Fellow authoress and one of the writers in the Whitcomb Springs series (MK) has a new book out, and I do so enjoy sharing the book love! Here's Redeeming Lies from Samantha St. Claire.
To live the honest life she's always wanted, she'll be forced to weave a web of credible lies.
Madison Jennings possessed a unique skill exploited by her father. As a scam artist, he used his daughter’s talent for reading people. Her job—profile the mark for honesty.
When her father’s fortunes improve, he enrolls her in Miss Emma Willard’s School for Young Ladies where she begins a progressive education in both academics and society. For two years, Maddie thrives under the tutelage of those who encourage her to challenge the culture’s views of acceptable work for women. This happy life ends when her father suddenly withdraws her, taking her with him on a desperate flight from deadly repercussions for a scam gone wrong.
On the first westbound train out of New York, Maddie realizes they are being pursued by both the Pinkerton Agency and a vindictive Sicilian family, but she knows little more of her father’s crime. When a heart attack ends his life at a small station in Idaho Territory, she must change her identity, take the money and disappear.
On the north-bound train to Ketchum, she meets a young doctor, David Reynolds, on the run from an attraction to a woman he can never possess, a man of integrity who values honesty as the highest virtue. Trapped in her false identity by the indiscretions of her father, Maddie cannot risk revealing her true nature, nor allow the attraction to distract her from the need to simply survive. Lies and truths collide in the climactic encounter with those who would stop at nothing to take back what is rightfully theirs.
Enjoy an Excerpt
FROM THE WINDOW, David watched as the miles rolled behind him. With each one he sensed an easing of the heaviness that had been compressing his chest over the course of these past months. The passion for the woman he could never possess had grown in his heart like a cancer. Suppressing it became more painful with each passing day. Far from her in Ketchum perhaps he’d breathe easily again.
From his coat pocket he pulled a slim book and thumbed through it until he reached his bookmark. He chuckled softly to himself. Edgar Allan Poe. Here was an author who knew about the pain that unrequited love could induce. He read the first line of the story he'd selected.
Paris! In Paris it was, in the summer of 1840. There I first met that strange and interesting young fellow, August Dupin.
The clacking of the wheels, steel on steel, mile upon mile, melded perfectly with Poe's lilting prose. The young doctor let himself ease into the fiction. At this moment, fiction was preferable to reality.
Even with the modifications to her clothing—the dowdy, coarse cloth wrap draped across her shoulders, the broad-brimmed hat set at a less saucy angle, and her corset loosened to allow her waist expansion—Maddie remained a stunning young woman. The approving eyes of the man one row ahead confirmed that. Her hourglass figure was difficult to disguise.
Neither could she alter the smooth line of her nose or her full lips. Her attempts to blend in with the other female passengers were more greatly hindered by her almond-shaped, sepia-colored eyes. Those striking features gave her an exotic air. Compounded by having inherited her father's height, at five feet eight inches, she naturally drew attention to herself.
After passing through the train car, she was satisfied that no other agents or lawmen were traveling with them. Settling into their seat at the back of the car, she leaned in close to her father, whispering, "Can you tell me now?"
Her father's handsome features contorted. She measured his agitation in the quick movement of his hands, the stooped angle of his shoulders, the repeated licking of his lips. He held her eyes with his red-rimmed ones. "Are you sure you want to know?"
She hesitated only a moment before squaring her shoulders, lifting her chin. "Yes, Father, I think I need to have some knowledge of it, at least that which will allow me to help you. . .us evade our pursuers."
The steady rumble of the train car muffled his confession to all but Maddie's ears. When he'd finished his explanation, she sank back against the corner of the seat, her face pressed to the window, watching night descend upon a stark landscape. How gullible are people, so eager to believe a lie! She wondered at that for not the first time. Her father, partnering with a family this time, convinced hundreds of people that sugar was capable of being refined in minutes through some mysterious electrical process. Greed was quite effective to snare gullible people. When the lie was uncovered, the investors sought satisfaction for their losses.
Resting her forehead against the cool glass, she closed her eyes. Would she ever escape this web of lies and live an honest life? Was it too much to ask? In time, she let the rhythm of the train, the percussion of the wheels, and the gentle rocking of the car lull her into a restless sleep.