts from the police who had finally arrived, all he could see were the red-and-blue flashing lights and the vague silhouettes of the men as they ran back and forth in front of the cars. He didn't think they could see him any better than he could see them, but the knowledge that they might made him swim even harder. He swam and he swam, until his arms felt like lead and his lungs were about to burst.
Once again treading water, he stopped and looked behind him. The shore he'd come from was alive with flashing lights and the faint sounds of men's voices, shouting to one another. With a satisfied grin, he tugged the heavy wet bag to a more comfortable position and began to swim again. The opposite shore was nothing but a vague blur above the surface of the black water, but he could see one small light - probably someone's porch light - through the trees. He fixed his eyes on that light and began to stroke.
Excerpted from Dark Water by Sharon Sala
Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Meet the Author
Adventure is more than a code word to USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Christina Skye. The globe-trotting China scholar has savored snake meat in Shanghai and tracked obscure folk art in Canton. She shoots firearms, treks off-road on her motorcycle and hikes mountains with equal passion. For her devoted readers she serves up a signature blend of action, high-tech adventure and romantic suspense with "snappy dialogue" and an unerring ability to keep "the narrative energy high and the pacing swift," according to Publishers Weekly.
Her twenty-two novels have earned impressive spots on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list, four weeks at number one on the Waldenbooks Romance Bestseller list, and repeated positions on USA Today's bestseller list. After Skye received her doctorate in classical Chinese literature, she wrote five internationally acclaimed art and cultural guides to China while also working as a consultant to the National Geographic Society and the American Museum of Natural History. In 1990 her first novel sold to a publisher in six days.
Skye's books always feature smart, stubborn women (yes, even in her historical romances!) and tough men. She has written nine contemporary works of romantic suspense with police/military themes, six historical romances and a series of seven wildly popular paranormal romances set at a haunted English abbey. Currently she is working on the sixth book in her acclaimed Code Name series, featuring tough, smart women teamed with white-hot Navy SEALs. Adventure, humor and sizzling passion are her trademarks. Two of her Code Name books have been chosen as Cosmopolitanmagazine Book Club Selections. Code Name: Princess was also a Borders Best Romance of 2004 and Readersread.com Best Book of 2004. Code Name: Blondie stayed on the USA Today list for three weeks. Her books have been translated into eight languages.
In addition to frequent standing-room-only appearances at writing conferences and workshops, Skye has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including Geraldo! ABC Worldwide News, Travel News Network, the Arthur Frommer Show, Voice of America, Looking East, Good Morning, Arizona and Good Morning, San Diego.
While researching her latest Navy SEAL adventure, Code Name: Bikini, during the Authors at Sea cruise organized by Levy Entertainment, Skye scored an exclusive interview with the head pastry chef aboard a Carnival Cruise ship. She went behind the scenes, spending several hours in the galley learning the ins and outs of shipboard life. In addition to finding four great ways to kill her villain, she came away amazed by the staff's skill and dedication in a fast-paced profession.
When this bestselling author isn't testing her Jeep's transmission off-road, you'll find her at work on her next Code Name Navy SEAL adventure for HQN books.
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