Genre: Women's Suspense with Romantic Elements
Heat level: Spicy, with some adult themes. (Author recommends ages 15 and up.)
Shara Brandt doesn’t know how she wound up, beaten and exhausted, on a creek bank behind a school in rural Rock Harbor. She has no idea who murdered her grandmother. What she does know is she has one chance to learn the truth about Lydia’s murder, to clear her own name, and to be safe from a past that haunts her. That chance is to live a borrowed life under the alias “Bethany Elias.”
Emotionally bruised after his ugly divorce, Bryan Jacobs doesn’t believe in trusting anyone with his heart. He certainly doesn’t trust the newcomer, Bethany. He is convinced she could be the heiress wanted for murder. Most of all, he doesn’t trust the faint stirring of something deep in his soul each time he sees her.
It is their search for truth that will bond them or shatter them, but only if they are willing to take a chance.
Her face paled. “Then you know.”
Yes, I do. I’m nobody’s fool anymore. He ran his hands through his hair. "I said, 'We don't know anything about her.' Everyone else telling me I'm crazy, that I‘m the jerk, and you‘re so innocent. Poor little Bethany Elias, running away from an abusive boyfriend. Orphaned. Wants to be a teacher but never had the money for college.” He paced in front of her, not looking at her, not seeing her. “You certainly hit all the marks with that story.”
He waved his hand to stop her. “I started to believe it myself. I wanted to believe it because” he stopped, and glared at her. “You’re the one who’s engaged to…you’re wanted for murdering your own grandmother. You’re Shara Brandt." He spat the words out like bile.
"Bryan, I can explain.” Tears welled in her eyes and overflowed.
“I don’t want explanations!” He flew at her, the weight of his body pinning her against the wall. "Your whole life here is a lie, an act. You used us!" You led me on. You loved Richard Bennett the whole time.
"Bryan- please!" She couldn't move. He had her pinned against the wall.
"We all trusted you! I trusted you and you lied to me. You‘re a liar just like-" He choked on his words. Jenny.
His lips were on hers, devouring, angry. She tried to pull away, but he gripped her tighter, suffocating her, bruising her. Destroy something Richard Bennett loved. He dug his fingers into her wrists. “It was very convenient that they had you declared dead. Was that a happy accident or part of your plans?” He hissed the words close to her face, close enough to feel the heat of fear radiating from her skin.
“Bryan-please.” Her words were little more than a whimper.
Her voice touched the last reasonable corner of his fevered brain. With a deep-throated curse, he ripped himself from her and pushed her away. The force was sudden, violent, and she fell to the floor. Her expression, one of wounded fear, incensed him. Don’t look at me like that, with those eyes, and lie to me more! Cat-like, he was on her, pushing her deeper into the straw
She struggled against him, weeping his name and begging him, over and over to stop, to let her go. He sealed his mouth over hers to quiet her cries and still the anguish in his own soul. He held her down with the full weight of his body, pinning her arms over her head with one hand.
Why did you have to be another liar? Why did you have to be another one of Richard Bennett’s lovers?
There was no answer to his heart’s cry. Done pleading, she lay silent under him, and Bryan paused in his onslaught. He gasped for air, staring into the face of the woman beneath him. Jenny...
“No!” She pushed him off of her with a burst of strength. “I will not take this from you! Not from you!” The force of her shove sent him slipping back to the wall.
Don’t let Jenny hurt you again. He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. “Listen here, you little-“
“No, you listen to me!” She stood and leaned her back against the wall, keeping him directly in front of her. “My whole life, people told me what to do, where to go, who to be.” She glared at him, rage simmering in her eyes. “Under the same circumstance, you would lie, too. You’d do what you had to, if it meant saving yourself.” Panting, she wiped a drop of sweat from her face.
He stood, also panting in the heat that hung like a cloud between them. “I have always been completely honest with you.”
She slid sideways and leaned against the back door of the barn. “You know what they say about me. You don’t know the truth.” She bit her lip. “I don’t know the truth.”
“I know what I need to know.” He did not miss the flash of disappointment crossing her face when she pushed on the latch of door and found it to be locked. There’s no escaping what you did, this time. “I know you slept with him. You love him.”
She nudged the door again, this time with her foot. “What are you talking about?”
He took three steps toward her and raised himself to his full height, a clear seven inches over her head. “I’m talking about Richard Bennett.” He took one more step; close enough to see her body tremble in spite of the defiant look in her eyes.
She put her arm straight out, her hand flat against his chest. “Stay away from me, Bryan.”
“Or what?” He loomed over her.
“Bryan, please.” This final plea was weak, defeated.
“No!” He pinned her against the wall again and for a moment hovered next to her, panting. “No more!” Sweat rolled down his face to hers. The drops mingled with the tears that spilled onto her cheeks. No more lies, no more pain…
“Bryan, look at me, please. Look at me.”
In those still, soft words, Bryan blinked away the fiery image of his ex wife and found a wide-eyed Bethany.
He sealed his lips to hers again, no longer to punish, but to claim. He loosened his grip on her wrists, and she let her hands fall to rest on his waist. Her touch, her heady scent of sun warmed strawberries, softened the edges of his rage. He took hold of the nape of her neck, felt her heat and sweat. She melted to him as he buried his face in her hair. “Bethany…” He whispered her name as a prayer. My Bethany…
His name never sounded so sweet as she returned his kiss. Joy and desire flooded through him, warming his soul, frozen for so long. He kissed her again then looked into her eyes, his heart racing beyond the confines of his own body. My beautiful, beautiful Bethany.
Only she’s not Bethany.
And she will never be mine.
She belongs to Richard Bennett.
Jarred by the thought, Bryan searched her face for something, anything, to wake him from this nightmare. Everything faded and fell away, leaving only the insistent throb of want pounding through him. Again, I lose to him.
But his mouth tasted bitter and his skin burned as if touching something hot. How could you have done this to me…to us?
Not willing to do battle against a passion that could only ruin him, Bryan pushed himself away from the wall, still grasping her wrists. "Get away from me!” With one final, furious gesture, he pushed her to the floor and left the barn. Once outside in the scorching sunlight, he slammed the rolling door shut and snapped the padlock closed. Spinning on his heals, he ran back to his Jeep. Once in the drivers’ seat, he jerked the car into gear and tore backwards down the drive, leaving his property is a cloud of gray brown dust.
A Personal note to readers from Sarah:
Every author has a story that haunts them and stays with them for their lives. Is the the story of our hearts. "Lies in Chance" is mine. I started writing this story when I was 13. Obviously Shara's storyline has grown up as I have, but the characters of Drew, Molly, and Bryan have not changed since the first day I put a piece of paper in my old Royal manual typewriter and decided to write. Fans of the TV show "Emergency" will recognize similarities in those friendships.
As for the name "Shara" I have a story behind that. I was sort of searching for a name for my main character, knowing that using my own name would not do. I have had a lifelong problem with people misspelling my name. The summer I was 15, a chaperone on a summer band bus asked me my name. I said, "Sarah, with an H." She wrote "Shara" and my character's name was born.
More about Sarah:
Sarah is a lifelong Upper Midwest girl who lives with her college sweetheart husband, her two teen aged children, and her three rescue cats in Waukesha, Wisconsin. When not writing or volunteering at her church, Sarah cheers for the Green Bay Packers, plays trivia games on the radio, and attends Rick Springfield concerts. Sarah’s been writing since she was thirteen…when she started work on what is now “Lies in Chance.”
Her next projects are a romantic suspense novel, “Fresh Ice,” and creative nonfiction collection, “Scenes from an Awkward Childhood,” a collection of stories from her own life, such as the stories she shares in her popular blog: www.itcanonlyhappensarah.blogspot.com
You can find Sarah online at:
BUY LIES IN CHANCE:
Kindle buyers: http://www.amazon.com/Lies-in-Chance-ebook/dp/B0056VBVH4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311544873&sr=8-1
Nook buyers: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lies-in-chance-sarah-j-bradley/1103822563?ean=2940013602908&itm=1&usri=lies%2bin%2bchance
There you have it...and if you think this one sounds good...you should also check out Sarah's book Dream In Color--it's a great read! Thanks to Sarah for sharing with us today, and don't forget to comment for your chance to win a copy of Lies In Chance!
Stacey Joy Netzel