“When Secrets Strike” by Marta Perry (HQN Books)
Another flash of lightning, crash of thunder, and the skies opened, not in a gentle rain but a torrent soaking Sarah as if someone had emptied a bucket of water over her head. She gasped, realizing it had startled the intruder, too, and for a precious second his grip loosened.
Sarah lunged forward, reaching out toward the door. Her fingers brushed a rope…brushed and clung. The bell. Even as his hands tightened on her throat, she yanked. The bell clanged, again and again. The clamor drowned even the rumble of thunder—anyone who heard would know it was an alarm. Lights began to go up in the houses—dogs up and down the valley took up the chorus.
She was thrown forward, crashing into the porch rocker, losing her grip. But the alarm was given. Voices—distant, calling. She sucked in a breath, trying to roll away from the blow she feared was coming.
But it didn’t. When she looked, the attacker was gone.
(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)
Good luck to Marta and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.
It’s not too late to register for the conference. Visit http://www.njromancewriters.org/ for more information and to register. Registration is open until October 4th.