Dangerous Christmas Memories

By: Sarah Hamaker


A witness in jeopardy...

and a killer on the loose.

Hiding in witness protection is the only option for Priscilla Anderson after witnessing a murder. Then Lucas Langsdale shows up claiming to be her husband right when a hit man finds her. With partial amnesia, she has no memory of her marriage or the killer’s identity. Yet she will have to put her faith in Luc if they both want to live to see another day.





“I’ve been thinking about the night of the shooting. My memory is like one of those old reel-to-reel films that’s being restored. Sometimes the frames are out of order, but sometimes there are several frames intact together.”

“You’d tried hypnotherapy when you first entered the witness protection program, right?” Luc asked.

“Yeah, but the doctor blamed me for not remembering. He said I was intentionally repressing the memories.

I never went back to him.”

“When did Mac mention it again?”

“When we were going over my initial witness statement to prepare for the trial. He asked if I would be willing to undergo hypnosis again. I agreed, as long as it wasn’t with the previous doctor.”

“Who else would know you were considering hypnosis again?”

“You don’t think it’s a coincidence that someone is trying to kill me now that I’ve resumed hypnotherapy?”

“No, I don’t.” Luc kept his voice low, his eyes never leaving her pale face. “I think someone doesn’t want you to recall any more details about what happened that night.”




ONE


Priscilla Anderson set the blow-dryer on high and aimed the heat at Nancy’s damp hair with one hand, a round brush in her other hand to smooth the slightly curly hair. Thank goodness the noise of the dryer meant Priscilla didn’t have to pay attention to her client’s incessant chatter. Today Nancy gushed about her recent trip to the Bahamas with her third husband over Thanksgiving. As she straightened Nancy’s hair, Priscilla concentrated on keeping her hands steady enough that Nancy wouldn’t notice she wasn’t her usual self.

Priscilla clicked the dryer to a lower setting and began shaping the long bob to curl gently under Nancy’s cheekbone. She sucked in a deep breath, letting it out slowly in an attempt to soothe her jitters as she sent up a silent prayer. Lord, please keep me calm and safe from the man I think has been following me.

Turning off the hair dryer, she was relieved to see Nancy had her attention on her phone. Good, no small talk necessary for a bit longer. After touching the surface of the curling iron quickly to judge its heat, Priscilla put the finishing touches on Nancy’s hair.

“All done.” Priscilla exchanged the curling iron for a handheld mirror, handing the latter to Nancy to view the haircut and style as she swiveled the chair around for her client to view her reflection.

The older woman admired her hair in the mirror. “Perfection like always. I told my yoga class to ask for you if they wanted a world-class haircut at a good price.” Nancy smiled as Priscilla removed the salon cape with a snap. “You should move to one of those upscale places—your talents are hidden here.”

Priscilla shook her head as she walked her client to the front of Snippy’s, a chain of discount haircuts. “I appreciate your kind words, but this suits me just fine.”

Nancy sighed. “You are too modest for your own good. But then again, I’m happy to pay only twenty-five dollars for an eighty-dollar haircut!”

Priscilla ran Nancy’s credit card and handed her the slip to sign, glad that her hands had regained their steadiness. “Last time, you said you looked like a million bucks. I must be slipping.”

The other woman laughed as she gave the receipt back to Priscilla with a generous tip scrawled on the bottom. “See you next month.”

As Nancy exited the salon tucked into a strip mall, Priscilla caught a glimpse of a blond man in his late twenties—near her own age—lounging at one of the outdoor tables in front of the next-door coffee shop. She stepped closer to the floor-to-ceiling window, careful to keep her body partially hidden behind a decorated artificial Christmas tree positioned to the left of the front door. Unease coiled in her stomach like a strand of hair wrapping around a roller, tightening with a jerk as she recalled seeing the tall man behind her in a checkout line at the grocery store last night.

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