Title: Grave Secrets
Author: Linda Trout
Genre: Romantic Suspense
When Sara Adams' infant daughter is abducted, she moves heaven and earth to find her. But six months later, time is running out and Sara turns to the one man she shouldn't—insurance investigator Morgan Daniels. Dangerously attractive, he's a threat to more than just her heart, and if she isn't careful, he'll unearth secrets better left buried.
Proving Sara murdered her husband is Morgan's top priority. Helping her find her child is the perfect opportunity to get the proof he needs. But when he starts to think of her as a woman rather than a suspect, she slips under his armor. He can't trust her. Worse, he can't trust himself around her.
All evidence points to Sara as a murderer, but Morgan's gut tells him the evidence is wrong. Is his obsession with her blinding him to the facts? Or is the real murderer still out there…stalking Sara?
Sara’s world tilted. Her heart refused to beat. “Kaycee.” The word was little more than a whimper as she lunged for the grave’s edge.
Hands of steel grabbed her arms, stopping her from tumbling into the opening. She struggled to get free. Twisting, she found herself almost nose to nose with Morgan Daniels. “Let me go. I have to...I have to go to...”
She had to reach her child—had to hold her. She could still hear her daughter’s gurgles of joy during her bath, smell the baby lotion, recall the hours of rocking her and singing lullabies each night. Even the two o’clock feedings had never been a chore. Motherhood had settled over Sara like a soft blanket of snow that covered the land...quiet, peaceful, comforting.
It completed her.
Sara pushed against Daniels’ chest. She didn’t want to be touched...didn’t want to be here anymore. His arms were now wrapped around her body and refused to yield. She squeezed her eyes closed.
Despite her attempt to ward off the images of what they’d just found, they crept into her consciousness, seeping into every pore in her body. Overwhelming—overtaking. Her hands shook as bile climbed the back of her throat. Her chest constricted. She couldn’t breathe. When black dots danced before her eyes, she welcomed them— embraced them. And prayed once she entered the dark hole, she could keep going. A roar filled her ears as her legs buckled, and she began the descent into blessed oblivion.
She drifted, lost in a dream world. Her daughter ran into her arms, laughing, strong, healthy and beautiful, just as Sara knew she would be. Contentment settled within her. All was right with the world. Finally.
The roaring in her ears began again, and Kaycee drifted away. Sara hung on to the fleeting image, but the dream faded into the distance, out of her reach. She groaned, wanting to remain.
“Can you hear me?”
Go away. She drew into herself, desperate to remain with her daughter. Kaycee, baby. Come to Mama. Please, sweetie, come home!
“Mrs. Adams.” The voice’s rich timbre beckoned and drew her from the abyss.
A light breeze caressed her face as the smell of fresh cut grass permeated her muddled brain. Surrendering, she blinked and forced her eyes open. Daniels leaned over her. His features had softened, pity replacing the cold expression he’d worn before.
Letting her focus stray past him, she saw the grave a fair distance away. Struggling upright, she paused briefly at the warmth of Daniel’s hand pressing on her back, assisting. As soon as she was on her feet, she stepped away from his touch, away from those dark brooding eyes and his overpowering presence. His black hair only emphasized the stubble on his square jaw and the sense of danger she felt emanating from him.
Her nerves frayed, she faced the other man beside her, Detective Cannon. “You don’t think tha—that’s Kaycee, do you?” Please, God, no! A shudder rolled through her. Her legs felt rubbery, unsteady. Another thought struck her. “Was the child alive when...?” There was no way to finish the sentence. Not for her.
The detective’s lips thinned. “It’s your husband’s grave. If the baby isn’t yours, then whose would it be?”
She swallowed, shaking her head.
“Mrs. Adams, when did your daughter disappear?”
Sara glanced from one man to the other. Cannon’s brows were drawn into a V, while Daniels’ were raised in question. Instinct from deep within her told her to not give up on her own child. Forcing her voice to sound stronger than she felt, she said, “I have no idea who that poor baby is or who he or she belonged to. But it isn’t mine.” She had to hold onto that belief, that hope. If she lost either of those two things, she’d lose the last shred of her sanity.
She hadn’t wanted to come to the cemetery in the first place, but simply couldn’t let them dig up her husband’s grave without her there. Now the thought of staying here one minute longer became unbearable.
“I’ll take her home,” Daniels said after the detective strongly encouraged her to leave. Picking up her purse, Daniels handed it to her, then gestured toward a black SUV parked in front of Cannon’s standard issue navy blue sedan.
Sara drew into herself, into survival mode, the one that had maintained her for months. If she could compartmentalize these latest emotions and events, then tuck them back into a corner where she could shut the door like she’d done when Jason had died, she might make it through the rest of the day. But when she climbed into Daniels’ vehicle and he slid behind the wheel, she couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe. The man’s presence sucked the air from her lungs. She tried her best to ignore him, and thankfully he remained quiet.
As they drove the short distance to her house, she felt as if she’d aged a century within the span of less than an hour. A hot, soaking bath and a couple Valium might help drive away the all too vivid images that were now burned into her brain. She wouldn’t indulge herself, though. She refused to give in to the temptation of letting drugs rule her life, no matter what horror she faced.
Automatically, she drew her purse—drew Kaycee’s lop-eared rabbit—closer, resisting the urge to hug the bag. Instead, she lifted her chin and forced her shoulders back. It took all her concentration to keep her hands from shaking, the burning tears from spilling down her cheeks. It didn’t matter if Daniels would understand. If she let herself slip even one iota, there’d be no stopping a complete and utter breakdown. She couldn’t let that happen. Not now. Not yet. Her baby needed her.
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
A National Reader’s Choice Award double finalists, this book is an emotional and fast paced read. It shows a little of what lengths a mother will go to in order to get her missing child back from unknown kidnappers, and how she will never give up hope. My heart goes out to every person in this situation.
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 23 books featured in the Super Reads Bookish Event:
Runs September 22 – 27, 2020.
Winner will be drawn on October 5, 2020.
An Award-Winning and Amazon Bestselling author, Oklahoma native Linda Trout loves Happily-Ever-Afters. When she isn’t helping her husband remodel their home, she’s outside trying to tame a small portion of their ten-acres (a losing battle). Between her six rescue cats—who all demand her attention—and planning where she wants to travel when the pandemic is over, she’s working on her next novel.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Trout/e/B008NVX2Y4/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1
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