What You Don’t Remember Can Hurt You
When a shark attack triggers a Marine Biologist’s previous trauma with two men, she plots her own ambush against the predators, both fish and man.
Rian Field has it all. A thriving career as a marine biologist, a loving husband, and a loyal circle of friends. But after surviving a shark attack, she becomes strangely haunted by disturbing memories where two masked men held her hostage in her own home.
Before long, nightmares begin to plague her, her friends start acting suspiciously, and she’s convinced that there are fragments from the past that she can’t remember, important clues that could save her life.
Then someone breaks into her home. Again. Convinced that the shark attack is somehow connected to the masked men, she experiences a renewed sense of terror as the culprits appear to be among those she trusts. Because they are watching her every move. They aren’t finished with the past. They know about her fear of sharks. And they will use that fear against her until she’s dead.
Rian must overcome her fear of sharks and uncover the truth before the past buries her once and for all.
A psychological thriller that deals with the realities of trauma and PTSD.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A trauma I experienced led me to discuss some of the details while also fictionalizing the experience through a suspenseful lens and a complex story line involving a shark.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The MC is partly based on myself. Some of the characters are inspired by real-life bad guys.
As she leapt out of the boat, Rian felt a hard jolt. She screamed as she jumped away from the water's edge. It was just the jerking motion of the boat. The water was now quietly lapping at the surface. Rian nervously scanned the water, her eyes quickly darting left to right, north to south. No shark.
The dock was wet as she sat down. Sliding a few yards away from the water, she found herself lying down, trying to catch her breath, her heart gasping out of shock, her arms twitching in fear.
Spaced every five yards, streetlamps faced the single lane of the harbor. A small handful of businesses lined the street, but all the windows were shrouded in darkness.
Rian frowned and looked down at her watch: 9:13. She had been passed out for over four hours. She glanced back at the swaying boat, noticing that the right side of the body had been punched inward.
This is it, Rian. The end of the road. You have completed your mission. It is time to go. They were thoughts from the past. When she had almost died.
And here she was again, though in a very different situation, still seconds away from death.
"Oh, God!" she started gasping, but all the air she took in was too thick and it made her cough.
The black ocean looked bottomless. She shuddered and looked away.
The lamppost above her head burned into her eyes. She squinted as tears fired into her soul. She opened her mouth and a blast of cold air poured inside of it. Coughing again, she gradually rose, stepped forward, and stopped. Her heart felt heavy as it pressed down inside of her.
The boardwalk stretched far. Too far.
Her body buckled beneath her.
"Rian? Rian!" The voice sounded so far away. She tried to open her eyes, but it was as if a strong weight pulled her eyelids back down. "Stay with us, Rian." The voice was urgent. "Don't move!"
A bright light stared down into her face; it came from the ceiling beams. She tried to move her arm, but it was too painful. She slowly turned her head to the left. A starch white wall faced her. To her right, a window opened into a view of a cemetery.
The clock on the nightstand read 7:00 a.m. On a rolling cart, next to her bed, an IV was feeding fluids into her left arm. No wonder she couldn't move it. She tried to sit up, but her breath caught in her chest and she quickly lay back down. Next to her head was a nurse-call button. She managed to move her right arm and punch the button. Within seconds, a nurse arrived. He carried himself with formality, but when he reached her bedside and smiled, Rian felt immediately comfortable.
"How are you feeling?" he asked.
She remembered Nurse Jon. When she’d first regained consciousness, it had been three in the morning. She had explained everything in detail about the shark attack. Clearly, the nature of the event had exhausted her for she had quickly fallen back asleep.
"You're doing much better, Rian, especially after your meeting with an unfriendly shark."
"You mean, there are friendly sharks out there?"
He smiled at her as he adjusted the tubes in her arm.
She recalled the night before and knew it would be a moment that would repeat the memory of itself for years. A dark gloomy shape opened its mouth for her—
"How's the pain?"
"When I try to move, it hurts."
"You lost a lot of blood."
"When do I get to go home?"
"You're lucky. The shark didn't get a piece of you, but your body hit the wheel pretty hard. You received fifteen stitches in your head. You're going to be sore for a while—the impact from being pushed into the boat bruised your chest and back, but we should have you out of here tomorrow night."
She cringed as she remembered the darkness folding in all around her and how her breath nearly knocked out of her as her back slammed into the ignition.
"Where's my husband?"
"He just stepped out, but he will be back shortly. He went for some coffee." Nurse Jon dumped a capsule into his palm and held out a cup of water. "Tylenol for the pain." She eagerly accepted both and immediately swallowed the pill. "I'll be doing my rounds now, but if you need anything, just push the button."
Minutes later, Jack arrived. He carried a cup of steaming coffee in his hand, but he sat it down on the table against the wall. "Rian!" He rushed to her side. Even at the age of thirty-eight, he still had all of his hair, but he chose to keep his blond strands in a buzz cut. "Once a Marine, always a Marine". He retired in July from the Marine Corp, having served his twenty years in HMH-466 as a 6173 Helicopter Crew Chief on CH-53 Super Stallions.
"The nurse said I could go home tomorrow."
"Oh, Rian, thank God you're all right." He embraced her gently, careful to avoid the IV and the bruising in her chest. "What do you need? Are you hungry at all?"
She shook her head. "Did we win?"
Jack laughed. "Still got your priorities, I see. Nah, the Bengals won, but we’ll get to the playoffs. It's a definite."
They chatted like that for the next several minutes and Rian started feeling a lot better, almost forgetting about the pain.
"Who found me?" she asked.
"On the pier. Who found me? When?"
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