Changes of the Heart
by Debra Erfert
Buying the 1920s farmhouse south of Phoenix, where the rumors of John Dillinger’s gang hid out in the 30s, is supposed to be Grace Evanheart’s way of escaping an old romance. When she finds an ancient diary with a map under the bedroom’s floorboard, the rumors solidify into fact. She doesn’t know who to trust with the news; Micah Stevens, the handsome deputy and the great grandson of the original landowners with whom she’s attracted, or Jerry, the young historian who seems too intent on learning about her new home?
Facts about the Author:
With the doors opened I couldn’t use the candles, but I left the flashlight off, not wanting to use the batteries up all in one night. The bedroom I’d declared as the Master sat closest to the kitchen. Charlotte told me the house was built in the early 1920s, and although it had been renovated in the seventies, the owners hadn’t thought about adding a master bathroom.
A floorboard squeaking froze me in the mid pump. My first thought was Chelsea had changed her mind about staying the night, but why, then, didn’t she say anything? Then I noticed faint illumination in the hallway. Whoever came in must’ve had a flashlight; my heart leaped against my ribs in panic.
I listened. Were the footsteps getting closer? Or maybe they got farther away into the dining room? I couldn’t tell for sure with how my pulse beat loudly in my ears, interfering with my hearing. My cell phone was inside my handbag by the fireplace. Considering I only had the plastic pump and a half-inflated vinyl bed, I didn’t have anything to defend myself with—or hide behind. I knew I needed to get outside and run to a neighbor for help.
I just had to get my body to agree with my brain.
Fear had an ironic way of paralyzing important muscles. With my mouth open, I took a slow, deep breath—at least I took in a breath and convinced my feet to turn toward the bedroom door. The floorboard in the dining room creaked. I took off and rounded the corner, heading for the open front door. Heavy footfalls ran behind me.
“Stop!” a man shouted.
I didn’t stop. He grabbed my arm, slowing me down. I threw my best punch at what I hoped would be his head. His flashlight hit the floor—and so did I. He tackled me face first onto the dusty hardwood floor with my arm shoved up my spine. When I took in another breath, I realized the frantic screaming I’d heard a moment before had been my own.