Date Published: June 2016
Alisha Woods knew she was in trouble. The situation was progressing. The harmless flirtation had long past intriguing and now bordered on terrifying. She had to take action, go on the offensive against her stalker. As she opened the door of Young Guns, she promised herself that she’d be ready when he came for her. She would survive.
Mike Lewis lived each day knowing that life could evaporate in a moment. Ghosts followed him, haunting his soul. He craved redemption, a chance to right the wrongs of his past. And when Alisha walked in, he recognized his chance at redemption. He would save her.
After everything Mike had done to prepare her, she thought she was ready. But as the blood spilled from her lips, Alisha’s mind raced for what she could have done differently…
She should have listened to Mike.
BLOOD KISS – Karen Tjebben Excerpts
I’ve included 2 longer and 2 shorter excerpts.
1. Mike waited for her to say more. He was a patient man. He knew enough about human nature to know that if he didn’t say anything she’d eventually fill in the silence. He tried to look relaxed by resting his arms on the table and interlocking his fingers, but inside a storm was brewing.
“He knows where I live,” she said soberly. She looked into Mike’s eyes for strength. Even though he was intimidating, she saw goodness in him. She hoped that he could be more than a shooting instructor.
Mike didn’t like the man knowing where she lived, but this information didn’t surprise him. If the guy had been stalking her for a while, he knew all sorts of things about her that would make her skin crawl. He probably even tracked her monthly cycle.
She sucked in a deep breath and began, “I was going out with some friends, but I needed to stop by my house to drop something off. I didn’t bother parking in the garage,” she said with a shrug of her shoulder. “I just pulled into the driveway and ran into the house. I didn’t even lock the car.” She tilted her head and rubbed her fingers over her forehead, as if massaging herself would delete the memory of that night. “I was just going to be inside for a minute.” She sat straighter and looked Mike in the eyes. She found strength in him even though he sat silently. “But a friend called. The plans had changed, and she wanted to update me,” Alisha added casually. She scoffed and gave him a sad smile. “When I went back out to the car, a stuffed animal lay on my seat.”
Mike read the tension in her face as her muscles tightened around her eyes and mouth. She swallowed more frequently and her breathing had increased as she relayed the information. He smiled, trying to silently encourage her, but what she told him made his heart pound. “He was watching you,” Mike said calmly. He didn’t want to scare her any more than she already was.
“Yeah,” she nodded. “He must have seen me get out of my car and run inside.” She shook her head slowly in disbelief. “He was there. He was probably looking at me at that very moment.” She shivered and looked through the window into the darkness of night. “I didn’t see him. I didn’t see anyone that I could even question. None of my neighbors were outside.” She
paused for a moment and then began again, “I don’t think he followed me. I think he was waiting for me.”
Mike nodded slowly. “He was there.” Mike knew how to hide. He could disappear in a jungle, desert, or city. Disappearing was one of his strengths, but he didn’t like hearing that the stalker could hide too. Most people would do something stupid and give themselves away: the shaking of leaves or the snapping of branches, wearing the wrong clothes for camouflage. There were so many things to consider when trying to disappear. “What did you do?”
2. Alisha Woods stared at the building. There was nothing special about it. It was just a typical strip mall with the typical stores: a nail salon, a Chinese restaurant, a postal store, a yogurt shop, and then one that seemed out of place in this neighborhood. She’d walked past the store countless times on her way to the Chinese restaurant, but she’d never bothered to go in. She’d never needed to.
She gripped the steering wheel, rested her head against her forearms, and exhaled loudly. She didn’t know why she was so hesitant to go in there. Maybe it was because she didn’t want to face the reality of her situation, but living in denial wouldn’t make her any safer. Denial only compounded the problem that was being denied.
She’d done her research. She’d even filled out the appropriate paperwork while she weighed the pros and cons. But as time ticked on and the situation seemed to progress, she couldn’t deny the fact that she wanted to feel safe. And now, staring at the store, she hoped that Young Guns would do that. Make her feel safe.
Alisha turned off the car and dragged her purse across the seat as she got out. She shut the car door with more force than necessary, squeezing her eyes tight as the door slammed. She really needed to stop doing that. She dropped her key fob into her oversized purse and slipped it casually over her shoulder. She could do this.
Alisha took a quick look around. Nothing seemed unusual. A father held the door open for his family as they entered the restaurant. A mom with a troupe of kids came out of the yogurt shop, and an older lady entered the nail salon.
Alisha was tired of this paranoia, constantly looking over her shoulder. She hated feeling like she was being watched, but she couldn’t deny it. She was being watched.
3. As he waited, he couldn’t get the image of the dumb oaf out of his head. He closed his eyes and tried desperately to imagine her face, but the only vision that came to him was of the brute’s hands and mouth on her.
Did she enjoy it? Did she want to have sex with him?
Rage overtook him. He’d been patient, waiting for the right time to declare his love for her, but the grains of hope that sustained his love for her were slowly slipping through the hourglass. The emotion that filled the void was desperation.
He pressed his fingers into his temples and breathed deeply, trying to calm the storm that raged within him. He had to get a look at her, so he decided to do one last thing.
4. Pacey gripped the steering wheel as a bead of sweat trickled down his face. His nerves skittered through him like a rat on crack. She’d spent a long time in Young Guns. What were they doing to her in there? He couldn’t just walk in and see if she was all right. He had no reason to be here, and she may get suspicious if he just showed up out of nowhere. So he sat there, waiting for her to reappear as he chomped on Tic Tacs.
Nausea nearly overtook him as he waited, but then her smiling face exited the store. Her beauty outshone the evening sky as the sun spread its final glorious colors. The nausea subsided for a brief moment, but then he saw him. A huge monster of a man followed her out to her car. The oaf put what looked like a safe in her trunk. Pacey nervously tossed a few more Tic Tacs in his mouth as the two stood and talked for a few moments.
Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, and two hamsters. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her new career in writing. She loves to create worlds filled with unique creatures that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters' eyes.
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