Excerpt MY BELOVED PAST:
Everything moved in slow motion as Jake watched the dog dig his front paws into the ground, not allowing anything to get between him and Wonder Woman. As Jake flew off the bench, he screamed for the woman to run.
The music must have been too loud, though, because she didn’t react. Jake screamed louder, waving his hands in the air as he ran towards his pickup truck. Finally getting her attention, he pointed behind her as the snarling dog closed in.
At the same moment, he could hear the owner screaming, “Goliath, stop! Goliath, heel!”
Turning, seeing the dog on her heels, Zara screamed, then started sprinting. Her heart jumped into her throat, knowing she couldn’t outrun the devil dog hot on her heels.
“LOOK OUT! RUN!” Jake continued to scream as he grabbed a shovel out of the bed of the truck, then ran towards the woman.
The dog lunged, his front paws landing on the small of her back and propelling her forward. His weight caused Zara’s right foot to kick into her left, and then she was flying, hearing the snap of the dog’s jaw as she flew out of his reach.
Hands outstretched, instinctually trying to save herself from a face- plant, she met the unforgiving pavement as it scraped off the tender skin on her hands and forearms.
She screamed in pain and fear. God help her, the dog was going to rip her apart. Jake watched as Wonder Woman rolled out of reach while the dog snarled, skidding to a halt and turning back to his prey. He was maybe five feet away, shovel raised, when the dog exposed his teeth and attacked.
Zara curled her body inwards, covering her head with her bloody hands. She screamed when the first bite sank into her upper arm, ripping the tender flesh. The pain was excruciating. Then she felt the warmth of her blood as her flesh tore further before the dog let go.
Zara screeched in agonizing pain as she heard the growl of intent before the dog quickly moved his paws up her body to get a better shot at her screaming face.
Tucking her body into a tighter ball, she felt his teeth at the base of her skull. She tightened her shoulder muscles as searing pain again lashed through her body, the dog’s sharp teeth penetrating the muscle to the bone.
Zara finally got runner’s euphoria as her mind separated from her body.
Convinced she was going to die, she had so many regrets. How could a woman at twenty-six years old die with so many things left undone and unsaid?
Jason! She would miss thoughts of Jason the most. I’m sorry, Jason. Please forgive me.
Zara was brought out of her despair by a menacing shout, followed by the whistle of wind, before a bone-crunching sound filtered into her brain. Then there was the sound of a painful howl as bones snapped.
The dog yelped, but he was undeterred by his injuries, turning its ferocious temper to the person who had hit him. It snarled at the newcomer, spittle and blood flying as it shook the pain off. In the blink of an eye, the dog then lunged off Zara, straight for Jake’s arm, latching on as the shovel collided with the dog’s flank.
Through his adrenaline rush, Jake heard the owner screaming to stop. He wasn’t sure if the guy was yelling at him, the dog, or them both. Whatever the case, Jake used inhuman strength as he wielded the shovel, ready for the next blow.
The dog yelped with pain as the shovel connected with its hind leg. Then its body followed the trajectory of the shovel, ripping the skin in Jake’s forearm.
“Fuck!” Jake screamed, turning to see the dog was trying to get up, but it couldn’t put any weight on its hind leg. It continued yelping in pain as the owner ran to his dog. Ignoring the hellhound, Jake knelt next to Wonder Woman, who was crying loudly as the blood flowed freely from her wounds, her arms still tightly clasped around her head.
“I’m sorry, Jason,” Jake heard her chanting. It must have been her boyfriend because he didn’t see a ring. And he knew, as beautiful as she was, she would surely have a man in her life.
“Miss, it’s okay.” Looking up to confirm the dog’s owner had the dog contained, he then looked back down, realizing he needed to call 9- 1-1.
He quickly looked for his phone, but he must have dropped it by the bench. Instead, he grabbed the woman’s phone, attached to an arm band.
“What’s your code?” he asked quickly, seeing he couldn’t use her phone without one.
The beautiful woman didn’t seem to hear.
Just as he was about to ask again, he heard his name being called and lifted his head. It was his employee, Christopher, running with all his might to get to Jake and the woman.
“Call 9-1-1!” Jake yelled.
The boy halted, digging his phone out of his front pocket. As soon as he dialed, he proceeded to the horrific scene.
As Jake heard the boy talking to the operator, he grabbed the base of his work shirt and whipped it over his head before ripping it down the center.
Christopher bent down. “What do you need?” Jake could hear the panic in the young kid’s voice.
Jake ripped a piece off his shirt, then grabbed the woman’s arm, throwing the kid the other half and telling him, “Rip this into strips and hand them to me.”
At Jake’s touch, Zara screamed and tried to yank her arm away, terrified the dog had her again. “No! Please, no more.”
“Easy, sweetheart. I’m not going to hurt you. You’re safe now.” As he said it, he lifted his head and, unbelievably, saw the coward struggling with the beast, trying to sneak away.
“Christopher, call 9-1-1 again and ask for the police,” he snapped. “Tell them the asshole is trying to sneak away. Follow him. Go!”
Christopher jumped up, doing his boss’s bidding, as Jake bent back down and started tying a tourniquet. The woman shrieked in pain.
“I’m sorry. I don’t want to cause you more pain, but I have to stop the bleeding.”
Zara had her eyes scrunched closed in pain, rocking while crying.
“You’re going to be fine. I promise.” Jake tied off what he could on her forearm, then concentrated on her shoulder and the back of her head. He took the rest of the fabric and pressed it tightly to the other two wounds.
To get government grants to help young entrepreneurs open businesses, it was required they have WHIMIS and first-aid training. Jake took the commitment seriously, knowing workplace accidents happened all the time. He just never imagined his skills would be used on Wonder Woman.
This was not how Jake envisioned meeting her.
The woman’s whimpers were heartbreaking. Where is the damn ambulance? Jake could feel and see her blood sopping through his torn- up T-shirt.
In the distance, he finally heard sirens getting closer by the second. Thankfully, at this time of day, there wouldn’t be any traffic.
A cop car came barrelling down the road first. Not thirty seconds behind it was the ambulance. Jake sighed with relief.
The cop came to a screeching halt a few feet from the couple,jumping out of his car while talking into his radio. “Ambulance is right behind me. What happened?” the officer asked.
Without lifting his head, he told him, “Dog attack. The owner tried taking off. I sent my employee to follow him.”
“Okay. I heard the call on my radio. One of our guys is almost there.”
At that moment, the woman turned her head slightly and finally opened her eyes. Time stood still as Jake’s heart leapt. She had the eyes that had haunted his past. The eyes that would always remind him of the famous National Geographic cover of the twelve-year-old Pakistani girl with the captivating green eyes surrounded with indigo. Then there was Wonder Woman’s dark hair and bronzed skin that reminded him of Charlize. Could it be her?
Both men spoke at the same time.
Anne Marie Citro grew born and raised in the greater Toronto area of Ontario, Canada. She grew up in a large, loving family. Anne Marie is married to a very patient man. He is the love of her life. They have four very cool sons, and the girls they brought into their family that have become daughters of her heart. She has been blessed enough to finally have a beautiful granddaughter after four sons. She has her own personal gaggle of girlfriends, who enrich her life on a daily basis and make her laugh. Caesar Friday is her favourite day of the week. Caesars with the girls and date night with her hubby. She works with special-needs teenagers, that have taught her how to appreciate life and see it through gentler eyes. Anne Marie was encouraged by her husband to follow her lifelong dream to write. She loves the characters that take over imagination and haunts her dreams. She loves the arts and she has tried her hand at painting, wood sculpting, chainsaw carving, wood burning, metal and wire sculptures. Yes, her husband is a very patient man! Anne Marie is an avid reader and enjoys about three books per week. But nothing makes her happier then riding on the back of her husband's Harley and throwing her arms out and feeling the wind race by. Anne Marie and her husband take a few weeks every year to travel to spectacular destination around the world. Anne Marie is excited and can't wait to see what the next chapter holds for her life.