Monday, April 23, 2012

H.C. Brown's Guest Author: Sarah Ballance

Hey Sarah, great to have you back :-)

I'm so excited to be back here to scoop my new romantic suspense, TIDE OF LIES!

HC, thank you so much for your hospitality. I know your readers like it hot, so I've brought an exclusive excerpt that will *only* be seen right here. It's just a taste of what happens, but hopefully it's enough of a tease to leave readers wanting more. But first, here's a bit more about the story.

TIDE begins with FAMILIAR LIGHT (on sale for $1.50), in which my heroine Laney returns to her hometown to find an old love, but ends up in the hands of her stalker. Bridger's search for her is aided by his buddy and local detective Holden Whitlow, whose story picks up in TIDE OF LIES. What he thought was an open and shut case turns out to be much, much more. Then his past—and an ex-lover, Julia—collide with present as two shocking betrayals twist into a crushing blow. The bitter truth may be too much for Holden to bear, but in the face of losing everything, his choice is clear. But is it too late?

Note: although TIDE OF LIES does follow FAMILIAR LIGHT in sequence, you do NOT have to read both stories. TIDE is a stand-alone title.

TIDE OF LIES | blurb

A devastating secret. A shocking betrayal. A deadly obsession.

Haunted by three unsolved murders, Detective Holden Whitlow is stunned when his cold case takes a heated turn. Julia Cohen, his ex-lover, is back in town, and in the face of a brutal attack she’s ready to run. No matter how tightly she holds her secrets, for Holden, turning away from the woman he’s spent a decade trying to forget isn’t any more an option than walking away from his job . . . even when it threatens to cost Julia her life.

Julia is still reeling from a past she can’t bear to face. When she becomes the target of a killer, fate throws her back into Holden’s arms, but she’s yet to recover from a truth that has stripped her of everything—and everyone—she loves. Will she tell him the secret that will destroy him, or will her lie destroy them both?

TIDE OF LIES | excerpt

In this excerpt, Holden has just listed a few graphic details regarding his cold case . . . without considering Julia has just been attacked and these are much more than just facts to her. He apologizes, and the rest follows.

"Don't," she said, her voice lost to the sound of her hammering heartbeat.

"Don't what?"

Ten years and two lies melted into oblivion. "Don't be sorry."

Holden reached for her, the move hesitant. This time his darkening eyes were anything but businesslike. Threading his fingers through her hair, he cupped the back of her head with a touch so gentle she feared she might have imagined it. "I don't think I love you," he said. It sounded as if the words never left his throat.

She laughed, a nervous gesture any idiot could read from a mile away. But he didn't need a mile. He had inches, and her mind so did not need to go there. "Wow, Holden. I don't think that's your best pick up line. No wonder you're single."

"What I was going to say," he said in the same graveled voice, "was I don't know why I can't put you in my past where you belong. Why can't I get over you?" The pressure on the back of her head increased, but not past feather light. If they got any closer or stayed that way any longer, she'd surely die from anticipation, but it wouldn't be her first brush with death that day. This one, at least, was worth the risk.

Holden pushed the laptop to the coffee table. The clatter jerked her from her reverie just
enough to sharpen her mind, bringing her senses to shrill attention. So when his lips finally met hers, the split second of contact was excruciating.

 "That's it?" She clutched his well-worn tee, her fists straining the fabric. Mock indignation was not her strong suit. For that matter, neither was the real deal.

"Well, if you're asking . . . ." He scooped her in his arms, cradling her with such gentle ease she couldn't help but melt against him. They pushed dangerously close to horizontal, but he kept his weight from her. The effect bordered on torture—a light tease when pressure would prove exquisite.

Then his lips brushed hers, the touch slight and soft. His position between her thighs did little to hide his interest, which she found all the more lovable considering she sported two black eyes and a pair of his gym shorts—the latter in an unappetizing shade of uncooked shrimp. Through peripheral vision, she found the muscles of his arms did an admirable job of holding him in the up position. Problem was she preferred him down—down and in.

Way in.

Reasons not to trust him begged for her attention, but she wanted nothing of them. It had been far too long since anyone had held her, and Holden was like comfort food to her battered soul. Her reasons for leaving existed as petty little bits of debris scattered on her emotional floorboard, years of pain and regret not enough to stop the crashing of her defenses when he was around.

And—screw it all—she wanted him. Every moment they'd ever shared had been some version of a lie, and she'd managed to sleep at night just fine. There was certainly nothing stopping her from doing it now.

Besides, this time she had absolutely nothing to lose.

Everything was already gone.



For a chance to win a print copy of HAWTHORNE (paranormal romance) please visit the Goodreads giveaway @ (U.S. entries only)

Weekly gift card giveaways occur weekly for **email subscribers** at – full details available under the "Weekly Giveaways" tab. Every week one reader wins their choice of gift cards to Noble Romance, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

SARAH BALLANCE | about the author

Sarah and her husband of almost fifteen what he calls "long, long" years live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they're asleep.  She often jokes that she writes to be around people who will listen to her, but her characters aren't much better than her kids.  Fortunately, her husband is quite supportive, having generously offered to help her research "the good parts" . . .  and she's never had to ask twice.


  1. I love this excerpt, Sarah. The last two lines really get to me!

  2. Hi, HC! Thanks so much for your hospitality!

  3. Yay! My comment finally went through! I can't tell you how many times I've tried. Whew! LOL.

  4. It's getting pretty bad when I can't comment on my own blog. Great to have you here Sarah. :-)