The Stalker by Marina Martindale
Rachel Bennett attended her ten-year high school reunion on a whim, but fate intervened once she saw Shane MacLeod. No longer the shy, gawky teenager she remembered, Shane has matured into a handsome and successful man, but her perfect evening ends when another man from her past suddenly reappears. Craig Walker had been her mentor until he became jealous of her talent and success. Now he intends to either have her, or destroy her at all costs. As Rachel’s family pressures her to take Craig to court, she can no longer ignore her nagging feeling that a tragedy is about to strike.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult audiences only
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 4 – R Rated
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I got the idea for this story from a friend's Facebook feud. She'd had a falling out with a colleague, and they'd blocked one another on Facebook. Then one would post a negative comment about the other. Inevitably, a third party would send a screenshot of the comment to the other, and then it became a Facebook brawl, with each accusing the other of stalking them. About the time it ended the other would post a negative comment, and it would start all over again. What I found interesting was that the two parties had never been romantically involved, and I became intrigued with idea of writing a story about someone being stalked by a former coworker.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
All of my characters are fictitious and none are modeled after anyone I know personally. I did, however, watch soap operas as a teenager and a young adult, and my romance novels are like mini soap operas. This time around I decided to pay tribute to two favorite soap characters, so my two lead characters, Shane and Rachel, have the same first names as those two characters.
Craig grabbed a burger at the nearest fast-food drive-thru before he headed home. Once he arrived, he went straight to his study and logged into Rachel's email account, munching on his fries as he casually browsed through her inbox. Among the announcements about the latest sales at her favorite stores was a message from her sister. He unwrapped his burger and read the message. Alice and Donny's wedding and reception would be held at the La Corona Hotel in the nearby town of Oro Valley. She was confirming the day and time, along with all the other details. He plopped down his burger and printed out a copy of the email. Once it came out of the printer, he marked the message unread and resumed browsing through her inbox. He found a message from Pilar, wishing her luck with her dinner plans and she hoped Shane would like the lacy red underwear. Her words jolted him and he tossed the remains of his burger aside. As he reread the message, his stomach twisted and his jaw clenched. So, Rachel had found herself another boyfriend. He leaned back in his chair, silently fuming as he recalled the scene in the parking lot the night before. He reread the email several more times more before finally marking it unread and logging out of her account. It was getting late, and he had to get ready for work.
The motel was in between night auditors, so Craig was filling in until they found a permanent replacement. Working the night shift gave him plenty of time to work on his human smuggling story, but being a day sleeper also meant less opportunity to keep watch on Rachel. Hopefully it wouldn't be much longer. He tossed what was left of his dinner into the trash and headed off to shower. Ten minutes later he was out the door, once again slowing his truck as he drove past Rachel's house. The blue sedan was still there. He hesitated for a moment, but if he lingered too long he might be late for work. He clinched his teeth and drove away.
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