Karen Barnes’s life is simple, just the way she likes it, surrounded by horses and the mountains of Laramie, Wyoming. She is well aware the longing for adventure can lead to blood and death, a hard lesson taught during her one, and only, tour in Iraq almost a decade ago.
A stranger approaches Karen about boarding a famous horse foaled in her stables, making her instincts go on high alert. She knows for a fact the stallion’s owner would never sell Five Alarm, the US Reining champion worth a hefty ten million dollars. In ten minutes the stranger confirms her worst fears, launching her into weeks of torment at the hands of her kidnappers.
Armed with a spine of steel, she steals a truck and trailer, rescuing another victim, and recovering Five Alarm, but the ordeal is far from over. The kidnapping was a cover up for espionage. Trusted contacts join the fray, and in the end, pay for their loyalty by dying for her safety. Others aren’t so trustworthy, and as the truth is brought to light, she is betrayed yet again.
Safety and freedom come with their own emotional shackles. She had the courage to fight the battle, but can she live with the aftermath of the carnage, or survive the fractures to her mind?
Born in Anchorage, I’ve lived … well … everywhere. From the Arctic Circle to a block from the beaches in Florida. I speak fluent Arkansas Hillbilly, make a mean gumbo, can sew when necessary and am a whiz at packing.
You’ll generally find a Muse snuggled to my hip, the other one laying across my shoulders and Editor Kitty staring at the screen, waiting for the red ink to make an appearance. Once it does, he lays across the keyboard purring.
The family brags about the latest compromising position I’ve been found in, trying to figure out how to truly describe “legs all akimbo” or if falling on the couch could truly land a body in a certain position. They ignore my yelling at characters on the computer screen, and are forgiving when I accidentally write past the time for them to eat. It’s one way of teaching the teenager to cook …
Copyright © TJ Loveless 2013
Stockholm Syndrome. Two words I hated, loathed and wanted erased. But here I sat, the therapist repeating the words over and over, telling me I had to understand their meaning in order to move forward. Stockholm Syndrome, the two words would explain everything, help me on the road to recovery.
Memories refused to hide, surfacing and causing physical reactions I wasn’t going to tell the court ordered therapist. She wouldn’t understand, and it sure wasn’t going to help.
I had to pretend, to nod and try to listen. The situation was my fault in many respects, and she could blame Stockholm all she wanted.
Fuck them. It had nothing to do with Stockholm, but everything to do with the violent, sadistic, serial killer currently sitting in prison, the new and still bright pink scars dissecting my face and trickling down my back, and a horse worth ten million dollars.