Sadie Dawson thinks she has the perfect life until one Christmas Day when a misunderstanding leads to a brutal event that changes everything. Terrified, Sadie flees her boyfriend's wrath, two FBI agents, and her "perfect life." Lost in a Montana snowstorm and desperate for refuge, she's rescued by four guys on their annual holiday ski vacation. But even as her physical wounds heal, Sadie wonders is she will ever be able to escape the clutches of her wealthy and determined boyfriend. While her heart tells her there is more to a perfect life than diamond necklaces and elegant dinner parties, Sadie doesn't know who she can trust. And just when her heart settles, she finds herself abandoned by the one person who swore to protect her for a religion she doesn't understand. Will she have the courage to follow her heart and find the life that is perfect for her?
- Size: 6x9
- Pages: 384
About the Author
Originally from Utah, first-time novelist Rebecca Belliston now hails from Michigan. In addition to writing, Rebecca enjoys composing music and doing family history. Follow her at www.rebeccabelliston.com (Click Here)
When she first awoke, she wasn’t sure her eyes had opened. A thick blackness surrounded her. She blinked, verifying that indeed her eyes were open, just seeing nothing. The darkness was suffocating and began to drag her in. She battled against it, but suddenly couldn’t find air to breathe. Frantic, she thrashed her head. The blackness moved. Feeling a small glimpse of freedom, she shoved a heavy blanket from her face and took in several deep gulps of air.
Her eyes flew through her semidark surroundings, trying to make sense of them. Log walls. A large, dark window. Both unfamiliar. From the bumps pushing painfully into her shoulder, she discerned she was on a couch, albeit a lumpy one.
She struggled to come up with an explanation, but her mind was covered in a thick haze of its own. It was heavy. Sluggish. Where am I? she asked, as she blinked slower and slower. The ski lodge? A few more blinks. Too small. A cabin? Then something registered. Her left eye was only opening halfway with each blink. Not only that, but it throbbed and pulsed painfully.
Something wasn’t right . . .
Her eye. The dark, unfamiliar cabin. Her thoughts sped up, remembering the party. The listening device. Guillermo’s rage. In a torrent, her memories flooded back. Waking up in the locked room. The storm. The mountain. The truck. All of it rushed back in crystal clear memories. And with the memories came the terror, the blinding terror that sent her running into the blizzard in the first place. She’d only meant to stop a second in the truck, long enough to warm up, but now . . .
Where am I? she asked, heart pounding.
Yet there was an even more terrifying question. Who found me? The sound of her pursuers was like wolves hunting for prey, chasing her through that storm.
“You’re as good as dead!”
She didn’t know who had yelled it—FBI or Guillermo—nor had she stopped to find out. All that mattered was that she’d lost them. At least . . . she thought she had. Now that she was lying in a dark cabin, she was no longer certain. One thing she was certain of, though, was that she had to escape. Fast.
She rolled onto her side and choked back a scream. Pain. Everywhere.
She quickly ran through her damaged parts. Arms, legs, back: all stiff from trudging through the snow. Her stomach was in knots, her shoulder felt out of place—there was no memory for that one—and then there was her face . . . She reached for her left eye, wincing before touching it. She hadn’t seen the damage yet, but she could feel it. The memory of Guillermo’s blinding rage threatened to swallow her whole, but she shoved it aside to finish her assessment. Her head. Hot. Feverish. And pounding like it never had before.
Pretty bleak, but it could’ve been worse. She could be in a snowbank with a hole in her head. Or worse, still locked up at Guillermo’s. Yes, she convinced herself, it could be a lot worse. With that knowledge, she ignored all the pain and dizziness, pushed the heavy blanket off, and sat up.
The dark silence was shattered by the sound of an animal scurrying across the floor. Before she could flinch, she was nose to nose with a giant dog, breathing its horrible breath in her face. The dog panted heavily, waiting for her to acknowledge its presence. She didn’t move. Didn’t breathe.
Don’t bark, she begged silently. Please . . . don’t . . . bark.
As if to spite her, the dog started barking. Her eyes searched the darkness, desperate for an exit, but it was so dark—so ominously dark—and the dog grew louder by the second.
A door cracked open behind her.
She froze, wondering if her life were over. Guillermo was going to attack her again. Or it was the FBI here to arrest her. It didn’t matter who was behind that door, she knew it was over. Falling back on the lumpy couch, she smothered herself with the blanket.
“Rocky!” a man whispered urgently. “Come!”
The barking dog left its post. She braced herself for an assault, or at the very least, a barrage of questions from her unknown captor, but the only sound was of the dog’s paws clipping across a wooden floor, followed by a door shutting quietly behind both of them.
In the returning silence, she raced through the only options she could find: fight or flight.
So far she’d taken the flight option, breaking out of Guillermo’s cabin and running as far and as fast as her frozen body could take her, but was she any better off? She wasn’t tied up—or locked up either. But her legs felt thirty pounds heavier than normal. They would be slow. Too slow. Fight, then? Even as the idea entered her head she knew it was ridiculous. Physical strength wasn’t a quality she possessed even at peak health. And now that she was beaten, bruised, exhausted, and starting what felt like a full-blown fever, there was no way she’d be able to take on anyone, man or beast. Run it is, she groaned. Again.
Her eyes threatened to spill, but she gritted her teeth. This wasn’t the time to fall apart. Instead she convinced herself that she really did have to plunge back into a blinding, freezing blizzard. I’m stronger than I think. I’m stronger than I think. And on the third time of chanting it to herself, she began to move. Up. Slowly. All she needed was a door—preferably a back one. With ears pricked for the slightest noise, she rolled up to a sitting position. When all stayed quiet, she scanned the rest of the dark room. It was a large family room of sorts with a kitchen disappearing in the distance. Definitely a cabin. Possibly the one by the truck she’d taken refuge in.
Then she spotted it. A glass door to the outside.
Feeling every damaged part, she pushed herself to stand up. Her head spun, her stomach as well, but she planted her feet, pinched the rim of her nose, and when the room stopped spinning, began to creep toward that door. Inch by painful inch, she slid across the cold, wooden floor, knowing that taking five minutes to escape was better than alerting the beast in the next room and never escaping at all.
Halfway there, she realized her feet were cold—her bare feet. She stopped. Between that and the dog, she might as well have been tied up. No one would think she was crazy enough to escape without shoes. Not in knee-deep snow. Little did they know she was beyond crazy . . .
. . . she was surviving.
As she neared the door, she spotted a large pile of something. Boots! Even more amazing was that her shoes—her incredibly thin, and probably still soaking wet shoes—were lying on top. Without a thought, she bypassed them for the nearest pair of boots. They were ridiculously big and awkward on her feet, but awkward she could deal with. It was frozen that wasn’t much fun.
A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. She was going to escape again. And this time so easily! The feeling of elation surged adrenaline through her aching muscles.
As she reached for the door handle, a small, green light caught her eye. It was shining from a box that resembled an alarm system. No! she corrected, It is an alarm system! She read and reread the green screen, trying to make it untrue. Five letters. One blaring message:
She whirled around, scrambling for another answer. Windows. Stairs. But each option produced the same ending. The alarm would sound, the dog would outrun her, whoever was holding her captive would come, and then . . . The end of life as she knew it.
Whatever hatred she felt for the dog grew tenfold. Without it, she might have made it, outrun her new captor before help could arrive, but now she was a prisoner. Again.
The defeat was paralyzing. Tears ran down her hot cheeks. Time rewound to the bottom of that spiral staircase, Guillermo’s fist cocked, black eyes blazing, and suddenly nothing mattered anymore. All she wanted was sleep.
She followed her path back to the couch, taking half the time, and collapsed into a heap right back where she’d started. The emotions clouding her mind were such that it took a minute lying on that uncomfortable couch before she remembered the awkward boots. The tears that had stopped, started again, but there was no way she was making another long journey. Not for a stupid pair of boots. She yanked them off, pulled the blanket over her head, and welcomed the unconsciousness that quickly followed.
by Jennie - reviewed on January 11, 2012
Sadie is shallow, not just naive. I found it hard to believe she could have a two year affair with a drug lord and not suspect a thing. The writer is talented, but the story is lacking in credibility and the ending leaves a major loose end without a sense that its a set up for a sequel.
Great read, great writer.
by Geraldine - reviewed on November 04, 2011
I really enjoyed reading this book. I especially enjoy a well written book and this one is very well written. I found myself laughing out loud at times, and unable to put it down at other times. I normally would not choose this kind of book to read; but I'm glad that I read this one!!! I highly recommend it.
by Customer - reviewed on February 01, 2012
This was a great read. I loved how the characters interacted with one another and how the writer developed them throughout the book. I really liked how religion was interwoven throughout with both member and nonmember. Great action throughout made it hard to put down.
by Donna - reviewed on November 21, 2011
A fast pace romance that keeps you guessing.
by Jocelyn - reviewed on December 16, 2011
Loved this book! Loved the strength & personalities of all the characters. It kept me interested and guessing. Refreshing to read a wholesome romance novel Highly recommend this book.
Great read with awesome characters.
by Sarah - reviewed on October 28, 2011
I'm not a romance fan, but I got the chance to read this and I loved it. The characters are funny and endearing and the crisis of conscience for both Sadie and her love interest are great. Can't say enough good things about this book except buy it!
Read it in record time!
by susan - reviewed on February 01, 2012
I loved this book. It was a mystery, romance, and religious novel all rolled into one. I couldn't put it down and finished in within two days. (If I didn't have kids I would have finished it in a day!) The author is a very talented writer and did a wonderful job!
Couldn't put it down
by Cindy - reviewed on November 03, 2011
This is a romance book packed with action. It was very compelling and I couldn't put it down. It had great characters and a fascinating story.
I loved it!
by Gina - reviewed on November 09, 2011
"Sadie" was a wonderful blend of mystery, humor and romance. Looking forward to more books by this author!
by Tricia - reviewed on December 01, 2011
I really enjoyed this book. I stayed up until 3am just to finish it! I definitely recommend it!
More, More, More!
by Fred - reviewed on February 01, 2012
Let’s see, is it realistic to believe Sadie was ignorant of Guillermo’s illegal activities for so long? Why not. He purposely kept in the dark. He loved her and knew if she found out the truth she would leave; in the beginning she was extremely protective of him. In time she found out the truth. Below are a couple of quotes that may make Sadie’s ignorance a little more believable. Well, maybe to some. Barbara Fuca who wrote Mafia Wife answered the following question in an interview with People Magazine, July 18. 1977: Why do women marry Mafia men? They fall in love with them. They don't know about them in the beginning. That comes later. When the woman realizes her husband is not a dockworker or truck driver—that his work may not be legal—she blots it out as long as she has a home and food on the table. Also a quote from M.O.B Wives at mobwives.blogspot.com: Traditionally, mob wives never got involved in their husbands’ business, they never asked questions, and they were never informed about the mob’s day to day activities. They were kept in the dark and, in a way, that was protecting them from saying anything to anyone, which could get them killed. The book was a lot of fun to read. It kept my interest. It was well written. I’m looking forward to Rebecca Belliston’s next book. If you read this book, you'll know why my one-line synopsis is "More, More, More!"
Couldn't put it down once I got to the end
by Angel - reviewed on February 03, 2012
Great book- a little mystery, romance, and adventure. I truly enjoyed being a part of the characters lives during this book. I loved the setting- it sounded beautiful!
by Sara - reviewed on March 16, 2012
I loved this book! I would love to see more from this author!
by Julie - reviewed on March 25, 2013
This is a beautifully woven story of a young woman in search of truth and a meaningful life. Sadie is torn between what she thought her life was going to be, a life of opulence and adoration, and what her heart really wants, a life of true love and devotion. Through horrific circumstances, she finally learns that the former life was just an illusion and that the truth is borne by her one true love. This is one of those stories that absorbs you from the beginning, making you know and love the characters (and making you hate some), keeping you up reading until the wee hours of the morning. It is a story I can't quit thinking about. I'm so looking forward to a sequel to find out what Sadie's future has in store for her!