Home > Camp Crim (Walker Hills #3)

Camp Crim (Walker Hills #3)
Author: Bella Jewel

 

PROLOGUE

 


Shuddering, Emelia has no choice but to go closer to the body on the ground. As blood pools around the young woman’s head, she’s forced to accept the fact that she’s dead. Her soul, no longer with us on this empty earth ...

For crying out loud.

What the hell is wrong with me today? Empty earth? Someone needs to take me out of this empty bloody earth. I might as well throw my notebook on the ground and burn it, that’s how terrible my work is.

Why can’t I write today?

I slap my pen on my knee, as if that’ll change the utter trash coming from it.

Now I’m blaming the pen.

Exhaling, I swipe a sweaty strand of hair off my forehead and look up at the blazing sun. It could take a break, honestly. Why is it always so aggressive? I mutter a curse and find a shadier spot by a large tree. Leaning against it, I open my notebook.

Try again.

She wonders, as she nears the lifeless from, if he’s here. The man in the shadows. The man who has been everywhere, and yet, she can never get close. Is he the reason behind this murder? Is he the cold-blooded killer?

Great, now I sound like I’m writing in a bad doco series about murderers.

Surely, I can come up with something better than cold-blooded killer?

Death-defying monster?

Sweet mother of God.

Soulless monster?

So original.

I should just stick with band life and stay the hell away from writing.

But ... I know it’s in there.

Something about putting pen to paper calls to me.

I just can’t seem to get it right. What’s in my head never comes out onto the paper the way it should. Mysteries are my life; I should be able to write them in my sleep. I’ve watched just about every movie ever made that has even the slightest mystery, not to mention I’ve read them all. This should be as effortless as walking, yet here I am, writing trash like cold-blooded killer.

Could I get anymore unoriginal?

Skin prickling, she stands and moves closer to the shadowy figure. Wondering if this time he’ll leave, if this time he’ll just disappear like he has every other time she has tried to get close. She knows he has something to do with this, and yet ... she knows nothing about him. A mystery man, a monster in the darkness, a murderer?

Better.

Still not great.

I slam my pen down and slap my notebook shut.

If this keeps up, the shadowy figure will jump out wearing a clown suit and tell her that he’s her long-lost father and has been following her for years.

I snort.

Maybe this little break we’re taking to some new ranch retreat might help clear my mind.

Open me up to some sort of incredible writing inspiration that’ll make me a bestseller.

A girl can only dream, right?

 

 

1

 


“Are you sure this is a good idea? I mean, we’re the first people using this facility. What if something goes wrong? Nobody has tested anything which means there could be an accident.”

“You read way too many books,” my long-time friend Kara says, rolling her eyes. “It’s going to be great.”

I scrunch my nose as we drive into the massive ranch that we just so happen to be the first customers to. It was built and created by a man named Rhett Walker and, with his group of friends, they made it into this retreat. You’re supposed to come out here for a month at a time, help out around the ranch, do activities, hikes, swimming, water sports, and everything else you can possibly think of that will benefit your mental health.

I saw a news report about Rhett and why he decided to open this place. It was interesting. He comes from a strong country family, and the ranch has been passed down through his family, or something like that, but he decided to take it in a different way. In honor of his mother, who passed because of suicide, he decided to make a place where anyone and everyone could come, book the whole thing out, and take some time away from the world.

It's incredible.

Did I mention that the guys who run it look like they’re straight out of a western porno? I mean that in the best possible way, of course. They’re gorgeous, all muscled, tattooed, masculine men in flannels rolled up at the elbows, just like they should be. It’s like the new age cowboys. Gone are the clean-shaven faces, the tight blue jeans, and the big hats. These guys are mountain men. Big, burly mountain men. But they operate a ranch, so I guess they must be a little cowboy, too.

“I don’t know,” I murmur, staring out the window at the trees passing by as we near.

“You need to relax, Lei, you’re freaking out and, honestly, I think it’ll be great for us. We’re well overdue for a break, we’ve been working so hard for finals, and we need this time to regroup. Everyone needs this.”

We’re part of an orchestra. We play all around the capital cities, for events and groups who hire us out. We’re a big old group of nerds and we just competed in some of the biggest finals in the state and came in second. But the toll it took getting there was exhausting and with our prize money, we decided to put some toward a month here. Our sponsors were more than happy to help, so together, a group of eight of us booked in and here we are.

Not everyone could come, but the eight of us that did are more than ready for the break.

Rolling down beside the green pastures toward a house so big and beautiful it belongs in a movie. The bus comes to a stop in front of it, and I take a moment to admire the incredible sight before me. Cabins can be seen off into the distance a little, right behind a massive paddock to the left, filled with horses and cows. To the right is a huge barn and behind it you can see rolling hills and the start of what is said to be an epic lake. There are tracks disappearing into the hills behind the house and oh, it’s beautiful.

The house itself is one story, but it has this amazing wrap around deck that makes it stand out. It is creamy colored with a dark red roof. It is a grand old home, and it’s apparent that it has been around far longer than any of us. It would have some stories to tell if it could speak, of that, I’m sure. I can’t help but feel the incredible warmth it radiates. I would love to sit on the porch and just bury my nose into my notebook, writing as the chair beneath me creaks.

It's with that thought I notice what stands on that incredible porch.

Six gorgeous men, and when I say gorgeous, I mean blow your damned mind gorgeous. They’re all waiting for our arrival, dressed in flannel, some wearing hats, others not, all of them except maybe one boasting beards of different lengths and styles. They’re something else entirely and my heart skips a beat when I realize the owner, Rhett, is walking toward the bus. I recognize him from the newspaper article, but up close, he’s better looking than the photos showed.

I’m going to have to be the one to get down and greet him, after all, I am the person who organized all of this.

I get out of my chair, glancing down at Kara before walking toward the bus exit. The door opens, I take a step, and then the worst thing in the world happens. I stumble. I’m so focused on the man looking up at me, with his silver eyes, olive skin, dark hair, beard, and breathtaking face, that I don’t look at the step and completely miss it. I fall forward, almost in slow motion, and land right into the arms of Rhett.

The very second I realize what has happened, I leap backward, slamming my head into the open bus door. Shame rises into my cheeks as I stare at him, horrified. He probably thinks I’m an absolute idiot. I’m already nerdy, awkward, and shy, then I just went ahead and threw that into the mix. “Ah, sorry, I, ah ...”

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