* Romantic Suspense *
Author: Angela Smith
Genre: Romantic Suspense
he murdered her sister. The moment he was sentenced to prison, Lauren
fled with her secret baby and made a new life. Now she’ll do anything to
keep their daughter safe. But her hard won peace shatters when Luke is
exonerated, and it sets her on a path of mixed emotions to discover the
truth. Letting a killer into their tightly knit family is out of the
question. Or is it?She almost destroys her life by threatening his…
Prison stole his future with Lauren and twelve years of Luke’s life,
so the last thing he needs from her is a knife in the back or a gun in
his face. Lauren believes he killed her sister, and he has no plans to
pick up where they left off. Luke can’t afford to trust her, but he
wants nothing more than to convince her he’s worth fighting for.Their daughter is in danger…
Luke is heartbroken when he learns they had a child together. Now his
daughter is in danger. Lauren trusted the wrong person for far too
long, but he hopes she’ll now trust him. Luke will risk everything to
keep them safe. And Lauren will risk everything if she lets him into her
★★★★★ ORDER YOUR COPY ★★★★★
Amazon → www.amzn.com/B07TZWHCC3
Barnes & Noble → https://tinyurl.com/y4j5n4yd
· What is on your nightstand?
The latest book I’m reading! My phone (always dark and silent at night though) a sleep mask, and water!
· What author would you totally fan?
· What makes you cringe?
My former boss, District Attorney (because I work at fulltime at DA Office for past 21 years) always said he is never surprised but often disappointed. It’s kind of my mantra now. I’m not sure anything truly makes me cringe anymore. Except a snake. Because snakes are always scary if you sneak up on them , or vice versa.
· Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
I go with the flow. My characters don’t let me be too obsessive. They will tell me if I write something that doesn’t belong in the story.
· Is there a word you love to use?
I have to watch myself using that too often. It’s a throwaway word, something that many readers might not realize that they see, but it can unknowingly distract us from that scene.
but now I’m convinced he’s a killer. He’s next to Lauren. The love of my life
and the one I presumed would stand by my side forever. But since she believes I
killed her sister, I guess I can’t blame her for turning her back on me.
I hold my breath, and the judge reads. “We the jury find the defendant, Lucas
Donovan Fuller, guilty of murder.”
bones. More like a commotion, nothing too disastrous to alert the judge, and
something he’s probably accustomed to. He only regards the crowd. A lot of loud
talking, crying, and my mother’s wails. He’s way more patient than me and waits
for everyone’s reaction to subside.
wonder when I’m allowed. I want to reach out to Lauren. Tell her I’m sorry this
happened, I didn’t do it, she has to trust me, and please, please don’t trust
Clint. I open my mouth to say these things, but my attorney stations his hand
on my shoulder, as if his one palm is going to keep me silent.
allowed to speak. I am barely allowed to move, and I can’t look her way,
although I shift to do so. The bailiff puffs out his chest and walks closer, as
if I’m going to bolt.
punishment. Don’t make a scene.”
life is over. I’m going to prison. The judge hasn’t declared a final sentence
but after everyone’s testimony, I’ve started to believe my own guilt. I’m
likely going to prison for the rest of my life.
heart hammered while he wrote the words, ears filling with the deep drum of his
heartbeat as if he was re-experiencing the event. Tired of writing, he shut the
notebook and tossed it on the wrought-iron table beside him, along with his cap
and shades. He stood and opened the grill to check the ribeye.
needed was right here. A little salt and pepper, paper plates and plastic forks
to eat with, and a cooler full of drinks. Even a hundred feet from the river,
the bullfrogs’ croaking put him at ease.
chest, and lounged on the patio chair. It took a while for his heartbeat to
settle. Writing these memories was difficult, harder than he expected, and his
body ached from the flashbacks.
rain clouds and humidity. He loved the open porch and didn’t want a screen to
filter him and the outdoors. With bug spray, sleeping out here at night was a
dream come true, despite the oppressive mugginess. Lightning flashed in the
south, implying the much-needed shower was near. Nothing better than the
clatter of rain on the roof.
but he’d take heat over the prison cell where he’d spent the past twelve years
of his life. He’d take it over that any damn day.
glow to ease him come sundown. He hated the darkness. Too many reminders of
prison and the things he wanted to forget. But this darkness out in the country
was peaceful, welcoming, different. Almost bearable.
trees. His muscles tensed. He studied the nearby monitor attached to the front
security camera. The car parked, the lights shut off. His lungs tightened,
burned, then disintegrated when the woman stepped out and sauntered to the
door. But she was no friend.
Hallucinating after writing those memories? Lauren shone bright in his mind,
even the seductive scent of honey and berries he once loved to sample behind
view. She was no illusion. He remained sitting, nonchalant and drinking his
beer as if he had no care in the world.
presence meant nothing good.
community deemed him guilty before a jury of his peers sentenced him to life in
prison. His sisters never stopped fighting to prove his innocence. He was
released two months ago thanks to Adrienne and Charlotte and the team of
defense attorneys who fought for him.
on Lauren’s face. A flowing skirt skimmed her knees, the imprinted flowers
rivaling the charm of the countryside. Her slender body was as gorgeous as
ever, heating him in ways better left ignored. She wore open-toed sandals. He
never understood why she chose those shoes while hiking. They had to stop many
times during their treks to pluck out grass burrs.
caramel, and the image of her ocean blue eyes burned in his memory. Despite the
similarities, she wasn’t the same woman who once loved him.
direction. He continued to sip his beer, his ears tingling with the chatter of
June bugs and crickets. If she wanted to shoot him, so be it.
as much to blame. He had been selfish in spending his time with Lauren and
didn’t mind leaving her sister alone. He trusted his best friend, had known him
since grade school, but ignored his recent questionable tendencies. The town of
Terrence was quick to point fingers while the real killer roamed free.
knocking and thighs quaking. She was proud of herself for keeping a steady grip
despite her sweaty palms.
strengthening her resolve. Today, Luke Fuller was her target. Maybe her first
moving target—although he didn’t move, didn’t even flinch—and definitely her
first human target. Still, she’d often imagined him on the other end of her
over this, even facing jail time, for threatening with a firearm. Was it worth
it to lose everything she’d worked so hard for? Even worse, to risk her
another man accused. But not just any man. Clint Merkel. A close friend. Almost
dreams. Robbed him of life as brutally as he had robbed her twelve-year-old
sister’s. More like nightmares. The man she once loved with all her heart. The
jury had convicted him, but now he was exonerated. Doubts still clouded her
mind. The newest facts couldn’t obliterate twelve years of certainty, no matter
cried herself to sleep for years. Her emotions skyrocketed all over the place.
Suppressed memories jumbled out of her. Memories of his kiss, his embrace,
their shared lives, their plans. In high school, they’d been dubbed Luke and
Lauren. She didn’t want to plan college without questioning where he’d go. They
were a team, a couple and everybody—including her—presumed they’d stay together
after high school.
ambitions and plans. And then one fateful night the truth had been discovered,
and the cops had placed the cuffs on his wrists.
seen. Still captivated her. The sting of attraction needled through her
muscles, her bones, her heartbeat. Her pulsed thrummed into her toes. She
fought to stand her ground and reveal nothing about his effect on her.
and fast hammering on the roof.
she wasn’t about to pull the trigger. He remained unaffected by the thunder, by
the deluge, and by her presence.
shoulder, his drawl tightening the shivers in her stomach. Heat flared under
her skin, the familiar anger—the reason she came here—blazed to her core. Him
all casual, enjoying a beer while smoke billowed from his fire pit. The spices
of the steak tore knots in her throat.
herself for letting him charm her.
lined the porch. She saw every inch of him and the way his gaze slid over her.
They had studied each other for hours when they were younger, in love and
carefree. The green of his eyes soaked up the earth and emitted the colors of
eternity. They were harder, his face bearing a few scars only she might notice.
are you doing, Lauren? Just shoot me already. I’ve practically been dead these
past years, anyway.”
experienced these last few years.
rickety cough, then perched his elbows on his knees. He swiped a hand over his
face, then continued. “Look. I’m sorry about everything. Sorry you had to go
through the loss of your sister and you believed I did it. Sorry I couldn’t
comfort you. I’m… just sorry.”
movements broadcasted an unexpected nervousness. She let out a whoosh of
breath, every fiber of her being sinking into a black hole of misery. Tears
rolled out of her, hot and choking. Her grip on the gun wavered but remained
clasped in her fingers.
heavy-booted steps on the wooden planks thudded in her ears. She wanted to back
away, but her butt rested against the porch railing and an invisible anchor
rooted her to the ground.
down the gun before somebody got hurt. Most likely her.
and took it. She was too weak, too helpless to fight. His presence suctioned
every bit of her power.
another round of thunder boomed. Rain pounded the roof. Droplets hit her skin,
but not enough to matter. She craved the cool refreshment. He stood facing her,
his eyes boring into hers. She licked her lips as if drawing sustenance from
that one small move, a move that drew his gaze to her mouth.
and pulled her into his arms.
trailed down her spine to spool into a reservoir of lust in her loins.
and sobbed as he held her. Her shoulders shook, the tears escaping in violent
torrents. She couldn’t stop no matter how hard she wanted to.
with crisp grass cuttings under Texas sunshine. Stupid, stupid to imagine such
a chance to say.
refused to listen to his sister when she begged. All the evidence pointed to
him. The police, the prosecutor, even the city mayor had convinced her.
questions. Questions she should have asked before she’d threatened him with a
piece behind her ear. She straightened her spine and lifted her head, willing
her body to fight the attraction as her tears dried.
being a killer was terrifying, even more so than Luke, considering she’d
entrusted her daughter with him.
placed his fingers under her chin and forced her to look at him.
He had always been gentle. Clint had been the edgy one, the one who tested her
nerves. And yet after Luke had been accused of murdering her sister, she had
turned to Clint as a friend and let him take part in her life. How had he
manipulated her? How had she allowed it? Her belly flopped, the drying tears
searing her throat.
Safe, yet vulnerable, because her heart was at risk.
finger brushed her hair. Her neck tingled. She longed to savor his mouth on
hers after all these years.
begging you to listen.” His voice was a slow deep penetration to the core of
her being. Something impossible to pull away from. “I did not kill your sister,
and as much pain as I knew you were in, it broke my heart you never gave me a
straight into his eyes. “And I imagined having the chance to stand in front of
you and kill you.”
flickered. Her body grew warm with regret. Regret for her words, regret for
refusing to hear him out so many years ago, and regret for wanting him so much
you take it?”
to write a novel during her senior year in high school. She always had
her nose stuck in a book, even hiding them behind her textbooks during
school study time. Her dream began at a young age when her sister
started reciting ‘Brer Rabbit’ after their mom read it to them so often.
She told her mom she’d write a story one day and never gave up on that
dream even though her mom was never able to see it come to fruition. By
day, she works as a certified paralegal and office manager at her local
District Attorney’s office and spends her free time with her husband,
their pets, and their many hobbies. Although life in general keeps her
very busy, her passion for writing and getting the stories out of her
head tends to make her restless if she isn’t following what some people
call her destiny.
★ WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS: ★
Website → http://www.loveisamystery.com
Twitter → www.twitter.com/angelaswriter
Facebook → www.facebook.com/authorangelasmith