I’m so excited to be sharing news of a new book. When I’m working on a work-in-progress, I like to go on some of my favorite premade ebook cover sites and glance at what’s available to get a break from my writing. The cover for my newest contemporary romance, Secrets and Lies, came from The Cover Collection. Once I saw the cover, I knew there was a story behind that image. I even kept the title The Cover Collection had used as a place holder.
I hope you pick up your copy of Secrets and Lies, exclusively at Amazon. Continue reading for a sneak peek.
I grew up a social outcast. Girls avoided me, afraid my father’s sin would tarnish them. Guys kept their distance, fearing my grandfather’s shotgun.
But one guy took a chance on me.
Reed “Six” Haider made me his. Made me happy. We met in secret, like Romeo and Juliet. He’s the light to my darkness. Rich to my poor. Important to my insignificant. He was mine, and I was his. Nothing in the world could separate us.
Until one night shattered EVERYTHING, including US.
I told my lies. I held onto my secrets from that night. I can’t change the past no matter how much I long to. I can never take back Reed’s mom’s death.
When I return home again and come face-to-face with Reed, old wounds open and long-buried attraction flares between us. Do I tell him the truth from that night, hoping he’ll give us a second chance at happiness? Or should I walk away from our chance, taking with me his mom’s shameful secrets and lies?
Twenty-minutes from my grandfather’s property, Charlie whines. He only whines on car rides when he needs to do his duty.
“I know just the place. Hang tight, Charlie Brown.” I pull into the back lot of Raging River Bar, park, and run around to the passenger-side door.
Charlie bolts out before I can put a collar and leash on him. Weaving my fingers through my hair, I blow out a breath and follow Charlie to the open field behind the bar.
I don’t like when he runs off, but when he has to go, Charlie has to go. I glance around. It’s five o’clock on a Wednesday, and from the looks of the near-empty parking lot, people aren’t ready to hit up the bar until way later, if at all.
There shouldn’t be any harm in letting him free-roam.
While Charlie does his thing, I text Andy I’m in Pandora. Then I let my grandfather know I’ll be at his place soon with food. He sends back the thumbs-up emoji. I set my cell in the cupholder and rummage in my glove compartment for a poop bag.
I find one and pick up Charlie’s pile. Just my luck a squirrel chooses that moment to skitter down the tree next to us and scurries across the parking lot. Charlie takes off running on his short legs.
I run after him, holding the bag of poop.
“Charlie Brown, you get back here right now!” He’s not listening. “Charlie Brown!”
Two things happen simultaneously. The squirrel beats feet up a light pole. Charlie comes to a dead stop and barks. The door of the bar swings open. Masculine laughter. I pivot my attention to the familiar sound.
Reed. Six. Reed Haider is walking out of the bar, his arms slung across the shoulders of two beautiful women in tight mini-dresses and sky-high heels. I can’t stop staring. He is as hot at twenty-five as he was when he was eighteen. When he was mine.
We met in secret and talked. Made love, too. We were like Romeo and Juliet, and just like their story, ours took a tragic turn.
His laughter fades, and he stares back at me. His arms fall from the women’s shoulders, and he glowers. Reed is still angry with me. He hasn’t forgiven me for what I professed to have done that night, the night that shattered us and our plans to be together. The night his mom lost her life.
The force of his anger slams into me, and my body stills. I can’t draw enough air into my lungs. My head spins. I can’t move or speak. At my side, Charlie senses something is off. He snarls and bares his teeth.
And I… I relive the night that changed everything.
Rain pounding on my face.
Loud voices from the cliffside.
Oh, God, he’s hurting her.
I raise my voice above the relentless rain. “Stop, please. She’s too close to the edge.”
Rough hands on my arms shoving me away.
Small, slender fingers grasping for mine.
The look of horror on his face.
The expression of fear on hers.
I reach for her. We reach for her. But it’s too late. She’s fallen over the edge and into the darkness.
A string of curses followed by a man yelling my name rips me out of my nightmare. I blink. Charlie has a firm hold on Reed’s ankle. The women have taken refuge in Reed’s pickup truck.
I rush over and tap Charlie on the top of his head. “Let go, buddy. It’s time to just. Let. Go.”
Charlie listens, and with a backwards glance my way, he trots to the car and plops his butt in front of the door. He’s ready to go.
Too bad, so sad. There’s damage control to take care of. I get on my haunches and raise my gaze to Reed.
“Do you mind?” I grab the hem of his jeans.
Brows angled low, Reed shakes his head. I lift his pants leg and pull down his sock, avoiding touching him.
“He didn’t break skin.” I thought so. I pull up Reed’s sock and lower his pants leg. “Charlie is more of a lover than a fighter. His bites are love bites.” I stand. “He’s harmless.”
“He might be, but you’re not. Stay the hell away from me, Emersyn.” He glares and backs up toward his truck.
I straighten my shoulders and tip my chin at him. No matter how much his words hurt, I’ll keep my promise to Andy. I won’t let Reed distancing himself from me shred my insides to pieces.
“I’ll do my best. Goodbye, Reed.” I’m relieved my voice is steady, but I couldn’t conceal the pleading in my tone, the memories from that night fresh on my mind.
Sorry she died.
Sorry I couldn’t save her.
If I could, I would take your mother’s place in a heartbeat.
But the past is the past, and I can’t change it no matter how many times I relive that moment in my mind and in my nightmares.