An excerpt from Deadly Games, Part 1 in the criminals-on-the-run romantic suspense e-serial Follow Me by Cara Lockwood (available October 1, 2013).
Overnight, Calypso “Cal” Morgan's sensual Greek summer abroad turns into a thrilling, high-stakes race to prove to the world (and herself) that her brand-new and very sexy boyfriend Daniel is not a murderer. On the run together, Cal and Daniel must outwit handsome Greek detective Nico Theseus and face their attraction to each other – amid the stress and growing suspicions unearthed by the investigation.
Beautiful college student Calypso “Cal” Morgan’s semester abroad had quickly become a steamy summer romance on the gorgeous Greek Isle of Naxos until the morning she wakes, after a night of hard partying, to find her new boyfriend, Daniel, in bed with her wild roommate Gia. But far worse than that, he’s completely covered in her blood. Unable to remember what happened and unwilling to leave each other, Cal and Daniel flee with the handsome police detective Nico Theseus close on their heels. Doomed as they seem to be, it seems that Daniel isn’t the only suspect worth hunting down in the first episode in Cara Lockwood’s sexy, suspenseful, and fast-paced e-serial Follow Me.
“Daniel.” Cal’s voice cracked with panic as she shook her boyfriend’s shoulder. “Daniel.”
Daniel moaned and shifted, bleary and hung over.
There was blood on the sheets.
“Wake up!” She shook him harder.
The Italian girl. Naked. Lying between them, her green eyes open and staring lifelessly at the ceiling.
“Daniel, Gia’s not breathing. Daniel! Wake up!” Cal shook him, panic lacing every ragged breath she took.
Daniel shifted, groaning. “What!” Daniel cracked open one bleary eye. His thick thatch of brown hair was matted and askew.
He sat up and looked at Cal. “What’s on your arm?”
Cal glanced blankly at the red smudge on her bare shoulder.
Cal made a strangled sound as she scrambled out of bed, wearing only her pale pink lace underwear.
“What the fuck?” Daniel exclaimed, fully awake at last. He jumped up, stark naked, scrambling away from the dead girl, and nearly fell. His eyes were round and white with surprise.
Daniel had the streamlined body of the varsity wide receiver he’d been in high school. He was tall and broad with a chest like a wall, rippled with muscle. “Oh, shit! I fell asleep. . . .” He glanced around, confused and dazed.
“What the hell happened last night, Daniel?” Cal’s hands shook. She balled them into fists to keep her fingers still. Her eyes stayed on Gia, with her pretty face and the long dark hair and the tanned and fit body made for sporting a bikini on the cover of a magazine. Except she’d never be on the cover of a magazine, not now, not with that cut, gaping and red.
Daniel shook his head. “I don’t know!” Daniel stared a long time at Gia’s lifeless body, his face blank. He shook his head slowly from side to side.
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Cal’s voice was a harsh whisper. She leaned on the wall next to the bed, her chest rising and falling with sharp breaths.
Daniel looked at Cal, his face frozen in shock. “I don’t remember.”
Cal frowned. “Nothing?”
Daniel shook his head slowly. “Swear to Christ, Cal.” He looked cornered, bewildered, trapped. He glanced down at his arm, which had a splatter of blood on it, and swiped at it furiously.
Cal looked back at the bed, at Gia, naked and bloody.
Daniel followed her gaze and all the color drained from his face. “We need to call an ambulance, Cal. Jesus.” Daniel’s voice was a jangle of nerves and hoarse from a night of hard partying. “What do we do? Do we call nine-one-one? Shit!”
“Greece doesn’t have nine-one-one.” Cal hugged her bare torso.
“Do you remember what happened? Shit!”
Cal shook her head silently, staring at Gia.
“What do we do? Oh, shit. Shit!” Daniel looked back at the girl lying naked and lifeless in his bed. His face took on many different emotions: horror, regret, disgust.
Cal’s eyes darted back and forth from Daniel to the girl on the bed. She studied the thumb-sized blood smudge on his cheek and made a decision. “We’ve got to get out of here.”
“What?” Daniel looked like he was still dreaming, not quite awake.
“We need to shower and get dressed.” Cal stalked to the bathroom. Daniel stood staring at her.
“But . . . just . . . leave?”
“Shower and pack. We’re going.”
“But Gia . . .” For a split second, Daniel did look back at the girl, her glassy eyes, and saw a person and not a body. His voice softened a little.
“Daniel,” Cal said, voice rising a bit. “Do you really want to be here when the police show up? What are we going to tell them? We don’t know what happened. We can’t remember.”
The circumstances began to sink in, and as Daniel sobered, he looked like he’d been slapped.
“We’re two Americans in Greece,” Cal said. “Do you know what happens to Americans abroad at a crime scene? They go to jail. For a long time. Do you want to spend your life in a Greek prison? I mean, remember what happened to that couple in Italy or wherever?”
Daniel shook his head.
“They spent years in jail. Years.” Cal scraped her blond hair up in a hasty ponytail. “We’ve got to get out of here now. We’ve got to get home. We can figure out what happened later.”
Daniel blinked at Cal. “Cal, this is insane. This is fucking insane.”
Cal frowned. “As long as we’re together, we can figure it out.”
“My mom’s a lawyer, okay? If we can just get out of here. Just get home . . . it’ll be better for us. That’s what my mom always said about that Italian case. Guilty or not, that girl’s biggest problem was that she stayed there.”
“Do you want to find out all the ways the Greek justice system is not like ours? I sure don’t.”
“But . . .”
“Look, let’s just get cleaned up and get out of here. We can figure it out later.” Cal’s hands fidgeted anxiously by her sides. “I mean, do you want to stay here? It’s . . .” Cal shuddered as she glanced at the bed, her composure cracking. “I can’t even think here. I can’t . . .”
“Okay.” Daniel just stared at the bed, his eyes blank.
“We have to clean up first. Get dressed.” Cal carefully picked her way to the bathroom, avoiding the bloodstain on the floor.
“Here?” Daniel asked, surprise flickering across his face.
“Do you want to go down the hall to the other bathroom and wake Remy and Stephen?” Cal asked him. “They’ll be up soon enough on their own.” Cal disappeared into the bathroom, and the sound of the shower filled the room.
Daniel stumbled toward the bathroom, too. He stepped in a small pool of blood. “Oh, shit!” he cursed, stepping out of the puddle, his face going a shade of white as he scooted to the side and managed to land on something small and sharp. A piece of glass. “What the hell?” He picked it out of his foot and examined it for a second, then tossed the sharp-edged splinter into a corner before continuing on, carefully making his way to the bathroom.
Cal was already in the shower, having slipped off her underwear, which she’d dumped on the floor. A steady stream of pink water flowed down to her feet and into the drain. She got out as Daniel got in, and she hastily dried herself with a towel. She went straight to her dresser and grabbed cut-off jean shorts and a tank top, which she pulled over her head. While Daniel finished his shower, she hastily stuffed all her other clothes in her backpack and then went to work gathering up the rest of the clothes scattered around the floor. Anything that belonged to Daniel, she stuffed in his knapsack, which was propped in the corner of the room. She grabbed his shorts and put them on the sink in the bathroom. She avoided looking at the bed, at the dead girl, but eventually raised her eyes, focusing on Gia’s face.
She paused a minute, completely still, staring at the dead girl’s eyes. She took one tentative step, and then another, closer to the bed. Gia lay naked on her back, her perfectly toned and tanned stomach and her breasts bare. Cal reached down and pulled up the top sheet, careful to avoid the blood, and tucked it straight up to her chin, covering the giant gash on her neck.
Cal leaned over, as if she was going to touch Gia’s face. She didn’t. She withdrew her hand. The shower went off, and Daniel came out of the bathroom, his hair wet and glistening, wearing the plaid shorts Cal left out for him.
Outside, in the hall, both of them heard the door creak open—one of the other roommates was awake. Daniel froze, eyes big. Cal stayed calm, and that kept Daniel calm. She held up her hand; stay still, it said.
The footsteps came slowly, creaking against the old wood of the Greek beach house. One step. Then another. Closer to the bedroom door.
Daniel sucked in a breath and held it. Cal stood perfectly still.
Shortly after came the thunk of the hallway bathroom door shutting and the click of the lock sliding into place.
Cal exhaled. She grabbed one of Daniel’s sweatshirts and tossed it to him. He caught it easily and pulled it over his head, following her to the bedroom door. She peered out into the hall, and seeing no one, ducked out. Daniel followed, moving quickly and stealthily for someone so tall. They ran past the locked door of the bathroom, and then by the closed doors of their roommates’ bedrooms, , and then down the back stairs, their backpacks slung over their shoulders. Cal’s long blond hair, still wet, clung to the back of her shirt as she stopped near the kitchen, looking for a sign of another roommate about, but there was no one. She strode to the sliding back door and inched it open, and then both of them stepped outside into the humid island air.
Above them, from a second-story bedroom window, someone watched them close the back door. His eyes never left them as they turned down the narrow alley, walking quickly down the tiny narrow mazelike passages on the small island.
Copyright © 2013 by Cara Lockwood.
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Inspired to write Follow Me by the stunning events brought to light during the Amanda Knox case, Cara Lockwood is also the USA Today bestselling author of ten novels, including I Do (But I Don’t), which was made into a Lifetime Original Movie. Born in Texas, she currently lives with her two daughters near Chicago.