Secrets have been buried in a steel town for many years, but someone is about to blow the lid off of them and rock this sleepy little town. One powerful man will stop at nothing to keep the secrets lest the entire town collapse. Meanwhile, at a local tourist attraction called the Watering Hole, Cassidy Tanner has just hired a mysterious stranger named West.
Cassidy loves her life just the way it is--business like and organized. Serving as both Personnel Manager and Assistant Activities Director to the Watering Hole, this meets her needs nicely. But when mysterious and good looking West arrives, her world is turned upside-down. Besides being drop dead gorgeous, West carries the secrets of the steel town. Cassidy is attracted to the stranger but a relationship seems impossible as West’s accusations make him appear crazy and bodies start to pile up.
No one wants to believe West; can Cassidy let her feelings go and trust him? Who is the killer? How many bodies will pile up before the biggest secret of all is revealed?
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Secrets in the Blood by Kymber C. Hawke
The bedroom was dark except for the muted yellow glow from the hall table lamp. Although subdued, the light was bright enough to stab through the partially open doorway like a spear. It cast a pie-shaped beam just inside on the thick blue carpeting. But the rest of the room remained dim and sinister as if the light had been swallowed by it.
The wind howled mercilessly as fat raindrops spattered against the second story window. Eight-year-old Kenton turned restlessly in his bed, his pillow falling to the floor with a gentle thud. Somewhere, deep within the bowels of the cavernous house, a woman moaned.
Or perhaps it was only the wind again.
Kenton awoke with a start, sitting up suddenly and rubbing the sleep from his blinking brown eyes. Had he heard something? He kicked frantically at the bedcovers, his thin legs hopelessly entangled in them during his brief and fitful sleep.
It was louder, closer. How many times had his child’s imagination conjured up images of monsters in that house? That colossal, hulking ogre of a house. He feared that one day he would disappear; be swallowed up and forever lost in the startling noises it made at night and the menacing shadows present in every corner.
He wanted his mother. She would smile at him and tell him there were no monsters. She would look in his closet and under the bed and tousle his curly brown hair playfully as she tucked him back into bed. She would sit with him until his breathing became even and steady and she knew for certain that he was asleep again.
Finally freed of his bedding, Kenton peered through the ominous shadows at his younger brother’s bed. Shane wasn’t there. Kenton rubbed his eyes again as if that would make Shane reappear. Dropping his bare feet to the floor, he padded cautiously to the door. The door that would either lead him to his mother…or to the terrible noise he had heard.
He wiped his sweaty palms on his pajama pants and waited a moment before pushing the six panel oak door open the rest of the way. The door squeaked lightly on its hinges, but the sound seemed to reverberate through the entire estate like an endless echo. He stood in the open doorway as if frozen, not wanting to look into the corridor. Waiting. Listening. The feeling of dread began to build in him, rolling in his stomach and threatening to explode out of his mouth into a terrified scream.
He hesitated for what seemed to be hours, and then stepped into the soft light of the immense hallway like a dead person would step toward the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. With cold sweaty beads trickling down his back, he couldn’t shake the eerie feeling creeping over his flesh. He shuddered .
Walking a few feet down, again out of the light but toward his mother’s room, Kenton breathed a soft sigh when he saw Shane. The four-year-old was seated on the floor at the edge of the balcony, completely unmoving, even at Kenton’s approach. His feet, as his older brother’s, were bare, his bony legs dangling through the spindle railing. As if entranced, his black-as-pitch eyes stared oddly downward into the dark, marble floored foyer below.
A chill from an unknown source prickled the hairs on the back of Kenton’s neck. Something was dreadfully wrong. Silently, his stomach tensing into a knot, he sat beside the younger boy and squinted into the murkiness beyond the balcony. He could see nothing except the faint shape of the mahogany fern stand by the powder room door. The bulky fern, barely discernible, looked to Kenton like a crazy octopus, arms waving, ready to eat them if they ventured downstairs. He looked anxiously at his brother again. Shane seemed mesmerized, watching fixedly as if he could actually see something.
Kenton tried to follow the intense stare. There was no sound now. No light. No movement in the foyer. Only silence. A frightening silence that chilled his blood.
“Momma’s gone,” Shane whispered so softly, Kenton wondered if he’d actually heard the small boy speak at all.
“What?” Kenton whispered back fiercely, his emotions completely unraveling by Shane’s disturbing stare into the blackness below them. His knuckles turned white as he gripped the railing and strained once again, hoping to see what so steadfastly held his brother’s attention.
Slowly, his pale face a mask of deep shock and horror, his onyx eyes glittering in the hall light, Shane turned to face Kenton. “Momma’s gone. Daddy killed her.”