USA Today bestselling author, Kennedy Layne, is revealing the first chapter from UNLOCKING SHADOWS, the fourth book in her adult mystery/romantic suspense series, Keys to Love, releasing September 18, 2018. See below for information on the book and series, pre-order links, and the exclusive excerpt.
About the Book
Title: UNLOCKING SHADOWS
Series: Keys to Love #4
Author: Kennedy Layne
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Genre: Adult Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Military Romance
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
Their homecoming wasn’t so welcoming. Four brothers and one sister each gave twelve years of their lives to serve their country and fulfill their family’s legacy of service. As each of them return to their home of record, they weren’t prepared for what awaited them—an unforgiveable sin that has been hidden for twelve long years. Secrets and lies are concealed in the dark shadows of the very town they were raised in, and the Kendall family will have no choice but to rely on one another to unravel the sinister evil that they all hold the keys to unlock.
About Unlocking Shadows
Gwen Kendall spent ten years in the Navy and used the last four to create a life for herself she could be proud of away from the confines of her overprotective family. Being the only woman in the Kendall clan tended to be a bit overwhelming at times.
Chad Schaeffer had been hired on to help restore an old farmhouse for one of the returning Kendall siblings. He’d heard about the trouble the family had encountered and honestly didn’t want to go anywhere near their properties. He had a change of heart when he saw the most recently returned Kendall sibling stepping out of her car with a key in her hand.
Gwen had waited a very long time to have a place to call her own, just as she had waited for the right man to share her life. One night of seduction convinces her she’s found both, but someone wants to take it all away. It’s been said that old houses retain a piece of each person who has lived there, but she never counted on the dark shadows wanting a piece of her.
Twelve years ago…
How could an individual still have such an impractical yearning after facing such a malicious, unrelenting evil?
Emma Irwin still desperately grasped at the prospect that she’d be with her family soon. She’d tell them all about the things that people took for granted, such as how much she loved them. She’d apologize to her older sister for acting so childish and to her mother for not doing the dishes like she’d promised this morning. The simplest acts of kindness weren’t hard to perform, yet she’d never realized how selfish she’d been until just this moment.
Until she’d found herself in a situation that was her father’s worst nightmare.
Emma bit back another sob as the old wooden dock underneath her back jostled her from side to side in time with the storm. The gusting winds from the gale had churned up the lake, and the choppy waves were slamming into the weathered planks. Cold rain was descending from the black sky overhead, washing away her tears as if they never existed.
When a crack of thunder overhead was followed a second later by a streak of lightning, it was a harsh reminder that she was still alive.
Emma shifted so that her bound hands didn’t dig into the small of her back quite as badly. She struggled to free herself from the thick white zip tie secured tightly around her wrists, refusing to accept that she would die at the hands of someone she’d once trusted.
How could he do this to her?
The hard, half-inch wide plastic cut into her skin, a cruel reminder that she was at his mercy.
His muttered curses were drowned out by the torrential downpour, which served her well. He wouldn’t be able to hear what she was doing behind him.
The wooden deck jarred abruptly, providing her the momentum to roll forward. Her cheek scraped against the wet, rough plank as she leveraged herself to her knees. The cold rain had numbed her skin long ago, but that could easily have been from the terror that had flooded her system when she realized that a man she’d known her entire life was a monster.
“I’ll give you a family of your own.”
Emma screamed as he suddenly appeared before her. “Please,” Emma choked out, having strained her voice after he’d all but thrown her into the bed of his truck. “Please don’t do this. You know me. You know my family. I have a family.”
“You were unhappy.”
“I wasn’t,” Emma denied emphatically with a shake of her head, swallowing back the sob that rose in her throat. “I wasn’t unhappy. I love my family. I do. I always have.”
Emma could have continued pleading, but her frantic claims would have fallen on deaf ears. She began crying uncontrollably. He wasn’t hearing anything she said, and he’d even turned away to throw what looked like a pile of chains into a boat that wasn’t even his.
Her mind registered his horrific intentions, and she instinctively managed to scramble to her feet.
She ran as fast as she could despite of her wrists being bound, ignoring the rain pelting her face and the wind attempting to knock her off the deck and into the lake. She’d just learned to swim this past summer, but she’d done so with the use of her hands. She’d most likely drown immediately without being able to move her arms.
Adrenaline kept her moving forward, though she blinked furiously to clear her vision so that she could make it to land.
Headlights pulled into one of the cabins that Birdie rented out to fishermen or families on vacation. She instinctively began screaming, but the rumbling thunder overhead drowned out her cries for hope.
That didn’t stop her from trying again.
Unfortunately, it was too late.
“No, no, no, no.” He’d grabbed ahold of her wet strands of hair, yanking her back against him with such force that it knocked the air right out of her lungs. She couldn’t scream, and she couldn’t even cry. “I’m taking you home.”
Emma didn’t need to be told that she would die if he got her into that boat. She fought his constricting grip around her upper body, kicking and twisting in an attempt to free herself at all costs.
It was of no use. He was too strong, and the lights she’d seen were no longer there.
The hope she’d been holding onto had been doused by the rain and swallowed by the darkness of his soul.
“I’m taking you home where you belong, Emma.”
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About the Author
Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at www.kennedylayne.com..