There are two posts on my blog today. If you are looking for the October Frights Blog, scroll down below this post
I’ve gone back into my older books for today’s tease. Published a year ago, Secrets And Lies was one of eight books, each written by a different author, all set in the same town of Braden, Iowa. Since my favorite genre was romance suspense, that’s what I chose. The books were all stand alone.
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 all Amazon sites. https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Lies-Hearts-Braden-Book-ebook/dp/B0184FUC5U
Here’s this week’s tease. Enjoy!
Jackson drove down the highway toward home. He had followed the blue sedan down the street, slowing his truck when the vehicle turned into the Sunset Apartments’ parking lot. Once she’d stopped the car, he had honked his horn in farewell, and resumed his speed as he continued out of town on his way to the homestead. The optimism he’d felt earlier after receiving the message telling him to go ahead and offer the teachers he’d chosen new contracts had disappeared leaving him in the grip of the loneliness and despair that threatened to swamp him once more.
Before heading to Quinn’s for a much needed haircut, he’d gotten an electronic invitation to an old college classmate’s wedding, with Naomi listed as his plus one. He been too devastated to let his friends know she’d walked out on him and their fantasy Hawaiian wedding four years ago, just three months before the big event.
He had taken Uncle Jack to the Big Island since the vacation had been paid for, and while he had pleasant memories of his time with his uncle in the fiftieth state and its tropical lushness, the wounds Naomi’s rejection had inflicted never quite healed. Until he’d seen the brunette, he’d embraced the same lonely lifestyle of a confirmed bachelor that his uncle had chosen. Maybe his heart wasn’t as dead as he thought it was, and he should leave Braden, just the way Naomi had wanted him to. Staying here, in the homestead alone, only served to remind him of all his lost and broken dreams. But he couldn’t go now, even if he wanted to. Braden needed him more than ever.
He’d been all set to enjoy another bar meal when the mysterious brunette had entered Buddy’s. That the lady had been uncomfortable on her own in the place was an understatement. She’d done her best to avoid eye contact with any of the guys at the bar, including him, although she’d stared at him briefly when she’d arrived, and he could’ve sworn he’d seen recognition on her face. Instead of walking over as he’d hoped, she’d opted to sit by herself at the table. He watched her for a few minutes to see if she was expecting someone to join her, but she’d caught him staring, and he’d felt like a fool. He’d been about to make his move and go over and introduce himself when Deputy Douchebag had come into the bar and spoiled everything.
As one would expect, Kevin Carlyle had made an ass of himself when he’d gone out after the stranger, eager to throw his weight around and moving as if he was about to apprehend Public Enemy Number One. Jenny, Buddy, and the other guys who’d seen her come in knew she wasn’t drunk, and had told him so, but when that little pissant got an idea in his head, no matter how wrong it might be, there was no dissuading him. Calvin Hines had warned his deputy about jumping to conclusions, or trying to strong arm a suspect, but it never seemed to sink in. As Lola McBride would put it, good old Kevin had to live up to his reputation as a first class jerk.
Exactly why Jackson had chosen to go to the lady’s rescue he couldn’t explain, but he’d been drawn to her from the moment she’d stepped into the bar. She wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous the way Micah Thomas was; instead, she had an ethereal beauty about her that called to his protective instinct and brought out his hero complex. Once Kevin left, he’d been about to introduce himself to the intriguing damsel-in-distress and invite her to come back inside, eat her meal, and have a drink with him when he’d noticed the simple gold wedding band on her left hand.
It’d been like having a bucket of ice water dumped on him, but given his luck with women, it shouldn’t have surprised him. The good ones were all taken. He hoped to hell whoever had given her that ring knew he had a priceless treasure. He should stop thinking about her since nothing could come of it, but as hard as he tried, he couldn’t get her out of his head.
The first thing he’d noticed about her were the dark circles under her eyes, which bespoke sorrow and something more. As his uncle used to say, like called to like, and in her he’d sensed a kindred spirit, someone who’d suffered, and he didn’t think whatever had caused the slight limp he’d noted was responsible for all of it. She had lost someone—something—important, just as he had, and her lonely soul called to his. While her jeans had hugged her slender body, the worn T-shirt had been baggy, hanging on her slight frame, implying she’d been ill. Her skin might be pale, but it was almost translucent, not sallow, and her long, brown hair pulled away from her face and worn in a long, ponytail, shone under the lights. She’d ordered a burger and fries, and he was pretty damn sure from looking at her up close and seeing her clear eyes and beautiful smile that she wasn’t the binge and purge type either, the way he suspected Naomi was.
At times, that woman hadn’t eaten enough to keep a mouse alive, but then she’d pack it in like a truck driver, but never gained an ounce. Maybe she’d been on drugs. It would explain her highs and lows.
The brunette wasn’t a local as he’d pointed out to Kevin, but there were a lot of strangers in town right now, people who’d come to help family get their lives back on track after the tornado. Calvin needed to send Kevin for some sensitivity training classes. The man had been an absolute ass about her handicap status. That guy had to learn that many people had hidden disabilities that needed to be respected.
He had to give it to her. Even when the cop from Hell was being his most obnoxious, she hadn’t lost her temper, although her clenched fists had indicated it hadn’t been an easy thing for her to do. He admired her for standing up to Kevin, even though she had to know the guy could’ve made things even more difficult for her had the call not come in. Once the creep was gone, she’d shown her delightful sense of humor and her resiliency in the way she’d laughed off Kevin’s strong arm tactics. Deputy Dunderhead, as she’d nicknamed him, wouldn’t be impressed by the fact he hadn’t made a lasting impression on her, but then neither had he since she’d been in a hurry to get away from him as well. Probably wanted to get back to her husband. If she were his wife, he wouldn’t have let her go to the bar alone.
Jackson shook his head. Get over it. The woman isn’t anyone’s property. She can come and go wherever she pleases, and should be able to without someone creeping out on her.
Whatever was responsible for her sorrow and thinness wasn’t his concern, even though he’d like to make it so, and would’ve gotten on that right away if that wedding band hadn’t screamed “hands off” at him. That ring said the lady was married, and he didn’t mess around with someone’s wife. Well, she’d be gone in a few days and life would eventually get back to the frantic pace it maintained during the school year. He had other problems to deal with, and as soon as he got that brunette out of his head, he could focus on Ms. Jacobson and how he was going to get her and Mabel to get along.
Lightning lit up the sky as the rain came down more heavily, splattering the windshield.
Great, just frigging great.
Now, please stop by and visit the rest of this week’s teasers.