Title: Breathe In
Author: Michelle Bellon
Release Date: July 27, 2017
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Breathe in, breathe out. This mantra gets Tessa Benson through the day.
The man she loves walks all over her, and she just wants to get by without her heart shattering to pieces. If she could find her voice, she’d scream.
Everything changes in one night, when she’s snatched from the streets and tied to a bed, a camera set up to capture her dying moment. And the person who paid to watch her die…is still out there somewhere.
Tessa prowls dark neighborhoods in a quest for justice, but she doesn’t find the killer. Not until they strike again…in the place Tessa is least expecting, and where it hurts worst.
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What Others Are Saying:
“If you like dark thrillers THIS book is right up your alley! If you’ve never read a Michelle Bellon book-this one is, seriously, her best book yet! I have loved them all, but this one ..WOW!” – 5 Star Amazon Review
“I couldn’t set it down!!” – 5 Star Amazon review
Blindly, I run across the lot. As I round the corner, I run smack into someone as they are coming the opposite direction.
“Tessa? Are you okay?”
I glance up through the stream of tears to see a blurry image of Gerald. “No, no. I just want to go home.” I push off his chest and stumble backward, then turn and flee the opposite direction without saying a word, ignoring Gerald’s plea of confusion as the distance between us widens. I pray he won’t follow. I just want to get away from this place.
I keep running until I’m at least a few blocks away. Winded, fatigued, and little sick to my stomach, I stop. I lean against the wall of a building, taking in sharp gasps of air, and look around. Thankfully, Gerald didn’t follow. Where am I? Terin. I left Terin back at the club. I can’t go back there. I’ll have to call her and let her know I’ve gone home. She’ll be fine.
My phone? Where is my phone? It was in my handbag. I had my handbag when I left the club with Tom. Shit. It must be in his car. Fear, pain, shame, anger, guilt, all well up tight within my chest and rise until I feel as if I will go mad. I run my fingers through my hair and cry so hard I start to gag again. I want to puke. Get that man out of me. Get him out!
“Can I help you? Are you okay?”
Startled, I spin around. The man from the library is standing at the corner, maybe fifteen feet away. My crying wanes as muddled thoughts spin around in my mind, trying to make sense of it all. Why is he here? Did he follow me from the club? His brow is pinched with a look of concern. He takes a step forward. “Are you okay?”
My knees and hands are trembling violently. “I’m…I’m fine.” I drag both hands across my face, swiping away the tears.
He takes another step forward. “Are you sure? You seem upset. Are you ill?”
I take a step back. I don’t want any further interaction tonight. I’ve had more than enough. All I want to do is go home. And this guy…he seems friendly, but he freaks me out. “No, really. I’m fine. I’m just on my way home.”
Another step forward. “Do you need a ride?”
Another step back. Why won’t anyone listen to me? “No. I’m fi…”
Something is pulled over my head from behind. The world is dark and muffled. I scream. Hands go around my waist. My arms arc outward, side to side, hoping to hit anything in my path. What is happening? Fear, stark and white, drains the blood from my head to my toes. I’m dizzy.
Voices bark out sharp orders but I’m flailing about and screaming so I can’t make out what they’re saying. Another set of hands grab my legs and pull them out from under me so now I’m being carried by two men…one by my waist and the other by my legs. I writhe and twist. I have to get out of this. I need to get away. What is happening? My breath plumes in and out in short, hot gasps inside the small bag over my head. Claustrophobia flares up. A stronger wave of panic follows. I’m…going…to pass…out.
The door bursts open and Officer MacGregor steps inside, one hand poised above his gun holster. His eyes dart back and forth between me and the reporter. “You need to leave.”
The reporter appears stunned by the sudden appearance of a police officer. She puts her hands up. “No harm done, sir. I was simply asking Miss Benson a few harmless questions.”
Another wave of dizziness overwhelms me. I turn and brace both hands on the side of the bed for support, my knees weak and shaking violently. I stare down at the white bedding, hoping to focus and regain stability. “Leave. Everyone. Just. Leave.” My demand is barely a breathless whisper. I feel robbed of my own rage.
Officer MacGregor pushes past the reporter and rushes to my side. He guides me to the bed. “Sit down. I’ll call the nurse.”
I brush his hands away, ashamed of my perpetual displays of weakness. I’m tired of living with myself. “I’m fine. Really.” I turn and plop onto the bed before I pass out. “Just go…please…”
Even now, as I’m begging to be left alone, no one listens. They stare at me dumbly, disbelief on their faces. Like I’m too stupid to know what I really want or need. My fingers dig into the mattress by my sides. “GO! Just go!” I scream, using every last bit of strength. “Please, just go!” I continue to scream over and over again until there is no longer oxygen in my lungs. Blood rushes to my face.
A flurry of activity fills the room while I scream. The reporter scurries out of the room. Officer MacGregor darts to the doorway and hollers something down the hall. Three nurses, one female, two male, barge in. They surround me. Still screaming like a crazed banshee, I kick out and land a solid blow to a shin. An arm wraps around my shoulders. I buck back and my skull connects with bone or cartilage, I’m not sure. Someone barks out orders. Secure her arms…the IV is in the left…Ativan now.
Even now, as I fight and scream in hysterics, a piece of me separates from the moment. Disengages and watches from a distance. Again, my power, what little I have of it, is stolen. I know I’m out of control. I’m irrational. The part of me that acts out cannot rein it in. The brewing storm has been unleashed. It will not relinquish until it has expelled all of its glorious rage. I scream even as the sedative washes over me, flooding my system with a false sense of euphoria. I’m heavy with it. I scream but only a muffled garble passes over my lips. Don’t quiet my storm.
Michelle Bellon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her four quirky and beautiful children. She loves coffee, Superman, rollercoasters, and has an addiction to chapstick.
She works as a registered nurse and in her spare time writes novels. As a multi-genre author, she has written in the categories of romance suspense, young adult, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She has won four literary awards. You can visit Michelle’s website athttp://www.michellebellonauthor.com/
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