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Mystery Romantic Suspense
BY C.B. CLARK
Twelve-year-old Athena Cooper’s parents vanished from their remote island home off the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. The tragedy defined her life and drove her to seek solace in a bottle. Now, thirty-three years old, she meets Russell Crawford, and it’s lust at first sight, until she discovers he’s the son of the man whom she blames for her family’s tragedy.
Russ learns Athena has inherited his father’s millions. He’s outraged, fearing she’s taken advantage of a sick, old man. When she offers to sign over to him the entire estate, his suspicions increase, but their explosive attraction cannot be quelled, and preconceived notions are shattered, along with the walls around his heart.
Determined to solve the mysteries of her past, she and Russ join forces, uncovering long-buried secrets that rock her very foundation and test her new-found sobriety. Can she overcome a life-long distrust and open her heart to love?
Twenty-one days sober.
Other people talked about abstaining from alcohol in terms of months or years, but in the three years since her drinking started impacting her life, the longest Athena Reynolds had been dry was seven days.
So, twenty-one days was good.
Abstinence was an ongoing battle. Every hour, every minute, every agonizing second of the past twenty-one days, her body ached with a bone-deep desperation. She’d made it that long, but today, the thirst was like a beast inside her, screaming to be fed. Her hard-won sobriety was about to end. She craved a drink. Now. She’d never wanted one more.
Sinking onto the couch, she smoothed the crumpled envelope on her lap and reread the address label. Her stomach knotted. The knowledge someone knew her real name, and that she lived in the bustling foothills city of Calgary, Alberta, rocked her to the depths of her soul.
How was it possible? After all these years? The past she’d been running from had found her. Was the nightmare back? The envelope fell from her shaking hands. Her legs wobbled as she rose and stumbled out of the living room and down the short hall to the kitchen.
Afternoon sunlight streamed through the window above the sink. The cozy kitchen, with its walls painted a cheerful yellow, and the well-scrubbed laminate countertops gleamed. The steady hum of the refrigerator and ticking of the clock on the wall were the only sounds in the silent house. The pungent smell of fried onions and roasted garlic, from the spaghetti sauce she’d made for supper the previous night, hung in the air.
The efficient kitchen, with its breakfast nook and view of the tidy, fenced backyard and the rolling, grassy foothills and snow-crested Rocky Mountains beyond, was the reason she’d bought the small rancher. This was her favorite room—the place she sought refuge when life overwhelmed her. These days, her drink of choice was a cup of herbal tea or unsweetened apple juice. Alcohol was off the table…had been for twenty-one unendurable days.
But today, all bets were off.
The brown-paper-wrapped bottle sat on the counter taunting her. She’d read the letter, then rushed down to Larry’s Liquor Outlet on the corner and bought a twenty-sixer of vodka. The alcohol called to her with the siren song of a mermaid, leading her, like the sailors of old, to certain destruction.
Award-winning author CB Clark has always loved reading, especially romances, but it wasn’t until she lost her voice for a year due to a botched operation that she considered writing her own romantic suspense stories. She grew up in Canada’s Northwest Territories and Yukon. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology, she has worked as an archaeologist and an educator. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia. Ms. Clark is the author of seven romantic suspense novels published by The Wild Rose Press.
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Thanks, C.B., for sharing your story with us!
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