Author: Victoria Michaels
Published: December 10, 2014
Cover: Barbara Hallworth
Life has been complicated for Sydney Ross. Desperate for a new start, she leaves home but, during her travels, witnesses something that will forever alter the path of her life. On the run for the last six years, Sydney finds herself living the life of a nomad until she one day stumbles into a small town and hopes she’s finally found a place to put down roots. With a good job in a local diner and, for the first time ever, friends who feel like family, things start looking up for Sydney.
The biggest shock of all is catching the eye of the town’s most eligible bachelor, the sexy sheriff, Wade Jenkins. Sparks fly between them, and it’s not long before Sydney believes Elton, Missouri could be the home she’s always wished for. But Sydney’s past and her secrets have a way of catching up with her. When a brutal murder shakes the small town, Sydney is terrified that the countdown has begun on her time in Elton.
Have the shadows from her past found her again? The people who mean the most want her to stay, but that would put everyone, including her daughter, at risk. Can Sydney put her faith in Wade or will she keep running from a danger that even she doesn’t fully understand?
Watch out world! Victoria Michaels has just written a gripping new thriller laced with a sizzling sweet romance worthy of a bestseller. She has dipped her pen into an ink bowl swimming in this dual genre, and she has clearly made her mark. I really am hoping that she continues this path in her writing career because I firmly believe that this is where her true strength lies. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored her past works. But the way she weaves a suspenseful thriller is unlike any of her past achievements.
The author instantly slams you into Sydney’s world. She is running away from what the reader deduces to be a traumatic past, although the reader knows nothing about it at this point. Within the cornstalks that hails along the sides of the road there emerges a grizzly scene. Sydney steps out of her car to help a woman drenched in blood; her life, forever changed by the bundle the woman offers her as she lays on the ground bleeding. Inside the bundle is an infant. The woman appears almost crazed and insistent that Sydney leave with her child, because danger is close behind. Off in the distance a man is screaming, and Sydney realizes what she needs to do.
And this is just in the prologue!
Fast forward, several years later, and she is in a perfect little town. She dreams of finally taking root and never having to run away again. She aches for long lasting friendships, and perhaps even finding love. She wants to believe it all can happen in the small town of Elton. But her sole priority is protecting her child, even at the cost of her own happiness.
I highly recommend this book. Aside from the intriguing plot there lies secondary characters that are warm, yet full of mettle. Friends who have come to know Sydney have, within a few months, come to see her and her daughter as family. The story will twist and turn, and just when you think you know what’s going to happen, the author slaps you with a killer ending.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the beautiful cover. It is both chaotic and curious, and out of the ordinary. Much like Sydney’s life. I love the fact that the cover does not follow the trend of current covers. It shows how art can be displayed quite nicely in front of a novel.
Make sure to follow this new venture by Victoria Michaels. It’s a wild ride you won’t want to miss.
Buy Links: Amazon
Guest Post and Excerpt by Victoria Micheals
I have to once again thank Rosette and the ladies of Literati Literature for their generous support of me and my work. Nothing is more heartwarming than hearing what people enjoyed about something you worked so hard on. It definitely makes all those late nights worth it. And an invite to make a guest post is even cooler!
With the release of Concealed, I’ve finally got some time on my hands and am able to dig back into my writing of my current work-in-progress Evaded which is the next book in this series. Evaded overlaps with the epilogue of Concealed and is Melissa’s story and what happens during her time in Europe. What was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime ends up being a nightmare that nearly ends her life and follows her back to Elton. Many of the original cast of characters make an appearance, along with a few new ones that threaten to turn Melissa’s life upside down.
Concealed was a bit of a risk for me but in a good way. I stepped outside the contemporary romance genre I had been living in with my first two books and tried something new. Why? I guess because I’m not really good at following the leader. I like to try new things and push myself as a writer. Growing up, I loved mysteries. My earliest books were Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries so this wasn’t a big stretch. I love a good thriller, but I also love humor and really, that’s the biggest piece of me that’s in my books. The banter and smart comments are definitely from my everyday life.
The transition to this new genre wasn’t too difficult. (Hitting publish on Amazon was terrifying, but everything before that wasn’t so bad.) The opening scene of the prologue of Concealed came to me one day and simply wouldn’t go away. When I was deciding what to work on next, and found I couldn’t let the idea go, I just started writing. I finished the prologue, slept on it, and then knew where I wanted the story to go. The rest, as they say, is history.
After Evaded, I do have an idea for one more book centered around the gang in Elton so I will be writing in the romantic suspense arena for the foreseeable future. In all honesty, I’m excited by the challenge of it and once I’m done with this series, I’ll probably try something else!
The obsessive side of me needs to explain that here is a raw- straight from the working manuscript- excerpt from Evaded. All typos, misplaced or missing commas or otherwise ridiculous grammatical errors only show I definitely should have paid more attention in high school English 🙂
This is the opening to the prologue of Evaded:
“Auf wiedersehen,” the clerk called out as Melissa flashed a mile and a wave over her shoulder. With quick movements she stepped out of the market and into the darkness. Even at night, Vienna was spectacular. People, lights, and architecture that simply took your breath away.
Never in a million years would she have expected this to be her life. At twenty-five, all the sacrifices and hard work that led her to this point and been worth it. She’d never look at the world around her the same way again. A six month backpacking trip through Europe had stretched into more than a year and she was constantly looking for ways to make it last a few weeks longer.
As cars cruised up and down the narrow roads of the city, Melissa adjusted her scarf and balanced the bag of groceries she was hoping to turn into a delicious surprise for Tobias. Just thinking of him made her smile. The guys back home in Missouri were nice, but none possessed the romantic magnetism that seemed to come so naturally to Tobias. He had, quite literally, taken her breath away the moment they met. Their chance encounter at an art gallery had led to a fiery two week relationship that had her recklessly stretching her stay in Austria to be with him. She was running out of time to get to Paris to make her flight home, but she was so caught up in Tobias that she couldn’t leave.
She crossed the street, her hair gently blowing in the breeze as she watched the buildings change before her very eyes. The vast, historic masterpieces of the city slowly began to transform themselves into smaller, more modern, homes. Just ahead, the porch light in front of the wrought iron door of Tobias’ apartment shone as a bright beacon in the night.
As she crept silently up the stone stairs, Melissa fumbled in her pocket for the key Tobias had surprised her with a few nights ago. It felt odd having free access to a man’s apartment after knowing him such a short time. She’d never taken that step with anyone back home, but somehow in the midst of this emotional whirlwind with Tobias, it felt natural. She twirled the charm on the key ring between her fingers as she pulled the key from the lock.
The door slid open a few inches then became stuck. Melissa used her shoulder to nudge it the rest of the way open. Inside, she found it was one of Tobias’ shoes on the ground that had blocked the door. And a pillow. And a drawer from the desk. Papers had been strewn across the foyer in confusion or, more likely, fury. Later, when she would look back on thin moment, Melissa would realize the fact that she didn’t reflexively turn on the lights probably saved her life. That, and blind luck.
As she moved through the darkened apartment, her shock and horror grew. The contents of every drawer, envelope, or file littered the floor. Furniture was not only overturned, but sliced to ribbons. It was difficult to move through the apartment, the floor covered with everything Tobias owned.
Who would do this? She wondered to herself as she stepped over the shards from a delicate gold vase that used to sit on the mantel. It hadn’t been a robbery, there were electronics and valuable art pieces that had been left or purposely broken.
None of it felt real until she noticed a trail of red streaking the floor in the hallway. She should have run out of the apartment and called the authorities, but she had to know. Images of a vibrant and lively Tobias filled her mind as she willed it to be a mistake. When she pushed open kitchen door, she saw him, on the floor. His eyes were open but the life was most definitely gone from them. More to come…
I think in writing suspense or really anything where there are strict timelines, details and facts that need to line up throughout, an outline from beginning to end is more important. One change in chapter three can have a ripple effect throughout the manuscript so you have to be very careful. (Spoken from experience) Also for me, because I do like to use humor in what I write, it’s important to find a good balance between the silly and the serious that works for the overall tone of the book.
I really enjoy doing what I love and being me. I don’t like to follow the pack or take the easy road, there’s so much more to the journey. I am so proud of Concealed, I can’t even explain it. From front cover to back, it has exceeded my expectations and I’m just thrilled people are giving it a chance. Hopefully those who have read my previous books will be willing to go along for the ride in Elton and hide under their covers as they read this one.
Thanks for inviting me to do a guest post and letting me tell you a little bit more about Concealed and my plans for the future! I appreciate the support and feedback more than I can possibly say.
About the Author
Victoria Michaels is a wife and mother of many who lives her life in what seems like a constant state of motion. Kids’ sports, meetings, homework and general family fun take up twenty-seven hours of her day. In her thirty seconds of free time, Victoria likes to read, write and travel the country with her husband.
She most enjoys writing about love and laughter, two things that are central to her everyday life. If you would like to know more about what’s coming next from Victoria, please check back at victoriamichaels.net for updates, news and sneak peeks of future releases.
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Many thanks to Victoria Michaels for providing us with a glimpse of what is to come in Evaded. She is currently still working on this book and it was our good fortune to have been given a raw version of the prologue!