I am so happy to announce the pre-release of my new Romantic Thriller, Chasing Secrets! I’m releasing it exclusively as a part of the 21 Book Romantic Suspense Box Set — Love Under Fire — at a pre-order special of only .99 .
Love Under Fire is made up of a group of Award-winning, WSJ, USA Today Best Selling Authors who have put together 21 Brand New, Never Before Published Romantic Suspense Books!
We’re also donating a portion of the proceeds to Pets for Vets, a terrific non-profit organization that supports US Veterans and resuces shelter animals. Every sale helps a Vet get a Pet!
Today I’m offering a sneak peek of the first chapter of CHASING SECRETS. I hope you enjoy!
Her husband’s secret is priceless. Her attempts to retrieve it could be deadly.
“It is the stars. The stars above us, govern our conditions.”
“You’re lying.” Barbara narrowed her eyes at her husband.
David raised his glass of champagne and broadcast his perfectly white, nearly electric smile that could have won an election. “Everything’s fine.”
She raised an eyebrow to scold him; he was evading. “I didn’t say things weren’t fine. I said you were lying.”
He cleared his throat and gestured with his glass. “To our second anniversary, to yet another clean health report, and to the baby we weren’t supposed to conceive.”
He placed his hand over his jacket pocket. It was an unconscious move. She knew that’s where he kept a photo of himself at the age of eight, his head resting across his mother’s chest, her head wrapped in a colorful scarf, her skin pale and drawn against the white sheets of the hospital bed.
Barbara survived the cancer, his mother hadn’t.
She ran her hand through her hair, grateful to have hair again. Grateful that it came in twice as thick as she once had, grateful that it didn’t come back gray as she had been told that it might.
The ring of their champagne toast sounded clear in the quiet outdoor restaurant. She took only a tiny sip. A few cars drove by slowly, their engines relatively soft. A man whizzed by, standing on an electric-powered scooter, which hummed like the motor of a sewing machine.
He kissed her hand.
She studied his assuring smile and his soft expression that was full of love and secrets. She never could read him clearly when his lips were on her skin or when he smiled at her in that way. In fact, she couldn’t read him well at all. Not in the way she read other people.
“I saw another stack of medical bills come in this week,” she said.
He looked at her hand and gave it a squeeze. “I’m making all the money we’ll ever need to overcome whatever life throws at us. Don’t you worry.”
“I don’t know how you do it.” She cast him her most scrutinizing stare, the one she planned to use when their child was a teenager.
“I can do anything, when it comes to you.” David tucked his napkin in his lap, his smile widening as if he were pleased with himself. “And as far as not being able to read me the way you want, you’re just going to have to trust me instead.”
“I’d rather be able to read you.” She arched her eyebrow again.
He leaned across the table and kissed her.
She’d never been able to figure out that little glitch with her gift. With anyone else, and on the simple mention of their first name, she could know quite a bit about that person. It was a skill she really appreciated because, oddly enough, she didn’t read people all that well otherwise.
When she realized she couldn’t read David, her first instinct had been to stay away from him. But she fell in love with him. She couldn’t help herself. He treated her like a queen, never gave her any reason not to trust him. Problem was, the more she overrode her instincts so that she could trust her husband, the less she trusted herself.
“One day soon I’ll tell you why,” he said.
“You know why I can’t read you?” she asked.
“I have a theory.” David sipped his champagne, kept his eyes on hers, as if he were prepared for her question. Knew what she was going to ask and when. Everything he did was deliberate and full of care.
“Then tell me, because this has been driving me nuts for years.”
“I will. Soon,” he said.
David was a planner. He always had a plan A and a plan B. Sometimes a plan C. Always thinking ahead.
She grunted in frustration. “Fine. Then you should know that I’ve been hiding something, too.”
“What? You’re not capable of keeping secrets from me.”
“Actually, I am.”
“Are you feeling okay? Is the baby alright?”
She pressed her hand to her still-flat stomach. “We’re fine. Perfectly fine.”
“Okay, good.” He gave a little exhale. “Then read a name for me first?”
“No, David, what I have to say is really important.” She heard a whine in her voice she hadn’t expected. He had spoiled her over the years and now she whined. She would have to break herself of that.
“Just real quick. Then I want to hear your secret. Okay?”
She wasn’t supposed to know their baby’s gender, yet. But the nurse had slipped and told her during the last ultrasound. David would flip when he found out they were having a girl. She wanted his undivided attention when she told him. She cleared her throat to make sure the whine was gone. “Fine. Shoot.”
“Elias…Elias…” Barb repeated the name in her mind and felt her awareness drawn in a specific direction. As if she had plugged exact coordinates into an energetic navigational system, her gift followed the energy of that person’s name, and knew exactly where to take her. The details were fuzzy at first—a general feeling about the person, then the finer points would sharpen.
David used to question how she did this, how she could find someone’s story by just tuning into the energy of their first name. “How can you tell one Steve from another? I mean, everyone’s different.”
“A person’s unique energetic narrative is attached to their given name. Because I can read energy, once I know that name, I can read them like a book. And you’re right. No two names carry the same story, because no two people are alike.”
He never really understood her gift, but he rolled with it because the information she found was so accurate. He even came to depend on her insight, because she could see things about people that he couldn’t.
“Ah, okay, I’ve found him… He’s um, wow, all about money…on a search for something…he has a really dark vibe. What do you want to know?”
“He works with one of my customers. I think there’s something off about him.”
She clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth and softened her focus. The images she saw now were not in front of her, but in her mind. They started to form and flow. “I see him wearing a black ski mask, picking a lock. He’s good at breaking into places. He’s searching for something. I would increase the security at the warehouse if I were you, make sure the cameras are working. I see him with a gun. He spends a lot of time at the shooting range; he’s a marksman.”
She saw him extending his arms, aiming the gun. She felt the gun kick as if his arms were her own. She watched someone fall in the distance and felt his sick satisfaction flow through her that he had ended a life, that he had played God. “My gosh, David. I think this man has killed someone before.”
David’s complexion paled. “Okay. Enough of him. I’ll get rid of that customer.”
She exhaled hard to help clear her mind of the man’s energy, and focused on the cars that drove by as a distraction. “You need to stay away from him. Keep him away from your business. I mean it.”
He raised his glass of champagne. “I will. Another toast. Then I want to hear your secret. To your continued good health. And a wish on this, our second anniversary: May our next fifty years of marriage be as wonderful as our first two.”
“And a lot healthier.”
“They will be.” He pressed his hand against the breast pocket of his blazer again. “I’ll make sure of it.” Their glasses clinked in a toast. “Now that you’re healthy, I want to reopen the conversation about shutting the business down for a while so we can travel. We need to see the world while we can, just like we always wanted.”
“Oh, David.” They had talked about traveling the world together almost from their first date. But now that her mother had passed and her father had had his second heart attack, things had changed. “I can’t leave Pop alone for that long. You know he depends on me.”
“Then we’ll plan a long vacation, to celebrate your recovery. Just a few months. I’ll explain it all to you once we’re away, but it’s important.” His eyes were wide and intense. His hands were tucked into tight fists on the table, the skin stretched taut over his white knuckles.
“A few months, David, that’s—does this have something to do with that Elias person you just had me read?”
The brown sedan that drove toward them slowed down enough to catch her attention. The driver wore a trucker’s hat and aviator sunglasses, and he stared straight at them.
“David—” She pointed to the driver. At the last second, he raised his arm level and straight and pointed a gun at them.
David turned, then quickly stood to hover over her.
“I love you, Barb! Go to the—” David’s words were cut short by several loud pops. Blood spattered across her face and covered her glasses. Her husband’s body jerked violently, then collapsed on the ground.
Restaurant guests screamed, dishes crashed. Searing pain ripped through her shoulder and knocked her to the floor. Barbara crawled beneath the table, yanked her husband’s arm and tried to pull him to her. But he was dead weight, unmoving.
“NO!” she screamed.
Blood poured from the back of his head, his eyes wide open and unseeing.
…Enjoy the brand new thrilling Romantic Suspense and feel good about helping others in the process 🙂
CHASING SECRETS by Alyssa Richards
Her husband’s secret is priceless. Her attempts to retrieve it could be deadly.
Barbara had everything she ever wanted—a successful career, a loving husband, and a beautiful baby on the way. She even had the incredible gift to know everything about a person from hearing their name. But when Barbara’s husband somehow evades her ability and secretly clashes with a ruthless criminal, it sends her whole world crashing down. As if the resulting tragedy isn’t bad enough, now a killer threatens everything she loves to reclaim a valuable cache of diamonds.
To protect her family, Barbara must use her gift and the help of a handsome archaeologist to find the stolen gems before time runs out. If she fails to discover the treasure and finally understand her husband’s covert double life, then her once happy family will never be the same.
CHASING SECRETS is a compelling standalone romantic suspense novel. If you like fast-paced action, sizzling chemistry, and second chance relationships, then you’ll love Alyssa Richards’ edge-of-your-seat thrill-ride.
***copyright 2018 Alyssa Richards***