Click on image to enlarge.
by Diana Waldhuber
Description: The beautiful but haunted Aria Taylor-Jones returns to her small Australian home town after an eight-month absence to find the answer to a devastating question: had she witnessed a murder or committed it? All she knows is the truth is locked away within her missing memory of that fateful night. Grady Heller, brother of the murdered Lisanne and Aria's ex-fiance, finds he can't turn Aria away when she needs his help. Furious as he is with Aria for leaving him, he thinks he can help her through hypnosis, and he also wants to find the answers to his sister's murder. As they work towards unlocking her amnesia, someone starts stalking Aria--someone who wants her gone, and wants her memory to stay just the way it is--but she won't give in. She can't get on with her life until she finds out the truth. The danger around them escalates to terrifying proportions, and when Aria's amnesia is broken, the result almost costs her life.
eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, 2000
eBookwise Release Date: September 2003
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [370 KB]
Reading time: 242-340 min.
"The author successfully combines the two genres of romance and suspense in a tightly written plot, tense narrative and dialogue. She weaves in a collection of secondary characters who heat up the explosive situation. This is an exciting book which I highly recommend as a good read."--Bea Sheftel, Rhapsody Magazine
"Diana Waldhuber takes the familiar theme of amnesia and twists it into a fast-paced murder mystery romance. The undercurrent of sexual tension is strong as she deftly brings us into the point of view of both Aria and Grady."--Romance Communications
"This is an exciting suspense novel with a strong romantic element and sizzling sexual tension. The other characters add to the twists and turns of this plot as the list of suspects grows. The danger to Aria's life escalates to a page turning climax. Lovers of romantic suspense will enjoy this book by Australian author Diana Waldhuber. 4 Roses, Spicy!"--Escape to Romance Reviews
"Even though amnesia has become a favorite theme, this one got my attention from the first page. Ms. Waldhuber gives the reader enough subplots to conceal the identity of the murderer and the person terrorizing Aria until the end. 5 Stars!"--Scribes World Reviews
"YOU'RE GOING to have to die."
Lisanne Heller's body trembled at the softly spoken words. How many times before had she heard that voice? And now... no, she couldn't let it happen. She didn't want to die.
Icy dread knifed through her veins, filling her heart. Her lungs scrabbled for breath, but she desperately tried to hide it.
"This is ridiculous," she said imperiously, unable to tear her gaze off the gun pointed straight at her heart. "You're drunk, or insane. Don't forget. I know all about you."
"Oh, I know you do," the voice said, menace poisoning every syllable. "But I'm not going to let you ruin another life, Lisanne."
Her vision wavered as she clutched the bench at her side, her eyes still on the gun.
"Put that thing away," she snapped, her voice quivering as her knees locked. Keep talking, don't fall apart. "You'll injure yourself."
Lips crept tightly across even, white teeth. She narrowed her eyes, as the blood surging desperately through her veins screamed in her ears. What was wrong with her? She couldn't see the whole person, only bits... Face. Arm. Gun. The mouth, standing out, grinning like some decayed fish, and... oh, God... the hand. Lean white fingers held tight around the gun. Flesh and metal, woven together to form a deadly tool.
Her heart clenched as her bladder pressed painfully against her pelvis. Realization hit her hard.
She was about to die.
Lisanne shook her head. Slowly then wildly as if that could stop it from happening, as if shaking her head could summon God or someone... anyone... She turned and looked at the door, hope rushing through her.
"There's no help coming. I made sure of that. Besides, no one likes you much, Lisanne, I'll probably get a medal for this."
"Don't... please...." She forced herself to move, taking one agonizing step forward.
A cruel laugh, frozen like the Antarctic and just as barren, stopped her. "This is your fault... I tried to warn you, but you wouldn't listen. You have to pay for all your crimes."
"Oh, God!" The words were wrenched straight from her soul. No life flashed before her eyes, only empty, wasted prayers. Tears spilled down her cheeks. Her bladder burned.
The gun. Her eyes feasted on it. Beautiful and terrifying. She couldn't look away, couldn't move.
"Forget it," the voice said. "Good-bye, Lisanne."
Her eyes rocketed to the finger tightening around the trigger.
The sound boomed through her... so loud, so sharp... then pain ripped into her like the fires of hell. Hot urine streamed down her legs as she fell, hitting the floor. No pain after that, just a terrible waiting.
Darkness wove around her as she looked up into the eyes of her killer. So cold, so empty... The darkness ate everything around her. Sight, sound, feeling... fading... then finally, blessedly, nothing at all. * * *
"DO YOU KNOW where you are?" a man asked.
She looked up, eyes glazed. "Grady...." she murmured, her mouth feeling numb. "Where is he?"
"Waiting outside. Aria, where's the gun?" the man asked soothingly.
She stared up at him, scrunching her eyes against the harshly glaring white light above. She didn't know him, didn't know anything much at all. Inside she felt so cold, and haziness cloaked her mind. Where was she... ? What was happening? She looked down, surprised to see dark stains on her dress. Blood? Yet she could see no injuries, feel no pain. Experimentally she moved her arms and legs. Everything felt fine. If it wasn't her blood, then whose? She looked back up at the dark haired man. "I... I'm confused...."
"You're at the hospital. Now, please, answer the question. What did you do with the gun?"
She couldn't answer. Fragmented images slid in and out of her mind. Emergency number. Grady's. And the body. Dear God... the body....
What had she done?
Copyright © 1999 by Diana Waldhuber