June's Stolen Rose

A Seasons Saga Novel

by Brenda Ashworth Barry

The Saga continues in book four with Kaylob and Beth Ann walking into a homecoming with one of their best friends on the floor with a gash in his head. Things are out of order in their life and someone is watching Beth Ann. She finds things vanishing and hears footsteps and shadows that spell danger. Then Kaylob comes home and nobody knows where she is.

The disappearance of Beth Ann sends the police force and others searching for her. Family and friends seem to think Blake has taken her, but does he have her? And if he doesn’t, who does? Let the mystery unfold into the darkness of an evil mind as Beth Ann fights for her life.


Chapter One


Even at the age of twenty-three, Beth Ann still hated the turbulence of an airplane.

She glanced down, trying to focus on Little Women, the book she was reading, but another round of turbulence caused her to clutch Kaylob’s hand, turning her knuckles white. Holy night, she just wanted to get off the darn thing. She closed her eyes and started to imagine how Jo March might handle this, if they would have had planes back then.

Once the plane landed, she exhaled a sigh of relief and didn’t miss Kaylob’s attempt at hiding his chuckle by bringing her hand up to his lips and kissing her palm. Okay, she would let it go this once. She met his gaze, her stare holding just enough irritation to tell him he was close to being in the doghouse. He smiled innocently, but there was nothing innocent about her childhood sweetheart who was now her husband.

After a thirty-day Hawaiian honeymoon, it was time to get back to the real world and their new life. They needed to check on Kaylob’s restaurant to see how close it was to being ready for the opening that was scheduled in a few weeks.

It would be nice to finally have a normal life now that Blake, her former fiancĂ©, had seen her get married. She could move on without the stress of dealing with his efforts to win her back. It wasn’t like she didn’t feel bad about hurting him. She did, but come on. Showing up at her wedding disguised as a caterer, with a fake mustache and everything? What was wrong with him? That kind of behavior wasn’t normal.

There had been no missing Blake’s sky blue eyes as she’d walked down the aisle to meet Kaylob. With her head held high, she’d turned away from his gaze and smiled at her soon-to-be husband, who stood near the altar.

Once her gaze had met Kaylob's, she’d melted and Blake Tanner had vanished from her thoughts. The only place she wanted to be was there with the one and only love of her life.

It wasn’t her fault that the Army had declared Kaylob killed in action. She had tried to tell everyone he was still alive, but nobody had listened. They’d thought she had lost her mind. Those two horrible, agonizing years Kaylob had spent in that POW camp were the hardest on her. It had taught her a good lesson. She’d never take life for granted again.

Once they exited the airplane, they struggled to move through the crowded Ontario airport. Beth Ann’s mind drifted back to Blake, and she couldn’t help but wonder if he had stayed in Hawaii. Or would he be back in Riverside?

“Earth to Beth Ann,” Kaylob said, leaning over and waving his hand. “Are you with me?”

“Yes, I was just thinking about our honeymoon and how much I’m going to miss the islands.” It was only half a lie.

Kaylob arched his eyebrow. “Me too, baby. Me too.”

It felt like it took the length of their flight to get through the airport. Once they arrived at the baggage claim area, Kaylob collected all his suitcases, then glanced around for Beth Ann’s, but they were nowhere to be seen.

“What the heck happened to your luggage?” he asked. “I hope they didn’t lose them.”

Beth Ann nodded in disbelief. “All my bags should have been with yours.” She watched anxiously as people gathered their belongings.

Kaylob grabbed his suitcases, then took her hand and pulled her toward the service area. Sometimes he just took the lead and forgot to tell her where they were going. That was something she would discuss with him later.

Once they arrived at the desk, Kaylob did all the talking. The baggage people told them to take a seat while they checked to see if her luggage could be located, but they said they couldn’t promise anything and couldn’t explain what had happened.

Beth Ann sat with Kaylob and tried not to let him see how agitated she was. After what she’d been through with those two thugs who’d almost raped her, she guessed she was still a little paranoid, but after the way some of her things had disappeared before the wedding, she couldn’t help wondering if someone had taken her luggage on purpose.

She had searched high and low for the missing things, but because of all their trips up to Gram’s and back, she wasn’t sure if she might’ve just left them there. She made a mental note to call Gram as soon as she got home to see if she’d left anything at her house. She wished she could stop being so paranoid.

* * * *

Now you’ll sleep.

Slick bent over to make sure the guy was still breathing. He was, but he was out cold from the combination of getting hit with the bat and the Quaaludes he had slipped into his soda, even though he’d hated to waste them on this little piss ant. He’d been planning to use them tonight when he met with the escort. Quaaludes let him turn those sluts into his sweet Beth Ann.

Anyway, this guy should be out for a while. He dropped the bat and thought about turning off the vacuum, but decided to leave it running because the noise helped drown out those damn voices in his head that his dad had stuck there.

You’re such a loser. You couldn’t hang on to your other girlfriend, and now you’re trying to get one that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you!

“Shut the hell up!” He yelled, holding his head while glancing in the mirror, Hell, he was a good looking guy. He smoothed out his five hundred dollar suit. “I didn’t like that ugly bitch anyway, and Beth Ann loves me. She’s going to be my wife someday!” He glanced down at his shoes that he’d spent a fortune on, hoping no blood got on them and dulled the shine.

Face it, you’re obsessed with her.

“No, I’m not!”

He was determined, not obsessed, and if he’d gone off the deep end, it was because of Beth Ann. Why did she have to go and marry that soldier boy and pretend to love him anyway? He knew better, and it pissed him off.

The guy moaned so he bent down and took a closer look to make sure he was unconscious. And indeed he was, out for the count.

“It’s your own fault you got clobbered,” Slick scolded. “You should have stayed home or left sooner, but you had to start cleaning like some prissy little moron. Now, you have spoiled my party plans for later. There’s no way for me to get more drugs before tonight, so thanks a hell of a lot, pal!” He shoved the guy roughly with his foot.

The smell of the food from the kitchen drifted through the air and he decided he’d better go turn the oven down so nothing caught fire. No sense drawing a full investigation. Once he got back from the kitchen, he noticed the guy still had blood oozing from his head. Wait, did his eyes just flutter?

Great, the idiot might be waking up, he leaned over to get a closer look, no, he’s still a sleeping little dork. If Slick had to, he’d hit him again with the bat, but he didn’t think he needed to. He didn’t want to kill him. That would mean he’d really lost it. Or would it?

Okay, back to business. What would he take this time? He needed more of her things.

“Let me tell you why I need her stuff!” Slick shouted into the air. “She belongs to me, and very soon she’ll understand everything. I don’t care if she married another man. She’s mine! And if I can’t have her, nobody can!”

He went to Beth Ann’s closet and stopped when he opened it, thinking about the first time he’d sneaked in and taken her stuff. She’d come home while he was hiding in the closet, undressing right in front of him. He had wanted to take her then, but the timing had been all wrong. While she took a shower, he’d been able to make his escape without getting caught.

Okay, well back to the task at hand. “Keep your mind where it needs to be, Slick.”

Now, lookie here, a couple of new dresses that still had tags on them. Then,when he spotted her sweater, he nodded in approval. He didn’t want her to get chilled. He held it up and noticed it even had her initials on it.

“Now ain’t that cute?” He laughed and started singing ‘Ain’t She Sweet.’ When he finished, he held the sweater to his nose so he could inhale her intoxicating scent. He pulled the tablet out of his pocket and added the sweater to his list: slips, panties, six pair of shorts, six blouses and two nightgowns.

He moved into the bathroom and started going through the drawers. He took a hairbrush and almost cheered when he saw a bottle of the sexy perfume she always wore. Oh, how he loved that smell! He dabbed some on her sweater and almost lost control. He bent over, his entire body stiff as a nail, and couldn’t move, but knew he needed to regain control and do it soon.

When he finally pulled himself back together and looked at his watch, he couldn’t believe how late it was getting. “Time to go before they arrive.” After he grabbed a few more items, he leaned over the guy and said with a cackle, “You’ll sleep it off. And next time, don’t stick around where you’re not wanted.”

He picked up the baseball bat to take it with him and grabbed the can of soda. No fingerprints that way. He glanced around one more time, satisfied for now, then he left the townhouse.

"June's Stolen Rose" by Brenda Ashworth Barry


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Historical Romance
Women's Fiction
? Heat Level: 3