Today, I'm giving away an ecopy of Living Lies. Leave a comment and tomorrow I'll draw a name when I announce Wednesday's contest. (Remember to include your email so I can contact you.)
Doing whatever it takes could get them both killed.
Twelve years after her sister’s disappearance, Haley Carling spends her days trying to hold what’s left of her family together, running her late father’s shop and caring for her alcoholic mother. Then her sister’s remains are uncovered in the basement of their old home, and fingers start pointing. At the Carlings.
Dean Lawson, long the prime suspect in the Carling girl’s disappearance, is sure he’s got evidence proving who the killer is. He’s determined to clear his name, and he won’t let anything stand in his way. Not even his lingering attraction to Haley.
Haley is just as determined to protect her family from the former town bad boy’s accusations. But now someone is stalking her, and Haley realizes Dean’s the only one she can trust.
With a killer closing in, Dean wonders if he’s made the biggest mistake of his life…a mistake that could cost Haley her life.
Living Lies - Excerpt
Copyright © Dawn Brown 2008
Copyright © Dawn Brown 2008
Haley left Dean at his car across the street from her store then started home. The name Sandra still played through her brain. Why did it sound so familiar? Where had she heard it before?
Absently, she nibbled at the corner of her lip. The only thing more perplexing than the name tickling her memory was her uneasy alliance with Dean. Who would have guessed he would become a strange sort of ally in all this? Ally or not, Sandra wasn’t a whole lot to go on, for either of them.
She pulled into her driveway and got out of the car. Her muscles had stiffened from the long drive and an air of defeat seemed to have settled over her. Maybe after she ate something she’d feel better.
She followed the narrow cement walk to her doorstep, digging for her keys in her purse. They jingled maddeningly just out of reach as she searched blindly, through the receipts, gum wrappers and ATM statements. She needed to clean this crap out.
At last her fingers closed over the cold metal, but as she reached out to push the key into the lock she realized she didn’t need it. The door stood open. Barely a quarter of an inch, but open just the same.
Her heart rate tripled as she pushed the door the rest of the way, fisting her keys in her other hand so that each one stuck out between her knuckles. A vague recollection from a self-defense class in high school phys-ed.
Maybe she should call the police. She shook her head as if answering herself. What if she just hadn’t closed the door properly when she left that morning? She’d look like an idiot.
From the small front hall, the pale kitchen light spilled into the living room. Had she left that light on this morning? She struggled to remember, but came up empty as she ran her hand over the switches for the light overhead and the lamp next to the couch.
Nothing moved, or seemed out of place in the sudden brightness. The house was silent except for the familiar tick of the furnace and the ever-present hum of the refrigerator. She stepped farther into the house, half expecting someone to jump out at her from the dining room, but no one did.
With her heart pounding in her ears, she went into the kitchen. Everything was as she left it. From the dregs of coffee still in the pot, to the mug, plate and knife on the counter, to the crumbs next to the toaster. But then, what had she expected? That an intruder would break in and tidy her kitchen?
She considered grabbing one of the serrated knives from the wooden block on the counter, but rolled her eyes at her own foolishness. She’d probably forgotten to turn off the light in the kitchen this morning. God knew she’d been a touch preoccupied lately. The door probably hadn’t closed properly behind her when she’d left for work. And the only reason she was climbing the stairs to make sure everything was how she left it was simply for her own peace of mind. Just so she could say "I told you so" to her overactive imagination.
Her breath locked in her throat as she reached the small hallway at the top of the stairs. Soft, pale light flickered through the narrow gap between the wall and her partially closed bedroom door. With feet that felt as if they were made of stone, she dragged herself forward and pushed open the door with one trembling hand.
Her stomach dropped and a strange sound escaped her lips, something between a whimper and a gasp. The room glowed as if on fire. Candles of every shape and color flickered on her dresser, vanity, and on the floor surrounding the bed. Someone had pulled back the bedspread as if in invitation and scattered dark red rose petals across the sheets.
She covered her gaping mouth with her hand and took a step back. Who could have done this? And more importantly why?
A dull thump from below made her freeze where she stood. Someone was in the house. She should have brought the knife.