- Author: Elizabeth Goddard
Book online «Target on the Mountain Elizabeth Goddard (dark academia books to read .txt) 📖». Author Elizabeth Goddard
“What were you thinking going over those falls?”
She should have expected the third degree from Ryan. Tori kept her voice low and replied, “That’s not exactly what happened.”
“So you weren’t kayaking alone? You didn’t go over the falls?”
Tori locked eyes with him. “I went to the river to travel in Sarah’s path the day she died.” She held back the furious tears that surged unexpectedly.
“So I went kayaking.”
“Why do you torture yourself?” His expression twisted into one of severe pain. “Is that why you went over the falls?”
“How could you even think that? I planned to turn back. But someone shot at me and hit the kayak. I tried to get away, and in the end, I had nowhere else to go. The falls grabbed me. I thought I was going to die.”
Ryan’s mouth hung open as if he couldn’t quite absorb the full meaning of her words, and he appeared to search for an adequate response but came up empty.
“Someone tried to kill me.”
Target on the Mountain
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
Previously published as Deadly Evidence and Standoff at Midnight Mountain
Table of Contents
Deadly Evidence by Elizabeth Goddard
Standoff at Midnight Mountain by Mary Alford
Excerpt from Hidden Amish Secrets by Debby Giusti
Elizabeth Goddard is the award-winning author of more than thirty novels and novellas. A 2011 Carol Award winner, she was a double finalist in the 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and a 2016 Carol Award finalist. Elizabeth graduated with a computer science degree and worked in high-level software sales before retiring to write full-time.
Books by Elizabeth Goddard
Love Inspired Suspense
Mount Shasta Secrets
Coldwater Bay Intrigue
Thread of Revenge
Texas Ranger Holidays
Texas Christmas Defender
Targeted for Murder
Visit the Author Profile page at Harlequin.com for more titles.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
To the One who lights my path
Many thanks to my family, who put up with the many hours I spend on my computer crafting stories. Also a big thanks to my writing buddies, who encourage me along the way and patiently listen to my wild ideas and offer suggestions. My sincerest gratitude to my editor at Love Inspired Suspense, who gave me the opportunity to indulge my imagination, and to my agent, Steve Laube, who never stops working on behalf of his clients.
Wind River, Northern California
Victoria “Tori” Peterson glanced over her right shoulder as she rowed in her kayak, enjoying the view of the Wind River as it traversed through the shadow of Mount Shasta in beautiful northern California. Sweat rose on her back and beaded at her temples. Her muscles burned with each row of the double-bladed oar, but she welcomed the pain as the kayak glided on the river.
The exercise invigorated her. Got her heart pumping and the oxygen flowing.
It reminded her that she was alive.
Still, the uncanny sensation that someone was following her clung to her.
Another glance told her that no one was behind her. No one was on the river as far as she could see in the middle of a Monday afternoon. The weekend was over and summer was ending—students were back in school.
She was utterly alone out here. Just how she wanted it.
This stretch of river was calm and slow and perfect for relaxing, contemplating and easing her troubled mind after the tragedy that had brought her all the way from Columbia, South Carolina. And for which she’d taken bereavement leave from her job as a special agent with the FBI.
She shrugged off the heaviness and focused on the sound of the oar cutting through the gentle flow as the current carried her forward. She needed this moment of solitude to get her through the next few weeks. Before the river became agitated and the current too strong—before Graveyard Falls—she would urge the kayak upstream against the current and back to where she had parked her car.
Sarah’s car, actually. The thought of her sister brought on a surge of tears.
Focusing on the environment instead, Tori held them back and guided her bright blue kayak forward. The river twisted through the designated wilderness area and opened up into forests at the base of the mighty mountain—an inactive volcano. Mount Shasta could be seen from nearby Rainey, where she’d grown up.
The serene setting belied the violence that had taken place along the river only a few days before. Maybe it was the weight of that memory that punctuated the brisk mountain air and the combined scent of pine, hemlock, fish and fresh water with the feeling that someone had followed her.
Or maybe someone was really there.
She’d only taken leave last week in order to attend the funeral and hadn’t so quickly forgotten to listen to her instincts. Still, she pushed the fears aside for the moment. Let the memories surface as she floated on the river that would eventually travel through Rainey on its way to empty into the Shasta River.
Growing up, she and Sarah had kayaked here all the time and camped in the area close to Mount Shasta—the mountain that had hovered over them their entire lives. Those memories made her laugh with joy even as she cried with grief. Those peaceful memories would forever be spoiled for Tori now.
But life went on around her. Nature blossomed and gloried in beauty as though nothing tragic had happened. The sun shone down on her. An eagle floated on the wind above her, its high-pitched whistle underscoring the wild environment around her.
And that eerie yet glorious sound nudged her with the very question that had nagged her since her return. What had driven her to join the FBI, move across the country and leave behind the most beautiful place on earth? Leave behind her family, her sister and even