Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Tour: The Man She Knew by Loree Lough (Excerpt, Giveaway)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

The Man She Knew

by Loree Lough

Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
June 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming
By Way of the Lighthouse #1

Don't they both deserve a second chance?

Fourteen years ago, one reckless act cost Ian Sylvestry everything, including the girl he planned to marry. Since then, he has fought hard to turn his life around. Returning to his Baltimore town after serving a prison term was the first step. Winning back Maleah Turner's trust is a far more daunting challenge. From their first sparks-flying reunion, it's obvious they still have powerful feelings for each other. In fact, they might be even stronger together now. But if their second chance is going to work, Maleah has to believe that Ian is a changed man. She really wants to believe…but she simply isn't convinced.

Excerpt

The team followed Cash’s steady yapping to the stairs, and halted their approach.
            “No way that’ll rickety thig will hold all of us,” one of the men said.
            “Probably won’t hold any of us,” said another.
            Ian moved forward. “I’ll go.”
            The others didn’t argue. It made sense, after all, since Ian knew best how to read Cash’s signals.
            Concerned as he was about the condition of the elderly couple trapped up there, Ian made his way, one cautious step at a time. Because if the staircase gave way before they even found them…
            Cash met him at the top, tail straight out and ears up. The collapsed ceiling made it necessary for Ian to crawl as the dog led the way. He’d only gone a few feet when he heard soft moans, a woman’s voice, weak and thready.
            Despite being blanketed with plaster, splintered boards, and loose nails, she managed to croak out, “Oh thank God. Thank God.
            “Don’t talk,” Ian said, crawling up beside her. He took her pulse. It, too, was weak and thready. No surprise there, considering the amount of blood she’d lost.
            He grabbed his radio. “Top of the stairs,” he said into it, “eight feet back, six to the right. Woman alive; still looking for the man.”
            A voice crackled a reply: “Sending up a backboard.”
            Ian carefully removed debris from the lady’s chest. With her hands and arms now freed, he said, “Ma’am, can you point out your husband is?”
            One knobby-knuckled finger aimed left, toward a huge mound of rubble in a corner. Sure enough, a bloodied hand poked out from beneath the mess. If the guy survived that, it would be a miracle.
            Creaking floorboards interrupted the morbid thought.
            “The place is weaving and bobbing like a drunk,” the firefighter said, “and there’s barely a breeze outside.”
            Ian had felt it, too. If they didn’t get out of here, and fast, all four of them could perish in this dismal place.
            Working together, the men eased the woman onto the backboard. Not an easy feat, hunched in the confined space as they were.
            “Husband’s over there against the back wall,” Ian said. “But we can’t risk bringing another guy up here.”
            “Right. Let’s take her down and come back for him.”
            Their bulk, added to the weight of the now-unconscious woman, caused the staircase squeal and screech. Nails, Ian knew, working their way out of the boards. The men kept moving down the failing staircase, Cash close on Ian’s heels.
            “Took you long enough,” Mack teased when they reached fresh air.
            “Bite me,” the firefighter joked back. “That place is like a house of cards. Somebody so much as sneezes, it’ll flatten like a pancake.”
            Once he and Ian handed the woman off to the paramedics, Cash sat beside Ian.
            “You’re done for the night, buddy,” he said, squatting to scratch the dog’s ears. “Good job. Real good job.” Straightening, he faced Alex. “If I don’t make it out, take him to my dad’s place.”
            Mack winced. “Aw, shut up. You’re coming out.”
            But everyone within earshot knew that wasn’t a given.
            The firefighter made a move to lead the way inside, but Ian stopped him.
            “I know right where he is.”
            It made sense, so the firefighter stepped aside.
            “I’ll wait here until you reach the top,” he said.
            Ian read the message loud and clear: No sense taking the chance that their combined pounds might rip the already-loosened nails from the ragged risers and bring down the entire staircase.
            As before, he moved slow and steady, making sure his steps didn’t cause more damage to the already unstable risers. At the top, he got onto his hands and knees, and crawled until his pants leg got hung up on a shard of wood. He pulled gingerly, praying with every tug that his movements wouldn’t finish what the collapse had started.
            The beam of his flashlight landed on the mound in the corner. The bloodied hand was in the same position it had been earlier…palm up and fingers curled inward, like a spider on its back. Fingertips pressed to the wrist, Ian hoped for a pulse.
            Nothing.
            He sat back on his heels, thinking This is no way to leave the world.
            “All clear up there, Sylvestry?”
            Ian took a moment to collect himself. Yeah. Poor ol’ guy’s gone.” The floor trembled slightly when his partner’s boot hit the bottom step. Trembled again on the next one. “Take your time. The whole place is rockin’. And go easy when you reach the top. There’s sharp stuff pokin’—”
            A loud, terrifying groan drew his attention up, just in time to see the ceiling careening toward him. Crooking an elbow over his eyes, Ian braced himself for the impact. It hit hard and fast, and in the seconds that followed, he thought of the elderly man—barely a foot away—killed by his own home.
            …no way to leave the world…
            It didn’t hurt nearly as bad as he’d expected. The hardest part was remembering to inhale, exhale, inhale…
            Cash would be okay. Maybe having the dog to take care of would snap his dad out of the funk he’d been in since his mother left.
            He’d meant to call her. Not because she’d earned it, but because it would have been the right thing to do.
            If the worst happened tonight, it would be tough in Gladys. With no kids of her own, she’d pinned all her maternal hopes on him.
            …no way to leave this world…
            How ironic. Because he’d come close to meeting his maker a time or two at Lincoln. Had a few near misses while riding the Harley. Pulled through a couple of close calls during SAR missions. Heck, he’d even survived losing Maleah, the most painful, regrettable experience of his life.
            It was ironic, all right; just a few hours ago, he’d decided to figure out how to win her back.
            “Sylvestry… Sylvestry?”
            He tried to open his eyes, and failed.
            “You’re in the ambo, on the way to Hopkins.”
            Whose voice is that?
            “Hang in there, kid. Hang in there.”
            Ah, it’s Mack...
            “Get his cell phone, scroll through the contacts and find his dad’s number.”
            Hey, you’re supposed to hook Cash up with him, not separate them…
            The light was so bright, he could see the glow through his eyelids.
            Voices, half a dozen or more, merged into one.
            A needle prick.
            Feeling woozy.
            Was this it then? The end?
            When they tell her I’m gone, will she cry?
            Ian hoped not. He’d only seen her cry once, on the day the carted him off to Lincoln.
            Most awful thing ever…
            Because he’d caused her tears, and it shamed him, even now.
            If the powers that be decided to give him one more chance, he’d make things right.
            Somehow, I’ll make things right…

About the Author

Bestselling author LOREE LOUGH once sang for her supper, performing across the U.S. and Canada. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two, but mostly, she writes novels that have earned hundreds of industry and "Readers' Choice" awards, 4- and 5-star reviews, and 7 book-to-movie options. The Man She Knew, #1 in her “By Way of the Lighthouse” series, her 3rd for Harlequin Heartwarming, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Harlequin.com.
Tour Giveaway

- Two winners will receive a $10 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
- Two winners will receive an ebook of THE MAN SHE KNEW (open internationally)
- Two winners will receive a print copy of THE MAN SHE KNEW (US only)
- Ends June 13th

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