Please welcome back Liana Laverentz with her brand new release, Ashton's Secret!
From the moment he'd caught her snooping in the loft of his barn-turned-garage, Meghan Edwards knew Nicholas Hawkinson was the man she’d been looking for. Given his unfriendly attitude, unshaven face and the Harley hidden in the shadows, she was willing to bet this was the man her sister Heather had referred to as Hawk. But would this dark, secretive stranger help her solve the mystery of her sister's death?
Nicholas Hawkinson wanted nothing to do with the city-girl photographer who asked too many questions. He'd had his share of trouble five years ago when the people of Ashton had been so quick to accuse him of murdering Heather. The townsfolk still considered him the town's black sheep, a bad boy at best and a killer who got away with it at most. Both he and Meghan would be better off if they went their separate ways and never spoke of Heather again.
All of Ashton saw Nick as a dangerous man. But Meghan was trained to observe, and it didn’t take long to find the pain of betrayal and unexpected gentleness he hid behind his hard stare. Her sister was dead, and Meghan knew it wasn't suicide. So did Nick. Whether he liked it or not, he was the only one who could help her now. And Meghan wasn't leaving Ashton until she'd unraveled this sleepy little town's secret--or died trying.
"I think you'd better leave."
"I think you're right. But first--"
"I meant leave Ashton."
She was stunned; he was serious. “Is that before sundown or after?”
“The sooner the better, since I’m sure you’ve collected enough shots for a magazine layout in the last week and you can’t take pictures here.”
Meghan didn’t take kindly to the word, “can’t.” It hadn’t been in her vocabulary for the past four years. “Excuse me, but what makes you think I can’t take pictures of this property?”
He looked startled for a second, as if he wasn’t used to having his orders questioned, then said evenly, “If I understand the law, you need permission from the owner when you photograph property for publication.”
There were loopholes in his knowledge, ones she didn’t care to point out. She nodded. “Go on.”
“I’m not giving my permission.”
She widened her eyes innocently. “You own the whole town?”
He was not amused. “I own this property, as you well know. And you, are trespassing.”
So they were back to that again. Reluctantly, she confirmed her first impression of Nicholas Hawkinson: When provoked, he could be a dangerous man. Clearly he ached to speed her on her way, preferably by tossing her through that set of double doors. But his obvious capacity for restraint told her she was safe—as long as she didn’t push him too hard.
She tried a different tack. “I understand how you feel. I wouldn’t like it either if I found some stranger poking around my home. With a camera, no less. All I can say is I thought the place was deserted, and I couldn’t resist taking a look around.”
“In spite of being warned against it.”
She offered her most disarming smile. “I’m stubborn that way sometimes. But I am sorry for trespassing." She held out a hand. "If you’ll accept my apology, maybe we can start over.”
He ignored her outstretched hand. “I’m not interested in starting anything with you. Now leave.”
Meghan felt her cheeks flame, but held her tongue. Stepping past him with all the dignity of a diplomat's daughter, she retrieved her camera equipment. As she hefted the bag onto her shoulder, her gaze touched on the hanging pitchfork. She pictured Nicholas Hawkinson standing under it, her hand on the rope that released it. The image soothed her bruised ego.
She turned, smiling sweetly. “Thank you for your time. I’m staying—”
His dark eyes narrowed. “Good bye.”
“Of course. Good bye.” Making her way across the loft, Meghan descended the narrow wood steps into the dry, dusty garage. At the bottom of the steps, she paused. Hidden in a corner stood a half-covered motorcycle. She’d missed seeing it earlier, her attention focused on the steps leading to the loft. Her heat beat faster as she recalled a line from Heather’s letter.
He has a Harley, and takes me riding.
“He” was Hawk, the man Meghan needed to find. The man who could answer her questions about what Meghan had believed until a week ago to be an open and shut case of suicide.
Despite the coroner’s report and her mother’s firm conviction that her eldest daughter had killed herself, after reading Heather’s letter, Meghan couldn’t help but wonder if her sister’s death had been an accident.
Ashton's Secret is available now from The Wild Rose Press! To find out more about Liana and her work, visit her website and/or blog.
Whew, what a month!
Hope you've enjoyed the special guest along with our usual Saturday Spotlight and hope to see you back often!
As always....take care and Be Blessed!