Monday, January 6, 2014

Excerpt, Guest Post & Giveaway ~ A SHADOW ON THE GROUND by Rebecca Lee Smith


Morgan Maguire is afraid to believe in second chances. The family orchard is failing, her twin brother is being framed for murder, and the sharks are circling. The tough exterior she's spent years hiding behind is beginning to crumble, just as the man who shattered her heart is back in her life. Gage Kirkland is as compelling and magnetic as ever, and he's offering the kind of help she may not be able to refuse. But can she trust him?

To finance his troubled son's therapy, Gage, a former investigator, takes one last job--recovering a stolen Civil War artifact. Unfortunately, it's in the possession of the woman he left behind, the woman who's haunted his dreams ever since. The electricity between them still crackles, but unless he helps exonerate her brother and finds a way to confess his true reason for returning, how will he ever recover Morgan's heart?


Gage leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. The words weren’t exactly pouring out.
He took a deep breath and clasped his hands in front of him, like a preacher signaling for the congregation to bow their heads. Then he took another breath and plowed ahead.
“Jeremy lost his mother two months ago, and he's a mess right now. He keeps lashing out at me, hoping to make me hurt as much as he does. I'm sure you've figured that out. But I want you to know I did not kill my ex-wife—his mother.”
“I didn’t think you did,” Morgan said.
“It was an accident. There were extenuating circumstances which Jeremy blames me for. But I did not—I could never—” He lifted his eyes and looked at her. “I don't want you to think badly of me.”
“That's why you came back here tonight? So I won't think badly of you?”
“Yes. I mean, no. I just—”
“Well, I do think badly of you. I'll always think badly of you.”
“You don't mean  that.”
“Why not? I can think badly of you  if I want to. Most girls have a guy in their past they wish they'd never met. You're mine. Of course, most girls don't get to experience the thrill of having the guy show up out of the blue twelve years later. With his kid. On the worst day of their lives.”
“If I'd known you were going to find a dead body today, I would have waited until tomorrow to show up.”
She leveled her gaze at him. “I can’t tell you how much better that makes me feel.”


A Shadow on the Ground is available for your Kindle or in Paperback


WHAT MAKES A SATISFYING ENDING?
The end of the book—that wonderful payoff when the guy gets the girl, the villain gets his, and the reader’s vision of a future life for the characters extends well beyond the final page—is all about keeping promises.
 
Beginnings and endings can be the hardest parts of a book to write because they are the two places an author must make good on their promise to the reader, without cheating them, without patronizing them, and without insulting their intelligence. When a reader picks up a romance, no matter which genre, the beginning of the book should set the tone that will carry them through to the end. This is a promise. If the book starts out funny, it had better be funny all the way through or the reader will feel duped. The same goes for a serious, suspenseful story that suddenly turns into slapstick. I’ve seen this happen, and it’s made me wonder what kind of book I thought I was reading. It also made me want to avoid that particular author in the future.
 
For me, a book that generates one of the most satisfying endings of all time is A Christmas Carol. It isn’t a romance. A couple doesn’t get their happily ever after (unless you count Scrooge and Tiny Tim). But every few years, especially if I’m feeling low, I drag it out and read it again. During the holidays, I’ll watch any version of it on TV—from George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart to Vanessa Williams and Susan Lucci. I’ll even sit through the Tori Spelling version, if I’m desperate, because the Scrooge character’s complete and utter transformation at the end gets me every time. Scrooge isn’t transformed by love, unless it’s finally loving humanity, but it makes me feel good to watch. It gives me hope. I count on that ending, and it never lets me down.
 
In a romance, especially one where the plot centers around a mystery, the reader expects the mystery to be solved, the loose ends tied up, and the hero and heroine to not only end up together, but to deserve their happy ending. In A Shadow on the Ground, the heroine, Morgan, must trust the man who shattered her heart twelve years before in order to exonerate her twin brother from a murder he didn’t commit. The hero, Gage, wants to earn her trust, but is forced to hide the real reason he’s there in order to finance the help his troubled son desperately needs. Both have to let go of the past, fight for the future, and forgive each other and themselves to get their happy ending. It comes at a price.
 
When the hero and heroine change the other person by knowing them, and later, by loving them, I believe they will make it as a couple. When that change, however small, is so profound, it is clear the two of them belong together and always will—that’s what elicits a sigh of satisfaction from me.


Rebecca lives with her husband in the beautiful, misty mountains of East Tennessee, where the people are charming, soulful, and just a little bit crazy. She's been everything from a tax collector to a stay-at-home mom to a house painter to a professional actress and director. When she's not churning out sensual romantic mysteries with snappy dialogue and happy endings, she likes to travel, go to the Outer Banks for her ocean fix, watch old movies, hang out at the local pub, and make her day complete by correctly answering the Final Jeopardy! question.


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As part of her blog tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, Rebecca Lee Smith will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card.  
 

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