The weather had improved the next day, and Connor drove along the coastline towards the next little town. Breathing in deeply, he enjoyed the smell of the salty air and the sight of the foamy waves crashing against the pristine beaches as he passed the unique limestone cliffs. He looked upwards, impressed by the stark blue sky, which one rarely saw in London.
The storm had cleared overnight and left a beautiful sunny day. It was humid, but London had terrible muggy days during summer as well, so it didn’t bother him all that much. The music blared out of the car stereo, yet the tension inside him didn’t fade. He hadn’t spoken to his father today or during the afternoon the previous day. Jack had gone to bed after Emily’s visit, and Connor had prepared himself a sandwich and called it a day as well. Jetlag was still a problem, although not in regard to his memory.
Emily hung up with a smile on her lips. She loved little Samuel and wouldn’t miss the concert for anything in the world. Especially considering she’d spent days finding him a red outfit for the occasion. She leaned back into the sofa thinking about Ethan and his son. They all helped raise Ethan’s boy. She and Niall did a lot of babysitting or took him on little weekend trips. Jack, though, had contributed the most by pushing Ethan through university and giving him a job in his company.
Jack Delaney had looked after all of them; he was like a grandfather to Sam, and the boy loved him.
Emily stood, grabbed her plate, and went into the kitchen to dispose of her dinner.
Twenty years. She’d had waited over twenty years to see Connor again, but their reunion hadn’t been anything close to what she’d expected. Of course, she was aware it’d been twenty years since they’d last seen each other, and, of course, she was aware that people changed. But the change in Connor surprised her. It was as if he was someone completely different, twenty years or not.
The Stepfamily Silicon Valley Series Book 1
by Bonnie Traymore
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Laura Foster’s not the type to go looking for trouble. But it seems to be looking for her.
Laura’s on the verge of living the life she’s always wanted. At the age of twenty-seven, she put her career plans on hold, married handsome widower Peter Foster, settled down in his Silicon Valley home, and helped raise his two children.
Twelve years later, it’s her turn to shine. Her career is thriving, the kids are out of the house, Peter’s company is on the verge of an FDA approval that could garner a windfall in stock gains for them, and she’s training for the Ironman world championship in Kona.
But when a series of freak accidents can no longer be chalked up to bad luck, it becomes clear that someone is out to get her. Is it someone from work, jealous of her promotion? Or is it perhaps someone more dangerous? Someone closer to home?
Laura has no enemies that she knows of, but she senses that husband Peter is keeping something from her. And when she starts digging into the family’s past, she ends up with more questions than answers. But with the walls closing in on her, she needs to find out why someone would want to harm her…and what really happened to his first wife.
Before it’s too late.
What readers are saying:
“This book had a bit of everything! It had suspense, intrigue, murder, mystery, and a few crazy twists and turns! The storyline was very interesting and kept me glued to my Kindle!” Netgalley Reader
“I devoured this in a few short hours. Very easy to read and the story keeps you coming back for one more chapter.” Netgalley Reader
“Excellent and gripping – recommended. The author’s writing style is truly engaging and the plot is well-crafted, with plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end….. I def recommend The Stepfamily to anyone who enjoys a really good psychological thriller.” – Amazon Reader
“ I read The Stepfamily by Bonnie Traymore in a day and a half; only much-needed sleep had me putting this book down….Some jaw-dropping moments took me by surprise….I will read more by this author. I give this a 5 out of 5 stars. – Amazon Reader
Bonnie Traymore is an author, educator, and consultant. A world traveler, she loves to include vivid settings in her novels. She is also an accomplished non-fiction writer, historian, and educator with a doctorate in United States History. She has taught at top independent schools in Honolulu, Silicon Valley, and New York City for over 20 years, and she has taught history courses at Columbia University and the University of Hawaii. Originally from the New York City area, she resides in Honolulu with her husband but frequents the Hudson Valley and New York City areas.
Lani stepped closer then up onto the front porch. Only the buzzing of a few insects disturbed the quiet. A shiver ran down her spine as she moved to the front door and knocked. There were no lights inside the lodge, and even though it wasn’t dark, she would’ve expected one or two lights on already.
She knocked again, worry creeping up within her. A thousand thoughts tumbled through her head. What if nobody was here? There was nowhere to go. A mix of frustration and anxiety caused a few tears to well up as she knocked once more. This time a bit harder. Still nothing. Not even a sound of creaking floorboards. Lani pulled the phone from her pocket, but she didn’t have any service whatsoever.
The discovery of her mother’s diaries unravels a secret which sends Lani on a journey to New Zealand …
She lost her mother in an accident. Now, Lani Dekker is determined to meet the man who, according to her mother’s diaries, is her father. He’s not what she expected, a bit on the extravagant side, but she soon warms up to him, thanks no less to Dylan, her father’s neighbour. Despite her attraction to Dylan, she can’t figure out whether he’s a friend or foe.
Dylan Harper is merely going through the daily motions after his wife died in a ski crash. That is, until his life is turned upside down by the arrival of his neighbour’s daughter. Their attraction is instant, even more so when they wake up in the same bed after an earthquake. However, it’s her accusation that his interest in her involves her father’s money rather than their mutual magnetism that derails their newfound bond.
Will finding the truth about her parents be a chance for Lani and Dylan to overcome their differences?
Playing For Keeps Julie Hammerle
Published by: Entangled: Amara
Publication date: 8 May 2023
USA Today bestselling author Julie Hammerle’s quirky romantic comedy about two strangers, a fake relationship, and a teeny mid-lie crisis…
Bryce Barrett has disappeared off the face of the earth. Well, technically she’s just temporarily hiding out in a teeny Midwest town, away from her ruined marriage and professional demise…at least until she can figure out her next steps. But when she bumps into her ex—dressed in what could be only described as “dumpster chic”—she does the only reasonable thing a woman can do: panics and pretends the cute security guard on the scene is her new boyfriend.
Free-spirited nomad Jake Warner knew returning to his hometown was a bad idea. It’s bad enough that his family’s pressuring him to step into his dad’s hypercompetitive shoes and settle down, but when a complete stranger (cute, though possibly unbalanced) enlists him as her fake boyfriend, Jake knows he’s making some questionable choices…especially when he inexplicably goes along with it.
Now these two mismatched misfits are temporary allies against a town filled with happy, normal, and annoyingly stable people. Fake dating keeps everyone off their back while they plot their respective escapes. But nothing botches a plan more than unexpected chemistry…
“Ted, hello.” Bryce offered him her hand, and he pulled her in for a quick, friendly kiss on the cheek. She stiffened up. Damn it, is that moldy cheese smell me? No. It’s Ted. It must be Ted.
After he let her go, Ted spoke to the woman next to him, “Ree, this is my ex-wife, Bryce. Bryce, this is Rita, my girlfriend.”
We lah-dee-frickin’ da, Ted went and got himself a girlfriend.
But I have beaver slippers.
Bryce bit her lip to keep from laughing or crying, she wasn’t sure which.
Rita offered her hand to Bryce. “It’s nice to meet you. Ted has told me so much about you.”
“Yeah, nice to meet you, too.” Bryce greeted her ex’s new girlfriend with a perfunctory handshake as she took the opportunity to give Rita the once-over. She was the kind of effortless beauty Bryce, with her hair dye and multi-session workouts and (previously) gluten free, vegan diet, had only ever dreamed of being. Rita, whose luminous face apparently had no need for makeup, wore her long, dark hair in a cascade over her shoulders. Her white pants and nautical-striped shirt were right out of a J. Crew catalog.
Bryce folded her arms across her dingy, dirty t-shirt.
“What are you doing in town?” Ted asked.
He was definitely staring at her pants—or, well, his pants. She crossed her legs, trying to hide the big, gold “Michigan.” “I’m…I live here.”
Ted laughed. “You live in Wackernagel?”
Bryce frowned. “Well, I have the house here.”
“Yeah, you do, but I…I figured you’d sell it the first chance you got.” Ted laughed. “What about work?”
He hadn’t heard. Somehow news of her great professional demise had not reached Ted.
Bryce said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for loyal friends, Ted’s aversion to social media, and the fact that their work circles didn’t overlap. His high school teachers’ crowd didn’t have much contact with Big Law beyond Bryce.
“I’m taking some time off.” Bryce crossed her arms.
“Like, a sabbatical?” Rita asked.
Bryce nodded. Sure, let’s call it that.
“Good for you.” Tim smiled softly. “I’m glad you’re finally taking some time for yourself.”
Yeah, that’s what I’m doing. Bryce shot him a relaxed, self-assured smile. Might as well let him keep thinking things are wonderful. No harm in that. “Things are going really well for me here, in fact. I’m fixing up the house”—or, technically, redecorating it with old chip bags, empty wine bottles, and assorted other garbage—“and I’m really finding myself”—by binge watching TV shows, eating ice cream, and sleeping all day.
“That’s great,” Ted said. And his eyes were back on Bryce’s pants.
These stupid pants. They were blowing her cover. Her current outfit screamed everything but “I’m thriving!” Bryce chuckled, trying to make light of her oddball clothing. “I see you’ve noticed what I’m wearing.”
Ted’s eyes widened. “I have. Have you?”
She tamped down any annoyance at his semi-snide tone.
USA Today best-selling, RITA nominated author, Julie Hammerle (she/her) writes romantic comedies for adults and teens. Before settling down to write “for real,” she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, when not writing, she ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her music playlist reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.
She lives in Chicago with her husband and her two kids and a dog.