Eight years have passed.
Now, what tore them apart takes a back seat to keeping her alive.
Broken Promises (Book 1 The Bad Legacy)
Felicity Shields spent a lifetime hiding from her notorious mother’s dark shadow. But when a serial killer’s glaring spotlight lands on her, there’s no place to hide. Desperate, she accepts help from a private security expert and the sexiest man she’s ever met, Brooks Delgado. The man she left behind years ago.
Brooks Delgado will do anything to keep Felicity safe and stop the killer after her. And though he knows she’s only accepting his help because she’s got nowhere else to turn, he also knows he’s the best man for the job. The man whose heart she broke. The man she promised to never let go. The man who still loves her even all these years later.
Another smart, sexy thriller by #1 Amazon bestselling author Diana Munoz Stewart
Praise for Broken Promises (Bad Legacy Book 1)
“Fast-paced and edgy, high-octane and sexy, I Am Justice is a must-read!”―JULIE ANN WALKER, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Black Knights Inc. series for I AM JUSTICE
“In this gritty launch of the romantic suspense series, Stewart plays adeptly with the reader’s emotions.” Publishers Weekly for I AM JUSTICE
“Stewart’s talent shines in this suspenseful story.” Publishers Weekly for THE PRICE OF GRACE
“Layered personalities, shifting motivations, and a smart, twisty plot push this thrilling romantic suspense series into high gear.” Kirkus Reviews for THE PRICE OF GRACE
“THE PRICE OF GRACE is Diane Munoz Stewart at her best. This is action-packed, thought-provoking, sexy, with a lot of twists and turns, and at times just fun.” Fresh Fiction
“Thrilling, sizzling, and full of adventure.” American Library Association-Booklist for THE COST OF HONOR
“…All the fast-paced suspense fans will expect.” Publishers Weekly for THE COST OF HONOR
Pedal to the floor, heart in her throat, Felicity Shields raced along a dry desert road lined with sharp shrubs and twisted trees. Red dust ballooned over the hood of her VW Golf.
Her eyes focused on a distant, lavish two-story adobe house. Backdropped by New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristos mountains the McMansion appeared diminished, isolated, and abandoned. Its colorful inlaid tiles shimmered through the hazy air. Why wasn’t Mom answering? Her hands gripped the steering wheel.
A series of bell chimes blared through her car speakers. She startled, glanced to the touchscreen, and accepted the call. “Hey, Mae.”
“Oh, good, I caught you. Tell your mom I’ll be watching her speech online from my bed. This pregnancy is a killer. When do you take off?”
Fee wiped sweat from her forehead. “We missed our flight.”
There was an ominous pause on Mae’s end. “What happened?”
What had happened? Fee swallowed. “Mom was supposed to pick me up. She never showed. I called. She didn’t answer. I’m on my way to her place now.”
Another pause, this one punctuated by heavy breaths that reflected Fee’s own budding panic. “Your mom always answers when you…” The connection cut out and back again. “She once picked up your call during a CNN interview.”
True. So many people thought that call staged to show Mom as a likeable and motherly during her trial. The truth was she’d called Mom in a blind panic after having destroyed things with the love of her life, Brooks. In her desperation, she’d forgotten Mom had the interview. “Look…”
“You’re cutting out.”
Of course, she was. The service out here sucked. “I’m almost there.”
“Maybe you should call Liam? He does work for the Santa Fe PD.”
Ugh. She’d intended to tell Mae all about Detective McCheater at the conference, but with Mae on bedrest, she wouldn’t make the conference. A turn of her wheel and she bumped up and into the brick lined driveway. “I’m here. I’ll call you back in ten minutes.”
“I’ll…” Static. “…five minutes….” Silence. “I call the police.”
She wanted to tell Mae not to worry, but first she’d have to convince herself. Mom was in great shape, but older now. What if she’d fallen? Should she have called an ambulance? “Give me at least ten minutes”
Mae didn’t answer. She fished her cell from the cup holder and glanced at the screen. She’d lost connection. Great. If she didn’t hurry, Mae was going to call the police.
She hit the garage remote. Bay one didn’t open. She hit the other two buttons. Nothing.
Relief loosened her tensed shoulders. This was why mom wasn’t answering. Something had happened to the power and without the cell extender, Mom couldn’t make or receive calls. And, of course, the generator hadn’t kicked on.
She’d told Mom she needed propane. For such a brilliant woman, Dorothy “Never Surrender” Shields was often absent-minded. Time to pressure Mom to get over Claire retiring and pick a new personal assistant.
Slipping her phone into her yoga pants pocket, she flung open the car door and climbed out. A hundred-degree dry wind gusted hair into her face. The direction changed when she turned to the house. Her hair flared behind her.
Ouch. She plucked the blond strand from her sunglass’ hinge and jogged up the slate stairs. Her flip-flops swept against the slabs. The backs thwacked against her heels.
Crossing the portcullis, she inserted her key into the lock. Huh. One of Mom’s planters had upended. Squatting down, she righted the cracked pot then cupped the dirt and deposited it back inside.
Dusting the soil from her hands, she stood, turned the key, and pushed the bronzed handle. Her hand rebounded. Her heart thudded in her chest. For no reason, because this was so like Mom. The woman had once been protected by Secret Service. Now, she hadn’t even locked her front door.
Annoyed, she unlocked the door and readied herself to give Mom a piece of her mind. And then they’d eat breakfast, because she was starving. She’d arrange new flights later. Thankfully, they had some time. Mom wasn’t speaking until tomorrow morning, but she’d miss today’s afternoon meetings. Maybe she could livestream in.
Backhanding the front door closed, she tossed her keys into the metal bowl atop the foyer table. The swish and clink nearly drowned out a muffled sound from stairwell leading downstairs. What was that?
She let her fingers brush the smooth iron railing as she headed down to the lower level. Lower level. Ha. Mom refused to call it a basement, because she’d spent so much money on the gorgeous space. “Mom? It’s,” ––she worked moisture into a dry throat–– “Fee.”
Blinking at the change of light, she shivered in the cooler air. She hit the light switch. No lights. Duh. No lights without electricity.
Flicking up her sunglasses, she let her eyes adjust. It was dim, though long glass panels opened to a stunning mountain view. Outside those panels, chaise lounges sat on a large deck with a gas fire pit and an infinity pool.
She sniffed at a heavy, metallic smell. Her stomach rolled as her vision adjusted. Muted mustard walls, colorful patterned chairs, tan leather couches, and mom.
Sitting on one of the couches, Mom had on a red mud mask. Unbelievable. “A facial, really? Today’s Friday. We’ve missed our flight.”
She crossed the room. Mom groaned. The facial dripped into her eyes. Not a facial.
“Mom!” She slid to her knees. Her hands skirted over her mom’s wrists. Wires? Blood. So much blood. What was happening? What had happened? Had to stop the bleeding.
Her mother made a sound, a protest or plea. Dark red blood gushed down her chin. An ambulance. Call an ambulance. Please let her phone work. She reached for her cell. Mom’s eyes rolled up.
“Hold on, Mom.” Please, hold on. “I’m calling for help.”
Shaking, she dialed 911.
“Ffff,” Blood shot from her mom’s mouth, landing across Fee’s lips. A swish of sound from behind. A shadow arm. Terror seized her. Twisting away, she smashed the call button. A whistle of sound and a sharp and heavy crack of pain snapped against her head, dragging away consciousness.