Legacy of Hunters Ridge (Hunters Ridge #1)

An isolated farm, a long-buried secret, a life in danger?

Successful horse trainer Alissa Morgan-Jones has the world at her feet, until a tragic fire destroys everything. Widowed, in debt and under suspicion for arson, Alissa’s life is in tatters.

On top of the heart breaking sale of her beloved property, she is summoned to her mother-in-law’s isolated farm. Here, as she attempts to pull her ruined life back together, she must face the shadows of her former life, and a threat she can’t even begin to comprehend.

Four years after fleeing the city and the scandal that ruined his career, disgraced lawyer Cameron Blake has a successful new business and a new life. But when his neighbour, Mavis Littleton is diagnosed with a terminal illness he volunteers to handle her affairs – and her farm until her daughter in law arrives to take over.

When Alissa finally shows up, he’s drawn to her immediately. But there’s more to his new neighbour than her big blue eyes and lost expression. A murderer is lurking, and uncovering long-buried secrets is the only way they can stop him.

But Mavis is on her deathbed and her mind is deteriorating faster than her body. Will she surrender enough pieces of the puzzle to catch a killer before it’s too late.

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Extract

The monster consumed without thought, without remorse. As it ate, it bellowed and sang, belching out thick black smoke and hideous heat. Its hungry flames devoured all in its path.
     ‘No! No! You have to let me past – let me go!’ Her desperate screams became strained as she begged and pleaded, then her voice cracked as the scorching fumes hit her throat. Tremors and hysterical sobs racked her body. ‘Please!’
     The man in the heavy yellow fire suit had an arm like a vice and it didn’t budge from around her waist. He was yelling at her but the words weren’t registering.
     Another explosion, a high-pitched squeal. She fought with everything she had. ‘My husband might still be in there! My horses are dying!’ Her words broke off as a coughing fit made her collapse. The fireman’s grip supported her, dragging her back even as her legs pedalled desperately to hold her position.
     Smoke and soot filled her parched lungs as she struggled against dizziness and stomach-wrenching nausea. A helicopter beat a loud, steady rhythm overhead, almost drowning out the sirens.
     Everything was a blur of pain and terror. Her eyes stung and watered. She could hear the panic within the barn, the screams of the horses sounded human, tortured, and their pain sliced through her more viciously than the flames. Her life was in there. She was dying with them. Was David still inside? No, he was out, he had to be out.
     With her last reserve of strength, she twisted and lunged towards the barn, evading her captor. The heat was excruciating, but even as the flames caught her hair, she found the padlocked breezeway doors. On the other side, just a few feet away, was her precious mare. The screams were louder here.
     ‘Miss!’ Again she was caught.
     ‘No! No! They’re so close!’ She threw out her arms and as she was forcibly dragged back, her fingers connected with the padlock. She held on while the super-heated metal seared into her palm, melting skin, beyond pain.
     ‘Miss, we have to move!’
     A groan was followed by a thunderous explosion. The world disintegrated. She felt herself become airborne, felt the blast of heat slam into her as the barn imploded. She hit the ground and skidded, the impact stripping clothing and flesh from her body. Splinters of debris shot like missiles. A heavy section of roof slammed onto her, pinning her by the chest.
     Her ears rang, her vision tunnelled. The wet earth soaked her from beneath, and the heat singed her broken body from above but the sensations were nothing more than the faintest acknowledgements in the back of her consciousness. The sounds of the fire, of the men and the machines and the sirens, faded. The screaming had stopped.
     Her lungs wouldn’t work, so she stopped fighting for breath. It was easy to let go. Embers danced and whirled in front of her staring eyes, towards the inky blackness of the sky. She wanted to go with them, waited for the smoke to take her. She wouldn’t think, she wouldn’t feel.
     There was nothing left. It was over.