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A Marshall’s Courage
A Rescue Novella Series; Book 1
Publish Date: August 26, 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Danger is a part of life, at least in my line of work. I serve. I protect. I take down the men and women that would endanger the innocent. My Marine training led me to believe this would be an easy job. It was until Elayna Hart was dropped in my lap. After that, it was all up in the air.
Danger struck, and I had no choice but to do whatever I could to keep her safe. The attraction between us made it harder to focus, until I did the only thing I could. I ran away with her. We were off the grid with only two others for back up. If anyone came after her, we’d die to protect her.
Life is full of challenges – ones I have been able to meet head on. My path was straight until him – then it went upside down. Now I’m on the run from a man that wants to do more than crush my heart. My only hope is that the men who have agreed to protect me can do just that.
That moment: You see a face in the crowd. Your head tilts and your eyes go wide when you get a better look at the face. The ice cold feeling of recognition runs through your veins; time seems to move in slow motion before your heart starts to race in your chest.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
That’s the moment when you realize you’re seeing someone from your past that you thought – you hoped – you’d never see again. That’s when your world starts to crumble around you. Breathing becomes a chore. Panic. Fear. Desperation. You start to search for a place to run, to hide in plain sight. The questions start. How did he find me?
That was how it started for me. I’d been walking down the boardwalk in the small park that was minutes from the hustle and bustle of town. I wasn’t alone here, never would I be that lucky. Don’t get me wrong. I loved that I was looked after, but on a few occasions I just wanted space. That wasn’t a luxury I could have. Not now. Right now I had to think, I was far from safe with him this close.
The sun was on my face, and the chatter of the passersby filling the small area where I was walking would usually put me at ease after having a melt down. Today had started out as just a normal day; well, normal for me, someone on the run from a past she had longed to forget. Now with more and more things to add to the “I should give up” pile.
Until a year ago, I’d never been out of the small town I was raised in. Alabama was such a beautiful place… well, where I lived was. I missed it, but not enough to let anyone know I was alive, or where I was hiding from him. That was my sacrifice, my burden to bear. I had been snatched away by the witness protection team and moved in the dead of night into another small town that had so much character… and so much sunlight.
Being a witness to a robbery shouldn’t destroy your entire life, but it certainly wrecked mine. It may not have been so bad if I hadn’t have recognized the man holding the gun. The man who shot an innocent man for no reason other than stupidity and greed. His face had been shielded by a ski mask, but that deep baritone gave him away. The moment “Hurry the fuck up or I’ll blow your head off” left his lips, I gasped, uttering his name in what I thought was a silent rebuke. He looked my way and the man behind the register tried to grab the gun. My world flashed in multiple colors as I watched in horror. The guy’s hand reached out, Jonathan jerked back, and with a twitch of his hand the man’s head blew back, a coating of red spraying against the back wall. He was dead. I screamed and Jonathan attacked me. His hand wrapped around my throat, and I fought unsuccessfully to get out of his grip. Some noise distracted him for a moment, and I was able to hit his arm and slip out of his hold, barely. The sound of the sirens made him think twice about attacking again. He ran off, but not before warning me to stay quiet, or I was dead. Why he didn’t just shoot me right then and there, I don’t know.
Maybe he thought I would stay silent? I should have. My life has been turned upside down and rung out like it was just another piece of dirty laundry. But I couldn’t let that poor man’s killer go, no matter how I’d once felt for the man behind the mask. He was not the man I thought he was. No, he was a monster, and he needed to be behind bars where he could no longer harm anyone.
I guess through the bad, even this messy situation had its good points. Daniel, for one. He was… I had met him after relocating here. He was sorta like my welcoming committee. Now, ten months later, he is the reason I wake up smiling everyday. I need him by my side like I need air to breathe.
I never expected to see Jonathan again, not here, not ever, really. I thought that part of my life was over with, but obviously I was mistaken. How could I get away? That was all my mind could focus on. I had to run. Hopefully he hadn’t seen me yet. I saw him, but God, please let me be lucky, just this once. I slipped past a couple walking down the small path, so very thankful that I had worn jeans and tennis shoes today and not my normal shorts and sandals. I made it around the trickling brook to my left and urged myself to move faster. As I went up onto the main street which lead up to the parking lot – out of sight of the path – I took off running.
I needed to get to some place safe. I had a plan to do just that. They teach it to you when you join. You know, in the event your cover is blown or the ones after you finds you. Get to a phone, call your handler and stay out of sight until the agents arrive. My case was similar, but different at the same time since the boys had me hidden even from the Witsec people.
My feet pounded against the pavement. The sounds of people either moving towards the park or away from it were all I could hear, other than my own harsh breathing. I tuned everything else out, my mind focused on the task at hand. That task was getting to the Old Saw Mill Bar & Grille. It was a block over from the parking lot where my car sat, waiting on me to return. I had a key to the back door. It was where Daniel’s family would be. I’d be safe there. I could only hope like hell that Daniel was there as well. But after earlier, I wasn’t sure.
I turned the corner and something – someone – slammed into me. Hard. My head hit the sidewalk like a falling boulder. I looked up from where I had landed, blinking through the haze that covered my eyes. All I could see was beard and muscles… and the face of the man I thought was out of my life forever….
When my eyes did open again, albeit very slowly, they were foggy. I heard a faint beeping sound and I felt the pressure of someone squeezing my hand. I swallowed and panic set in. He’d found me.
I was going to die.
He’d finally win.
© Barb Shuler 2017
What Other’s Are Saying:
Love this book. There are some amazingly funny scenes, some heartbreaking scenes and some gut-wrenching scenes as well. This book has it all, from loving and passionate to suspenseful and scary. ~ Mindy, Goodreads Reviewer
My Own Nightmare ~ Somewhere I Belong ~ Shatter Me Whole
Genre: Dark Suspense/Thriller ~ Romantic Suspense
Wrangled By Love
Genre: Cowboy Contemporary Romance
**All of the above books are available in KU
~Meet Barb Shuler~
I’m a Carolina Girl by right and a Texan by birth. Best of both worlds. I have the brass sass to keep up with my Texas sized temper. Living and working in both states i’ve learned a lot about hard work, adapting to your surroundings and making the best of the path that you have been led down. My grandma Dollie once told me I would know what I was meant to do when it happened. She was right, as always.
As with most book lovers, I am an avid reader. Reading has always been a hobby – a passion, really and a way to get lost in other people’s lives, their drama and other worlds. It’s a private movie in your imagination that you get to cast and navigate through, at your own pace. Reading helps to expand the perimeters of one’s mind. That is what got me into writing. Writing has been something that I have done since I was a kid. If I had paper, I was writing. Nine out of ten times it made no sense but what are words if they are not to be used to your advantage? Words are a part of us all. Why not use them, right?
During the day I work as a ‘desk jockey’ and help the residents of my county navigate themselves around our little, but not too little country town. By night I am either blogging with my best friends, doing PA work for some of my favorite authors or fighting with the voices in my head. They can be stubborn at times. It’s a blessing and I am cherishing every moment. Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I want to make sure I live the day as fully as possible. For what is my creation, can become someone else’s treasure.
~ Connect with Barb here ~
Want to be a Misfit? Oh yes, you do!
My group will get teasers, excerpts and all the behind the scenes things of my writings before anyone else gets them.
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