THE CHRISTMAS WITNESS By Susan Sleeman

When a criminal threatened to kill Megan Cash if she testified against him, she didn’t back down. Years later, he’s out of jail and ready for revenge against Megan and her daughter. The only one who can protect them is the former FBI agent who broke Megan’s heart.

But Reid Morgan isn’t the same man—he’s now a widowed father with a harrowing past. . .and a heart more guarded than ever. Still, he’s the only one who believes Megan when she says she’s in danger. Because someone wants to make this a Christmas she won’t live long enough to forget.

Excerpt:

Norman Fowler was free to terrorize her again.

Icy-cold fear slid over Megan Cash. She’d imagined this day. How she’d imagined it.

Terrifying, breath stopping, the man who’d held her at gunpoint during a bank robbery coming back into her life. Now he was here, striding across the gas station lot, heading toward her car. Had he seen her? Worse yet, followed her to make good on his threat?

Averting her face, she considered flooring the gas pedal and fleeing, but where could she go?

Two cars in front. One behind. Three at the island to the side. All with nozzles feeding gas tanks. She was trapped unless she wanted to jump from the car and take off running, making herself even more of a target.

C’mon, Megan. Deep breaths. Maybe it’s not him.

She’d seen him hundreds of times in the twelve years since she’d testified against him. The pockmarked face with the long jaw jutted out in anger, a tattered Tacoma Rainiers baseball cap snug on his head and hiding long dishwater blond hair, thinning in the back.

Hundreds of times she’d been wrong. Had to be wrong. He occupied a federal prison cell for robbing the bank where she’d worked. But today was different. He’d served his twelve-year sentence and could be free.

A hard knocking on the window startled her, dropping her heart to her stomach.

“You want gas or what, lady?” the attendant’s voice shot through the open window.

She’d make a small purchase so she didn’t draw attention to herself. When the cars in front of her moved, she’d race away. She fished through her wallet and withdrew her credit card. Keeping her face averted, she slid it through the gap at the top of her window.

“Ten dollars. Regular.” She shrank back and watched in the mirror as he went to pump her gas.

Who knew Oregon’s law forbidding consumers to pump gas might save her life. With Fowler advancing across the lot, her car provided better cover than standing next to the pumps.

“Hey, dude,” she heard her attendant call out.

Was he talking to Fowler? If so, maybe this meeting was just a coincidence.

She risked a quick peek and spotted the sharp profile of the lunatic who terrorized her in the bank, chatting with the string bean of an attendant on the far side of the pumps.

A shudder of revulsion swept through her body, but she couldn’t take her eyes off him. Not yet. Not until she was certain he was the man she’d stared at for the three long hours he’d held her hostage at the bank.

She didn’t know why he’d singled her out, but as the FBI negotiated with him, he’d traded the other hostages for supplies and transportation. But not her. No, he decided to take her with him when he fled.

His angry eyes declared he wouldn’t hesitate to kill her when he no longer needed her. So in a moment of distraction, she grabbed a letter opener from the desk, plunged it into his thigh and fled for her life. A sniper had taken him down, and he blamed her for his injury. He threatened to get even once he was free again.

“What time you off?” he asked the attendant.

“Six,” the attendant answered.

“Wanna get a drink to celebrate my freedom?”

Fowler’s raspy voice was seared into her memory, but this guy’s tone was less grating. Maybe age had changed the timbre. Or her mind could be playing tricks on her.

Was this even Fowler? Physical appearance changed a lot in twelve years.

What does Susan Sleeman want the readers of THE CHRISTMAS WITNESS to take away with them?

THE CHRISTMAS WITNESS is a romantic suspense book and it deals with revenge, murder and kidnapping, all things that you expect to find in a suspense book. But underneath it all is a message of hope. Hope for a better future. Hope for relief from bleak medical issues. Hope for love. And to me, there is no better time to focus on the message of hope than the birth of our Savior. So I’d love for the readers to finish the book and come away with hope and know that whatever they are facing there is always hope for a better future.

 

If your main character wanted to give your readers a Christmas blessing, what would that be?

Both of my main characters, Megan and Reid, plus their daughters Jessie and Ella have faced cancer or have loves ones with cancer. Reid’s wife lost her battle and Megan’s daughter is battling the disease for the second time. Plus after losing her mother, Jessie decided to use her pain to help others by training her dog Bandit to be a therapy dog. Now, along with her father, Jessie and Bandit visit children in the hospital to bring cheer in their difficult time.

So I know without a doubt that these characters would want anyone in the world who is suffering from cancer or a critical illness to be healed from their disease. And if this wasn’t possible, they would want them and their loved ones to have peace in this very difficult time.

 

Author bio:

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com. Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan visit her website  http://www.susansleeman.com ,Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SusanSleemanBooks or Twitter  http://www.twitter.com/SusanSleeman

Purchase Links:

Amazon (Including Kindle).  http://tinyurl.com/754dtsq

Barnes & Noble (including Nook). http://tinyurl.com/738yup6

 Christianbook. http://tinyurl.com/7olkvx9

Love Inspired. http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=24904&cid=359

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About NikeChillemi

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She writes literature that reads like pulp fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad, and her good guys smarter and better. She is the founder and chair of the Grace Awards, a member of ACFW. She has judged numerous literary awards including the Grace Awards, Carol Awards, Inspy Awards, and the Eric Hoffer Awards. View all posts by NikeChillemi

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