NEVER keep secrets!
NEVER break promises!
And ALWAYS have each other's back!
Two of these rules have been broken and now they can never turn back!
Bethany secretly dates behind her father's back but doesn't know that the boy she's dating is part of a gang. Joe (the son) becomes involved with drugs and doesn't realize that he is dealing with the largest drug cartel in the county and their biggest buyer is someone that they all know.
The family becomes distraught when one member goes missing while another spins out of control. It's an intense hunt in the dead of winter and time is not on their side when they find the car of the missing member in a place that no one would have ever expected it to be.
Dangerous Secrets contains some of the same characters as my first book '21 Black Roses'.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
I live in the beautiful Midwest with its ever-changing seasons. I have always loved old cars, muscle cars, hiking, camping, off road, and being outdoors. I am a huge animal lover at heart. I am happily married to a man that often inspires me with his drive to always try new things. We have had many adventures together over decades of love. And we have had many of life's challenges toowhich have made us stronger and inspired us even more. Follow your dreams, and see where they can take you! Sky's the limit!
Read an Excerpt
By Val Ciardullo
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2014 Val Ciardullo
All rights reserved.
I lost my mom almost a year ago to cancer. Now it's just me, my dad Andy and my brother Joe. Joe is two years older than me. He's seventeen, soon to be eighteen in just a few months. My dad's two brothers and one sister all live within a few miles from us. We are and always have been a very close family. Uncle Michael is the oldest and was promoted from police officer to detective several years ago. My dad, who is the second oldest, owns his own construction company, Phillips Construction. Uncle Chuck is an attorney and my Aunt Dakota is a veterinarian. She is married to a really sweet guy, Jeff, who is a firefighter and paramedic.
The family has been through a lot over the years. My dad's parents, Alan and Joan, were killed in an auto accident when he was eighteen. Several years later, Aunt Dakota started dating a man that became very abusive early in the relationship. The relationship ended when my dad and uncles learned of the abuse. Then Aunt Dakota started receiving death threats; she was almost killed twice. My dad and uncles resorted to using the services of a group called "The Pack" in order to keep Dakota safe. The Pack was a club that took the law into their own hands when they felt that justice wasn't served the legal way. And, The Pack had some help, too. The Chief of police, John Franks, was not only the chief when my grandfather was on the force; he was also his best friend. He helped my family and The Pack find Aunt Dakota when the man that was threatening her abducted her. Chief John Franks has been there for my family every time they have needed him. He's like a family member to us.
My dad and uncles have always been very over protective of the girls in our family. It's the way they were brought up; they all think alike. Neither my girl cousins nor me are allowed to date until we are seventeen. I've always felt that was unfair. Why do the boys get to date sooner? A few months ago, I started dating behind my dad's back. Nobody has any idea, not even my brother.
Shawn, my boyfriend, and I are two years apart in age and have known each other for four years. We became best friends and then it turned into something more serious. My dad doesn't like me even hanging around with Shawn, says that Shawn is trouble. He thinks Shawn gets too close and friendly with me.
I have never been to Shawn's house because his mom doesn't work so she's home all the time and she can be very critical of other people. It's always been just him and his mom, not sure what happened to his dad. I was always too afraid to ask.
Both my brother and dad are at work and not expected home for another hour or so, so Shawn and I thought it would be a perfect time to be alone. We're in my bedroom, sitting on the bed talking, when we hear a knock on the door.
"SHIT!" I whisper. "That's my brother!"
Shawn whispers back in a panicky tone as he puts his shirt on. "SHIT! I thought he wasn't supposed to be home for another hour?"
"He wasn't supposed to be."
"Bethany?" Joe says again as he opens the door. "Bethany, do you want ..." He's stunned as he sees Shawn leap to his feet. "What the hell?"
"What the hell do you think you're doing, Bethany?"
"Joe, please." Joe grabs Shawn and throws him up against the wall. I rush to my feet grabbing Joe's arm trying to pull him back. "JOE, STOP! WHY ARE YOU ACTING SO CRAZY? PLEASE DON'T HURT HIM! HE'S MY BOYFRIEND!"
"YOUR WHAT?" He glances at me then back at Shawn.
I yell out again. "He's my boyfriend!"
Joe lets go of Shawn then threatens him. "If you ever come near my sister again, I will kill you."
Shawn gets up in Joe's face. "You better be very careful who you're threatening!"
"Get the hell out of our house!"
"You will pay." Shawn says as he points to Joe. "I'll see you later, Bethany."
"No, you won't see her later!" Joe follows Shawn out of my room making sure he leaves our house. He returns a moment later with fire in his eyes. "What in the hell do you think you're doing? You're only fifteen years old! WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? You're not even allowed to date yet and you're having sex! If dad finds out about this he's going to flip out!"
"We weren't having sex! We were just talking! Why are you acting so crazy?"
"I'm not stupid, Bethany! He was just putting his damn shirt on when I opened the door! You are not allowed to be hanging with Shawn! Mom and Dad made that perfectly clear to you last year!"
"Please don't tell dad!"
"You have no idea what you just got yourself into dating him, Bethany!"
"What are you talking about?"
"Shawn is a gangbanger!"
"No, he's not!"
"Downstairs, now! I'm not having this conversation in your bedroom!"
Shit! I will be in so much trouble if my dad finds out about this. What the hell is my brother doing home early? I've never seen him act crazy like this. I follow him downstairs to the family room where he starts to pace back and forth.
"Joe, please don't tell dad that Shawn was here."
"What the hell are you thinking getting involved with a gangbanger?"
"He's not a gangbanger! Quit calling him that!"
"Did you not notice the black teardrop tattooed next to his eye?" Joe asks sarcastically.
"Yes, I did, so what!"
"So what?" Joe raises his arm likes he's going to hit me but doesn't. "Have you ever asked him why he has it?"
"No, I haven't because it's none of my business! Why are you acting so crazy? I've never seen you like act this before, Joe!"
Joe ignores my question. "If you're dating the guy then it's your business! It means that he has either killed someone or lost a fellow gang member! It's a tattoo that all gangs use! You know this! Uncle Michael tells us stories all the time about gangs! Have you not learned anything from our uncle?"
"He would have told me if he were in a gang!"
"Well, it's obvious that he hasn't been completely truthful with you! What does that tell you, Bethany? You're breaking up with him and you will NOT see him again!"
"Who are you to tell me what to do?"
Joe takes a couple of steps toward me. Not knowing what he's going to do, I take a few steps back. "You need to stay away from him! He's bad news!"
"Are you going to tell dad?"
"The way dad's temper has been since mom died? I don't want to tell him if I don't have to! We promised that we would never keep any secrets from him and you've already broken that promise and now you're making me break it!"
"Please don't tell dad, Joe. You know how our family is, over protective and always up in our business and you're just like dad! Always so over protective! I can see why this family has always driven Aunt Dakota nuts! What's gotten into you, Joe?" He keeps avoiding answering my question.
"You're fifteen years old, dad should be all up in your damn business!"
I start crying out of fear that he's going to tell our dad. "Please don't tell dad."
He lets out a huge sigh and thinks for a moment. "You're really putting me in a tough position. You're making me break a promise to dad that we wouldn't keep any secrets from him! But today is your lucky day. I won't tell him only because of the way his temper has been lately. There's no telling what he'd do to you if he found out."
"Look who's talking about tempers? You're acting crazy yourself right now."
Joe still ignores my comments about his temper. "You're lucky I don't beat the shit out of you. This is the choice you have, either you breakup with Shawn or I tell dad."
"Break up with him and do it tonight!"
"I hate you!"
"Someday you'll understand! Get Shawn on the phone, text him, do whatever you have to do, but this relationship ends tonight!" He shakes his head in disgust. "Dad will be home any minute. I told him that I would cook dinner tonight to help him out. I'm cooking on the grill so if you would please set the dinner table I would appreciate it."
I start heading for the front door. "I need to see Shawn."
Joe instantly grabs my arm. "WHAT? What did I just say? You are breaking up with him!"
"I WILL! But I want to do it face to face and I need to hear the truth from him about the gang! I won't breakup with him over the phone!"
"Well, you're going to have to because you're not going to see him! Stay away from him!"
"I'm not fucking around, Bethany! I will get dad involved if I have to!"
He leaves the family room heading to the kitchen and I head for the bathroom to wash my face so my dad doesn't see that I've been crying. Something is not right with Joe. He's been acting really weird for the past two weeks. He's acting crazy. Dad has been working so much that he hasn't seen Joe to know that something is different about him. I wonder if I should say something to dad. But I can't ... Joe will tell him about Shawn and me if I tell dad about him.
I spend at least twenty minutes in the bathroom trying to calm myself down. When I finally leave the bathroom and go to the kitchen, I see our dad outside talking to Joe. I watch them intently as I set the table wondering if Joe's telling him about Shawn and me. They're out there for quite a long time talking. He said he wouldn't say anything to dad as long as I do what he told me to do and breakup with Shawn.
Dad comes into the house. "Hi, honey." He gives me a kiss on the head. "How was your day?"
"Hi dad. It was fine." Thank god, he didn't tell dad yet. If he had, dad wouldn't be this calm and cheerful.
"Are you okay?" he asks.
"You seem upset."
Damn, he knows me well. Apparently I don't hide my emotions very well. "No, I'm good."
"Okay. Dinner is almost done."
Joe comes in with the plate of steaks and puts it on the table. "What do you want to drink, Bethany?"
I ignore his question and grab a glass from the cabinet myself. My dad notices and looks at me then at Joe then back at me again.
"Bethany, your brother asked you a question."
"I'll get it myself, thank you."
The three of us sit down at the table and start eating. With the exception of when our mom died, I think this is the quietest dinner we've ever had. After about fifteen minutes my dad puts his fork down on his plate, leans back in his chair and places both hands on the table.
"Alright, what's going on with you two?"
"What do you mean?" Joe asks.
My dad raises his eyebrows at Joe. "Why aren't you two talking?"
"Don't be a smart ass, Joe."
"I'm not trying to be, dad."
"The two of you are always chatty during dinner which surprisingly, I always look forward to. But tonight for some reason you can hear a pin drop in here, so what's going on?"
"Just sibling rivalry. There's nothing to worry about. We'll get over it." I look up at Joe and give him a dirty look. Don't bet on it.
"Do I need to intervene?" Dad asks.
I make no eye contact with my dad as I respond. "No, sir."
"Then I suggest that you get whatever issue you two are having worked out. I don't like it when my kids are fighting."
"Bethany and I will get it worked out. Don't worry."
I need to see Shawn. I can't breakup with him over the phone. "Dad, can I stay at Stephanie's tonight?" Stephanie is my best friend.
"Uh, no. It's a school night, Bethany. You know better. Is your homework finished?"
"I'm almost done, I was going to finish it before I went to her house. Please, dad. Tomorrow's Friday."
"I'm sorry but the answer is no. Please don't ask again."
I better send Stephanie a text to give her a heads up about what just happened between Shawn and my brother. I want to try and see Shawn tonight. She always said she'd cover for me if I ever needed her to. Maybe I can convince my dad to let me go out for a couple of hours. I grab my cell phone and send her a quick text. My dad grabs my phone from me just as I hit send. Shit, please don't read that.
"You know better than to have your cell phone at the table."
"I'm sorry, I just wanted to send Stephanie a quick text."
"You know better, Bethany. No cell phones at the table. That's always been the dinner table rule."
After dinner I head upstairs and finish my homework. I'm working on my history paper when Joe walks into my room.
"You were trying to see Shawn tonight, weren't you? Trying to get Stephanie to cover for you?"
"I am not talking to you."
He steps further into my room and closes the door just enough so it's just barely open and starts to whisper. "You better talk to me or I will call dad up here."
"Is this the way it's going to be? You, threatening me into doing things?"
"I don't want it to be this way, Bethany. But you're not supposed to be hanging around him. He's bad news. It's not safe for you to be dating him and you are not allowed to date at your age anyways."
"Just get out."
"He's bad news."
"I can handle this on my own."
"You're treading in very dangerous waters, Bethany. This is serious shit!"
"He won't hurt me!"
"You don't know that! Didn't you hear him threaten me before he left? Gangs are known for retaliations! I don't want you mixed up with those kinds of people!"
"Just get out of my room."
"Bethany, we need ..."
"LEAVE ME ALONE!"
He turns to leave and our dad is standing behind him. Oh shit!
"If you two are not back to your normal selves by tomorrow then I am stepping in, so I suggest you get your issue worked out."
He leaves the room and Joe looks at me shaking his head. "That was too close, Bethany," he whispers.
"Get out of my room."
Once I finish my homework I head downstairs looking for my dad. I find him in his office working on the computer.
"Dad, I know I can't stay overnight at Stephanie's but can I at least go over there for a little bit?"
"Is your homework finished?"
He looks at his watch. "It's seven o'clock. I want you home by nine. No later."
"Yes sir, thank you."
The moment I walk out the door I call Stephanie and she picks up on the first ring. "Hey, girl, I got your text! I can't believe Joe caught you and Shawn together!"
"Yeah, it wasn't good. He said that he wouldn't tell our dad if I break up with Shawn. Can you cover for me? I have to be home by nine o'clock so I only have a couple of hours. I want to meet with Shawn so I can tell him in person."
"Yeah, sure. Let me know how things go if you can."
"I will, thank you."
I send a quick text to Shawn. "We need to talk. Can you please meet me at our bridge right now?" I receive a text back right away.
"I'll be there in ten minutes."
When I arrive Shawn is already there waiting for me. "Shawn!" I holler out to him. He looks up and walks toward me. "Are you okay?"
"Are you? My brother threw you up against the wall pretty hard."
"I'm fine but he's going to pay for that."
"Don't you dare lay a hand on my brother! He was only protecting me! You know my family is very over protective."
"He disrespected me in front of you!"
"I'm surprised he didn't tell your dad about us."
"Yeah, well there's a catch to that."
"What do you mean?"
I start crying. "I have to breakup with you."
"Shawn, we have to breakup or he will tell our dad!"
"We can be more careful! No more meeting at your house. We'll just strictly meet here."
"And what? Have sex in the woods all the time? Shawn, we can't! I'm sorry!"
"Is this what you want, Bethany?"
"No, of course not! But we don't have a choice! If my dad finds out about us ..."
"I know! Fuck!"
"Shawn, you'll be turning eighteen in a couple of weeks. You know that my dad could then have you arrested since I'm only fifteen."
"I know! But we can make this work!"
"It's not just my dad that you'd have to worry about!"
"Who else, your brother? Because I can handle him!"
"No, my two uncles would come after you too! And one's a cop!"
"WHAT? You have an uncle that's a cop?"
"Yes. Well he's a detective now but still."
"Holy shit! I didn't know you had a cop for an uncle! I wish I would have known that!"
"Yeah, just like I wish I would have known that you're in a gang!"
"How the hell did you find that out?"
"The tattoo on the side of your eye gave it away!"
"I've had this tattoo for a while now. Are you telling me that you're just now noticing it?"
"My brother told me!"
"Damn it! I didn't know that you have an uncle for a cop! I have warrants out for my arrest, Bethany! I could have gotten busted at your house!"
"What? What are the warrants for?"
"Burglary, drugs and I'm not sure what the other one is for!"
Excerpted from Dangerous Secrets by Val Ciardullo. Copyright © 2014 Val Ciardullo. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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