Midweek Tease: Secrets and Lies

MWTease15Good morning, and welcome to this week’s tease facilitated by Angelica Dawson. Each week various authors post an exerpt from one of their books. There is a wide variety of choices, something to tickle everyone’s fancy.

This week, I’m going to post an exerpt from Secrets and Lies, Book Four of the Hearts of Braden series. This eight book series, written by eight different authors,  does not need to be read in order. While they center on the town of Braden Iowa and have recurring characters, each books stands alone.

About the Book:

Secrets&LiesFinaleBookSmall (2)DEA agent, Emily Shepherd, is after the Chef, a crystal meth cook, who sets up labs for the Mexican cartel and walks away—the same man responsible for the deaths of her husband and unborn child. Her search leads her to Braden, Iowa, a small town just right for the Chef’s specialty. But identifying her quarry won’t be easy when she’s up against a woman who sees her as a threat, a male chauvinistic deputy sheriff, and an attractive school principal who might just be at the center of it all.
Jackson Harris has sworn off women. Life is satisfactory, if lonely, until he meets a hazel-eyed damsel in distress who gets under his skin, and triggers that protective instinct of his. There’s a killer in town, one who may or may not be a notorious drug lord. Finding him, and keeping his town, his students, and Emily safe, may be harder than he thinks.
Love is breaking out in Braden, Iowa. Follow all the romance with this collection of stories. Secrets and Lies is part of the Hearts of Braden Series, a multi-author series Secrets and Lies stands alone for your reading enjoyment, but the story doesn’t need to end there.

Secrets and Lies is available from Amazon.

This week’s Tease: In this scene, Emily sees the hero for the first time. 

There were half a dozen men standing or sitting at the bar, most of them still dressed in what they’d probably worn on their job sites. One man with red hair and a face full of freckles seemed vaguely familiar, but it was the dark haired man in a short-sleeved, powder blue shirt and dress pants who caught her attention. As her father would’ve said, he’d just had his ears lowered as the tan lines at the side of his face and neck testified, but it was his resemblance to Alex that stopped her in her tracks.

He looked her up and down appraisingly the way men sometimes did, and she fought the urge to squirm, well aware that she’d been the first one to stare. Having a man look at her that way shouldn’t have bothered her since it had happened to her time and again before the accident, but back then she’d been someone worthy of a second glance. Now, she resembled an anorexic teenager, not a woman deserving of admiring looks.

All eyes had turned to her when she entered the bar, and she could see the curiosity and interest in them, but one man’s chocolate brown eyes, unlike Alex’s blue ones, disturbed her, seeming to look beyond her outward appearance and into her soul. Alex had been the only man to ever affect her this way. Was it because this guy resembled her late husband that she felt his magnetic pull? He looked more like a businessman than an itinerant worker, although he could be an insurance adjuster or with FEMA.

Great, a town full of single men, anyone of which could be the Chef, and they’re looking at me as if I’m today’s special.

Fighting the urge to fidget, knowing she didn’t want to be perceived as a snooty bitch, but not in the mood for company, especially from the man who interested her, she walked over to the closest table, purposely facing away from him, focusing her attention on the ball game on the television set mounted high on the wall. Any one of those men could be her target. While she definitely hoped to flush the Chef out, the last thing she wanted to do was court disaster by accidentally building a personal relationship with the monster.

“Hi. I’m Jenny. What can I get you?” the brown haired, brown eyed, waitress in short-shorts and a tight T-shirt with “Buddy’s Bar” emblazoned across her chest asked, smiling and showing off a perfect set of white teeth.

“Hello Jenny. Nice to meet you. I’m Em. How about a menu and a small draft?” she asked, envying the girl her slender yet curvy body. Making friends with the barmaid might be a good way to learn a little more about the people in Braden. Sooner or later, just about everybody in town probably came through that door.

“Light or regular?”

“Light, please.”

“Coming right up.” She moved away quickly.

Emily focused on the game once more, not really seeing the screen but remembering the last time she and Alex had gone to a place like this. They’d been with Kyle and his girlfriend, celebrating Kyle’s promotion to agent-in-charge. That had been more than three years ago, before the baby, before the raid. Would she ever be able to go anywhere without memories bombarding her?

“Here you go.” Jenny placed the small glass of beer in front of her, leaving a menu on the table.

Emily drank deeply from the glass, allowing the icy beer to quench her thirst. The feeling of being watched came over her, and goosebumps puckered her skin. She tried to ignore the sensation, but finally, curiosity won out, and she turned back to the bar, gazing directly into the mesmerizing brown eyes of new haircut man.

He looked away the moment he realized she caught him staring.

Was he the Chef? Had he recognized her despite the plastic surgery and the weight loss? If he had, then she’d been burned but good. Don’t jump to conclusions. Maybe I resemble someone he knows, just as he reminds me of Alex, but either way, I’m definitely getting this to go. She turned away, opened the menu, and perused the choices.

“Have you decided?” Jenny asked coming back to check on her.

“Yeah. I’ll have the burger on a pretzel roll, an order of fries, and can you make it to go?”

“Sure thing. Everything on your burger?”

“Why not? And can you add a couple of cans of ginger ale?”

“Will do.” The waitress hurried away.

Emily turned back to the television and her glass of beer, aware the man at the bar was watching her again. She needed to make friends here. People who could tell her who was who and what might have changed recently in the small town, but those people had to be locals. She’d meet with Sheriff Hines in the morning, and maybe if she could describe the stranger at the bar, he could tell her who he was. She wasn’t ready to jump into bed with anyone, but she was desperately lonely and what harm would there be in making friends with someone she could trust?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s tease. See you next week! Now, please visit the other teasers. You won’t regret it.

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