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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Promised Lies by Marguerite Ashton, I am thrilled to be able to share an extract from this fantastic book as well as the chance for you to win an ebook copy.

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Detective Lily Blanchette has a lot on her plate. Her sister, Celine, was murdered, her parents are on the verge of divorce, and after a whirlwind romance, she married a man she barely knows.

When the bodies of two young women are found, it is clear that the killer is the same person who murdered her sister, Lily sets out to find out who that is.

As the investigation comes to life, Lily realises that all is not as it seems in her life, who can she actually trust and who is she?

 

 

For your chance to win a copy of Promised Lies

You can buy a copy of Promised Lies via Amazon in the UK here and via Amazon in the USA here


Extract:

Chapter 1

October 21, 9:21 p.m.

Tanya O’Neal’s bare feet padded the cold moist earth as she struggled to find a way out of the hole located in her captor’s shed. His real name she didn’t know; just his online profile: CtryGeek23. It had been two days since she’d decided to flee the demeaning abuse from her uncle to be with the man she thought was sweet, kind and wanted to be with her. I’m sorry, Mom.

Now she was going to be the next to die. Did she have a chance in hell of getting out? Why would he kill her friend and keep her alive? She just wanted out before he came back again. Pain vibrated through her body as she dug at the dirt wall, trying to climb out only to keep falling back in.

She stepped away from the wall and wiped her hands on the poodle skirt and oversize sweater CtryGeek23 had given her. Even with the heat from the wood stove, Tanya fought to stay warm. She looked down at the dark stain on the sleeve and wondered if another person had worn the sweater. Like another victim?

Still groggy from being drugged, Tanya rubbed her swollen eyes and lifted her head to try to look out of the dimly lit hole. Not able to see much, she stepped back, stumbling over the lifeless body of her friend. Sam.

Within seconds she was back on her feet, scanning the shed. Dim evening light shined through two windows above, catching the black seat attached to a red tractor in its path. A cluttered workbench sat on the other side of the tractor.

Heavy footsteps moved around outside, coming closer.

Tanya’s breath caught in her throat.

The door to the shed flew open and in walked the older man who’d made her dress up in clothes from the fifties and listen to stories while he worked around in the shed. “Remember my little story I told you about?”

“Yes,” Tanya said in a low whisper.

CtryGeek23 lowered a ladder into the hole and adjusted it to a longer length. “You can come out now,” he said positioning the ladder.

Tanya hesitated. His face resembled stone. It was like looking at a shaped mask, but hidden underneath was the same expression of anger he’d worn as he stabbed her friend over and over.

Her hands trembled as she reached for the ladder, placed her feet on the cold rungs and ascended. If he was going to get rid of her wouldn’t he come down into the hole and do to her what he did to Sam? Maybe he was going to let her go because she’d listened to his story, unlike her friend, who’d refused.

As she reached the top of the ladder, he turned around, retrieved some rags from the workbench and tossed them onto the drop cloth lying near the door. CtryGeek23 faced her and ran his fingers along her cheek. “So pretty. So innocent. You remind me of the woman in my story. The skirt looks good on you don’t you think? Go ahead, twirl around for me.”

Hot tears streaked Tanya’s face as she did what he wanted. When she was done, she stared up at CtryGeek23, trying to look past him at the shed door. She wanted to swoop around him and try to claim her freedom. But she’d seen his quick movements when he went after Sam when she tried to escape. And look what happened to her.

“I’m going to ask you a question.”

“A question?”

“Let’s pretend you’re my girlfriend.” He grabbed her hand and pulled Tanya toward him. “Would you promise to marry me knowing what you do now?”

Marry you? Was he talking about the story he told me? What am I supposed to say? Yes.

Farm machinery sounded in the distance.

“Yes,” Tanya said, trying to pull out of his grasp.

CtryGeek23’s grip tightened.

Tanya’s knees buckled.

Quick breaths escaped from his mouth, filling the space between them with a spicy aroma. “Your eyes tell me something different.”

Without warning, CtryGeek23 hoisted a knife speckled with blood and sliced open Tanya’s sweater.

Shocked, she threw up her hands as he raised the knife again, blocking the strike.

CtryGeek23 cursed, threw Tanya down on the drop cloth. She screamed as she scrambled towards the door.

Running footsteps passed her by as CtryGeek23 lunged for the door, flipped the hasp over and snapped the padlock shut.

 

11:39 p.m.

 

The pounding in Detective Collin Blanchette’s ears elevated as he closed the folder on the cold case file and looked at the photo of his daughter, Celine, attached to the unsolved case from six months ago.

It had been three weeks since he’d decided to take another crack at it, hoping he’d find another case that resembled his daughter’s murder. Some of the best guys he knew had worked the case, but the leads had dried up. It was as if the cold-hearted bastard had taken extra care to cover his tracks so that he wouldn’t be found.

Usually, a perp will leave something behind, no matter how small but not this one. Now it was time to find him.

Collin’s desk phone rang and he picked it up on the first ring. “Homicide.”

“Do you have anything on that drug dealer that was killed over on Riley Street?”

A late-night call from the assistant district attorney meant she was sniffing around trying to see if the police were doing their job. “I know you’re busy huddled at your desk waiting for the next defendant, but Riley Street isn’t my only case.”

“Do you have anything or not?”

“No one in the neighborhood is talking.”

“I don’t believe that. Everybody talks to you. Or maybe there’s a six-month-old case pulling at your heart strings that’s keeping you from doing your job.”

“Guess I’ve lost my touch, because the tweekers aren’t desperate enough to pass up their fix for a place to sleep,” Collin said.

“What about your informants? I know you have at least two and they aren’t registered to you.”

Silence lingered on the phone. Although Ibee was right about having informants on the side, he had his reasons and she knew it.

“Dammit, I’m due for a comp after what you did to bust up the Surace case a while back. That case was my shot to make me look good to the voters.”

“That Surace case was a long time ago and what you were doing was wrong.” Collin cupped his hand over the receiver and lowered his voice. “Don’t forget, I’ve got enough stuff on you to make that guy you were going to send to prison for a murder he didn’t commit look like a saint.” He slammed the phone down.

“Whoa, buddy,” Kevin said, knocking on Collin’s office door. “Who pissed you off this time?” He stepped in and closed the door.

Collin looked up and forced a smile for his old partner and sergeant. Kevin Owen sported a military-style haircut laced with silver streaks, broad shoulders, and a little paunch that protruded slightly over his belt. “The one person that can fill my tolerance filter in less than ten seconds just by opening her mouth.”

Sarge pulled up a chair and took a seat across from Collin. He leaned back and stared at his friend. “I think there are only two people who can handle our A.D.A. Your daughter and her partner.” A flicker of concern danced in his eyes.

Collin nodded and pondered the real reason why Kevin was here on his day off. It reminded him of the times they used to ride together. Tomorrow they were getting together for coffee so they could plan one more day to play golf before the weather started getting cold. Why couldn’t it wait until then? “What’s wrong, Kev?”

Heavy rain pelted the window overlooking the parking lot.

“One of the guys saw your wife having lunch with You Know Who.”

“Does this person have proof?” Collin asked.

“Several people have proof. The officer was celebrating his birthday at McGinley’s with his family where they took pics and shared them online. I just wanted to tell you before someone else did. And after everything you’ve been through with her…”

Collin stood, yanked his coat of his chair and stormed out of the office. “Damn you, Deena.”


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