With THE BETRAYAL, Kathryn Shay adds a brand new full length novel of romantic suspense to her impressive list of forty-three books, with five million copies in print. Follow this tale of twists and turns as two people find their lives totally entangled, no matter how hard they struggle against their connection.
Darcy Weston flees to her grandparents’ abandoned farm after her stepfather rapes her. There, she meets Jordan Mackenzie, a local boy, and the friendship of a lifetime begins. Jordan helps sustain Darcy with food and water, and his company, for months, but eventually her whereabouts are discovered. In subsequent years, the two young people try to stay in touch from their disparate worlds, but eventually they drift apart.
Flash forward twelve years. Jordan is an accomplished teacher and Darcy, an internationally famous, reclusive artist. They meet again when Jordan publishes a book that reveals secrets about Darcy's past. But they find themselves thrown together first over the scandal his book creates, then over a murder. Once again, they turn to each other for help and comfort as they deal with police investigations, a variety of suspects from each other's worlds, and a passion between them which won't be denied.
Darcy had her back to him, staring out the floor-to-ceiling glass doors which took up the whole wall. Dressed in pale yellow linen pants and a simple cream colored top, she was smaller framed, but taller, than he remembered. He cleared his throat. “Darcy.”
Pivoting, she faced him for the first time in over a decade. “Hello, Jordan.”
“Hey.” For a moment, he just watched her. Emotions came flooding back as he searched for the girl he knew at the farmhouse, spent weeks with, took to the hospital and held when she cried.
“Come in and sit down.” She spoke the words as if she was inviting a school chum for a chat. As if he hadn’t betrayed her.
Gingerly, he took a seat on a big nubby beige couch. Surprising him, she circled around the coffee table and joined him there. The twelve years had been kind to her. Her dark hair was its natural color, and she wore it only to her shoulders. Her skin was flawless, those eyes still a crystalline blue.
Holy shit, she took his hand! “It’s nice to see you again, Jordan.” A small smile curved her lips. “You’re all grown up.”
“You, too. Darce, I’m so sorry about the book.”
He saw emotion flare on her face, but she said nothing for a few, very long moments. Then, “Maybe I could accept what’s happened if you told me why you published a story about me.”
In the millions of scenarios he played out in his head on the drive down, picturing how today would go, Darcy being understanding wasn’t one of them. Lisa was obviously pissed as hell. But Darcy was calm. “I’ll explain it all, of course. But aren’t you mad at me?”
“I don’t know yet. Tell me why you wrote a book about me when I was at my worst and then used my name to get it published.”
A stark statement. Then again, he’d done a stark thing. “You know I was always writing back then.”
Letting go of his hand, she leaned against the pillows and draped her arm over the back of the couch. “Yes, I remember.”
“I was writing about you. Recording what happened between us. I put down what I found out about you and your life, then what you felt about everything. And, um, my feelings for you.”
She cocked her chin. “You had feelings for me?”
He almost laughed aloud. “Very adolescent boy feelings for you.”
“Did you expose all that in the book?”
“Yes. I won’t be able to face my students when it comes out.” He winced. “That was crass. Its release will do worse to you.”
Instead of commenting on the book, she arched a brow. “Students?” Her eyes filled with interest. “Are you a teacher?”
“High school English. Mostly the tough kids.”
“As I recall, you were very good with tough kids.”
Like her. Damn. He still couldn’t figure out her mood, where she was going with all this.
“Anyway,” he continued, “I went to college and majored in Creative Writing with a minor in English Education. For my senior project, I worked on putting all my ramblings in some sort of order and editing them as much as I could without losing their… ingenuousness, I guess. My adviser loved the finished product and told me with a bit more description and polish, it was publishable.”
“That had to be several years ago?”
“It took you that long to sell the book?”
“No, I got an offer six months after I submitted it. But I never worked on the manuscript after I graduated because I didn’t intend to publish it. I sold some short stories, poetry, some essays and tried to sell two other novels. No go.”
“If you never intended to publish it, why did you?”
“My mother took ill.”
Alarm spread across her face. “Oh, dear, Stella’s sick?”
Briefly he recalled the sight of Darcy in his mother’s arms on his bed, her crying, his mother soothing her for almost twenty four hours after. They’d stayed close for three years. “She had liver cancer. We couldn’t afford experimental medical treatment on my teacher’s salary.”
“So you sold the story to cover your mother’s medical bills?”
He nodded. “I tried not to use your name.” He went on to tell her about his path to publishing. “But apparently the book wasn’t good enough to make it on its own. No, it’s good enough, but it didn’t stand out from others the publishers were seeing.” He told her about the reporter turned editor recognizing who the story was about. “So the rest, they say, is history.”
Her hand had fisted. “And Stella?”
“Is cancer free.”
She blew out a heavy breath. “Well, I’m glad something positive came out of our time together.” She got up and crossed to a cabinet beneath a wet bar. “Can I get you a drink? I’m having a manhattan.”
By now, he’d expected to be kicked out on his ass. So he went with the flow. “I’ll have a beer if you’ve got one. I’m not much into hard stuff.”
She pulled a bottle from the fridge under the counter and crossed to him with a knowing glint in her eye. “Still not a big drinker, are you?”
“Nope. Remember the time I passed out at your house?”
Leaning over, she gave him the beer. In his ear, she whispered, “I remember everything, Jordan, like you apparently do.”
As Darcy was fixing her drink, a white furry animal came prancing into the room from the partially opened door to the outside. What? It couldn’t be. “You still have D.J.?” Jordan asked.
“Of course, though she’s not so frisky now.”
Returning to the couch, Darcy sat even closer to him. The cat jumped up on the cushion, sniffed him, then settled on the sofa arm next to him. Jordan was flooded with the memory of the tiny kitten coming out of the barn, playing with her in the yard, how she sat on one of their laps most of the time.
“I always wondered,” he said watching the cat “is she why you took D.J. as a pseudonym?”
“Yes, the name was a reminder of our weeks together.” She gave him a sideways glance. “And now we have a book about it.” She held up her glass and clinked it with his beer. “To old times.”
He didn’t drink. All of this was making his head spin. He had no idea why she was being so nice and he might be a hick from a small town, but he knew this wasn’t what it appeared to be. “Darcy, what’s going on? Why aren’t you angry with me, why aren’t you accusing me of being Judas, like Lisa did? I deserve all that.”
Her emotions in flux, Darcy stared over at the man sitting next to her. The boy she knew, the cute, naïve Jordan, hadn’t changed so much in the years that passed. Though he had, as she’d told him, grown up. Now, he was all male—which fit right into her plan. His hair was a little too long and the boyishness was gone from his features, which had honed into a square jaw, chiseled nose and leaner cheeks. Those green eyes were more emerald than she remembered them being. But he was still so honest, so eager to explain and to please. And he appeared to have that same inner core of optimism about life as he’d had then.
“Darce? Stop staring at me and answer my question. Why are you being so nice to me after what I did? Hell, why did you see me at all?”
She smiled sweetly at him. “I was hoping there was a good reason. I honestly believed you wouldn’t hurt me unnecessarily. I completely understand about Stella. I’d have done the same for my mother.” Not! But he wouldn’t know that. Until the day Lydia died, she and Darcy had been at odds. In truth, Darcy had never forgiven Lydia for her dismissal of what had happened with Richard Carrier. “Really, Jordan.”
His face lit from within. “Oh, God, I prayed you’d understand.” Now he grabbed her hand. And she had to let him. “You’re right, Darce, I wouldn’t have done it if I had any other choice.” His face crumbled. “She was so sick. She was going to die. I had to get money to save her.”
Extricating her hand, ostensibly to pick up the cat who’d jumped to the floor, Darcy petted D.J., sipped her drink and refused to fall into his emotional trap, even though she’d bet her next painting that he wasn’t acting a part. She took the time to parse her words carefully. “You could have asked me for money. I told you and Stella once if you ever needed anything you could come to me. I had enough money to cover any kind of treatment.”
His face darkened a bit. “I-I never thought of that.”
Reaching out, she touched his arm. “No, of course you wouldn’t.” She made a sad face. “And we didn’t part on very good terms. That was my fault.”
“You know, I actually thought you might believe publishing the book was revenge for dumping me. But it wasn’t, I promise.”
God, did people still behave this way in his world, making promises, expecting to be believed? “Well, now that’s out of the way, I want to catch up on your life.” She moved in closer. “I was hoping you could stay the weekend.”
He thumped his head on the back of the couch. “Shit, I don’t believe this.”
Slowly, sensuously, she ran her hand up his arm. “I think we need the time together, don’t you?”
“I-I’d love it.” He reached for her, tugging her closer. “Thanks so much for understanding.”
“Oh, I understand all too well.” Leaning over, she brushed her lips over his.
And began part one of the plan she had for seducing Jordan Mackenzie. In the process, she’d destroy every single ounce of that naiveté.
"It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a book as much as "The Betrayal." I've always been a huge Kathryn Shay fan mainly because her books are unique, meaningful and never trite. This one is no exception. If you enjoy good writing, love stories and suspense like I do, fire up your Kindle and start this book. You won't be disappointed."
"Just when things seem to settle down in this story, there is another turn. I couldn't predict the ending of this book even from 25 pages before the end. It was well crafted and kept the reader turning the pages."
"Kathryn Shay is no typical romance writer, but she sure does know how to paint a hot love scene with words. This book was a steal for the price. Shay deserves much, much more!!"
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Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher. She has published 43 novels from the Berkley Publishing Group, Harlequin Enterprises and online. She has won five RT Book Reviews awards, four Golden Quills, four Holt Medallions, the Bookseller’s Best Award, Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year and several “Starred Reviews.” Her work has been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine. There are over five million copies of her books in print. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and children. http://www.kathrynshay.com/.