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He kept his secrets for seventeen years … until she came along.
Melanie Rivers is on a mission to help a friend fulfill her dying foster mother’s wish. So far every road she takes leads to a dead end until a chance meeting with enigmatic lawyer, Nick Sinclair, leaves her wondering... Could he be the break she has been looking for?
As a victims’ advocate, Nick Sinclair has helped many abused children, battered women and other crime victims to come forward over the years, but has kept his own painful past buried deep. All he ever wanted was to be left alone -- until now. Yet if he acts on his attraction to Melanie, it will set his past and present on a collision course. Can Nick let Melanie close enough to heal his wounds or will he allow fear to keep them apart?
Melanie couldn’t explain it, but she sensed there was something her best friend, Sarah, wasn’t telling her. A tingling shiver of apprehension skittered up her nerve endings as she walked into the coffee shop. This time of the morning it was crowded with students studying and various artist types huddled around tables expressing themselves. She glanced around, finding Sarah at a corner table by the window in their I-need-to-talk spot.
She waved at Sarah as she stepped into line behind a couple of giggling college girls who were babbling on about what they were wearing to the winter formal. Staring at the menu on the wall, she tried to focus on her order, but she kept being drawn back to the new book she needed to write. Unfortunately, no matter how hard she tried to start her project the characters wouldn’t talk to her. It was beyond frustrating. She’d never had writer’s block before. Ever since she’d discovered at the age of ten that she could write, she had written almost every day. Not having a story unfolding in her head made her feel empty and awkward.
Sarah’s phone call hadn’t helped her uneasy mood. Although she claimed otherwise, Melanie knew Sarah’s situation must be urgent. She never would have interrupted her writing time. Could she be of any help to Sarah as flustered and distracted as she was right now?
Normally, she didn’t leave the house during her writing time. It was just easier all around to not subject her friends to her inattentive behavior when she was in creative mode. Today was different, though. In her present mood, she would have done anything to get away from the blank computer screen that kept taunting her.
Jeez, it was her turn to order and here she was fretting and not paying attention. The kid behind the counter was looking at her like she was a freaking moron.
“I’ll have a Chi tea and a piece of coffee cake warmed with butter.”
A girl with a dark ponytail, whose nametag read Cindy, stared at her from behind the counter. “I know you.” She pointed at her with a bottle of whipped cream. “Didn’t I see you on The Factor the other night? My little sister loves your books. I didn’t know you were pro-war.”
Melanie blinked her shocked reaction. She wasn’t used to being recognized by anyone over the age of ten and that was usually only at a book signing. Most people had no idea who she was or what she did for a living, which was just fine with her. This suddenly being famous was a bit unnerving.
“I’m not pro-war.” She pulled money out her wallet. “But you can’t deal with the middle ages without talking about the crusades, and to understand what happened you have to know what led up to them. I’m not making a social comment on what is happening today, just giving historical perspective.”
She winced at how that must have sounded. Could she be any more defensive?
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound like I was lecturing you.” She lowered her voice, leaning over the counter to talk more privately. “This being instantly famous is new…”
“Oh, wow,” the lady next to her said before Cindy could reply. “You do the chess kids time travel books. My daughter is so upset that your next one is being delayed. That’s all she wanted for Christmas.”
She blushed, not used to all this attention. Tell that to my publishing house she wanted to scream. “I’m working on that. Here, I have a bookmark.” She dug deep in her big leather purse, handing her one. She handed one to the teenagers working behind the counter, too.
“Can you sign this for my sister,” Cindy asked. “Man. Amy won’t believe I met you. She had me help her send out flaming emails to all the shows you’ve been on that weren’t nice to you. Are there really not going to be any more chess club books?”
So much for the bad impression she feared she’d made.
“I hope not. I’m starting a new series.” Liar. You can’t even get the plot going.
“A woman's death draws together an estranged family and reveals a secret that a man has been keeping for years. It will test the love of the woman he would like to have as his own and force him to decide who is his true identity now. This is also the story of two young people facing a difficult decision that is complicated by betrayal and abuse. Complicated emotional matters take center stage in this compelling, moving drama. If you enjoy Danielle Steele, there is no doubt you will not regret the time spent inside these pages. “ - Reviewed by Amanda Killgore, Huntress Reviews
3 Stars! "Stang's tale about the darker issues of life may make some readers uncomfortable. But those who stick with the story will come to root for the characters." - Reviewed by Karen Sweeny-Justice for Romantic Times BOOKreviews
“Catherine Strang keeps the many characters involved with each other even though the story changes location and point of view often. She threads a touch of humor in that reveals the joy for life that the characters have. Locked in His Heart touches on issues so much a part of today’s society and shows how people cope with them while finding love that makes their lives complete. This is good happy-ever-after reading!” Camellia, The Long and Short Of It Review
“If you like a book that gives you a sense of family, unconditional love found in the throes of darkness, fun and laughter despite that darkness, characters who stand up for one another no matter what, and a hero and heroine who, although so very different from one another, find each other against the odds, this is a book you need to read.
This is a wonderful book. There's a lot going on at all times, a lot of secrets that need to be revealed, a lot of hurts and damage that need to be healed. I really enjoyed watching Nick little by little begin to trust people, thanks to Melanie and her love for him. The emotion is always quite high throughout most of the book, especially concerning Nick. All of the characters reach out and grab you right off the bat. I'm hoping perhaps Ms. Stang will take a couple of those characters and give them their own books. I'd love to see more of Mark and Sarah and Joel and Caleb.
Thank you for such a lovely but heart-wrenching read, Cathy!” Grade: B+ -- Sandy M, The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 382
Paper Weight (lb): 15.9
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