Someone Is Watching
Ella, sweet Ella, I dream of you at night and wake in a cold sweat. You were meant to be mine. You can't even begin to imagine all the things I want to do to you. When the time is right, I will come for you. And that is only the beginning of my revenge… Waiting
When Ella Porter opens the mysterious letter, a mix of fear and desire spreads through her. As the pampered daughter of a prestigious southern family, she's always been the quiet, ladylike good girl, not the sort to inspire a stalker. The letters are a reminder of another time, a shocking secret, and of Reed Conway, the man her own father convicted of a brutal murder. But now, Reed is back in town. The shadows seem to move. And the ominous letters have begun again. Wanting Her…Dead
Someone is watching Ella. Wanting her. Promising to do things to her: tempting things…terrifying things. Desperate to protect her family, Ella will do anything to discover the truth, even if it means joining forces with the one man who could be her greatest threat—a twisted killer is watching every move she makes ...Chapter Two
"You can save that smile for someone who doesn't know you the way His Mama's house wasn't much to look at, but it was home. And anywhere outside, even a two bedroom, one bath shack, had a prison cell beat six ways to Sunday. He hated knowing that his mother and sister had spent the past fifteen years here. One of the reasons when he'd been eighteen that he had wanted to make it big, to be a success, was so that he could take care of his mother and Regina, give them a better life. But he had failed them both and left them to fend for themselves. If he had things to do over again, would he—could he—do anything different?
When they'd first arrived at the house this afternoon, he'd noticed the repairs that had been made on the place. New paint on the interior and the exterior gave the structure a decent appearance. Inside homemade covers for the threadbare sofa and chairs and handmade quilts used as bed coverlets added a touch of hominess to an otherwise drab house. And his mother kept her home as spotlessly clean as she did the Carlisle mansion. Damn! After all these years, she was still slaving away as the housekeeper to people who weren't fit to kiss her feet. He intended to find a way to change things, to move his family out of the white trash area of Spring Creek. Once he settled some old scores and set the record straight, he'd find a job outside Spring Creek and take his mother and sister with him.
Strange how he felt confined sitting here in his Mama's living room. A restlessness stirred inside him, a need to run free, like an untamed animal. Every once in a while Briley Joe would nod toward the door, a hint that he wanted them to be on their way. But Reed couldn't bring himself to cut short his homecoming party. Mama had fixed all his favorite foods. Regina had hung a welcome home banner, edged with yellow ribbons, over the double doorway leading from the living room into the kitchen. And his sister had used balloons here and there to add a festive touch. Summer flowers from the beds that lined the walkway graced the center of the old wooden kitchen table.
"That was a fine meal, Mrs. Conway." Mark Leamon smiled warmly at Judy as he stood. "I appreciate your inviting me to join your family celebration."
"After all you've done to help Reed, it was the least I could do," Judy replied, then glanced at her daughter. "You know you're always welcome here. Isn't that right, Regina?"
Regina smiled shyly as color flushed her pale cheeks. "Of course. But Mark already knows that. This isn't the first time he's had dinner with us."
Reed couldn't help noticing the way his little sister looked at Mark Leamon. The way a woman looks at a man she cares about, a man she loves. Even though Regina was nearly twenty-six, he'd continued thinking of her as that same scared little girl who'd run into his arms screaming when she escaped from Junior Blalock's clutches. Although she had visited him when he'd been in prison, he'd never really looked beyond those big blue eyes and sweet smile to see the attractive young woman she had become. Maybe big brothers didn't like to think of their little sisters as adults, as sexual women who would want to be with a man.
Regina was a knockout. The kind of girl men would always look at a second time. A mane of golden blond hair hugged her shoulders.
She was tall and curvy. China doll beautiful. How was it that Mark hadn't picked up on the signals Regina was putting out? Unless he was the most dense guy in the universe, it was only a matter of time until he figured out that she was his for the taking.
Reed knew he'd have to do something about the situation before that happened. It was clear as glass—his little sister had the hots for her boss. Poor girl. Didn't she realize that she'd set her sights a little high? Mark was a member of the upper echelons of local society. He was, after all, related to Senator Porter. A first cousin, once removed. He might offer Regina a hot affair, but when the time came for Mark to choose a wife, he'd pick one of his own kind.
It wasn't that he disliked Mark. The exact opposite was true. The guy had done everything in his power to help Reed, even agreeing to work with him to unearth more facts about Junior Blalock's murder and to do what he could to get the case reopened. Mark was one of only a handful of people who actually believed that Reed hadn't killed his stepfather. Sometimes he wondered if his mother really believed he was innocent.
Reed lifted the ice tea glass to his lips and took a hefty swig, then stood and shook hands with Mark. "Once I get settled in, I'll be in touch and we can start the ball rolling."
Judy gave Reed a curious stare, but didn't question his comment. Not then. When Regina walked Mark to the front door, Reed leaned down and whispered a comment to his mother.
"You need to put a stop to that before Mark realizes how easily he could have her."
Judy shushed Reed, then countered with a question as she stood. "Just what are you and Mark up to?"
Reed draped his arm around Judy's shoulder. "Don't worry your pretty head about me. I promise that I'm going to keep out of trouble."
Judy glared at him as if she doubted his word. But then again what reason did she have to trust him? He had always promised to stay out of trouble, but somehow he'd managed to break that vow time and again.
Reed studied his mother. How was it possible that a fifty-year-old woman who'd lived such a hard life could still be so attractive? White streaked her natural light blonde hair, which she wore chin length and curled about her heart-shaped face. She was slender and leggy and probably didn't outweigh Regina by more than ten pounds.