Sample Sunday – The Devil’s Claw – Chapter 3


          Rachel replayed the morning that Mallory disappeared. Just like she did everyday. That day was hectic. The nanny that normally cared for Mallory called in sick.  Rachel was trying to close a big real estate deal that involved a commercial piece of property. If it closed successfully she would net a ninety thousand dollar commission. Her husband Rick owned several luxury car dealerships throughout Florida and was on his way out of town.  

          After breakfast she quickly got Mallory dressed. Mallory insisted on wearing her princess costume complete with tiara and little high heel shoes. Everyone always told Rachel that Mallory looked like a miniature Little Mermaid with her long curly red hair and bigger-than-life emerald green eyes. It was a beautiful day so she took Mallory outside to play. While Mallory was playing with her dolls on the front lawn, Rachel sat on the porch crunching numbers, trying to find a way to save the deal. She heard her phone ringing inside and went to answer it. She was only gone a couple of minutes. When she came back outside Mallory was gone.

          That’s all it took. Two minutes and her daughter vanished. No leads, no witnesses, nothing. It was like she fell off the face of the earth.

          After a couple of weeks, when the story got hot and received national attention, did all the wacky leads came in. The police followed up on as many as they deemed reasonable, but it wasn’t enough for Rachel. Mallory was never found.

          She felt the guilt of not spending enough time with Mallory. She cursed herself for not paying attention when she was taken. Rachel’s obsession with finding Mallory took a toll on her marriage. Rick eventually moved out and they got a divorce.

          Rachel took all her anger and grief and turned into a positive thing. She would never stop looking for Mallory, but she realized she had the money and resources to help find other missing people.

          After a year of putting together her team – forensic experts, experienced search and rescue volunteers, top investigators  – she started Florida Omni Search. Now, three years later, she had located over a hundred missing children and adults. She rarely turned down a case and would help just about anyone who needed her.

          Rachel sat down at her desk, took a deep breath and focused her energy on helping the missing firefighter. She dialed the number on the paper that Red had handed to her, and after several rings, she heard a child answer the phone.

          “Hello. This is Rachel. May I speak to Nadine?”  She heard the phone clunk down with a clatter. After a few seconds, someone picked up the phone.


          “Nadine, this Rachel Scott from Florida Omni Search.  I am returning your call about Samantha.”

          “Ah, yes. Thank you so much for calling me. I have seen you on that TV show about missing people. I hope you can help me find my daughter, Samantha. I just know something bad has happened to her,” Nadine said, breathing heavy in the phone.

          “I will help you in any way I can, Nadine. Why don’t you tell me happened?” Rachel leaned back into her chair and listened to Nadine’s bizarre story.


About Traci Hohenstein

Full time writer, beachbum, and mom to 3 terrific kids.
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5 Responses to Sample Sunday – The Devil’s Claw – Chapter 3

  1. Cliff Ball says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog for Sample Sunday. Nice sample.

  2. L.C. Evans says:

    Thanks for the excerpt. Stopping by for Sample Sunday.

  3. Seb Kirby says:

    That’s a nice excerpt! Makes me want to find time to read the book!

  4. Al Boudreau says:

    Good show … really enjoyed the piece. #SS

  5. Sibel Hodge says:

    Great sample. I’m loving the cover!

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