Fall in love again and again…
Pink Petal Books
After a ten year stint in prison for a crime he didn't commit, a changed Cage Sinclair returns to his hometown. Hell-bent on clearing his name, trust is nonexistent—especially with the woman who had loved and betrayed him in the same breath. The woman who now lived in his deceased father's house.
Morgan still yearns for the love of her life to return, even though her own fear helped railroad him into prison. She has kept her silence to protect her son. But now Cage is back.
Inconceivable danger lurks in the shadows, but behind closed doors embers ignite and old passions flame. Amidst betrayal, deceit and shattered illusions, will the truth tear them apart or bind them together forever?
Cage stiffened and turned to face the man who had railroaded him into prison.
The sheriff eyeballed him, a thin smile stretching his lips. He hitched his thumbs in the waistband of his pants. “I’ll be a son of a bitch. When did you get out?”
“Wednesday. Came home last night. Thought I’d drop by, let you know I’m in town.”
“Now you have. What else?” Sheriff Blakely’s dull green eyes bored into him.
“My father left me the farm. Thought I’d buy a few heads of cattle and settle. He’d like that. The homestead’s gone to ruin since I’ve been away.”
“Well, at least there’s a place to come back to.” Sheriff Blakely smirked. “Just stay out of trouble, boy. Don’t go poking into affairs that don’t concern you.”
Cage released a dry chuckle. “I haven’t been a boy since I checked in for my extended vacation at Kentucky State.” He scrutinized the office, scanned the pictures on the wall, the worn desk and chair. “Whatever happened to your brother, Tom? Is he still around? I’d really like to see him, catch up on old times.”
“You don’t want to bother old Tom. Keep your nose clean and you’ll be okay. Otherwise...” Sheriff Blakely popped his knuckles and snickered.
“Otherwise I might find myself arrested and convicted for something else I didn’t do? Is that was your implying?”
“Now, now. That’s not a nice thing to say. I’d watch myself if I were you, Sinclair. And watch that temper. No one in town’s gonna like it that you’re back. They’ll keep their daughters locked up tight and a close eye on you.
“I’m not the one to be watched, and we both know it. I plan to clear my name, and the place to start is with Tom.”
Sheriff Blakely jabbed Cage’s chest with his finger, unease surfacing on his face. “I’m warning you...”
Hands balled at his sides, Cage regarded the sheriff. “What? It’s illegal now to converse with an old friend?”
“I didn’t say that. Just don’t stir up trouble, Sinclair. Take that as a friendly warning.”
“I don’t plan to do anything but unearth the truth. If that ruffles feathers, tough. Sleep well, Sheriff.” With a curt nod, he left.
Once outside, Cage blew a frustrated breath and headed for Pleasure Ridge’s only Baptist church. He hadn’t been able to attend his father’s funeral, and he’d be damned if anyone would stop him from visiting his father’s grave. Son of a bitch, he missed that old man.
Scowling, he tramped down the sidewalk, bitterness rising in his chest like bile. His mother had taken off soon after his father’s passing and left no forwarding address. Another oddity he couldn’t fathom.
Puzzled, he scanned the buildings and each passerby’s face. Holloway’s Market, the only grocery store in town, stood stark and white in the distance. Morgan was right. Not much had changed, except for maybe a new coat of paint here and there. An electronics repair shop sat adjacent to the drugstore. Both businesses exactly where they’d been ten years ago. Across the street a neon green sign blinked Breakers. He’d go in, check out the pool hall before he went home. With any luck he’d run into Tom Blakely and have his chat.
Cage strode through Pleasure Ridge, all four blocks. His attention, trained on the massive white steeple at the edge of town, shifted to the sandstone and mortar church, its stained-glass windows gleaming in the sunlight. Grief washed over him as he pushed through the graveyard’s black wrought iron gate. Locked away in prison, he’d refused to
mourn his father’s passing and instead had focused on survival. Now, it was time to grieve.
With no idea where the grave lay, he walked through row upon row of headstones, his attention darting from one to the other, until finally finding the name Sinclair. Eyes tearing, Cage traced a finger over his father’s name. Roses of faded red silk resided in a vase in front of the stone, dull and lifeless.
Lowering to his knees, he bowed his head. “I’m finally home, Dad. Sorry I wasn’t here when you needed me.” His voice cracked. Cage clamped down on the inside of his cheek and forced an anguished moan back in his throat. He rose to his feet, staring down at the grave. “Thanks for taking on Morgan and my boy. Taking care of them when I couldn’t.” He wiped his eyes and on a quivering exhale, retraced his steps to the florist shop he’d spotted.
The old man deserved more than faded, fake flowers on his grave. Distracted, Cage sidled past shoppers on the sidewalk. He entered the shop, cool air hitting him in the face. Patricia Ann McCarley stood behind the counter. Hell! It had to be her. Green-eyed and buxom, she’d hardly changed at all.
With a nod of acknowledgment, he turned to the silk flower display. Seconds later, she stepped in close, her breast brushing against his arm.
“Need help with something?” she purred in a sexually suggestive tone.
Caught off guard, Cage stepped back, trying to ignore her blatant attempt at a come-on. He’d been out of circulation for a long time, but the look in her eyes and the tone of her voice, was clear enough.
Patricia Ann used a heavy hand with makeup. Black liner caked the edges of her eyes, reminding him of a raccoon. Her full lips shimmered, red and garish. He cringed inwardly.
“I need new flowers for my father’s grave. Something white. Maybe lilies. They were my mother’s favorite.”
After a quick scan of the premade arrangements, she frowned. “Hold on, sugar. I think I have what you need in the back.” With an exaggerated sway of her hips, she disappeared through a door and moments later returned holding a bouquet of white lilies and yellow carnations. “These are not all white, but it’s the best I can do on short notice.” She inspected him from head to foot and smiled. “Unless you’d like come back later, let me make you something special.”
Cage’s stomach rolled. “No. Those are fine. What do I owe you?”
She walked behind the counter and rang up his purchase. He passed her the required bills, and she counted his change back to him.
“Who was your father?” She crinkled her nose, leaned over the counter, and exposed her cleavage. “For some reason, you look familiar.”
“Levi Sinclair. Nice to see you. It is Patricia Ann, isn’t it? Thanks for all the help.”
Alarm erased the lust on her face. Her jaw dropped open. “When did they let you out?”
“Wednesday. You’ll be seeing me around often enough.” He smiled.
“Uh. You coming back won’t make anyone around here happy.”
“Haven’t you heard? I’m a reformed man. Nothing to fear.” Scooping up his purchase, he headed for the door.
“Does Sheriff Blakely know you’ve returned?”
Cage paused, his hand on the doorknob. Patricia Ann was a fine example of the close-minded attitudes he’d always sensed as a boy. “Yeah. Paid him a visit earlier. He’s about as happy to see me as you are. But I’ve done my time. Guess all you townsfolk will just have to grin and bear it.”
Outside, he stared toward the police station and gave a quick salute to Blakely who stood watching him.
Back at the cemetery, he knelt next to his father’s grave and gently placed the new flowers in the stationary vase at the foot of the tombstone. Satisfied he’d done all he could, he rested a hand atop the cold stone. “It won’t be easy, Pops, but I’ll make a go of the farm like I promised, clear my name, and take care of my son. Sons of bitches won’t run me out of town, and I’ll die before I go back to prison.”
Title Available at Pink Petal Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance ebooks
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Lisa would like to share one of her favorite holiday recipes, and a Christmas tradition at her house.
1 box confectioner’s sugar
1 can Eagle Brand milk
½ stick butter
1 large package coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
(chopped cherries) optional
Mix well. Chill. Roll into balls and chill again for a couple hours in the frig. Insert a toothpick
into each ball for dipping. Dip in chocolate.
1 large pack chocolate morsels.
1 block of Gulf Wax paraffin
Melt in double boiler on medium heat.
Lisa Alexander-Griffin began her career as a writer twelve years ago. Multi-published, her titles range from sweet to spicy with elements of fantasy and suspense.
A North Alabama native, Lisa lives with her husband and twelve-year-old daughter. She also has two grown children who live nearby, so she can enjoy her three beautiful grandchildren quite often. When Lisa's not writing, she can be found in her garden, tending to a vast array of vegetables, which she cans, allowing her family a taste of summer year round. Other favorite pastimes are reading, quilting, spending time with her family, and fishing on the lake.
An avid reader of romance for as long as she can remember, most days you'll find her weaving tales of heartbreak and betrayal, love lost and found, and happily ever afters.