Leslie Tentler is back with another story of romance and suspense…this time in a small Southern beach town called Rarity Cove. What happens when a woman on the run has her dangerous secrets finally catch up with her? Find out in Before the Storm by Leslie Tentler…
Six years earlier, Trina Grissom disappeared, on the run for her life. Now living under an assumed identity—as Samantha Marsh—she still struggles with the dark secret she harbors and the fear she might one day be found. When she moves to the coastal town of Rarity Cove, South Carolina, to open a café, a handsome widower begins to chip away at the walls she’s built to protect herself.
Mark St. Clair lost his wife two years ago in a tragic accident. Head of the grand St. Clair resort, he distracts himself from his lingering grief by running the family business and caring for his troubled young daughter...until a beautiful restaurateur sets up shop in town. Before meeting Samantha, Mark was convinced he could never be drawn to another woman. But as his attraction to Samantha grows, the mystery surrounding her deepens.
As the two begin a hesitant courtship, double perils emerge. Someone from Samantha’s lurid past comes calling, threatening to expose her. And a powerful hurricane is forming in the Atlantic with the small beach town in its path. Trapped in the storm by the brutal man who wants vengeance on Samantha, she and Mark must fight for their lives.
On Sale in Digital and Print: October 20, 2015
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The brooding challenge in his voice—the bare hint of harshness—was disconcerting, something Samantha hadn’t expected, despite her recent behavior. Her initial instinct had been right; she shouldn’t have come here.
“I should go,” she said. Despite her scrambled nerves, she forced lightness into her voice. “I just came by to return the money and thank you again. The gift baskets for the shop will be delivered next week—”
“Why not just mail me the check or give it to Mercer?” Mark asked. “You could’ve saved yourself the trip and avoided me altogether.”
Samantha felt a pang. “I-I don’t want to avoid you, Mark.”
He moved closer, his features strained. “Who were you meeting at the Sea King last week?”
A coldness fell over her skin. “You followed me?”
“What did you expect? You came into my office looking like you were about to shatter into a million pieces. Then you give me some lame excuse for needing eight thousand dollars, right away, and you walk back out. I was worried.”
She closed her eyes, embarrassed he’d followed her there. “You had no right.”
“Who were you going there to see?” he pressed. “Did it have to do with why you really needed the money?”
She bowed her head.
“You’re angry with me. I understand, and I don’t blame you.” Holding her purse against her chest, throat tight, she turned for the door. She could only imagine what ideas were running through his head about her. “I’m sorry for the intrusion, Mark. Good night.”
“Sam,” he whispered into the air, still sounding irritated. He spoke louder as she walked out. “Samantha.”
She had nearly reached the Camry when Mark caught up to her. He took hold of her arm and whirled her around to face him, causing her to gasp.
“I’m not letting you walk out on me again without giving me answers.”
“Please. Just let me go. It doesn’t concern you—”
“Like hell it doesn’t,” he ground out, his jaw hard. His hoarse words washed over her. “I care about you, Samantha. I might even be falling in love with you, if you’d give me half a chance.”
Her heart squeezed at his admission. Staring at him in the graying twilight, the roar of the ocean behind them, Samantha saw sincerity, as well as the pain she’d inflicted, in his eyes. She felt something break loose inside her. She was so tired of running. Of keeping herself closed off from everyone.
“I went to see someone I used to know,” she confessed in a frayed voice. “But he’s gone now. It’s over. He won’t be back.”
“That’s the truth?”
“Yes. Please...don’t ask me anything else.”