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Forsaken

Her past is back to haunt her—and this time, it’s got a gun.

When Gage Lawton finds his brother shot to death on his back porch, every shred of evidence points to one person: Gage’s ex-lover, Riley Beckett. The only gun in town that fires a bullet of that caliber belongs to her.

Certain the shooting is payback for his part in the loss of her parents, he abandons his promise to stay out of her life and confronts her, his rage backed up with a revolver. Yet when she steps through the door, all thoughts of revenge burn to ashes.

A year after Riley unwillingly walked away from Gage, she enters her home to find him sitting in the dark, gun pointed at her head. One look into those achingly familiar blue eyes reminds her how wrong she was to let him go. But now there’s more standing between them than their heated past.

A twist of fate—and a hail of sniper bullets—puts them in the cross hairs of a killer, leaving Riley with just two slim options: trust her greatest betrayer, or face a murderer alone.

Warning: Prepare to get caught in a crossfire of profanity, danger, and desire. Intense violence may trigger the desire to wear body armor…and take it off. Very, very slowly.

  • Title: FORSAKEN
  • Author: Sarah Ballance
  • Genre: romantic suspense
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing
  • Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-61922-262-5
  • Available format(s): ebook

Find it @ Samhain Publishing | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Google Books | Amazon UK |Amazon CA | Goodreads

Excerpt

Something was wrong. Was the dark playing tricks on her? Riley Beckett froze, arm outstretched, hand poised to toss her keys on the table just inside her front door. But she didn’t let go. Instead of dropping them in their usual spot, she feathered pieces of the makeshift weapon between her knuckles. Heart pounding, she pressed the keys in a silent, white-knuckle grip and prayed her concerns were her imagination, that the paranoia of coming home alone to a dark house was getting the better of her.

One, two steps in. Wood planks echoed underfoot. She fought to breathe air that grew thinner with every tense second.

Three steps.

Then it hit her. The scent. His scent. And with it a flush of memories. The burn of hot grass on her bare skin. Rough hands, a tender touch. Love so sweet she ached for it, her dreams raging, and her body drenched with need.

“Gage?” Her voice broke on the single syllable. Riley’s grip on the keys tightened, her blood raging hot and cold all at once.

A creak sounded from the corner chair. Her eyes refused to adjust in the darkness, but not even the faint light kept the blond streaks in his russet hair from giving him away. Like rays of sunshine, she used to tease, and her words never failed to draw a scowl across his rugged face.

“Riley.”

God help her, her name on his lips sounded as it always had. Coarse. Dangerous. Forbidden. Even before… The memory surged, hot and vivid, leaving a metallic taste in her mouth. White heat assaulted her from every corner of the room.

The keys fell to the floor with a dull clink.

“An eye for an eye, is it?” His voice sounded unpracticed, as if he hadn’t spoken in a long while.

She couldn’t see his face, but she knew his expression. Flat and humorless. Broken. She remembered the day he stopped smiling. Every part of her wanted to flee, but she stood frozen to the spot.

“What do you mean?” Riley wondered if the words, whispered and weak, had the strength to make it across the room. Hadn’t she always known she’d shatter the next time she saw him? Hadn’t she dreamed of seeing him anyway?

“You have to ask?” Gage laughed, cold and hollow. “Billy’s dead. Hell of a thing to come home to. My brother blown to bits on my back porch.”

“Oh God.” She swayed. The room filled with a distant buzzing. She took one unsteady step to the side and stumbled.

When she found his gaze, it was over the business end of a revolver.

He leveled the gun in her direction. Everything else in her world trembled, but his aim held rock steady. Unyielding.

His eyes burned blue and bright. “What I want to know, sweetheart, is why you did it.”

He worked his finger over the trigger, and a veil of blackness threatened her last discerning thought.

***

He hadn’t even pulled the trigger, yet Riley hit the hardwood in a crumpled heap. That was a first.

Without taking his attention from her, Gage Lawton climbed out of the chair, cursing when he realized his foot was asleep. He tucked the .38 in the waistband of his pants and limped through the pins-and-needles sensation wreaking havoc in his left boot.

Hell of a time to feel ticklish, he thought, staring at Riley’s wild mane of dark waves sprawled over the floorboards. Not the stark contrast he’d seen over a crisp white pillowcase. His mind played flashbacks. Memories of dragging his lips over her heaving, sweat-slicked skin threatened his plans…and his resolve.

The flood of emotions shouldn’t have surprised him. He was as stoic as a block of granite when it came to everything—and everyone—except Riley Beckett. He never could put the feeling into words, but just being around her made him feel free, like standing in the middle of the prairie with the sun, and the breeze, and the vastness…and the promise of something he didn’t dare believe.

And he didn’t. Gage knew good things didn’t happen to him. But she’d captured a piece of his soul with her laughing eyes and damning innocence.

The purest woman he’d ever known and he’d destroyed her.

Twice.

He eyed the glass of whiskey he’d poured to keep himself company while he waited. He hadn’t touched it yet. The amber liquid represented a line Gage couldn’t cross, but he’d given himself too much credit where Riley was concerned. The moment her sky blue eyes found his, she’d broken him all over again.

With a weary sigh, he knelt at her side, irony forcing him to suppress the urge to laugh. How many times had she brought him to his knees? He thought of his kid brother sprawled on his porch and promised himself this would be the last time. Rage and guilt made for strange bedfellows, but he knew one thing: if Riley Beckett had pulled that damned trigger, she had cleared his heart of the latter.

An eye for an eye.

Find it @ Samhain Publishing | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Google Books | Amazon UK |Amazon CA | Goodreads

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I am so very pleased to be welcoming Sarah back to my neck of the woods.  She’s goin’ places, y’all!  I figured we’d do some Q & A, get to know a little more about Sarah the person, instead of Sarah the “I’m-so-jealous-I-want-to-be-her” writer.  So, without further ado, Welcome back, Sarah!

Hiya! Thanks so much for having me back. I guess the insurance came through on the damages from last time? Does that mean you’re serving drinks? ‘Cause, um . . . bartender!

I lied.  I think our readers deserve a few of those “what makes her tick” questions.  What genre do you feel most comfortable writing?

Definitely romantic suspense. I love the way the suspense adds a whole new level of tension to the romance, taking the stakes far beyond those of a typical relationship. Suspense allows for a multi-layered plot as my characters fight for one another and, often, their lives. (Okay, so authors can do that with romance, too, but I need my suspense” crutch,” lol.)

From reading your oh so fabulous suspense novels, we all know you know how to keep us on our toes, and turning the pages.  How do you feel about writing a genre you aren’t comfortable with–testing the boundaries?

Grrr! LOL. I was suckered into it by a fabulous pre-made cover from For the Muse Design. Clearly my muse listens to me about as well as my kids do, because even though the cover screamed historical and every cell in my body wanted to back away slowly, my muse demanded we take it home. So I am now the *very* proud owner of a gorgeous cover (CAPTIVE—it’s on my website and blog) and I’m trying to *only* yank out my gray hairs as I *very much* test my genre comfort boundaries, LOL.

I think I’m the most excited to read CAPTIVE.  There is so much to explore there, and I know it will be a success, just like your suspenses.  You’ve woven such an intricate plot… How did the idea of the Familiar Light/Tide of Lies series form itself so flawlessly for you? 

Aw, really? Because I’m pretty sure I still have plaster in my hair from beating my head against the wall. (I just blamed the kids. No one questioned it.) FAMILIAR LIGHT started with the Timeless Desire theme, which was dictated by the blog tour for which the story was written. I wanted to write suspense, but I didn’t want to cram it into 10k words as required so I asked about continuing the story. The continuation became TIDE OF LIES, which, in spite of its origins, is a standalone title. As for the details, I had a sit-down with my husband, who doesn’t read romance but rocks plotting. We figured out the basics, and my characters filled in the blanks.

With six home schooled kids, how do you find time to devote to your writing?

I wish I did. LOL. In theory, I work on fiction after dinner from about 8pm until midnight. My husband takes over the kids, only allowing whichever one is delivering the coffee to breach the barriers of my writing abode (also known as the bedroom).  He does a great job. The biggest problem I have is falling behind on the other necessities (blog tours, scheduling, and other nonfiction aspects of authoring) so I end up catching up during my writing time. (Case in point: It’s nearly 10:30pm as I write this. LOL.)

Okay, okay, I’ve grilled you long enough on the authorly stuff.  Now lets get down to what the readers REALLY want to know… Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. OMG, is there anything better than an ice cold Coke? No, I don’t think there is. (At least not when I’m in the mood for an ice cold Coke, LOL.)

Chicken or fish?

Um, chicken. Although if I have to cook it, I don’t eat it. Of course, I hardly ever eat fish, so the feathers win.

Favorite color?

Blue. My husband’s eyes are blue, and my contacts will be, too, if I ever get to the eye doctor. ;c)

Favorite character?

I know you’re a Disney freak, so I don’t know if I’m supposed to be thinking cartoons here or if I’m supposed to be in my own books, lol. My favorite book character is usually the hero I’m writing at the moment. It’s sort of a necessity—if I don’t love my guys, readers won’t, either. Overall favorite character of mine? I think I had the most fun with Hutch from RUN TO YOU. *grins*

(Melissa here.  Note to self, explain the simple questions in great detail.  Favorite character you’ve written. *snort*)

Okay readers…its your turn.  If you haven’t already read TIDE OF LIES, well…what are you waiting for?  This book is fantastic, and you won’t want to put your book, kindle, ipad, phone, computer monitor, audio book what have you down.  Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, Sarah throws you a curve ball.  Watch out!!!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

TIDE OF LIES

A devastating secret. A shocking betrayal. A deadly obsession.

Haunted by three unsolved murders, Detective Holden Whitlow is stunned when his cold case takes a heated turn. Julia Cohen, his ex-lover, is back in town, and in the face of a brutal attack she’s ready to run. No matter how tightly she holds her secrets, for Holden, turning away from the woman he’s spent a decade trying to forget isn’t any more an option than walking away from his job . . .even when it threatens to cost Julia her life.

Julia is still reeling from a past she can’t bear to face. When she becomes the target of a killer, fate throws her back into Holden’s arms, but she’s yet to recover from a truth that has stripped her of everything—and everyone—she loves. Will she tell him the secret that will destroy him, or will her lie destroy them both?

BUY LINKS

NOBLE ROMANCE  https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/409/Tide-of-Lies

AMAZON (author link) http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003WKYEJI

BARNES & NOBLE (author link) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/sarah-ballance

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah and her husband of almost fifteen what he calls “long, long” years live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep.  She often jokes that she writes to be around people who will listen to her, but her characters aren’t much better than her kids.  Fortunately, her husband is quite supportive, having generously offered to help her research “the good parts” . . .  and she’s never had to ask twice.

WEBSITE  http://www.sarahballance.com/

BLOG  http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/

AMAZON  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003WKYEJI

TWITTER  http://twitter.com/#!/SarahBallance

FACEBOOK  http://www.facebook.com/sarah.ballance.author.news

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