Title: Truth Be Told
Author: Marsha R. West
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Seasoned Romance
Looking forward to a peaceful Christmas visit with her Fort Worth family, Meg Bourland is shocked to discover someone is blackmailing her father. When he rebuffs her offer to help, the Atlanta SWAT team member enlists her LA police officer brother and his former partner to uncover the truth. She fights her attraction for Scott McClaine and the immediate tug to her heart caused by his sacrifice. Her life is in Atlanta, and his is in California.
Scott McClaine, medically retired homicide detective, came to Fort Worth to recuperate from life-threatening bullet wounds he received saving the life of Meg’s brother. Hard enough to accept his new physical limitations, but they make him unacceptable for strong Meg. Regardless, he commits himself to helping her stop the blackmailer. Working closely with her, he develops a bond. Could she feel the same?
In the search for truth, they uncover pieces of the puzzle, which threaten to ruin her father’s career as mayor and destroy the family she holds dear. Will Meg and Scott find their way through the maze of family secretes? Will they find the strength to make the sacrifices required for real love before the blackmailer makes good on threats to kill?
12:30 p.m. Friday, December 18
Meg Bourland jerked to a stop before she reached the bottom of the stairs in her parents’ house. Her fingers tightened on the banister. The spit in her mouth dried up like the Texas fields in August. A figure in a long overcoat skulked through the study doorway. Meg reached toward her waist. Damn.
Her weapon lay in the lock box in her Atlanta condominium. Packing it in her bags with the clear marking on the outside, begged someone to steal it. Too great a risk for a flight to Fort Worth for Christmas with her family.
Hindsight was everything.
Meg sucked in a deep breath before she eased her head around the study door. Relief buckled her knees, and she staggered back into the hall. She whooshed out the breath she’d held.
“Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.” She slammed her hand on her thigh in time with the whispered words. Damn, the psychologist was right. Meg was close to losing her grip. Not as fine as she claimed, or she wouldn’t have over-reacted.
Her father in the shape of the tall dark figure came home earlier than expected and not taken time to remove his coat.
She rubbed a hand over her eyes, sucked in more air then stepped through the doorway into the study.
“I suspected for a moment someone had broken in, Dad. Glad it’s just you.” Her voice wasn’t as strong as she’d intended. Her father didn’t respond. Didn’t he hear her? He threw a crumpled a paper across the room, and then he sank into the chair behind his desk. His head cradled between his hands.
Adrenaline kicked through her system again shooting lightning spikes down her arms. “Dad, is something wrong?” Again, no response. Meg moved further into the study. The pipe smoke smell dimly registered. Was he having a heart attack? She stopped in front of his desk. “Dad?” Almost shouted the word.
“What?” He looked up. His gaze lighted on her for a moment before darting around the room.
Didn’t he recognize her?
“Meg?” He shoved his hair off his forehead and dragged in a breath. “When did you arrive?” He asked in a voice tight with strain.
His gaze never connected with hers.
Not a heart attack. Thank God. She let out a huff of air. “A while ago. Are you all right?”
Her father placed his hands on the desk and straightened into the ramrod posture she’d seen all her life.
He used the same word Meg did when things were the opposite of all right.
“Glad you got home okay.” His voice was stronger now. He shuffled through files on his desk. “I…uh…came to pick up this folder.” Unusual for her father to stammer. He was always self-assured. He waved the file in the air and shoved others into the center drawer. “I’m heading back to work now.”
He threw an arm around her shoulder, hustled them out of his study, and closed the door with a distinct thud.
“Don’t mention to your mother you saw me.”
He glanced toward Meg, but still he made no eye contact. All her cop instincts shouted this was trouble.
“She’ll tease me about my memory and try to stick one of her blasted pills down my throat. See you tonight.” Her father brushed past her in his rush to get out of the house.
Meg stood for a minute in the open doorway, but then a blast of cold wind skittered in and disturbed the rug lying on the hardwood floor of the entry. She shivered, turned the lock, and straightened the rug before slipping into the living room. She could just make out the taillights of his car as he wheeled down the street.
The flickering flames from the gas fire delivered welcome warmth. She rubbed her hands up and down her arms. What just happened?
The scent of the fresh evergreen enveloped her in the essence of the holidays. As long as they’d lived here, a real tree took center stage in the bay windows of the living room and her father’s study. White lights and ornaments bedecked the tall firs. The cheerfulness out of sync with her father’s odd behavior.
“Dad,” she whispered the word. They hadn’t seen each other since the incident resulting in the loss of one her teammates. The incident that almost took her life. Scenes flashed across her consciousness, and her heart pounded faster than a woodpecker’s beak against a tree.
Gritting her teeth, she shoved the pictures into the black hole of memory. She clenched her fingers around her forearms and muttered under her breath. “I’m fine, I’m fine. Not. My. Fault.”
Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/2hs7UTk
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What I love most about the holiday season:
I love the colder weather, and every year I hope for snow. It seldom happens which makes it so joyous when it does in all it’s sparkling beauty. Everything closes down giving me plenty of time to snuggle in front of the fire with a good book and a hot tea.
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Marsha R. West, a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and theatre arts teacher. She writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. Marsha lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. Their two daughters presented them with three delightful grandchildren who live nearby. Charley, a Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier mix recently adopted them.
MuseItUp Publishing e-released her first book, VERMONT ESCAPE, in July 2013, and her second book, TRUTH BE TOLD, in May 2014. In the fall of 2014, Marsha formed MRW Press LLC to provide a print version of her first two books and then e format & print of the rest of her books, all of which are available in e-format and print from Amazon, and in e-format at Barnes & Nobel, KOBO, and iTunes.
Besides The Second Chances Series, including, SECOND ACT, ACT OF TRUST, ACT OF BETRAYAL, and ACT OF SURVIVAL, Marsha published THE THEATRE in 2016. All are about Texas women in their forties and fifties and are Seasoned Romances.
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