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The Sally Ride Chronicle: The Syndicate-Born Trilogy, #4

The Sally Ride Chronicle: The Syndicate-Born Trilogy, #4

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The Sally Ride Chronicle: The Syndicate-Born Trilogy, #4

Length:
288 pages
4 hours
Released:
Dec 4, 2017
ISBN:
9781622531516
Format:
Book

Description

The Syndicate doesn't believe in divorce, but murder is another story.

"Wow! The Sally Ride Chronicle certainly does take you for a wild ride. KM Hodge does a great job with this prequel to 'The Syndicate-Born Trilogy.' Fast paced action, danger and thrills with a little romance will keep you wanting more." ~ Hope Gerhardstein

Sally wants out—out of her marriage, out of the mob, out of Ocean City. An impossible dream. That is until the MDNA, a secret hacktivist group, invites her to join the ranks of their rebellion. The goal? Take down the criminal empire.

She's no Jane Bond, but no one in her town suspects the quiet church-going mom is a threat, especially The Syndicate's criminal defense attorney, Michael David, who's got a thing for mysterious blondes. His love-'em-and-kill-'em exploits, and his penchant for causing witnesses to disappear, make him enemy number one for the hacktivist group. Sally's mission sounds simple enough—destroy the lawyer's life and make him pay—but....

Once she starts, there'll be no turning back.

Follow Sally as she attempts the unthinkable—take down the largest crime ring in US history—in this prequel to "The Syndicate-Born Trilogy."

Fans of David Baldacci and the novel "Girl on the Train" will love this gritty, true-to-life spy thriller featuring a strong female character readers are calling their favorite. USA Today Bestselling Author K.M. Hodge's "The Sally Ride Chronicle" is just the beginning; for more on her adventures, check out the complete "The Syndicate-Born Trilogy."

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS the fourth book in "The Syndicate-Born Trilogy," which is a prequel to the full trilogy exploring what happens when one well-placed group possesses too much power, and how it affects those who just get in its way. [DRM-Free]

What Others Are Saying About "RED ON THE RUN" by K.M. Hodge:

"Move over Baldacci. Prepare for competition from this new author! Spellbinding - hard to put down." ~ Patrisha Ehlert

"Ms. Hodge has crafted an interesting tale of suspense amid a beautiful love story. You don't know who to trust, so you are suspicious of everyone." ~ Melinda McIntosh, author of 'A Bit of Tickle for the Mind'

"Domestic abuse and addiction can be pretty tough topics but K.M. Hodge delivers in a debut novel that is fast-paced and very suspenseful." ~ Gail Olmsted, author of 'Guessing at Normal'

"This adrenaline-fueled thriller captivates from the first chapter until it hurtles to the dramatic finale." ~ RandomBadger

Books by K.M. Hodge:

  • "Red on the Run" (The Syndicate-Born Trilogy - Book 1)
  • "Black and White Truth" (The Syndicate-Born Trilogy - Book 2)
  • "True Blue Son" (The Syndicate-Born Trilogy - Book 3)
  • "The Sally Ride Chronicle" (The Syndicate-Born Trilogy - Book 4 - A Prequel)

More Great Thrillers from Evolved Publishing:

  • "Forgive Me, Alex" by Lane Diamond
  • "The Oz Files" Series by Barry Metcalf
  • The "A Point Thriller" Series by Jeff Altabef
  • The "Zoe Delante Thriller" Series by C.L. Roberts-Huth

Released:
Dec 4, 2017
ISBN:
9781622531516
Format:
Book

About the author

K.M. Hodge grew up in Detroit, where she spent most of her free time weaving wild tales to spook her friends and family. These days, she lives in Texas with her husband and two energetic boys, and once again enjoys writing tales of suspense and intrigue that keep her readers up all night. Her stories, which focus on women’s issues, friendship, addiction, regrets and second chances, will stay with you long after you finish them. When she isn’t writing or being an agent of social change, she reads Independent graphic novels, watches old X-files episodes, streams Detroit Tigers games and binges on Netflix with her husband. She enjoys hearing from her readers, so don’t be shy about dropping her a line.

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The Sally Ride Chronicle - K.M. Hodge

Copyright

www.EvolvedPub.com

~~~

Sally Ride Chronicle

Prequel to The Syndicate-Born Trilogy

Copyright © 2017 K.M. Hodge

Cover Art Copyright © 2017 Mallory Rock

~~~

ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622531515

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-151-6

~~~

Editor: Sue Fairchild

Proofreader: Rachel MacAulay

Interior Designer: Lane Diamond

~~~

PUBLISHER’S NOTE:

At the end of this novel of approximately 54,675 words, you will find two Special Sneak Previews: 1) RED ON THE RUN, the author’s first novel from The Syndicate-Born Trilogy, and; 2) FORGIVE ME, ALEX by Lane Diamond, another thriller we think you’ll enjoy. We provide these as a FREE extra service, and you should in no way consider it a part of the price you paid for this book. We hope you will both appreciate and enjoy the opportunity. Thank you.

~~~

eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~~~

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Books by K.M. Hodge

THE SYNDICATE-BORN TRILOGY

1 – Red on the Run

2 – Black and White Truth

3 – True Blue Son

4 (A Prequel) – The Sally Ride Chronicle

~~~

THE BOOK CELLAR MYSTERIES

1 – Walker Texas Wife

2 – Texas & Tiaras

~~~

Save the Date

~~~

www.KMHodge.com

~~~

What Others Are Saying about K.M. Hodge’s Books:

~~~

Red on the Run:

A wonderful book! The characters are heroic and flawed and broken, and about 1/3 of the way through the book, I was hooked... rooting for them to overcome, rooting for them to have a happy ending, and scared to get to the end in case it wasn’t a happy one. Ms. Hodge has crafted an interesting tale of suspense amid a beautiful love story. You don’t know who to trust, so you are suspicious of everyone. I can’t wait to read her next book. ~ Melinda McIntosh, Author of A Bit of Tickle for the Mind

~~~

Red on the Run:

Domestic abuse and addiction can be pretty tough topics but K.M. Hodge delivers in a debut novel that is fast-paced and very suspenseful. I wanted to keep reading and I enjoyed this novel to the end. Looking forward to future books in the series! ~ Gail Olmstead, Author of Jeep Tour and Guessing at Normal

~~~

Red on the Run:

Absolutely fantastic! Move over Baldacci. Prepare for competition from this new author! Spellbinding—hard to put down. Had me captured from chapter one through the end! ~ Patrisha Ehlert

~~~

Red on the Run

This book is so much more than a simple thriller. It’s fast-paced, with a plot that will keep your wheels spinning as you try to unravel the intricacies. But it is also a book not afraid to delve into the deeper side of characters and address tough issues. A super enjoyable read, its complexities only add to that. Pick this up for a weekend read—you won’t want to stop once you’ve started. ~ Nella M.

FREE GIFT from K.M. Hodge

Thank you for picking up a copy of The Sally Ride Chronicle. As a way to thank my amazing readers, I have a FREE novel available to all my subscribers. As soon as you sign-up for my newsletter, you will receive a free copy of my suspense novel, Walker Texas Wife. At first glance, the residents of Herald Springs lead charmed lives. But behind the dazzling smiles and inside the large brick homes, they all have their secrets. Most are harmless, but then again Annabeth King never did quite fit in.

~~~

This newest neighbor is harboring a special secret of her own; one that could prove deadly. Will the members of the drink and gossip club figure out what Annabeth’s working so hard to hide before disaster comes knocking?

www.kmhodge.com/Subscribe

BONUS CONTENT

We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book.

~~~

In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the First 2 Chapters of K.M. Hodge’s RED ON THE RUN, the first book in The Syndicate-Born Trilogy series., picking up where THE SALLY RIDE CHRONICLE leaves off.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

YOU’LL FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

THE SYNDICATE-BORN TRILOGY at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the First 4 Chapters of the multiple award-winning psychological thriller FORGIVE ME, ALEX by Lane Diamond, who also served as the senior editor of THE SYNDICATE-BORN TRILOGY.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

YOU’LL FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

The TONY HOOPER Series at Evolved Publishing

Table of Contents

Copyright

Books by K.M. Hodge

FREE GIFT from K.M. Hodge

BONUS CONTENT

Table of Contents

Dedication

THE SALLY RIDE CHRONICLE

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Epilogue

Special Sneak Preview: RED ON THE RUN by K.M. Hodge

Acknowledgements

About the Author

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: FORGIVE ME, ALEX by Lane Diamond

Dedication

I dedicate this book to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Change can only happen when we start talking about these issues.

Prologue

I started a war. People died. My son blamed me for ruining his life. And I gave up most of my life to the fight. All because I wanted to escape from Ocean City, my abusive husband and the criminal enterprise he worked for. On a good day, my old man Billy drank and gambled away his paycheck from quitting time Friday until he collapsed Sunday morning. When he did well at his weekend poker game, he would roll in around three in the morning singing old Irish drinking songs. He’d smell of whiskey, perfume, and sex. He didn’t bother me on those nights and I sure as shit stayed out of his way. But when he lost, I’d be limping into Mass the next morning—hiding the bruises under my worn church dress. His thug friends and their pious wives would shoot me pitiful smiles, smudged at the corners with judgement, but leave me to sit alone in the back pew. No one ever said anything, tried to help me, or even offered me the smallest bit of kindness. For most of my marriage, I would light candles after each service and the Holy Mother would stare at me as I silently petitioned her for mercy—that my old man might fall ill or piss off the wrong person. It didn’t matter what end he came to, as long as I could be free.

Then one day a stranger walked into my cousin’s bar and asked me how much it would cost to take me behind the alleyway, like I was some common prostitute. But this disgusting request, from a broken man, sparked the hope I needed so badly. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t some Cinderella story. He didn’t save me. Hell, no. I saved myself. I almost died trying, but I eventually got my happily ever after, or as close to it as I’ll ever get. And, in the end, that’s all any of us can ever hope for.

Chapter 1

O’Malley’s Bar

Ocean City, Maryland

July 1, 1999

8:00 PM

~~~

Sally nursed her whiskey and eyed the man sitting at the opposite end of the bar. His dark hair had a persistent cowlick that refused to be tamed. A day’s worth of stubble dusted his cheeks and his wrinkled suit looked like it needed a good laundering. His green eyes, full lips and dazzling smile made her stomach flip-flop. The bar masked his height, but she knew his muscular six-foot frame by heart. Try as she might, she couldn’t stop staring at him.

He finished off his shot and set the empty glass down beside the others lined up on the bar in front of him like a white flag of despair. Smoke from his cigarette leaked out the side of his mouth. His eyes dropped to half-mast, and he swayed on the stool like he might fall off. When she sipped her drink, he caught her gaze and held it. A slow smile crept across his face. She smiled back and her heart fluttered in response.

He crushed his spent cigarette butt in the ashtray, tossed a crumpled hundred-dollar bill to the barkeep, and stood. She bit her bottom lip and let out a slow breath of anticipation.

Through the stale cloud of smoke, he made his way to the back of the bar, brushing up against her on his way out. The small touch sent off a spark in her chest. Surely, no one would notice if she stepped out for some fresh air. She slid off her stool—careful not to draw any attention to herself—and followed him. The clip-clop of her boot heel on the linoleum boomed in her ears with each step she took. It wasn't the first time she’d done this with him and it wouldn't be the last. At least, she hoped not.

The door clicked closed behind her and the cool night air felt good on her flushed face.

In the darkened alley, he grabbed her, pulled her up against him, and kissed her.

Alex...

Sally.

He stopped kissing her long enough to flash her one of his brilliant smiles and then went back to work, nipping and sucking at her neck. They stumbled past the dumpsters and into the shadows.

He yanked down the straps of her tank top until it bunched up at her waist. Gooseflesh broke out on her bare arms and exposed breasts. The burn from his stubble on her skin made her gasp. Her fingers weaved through his short hair.

I’ve been thinking about this all day, he said in a husky whisper that tickled her ear.

Me too.

The sweet smell of tobacco, sandalwood and whiskey lingered on him as she took in a deep breath. She tore at the clothes separating them and he helped—tugging at his belt until his pants pooled at his feet. Her shallow breaths left her lightheaded. She swayed and he tightened his hold on her.

They’d been going at it like a couple of teenagers for almost a month now. Her old man of seven years, sat only a few yards away, in the hidden backroom of the bar, no doubt gambling away their rent money. The danger of being caught only added to the thrill. The intensity overshadowed all the other relationships from the past.

A few weeks prior, Alex walked into the bar and asked her how much she cost. She’d slapped him. Instead of hitting her back, he’d kissed her, taken her in this same alleyway, and later begged for more. Every night since, he’d returned to the bar and took her again...and again...and again.

Today he threw her up against the brick wall. She cried out and tightened her grip on his neck. He liked her loud and she liked him rough and neither of them ever disappointed. The yellow, blue, and purple marks he left on her body joined the ones left by her husband.

Sally wrapped her legs tightly around his midsection and let him take her right there up against the brick wall. It didn’t last long. His ragged breath tickled her face and she let out a contented sigh as he released his hold on her. She slid down the wall, where he had pinned her.

Alex tugged the end of her skirt down. I'm leaving tomorrow.

His hand went to his zipper and she stopped him. The light of a nearby street light illuminated his hard, sweaty body and she found herself already wanting him again.

Oh?

Her gaze locked on his chest. His unbuttoned white oxford shirt flapped in the evening breeze. On impulse, she licked away the beads of sweat that ran down his right pectoral and he groaned. The salty aftertaste left her wanting more.

Yeah...overseas. I—uh....

She licked and nipped at his chest. He hissed and his muscles twitched.

I don't know when I’ll be back.... I—uh...Oh, I'm going to miss this. He leaned against the wall with one hand while his other groped at her bare chest.

She didn’t want him to leave yet. His short refractory period and insatiable sexual appetite could be used against him if she played it right. She dropped to her knees and smiled up at him even though the gravel tore at her skin. He raised his brow and a sly smile crept up at the corner of his mouth. She relished the power she held over him. When he came at last, she rose to her feet. His legs wobbled and he sank to the ground before her.

The excitement of their encounter made her heart race. She righted her shirt and tried to catch her breath. Her blood pumped so fiercely in her eardrum she didn't hear the door open.

What the—

Sally looked up and came face-to-face with her cousin Oswald, the owner of the bar. He stood in the door frame with a bag of trash in his hand. His mouth hung open and he turned to look over his shoulder. Then he called out a name that sent chills down her spine. Billy! Billy, get out here.

Sally’s body went cold. Alex! Run!

Her blissed-out lover looked up at her, dazed and confused. Huh?

Go. Now!

She tugged at his arm and shouted at him, but the words didn't seem to register. Meanwhile, her cousin held open the door for her old man, who charged straight for Alex.

Alex’s eyes widened as her earlier warning began to make sense. He tried to scramble to his feet and button up his pants. Shit, shit, shit.

Billy roared as he rammed his head into Alex’s abdomen and slammed him up against the wall.

Stop it, Billy!

She lunged towards the two men, but her cousin grabbed her from behind and held her tight. Oh, no you don't.

She grit her teeth, twisting, and pulling her body against his hold, but her cousin held on with a vice-like grip. He's gonna kill him.

Her cousin whispered in her ear, Better him than you, Sal. Maybe this’ll teach ya to stop screwing around.

Billy pinned Alex to the wall with his powerful forearm and pulled a pistol out of the waistband of his pants.

Sally cried out as he shoved the barrel into her lover's taut belly, No!

Alex’s face turned red and he clenched his jaw. He fought to tear himself loose from the hold her bull of a husband had on him, but had no luck. If she didn't act soon, Billy would kill him. It wouldn't be the first time. No, she couldn’t let that happen again.

A mixture of fear and adrenaline rushed through her veins. She smashed the sharp heel of her boot down onto her cousin’s foot.

He howled in pain and a rush of guilt washed over her. Sorry, Oswald!

He released his hold on her and she snatched up a glass beer bottle at her feet. Before her cousin could stop her again she ran at her husband and broke the empty bottle over his head, sending amber shards flying. He slumped to the ground, out cold. She clutched the neck of the bottle in her fist and pointed the sharp end at her cousin. Her breath was jagged fits and starts, and her heart pounded against her chest, but she held a steady stance—ready to fight again if it came to it.

Oswald eyed the weapon and held up his hands in defeat. You need t’ work this out on your own. He picked up the bag of trash where he’d dropped it, tossed it into the dumpster, and limped back inside the bar.

Sally tossed the broken glass aside while Alex buttoned his shirt, his chest heaving the entire time. When he finished, he bent over Billy and looked him over. You got him good. He straightened to his full height, a good head taller than her, and caught her eye. Sally—

She rose on her tiptoes and silenced him with a brief kiss that he returned. She looked him in the eyes and smiled despite the tears that threatened to spill. Come’n find me, when you get back.

A sly smile curled up at the corner of his mouth. You're crazy. You know?

Just crazy enough.

A little laugh escaped his full lips and she bit her own to keep from kissing him again. His gaze fell to her mouth and he seemed to hesitate. Billy wouldn’t be out for much longer. As much as she wanted Alex to stick around, she needed him gone before her old man came to.

I can't just leave you here with him, Alex said.

Billy groaned and started to stir. Sally pressed her sharp heel onto her husband’s neck. I've got this. Go! Hurry, before he wakes up or the police show up.

Alex paused for a moment and then took off down the street. Sally let out a sigh. As she watched him go, her eyes caught the glint of something on the ground. She stepped to it—a black leather badge. She opened it and her breath caught in her throat. CIA Agent Alexander Bailey.

A spook.

Sally took in a shaky breath as the sound of sirens drew closer. The cops would be on them, right quick. Her cousin must have called them. So much for figurin’ this out on their own. She hid the badge behind the loose brick where she kept her runaway money. She'd keep it safe for him until he came back.

If Billy don't kill me first.

***

Sally & Billy’s Trailer

Ocean City, Maryland

August 10, 1999

6:00 AM

~~~

The two blue lines of the pregnancy test stared back up at her. Finally, a baby, after seven childless years of marriage. Her heart swelled. Praise Mary, I’m a mama!

Despite the rockiness of their relationship, she couldn’t help but want to share the good news with her old man. She bounded out of their tiny bathroom and into the kitchen in just her panties and an old T-shirt. She held up the stick, smiling so hard her cheeks hurt.

We’re gonna have a baby!

Billy looked up from the sports section and stared at her. Her smile fell as her skin prickled, and she held her breath. The newspaper crinkled as he slammed it down.

Shit.

He stalked towards her. Her heart hammered in her chest and she dropped the stick on the floor. The familiar look in his eyes made her stomach roil. She stepped back until she couldn't go any farther. He’s gonna kill me!

He narrowed his gaze and clenched his jaw as she braced herself for the blow. Ready or not, it still hurt. His closed fist connected with her ear. She didn't see stars but her ear rang like a church bell on

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