Lies We Live by Brenda St. John Brown #Excerpt #Giveaway

Ella Ingraham is a best-selling novelist. She's also a murderer. At least that's what most of the world thinks after her ex brought a tabloid frenzy and a civil suit down on her for "negligence" following the stillbirth of their unplanned child at eight months. Her cross-country drive is meant to be an escape, and Horatio, AR is just another random exit off the highway. Until she meets Josh Devereaux.

Josh Devereaux – seductive, charming and hot, hot, hot – is a part-time farmer, full-time tech genius holed up in his hometown after a few years in New York turned him into someone else. Someone worse. His closetful of skeletons has been locked up tight since he returned to Arkansas, right along with his heart. He knows Ella could unlock both – and what a bad idea that would be.

Ella has no intention of getting involved with Josh, but as one date turns into more, feelings surface Ella hasn't felt in years -- like hope. As their relationship grows, Josh knows he should tell Ella the truth about his past. If only the lie wasn't so much easier to believe.

Josh leans back on his stool and I follow the long line of faded Levi’s, stained a faded brown on the thighs, frayed along the seams.
I bet he has a nice ass.
I try to push the thought away and twirl my half-empty beer glass on the smooth wood. “You probably know everybody in here. What’s that like? Everybody knows your story and how do you…” I twirl my glass again like that’s a deliberate pause and I’m not cutting myself short because that’s a more honest answer than I expected to give. Certainly more honest than the one I gave when asked in Tennessee. Or any state north of there. Including New York.
“Maintain your sanity?” Josh finishes my sentence for me, but I suspect he knows, too, that wasn’t what I was about to say. His brown eyes are too intent on my face. “That’s a loaded question if there ever was one. How long are you staying?”
“Well, Horatio is as small-town as you’re going to get and we have Bible thumpers to spare.” Josh takes another long swallow of his Bass. “You won’t learn anything on a bathroom break and a beer. You should stay and have dinner with me.”
“For research?” I ask, taking a bite of the bread. Research could be a lot worse.
Josh shakes his head. “No. Because I want you to.”
I’m not sure what startles me more – his directness or the fact I kind of want to have dinner with him. And that’s exactly what I don’t need. “I don’t even know you.”
“You think you do.” Josh’s retort is quick. And dead on.
“Touché.” His eyes skim my legs again and his mouth loses all but a trace of a smile. “Prove me wrong.”

Ella Ingraham makes up stories for a living, and even she has a hard time believing the turn her love life has taken.

Hot guy? Cue Josh Devereaux.

Even hotter night together? Hello kitchen counter.

Morning-after phone call to Josh from her ex? Um, what?

The truth about who Josh is and what he’s done are on the other end of that phone. He knows he lied. He also knows that isn’t the worst of it. It isn’t even that Ella’s ex thinks Josh is the right man to help destroy her. Again. The worst part is the way Ella looks at him now. Or doesn’t.

Ella isn’t sure what the worst part is – Josh lying to her about his past, or the fact she can’t stop thinking about him anyway. Not that he’s making it easy for her, with his idea to stop her ex’s slander campaigns against her before her next big book release. Even Ella has to admit it’s a better plan than she – or her lawyer – have come up with. But for the plan to work, Ella has to not only rely on Josh, but trust him. Implicitly.

Ella knows she’d be a fool to trust him a second time. So why does her heart keep trying to convince her otherwise?

Brenda is a displaced New Yorker living in the English countryside. She writes novels about teens and twenty-somethings kissing. Her characters do other things, too, but there's always kissing.

When she's not writing, Brenda enjoys hiking, running and reading. In theory, she also enjoys cooking, but it's more that she enjoys eating and, try as she might, she can't live on Doritos alone.


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