Buried Truth

Buried Truth

by Jannine Gallant

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Overview

Visit Siren Cove, Oregon, for gorgeous beaches, miles of hiking, delightful small-town shops—and a dark side none of its residents could have possibly imagined . . .
 
Leah Grayson has lived in Siren Cove all her life. It’s where she buried a time capsule with her fifth-grade class. Where she spent an unforgettable night on the beach with her first love. Where she married then divorced her rotten ex.
 
But there’s something ugly going on in her pretty little town. When Leah organizes a reunion for her fifth-grade classmates to open their time capsule, they discover a roll of film no one remembers saving. Afterward, strange incidents begin happening. Warnings. Accidents. Random acts of vandalism.
 
Luckily, her first love is back in town, too. Ryan Alexander has made it big with a wildly popular social media startup, but he’s still the same sweet, cynical man she fell for all those years ago. And the chemistry they felt as teenagers is as strong as ever.
 
A nostalgic fling turns deadly when someone is convinced Leah has the key to secrets long buried. With no way to know whom they can trust, Leah and Ryan will have to seek out the answers themselves . . .
 
Every Move She Makes will have you looking over your shoulder long after the lights go out.”
Nancy Bush, New York Times bestselling author
 
“Jannine Gallant gives you a satisfying read.”
Kat Martin, New York Times bestselling author

"Jannine Gallant is a talented author who knows how to grab your attention and keeps the suspense in high gear until the end.”
RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars, on Buried Truth

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781516103744
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Series: A Siren Cove Novel Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 638,544
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Write what you know. Jannine Gallant has taken this advice to heart, creating characters from small towns and plots that unfold in the great outdoors. She grew up in a tiny Northern California town and currently lives in beautiful Lake Tahoe with her husband and two daughters. When she isn’t busy writing, Jannine hikes or snowshoes in the woods around her home. Whether she’s writing contemporary, historical or romantic suspense, Jannine brings the beauty of nature to her stories. To find out more about this author and her books, visit her website at www.janninegallant.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The day from hell was finally over.

Leah Grayson locked her classroom door, fist-pumped the air, then moonwalked backward down the hallway. "Fri-day. Fri-day. Fri ... day." Her chant ended with a thump as she landed on her heels and met the amused gaze of her coworker as he exited the room beside hers.

"Someone's happy it's the weekend." Sloan Manning tucked a bulging file folder under one long arm before he joined her in the hall. "Not a good sign when the school year is only a few weeks old."

A rueful grin tweaked her lips. "Carina Harris's mom brought in cupcakes for her daughter's birthday. The kids were bouncing off the walls all afternoon."

"There's nothing quite like the unharnessed energy of ten-year-olds on a sugar high."

Leah's leather sandals slapped against the tile floor as she lengthened her stride to keep up with him. "The birthday party was just icing on the cake — so to speak. I already had my students all wound up with plans to bury a new time capsule after we dig up our old one. The kids are super excited to find out what we put in that box twenty years ago. I promised to bring it in to show them after the reunion."

Sloan stopped beside the drinking fountain and turned to face her. His gray eyes darkened behind steel-rimmed glasses. "You still intend to open the capsule we buried when you were a student in my class?"

She nodded. "You bet. Nina, Paige, and I conducted an online poll of classmates we're connected to on Crossroads. Everyone who responded thought unearthing it now was a great idea."

He shoved his free hand into his pocket. "I hate to see you reveal the contents this soon. I always pictured someone excavating that box in a hundred years, not twenty."

"We'll all be dead by then." She gave his plaid shirtsleeve a poke. "Besides, I doubt the items a bunch of fifth-graders deemed worthy of saving would have much historic significance."

"You're probably right."

"Mostly, we're using the time capsule as an excuse to have a class reunion. I'm off to meet Nina and Paige for cocktails and a final organizing session. Since we're planning the event as part of the Fall Festival, we hope to have a good turnout."

"I'm sure you will." He set off again, taking the corner leading toward the double front doors at a fast clip.

She hurried to catch up. "We'll send you an invitation, of course. After all, the original idea was your brainchild."

He paused near the wide front counter, deserted at this hour. "I wouldn't mind seeing what your classmates made of themselves, but damned if it won't make me feel ancient."

"Not a chance. You're still the same cool teacher we loved back in the day." She flashed a quick smile then glanced at her watch. Almost five. "Oops, I'd better get moving or I'll be late."

Leaning forward, he held the door open for her. "Leah?"

She glanced back as a gust of wind off the ocean blew her long hair around her like a curtain flapping in the breeze. "Yes?"

He hesitated then shrugged. "Enjoy your evening."

"I'm sure we will. Have a nice weekend, Sloan."

With a nod, he headed toward the parking lot while Leah ran down the steps to pull her pink cruiser out of the bike rack attached to the brick wall of the school. She slung the strap of her oversized purse across her chest, tucked the loose hem of her skirt beneath her, then set off, only to coast to a stop beside the pole where the janitor was lowering the flags.

"Hey, Jesse, how's it going?"

Her former classmate turned with the stars and stripes draped over one arm in blatant disregard for proper flag-folding procedure. "No worse than usual."

"How's your dad?"

His perpetual scowl lightened. "He finished his last round of chemo a while back. The doc says he's cancer-free."

"That's wonderful news. Is he returning to work soon? I've missed all his corny jokes. No one tells a knock-knock joke like Edgar Vargas."

Jesse snorted. "Yeah, my old man's a riot. Pop hopes to start working again in a couple of weeks. When he does, I won't have to fill in for him anymore and can find something a whole lot better."

"Well, give him my best." She pushed off then put her foot down again. "I don't know if you heard, but we're planning a fifth-grade class reunion to open the time capsule we buried."

His heavy brows drew together in a frown. "Why would you want to waste your time doing that?"

"Mostly it's an excuse to see friends we haven't hooked up with in years. I hope we can count on you to come."

"I doubt any of my compadres will show up." He made quick work of folding the flag into triangles and tucked it beneath his arm. "We didn't exactly hang out with the same crowd since I'm from the wrong side of the tracks and all."

Leah rolled her eyes. "That 'poor me' crap isn't going to fly, Jesse. We don't have any tracks in Siren Cove."

A slight smile curled his full lips. "You know what I mean."

"I do, but it's a lame excuse." She glided away. "See you Monday."

Peddling into the wind as she headed toward the downtown area of her hometown, Leah cruised past the park and community swimming pool, then turned onto the main drag lined with shops and restaurants catering to the tourist trade that kept their economy afloat. As she approached Old Things, her friend's antique shop, Paige Shephard stepped outside and waved.

Leah braked to a stop and leaned over to give her a hug. "Good, I'm not late."

Paige grinned, her blue eyes sparkling beneath blond hair drawn up into a complicated knot at the top of her head. "That's because Nina told you we were meeting fifteen minutes before the actual time. After all these years, we know you well enough to make allowances for your perpetual tardiness."

"Smarty." Leah hopped off her bike and pushed it up the sidewalk beside her friend.

Paige gave her an assessing look. "I'm surprised you didn't get your skirt caught in your chain. All you need is a wreath of daisies in your hair to look like the original flower child."

Leah smoothed a lacy peasant blouse over her turquoise gauze skirt. "No one was uptight in the sixties, so I would have fit right in. Anyway, I'm only late because I got sidetracked talking to Sloan about the reunion."

"He'll always be Mr. Manning to me."

"It took me forever to think of him by his first name. Hey, there's Nina." She raised a hand as the third member of their intrepid trio since preschool days parked her Mini Cooper in front of Castaways and climbed out.

Nina Hutton's green eyes brightened with a smile as she waited beside her car. The ends of her short, wispy dark hair lifted in the breeze to flutter around her face. Wearing pencil-thin jeans, paint smudged on one knee, and a shirt the same cherry-red as her car beneath a denim jacket, she still managed to look like a model. Leah had gotten over being jealous of her friend's stunning looks years ago. Between Nina's casual elegance and Paige's petite perfection in a short white skirt and chunky knit sweater, she figured she'd better stop by the restroom to at least comb her hair.

"The gang's all here." Nina reached out to give them each a brief hug. "I've been holed up in my studio all day painting and could use some human interaction. Let's go order drinks and catch up."

Leah lifted the front wheel of her bike into the rack at the edge of the sidewalk and followed the other two women toward the entrance.

Paige glanced back. "Don't you ever lock that thing up?"

"Nobody's going to take it since it can't be worth more than fifty bucks, and there's not a person in town who wouldn't recognize it as mine, even if someone did."

"Good point." She pushed open the door. "Ooh, it's nice and warm in here. With the marine layer rolling in, there's a definite chill in the air."

Out over the ocean, a fog horn blew, long and mournful. Leah paused on the stoop to savor the cool dampness typical of early evening on the central Oregon coast. After a moment, she followed her friends inside.

"Why don't you two claim a table while I make myself presentable? With that wind, my hair probably looks like I battled through a typhoon."

Nina smiled. "Using a comb wouldn't hurt."

With a nod, Leah turned right down a short hallway to the ladies' room. Once inside, she sorted through her bag for a brush. A glance in the mirror made her wince. Her stick-straight, mink-brown hair had looked decent pulled back with a ribbon when she left for work that morning. By lunch, she'd lost the tie, and her mane hung in tangles down her back past her waist. Working out the knots took several minutes, but when she finished, her one concession to vanity shimmered beneath the crappy fluorescent lighting above the sink. Another search through the clutter in her purse turned up a tube of pink lipstick. She stroked on a coat and met her wide, chocolate-brown gaze in the mirror. "Passable."

After washing hands that had touched God knew how many germs that afternoon, she left the bathroom to wind through an assortment of tables to the one occupied by her friends on the far side of the bar. She plopped down on the empty chair, dropped her bag at her feet with a thump, and took a moment to enjoy the view of waves crashing on the beach below. Offshore, the three huge rocks that gave Siren Cove its name were silhouetted by the setting sun. A sigh slipped out. She loved Paige and Nina dearly, but once in a while it would be nice to face a man across the table instead of her old pals. Not that Brock would have noticed nature's splendor on the other side of the window since his gaze would have been glued to whatever sporting event was playing on the TV above the bar.

"What's wrong?"

"Huh?" Leah jerked her attention back to Paige.

"You were making a face like you just bit into a lemon."

"I was thinking about Brock."

Nina picked up the appetizer menu. "Why would you want to think about your loser ex-husband?"

"I've no idea. Chalk it up to a momentary brain freeze. I'm just thankful he won't be coming to our little reunion, since his family didn't move to Oregon until we were in high school."

"Praise be. I —" Paige broke off as their waitress approached. "Hey, Janice. Did you get your hair cut? It looks cute."

"Not cut. Colored." The older woman smiled. "Glad you like it. What can I get for you ladies?"

Nina glanced up. "Margaritas?"

Leah nodded. "After the day I had, you'd better bring us a pitcher."

"And some nachos." Nina slid the menu between a vase filled with blue-tinted carnations and the napkin holder. "Please."

"Coming right up." Janice tucked the order pad in her apron pocket and hurried away.

Paige leaned back in her chair and studied Leah. "Why was your day so rough?"

"Just a long week, plus the kids are beyond excited to create their own time capsule." She smiled. "Although they weren't exactly thrilled when I told them they had to write essays about growing up in the new millennium to put in with their treasures."

"Way to take a fun project and turn it into a learning opportunity. Spoilsport."

Leah laughed when Nina made a face at her. "Yeah, I'm a heartless tyrant. But between bouts of sadistic cruelty, I did reserve the upstairs banquet room at the Poseidon Grill for our reunion and set up menu options with the owner, Arnold Dorsey. Since his son was in our class, he cut us a break. The cost will be a flat twenty dollars per person for food. Soft drinks included. Cash bar."

"That was nice of him." Paige frowned. "I heard George got divorced a while back and moved home to Siren Cove to work for his dad."

"Mr. Dorsey mentioned George is living here now, which is why he'll be able to attend the party." She turned to glance at Nina. "How are the invitations coming along?"

"I just got them back from the printer." She paused as Janice returned, carrying a tray of salt-rimmed glasses and a pitcher of icy margaritas.

She poured a round of drinks then set down the pitcher. "Enjoy. I'll bring your nachos out in a few minutes."

"Thanks." Leah took a sip and looked over at Nina. "You were saying ..."

"The invitations are ready to send just as soon as we have all the addresses."

Paige straightened. "That would be my cue. Drum roll, please."

Nina thrummed her fingers on the table.

"With my superior powers of detection, I've damn near found an address for every member of our fifth-grade class." Paige lifted her glass in a toast. "To the internet — a most wondrous creation."

Leah regarded her friend in awe. "You're amazing."

"I know." Paige set down her drink and pulled a sheet of printed labels out of her purse to hand across the table to Nina. "Here you go."

"I'll put the invitations in the mail tomorrow. We have less than a month until the Fall Festival. I hope people will show up on such short notice."

"I think we'll get a decent turnout, especially since over a third of us still live in the area." Leah moved her glass as their waitress returned with a towering plate of nachos. "Yum, I'm starving." She smiled as Janice stepped back from the table. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. Yell if you need anything else."

As they dug into the appetizer, Paige paused with a chip dripping melted cheese halfway to her mouth and glanced over at Leah. "Did you talk to someone at the school about pulling up the bricks in the outside eating area off the cafeteria?"

"Huh? Why would I do that?"

Her friend frowned. "That's where we buried the time capsule. They built the patio over it, what, five years later?"

Nina wiped her fingers on a napkin. "I'd completely forgotten you went to see your grandparents that weekend and missed out on all the excitement."

The confusion in Paige's eyes deepened. "What are you talking about?"

"Didn't we tell her about it afterward?" Leah ran her finger over the salt- rimmed glass and glanced at Nina.

"Her grandpa had a stroke. I guess she was a little preoccupied at the time."

Paige dropped her chip and scowled. "Are you going to tell me what the heck I missed?"

"After the school board approved funding for the new patio, Leah, Ryan, and I decided to rescue our box." Nina grinned. "We snuck out in the middle of the night like a band of thieves, dug it up, and then reburied it in a safer location."

"You're kidding?"

"Nope." Leah scooped beans onto a chip. "Smart thinking on our part, right?"

"I guess so. Where's the time capsule now?"

"In the woods off the parking lot at the school." She took another swallow of her margarita. "Oh, wow, the bartender must have added extra tequila. This drink is making my eyes water."

"Then it's a good thing you're riding your bike and not driving." Nina set down her glass. "Speaking of Ryan, I wonder if he'll show up for our reunion now that he's rich and famous."

"It's not like he's a movie star or a celebrity athlete. So what if he created the latest and greatest social media sensation? Even though Crossroads is undoubtedly making him a fortune, Ryan isn't the kind of guy who would forget about his old pals who stuck by him when the other kids called him a geek." Paige glanced over at Leah. "Am I right?"

Leah's stomach sank along with her mellow mood, and suddenly her margarita tasted like bilge water. Or maybe it was just the lingering aftertaste of failure and regret. "Let's hope he has better things to do that weekend."

Nina leaned forward and frowned. "You don't want to see him?"

"So he can say I told you so?" Leah clenched her fists in her lap. "All those nasty comments he made about Brock when we announced our engagement the summer after college graduation were spot-on. I ran into him down on the beach a few days after Brock gave me an engagement ring, and Ryan told me I was making a huge mistake. Coming face-to-face with Ryan Alexander again will only confirm I'm the biggest loser on the planet."

"He's too nice a guy to give you a hard time about your divorce." Paige reached over to pat her arm. "He only blew up about Brock because you broke his heart our senior year."

"We were too different to survive as a couple over the long haul." Leah pressed a hand to the sudden ache in her chest. "I still feel horrible for hurting him, but prolonging the inevitable would have been even worse."

"Hey, we're on your side." Nina's green eyes held sympathy. "But surely you've seen him around town when he comes home to visit his mother?"

"Rarely, and not once since Brock and I split up for good."

"You dumped that cretin two years ago. Afterward, you did one heck of a job putting your life back together." Paige gave her arm a shake before releasing her. "Those old insecurities have no place in your world. You can face Ryan and everyone else with your head held high."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Buried Truth"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Jannine Gallant.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Buried Truth 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
Buried Truth by Jannine Gallant Siren Cove #1 Romantic suspense with a second chance at love for Leah Grayson and Ryan Alexander was a fun book to read…I stayed up late eager to see how the book would end. I enjoyed this introduction to Siren Cove and wonder who will have their story told next. Leah and Ryan were high school sweethearts who broke up after high school because Leah thought they were too dissimilar to make it for the long haul. Ryan has moved on from being the nerdy geek to a rather hunky wealthy young man while Leah is a fifth grade teacher that is a bit more of a hippy throwback than a modern woman. When Leah’s class digs up a time capsule from twenty years ago someone desperately wants to retrieve what was hidden inside it as it holds incriminating evidence that must not get out. With a class reunion, desperate people wanting what Leah has and willing to do anything to get it and Ryan and Leah getting back together this is an action-packed story. I really liked Leah’s grandmother – what a pip! I am eager to read the next book in the series and want to thank NetGalley and Kensington Book-Lyrical Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4 Stars