Title: The Rebound Effect
Author: Linda Griffin
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Psychological Thriller
In the small town of Cougar, struggling single mother and veterinary assistant Teresa Lansing is still bruised from a failed relationship when Frank McAllister sweeps her off her feet. Frank is a big-city SWAT officer who moved to Cougar only four months ago. He's handsome, charming, forceful, very sexy, and a bit mysterious. He had his eye on Teresa even before they met and is pushing for a serious relationship right away. Teresa finds his intense courtship flattering, and the sex is fabulous, but she doesn't want her deaf six-year-old son to be hurt again. Her former fiancé cheated on her when he got drunk after being unjustly fired, but he loves her and her son, and the whirlwind romance is complicated by his efforts to win Teresa back. And then there's the matter of the bodies buried at Big Devil Creek…
Aiden didn’t want Teresa to go out again, but he would be fine with Chelsea. He came to lean against her, shortly before Frank was due, and signed, “I will miss you, Mama.” He repeated, “Miss you” in a mournful voice.
“I’ll miss you too, sweetie. Good speech. Very expressive.” She hugged him close to her side.
“Can I go to movie?”
“You wouldn’t like it. It’s a boring grownup movie. Talk, talk, talk. And Chelsea will be sad if you don’t stay and play with her.”
He glanced at Chelsea, who was setting up the Quirkle game on the kitchen table. “ ’kay,” he said and went to join her.
Teresa reminded Chelsea of Aiden’s bedtime and her cell phone number posted on the refrigerator. “He’s eaten,” she said, “but there are leftovers if you get hungry,” and then she hurried to run a comb through her hair before Frank arrived. She had deliberately dressed down in contrast to her dinner-date outfit—dark jeans, a pullover sweater, sneakers, and no makeup except lipstick and a touch of eye shadow. If he didn’t like her this way, he didn’t like her…
…Discussing what they’d seen and munching pizza at the nearby Tony’s was so much fun they stayed longer than they had intended, and Teresa was afraid Chelsea would be angry or worried. “I’m sure she’ll be glad of the overtime,” Frank said. “I’ll pay her a little extra.”
“No—that’s my job!” she protested.
“Nonsense, it’s much easier for me, and you know it. I’ll drive her home too.”
“She has her bicycle.”
“A bicycle? This time of night?”
“She has a light, and she lives just down the road. I can watch her most of the way from my front porch.”
“Still, a young girl alone after dark?”
“This is Cougar, not the big city. It’s safe.”
“Oh, yeah? Tell it to the families of Wade Linedecker’s victims.”
“They weren’t killed here,” she objected.
“Two of them weren’t. The third we don’t know about—she hasn’t been identified, and Linedecker claims he didn’t kill her. He’s probably just trying to keep from further incriminating himself, but…”
“Well, that’s a little unsettling, but I’m sure Chelsea will be fine.”
Somehow the discussion about safety distracted her from the payment issue, and while she reminded Chelsea to be careful, Frank folded bills into the girl’s hand. “I’ll be glad to drive you home if you like,” he said.
“No, thanks,” she said blithely, gathered her books, and headed out the door. “Bye, Mrs. Lansing.”
They stood on the porch until she was out of sight, and then he took Teresa’s hand and gave her a quick, pepperoni-spicy kiss. “Can I stay?” he asked.
“No, Frank. It was a wonderful evening. Thank you for everything.”
“Come on,” he coaxed. He kissed her again, this time with an intensity that left her both shaken and wanting more. His hand was on her breast, and he was pressed up against her. “You want to,” he said. “You know you do.”
She did, or part of her did. “No, I don’t,” she said, laughing, trying to keep things light.
“Yeah, you do.” He caressed her cheek and kissed her again. “You make me crazy. It’s been such a great evening. Let’s not end it here.”
“I’m afraid we have to.”
He kissed her again. “Come on, Teresa.” He said her name in a caressing way, as if it was the tenderest of endearments.
“No, Frank. It’s too soon. Keep in mind I have a little boy in the house who is still sad about a previous breakup.”
“He can’t hear us,” he reminded her.
“No, but he might get up in the night with a bad dream or something.”
“Does he do that a lot?”
“No,” she admitted, “almost never, but—”
“We could lock the door,” he said. He didn’t sound entirely serious, as if he were teasing, but she didn’t think he was. “If he comes knocking, I’ll hide in the closet.”
“My closet is very crowded,” she said, trying to match his tone.
“So it’s a no? You're shutting me down?”
He let her go. “You did with the schoolteacher, though, right?”
“I can’t think of any reason why I would want to answer that question,” she said. She was afraid she sounded self-righteous or angry. She wasn’t, but she needed him to know where she drew the lines.
“Yeah, okay,” he said. “I can see I need to earn this. I’d better take my bad self home. Good night, Teresa.”
“Good night, Frank.”
When he was gone, she went in to check on Aiden. He was sleeping peacefully, one hand tucked under his cheek, his soft blond hair rumpled. She bent to kiss the top of his head. “You’re the man in my life,” she whispered. “I don’t need anybody else.”
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
For Mother’s Day, here is a heroine who is a devoted single mother, as well as a woman risking her heart in a whirlwind rebound romance. N. N. Light said, “This is one of the most original romantic suspense I’ve ever read…There were parts of the story where I gasped aloud, proving the suspense is well drawn out. The ending shocked me to my core. I wasn’t prepared for it…If you’re looking for a suspenseful romantic thriller with a clear message for women everywhere, pick up The Rebound Effect today.”
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 26 books featured in the Celebrate Mothers Bookish Event:
Runs May 7 – 10, 2020.
Winner will be drawn on May 18, 2020.
I was born and raised in San Diego, California and earned a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. I began my career as a reference and collection development librarian in the Art and Music Section of the San Diego Public Library and then transferred to the Literature and Languages Section, where I had the pleasure of managing the Central Library’s Fiction collection. Although I also enjoy reading biography, memoir, and history, fiction remains my first love. In addition to the three R’s—reading, writing, and research—I enjoy Scrabble, movies, and travel.
My earliest ambition was to be a “book maker” and I wrote my first story, “Judy and the Fairies,” with a plot stolen from a comic book, at the age of six. I broke into print in college with a story in the San Diego State University literary journal, The Phoenix, but most of my magazine publications came after I left the library to spend more time on my writing
My stories, in every length from short shorts to novellas, have been published in numerous journals, including Eclectica, The Binnacle, The Nassau Review, Orbis, and Thema Literary Journal. Three romantic suspense novels were published by the Wild Rose Press, Seventeen Days (2018), The Rebound Effect (2019), and Guilty Knowledge (2020).
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