Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Survivor by DiAnn Mills

The Survivor
Zondervan (March 5, 2013)
DiAnn Mills

Chapter 1

10:00 a.m. Wednesday

Miss Walker,
Twenty-three years ago, I survived a killer. I must have
my story told. Can you help me?

Amy Garrett, PhD
Freedom’s Way

Finding suspense story ideas could be grueling, but the concept that just landed in Kariss’s inbox could be her next bestseller. She’d been approached by enough eccentrics to recognize a
sender who saw big bucks for a sensational slice of life. She felt sorry for most of them and wanted to help no matter how ludicrous their story. But none of those people had PhD after their name or a phone number listed in their signature.

The e-mail lured her to the place where words and emotion blended into a feverish dance. She’d survived a killer and knew the courage it took to tell anyone about the horror. She reread
the message. Why would Amy Garrett seek her out? Why would she choose to tell a true story in a novel? One way to find out.

She pressed in the number, and a receptionist answered with a greeting from Freedom’s Way. Hurdle number one — Amy Garrett was a real person who worked at an office. Kariss gave
her name and waited for the call to be transferred.

“Dr. Garrett, here. Is this Kariss Walker?”

“It is. I just received your e-mail. Curiosity got the best of me.”

“Thanks for responding so quickly. Are you currently online?”

“I am.”

“Go to the website listed in my e-mail. That tells you a little about me.”

Kariss clicked on the site. Amy Garrett, founder of Freedom’s Way, was a doctor of psychology who specialized in counseling women who’d been victims of violent crimes.

“Now click on ‘About Freedom’s Way.’ That says it best.”

Powerful words drew her into Amy’s world.

At the age of nine, I survived a brutal attempt on my life. I understand your pain and confusion, and I have felt the despair. Through caring counselors, I found healing. Now I want to offer you the same pathway to life.

Freedom’s Way cares about you. We are committed to helping every woman who has ever been traumatized by a vicious crime. Your first step is only a phone call away.

Don’t let finances stop you from overcoming emotional pain. If you cannot pay, we have scholarships.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” — Matthew 11:28

This was a Christian counseling service. “Why fiction?” Dr. Garrett’s desire to relate her story in a novel seemed skewed with her profession.

“Can we meet in person and discuss this? I’m booked until three-thirty this afternoon, but I have an hour window then. Do you happen to have the time free?”

Kariss’s mind spun in a flurry of whether she wanted to get involved. The woman was aggressive, but intrigue won out. “I’d be happy to talk to you — to gather more information. From your address, I see your office isn’t far from me.”

“I’d like to meet outside my practice. How about the Starbucks across the street from Crystal Point Mall?”


“Miss Walker, it’s important that we keep our discussion private.”

“I plan to come alone.”

“Good. But please don’t tell anyone about this. I’ll explain later.”

Strange request, but maybe Dr. Garrett had approached other writers. “Okay. See you then.”

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