Title: The Rebound Effect
Author: Linda Griffin
Genre: Romantic Suspense
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…
Apple orchards stretched from end to end in Cougar Valley, but the soft earth along Big Devil Creek was where the bodies were buried. The creek—swollen
to the size of a river since the Killwater Dam failed—was the boundary between the tiny town of Cougar and the unincorporated area beyond, and a lot of interested
observers were gathered behind the yellow crime-scene tape on that crisp early fall morning.
The contingent was made up of five men in two official cars—two Powell City cops, Cougar’s resident sheriff’s deputy Hal Knight, a uniformed corrections
officer, the prisoner in shackles—and a leashed German Shepherd trained as a cadaver dog. Everybody knew the story—Wade Linedecker had been convicted of the murders of two young women, but the bodies had never been found.
Linedecker had refused to divulge their whereabouts on the grounds that it would amount to self-incrimination. Only when his first parole hearing was imminent had he decided to grant the victims’ families the closure they longed for and lead authorities to the remains.
The back windows of the Rosey Lane Veterinary Clinic looked out over the creek, and the barking of two dogs boarding overnight alerted the staff to the presence of a strange canine in the vicinity. Dr. Veronica Saltzman and her assistant Teresa Lansing were among those who couldn’t help gawking as the prisoner shuffled up and down the bank and pointed to several places. After a lengthy discussion, Linedecker pointed again before he was escorted back to one of the police cars. Deputy Knight began to dig in the first location, but the younger of the Powell City cops soon joined him. In spite of the cool weather, it was hot work, and both men took off their jackets.
Knight was in his forties and a little out of shape. The other one was younger, perhaps early thirties, and very fit. His hair was short and dark, which was about
all they could tell from a distance. His eyes were hidden behind dark glasses, but the muscles were unmistakable. “He’s hot,” Dr. Saltzman said.
“You’re married,” Teresa reminded her.
“I can still look.” They watched as the digging was suspended while the other Powell City officer squatted and sifted through the earth they had turned up. The
prison guard joined the others, and their intense interest and discussion made it clear they had found something, although the dog was sniffing around a spot farther down the bank. The bell above the clinic door chimed as a customer entered. Veronica sighed. “Back to work,” she said.
“By the time they were finished with the diagnosis and treatment of a cocker spaniel’s ear infection, the law enforcement group had filled what could only be a
body bag and were digging in a second location. Cougar’s local newspaper editor, John Trevor, had joined them, so full details would be in the next day’s Independent.
As it turned out, Teresa would learn a little more of the story before the day was out.
The Cougar Bar & Grill was more than usually busy for a Thursday night, filled with the buzz of conversation and the inviting smells of sizzling meat and hot coffee, when Teresa came in with her six-year-old son Aiden. It was a regular event for them, a break in cooking routine for her and a treat for the boy. AlixEnglish, the grill’s proprietor, called out from behind the bar, “Oh, my God, here she comes! It’s the terror of George Orwell High! And who is this handsome young man?”
“Hi, Alix,” Teresa said. Aiden didn’t respond, but he gave Alix the shy smile she could always win from him. Her seven-year-old daughter Sasha had better
luck. She ran up and took his hand and led him to a booth in the corner, where they were soon busy with coloring books, Sasha chattering freely and occasionally using her limited American Sign Language vocabulary. Teresa didn’t think he understood half of what she said, but it worked for them.
Teresa put in her order. Alix didn’t need to ask what Aiden wanted; it was always the same. For him hot dogs and macaroni and cheese were the whole point
of this exercise.
Alix nodded toward a table near the window. “VIPs,” she said. Teresa turned her head just as one of the Powell City cops looked up. It was the younger,
dark-haired one, and he gave her a look of undisguised interest. The correctional officer was not there—presumably he had returned Wade Linedecker to prison—but Deputy Knight was. The older city cop was flirting shamelessly with pretty blonde waitress Lacey Norman.
The dark-haired cop showed no interest in Lacey. He didn’t look bored or contemptuous, just not interested. He got up and approached the counter, where Teresa was still talking to Alix. “Your better half’s not with you tonight?” he asked. He had a pleasant baritone voice.
“What?” she said stupidly and then, recovering, “I’m not married.”
“Oh, I thought you were,” he said apologetically and smiled at her. He was disturbingly good-looking without his sunglasses, with penetrating brown eyes and
just a trace of five o’clock shadow. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and very masculine, impressive if not intimidating. She liked his strong jaw line, and he had a nice smile, with just a hint of a dimple.
What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
Ever After by Elswyth Thane, my favorite of her Williamsburg series. I was so in love with the characters and couldn’t wait to see how their story unfolded. The hero, Bracken Murray, remained my ideal man for years, and I’ve read the book many times.
What makes this a binge-worthy book?
“THE REBOUND EFFECT by Linda Griffin is an eerily frightening tale of mental abuse, instability and the bad choices we can make when one woman gets caught up in a rebound romance that she is ill-prepared to handle...It was anything but a relaxing read, and my tension was constantly on high alert for Teresa's next dangerous mistake.”—Dianne, Tome Tender Book Blog.
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Linda Griffin is a native of San Diego and has a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. She retired from a position as the fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library in order to spend more time on her writing. Her stories have been published in numerous journals, including The Binnacle , Eclectica, Orbis, and The Nassau Review. The Rebound Effect is her second novel from The Wild Rose Press. Seventeen Days was published in October 2018. She enjoys Scrabble, movies, and travel, as well as the three R’s—reading, writing, and research.
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