Excerpt from Books

Did you know that a child can be snatched in a matter of minutes?

Two staggering facts make interesting fodder for fiction.

And so Secret Sacrifices, a thriller, was born.

Maggie Brown’s ten year old secret is in danger of being revealed when her daughter Tracey is abducted. Desperate to find her, Maggie contacts Tracey’s biological father, Matt Sanford. The unsuspecting father uses his law enforcement skills as he would with any routine kidnapping case to help locate Tracey. Maggie and Matt rush against time in a powerful tropical storm to get to Tracey before she is taken away forever. While Maggie and Matt’s undercover journey leads them into dangerous twists and turns involving a devious Caribbean kidnaping ring and a bad cop, Tracey is fighting her own battle when she is brought into a questionable environment of abuse and uncertainty.

Maggie’s frantic search forces her to make decisions that could shake the stability of her private world. Tracey is faced with finding strength beyond her comprehension and Matt must decide if he is able to forgive.

“My hope is that the story will leave you with a smile from having been entertained. Enjoy!” CLH

Chapter One
Tracey felt the cold wet cloth pressed hard against her face, fully covering her mouth and nose. A sweaty hand gripped her arm. She tried to twist free, but a ten year old’s strength is no match for an adults. She felt dizzy and sick to her stomach. Then everything went dark.

Hours had passed when Tracey awoke lying on an uncovered lumpy mattress of a twin bed frame. Her feet were bound together and tied to the footboard and her hands were separately tied to the posts of the headboard. Frantic for her mother she searched the room but found she was alone. The room was dark from the heavy drapes that were pulled closed allowing only a small beam of light to show through the gaps on each side.

Panic waved through her as she recalled what had happened. She and her mother had been standing along the roadside watching the St. John Independence Day Parade floats slowly pass by. Tracey joined the other children running into the street to collect candy, noisemakers, and other trinkets that the people threw from the floats. A clown, walking beside one of the floats, tossed out handfuls of deflated balloons.

Tracey stopped to get a florescent green balloon from the ground. Just as she was about to pick it up, it moved two feet in front of her. She walked to it, and when she tried to snatch it, the balloon was jerked away from her grasp. She laughed, looked up and saw the clown pulling the string that was tied to the balloon. They repeated the game five more times until the clown disappeared into the crowd along the roadside. She could still see the balloon and when she stopped along the edge of the crowd to get it, she felt the large arms grab her and felt the rag against her face. Now, far removed from that moment, she could recall hearing the shouts from her mother to come back.

Tracey’s thoughts were brought back to the present with the smell of bread baking, coming from the other side of the closed bedroom door. The aroma reminded her of many Saturday nights when she and her mother made bread and soup and Tracey started to whimper. Spontaneously, she gritted her teeth to stop from crying. Her tenacity was synonymous with her red hair, the same shade that she had inherited from her mother. And even though she felt afraid, she was not going to allow herself to lose control; she would be strong like her mother.

Looking around the room, she noticed its tattered and worn condition, making her feel more uncomfortable. The faded flower printed wallpaper was peeling off in many spots exposing the bare wall. Tartan drapes hung over the tall window directly across the room from the bed. Only a few drapery hooks held the pleats to the rod leaving sagging gaps along the top. Unstained wooden floor planks, never varnished, bore a dark path from the bed to the door. The bedroom door opened slowly. Tracey wanted to scream, but her chest felt heavy and she couldn’t breath. The light from the room beyond made it possible for her to see only the small shadow moving toward her. Tears streamed down her face. As the shadow came closer she saw it was a child, a little girl, with hair to her waist.

“Evita.” A man with a deep voice called to the girl. The little girl turned sharply and ran out of the room leaving the door cracked open. “Wait,” Tracey blurted. But the girl was gone. Tracey stopped sniffling to listen and strained to see beyond the open door.

On the other side of the door, seven-year-old Evita ran to the lady standing at the kitchen sink known as Mama. Evita grabbed Mama’s skirt, wrapping herself inside. The woman gently patted the small child’s shoulder.

“There, there now. You know the rules.”

Evita shook with fear as Mama’s husband, Mister Killbane came toward her. All the children living in the house feared Mister.

“Mama, leave go of her,” he ordered. “Evita, come here.”

Evita peeked around the side of Mama’s skirt. Two other children stood silently at the kitchen table, waiting for the Mister’s Wrath.


June 2024