Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Book Spotlight: OUT OF THE SHADOWS by Theresa Sederholt






Out of the Shadows

by Theresa Sederholt

Genre: Suspense, Family Crime





Dane Johnson was like every other man in his thirties except for one very big secret. One that, for him, was so horrific, he was determined to keep it hidden. He thought it would never see the light of day—that is until today. His fragile world has crumbled around him. The past exposed for the world to see. Now the boy he tried so hard to keep safe might be gone forever.

This is a journey into one man's hell, with the hope that it will help others find the strength to be able to say, "I need help."



Purchase Links:  Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo * Books2Read








Theresa Sederholt was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. She is a graduate of Campbell University in North Carolina, with a degree in Criminal Justice. Theresa now resides in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband - a professional chef - and her two adorable dogs.

Experiencing life first-hand is what she does best. Believing she can do anything has put her in some crazy situations; babysitting a pig farm and cutting the top off a mini truck. Her list is A-to-Z and full of endless possibilities.

As a flight attendant (there's that list again), she would make up stories about all of her passengers as they came and went. It seemed only natural to put pen-to-paper and see where these characters would take her.

A story that started as a single woman having a cup of coffee - while trying to make it through life - quickly grew into a complex world of romance, mystery, and murder. The Unraveled Trilogy was born.

This trilogy may have had humble beginnings, but in 2015 it gained prestigious recognition. Shattered Lies (book three in the trilogy) won Inks & Scratches Book Of The Year along with Cover Of The Year. BTS (Book Trailer Showcase) Book Reviews gave Shattered Lies The Red Carpet Book Award for Honorable Mention Rising Star Readers Choice. Theresa can humbly claim herself as an Award-Winning Author.

Theresa's beliefs are pretty simple:


  • There isn't a luggage rack on the hearse.
  • Give a girl some Nutella and an espresso, then watch her change the world.
  • Theresa enjoys connecting with her fans.







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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Book Spotlight: THE MISSING SISTER by Elle Marr


The Missing Sister

by Elle Marr


About The Missing Sister


THE MISSING SISTER

The Missing Sister
Thriller
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (April 1, 2020)
Paperback: 299 pages
ISBN-10: 1542006058
ISBN-13: 978-1542006057
Digital ASIN: B07QYMXX41


In Paris, her twin sister has vanished, leaving behind three chilling words: Trust no one.

Shayna Darby is finally coming to terms with her parents' deaths when she's delivered another blow. The body of her estranged twin sister, Angela—the possible victim of a serial killer—has been pulled from the Seine. Putting what's left of her life on hold, Shayna heads to Paris. But while cleaning out Angela's apartment, Shayna makes a startling discovery: a coded message meant for her alone…

Alive. Trust no one.

Taking the warning to heart, Shayna maintains the lie. She makes a positive ID on the remains and works to find out where—and why—her missing sister is hiding. Shayna retraces her sister's footsteps, and they lead her down into Paris's underbelly.

As she gets closer to the truth—and to the killer—Shayna's own life may now be in the balance…

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - IndieBound



About Elle Marr



elle marr

Originally from Sacramento, Elle Marr explored the urban wilderness of Southern California before spending three wine-and-cheese-filled years in France. There she earned a master's degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris. Now she lives and writes outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband and one very demanding feline. When she's not busy writing her next novel, she's most likely thinking about it. Connect with her online at ellemarr.com, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Author Links
Website - ellemarr.com

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ellemarr1/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ellemarrauthor/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/ellemarr_



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Book Spotlight: NO OTHER WAY by Willow Rose








No Other Way

Harry Hunter Mystery Series Book 3

by Willow Rose

Genre: Mystery, Thriller






Shocking evidence hits close to home for Miami PD's Detective Harry Hunter as Willow Rose's bestselling series continues.

Three women went on a road trip to Key West. Only two returned. When asked what happened, their stories don't completely match.

Who is telling the truth?

What are they hiding?

Detective Harry Hunter of the Miami PD is in church on a peaceful Sunday morning when a young teenager pulls out a gun and shoots his own father.

Once the shock is gone, Harry starts to ask himself the question no one else seems to care about: What makes a young boy want to kill his own father?

When more blood is shed, Harry suspects there's a secret buried in this town that no one wants unearthed. What are the people around him not telling him?

No Other Way is the third book in the bestselling Harry Hunter Mystery Series.






Series Trailer #1
https://youtu.be/bqfECoJ4H5Y



Series Trailer #2
https://youtu.be/FgbgqSiGIbw





Run Girl Run

Harry Hunter Mystery Series Book 2





Willow Rose's beloved detective, Harry Hunter is back in this thrilling second installment of the bestselling series.

When a mother and her child are pulled out of the harbor in their car, the case seems pretty straightforward for Miami PD and Detective Harry Hunter.

Everything points to a murder-suicide.

They were homeless, living in their car, and the mother decided to end it all for them both by driving into the water.

But the case is not what it looks like, Detective Harry Hunter soon realizes.

Harry's daughter is carrying devastating knowledge about their deaths, and soon she becomes the killer's next target.

As Harry races to protect her, he is betrayed by someone he thought he knew, leaving him terrified of trusting anyone in a town filled with liars.

Run Girl Run is the second book in the Harry Hunter Mystery Series.






All the Good Girls

Harry Hunter Mystery Series Book 1





This novel is the first book in Willow Rose's electrifying new Harry Hunter series.

Detective Harry Hunter of Miami PD's homicide squad throws himself into a case no one asked him to solve.

Four teenagers from one of Miami's affluent neighborhoods are murdered on a boat. Another is found in a dumpster. All five of them go to the same school and are on a list of witnesses to another crime.

Because he's in bad standing with his boss, Harry is given the task of protecting a possible future victim, but Harry isn't always known to follow his boss's orders.

Soon, he'll risk everything while racing to stop a killer who has left everyone else in the homicide squad shaking in terror.

All The Good Girls is the first book in the Harry Hunter Mystery Series and can be read as a standalone.

**Only 99 cents!** 









The Queen of Scream aka Willow Rose is a #1 Amazon Best-selling Author and an Amazon ALL-star Author of more than 60 novels.

She writes Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Horror, Supernatural thrillers, and Fantasy.

Willow's books are fast-paced, nail-biting pageturners with twists you won't see coming. Several of her books have reached the Kindle top 10 of ALL books in the US, UK, and Canada. She has sold more than three million books.

Willow lives on Florida's Space Coast with her husband and two daughters. When she is not writing or reading, you will find her surfing and watch the dolphins play in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.


Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads




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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Book Showcase: THE SEA GLASS COTTAGE by RaeAnne Thayne


The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne
ISBN: 9781335045164 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488055874 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488207945 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781094098425 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B07XVMH6YT  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B07QTL1F7Y   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: March 17, 2020


From the New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne comes a brand-new novel for fans of Debbie Macomber and Susan Wiggs. RaeAnne Thayne tells the story of an emotional homecoming that brings hope and healing to three generations of women.

The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn't so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast.

It's just for a few months—that's what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan.

As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it's never too late—or too early—to heal family wounds and find forgiveness. 





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Read an Excerpt


1
Olivia


Olivia shoved her hands into her pockets against the damp Seattle afternoon. Nothing would take the chill from her bones, though. She knew that. Even five days of sick leave, huddling in her bed and mindlessly bingeing on cooking shows hadn't done anything but make her crave cake.

She couldn't hide away in her apartment forever. Eventually she was going to have to reenter life and go back to work, which was why she stood outside this coffee shop in a typical spring drizzle with her heart pounding and her stomach in knots.

This was stupid. The odds of anything like that happening to her again were ridiculously small. She couldn't let one man battling mental illness and drug abuse control the rest of her life.

She could do this.

She reached out to pull the door open, but before she could make contact with the metal handle, her cell phone chimed from her pocket.


She knew instantly from the ringtone it was her best friend from high school, who still lived in Cape Sanctuary with her three children.

Talking to Melody was more important than testing her resolve by going into the Kozy Kitchen right now, she told herself. She answered the call, already heading back across the street to her own apartment.

"Mel," she answered, her voice slightly breathless from the adrenaline still pumping through her and from the stairs she was racing up two at a time. "I'm so glad you called."

Glad didn't come close to covering the extent of her relief. She really hadn't wanted to go into that coffee shop. Not yet. Why should she make herself? She had coffee at home and could have groceries delivered when she needed them.
"You know why I'm calling, then?" Melody asked, a strange note in her voice.

"I know it's amazing to hear from you. You've been on my mind."

She was not only a coward but a lousy friend. She hadn't checked in with Melody in a few weeks, despite knowing her friend was going through a life upheaval far worse than witnessing an attack on someone else.

As she unlocked her apartment, the cutest rescue dog in the world, a tiny, fluffy cross between a Chihuahua and a miniature poodle, gyrated with joy at the sight of her.

Yet another reason she didn't have to leave. If she needed love and attention, she only had to call her dog and Otis would come running.

She scooped him up and let him lick her face, already feeling some of her anxiety calm.

"I was thinking how great it would be if you and the boys could come up and stay with me for a few days when school gets out for the summer," she said now to Melody. "We could take the boys to the Space Needle, maybe hop the ferry up to the San Juans and go whale watching. They would love it. What do you think?"

The words seemed to be spilling out of her, too fast. She was babbling, a weird combination of relief that she hadn't had to face that coffee shop and guilt that she had been wrapped up so tightly with her own life that she hadn't reached out to a friend in need.

"My apartment isn't very big," she went on without waiting for an answer. "But I have an extra bedroom and can pick up some air beds for the boys. They've got some really comfortable ones these days. I've got a friend who says she stayed on one at her sister's house in Tacoma and slept better than she does on her regular mattress. I've still got my car, though I hardly drive it in the city, and the boys would love to meet Otis. Maybe we could even drive to Olympic National Park, if you wanted."

"Liv. Stop." Melody cut her off. "Though that all sounds amazing and I'm sure the boys would love it, we can talk about that later. You have no idea why I called, do you?"

"I… Why did you call?"

Melody was silent for a few seconds. "I'm afraid there's been an accident," she finally said.

The breath ran out of Olivia like somebody had popped one of those air mattresses with a bread knife.

"Oh no. Is it one of your boys?" Oh please, she prayed. Don't let it be one of the boys.

Melody had been through enough over the past three months, since her jerkhole husband ran off with one of his high school students.

"No, honey. It's not my family. It's yours."

Her words seemed to come from far away and it took a long time for them to pierce through.

No. Impossible.

Fear rushed back in, swamping her like a fast-moving tide. She sank blindly onto the sofa.

"Is it Caitlin?"

"It's not your niece. Stop throwing out guesses and just let me tell you. It's your mom. Before you freak out, let me just say, first of all, she's okay, from what I understand. I don't have all the details but I do know she's in the hospital, but she's okay. It could have been much worse."

Her mom. Olivia tried to picture Juliet lying in a hospital bed and couldn't quite do it. Juliet Harper didn't have time to be in a hospital bed. She was always hurrying somewhere, either next door to Sea Glass Cottage to the garden center the Harper family had run in Cape Sanctuary for generations or down the hill to town to help a friend or to one of Caitlin's school events.

"What happened?" 

"She had a bad fall and suffered a concussion and I think some broken bones."

Olivia's stomach twisted. A concussion. Broken bones. Oh man. "Fell where? Off one of the cliffs near the garden center?"

"I'm sorry. I don't know all the details yet. This just happened this morning and it's still early for the gossip to make all the rounds around town. I assumed you already knew. That Caitlin or someone would have called you. I was only checking in to see how I can help."

This morning. She glanced at her watch. Her mother had been in an accident hours earlier and Olivia was just finding out about it now, in late afternoon.

Someone should have told her—if not Juliet herself, then, as Melody said, at least Caitlin.

Given their recent history, it wasn't particularly surprising that her niece, raised by Olivia's mother since she was a baby, hadn't bothered to call. Olivia wasn't Caitlin's favorite person right now. These days, during Olivia's regular video chats with her mother, Caitlin never popped in to say hi anymore. At fifteen, Caitlin was abrasive and moody and didn't seem to like Olivia much, for reasons she didn't quite understand.

"I'm sure someone tried to reach me but my phone has been having trouble," she lied. Her phone never had trouble. She made sure it was always in working order, since so much of her freelance business depended on her clients being able to reach her and on her being able to Tweet or post something on the fly.

"I'm glad I checked in, then."

"Same here. Thank you."

Several bones broken and a long recovery. Oh dear. That would be tough on Juliet, especially this time of year when the garden center always saw peak business.

"Thank you for telling me. Is she in the hospital there in Cape Sanctuary or was she taken to one of the bigger cities?"

"I'm not sure. I can call around for you, if you want."

"I'll find out. You have enough to worry about."

"Keep me posted. I'm worried about her. She's a pretty great lady, that mom of yours."

Olivia shifted, uncomfortable as she always was when others spoke about her mother to her. Everyone loved her, with good reason. Juliet was warm, gracious, kind to just about everyone in their beachside community of Cape Sanctuary.

Which made Olivia's own awkward, tangled relationship with her mother even harder to comprehend.

"Will you be able to come home for a few days?"

Home. How could she go home when she couldn't even walk into the coffee shop across the street?

"I don't know. I'll have to see what's going on there."

How could she possibly travel all the way to Northern California? A complicated mix of emotions seemed to lodge like a tangled ball of yarn in her chest whenever she thought about her hometown, which she loved and hated in equal measures.

The town held so much guilt and pain and sorrow. Her father was buried there and so was her sister. Each room in Sea Glass Cottage stirred like the swirl of dust motes with memories of happier times.

Olivia hadn't been back in more than a year. She kept meaning to make a trip but something else always seemed to come up. She usually went for the holidays at least, but the previous year she'd backed out of even that after work obligations kept her in Seattle until Christmas Eve and a storm had made last-minute travel difficult. She had spent the holiday with friends instead of with her mother and Caitlin and had felt guilty that she had enjoyed it much more than the previous few when she had gone home.

She couldn't avoid it now, though. A trip back to Cape Sanctuary was long overdue, especially if her mother needed her.


Excerpt from The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne. 
Copyright © 2020 by RaeAnne Thayne. Published by HQN Books. 
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.




Meet The Author


New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com. 



Connect to the author via her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, or Twitter.



This excerpt brought to you by HQN Books

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Book Showcase: THE DARKNESS WE HIDE by Debra Webb



The Darkness We Hide, The Undertaker's Daughter #3, by Debra Webb
ISBN: 9780778309475 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488055461 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781690586906 (audiobook on CD - releases April 14, 2020)
ASIN: B083QTXQY9  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B07R71P6T2   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication Date: March 31, 2020


Some secrets are worth dying for.

For months, Doctor Rowan Dupont has been staring death in the face. It followed her back to her hometown of Winchester, Tennessee, ten months ago, cloaking the walls of her family's Victorian funeral home like a shroud. In investigating the mysterious deaths of her loved ones, Rowan has unearthed enough family secrets to bury everything she'd previously thought true. But each shocking discovery has only led to more bodies and more questions; the rabbit hole is deeper than she ever imagined.

Despite settling in to a comfortable life with Police Chief Billy Brannigan, Rowan knows dangerous serial killer Julian Addington is still out there. She can't let her guard down now. Not when she's this close to ending his torment once and for all. But with a storm brewing on the horizon, she'll get only one shot before the impending darkness takes hold, threatening to wipe away every truth she's uncovered—and everything she holds dear.




Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  B&N Audiobook on CD  |  BookDepository    !ndigo  |  Kobo eBook



Read an Excerpt


One


Winchester, Tennessee
Monday, March 9, 7:35 a.m.

Rowan DuPont parked on the southeast side of the downtown square. The county courthouse sat smack in the middle of Winchester with streets forming a grid around it. Shops, including a vintage movie theater, revitalized over the past few years by local artisans lined the sidewalks. Something Rowan loved most about her hometown were the beautiful old trees that still stood above all else. So often the trees were the first things to go when towns received a face-lift. Not in Winchester. The entire square had been refreshed and the majestic old trees still stood.

This morning the promise of spring was impossible to miss. Blooms and leaves sprouted from every bare limb. This was her favorite time of year. A new beginning. Anything could happen.

Rowan sighed. Funny how being back in Winchester had come to mean so much to her these past several months. As a teenager she couldn't wait to get away from home. Growing up in a funeral home had made her different from the other kids. She was the daughter of the undertaker, a curiosity. At twelve tragedy had struck and she'd lost her twin sister and her mother within months of each other. The painful events had driven her to the very edge. By the time she finished high school, she was beyond ready for a change of scenery. Despite having spent more than twenty years living in the big city hiding from the memories of home and a dozen of those two decades working with Nashville's Metro Police Department—in Homicide, no less—she had been forced to see that there was no running away. No hiding from the secrets of her past.

There were too many secrets, too many lies, to be ignored.

Yet, despite all that had happened the first eighteen years of her life, she was immensely glad to be back home.

If only the most painful part of her time in Nashville—serial killer Julian Addington—hadn't followed her home and wreaked havoc those first months after her return.

Rowan took a breath and emerged from her SUV. The morning air was brisk and fresh. More glimpses of spring's impending arrival showed in pots overflowing with tulips, daffodils and crocuses. Those same early bloomers dotted the landscape beds all around the square. It was a new year and she was very grateful to have the previous year behind her.

She might not be able to change the past, but she could forge a different future and she intended to do exactly that.

Closing the door, she smiled as she thought of the way Billy had winked at her as he'd left this morning. He'd settled that cowboy hat onto his handsome head, flashed that sexy smile and winked, leaving her heart fluttering. Four months ago he'd moved into the funeral home with her. The one-hundred-fifty-year-old three-story house didn't feel nearly so lonely now. She and Billy had been friends most of their lives and, in truth, she had been attracted to him since she was thirteen or fourteen. But she'd never expected a romantic relationship to evolve. Billy Brannigan was a hometown hero. The chief of police and probably the most eligible bachelor in all of Franklin County. He could have his pick of any of the single women around town. Rowan hadn't expected to be his choice.

She had always been too work-oriented to bother with long-term relationships. Too busy for dating on a regular basis.

Billy had made her want long-term. He made her believe anything was possible, even moving beyond her tragic past.

The whole town was speculating on when the wedding invitations would go out. Rowan hadn't even considered the possibility. This place where she and Billy were was comfortable. It felt good. Particularly since fate had given them a break the past four months. No trouble beyond the regular, everyday sort. No calls or notes from Julian. No unexplained bodies turning up. And no serial killers had appeared looking for Rowan.

Life was strangely calm and oddly normal.

She would never say as much to Billy, but it was just a little terrifying. The worry that any day, any moment, the next bad thing would happen stalked her every waking moment. Somehow she managed to keep that worry on the back burner. But it was there, waiting for an opportunity to seep into her present.

"Not today," she said aloud.

Today was important. She and Burt Johnston, the county coroner, had breakfast on Monday mornings. She locked her vehicle and started for the sidewalk. The Corner Diner was a lunch staple in Winchester. Had been since the end of the Great Depression. Attorneys and judges who had court often frequented the place for lunch. Most anyone who was someone in the area could be found at the diner. More deals and gossip happened here than in the mayor's office.

But breakfast with the coroner wasn't the only event that made this day so important.

Today she intended to offer her assistant, Charlotte Kinsley, a promotion and a part-ownership in the funeral home. Since there were no more DuPonts—Rowan had no children and couldn't say if that would ever happen—she needed to bring someone into the family business. Someone younger who could carry on the DuPont legacy.

Rowan paused outside the diner. The iron bench that sat beneath the plate glass window was empty. Surprise furrowed her brow. Burt usually waited there for her. She surveyed the cars lining the sidewalks as far as the eye could see. No sign of Burt's. He was never late but there was always a first time. After all, he wasn't exactly a young man anymore.

She sank down onto the bench, dug her cell phone from her bag and sent him a text. She was the one who generally kept him waiting and he never once complained. She certainly wasn't going to do so. His car was a little on the vintage side as well. Maybe he had car trouble this morning. Worry gnawed at her. A dead battery or a flat tire. Surely he would have called her.

"Morning, Rowan."

She glanced up, smiling automatically. Lance Kirby, one of the attorneys who was not fortunate enough to have an office on the square. The ones who had been around a lifetime held on to that highly sought-after real estate. The others, like Kirby, waited patiently for someone to retire or to die. Meanwhile they showed up for coffee in this highly visible location bright and early every morning.

"Good morning, Lance."

Kirby was a couple of years older than her. He'd lived in Winchester his entire life other than the years he spent at college and law school. He was divorced and had three kids. He'd asked Rowan out to dinner on several occasions. She hoped he didn't ask again this morning. Coming up with an excuse to turn him down was becoming tedious. Surely he was aware that she and Billy were a couple now.

The idea startled her a little. This was the first time in her life that she was half of a couple in the truest sense of the word.

"If you're waiting for Burt, he's parked around back. Every spot around the square was taken before seven this morning." Kirby reached for the door. "People have come early hoping for a chance to get into the Winters trial. Everyone wants to hear the story on that family."

Rowan had been reading about the trial for weeks in the Winchester Gazette. "That explains why I had to circle around for a while before I found a spot." She'd forgotten about the small parking area in the back alley behind the diner. "Thanks for telling me. I was worried he'd stood me up."

Kirby laughed. "I don't think any man still breathing would stand you up, Rowan."

She glanced at her cell phone as if it had vibrated. "Oops. I have to take this."

The instant she set the phone to her ear, Kirby went on inside the diner, the bell over the door jingling to announce his entrance.

Thank goodness.

For appearances' sake she kept the phone to her ear a half a minute, then put it away. To pass the time she counted the yellow daffodils brimming in the rock planter built around the tree at the edge of the sidewalk. Those lovely yellow flowers were coming up all around the funeral home, too. Her mother had loved gardening. Early-spring blooms were already bursting all over the yard. Maybe her mother had hoped to chase away some of the gloom associated with living in a funeral home.

Since her father's death, Rowan had hired a gardener. Somehow her father had managed to keep her mother's extensive gardens alive and thriving for all those years. Rowan did not have a green thumb at all. She had killed every plant she'd ever tried to nurture. She was not going to be the one who dropped the ball on the family garden.

She glanced up then down the sidewalk. Still no sign of Burt. With a sigh, she pushed to her feet. Maybe he was on the phone, which would explain why he hadn't answered her text. Rather than keep waiting, she cut through the narrow side alley to the small rear parking lot. With his taillights facing the back of the diner, Burt's white sedan was nosed up to the bank that faced North Jefferson Street.

Rowan quickened her pace and walked up to the driver's side of his car. Burt sat behind the steering wheel, staring out the windshield.

For a moment Rowan waited for him to glance over and see her but he didn't move. Whether it was the lax expression on his face or some deep-rooted instinct, she abruptly understood that he was dead.

She tugged at the door handle. Thankfully it opened. Her heart pounding, she bent down. No matter that her brain was telling her he was already gone, she asked, "Burt, you okay?"

Her fingers went instantly to his carotid artery.

Nothing.

Rowan snatched her cell from her bag and called 911. She requested an ambulance and the chief of police, then she laid the phone on the ground and reached into the car and pulled Burt from his seat. She grunted with the effort of stretching him out on the pavement. On her knees next to him, she pressed her ear to his chest. No heartbeat. She held her cheek close to his lips. No breath.

Rowan started CPR.

The voice from the speaker of her cell phone confirmed that the ambulance was en route. She informed the dispatcher that she'd started CPR.

Rowan continued the compressions, her eyes burning with emotion. Burt was her friend. She had been gone from Winchester for a very long time and he had made her feel as if she'd never left. She did not want him to die. Other than Billy, he was the person she felt closest to. The voice of logic reminded her that Burt was just two months shy of his eightieth birthday.

She ignored the voice and focused on the chest compressions. "Come on, Burt. Don't you die on me."

Facial color was still good. Skin was still warm. He couldn't have been in this condition for long. Hope attempted to make an appearance. But it was short-lived. Even a few minutes could be too many.

Damn it!

The approaching sirens drove home the realization that this was all too real.


Excerpt from The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb. 
Copyright © 2020 by Debra Webb. Published by MIRA Books. 
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.




Meet The Author


Marti Corn Photography
Debra Webb is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 130 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra's love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama. Visit Debra at www.DebraWebb.com or write to her at PO Box 176, Madison, AL 35758.


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This excerpt and tour brought to you by MIRA Books