Friday, July 19, 2013

EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY ~ Riverbend by Tess Thompson

By: Tess Thompson
The River Valley Collection, Book #2
Publication Date: May 19th 2013
Publisher: Booktrope
ISBN 1620151421
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance w/ Suspense
“Tag. I found you.”
Just as Annie Bell’s reputation as one of the best chefs in the Pacific Northwest grows to new heights, she receives a threatening phone call from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Marco is out on parole and hungry for revenge, blaming her for his ten-year imprisonment. Fearing for her life and that of her young son, Annie reluctantly accepts help from Drake Webber, a cold and wealthy recluse hiding a dark history of his own. Supported by the gang of misfits from their restaurant Riversong, Annie forges ahead despite her growing terror that Marco will appear at any moment and make good on his threats.
Author Tess Thompson (formerly known as Tess Hardwick) reunites the colorful cast of endearing small-town characters from her bestselling novel Riversong and takes you on a journey that will renew your faith in love, friendship and the power of community – even in the face of seemingly insurmountable grief and fear. You’ll find yourself once again cheering for the residents of River Valley, especially the big-hearted and compassionate Annie Bell.
Escape with a blend of love, laughter, friendship, suspense and gourmet food while remembering it’s never too late for second chances.

The tears came, unhindered and hot on her cheeks. She grabbed a paper towel and wiped under her eyes, taking in deep breaths. And then, there he was standing next to her. His hands twitched at his sides as if he wanted to touch her. She stared at his neck. There was a prominent vein that ran from his ear to his collarbone: a sign of a man who exercised a lot. He was freshly shaven but he’d missed a spot just under his chin. She smelled his aftershave, something subtle and old-fashioned with hints of lime and something else she couldn’t place.

“Please don’t cry,” he said, his eyes soft and sympathetic and pained. “I can’t stand to see a woman cry.”

“I’m sorry.” But then she cried harder, hiding her face in the paper towel. “I didn’t sleep well.”

“It’s all right. You’re safe here.” She felt him shift, almost as if he might put his arms around her, but then he went still. “I’m going to keep you safe,” he said, softly. “It’s the only thing I have left to do in this pathetic life.”

She went cold. What did he mean? “Only thing left?”

He looked into her eyes. “Yes.”

“Why, Drake? Why are you hiding up here on the side of this mountain? Why did you leave your life in Seattle?”

“I can’t talk about it.”

“Surely you can trust me? Look at everything you know about me so far?” She said it in a quiet voice, like she was talking to a wild animal she didn’t want to spook.

“It’s nothing about you.” He paused, putting his hands in front of him like a shield. “You’re lovely.” The vein in his neck pulsated. “But I’m not well. Not whole.”

Then he stumbled back from her, yanking at the collar of his shirt. His face went tense and turned bright pink. He moved to the sink and leaned against it. His breathing was heavy like it had been the afternoon of his anxiety attack. Was it another?

“Do you need a pill?” she asked, searching for the bottle she’d noticed on the windowsill last night.

“Yes. Please.”

She grabbed them and put one in his outstretched hand. He swallowed it without water but she poured him a glass anyway. “Come sit,” she said, taking his arm.

“Please. Don’t touch me,” he said, yanking away from her as if her touch hurt. “Please.”

“I’m sorry.” Her stomach lurched.

“It’s not your fault. I just. I just can’t bear it.” He didn’t meet her eyes. “I’m going to my room. Don’t worry about breakfast.”

And then he was gone. She looked around the expansive kitchen, the morning light soft through the windows, and felt displaced and uncertain. She stepped outside to the deck. The air was warm already, the sky blue and cloudless; it would be hot and dry. Alder was near the large fir, tossing a ball in the air and catching it in his baseball mitt. She called out to him and he raised his hand in greeting. How did one go from a happy ten-year-old to tortured man? How would she keep her boy from the same fate as poor Drake Webber?

“Ten minutes until breakfast,” she shouted.

“Sounds good, Mom.”

She turned to go back inside and saw Drake at the front room window, watching her. Flushing, she averted her eyes. But her hand twitched in his direction, just a flicker of a movement, as it had earlier. What was this—an instinct to touch, to reach out, to gather him into an embrace? And yet, even as she did so, she knew he’d be gone by the time she looked back in his direction. She was right. There was nothing but the sky and trees reflected in the great glass windows, making her wonder if he’d been there at all.

Tess Thompson is a novelist and playwright with a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. In 2011, she released her first novel, Riversong, which subsequently became a bestseller. Like the characters in Riverbend, Tess is from a small town in Oregon. She currently lives in a suburb of Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, Emerson and Ella. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.

Places to find Tess Thompson:

Tess and her publisher are offering up one eBook copy of CARAMEL AND MAGNOLIAS, along with an exclusive pre-release eARC of Tess’ upcoming release, RIVERSTAR.  The contest is open internationally.

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  1. Hello Tess! So nice to meet you on this blog today. And I agree with you, second chances are real and give a great pay off. I know. My first love didn't end well, but my second love has lasted 33 years to date! And I love small town stories as I grew up in one. Small towns are like huge extended families to me.

    1. Hold on... So you had a second chance at love connection? Wow... I think some town romances are cool, as long I'm NOT the one involved in the romance. I HATE everyone putting their two cents in my business. I also grew up in a small town... Everyone seemed to know me, but I didn't know anyone.


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