Title: ACT OF TRUST, Book 1 The Second Chances Series
Author: Marsha R. West
Genre: Second Chance Romantic Suspense
A widow since 9/11 and a mother of grown daughter, Kate Thompson wants to keep her and her daughter safe, but the inheritance of land in Maine pushes her out of her comfort zone in Texas and into the arms of a Maine lawyer.
Maine lawyer and environmentalist, Jim Donovan wants to protect Aunt Liddy’s land and keep it from falling into the hands of the developers, but first he has to convince Kate Thompson she should hold on to the family land when she doesn’t even want to go look at it. However, he’s unprepared for the attraction each feels for the other but denies exists.
Will they be able to settle the land deal before anyone else is killed or they break each other’s hearts?
Fire. She must be dreaming about fire. The fright jerked Kate right up in bed; her heartbeat doubled; she gasped for breath and coughed. Terrible nightmare. So real. Unexpected after settling everything last night with Blair. She glanced at the clock on the bedside table. The face was dark. My gosh, what’s going on? Must be the remnants of the dream making her groggy.
“Mother.” Blair’s screech reached through Kate’s muddied brain. What was wrong? Blair always called her mom. Kate threw her legs over the side of the bed, coughed again as something in the air made it difficult for her to breathe. Reaching the hallway, her feet abruptly stopped. Oh, dear heavens. Fire blazed at the front of the house.
“Blair get down here, fast. The house is on fire.” Kate headed for the stairs.
“Stay there, Mom, I’m coming.” Black smoke billowed from the roof overhead. “We’ve got to get out.”
“We can’t use the front door; the fire is there and overhead.” A timber crashed in the loft right after Blake reached the ground floor. “Dear God!”
“We gotta go over the balcony, Mom.” Blair headed in that direction.
“Will you be able to do that with your arm?”
“Don’t think we have much choice.” Blair joined her mother in the living room. No sling on her arm.
“Don’t open the slider yet, Blair. Let me get the sheets off the bed.” Kate crawled back into her room. Flames engulfed the far side, the heat intensifying with each minute. Dear God, let me get my child out of this inferno.
She dragged the two sheets behind her. “I’m going to tie the ends together. When we go out, we need to stay low and do it fast. I’m afraid the extra oxygen will draw the fire toward us. I’ll close the slider the moment we’re through. We’ve got to get over the railing before the glass shatters.”
Snap. Crackle, Pop. Not the friendly sound of cereal from her youth.
Blair coughed and wiped her eyes then scooped up the sheets.
“When you get outside, tie the end of a sheet to one of the poles on the porch.”
Her daughter nodded.
“Let’s go.” They crawled to the door. Kate pulled open the door and shoved Blair through. Kate followed her daughter and closed the door fast. Blair struggled to tie the sheets together.
“Here you hang on with one hand and then we’ll both pull. That should make it tight enough to hold.” Kate’s muscles strained against the material. “You go first, Blair.”
“Don’t argue. Despite your arm, you’re in better shape and can help me get down.” And if the glass blew out before they were off the balcony, Blair would be farther away.
Her daughter slid down the sheet hand over hand. On her way down, her grunts and moans announced the strain on her arm and the times she bounced against the rocks.
“Okay, Mom. Come on.” She was breathing hard.
More crashes from behind Kate. It must be more of the ceiling falling in. Kate glanced over her shoulder once. Through the glass door, the fire warmed her face. Her heart raced. She could hardly catch a breath, and she hadn’t gone over yet. How could she manage this?
One step at a time, like everything else in life. She hoisted one leg over the balustrade, then got the other one over, squatted down. How had Blair done this with one bum arm? Kate reached between her legs and grabbed hold of the sheet in both hands, praying not only that it would hold, but she wouldn’t crash to her death in front of her daughter. If—when—she got out of this, she determined she’d do more upper body strength training. Better off than lots of women her age, but right now three times a week at Pilates instead of only two seemed a no-brainer.
Would the sheet hold? Would she be able to hang on? Her heart battered against her chest like a machine gun. She loosened her grip and slid down. Pain shot through her legs when she bunged her knees against the rocks.
“Keep your feet in front of your body, Mom.” Blair instructed in a breathy voice.
That makes sense. Kate pictured sports reports of people repelling down walls and mountains. They always seemed to push off with their feet before going down. Then they slowed their descent with their feet. “Oh!” Watching and doing were two different things. Her feet smashed into the rock.
She wasn’t strong enough to go hand over hand the way Blair did. Kate loosened her grip, slid, tightened, and slowed, slid again. How much farther?
“I’ve got you, Mom.” Blair’s arms wrapped around Kate’s thighs. What a relief. Kate let go, and they tumbled a foot or more to the rocks and slid to the beach below where the waves lapped.
They lay on the sand, breathing heavily. Shards of glass cascaded around them.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Grab your e-copy on sale for 99 Cents from April 6-12!
Amazon print http://amzn.to/1KrBwEK
B & N http://bit.ly/1PO4pgb
Apple iTunes http://apple.co/1QoeJjA
Other venues here:
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Most of us of a certain age remember 9/11 when we thought our world had ended. For some people life as they knew it did end. This book pays tribute to those who lost loved ones and had to find the strength someway, somehow to carry on. Every year I send money to the 9/11 Memorial Gardens and Museum in tribute to those lost souls and the brave souls who carried on. Hope you will consider joining me.
Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card:
Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.
Runs April 5 – April 13, 2022.
Winner will be drawn on April 14, 2022.
A retired elementary school principal, a former school board member, and theatre arts teacher, Marsha R. West writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. She lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband and Charley, a deaf, Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier. Their two daughters presented them with three delightful grandchildren all who live nearby.
The theme of Marsha’s nine books is always second chances, and she even has a four-part series titled The Second Chances Series. She believes in Happily Ever Afters. Her husband picked up a plaque for her on one of their several trips to Maine that states her philosophy exactly. Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. The Heroines and Heroes in her books are in their 40s and 50s with their parents and children often playing supporting roles.
She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, the North Texas local chapter, NTRWA, Authors Marketing Guild LLC, & the WORD BY WORD Blog. She has her own weekly blog and monthly newsletter. Her books can be found on AMAZON, B & N, KOBO, and iTunes and other sites. Print books are also at Draft 2 Digital, Indie Lector Stores, and Amazon. Blurbs for each of her books with links can be found on her website.
Social Media Links: