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Authors: Kelly Miller

Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Kidnapping, #Suspense, #Crime Fiction, #Thrillers

Splintered

BOOK: Splintered
12.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

No part of this work may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.

Published by Kindle Press, Seattle, 2016

A
Kindle Scout
selection

Amazon, the Amazon logo, Kindle Scout, and Kindle Press are trademarks of
Amazon.com
, Inc., or its affiliates.

Other Books by Kelly Miller

Dead Like Me

Deadly Fantasies

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thanks to everyone who participated in any way to help bring this story to life. I couldn’t have done it without you. Any mistakes rest solely on my shoulders. In particular, I’d like to thank:

Jennifer Schusterman for suggesting the name Lily Eastin in my second annual Name a Character blog contest. Congratulations, Jennifer!

Officer Danny DeGrace for providing me with all the information I needed about SWAT maneuvers; thanks also to his wonderful wife, Tracy DeGrace, for always having an answer to my medical questions. Thanks for being my go-to team for every book.

Officer Greg Stevanus for the ride up the Hillsborough River. You gave me the insider’s look that enabled me to write my final scenes with such authenticity. For that I am truly grateful.

Patricia Stanton and all folks at the Temple Terrace Police Department, who gave me their time and imparted their wisdom. Thanks for letting me have a look around City Hall.

Carol Bright for an explanation of the inner workings of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Alison Goins for serving as my Temple Terrace tour guide. I had a great time researching the city that would serve as the backdrop for this book.

Angie Wolters for her extensive knowledge off all things having to do with roads. She knows more about gravel than any person should.

My critique partner Chris Coad Taylor for pushing me to make my story stronger.

My beta readers Alison Goins, Stephanie Mitchell Lockett, Marie Scicchitano, Dana Miller Terrigino, and Lisa Vogt.

My cover designer, Ida Jansson of AMYGDALA DESIGN, for creating the most stunning book cover I’ve ever seen.

My Amazon editor, for taking the words I’d written and elevating them. Thank you for all your insight.

My husband and children, for putting up with the countless hours I was holed up in my office working to make this third book a reality. I know it’s a hardship to have to share me with the characters in my stories.

My fans, who have always stuck by my side. I hope you like Detectives Parker and Wallace as much as you did Detectives Springer and Jessup.

This book is dedicated to all the people who voted for
Splintered
on Kindle Scout. Thank you for all your support. I couldn’t have gotten an Amazon publishing contract without each and every one of you.

CONTENTS

PART 1: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

(1) MADDY EASTIN

(2) DETECTIVE TERRANCE WALLACE

(3) LILY EASTIN

(4) DETECTIVE TERRANCE WALLACE

(5) HANK FRY

(6) LILY EASTIN

(7) MADDY EASTIN

(8) DETECTIVE TERRANCE WALLACE

PART 2: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

(9) MADDY EASTIN

(10) DETECTIVE TERRANCE WALLACE

(11) HANK FRY

(12) LILY EASTIN

(13) EMMA PARKER

PART 3: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

(14) HANK FRY

(15) MADDY EASTIN

(16) DETECTIVE TERRANCE WALLACE

(17) EMMA PARKER

(18) MADDY EASTIN

PART 4: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

(19) HANK FRY

(20) LILY EASTIN

(21) MADDY EASTIN

(22) EMMA PARKER

PART 5: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25

(23) LILY EASTIN

(24) MADDY EASTIN

(25) EMMA PARKER

(26) MADDY EASTIN

(27) HANK FRY

PART 6: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26

(28) LILY EASTIN

(29) EMMA PARKER

(30) HANK FRY

(31) MADDY EASTIN

PART 7: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

(32) EMMA PARKER

(33) DETECTIVE TERRANCE WALLACE

(34) MADDY EASTIN

(35) HANK FRY

PART 8: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

(36) LILY EASTIN

(37) EMMA PARKER

(38) HANK FRY

(39) MADDY EASTIN

PART 9: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

(40) MADDY EASTIN

(41) LILY EASTIN

(42) HANK FRY

(43) MADDY EASTIN

(44) LILY EASTIN

(45) EMMA PARKER

PART 10: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

(46) MADDY EASTIN

(47) EMMA PARKER

(48) HANK FRY

(49) LILY EASTIN

(50) MADDY EASTIN

(51) EMMA PARKER

(52) MADDY EASTIN

PART 11: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1

(53) HANK FRY

(54) MADDY EASTIN

(55) DETECTIVE TERRANCE WALLACE

(56) MADDY EASTIN

(57) EMMA PARKER

(58) LILY EASTIN

(59) MADDY EASTIN

(60) EMMA PARKER

(61) HANK FRY

(62) MADDY EASTIN

PART 12: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2

(63) DETECTIVE TERRANCE WALLACE

(64) HANK FRY

(65) EMMA PARKER

(66) MADDY EASTIN

(67) EMMA PARKER

(68) HANK FRY

(69) EMMA PARKER

(70) HANK FRY

(71) EMMA PARKER

(72) LILY EASTIN

(73) EMMA PARKER

PART 13: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1

(74) MADDY EASTIN

PART 1
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
(1)
MADDY EASTIN

The grumble of a heavy diesel engine alerted Maddy that only two minutes separated her from either a ride to school or another lecture from her mom about missing the bus. She slammed the front door and stepped into the sticky heat of a dark September morning. The moisture in the Florida air enveloped her, its thickness slowing her down. Or maybe the lethargic pace simply matched her outlook toward this dreary school day.

The geometry book jutting out of the small hole in the bottom of her backpack cut into her ribs with every step. She yanked down the sleeves riding up her arms to hide the fresh marks. From behind her, a metallic grinding of brakes cut through the darkness. She reached the bus stop expecting to see the yellow beast that would drag her off to school. Instead, a fat guy hopped off the back of a garbage truck and lifted a recycling bin off the ground.

Dammit. I forgot to put the trash out.
Something else for Mom to complain about.

The bus was late again. Maddy wondered where Sabrina was—her friend usually beat her to the bus stop, but this morning she was a no-show. Maybe Sabrina’s cough had turned into something more serious.

Lucky. Now she will have an extra day to study for our geometry exam.

Maddy had thought about playing the sick card this morning, but she knew there was no way her mom would have believed the act. And the only thing Maddy dreaded more than geometric theorems was cleaning the toilet.

Bending down on one knee, Maddy swung her backpack to the ground. She squinted through the murky haze of the nearest streetlight and fumbled with its zipper.

Why we moved us to this dump of a neighborhood is beyond me.

Half the streetlights were burned out, including the one directly over Maddy’s head.

The sun wouldn’t rise for another hour, but she still found herself wiping away moisture collecting near her hairline.

A soft squealing noise jerked her attention away from the task of rearranging the books in her bag. A van had pulled up to the corner—a real piece of junk from the sound of the roughly idling engine. The feeling of being watched caused a crop of goose bumps to pop up on her arms.

Really? Now a van has you spooked?

Maddy blamed the paranoia on those stupid stranger-danger videos her mom had forced her to watch as a kid. She could still hear the nasally narrator’s voice in her head, warning her not to get into a car with someone she didn’t know, and never to accept candy from a stranger.

Duh.

Maddy zipped her backpack closed and stood, still staring at the van. It’s not like work vehicles in this neighborhood were an unusual occurrence. Most days it was like playing
Mario Kart
, having to dodge all the trucks on the street. It seemed half the neighbors cut grass for a living and parked their trailers full of lawn equipment on the road every night after work.

The smell of burning rubber drifted toward her. The voice in Maddy’s head morphed into her dad’s and informed the idiot in the van that he should change the belts. Of course, the source of the smell could’ve been coming from an oil leak in the engine. Maddy couldn’t decide the exact cause. She’d always hated it when her dad forced her into the garage to help him tinker with the car. Even so, she’d give anything to have him back now, to complain one more time about the grease stuck under her fingernails or how impossible it was to remove oil stains from her jeans.

A muted flash appeared behind the tinted glass of the van’s passenger window. Someone still sat inside.

Probably getting his rocks off staring at my bare legs.

The window slid down a crack. A new scent skirted the air, a sweeter smell that caused a craving to wash over Maddy.

She strained her eyes, looking for writing on the side panel of the van. Nothing visible. She wondered if a workman had arrived early to a job site. The sound of a garage door opening down the street tore Maddy’s attention away. She turned, hoping to see Sabrina rushing toward the bus stop. The low light of the streetlamp illuminated a dark figure pushing a garbage can to the curb.

Another rumble drew near. Maddy breathed a sigh of relief when she caught a glimpse of yellow passing between the houses and trees on the other side of the neighborhood. Her stop would be next.

She cocked her head to the side, realizing the smell of smoke was closer. Just as she turned her head, an iron hand clamped around her wrist.

(2)
DETECTIVE TERRANCE WALLACE

Detective Terrance Wallace stared at Maddy Eastin as she retold her story. Trails of tears dried on her cheeks while new tears formed in the corners of her eyes.

“The man grabbed you. Then what happened?” Wallace asked.

“I already told you.” Exhaustion marked her every word. “The guy pulled me back toward the van with one hand on my left wrist and the other on my waist. When the bus turned the corner he yelled, ‘Come help me, will ya?’ I figured he was hollering at someone else in the van, but no one showed up. The guy kept yanking on me, trying to drag me backward. I screamed and stomped on his foot. He let go. I ran toward the bus. The pervert jumped in his van and hauled ass away from the curb. I barely escaped.”

Once again, the girl broke down weeping. She had given three accounts of her story now, and each time she retold it additional details surfaced. Wallace couldn’t decide if they were actually forgotten memories or new embellishments. He’d seen it before when interviewing suspects. When the believability of a story was in question, new details were often added in the hopes that the explanation sounded more plausible. Only Maddy Eastin wasn’t a suspect.

The girl’s jagged crying had also gotten more drawn out and over the top with each breakdown. When her tears finally slowed, she grabbed another tissue and rubbed her eyes, streaking the already-smeared mascara. The tips of her straight, strawberry-blonde hair clumped together just above her shoulders.

BOOK: Splintered
12.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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