A hurricane's a bad time to learn why people say 'no good deed goes unpunished'.
For Sergeant Ike Porter, a solo rescue of two citizens stranded in raging flood waters should earn him the final gold star on his way to a slot on
's new anti-gang task force.
When his victims' car slams into the rescue boat, both Ike and the tin can
passing for a rescue vessel sustain damage, leaving the three of them high and
far from dry. Georgia
It could be worse.
He could be Heather Harmon, the CERT emergency response volunteer who sees their plight and tows them all to safety. Heather thinks fast on her feet, but has no way of knowing the same tool she used to save the flood victims is fresh from a murder.
It isn't often a cop gets rescued by a civilian. Widower Ike is quickly smitten with this brave woman and isn't about to let the sins of her ex interfere with their future, but he doesn't quite know the solution to helping Heather let go.
...Or that rescuing a killer has made her his next unwitting target.
Picking up a cop boyfriend should be pretty handy under such dire circumstances, but as the bodies pile up and evidence of murder mounts against Heather, close proximity to law enforcement becomes a double-edged sword for them both. Sharpshooters like Ike aren't known for their Cassanova skills and he soon learns voicing your doubts is a real romance killer....
Heather distances herself from his protection, leaving the field wide open for the murderer to strike again, frame his heroic victim, and walk away clean. ...All while rubbing every bit of it in Ike's face. Heather and Ike's faith in God is strong enough to sustain them individually, but if they can't show some faith in each other, history will repeat itself. Heather will face off with a practiced killer alone, Ike may lose his last shot at love, but this time, he'll know he had the power to save her.
This book is a little different for me. It opens with the villain’s point of view. He’s not a light-hearted person, and the story’s about Ike and Heather thwarting his bad deeds, not about him, so we start with this sample a bit into the book, at the point where volunteer emergency responder Heather is working post-hurricane and thinks she’s seen a signal light at the river. She goes to investigate and finds Ike’s patrol car, but no Ike.
See? Nothing. No one. No cries for help. No trapped people. Just a long, wet, hike back up to the house.
Heather scanned the area and confirmed there was nothing, no one along the bank, and oddly, no one in or near the warm, rainproof safety of the patrol car. She jogged closer and noted an empty boat trailer attached to its hitch. With the blue lights behind her now, she peered at the river and looked across.
There it is.
The flashlight had come from this area. She waved a hand. I see you. You aren’t alone.
Now what? She had a trailer, but no boat.
Heather climbed into the patrol car; a fortified world of gears, lights, switches and computer relays not found in normal vehicles. In the midst of the gadgetry the more familiar shape of a hand microphone eventually caught her eye.
They’ll know what to do. “Um, hello?”
An immediate, authoritative response crackled through a speaker Heather couldn’t locate. “This is Spencer P.D. You are on a restricted band. Identify yourself.”
“Heather. Uh, Heather Harmon. I’m with Gwinnett CERT, but I’m in one of your patrol cars. It’s empty and someone’s signaling from the middle of the river, I think. Is your officer OK?”
“We haven’t been able to raise him on the radio for over ten minutes, Ms. Harmon.”
The tense voice on the end warmed a touch. “Heather.”
“I’m going to go to the bank and see what I can see. I think he needs help.”
“We’ll send someone as soon as we can, but tell him to sit tight. It’s going to be a bit, at least another ten minutes. Everyone is on priority calls. We’re finding a reroute, but no one is close to your location.”
“I’m sorry. Please repeat that. I couldn’t hear you. There’s a terrible noise coming from the river. It’s-.” Heather turned and peered at a rush of gray-white foam on the river surface. It surged up and forward, bending some trees and popping others from their footings. Limbs daggered to the ground like box kites in a death dive. Water washed large, shattered, pieces of all manner of debris ahead of it as if they were inflatable toys, but most of it moved too fast for her to identify. The energy of the surge seemed to rumble the very earth beneath her feet. Heather’s eyes tracked the wall of water and saw it shatter against a car, and then a small boat still bobbing on the surface-.
That’s where the light was.
“Oh no!” Heather gripped the microphone harder, as if it’d help the holder of the light and his companions hang on.
The gesture didn’t help
Christina one whit. “Heather? What is it?”
“They’ve been hit! There’s a boat. There’s, one, two, three, yes, three people in it. One had a hat on, but it fell off into the boat. This giant tidal wave just barreled downriver and slammed them. Could you hear them smack into the trees? The boat looks funny now, kinda lopsided, but they seem to still be floating, I think. It’s hard to see...”
Christina could acknowledge, Heather gasped again.
“Now a car’s headed for them! It’s going to crash right into them unless we can
stop it somehow. Is there anything in here that will help?”
Silence magnified the pause from the COM. (It’s not like police cars come equipped with laser guns capable of taking out moving targets at a hundred yards.)
Heather needed for them to have some sort of miracle equipment and pressed for answers. “Hello?”
“We’re thinking, Heather. The boat has a motor. If they’re still afloat, they should be fine. They’ll maneuver out of the crash location. Please stay where you are and keep us posted.”
Now you’ve lied to the cops, because the last thing you are is ‘sure’.
Heather scrambled around in the seat and scrunched low enough to watch through the back windshield. She had the bad habit of gnawing her lip when anxious, and would need plenty of balm on it tomorrow. “The car hit them! He nearly fell out, the one who had the hat. He’s much younger.”
“He’s fast. He was at the bow, but something made a horrid squealing noise at the back of the boat and he’s there. He’s-.” Heather sucked in air as she kept watching.
Father God, keep him safe.
“He’s crazy. He’s leaning out over the boat, doing something to the car. I can’t tell... Oh my stars! He’s gonna fall! He’s gonna fall in and be swept away in the current! There’s debris everywhere. There’s no way he can swim against this. No wait, they grabbed and held on to him. He’s back in the boat...”
The metallic screech of boat versus car scraped her eardrums again, louder, harder. It shrieked down Heather’s spine.
professional composure fractured. “What was that?”
“I don’t know, but it came from right by the boat, or it might be the boat itself. …It wasn’t good.”
“We’re trying to locate backup. Are they sinking?”
“I-.” Heather squinted. “I don’t think so. It’s very hard to see. What can I do? OH!”
“What is it?”
“Something’s trying to drag him under. His hand’s already down in the water. I think he hit his head. No. Maybe not... I can’t tell. It’s just too far away. I could see more, I might be able to do more from the edge of the water.”
“Understood. Stay where you are and keep us informed.”
“You don’t understand. I don’t like the way this looks. I could drive the car to the water, and still talk to you.”
“You’re alone. You don’t have a boat. Stay out of the water. The last thing Sgt. Porter needs right now is the distraction of his patrol car in motion.”
Heather drew a breath. That’s for sure. “Right.”
“What is happening?”
“He knelt down for a second, but he and another man have the motor back on the boat. The car floated away. It’s toast, downstream. I don’t …think anyone was in it.”
“They’ll use the motor to get to the shore.”
“Yeah. I think he’s priming it or something now.” Heather waited for the beautiful thrum of an engine catching, but nothing but the relentless, pounding, rush of water shrouded them all. “I can’t hear it. It might just be the noise of the river… No, it’s not starting.”
“It may take a moment.”
“Yeah.” Heather waited, and stared, and chewed on her lip.
Please keep them safe. Please keep them safe.
She keyed the microphone again. “Hello?”
“We’re here, Heather.”
“He’s signaling with the light again. He’s flashing it up the hill, where I was before.”
“They aren’t moving?”
“No, and I think he’s figured out I’m not there anymore. His light’s scanning the house we were working and blinking on the windows.”
“We’re trying to raise help. The storm…” A long pause followed. “…Heather?”
“You’re CERT trained?”
“Are you willing to see if you can help? You’re under no obligation...”
Heather’s breath blew across the microphone like a hard breeze. “I thought I was going to have to threaten you guys or something.”
“Start by signaling them so they’ll know they’re not alone. There’s a bullhorn in the trunk. There should be rope there as well.”
“OK. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Hang on. The river can rise without warning. If you get anywhere near the water, wear a life jacket. Do you see one in the back?”
“You are not to get in the water, under any circumstances. Is that clear?”
“There’s a camera feed near the center at the ceiling, do you see it?”
Heather turned forward, felt a button near the rearview mirror, and pushed. “I think so. Did that do anything?”
“That’s great. Thanks.”
“Hang on.” Heather cranked the engine, and pressed the gas. The powerful motor throbbed under her touch and the car whipped around with a solid, heavy, grace that surprised her. The empty trailer rattled and bobbed up and down behind as it bumped up on (and then off) the curb. She parked alongside the water.
Well, they know they’re not alone.
“Heather, there’s a spotlight to the left of your window. Do you see it?”
She put the vehicle in park and checked. “Yes. Wow, it’s bright. I’ve got them, three people, one with the hat, and two older people.”
The one with the hat has had a bad day.
Blood smeared his forehead, and he kept his right arm bent close to his middle, like he guarded it from pain. His left hand held the flashlight, which he dropped once the spotlight hit them. He squinted into the powerful beam from the cruiser, and she changed the angle a touch.
Now they’ve got light …but aren’t under interrogation.
…Sorry about that.
“He’s hurt! Sgt. Porter’s bleeding at the head, and I think he’s done something to his right arm.”
That’s just not right. His reward for helping people is to get hurt.
“We’re notifying the EMTs.”
Heather found the trunk release and looked for the PA system. She flipped a switch and jerked back as it squelched, sending a loud shriek that would’ve startled the local birds, if they weren’t already too shell-shocked from the storm. She leaned away from it and tried again. “Hello. Can you hear me?”
The light winked on.
“Flash up and down for yes, side to side for no, OK?”
Up and down.
“Great.” Heather paused. OK. Now what?
She chewed on her hapless lip. “Is the motor working?” Please go up and down.
Side to side.
“It’s OK. There’s rope here. I can haul you out.”
Side to side.
Why not? Heather sighed in exasperation. The bullhorn definitely helped, but half a conversation wasn’t working for her.
I can’t ASK why, just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions… Maybe someone’s so hurt they can’t be moved.
“Do you need to stay there?”
Side to side, very hard and fast.
…Does not need to stay there, with a vengeance. It’s something else. “Is it the current?”
Up and down.
“The boat can’t handle it?”
Side to side.
“The boat can handle it?”
Up and down, but in a far more half-hearted way than the first time.
The boat can probably take it, but there’s something else. So what’s the problem? “Can the passengers handle it?”
Up and down.
That’s a relief, but what in the world is the-. Heather sighed in exasperation, this time at the flashlight bearer. She cocked her head to the side in challenge. “You don’t think I can do this.”
“C’mon, you owe me the courtesy of a reply.”
Up and down.
Fatigue forgotten, her spine straightened. “That’s it? You don’t think I can.”
Up and down.
You are one stubborn flashlight in need of some enlightenment.
“I’m it. The police are trying to get here, but their ETA is at least ten minutes. Can you wait?”
“Can you wait?” Heather swallowed. Necessary questions could be so …blunt. “Hello?”
The light winked on, then went dead.
She pressed her lips together. Yeah, I was afraid of that.
Author's Note: A longer sample of RESCUE ME (We Have Escaped) which starts at the beginning of the book and includes all the insight into the villain’s evil nasty nature can be found here: http://kdharpbooks.com/autographed_rescueme.html#bookinfo
K.D. Harp enjoys world travel, volunteering, and educating people about the appropriate use of the phrase "Bless his heart," the original meaning of which has nothing to do with sarcastically calling someone a sucker or dimwit, and is properly used to imply a 'there but for the Grace of God' sentiment.
The BBA graduate of
loves truly smart female leads, and most of hers will MacGyver their way out of
some sort of situation whether it's jury-rigging a flamethrower with kitchen
supplies or finding new uses for a fire extinguisher to escape an inferno.
Bored and dismayed by the trend in fiction to equate genuine love with the pale
imitation of lust without personal investment, K.D. chooses to portray people
of character engaged with a world that lacks it. When they do it without losing
the physical passion and sense of humor God would give to them, it's a total
win.] Georgia State University
To purchase K.D.'s book:
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Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart