In just one week Deliberate Deceptions releases. It’s been a long journey to get here and I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous about a book coming out as I am about this one. This was one of the hardest of any of my books to write for so many reasons, both from my own personal life interfering to the complexity of the story. There was so much to consider in telling Chad and Lauren’s story: the time that had elapsed since their marriage had failed, and how much their grief would still come into play almost ten years later, to how perceived deceptions or misinterpretations can fester over the years and turn something fairly simple into a much more complex issue, especially when it involves other people you love who may not have your best interests in mind. Or maybe they think they’re doing the right thing but they’re totally off the mark.
Deliberate Deceptions is about a fractured relationship between two people who loved each other but found themselves in a situation they had no idea how to get through. It’s about whether it is possible to heal all the hurts and perceived injustices they’d suffered for so long.
When I first started creating Chad’s character in Personal Protection, I knew he was completely different from Sam’s gregarious nature. Chad one of those quiet guys your mother warned you about; he’s one of those guys who doesn’t talk a lot, he just sets straight to work and gets the job done with no fanfare. He knows what he wants and he goes after it. He demands the best of himself, and therefore the best of everyone around him too. He’d be loyal and steadfast, he’d put his life–or his career–on the line to protect those he cared about. And his lovers? He wouldn’t settle for anyone weak, or anyone who wasn’t as smart as him. I knew that when he found “the one” he’d be hers for life.
Lauren however was much more elusive. Yes, I knew she had to be smart, and she had to be able to hold her own against Chad’s stubborn tendencies. I always knew she’d been an agent, just like him, but what would cause her to walk away from a man who would be devoted to her. What would keep her away? Once I started answering those questions, and found that lynchpin event and realized that nothing ever happens because of one single action but is usually more of a cascade of events from various angles, then the story started telling itself.
Add in their past, and the people influencing them, and it was no wonder their marriage failed. But now they’re in the same room, and can talk about what happened with the benefit of time and distance, without interference from others…well, you have to read it to find out what happens.
I’m thrilled that my new editor at Samhain, Tera Kleinfelter, liked it too and now you’ll get to read Chad and Lauren’s story and the deliberate deceptions that affected their lives. One week and counting down…
Her confidence in their plan faltered when she saw Chad at the far edge of the meadow, four men armed with an assortment of MP5s and M4 carbines flanking him. Even with the distance between them, power emanated from him. His alert posture combined with a quiet confidence radiated his awareness of everything surrounding them. No doubt he’d already evaluated everything either as a threat or for use as a possible defense. Would he head straight for the front gate once he found out she was his principal?
His gaze skimmed over her as they approached, then flicked to assess the two agents at her side. Though his expression was bland, there was no mistaking the tension in his shoulders.
She arrived beside Troy just in time to hear him say, “This wasn’t my effin’ idea.”
Chad looked directly at Lauren but she couldn’t read his expression; he’d donned the damned implacable mask he’d learned to use thanks to the FBI and the media. “Noted.”
Troy glanced over his shoulder and shook his head. “I think I’ll hang around a couple days in case you want someone else to take over.”
The agents hung back as Chad stuck his hands in his pockets, something he only did if he was nervous. Which meant his pockets were rarely used. “Hello, Lauren.”
I’m sorry, please forgive me for leaving you. For not coming back. I despise your sister for what she did to us. I hate myself for trusting her. I’ve never stopped loving you. I’ve missed holding you and being held. I’ve even missed the way you hog the covers at night. “Hello, Chad.”
“Let’s go inside.” Not cold. Not warm either. Business-like. Detached. Like she was a stranger.
Maybe she was.
As they walked toward the waiting Humvee, his palm touched the small of her back, igniting a memory of the first time they’d met at the bar where she’d worked her last year of college. How he’d been so careful with her, so tender and gentle. Oh, he had strength. He’d proven that the way he’d handled the drunken patron who had accosted her. He’d waited around until the end of her shift, his friends having ditched him hours before. Once she was done, he’d escorted her to her car, placing the flat of his hand on her back just the way it was now. The same spark of electricity had zinged through her then too.
Lauren closed her eyes, fighting the guilt welling inside. When she told him what she’d done, when she finally confessed her secret, he’d leave. Worse, he might hate her.