Vermont Escape by Marsha R. West
Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Museitup Publishing
Release Date: July 19, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 85,600
Museitup Publishing: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/new-releases/vermont-escape-detail
It’s been two years since Jill Barlow’s husband was murdered. Being attracted to someone new isn’t what she expected when, after her father’s recent murder, she fled to Vermont.
A terrifying series of break-ins shatter the peace she’d sought. Jill shields her adult children from knowing the gambling syndicate will kill again for the damming evidence she possesses.
With the lives of family and friends at stake, will Jill be required to make even more sacrifices?
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
Jerrod waited in the Woodstock Inn library, pretending to read. He couldn’t stop thinking how Jill had hung up on him. Click. The noise rang in his ears. Her voice had been just-woke-up-croaky when she first spoke. It wasn’t until the end of the conversation she hit her I’m-awake-and-in-charge-tone.
He glanced up and rose. The magazine fell to the table. Jill wore black pants and a matching long-sleeved sweater hinting at curves. For such a small person, she had a great build.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.” She raised her chin just a touch. Every bit the lady and no trace of a hoarse voice.
Her hair was pulled back into the low ponytail she seemed to favor. Simple gold hoops hung from her ears. She wore no rings and only a watch on her left wrist. Nothing flashy about her. Used to judging potential jurors, it only took seconds for him to take in the whole package. His groin tightened. What the hell?
He had trouble finding words. Finally, he said, “No problem.”
“Let’s get something to drink, and then we can talk.” She led the way to the Solarium where they both ordered coffee.
Jerrod settled into one of the large leather wingbacks in the library. Jill sat on the edge of the chair next to him. He stared at her rose-colored lips when she took a tentative sip and her throat when she swallowed. He jerked his gaze away.
“I’m sure you must be busy. Why did you ask to meet? Frankly, I’ve had the feeling I’m not one of your favorite people.”
Well, she was honest about some things. “Let me apologize again for my behavior.”
“Apology accepted. Now what do you want to discuss?”
The woman was all business. Jerrod leaned forward, his hands clasped between his knees. “I don’t want you to buy Crystal Rainbows.” Her eyelids batted the way they would if a gnat attacked. Before she could respond, he went on. “I know who you are.”
Color drained from her face. Her hand trembled when she set down her cup. “Well, of course you know who I am.” Her words came out in a rush. “Your mother introduced us.”
Her voice rose to higher pitch than normal. He gave her credit for attempting the bluff.
“Did you assume no one would check up on you?”
She hopped up at his words, paced in front of the chairs. He went on. “You’ve had an interesting couple of years.” He stood, stepped in front of her. “Did you leave Texas because you killed your husband and father?”
The sting from her hand slapping his jaw stunned him. He never saw it coming. She spun around and brushed past startled guests. She had quite a swing on her. He rubbed his face, and then rushed after her.
By the time he got to the stairs, she’d reached the bottom and pushed open the door. She headed for the gardens behind the inn.
No way out that direction, sweetheart.
The air cooled his stinging cheek. His beard helped cushion the blow, but she’d let him have it. Halfway across the gardens, he caught up to her, grabbed her arm, and pulled her around in front of him. Pain-filled eyes and streaming tears grabbed his heart, but he held on. After fumbling for a handkerchief, he offered it, and she swiped at her face.
“Let go of me.” She spat the words between clenched teeth. Struggled to pull away.
Jerrod tightened his grip and shepherded her toward the back part of the gardens to benches under tall oak trees. He needed privacy. When they reached the secluded grotto, he released her but blocked the path to the inn.
“What do you want with me?” Her breath hitched, and she rubbed her arm where he’d held her.
“Damn. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“Are you—are you going to kill me?” She backed away, her gaze darted around. Probably looking for a way to escape. She put the bench between them, her arms extended in supplication. “Please, don’t hurt my kids. I’ll do whatever you want, if you leave them alone. I beg you.”
Marsha R. West, a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and theatre arts teacher. She writes romantic suspense, where experience is required. Her heroes and heroines, struggling with life and loss, are surprised to discover second chances at love.
Marsha, lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. They’ve raised two daughters who’ve presented them with three delightful grandchildren. She admits to being at the beck and call of two dogs, who run her home. She loves to travel and sometimes those places wind up as a setting in her books.
She’s currently editing her latest work in progress and enjoying the experience of her first book launch.
Connect with Marsha R. West
GIVEAWAY INFO: “Winners’ Choice of a $10 Amazon Gift Card OR a $10 B&N Gift Card OR an eBook copy of “Vermont Escape” OR 2 prisms that reflect rainbows from Marsha R. West (3 winners to be selected)”
Contest is tour-wide, open internationally and ends Sept 21. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Fill out the raffelcopter below to be entered.
Don’t forget to follow the tour and enter at each stop for more entries into this prize giveaway.
The tour schedule can be found at http://www.cblspromotions.com/2013/08/booktour-vermont-escape-by-marsha-r_11.html