Excerpt from Only Obsession

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Winner of the 2021 National Excellence in Story Telling contest (Suspense Novel Category)

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Chapter 1

A naked woman dashed onto the deserted rural road barely fifty feet in front of the patrol car. Deputy Sheriff Luke Johnson jerked the steering wheel to the right and slammed on the brakes. What the hell? As he stared in disbelief at the person frozen like a deer in his headlights, the crack of gunfire shattered the peace and quiet of the San Diego County countryside.

The woman screamed and dropped to the ground.

“Shit!” Luke stomped on the gas. His vehicle lurched forward on the gravel shoulder, spraying rocks from beneath its tires. The shots had likely come from the nearby eucalyptus trees, so he positioned the patrol car as a protective barrier between them and the woman. A quick check through the window revealed no obvious signs of blood on or around her. Thank God, maybe she isn’t hit.

Automatically, Luke shoved the gearshift into park and set the brake before grabbing his gun and leaning down to scrutinize the wooded area from the passenger-side window. Since the headlights and the moon were the only illumination, finding the shooter in the dense foliage would be nearly impossible, but movement in the heavy brush caught his eye. Zeroing in on the spot, he aimed but didn’t fire. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t see what was there, and firing blind was not an option.

He continued to scan the trees while sliding back to the driver’s side and pushing the door open. Glancing at the woman again, he lowered himself to the ground. “Are you hurt?” he called.

Lying flat on her stomach, she trembled convulsively as she raised her head. Her wild eyes blinked again and again as if she was trying to determine whether Luke was real or only a hallucination. Her mouth opened, but no words came out. Closing her eyes, she shook her head no.

“Stay down. I’m coming to get you,” he said.

But she didn’t wait for him. She struggled to her hands and knees and crawled toward the car.

Bending low, he scrambled to her side and hovered over her with his gun raised and ready. “How many are there?”

“One.” Her answer was a whispered croak.

“Who?” he asked, his eyes still searching for signs of the shooter.

“A man.”


“Don’t know.”

As they reached the side of the patrol car, the roar of a powerful engine and the crunch of brush came from beyond the trees. Straightening, Luke aimed his gun and waited, but the noise moved away in the opposite direction. He remained on guard until the last sounds from the other vehicle faded and quiet returned.

“Help me, please help me,” the woman pleaded, clutching his leg. “Don’t let him take me again.”

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