Here it is! I'm so excited to share this with you. Here's a sneak peek of Family Ties!
Students bounced off each other like pinballs as they passed each other in the halls. Ame huddled next to Ava as they weaved around the other kids on their way to their next classes. The chatter was deafening. She never usually looked up as she shuffled through the main foyer. Hearing her name through the noise, her head popped up.
Three men stood at the attendance window. Two were dressed entirely in black. The third was dressed in an expensive suit and tie. He held a smug smile on his lips as her talked to the secretary at the attendance office.
“Who are you again?” the secretary pressed.
“I am Amelia’s uncle, Oliver.”
“I don’t have an Uncle Oliver on Amelia O’Riley’s authorized pick-up sheet. Let me call her mother.”
“That’s not necessary. I have the authorization note signed by my sister.” The man slid a piece of paper across the counter. The secretary picked it up with a skeptical frown. It faded away into a smile.
“Yes, you do. I didn’t know Abbey O’Riley had a brother. You have an accent. British?”
“Yes. We share the same father. Could I get my niece? We are running late for our appointment.”
“Of course. Let me find Ame’s schedule and I’ll get her.” The secretary turned to her computer and typed furiously.
Ame frowned. She never heard of an Uncle Oliver. Ava leaned against her. “Who are they?”
“I don’t know. My mom told me she’s an only child.”
“Ame, you can’t go with them.”
“Would they have stopped at the other schools?”
Fear seized Ame’s heart. “Ethan. Colin. Aubrey and Liam…”
“Give your books to me and go.”
Ame piled her books into Ava’s arms, breathing a silent thanks to her friend. She raced out the nearest door, leaving the bustling school to its normal day as she sprinted across the grass to the drive that led to the other schools.
Hoping the lofty branches over the tree lined drive would hide her, Ame hurried down the hill to the elementary school. The bell signaling the end of recess echoed across the playground. Teachers shepherded the rowdy children still bouncing full of energy between them back into the building. She ran across the lawn to the group. “Missus Smith!”
“Amelia, what are you doing down here?” the teacher questioned.
“Where is Aubrey and Liam?”
“Liam is already in the building. Aubrey is hiding like usual. Shouldn’t you be in class?.”
“I’ll find her. She’ll come out for me.”
The teacher looked at her warily. “All right. I’m going to help get the rest of the children into the building. I’ll be right inside the door. Bring her to me then get back to class.”
“Of course, Missus Smith.”
Ame’s heart slammed in her chest as she raced back to the playground. She called out her little sister’s name as she searched frantically. A whimper stopped her dead in her tracks. She looked up the slide. Beneath the mouth of the tunnel, Aubrey huddled with her tiny arms wrapped around her legs. She stared at her older sister with big, blue eyes.
“Aubrey, come down,” Ame demanded as she pointed to the ground. “Please. Now.”
The little girl shook her head, her black curls bobbing around her face.
“Come on, Aubrey. We have to go inside. I think we’re in danger. Please…”
Chills ran up Ame’s spine as a voice approached from behind her. She turned slowly to find the three men that asked for her standing there, the one named Oliver wearing an evil grin. “Look what we’ve found, boys,” he chuckled. He wrapped his hand around Ame’s wrist and tugged her to him. She stiffened as she felt the point of a blade poke her beneath her chin.
Her captor looked up the slide to Aubrey. “Come on, sweetheart. You don’t want me to hurt your big sister, do you?”
The only reply he got was a squeak. Aubrey straightened herself, slid down the slide, and walked to Ame, clasping her little arms around Ame’s waist in terror. She looked up with tear filled eyes. “I’m scared,” she whimpered.
“Me too,” Ame breathed.
“Ok, girls,” Oliver began. “See that white van over there.” He pointed at the nose of a beaten up white van peeking from the tree lined lane. “We’re going for a ride.”
Ame never heard someone approach over the thundering of her racing heart. There was the sound of a scuffle. Before Oliver could turn them, a voice greeted them.
“Like hell you are.”
Ame gasped as she noticed Oliver’s spine straighten. She knew that voice but there was no way it could be… She carefully glanced around her captor to the source.
Abbey stood beside them dressed in her business suit for the office. Oliver’s accomplices were doubled over on the ground. Her mother had a very dangerous looking pistol pressed against Oliver’s temple. “I don’t know who the hell you are, but please take the knife away from my daughter’s throat. Because if I see you so much as flinch I’ll put a bullet in your brain.”
Oliver laughed, a wicked twinkle glimmering in his chocolate brown eyes. Ame breathed a sigh of relief as he lowered the knife. “Abigail O’Riley, I was hoping you would be the one they would send. I’ve been dying to meet you. If you haven’t noticed, beautiful, you’re outnumbered.”
One of the other men stumbled to his feet and reached for his gun. Before he could pull it free, Abbey slipped her hand beneath her skirt, whipping out the pistol in the holster wrapped around her thigh. She pointed it at him. “And if you know me that well, you know I’m not alone. There are sniper rifles pointed at each of you right now. Now I have a question for you. Do you have anyone in that van of yours?”
“Why would I tell you?” Oliver questioned.
“Because if there are, you’ll want to get them out. Now. Call it my Good Samaritan moment of the day.”
Ame heard the faint buzz of a motorbike approaching. It was barely audible over her stampeding heart. She was trying to stay brave for her little sister but she knew the little girl could feel her shake. Snipers? Where did Mom come up with snipers? And why is she holding those guns? Has she done this before? Does Daddy know about this?
“Amelia, Aubrey, get down,” Abbey gently instructed.
Both girls stood stone still. The sound of the motorbike grew louder. Abbey glanced out of the corner of her eye at her daughters. “Girls, I said get down. Now.”
The buzz of the motor tore everyone’s attention away. Ame watched as large figure dressed in black raced up the drive lined for a direct collision with the van. In a fluid motion, he laid the bike on its side. Sparks erupted from the scraping metal as the man kicked the bike away and tumbled onto the lawn. Abbey used the second of distraction to land a roundhouse kick into the belly of one of the captors. Ame gaped as she watched her mother incapacitate the three, leaving a particularly wicked elbow for Oliver’s chin, strong enough to cut him open. She flew to the ground and tugged the girls to her to shield them.
The explosion was hard to miss. The van erupted in flames sending a fireball into the sky past the line of trees. The roar was quickly followed by the tinkling sound of shattering glass as several of the school windows blew apart. Aubrey screamed and clung to her mother. Ame pulled her head free enough to look.
The motorbike rider slowly rose from the ground like a demon from the flames. He brushed the dirt from his suit then strode across the lawn toward them. Ame quaked inside. She could only squeak one word. “Dad?”