Colton On The Run

By: Anna J. Stewart

Where is Skye Colton?

One woman’s disappearance rocks Roaring Springs

When he finds a half-dead woman stranded in his barn, rancher Leo Slattery feels his blood run cold. Though she can’t remember who she is, she insists someone is trying to kill her. With his strong protective streak, Leo brings her into the fold and helps her heal. As they begin to solve the mystery of Jane Doe’s identity, a would-be killer works to eliminate her—forever.

Her blood ran cold.

Spinning lights—red and blue—cut through the night.

Fear clamped hard around her throat. The sob that erupted came up from her toes; a chill of terror arcing through her as if she’d stuck her finger in a socket. Not that way. Not that...

Irrational terror shot through her. She spun around, ready to dart across the road, race away in the opposite direction. The sound of squealing brakes, the flash of bright white paint and blinding headlights had her shielding her eyes. The truck skidded to a halt, veering slightly, but not enough. The front bumper grazed her thighs and she jumped back, frozen as she stared through the windshield. The shocked gaze of a teenager stared back at her. Breathing ragged, she backed away.

He shoved his door open, jumped out of the truck. “Are you all right? I’m so sorry. I didn’t see... Hey! Where are you going? I think you might be hurt!”

She ran. She ran as fast as she could. Ran away from the truck. Ran across the road and scrambled into the protection of the trees.

Away from the spinning, colored lights she feared more than the night.

* * *

The Coltons of Roaring Springs: Family and true love are under siege

* * *

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Dear Reader,

Long before I became a Harlequin author, I was a voracious reader of nearly every line, but especially the Romantic Suspense line. A few years ago, the impossible dream of writing for them became a reality. This past year, another came true when I was asked to write for the Colton series.

The unexpected is a pretty big theme in Skye Colton’s story. But if there’s one thing we know about all the Coltons, it’s that they’ve never met a challenge they didn’t conquer. Despite her situation, Skye is plowing ahead...just uncertain of whether she wants the life she left behind, or a new one with Leo Slattery.

Local rancher and down-to-the-bones good guy Leo might be the first person to see Skye for who she really is. Their meeting becomes a crossroads—do they forge ahead together or return to the very different worlds they’re each from? Well, it is a romance novel, so I bet you can guess how it ends. But how they get there? That’s the fun part. I hope you enjoy Leo and Skye’s journey as much as I loved writing it.

Happy reading,

Anna J

Chapter 1

A thin beam of sunlight streamed against her aching, heavy lids.

She blinked. The simple, ordinary action sent blades of pain slicing through her head. Her stomach churned as bile rose in her throat. She cried out, but the sound barely reached her own ears, caught behind the taut tape stretched across her mouth. Her eyes widened before blurring against the dim light. She tried to tug her arms forward, but they wouldn’t move. Her wrists strained against the rough rope wrapped so tight she couldn’t feel her fingers.

Her mind cleared, but in stages, slowed by the pain and confusion coursing through her. Her ears buzzed. Her head throbbed. Gray tinged the edge of her vision as she tried to hold on to consciousness.

Something harsh and scratchy scraped against the side of her face as she rolled from her side onto her back. The smell of rotting, moldy hay and old dirt made her choke and lose her breath. Above the ringing in her ears, she heard the chill-inducing scrapings of tiny paws and claws skittering as creatures darted back to their hiding places.

Other than that... She took a deep breath and held it. The world pounded in silence.

Her heart vibrated like a jackhammer against her chest, competing with the earsplitting thudding in her head. Long tendrils of hair caught across her sweaty face and obscured her vision as she winced up at the gaping, worn holes of what must have once been a shed.

She turned her head, scanning the room in the dimming light. Old, warped slats of wood sagged against one another as if about to surrender. Rough, uneven, knotted planks gouged splinters into the sides of her hands, through the fabric of her shirt and deep into the skin on her back as she shifted position. The more she moved, the more every inch of her body ached and burned. Angry, frightened tears she couldn’t hold back trailed down her cheeks. She closed her eyes, desperately searching her memory for how she’d gotten here. What had happened? Where was she? Who had done this to her?

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