Dale Mayer is one of the remaining 4 finalists in the Brava/Romantic Times Writing For The Stars contest with her romantic suspense Tuesday’s Child. She’s a fabulous writer, as you can see by her excerpt.
Here’s the description for Tuesday’s Child:
Samantha Blair, a psychic with a terrible gift, is forced to work with Detective Brandt Sutherland, a cop on the hunt for serial killer, in order to save not only her sanity but also the women falling victim to an unusual killer preying on their small town.
Sam has always lived a lonely existence on the fringe of society – and was content to stay that way until Brandt boldly steps into her life and then her heart, reminding her that shadows don’t exist if you live in the circle of love.
Lying in bed that night, Sam couldn’t sleep, her overwrought mind refused to let up. The tantalizing possibility that she was meant to do something with this gift worried the frayed edges of her mind. Depressed and unsettled she fell into a fitful sleep, her dreams dark and disjointed pieces of past visions.
Screams jarred her from a deep sleep. Confusion turned to fear when Sam realized the horrific sounds were coming from her own mouth. Even worse, she had no idea where she was.
Terror overwhelmed her. Her fingers spasmed in a death grip around a strange steering wheel as the car she drove careened further out of control. Still trying to toss off the remnants of sleep, Sam yanked hard on the wheel in a futile attempt to turn it. The mid-sized car plowed through a steel barricade to hang suspended in midair before plummeting to the rocks below. Screams ripped from her throat and she reefed on the useless steering wheel, helpless to stop the deadly impact. Her foot pounded on useless brakes. The front grill of the car crumpled and metal buckled upward. The car plowed into the first of the rocks below, snapping her forward into the windshield. Agonizing pain shattered her spine. Grinding metal, exploding glass and continuous crunching sounds filled the air as first the bumper flew off, then the rear window shattered outward. Twisted metal ripped and groaned, flying to land beside the crash site. The car tumbled, smashed on a huge rock, careened to the left and flipped end over end before coming to a hard landing on its wheels at the bottom of the cliff.
Then utter silence.
Sam trembled. Shock and pain pulsed through her veins even as her blood dripped out one beat at a time onto the shredded seat beside her. God, she didn’t want to die.
She wanted to live. Please, dear God.
Blood streamed over her face, her spine…where a shearing heat set off continuous stabbing pain. The steering wheel jammed into her ribs. The front dash had crumpled into a mess of twisted steel and plastic, the famous Mercedes emblem now hung drunk in mid air over the remains of the once beautiful cream leather seats.
Sam couldn’t feel her right arm. And wished she couldn’t feel her left. She closed her eyes, willing away the image of bone shards that had sliced through her sweater, a few loose strands of wool clinging to the ends. Heart wrenching sobs poured from her throat, tears coated her cheeks. She was alone. And dying.
A brilliant flash of light engulfed the car as the fuel from the pierced gas line flashed into flames. Heat seared her lungs and scorched her hair, the strands melting against the inside of her car window. Panicked, she screamed as flames licked at her feet, burning, and cooking the flesh right off her bones.
Agony. Pain. Terror.
A voice whispered through the blackness of her mind, so odd, so different it caught her attention. She strained to hear the words.
“Let go. It’s time to let go.”
Sam stared through the flames, stunned. Let go of what? She couldn’t hear over the roaring fire and could barely see, but knowing that someone was there stirred her survival instinct, and she started fighting against the seatbelt jammed at her side. She was saved. Just another minute and they’d open the door and pull her free. She’d be fine.
“Please hurry,” she cried out.
“Let go. You don’t need to be in there. Let it all go, and come with me.”
She peered through the golden orange windshield to see a strange male face peering at her through the flames.
“Come with me.”
“I want to, damn it. Can’t you see I’m trapped?” she screamed, her vocals crisping in the heat.
“Release yourself. Come with me. Say yes.”
The pain hit a crescendo. She twisted against it, hearing her spine splinter. The car seat melted into her skin. So much pain, she couldn’t breathe. Blackness crowded into her mind, blessed quiet, soothing darkness. She reached for it.
“Let it go. You don’t need to go through this. Hurry.”
She started. Why wasn’t he opening the door or getting others to help? He should be trying to save her. Shouldn’t he? Sam, so confused and so tired, she could barely feel the pain overtaking her body. Where had he gone? She tried to concentrate. His face was now only a vague outline that rippled with the heat waves. A soft smile played at the corner of his mouth. The flames burned around him, weird as they centered him in the warm glow. She wanted to be with him. To live.
“Here, take my hand.”
Dazed and on the brink of death, Sam focused on the hand reaching for her. She struggled to raise the charred piece of flesh that had been her arm and reached out to grasp his.
She was free.
Overwhelmed, cries of relief escaped. She turned to hug her savior, her head just reaching his shoulder. He stood beside her, the same radiant beaming look on his face. His blond hair glowed, and he had the brightest teeth. She sighed. This beautiful man pointed to her right arm. Confused, Sam glanced down at her burned arm, realizing she could feel none of her injuries. Just like her other one, her broken arm had miraculously healed – whole, smooth and soft. Her skin hadn’t looked this good in ten years.
She spun around to find a massive fireball below. What the hell? She had to be dead. But instead of the horror or shock, she expected to feel, she felt good. In fact, she felt great. She turned to the ever-smiling stranger.
“Let’s go sweetheart.”
Sam didn’t know why he’d called her that, but she bloomed under his loving gaze. Honestly, she was so damned grateful to be out of the car, she let him get away with it.
Holding hands, they floated higher into the cloudless blue sky. Then when the crash site below had become a tiny speck, Sam felt a hard flick on her arm and the words, “Thanks, but I can take it from here.”
And she woke up.
You can find out more about Dale and her books at her website.