Tuesday, July 28, 2015

RED NIGHTS by Shari J Ryan, on SALE for 99 Cents! #Mystery #Romance #Sale #Excerpt

Red Nights

Author: Shari J. Ryan
Genre: Mystery / Romance
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: 18 June 2015
Format: eBook / Paperback
Pages: 229

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Book Blurb:
I’m Felicity Stone, a twenty-five-year-old with my whole life ahead of me. Well, until recently.
I didn’t do it.
Why would they think I did?
Why would I want my twin brother dead?
Why is everyone looking at me like I’m a criminal?
Well, everyone except him… Hayes Peyton, the charmingly beautiful stranger I met in the park at midnight—a totally legitimate place to meet the man of my dreams. Plus, he knows I’m innocent.
Believing him is easy. So very easy. Maybe too easy?
But when you hear things like: ‘All good is laced with some bad, and everything you think is the truth—is nothing more than a blatant lie,’ it makes you question reality.
In Shari J. Ryan’s latest Romantic Suspense, Red Nights, you wonder how dark your world can get before all you see is red.
-Standalone Full Length Novel-


~from Chapter Three

Sleep doesn't come. It hasn't for the past week. I don't even feel tired, and I don't have a desire to close my eyes. It's been an hour since Aspen's lights went off. I heard her crying for a few minutes, but now it's silent. I didn't realize she was taking this so hard. I'm not sure. Either way I hope she doesn’t hear me leave.
I need air. I snatch her keys from the coffee table and slip out the door, locking it behind me.
My only focus as I walk is the seductive white stick I pull out of my pocket. With trembling hands, it takes me a second to steady the lighter, but within moments of my first drag, I fall heavily against a nearby tree. My desire for these things has grown exponentially since the fire. In the past, I've been able to satisfy my need with one cigarette at the end of each day, but now I find myself daydreaming about them from the time I wake up. Not a great sign.
My heart rate slows, and I feel almost human again. While debating whether or not I should go back into the apartment, I stomp the butt out and pop a couple pieces of gum into my mouth. I don't want to go back. Not yet. I keep walking until I end up at a small, unlit park—it's the perfect place to be alone.
The muted tones of the night pull me toward a little fountain, situated between a thick group of trees, and I find a bare spot in the grass to lie down.
I used to lie in the grass at night, watching the stars, remembering what Gran always told me. The sky is a two-way mirror; us on one side, and our loved ones that have passed on the other. They’re in the stars, and they’re able to look down and watch over us. Gran left me when I was only twelve; I've made it a habit to watch the stars at night, in search of one that might be her. Now I have to find Blake as well.
I close my eyes, relishing the cool air. When I open my eyes, I see fire in the sky. The red night overtakes the stars, taking away everything I love.
Is this how it'll always be?
I squeeze my eyes closed once more, hoping when I open them, the sky will return to black. Instead, something wet pushes into my cheek, and my eyes snap open. Panicked, I push myself up on my elbows and come face to face with a dog. I think it's a lab—not exactly threatening. But why is he alone? His tail wags and he nudges me with his snout. I look around to see if his owner is nearby when a flashlight shines in my face and startles me. I throw my arm over my eyes to block out the light.
"I wondered what my dog was sniffing," the man says.
The sound of footsteps grows closer, and the light drops to the ground. I see him emerge from behind one of the nearby trees. "Sorry if we scared you. I didn't think anyone was out here this late at night, so I unlatched the leash."
The dog investigates every inch of me, then covers my hand with kisses. I run my fingers down his back, giving him some attention so he knows I'm friendly. "Cute dog."
The man comes a little closer, dropping his free hand into his pocket. With the glow of the moon and the one dim streetlight reflecting off of his face, I sort of lose the confidence I had a moment ago. He's striking from what I can see in the little amount of light. I'm well aware of the dangers behind meeting a random man in a dark park at midnight, but in my somewhat-reckless state I seem to be stuck in, his presence is oddly calming. "It's kind of late to be sitting here alone, don't you think?"
"It was my intention to be alone in the dark," I say. "What's his name?" I scratch behind the dog's ears, avoiding the stranger's gaze.
"Her name is Lady."
"Lady?" I repeat.
"Yeah, when I got her, I thought it'd be funny to yell 'hey lady!' every time she ran off."
A small laugh escapes me. "Good one."
The man closes more of the space between us and sits down beside me, pulling his dog in between his legs. A part of me wants to put more space between us, but I don't.
"It really isn't a great idea to sit in the middle of a park alone this late at night. And I wouldn't be a good citizen if I didn't warn you of the dangers, of course." He smells like the outdoors, maybe pine mixed with a trace of cologne. It's nice. "I'm Hayes Peyton." He reaches his hand out to me.
I hesitate at first, but there's something intriguing about him, so I offer him my hand. His fingers warm my cold palm. "Felicity."
"Well, Felicity. I hope you carry pepper spray or something. I could be a creep."
I'm not sure the thought of encountering a creep scares me the way it should right now. But I suppose even this man who looks like he just walked off a photo shoot for a high-end magazine could most definitely be a creep. Two weeks ago, I may have had a can of pepper spray on me—if I had even been dumb enough to go strolling through a dark park in the middle of the night. But tonight, my thoughts are fuzzy. My common sense is distorted. And my lack of care for my own safety is a bit frightening. "Nope. Can't say that I do. Guess I'm a risk taker."
As of today.
"All joking aside, Felicity, you should be me more careful." He looks at me with concern, like I'm a baby bird that just fell out of the nest. He stands up and takes his dog by the collar. "It was nice meeting you. It's not every night you run into a beautiful woman, alone in the middle of a dark park." I'm glad it's dark, or he might see my cheeks flush at his words. My heart speeds up again, but for other reasons this time. It’s different from the slow, dying beat of the last few weeks—a tiny spark that flickers and gives me an ounce of hope that I might pull through this.
"Life is full of surprises," I say through a weak smile. It's a start. I guess those facial muscles do still work.
"Come on, Lady. Time to put you back on a leash." Hayes gives me one last glance, showing me the hint of a smile, too.
I've always heard that guys with dogs pick up more women. This guy has it down to a science.

Meet Author Shari J. Ryan:
Shari J. Ryan is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author, a Barnes & Noble Top 10 Bestselling author, and an iBookstore #1 Bestselling author. She hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates. When Shari isn’t writing, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.
To learn more, visit her at, www.sharijryan.com.

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