Friday, March 25, 2016

Feature Spotlight ~ RUNAWAY HEART by Leslie McKelvey


Runaway Heart
by: Leslie McKelvey
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 13, 2016
Publisher: Black Velvet Seduction


Lindsay Davenport has it all: a handsome, wealthy husband, a life of seeming ease, and everything money could buy. But what do you buy when you live in hell? After seven years of marriage, seven years of abuse and violence, she changes her name and flees to a remote town in Alaska, determined to escape her husband’s cruelty and start her life over. Life, however, has other plans….

Ross Devlin loves his bar in Cooper’s Ridge, Alaska. He loves being a bachelor, being a pilot, and playing hockey. Then a quiet woman with a shady past walks into his life. As time passes he realizes he doesn’t love anything as much as he loves her, and his bar, his plane, and hockey are not as important as protecting her from an ex-husband who plans to make the phrase “Till death us do part” a reality.


Lindsay Davenport peered through the dirty windows of the abandoned building, a throb pounding at the base of her skull as her heart climbed into her throat.  The almost overwhelming urge to flee started the flow of adrenaline, and it took her several deep breaths to pull in her galloping pulse.  Relax, Lindsay.  You can do this.  You Have to do this.

The street was clear, for the moment.  She’d been careful, but she still expected Roger, her husband’s bodyguard, to pull up in the black Navigator and drag her home.  Behind her, Peebo put the finishing touches on her new documents.  A new work history and personal history were already done and printed out so she could memorize the particulars.  His fingers moved rapidly over the keyboard, and the sound reminded her of machine gun fire.  She grimaced and moved back to his side.

“How much longer?” she asked in a low voice as she listened for the drone of the Lincoln’s engine.

Peebo smiled, his dark eyes focused on his computer.  “You’ve waited six years for this, Lindsay. A few more minutes ain’t gonna kill you.”

Lindsay shuddered and wrapped her arms around herself, a chill worming through her.  “Yeah, but Roger and his associates might.”

He looked up in alarm, perspiration beaded on his brow.  “You weren’t followed, were you?”

She shook her head and went back to the window.  “No, but I keep expecting them to show up anyway.”  She gave Peebo a weary smile and took a deep breath.  “I guess I just can’t believe it will all be over soon.”

His full lips widened in a smile, making him almost pleasant to look at.  “No fear, chica.  Once I’m finished you can disappear and no one, including your husband, will ever find you if you don’t want them to.”

Tears stung and she sank down onto a chair.  Peebo went back to work, the printer and scanner humming, his eyes dancing as he continued.  She ran a hand over her face and took a shaky breath.

Seven years ago she’d thought herself the luckiest woman alive as she strolled down the aisle with Lucas Davenport, heir to one of the nation’s largest private pharmaceutical companies. Their chance meeting outside her stepdad’s cafe had gone from casual “boy bumps into girl” to “boy asks girl out” to “girl falls in head-over-heels in love.”  She’d thought herself a modern-day Cinderella, minus the evil stepmother and stepsisters, and Lucas Davenport was her Prince Charming.  To go from a waitress in a rural Texas diner to the bride of a multi-millionaire and the man touted as “a rising star shooting straight for the State Senate,” was more than she’d ever hoped for.  How quickly her dream had turned into a nightmare.

Her husband was the pride of Dallas society, and a favorite among the ladies.  At first his handsome looks had charmed her and she’d felt proud to be on his arm.  His hair was a rich, dark brown that begged to be touched, his eyes a vivid hazel that could warm her, or chill her, depending on his mood.  While not physically imposing he was tall and athletically built, but his presence was bigger than he was.  He exuded confidence from every meticulously cleaned pore and his smile could charm a snake.  What she’d found beneath that pleasing, designer clad exterior, however, had killed the love she’d felt for him.  A monster in Armani was still a monster.

“Lindsay?  Lindsay!”

She jumped and came back to the present.  The worn bricks of the building came slowly back into focus, sunlight turned dingy brown as it filtered through the dirt-smeared windows.  She looked at Peebo and got to her feet.  “Yeah, what?”

Peebo grinned and handed her a manila envelope.  “You’re ready, baby.  Everything you’ll ever need is in there.  You’ve got a social security card, driver’s license, birth certificate and passport. There are letters of recommendation from previous employers, so you should have no trouble getting a job.  And I even threw in a valid credit card with a $5,000 limit.  The Witness Protection Program should be so thorough.”

Her hands shook as she took the envelope and her eyes stung.  Slowly, reverently, she opened the package and pulled out her new birth certificate.  “Lacey Jamison,” she said softly.  She glanced at Peebo.  “Pretty name.  Thank you.”  She thought Peebo blushed, but with his swarthy skin it was hard to tell.

“Well, it had to fit the owner,” he said.  “And it’s not too far from Lindsay, so it should be easy to adopt.”

Lindsay put the paper away, a contradictory mix of hope and fear churning inside her abdomen. The conflicting warmth and cold made her feel mildly nauseous.  “Make sure you destroy everything that has to do with this.”  Her voice was hushed.  “Anything that would show I was here, or that you did this for me, get rid of it.”  She stood in front of him and gave him a pointed look.  “I mean it, Peebo.  Everything.  Make sure there is nothing to link you to me, nothing.”

Peebo stood and smiled at her.  “Chiquita, I’ve done this long enough to know how to take care of myself.  It’s been a while, but I still remember the important stuff.  Trust me, if your husband’s goons come here looking for something, all they’ll find is an empty building.”  He started to put his equipment away.  “One job, one location, no paper trail.”

She swallowed hard.  “I can’t thank you enough for helping me.”

“You paid me, remember?  Quite well I might add.”

She stared at the envelope and shook her head.  “No amount of money is worth the danger involved here.”

Peebo scowled.  “Lindsay, you are the reason my family didn’t starve when your husband fired me.”  His expression turned pensive and he studied her face briefly.  “You’re also the reason we didn’t lose our house, or have to pull the boys out of that private school my wife loves so much, and you kept me from having to return to my prior life of crime.”  A meaty hand came up onto her shoulder and squeezed lightly.  “I know your husband is a monster, and you’ve been unhappy for a long time.”  With a shrug he released her and continued to pack.  “I wanted to give you back some of what you gave us.”

Lindsay looked at his back.  “What’s that?”

He paused and looked at her over his shoulder, his expression solemn.  “Hope.”

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Leslie has been writing since she learned to write, and her mother still stores boxes of handwritten stories in the attic. Her debut novel, Accidental Affair, was published in 2012. Her follow-up novel, the second in the "Accidental Encounters" series, Right Place, Right Time, was released in January 2015. The third and final installment in the series, Her Sister's Keeper, was released in June 2015, and then it will be on to book #4, Runaway Heart, a standalone novel which released in March 2016. Book #5 is a military romantic suspense about a Navy SEAL and a CIA agent set in Afghanistan titled Final Kill. She is a veteran of the Gulf War who served with the U.S. Navy, and she was among the first groups of women to work the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Leslie lives in California with her husband and has three sons.  

She learned everything she knows about firearms and tactics from her police officer husband, who is a weapons expert and firearms instructor for one of the most highly-respected law-enforcement agencies in the world (and one he wishes her NOT to disclose). He is her biggest supporter and her unpaid consultant on everything law-enforcement and weapons related. She has three boys, the oldest of whom is a United States Marine (SEMPER FI!). She spends her off-time (kidding...WHAT off-time?) reading, taking pictures, and sending lead down range (that's shooting, for those who are unfamiliar). One of her favorite scents is the smell of gunpowder in the morning....


Places to find Leslie McKelvey:

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