top of page
  • N. N. Light

New Release | Cruel Charade by Alana Lorens #mystery #suspense #womensfiction #newrelease #bookboost

Title  Cruel Charade


Author  Alana Lorens


Genre  Mystery, Action-Adventure, Thriller SubGenre(s): Suspense, Women's Fiction


Publisher  The Wild Rose Press


Book Blurb 


Miami attorney Bet Lenard has had a rough year. She’s battling an unknown illness that drives her to drink to cope with her pain. Her lawyer husband has divorced her and taken the best part of their business, their home and their children.


On the night of May 16, 1996, Bet finds herself in the Everglades in the middle of the night, drugged, lost and next to a burned car with a dead body in it. Hoping she’s hit bottom, Bet must drag herself out of her living hell and discover who tried to kill her. Was it her ex-husband, not satisfied with stealing everything that mattered? An angry client, unhappy with the outcome of their case? Her best friend’s husband, livid that Bet’s restraining order kicked him out of her life forever? Police officers fuming that Bet helped a client convict a dirty cop who was their friend? She has no idea.


As she tries to sort out the motives behind her would-be killer, even more suspects come to light. The only thing keeping Bet sane is her relationship with her therapist, who encourages her to struggle and survive, despite everything that’s gone wrong. How will Bet discover the truth and bring her enemy to justice before they strike again and, this time, succeed?




Head spinning. Heart racing.


Wet. I’m WET. Mud on my hands and face. They hurt. 


She pushed herself, sitting upright. Dark. Dizzy. Nothing looked familiar. Her breaths came faster and faster and she thought she’d pass out. 


Can’t have a panic attack now… 


Hyacinth’s voice whispered from that safe place inside Bet’s mind. “Calm down, Bet. Five things you can see.”


Tall grass. Moon overhead. A silhouetted car some ten feet away. A pool of water in the other direction. Large birds flying overhead.


“Four things you can touch.”


Sucking mud, both hands covered with it. My hair, sticky with something. Reeds. She pulled up her hand as something squiggled past it. Whatever that was.


“Three things you can hear.”


Keening of insects. A lot of them. Bird calls. A deep bass sound like a growl.


“Two things you can smell.”


Brackish smell of standing water. Smoke, like something’s been burnt.


“One thing you can taste.”


Coppery taste, sharp. Blood.


She gradually realized she was thoroughly soaked.


I’ve got to move. The water wasn’t deep, halfway up her legs. Warm. Full of living things that swam and crawled around her. A snake slithered past, its scales scraping her naked calf. With a scream, she was on her feet. 


The moonlight illuminated her surroundings. Grass. Water. More grass. Her feet squished slowly into the swamp.


“Fuck. I’m in the Everglades.”


 How did I even get here? Where’s my… The car.


Was it hers? She reoriented herself and sloshed her way through six inches of water to the silhouette. The closer she got, the stronger the burnt smell became. When she was close enough to touch the sedan, she found the passenger door radiated heat. Using the hem of her skirt to protect her hand, she wrenched it open.


The smell of burnt flesh gagged her, and she turned away to vomit into the nearest shock of tall grass. Who is that? Why are they in my car? And why are they dead?  My flashlight’s in the glove box. I need it.


She took several deep, shuddering breaths, envisioning Hyacinth’s quiet office, feeling that good Spanish leather under her hand, the scent of diffused lavender in the air. I can do this.


Pinching her nose closed with her left hand, she inched into the open doorway, staring up at the stars, right hand questing for the latch. The glove box popped open and she reached in. The only thing inside was a gun. She snatched her hand back. This isn’t my car.


What the hell is happening?


The sight of her outstretched hand in the moonlight caught her attention. It was bubbly and red. Gaze following her arm upward, it, too, was burnt, the shadows melting into her skin. How can I not feel that? It looks—


And then she could feel it. As her shock wore off, she felt the destruction of her hand and her arm and her leg and her body. She screamed into the night. I was in the car I was in the car I was in the car Someone tried to kill me.


Her thoughts spiraled out of control. She stumbled away from the sedan, reaching desperately for that mental picture of her therapist’s room, her chair, that comfort. She couldn’t find it. She tripped over a mangrove root and fell with a splash. Reeling and unsteady, she shoved herself up against one of the vertical shafts of the mangrove, her back to the trunk, bark digging into her skin, then closed her eyes.


She fought to control her shuddering breath, knowing she would not rein in her thoughts until she could. “Five things…” she began again, but she couldn’t concentrate through the pain. 


Maybe it’s just my time to die.


No. No, I can’t accept that. Won’t.


But her breathing cycled faster and faster until at last the blackness around her became the blackness within.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)





Special Giveaway:  


For three people who comment on the release day (July 10) post, I will give a PDF copy of their choice of the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers trilogy (standalone reads).


Scroll down to comment.


Author Biography  


Alana Lorens has been a published writer for over 45 years, including seven years as a reporter/editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida, after working as a server, a pizza maker, a floral designer, and a lawyer in Miami. She writes non-fiction, romance, adventure, and suspense novels. She is the author of the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series, which draws on her 30 years as a family law attorney in the state of Pennsylvania. One of the causes close to her heart came from those years as well–the fight against domestic violence. She volunteered for many years at women’s shelters and provided free legal services to women and children in need. Alana now resides in North Carolina, and she loves her time in the smoky blue mountains. She lives with her daughter, who is the youngest of her seven children, and is ruled by three crotchety old cats, and six kittens of various ages.


Author Links



Book trailer:

Twitter:  @AlexanderLyndi


bottom of page