Fifteen years ago…On a beautiful September afternoon, Colin Wyle was boating with his girlfriend Natalie Merian when she disappeared. Natalie’s politician father assumed the worst. A media storm ensued, causing panic in the area and Colin came under suspicion. Desperate to find his love, he sought help from a mysterious source, forcing Colin to make the hardest choice of his life: commit a crime or lose her forever.
Now, Colin has a high-profile career and a fiancée. When a phone call unearths a secret federal investigation, Colin is forced to reckon with the past. And pay for his sins.
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It’s Labor Day at Apache Lake when Natalie Merian climbs the ladder of the massive cabin cruiser. The noise level on board is like a concert. Most of the people, by her guess, are college age, a few years older than her at least. She tries not to be intimidated. Her friends, Mayra and Mike, follow close behind, the deck of the white and brown vessel is anchored near the north shore. The sun is shining on a cloudless day, a scorching one hundred degrees—and the alcohol seems endless, with four coolers open, frosted cans and bottles passed around with jovial acclaim.
A tall blond guy takes Natalie’s hand, helping her to the bow and she notices it’s an unnecessary gesture and knows better than to feel flattered. He says his name, Riley, and she introduces herself to be polite. Natalie gets attention from well-built, boyish, good-looking men like him–and she knows not to be trusting. But this one, he seems uneasy in a way that’s foreboding. This makes her self-conscious, and she wonders why she got on this boat in the first place.
The party is engaging. The distinctly attractive Riley hands a margarita can to Natalie, and she takes hold of it, planning not to drink it, as she figures it’s less resistance to accept and leave it unopened. She tries to have a good time, as people are dancing to the beat, the music louder than sin. Surrounding boats move close to join in, a party of easily fifty strong.
It’s then she realizes–she didn’t say something to her boyfriend Colin before leaving his boat. He’ll worry about her.
What was I thinking? She asks herself.
Natalie just wanted to hang around with Mayra, who she’s been friends with since the first grade–that awkward first day with a room full of strangers. She didn’t plan to be gone long.
Mike, Mayra’s boyfriend, is a trustworthy villain, as Natalie refers to him in the privacy of her head.
Time passes and Natalie forgets where she is and stops wondering when she’ll head back to her boyfriend and his father, on the boat she left behind.
Then the crowd suddenly erupts as Riley brings out a tray with small glasses and begins pouring. He insists that it’s ladies first, and hands the clear liquid shots to a trio of the bikini-clad. Then the fourth one is handed to Natalie, which she doesn’t want. Mayra comes to her rescue and downs the drink, only to have another poured for Natalie a moment later, and the pressure returns.
Natalie figures it won’t kill her, so she takes the liquor down in a gulp, only to regret it as the world starts to spin; language becomes slurred, incoherent.
When she comes to, the crowd is gone, the music no more, and all that remains is stillness, as if nothing is around her at all. Blackness is all she can see, yet she senses something is close to her face. A firm structure of some sort. It’s then she realizes she can’t move her arms, as her wrists are bound, and she cries out without thinking. But she can’t hear it–her own voice makes no sound. And the blackness is not nightfall at all; it’s a blindfold. And she’s lying flat on her back on a soft surface, much like a bed.
How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
Suspense/thrillers tend to be fast paced, short reads, so the story has to be developed, the characters need depth, but the page count has to be short–it’s a challenge.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Keep reading good books, good writers that you’d like to emulate for your own work and don’t give up on writing. and don’t be afraid to fail–if you are to succeed, then you will fail many times over before you hit success.
David Balzarini is an avid reader and writer. He enjoys reading The Bible, good fiction and sports, politics. He grew up in the midwest and moved to suburbia Phoenix in 2006. His wife Nicki and his two boys tolerate him when he’s not glued to the computer or a book. He currently works as a financial advisor and writes part time. Discretion is his first novel.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Nothing specific other than that it’s a story that needs to be told. There’s truth there in Colin’s story that people need to hear.
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