I have wonderful news. The cover of my upcoming release, Untellable, is here!
Aspen Dwyer, recently emancipated from foster care, is searching for a place to hide from a past with secrets too dark to share. Honey Creek, Ohio, presents itself as the best place to start a new life and stay undercover. There she meets Colton Moraine, a man with strong family ties and an even stronger sense of loyalty. His boisterous, loving family welcomes Aspen with warmth she hasn’t felt in years. She’s surprised at how quickly and deeply she falls for Colton. When a dangerous criminal comes to Honey Creek, intent on his revenge against her, Aspen must choose between two options. Should she stay and risk her life and the rejection of the people she’s grown to love? Or should she run again, and leave behind any chance of a happy future?
Readers’ excerpt of Untellable
“Hey, how’s my favorite waitress today?” I slid onto the red vinyl stool at the front dining bar of The White Cottage Restaurant.
“Colton Moraine, you say that to all the waitresses in town,” Mary Sue chided as she poured a glass of water and placed it on the counter. Her upturned lips belied her gruff manner.
She still liked hearing it. I laughed then gulped the water in one swig. “Only when I’m with them.” I punctuated my teasing with a smile. I wiped my arm across my forehead, removing the sheen.
“Where have you been today, working up such a sweat?” Mary Sue shot a glance at my damp T-shirt as she poured Russ and me a second glass of water.
“We’ve been up in a tree, after Jenny Martin’s kitten,” Russ shook his head, “again.” As the Honey Creek fire chief, Russ Dalton was in charge of everything from cats in trees to bats in barns and summer wildfires. He was also my boss. I worked as a volunteer firefighter, gaining on the job experience while I attended the fire academy in Fairfield County. I’d been a volunteer firefighter in high school, and now I was ready to move on to the next level.
Russ slapped my shoulder. “My man here has a way with timid pets, Mary Sue. Jenny’s kitten came right to him.”
“She just smelled the bacon from breakfast on my fingers,” I joked. “The way to any animal’s heart is with food.”
“In that case, I had a hand in saving little Jenny’s newest pet,” Mary Sue proclaimed. “I’m the one who served you the bacon this morning.”
“Don’t go trying to get on the payroll,” Russ laughed. “Colton here will give you a big tip, won’t you, Colton?”
“Anything for my favorite waitress.”
Mary Sue grinned and flipped the counter towel over her shoulder.
Main Street in Honey Creek tended to be quiet this time of day, so when the young woman, a stranger in town, walked past the diner carrying a purple plaid duffel bag on her back, she didn’t go unnoticed. First, the purple plaid wasn’t something seen every day in this town. Second, she was tall and willowy, and walked with a strong grace. Third, she was beautiful, even from a distance.
I craned my neck to see out the front window of the restaurant. Russ leaned on the counter to take a gander too. Howard Doyle, a permanent fixture at The White Cottage turned on his stool for a better view. Mary Sue set her pitcher down and sauntered to the window.
“Who’s that girl?” Russ elbowed me. “I’ve never seen her around here.”
“She must be an out-of-towner,” Mary Sue commented. “Though she’s a mite bit early for the summer tourist season.”
“She’s definitely not from around here,” I said. The curve of her shoulders in her pink tank top told me she was athletic. That’s a plus in my book. Her faded jeans fit perfectly, not too tight and not too loose. Another plus. The huge duffel bag on her back made her look like a turtle. Not a plus. Her shiny blonde hair swirled around her shoulders, moving like waves of grain in a summer breeze. Plus and double plus. The pluses outweighed the single minus.
I strode to the door, the brass bell jangling as I opened it. I stepped outside and called to the young woman. “Can I help you find something?”
She kept walking. She must not have heard me.
“Hello!” I cupped my hands around my mouth and projected my voice across the street. “Are you looking for something?”
She still didn’t respond. She even picked up her pace.
I put two fingers in my mouth and whistled, the same whistle I use to call Roscoe, my black Labrador retriever, when we’re duck hunting. I thought that should get her attention.
Ace in the hole. I hitched my thumb in my belt loop. She’s not deaf after all.
She slowly spun on one foot to face me, one hand on her hip. Even from this distance across the street, I saw the dagger eyes she shot at me, one eyebrow slowly rising in disapproval. It was the same look my mother uses on me whenever I sneak a spoonful of cookie dough out of her mixing bowl. Then she laughs and shoos me out of the kitchen. I waited for the young woman’s laugh, the inevitable smile.
The smile never came. Instead, she shot me a one-finger salute.
Did she just flip me off? My jaw dropped open.
Russ chuckled behind me. “My man, I think she likes you.”
Untellable will be available in February 2013. Until then, you might want to get to know the town Honey Creek by reading my debut novel, Shades of the Future.