He might be innocent.
Or he might be very, very guilty...
Olympic skier Lock Roane was on top of the world: smashing world records, collecting medals, and basking in the love of a nation and his beautiful heiress girlfriend. It all comes crashing down after Lock discovers his girlfriend had an affair - then wakes from a drunken bender to find himself covered in her blood. Disgraced and dethroned, Lock awaits his murder trial with dread, not knowing if his girlfriend died at his own hands.
Journalist Jordan Sinclair is out of options. To satisfy her blackmailer, she must get the inside scoop (and its cash reward) on Lock Roane. An attraction to the arrogant athlete was not part of the plan. Neither is trying to find out what really happened that night. Now Jordan risks everything - including her life - to help the man she's falling for. A man who just might be a cold-blooded killer...
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
If daydreaming was an Olympic sport, Sarah Andre would be buried under gold medals. She lives with her husband in Southwest FL and is a 2014 and 2011 Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense. Besides writing, her passions are eating chocolate, exercising (because of the chocolate) and playing with her very naughty Pomeranian hooligans...
er...boys. She loves reading all types of fiction and discussing books with readers - come say hello!
Read an Excerpt
Locked, Loaded, & Lying
By Sarah Andre, Anya Kagan
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Sarah Andre
All rights reserved.
Ten months later.
"Any recollection yet, Lock?"
Lock turned from the onslaught of stinging flakes and hurricane-force wind. He flicked his jacket sleeve and squinted at his watch. Almost midnight. Three hours ago when he'd slipped into Sam's Bait and Tackle Shop, lit only by purring beverage refrigerators, the flakes had been sparse. Now that the hellish clandestine meeting with Parker had wrapped up, snow pummeled down. This would probably turn into a blizzard before he reached the top of the hill.
"Any recollection yet, Lock?"
He continued his dispirited trek up the dense forest to the cabin, desperately searching the black hole of his memory for the trillionth time. Had he killed Tiff? Why couldn't he remember something? He swallowed down the ever-present sense of horror. Christ, he should've grabbed a couple of beers before he left the bait shop. He sure needed them after his lawyer's lecture.
When jury selection started Monday and this insane hiding ended, he vowed he'd pay to renovate Old Sam's decrepit shack. He owed Old Sam for all the times he'd jimmied the lock with a credit card to meet Parker after the place closed down. Lock was pretty sure the old man knew about the "break-ins," given the peculiar absence of a six-pack once in a while and the twenty-dollar bills Lock left on the counter. But even when he wasn't swiping beer, he owed Sam for his company. For keeping his identity a secret these last ten months. Sure, the old man talked way too much about being a cook aboard the Princeton aircraft carrier, but it sure beat hanging with Leo hour after hour, day after day.
Out of the corner of his eye, headlights barreled around the bend of Highway 145 far below. Has to be a tourist — who else would drive like a lunatic in this mess?
As if on cue, the car skidded sideways on the highway. He stiffened, squinting through the swirling snow and dense mist of his breath.
The car swerved the other way, then in an ominous pirouette, sliding across the second lane. Either the wheels had just locked up or the driver stupidly fought the slide instead of turning into it.
Another 360. Christ! Lock stared helplessly at the unstoppable disaster hundreds of yards away. Time stretched out. The car now faced backward but skated forward, gathering momentum as it slid straight for the guardrail and the San Miguel River beyond. Oh shit! It's gonna —
A grinding screech echoed uphill as the rear fender smashed through the guardrail. The car sailed in the air and disappeared into the dark abyss below.
"Shit! Hold on, just — I'm coming!" His voice sounded tight in the eerie silence, and his knees shook as he stumbled downward, the horrific grinding sound still echoing sickly in his head. Damn it to hell for not having a cell phone! This was gonna be bad.
The thick forest would have made this descent treacherous on any given night, but combined with the stinging snow and thin, bobbing beam of his flashlight, his journey became one of survival. Flakes blinded him and clogged his breathing. Slashes of frigid wind whipped him until he staggered. He pushed on, slipping and sliding, and twice collided with cottonwood branches, the second one clocking him so hard it sheared off his knit cap.
Uttering an oath, he continued on, his breath now ragged. He reached the highway and half-ran, half-skated across. He halted at the guardrail's serrated hole and swept the flashlight in an arc. A Honda Civic lay upside down on the embankment. The headlights shone with morbid stillness into the swirling river three feet away.
"Hang on," he hollered, sidestepping carefully down the embankment. A blanket of innocent-looking snow hid jagged rock and loose stones. One misstep and he'd pitch right into the howling river.
When he reached the upside-down driver's side door, he shone the light through the shattered glass. A figure in a red sweater was still belted in and slumped away from the door. A dark ponytail cascaded to the car ceiling, and a crimson gash on the woman's temple glistened in his beam.
"Come on, honey, please be alive," he whispered, his teeth chattering from bitter wind and sweat-soaked clothes. What if she had a broken neck? In trying to save her, he'd kill her. Fear clawed at him, so raw he thought he might vomit.
He straightened and gazed up the embankment to the silent, snow-covered highway beyond. This was the boonies. There'd be no snowplows or cars passing through for a long, long time.
He turned back and yanked the door handle with all his strength. The dented metal groaned as it yawned open, and shards of glass showered around his boots, glittering under his flashlight's beam. He hunched down, shining the light on the woman. A thin rivulet of blood ran from her temple into her hairline before dripping rhythmically onto the ceiling in a growing pool.
"Hey. Can you hear me?"
An eyelid fluttered, and he released a harsh breath, jamming the flashlight into a mound of snow, the beam directed on her face. He braced her torso, released the seatbelt, and lowered her body an inch at a time until he had her half out of the car. He kicked a small portion of snow and glass away and tugged off a glove, gently resting her head on it.
In the dim light, her face was horror-movie pale, lips bluish and puckered. The only sign of consciousness was that one eyelid flutter. Blood stained his jacket sleeves, and he was seized with dread. He pressed two fingers to her carotid, trying to steady their shaking as he concentrated on feeling even the faintest of beats. Nothing. She was dead.
He staggered over to a formation of large, flat rocks by the swollen river's edge, fell to his knees on the closest one, and vomited into the black, swirling water.
Shit. What was he going to do? He could already see the headlines:Olympic Champion found with SECOND dead body.
The paparazzi would find him and finish him if he stayed with the corpse or even just reported his rescue attempt. He'd worked so damn hard on disappearing. Coach Black's threat of expulsion rang in his ears, chilling him to the core.
Lock stayed on his knees, shivering, staring dully into the water as it churned and howled and raced downstream. If only he hadn't seen the accident. If only he could climb up that damn hill and shut himself back in the cabin. Let someone else find the body.
He cupped some freezing river water and rinsed out his mouth. When he sat back, he studied the Civic with its shining lights, wheels in the air; almost like a giant, overturned bug. How about if he made an anonymous phone call once he got to the cabin? Or —
He squinted harder through the pelting snowfall. Did her head just move?
Stumbling back over the treacherous riverbank, he skidded to his knees beside her, slivers of glass immediately grinding into his kneecaps. He winced, grunting as he grabbed the flashlight and focused the beam fully on her face. Snowflakes accumulated on pale pink cheeks, and tiny vapor puffs streamed from her lips. His heart lurched in relief.
"Hey. Wake up." He blew on his fingers to warm them, then stroked her cheek, gently brushing it free of snow. "Are you okay?"
With reluctant effort, the woman's eyes fluttered open. They were enormous eyes, dark liquid in the weak light. His fingers stilled as he stared into them. She squinted at the flashlight beam, clearly bewildered.
"Don't be afraid," he said, as calmly and quietly as he could over the howling river and shrieking wind. He bent closer to the flashlight so she could see him and worked up a comforting smile. "You're gonna be okay."
She glanced from the light to him and attempted a smile back. "Jesus?" she whispered. "Is that you?"
Despite the urgency, he grinned at the irony. "I'm definitely not Jesus. And you aren't dead. You've got a bitchin' gash in your head, though. Can you move anything? Your arms? Neck?"
The woman closed her eyes, and he held his breath. When nothing happened, he exhaled in frustration. Damn it, she's lost consciousness again. Just as he shook his head, she moved hers to the right a fraction. Then left. She winced in pain.
"Everything hurts," she whispered. The word everything sounded more like evarythang, but she was whispering, and the wind shrieked.
"I'm sure you're hurting," he said. "Your car's totaled."
"My car? Where am I?" Definitely a southern twang.
"You were on Highway One Forty-five, outside Hidden River, Colorado. Now you're on a riverbank."
She raised her head a millimeter and peered down her body into the wreckage of the interior. "I gotta get out of here." Her voice sounded stronger, slightly panicked. "Help me stand up."
"Sounds like a plan." He cupped her head for support. "Listen, I'm gonna pull you the rest of the way out. If you feel any sharp pain, I'll stop. Okay?"
"Wait, let me brush away more of this glass first."
He stood, muscles stiff and cramped now. Spots of blood oozed through his wet jeans where the glass cut into him, but he didn't feel the pain anymore. Using his boot, he plowed a drag path, then ran the flashlight over the area. With a grunt of satisfaction, he crouched down beside her, mesmerized all over again when he met those startling, watchful eyes. "On three — ready?"
She took a deep breath and nodded. "Lock and load."
Lock jerked back from the flashlight beam. Holy shit, did she just recognize me? The phrase was synonymous with his public image. Bad boy skier with the outrageous name and even more outrageous behavior. A phrase Coach always shouted at him as he slammed through the starting gate. Renditions in newspaper headlines: "Lock Spotted Loaded at Aspen Nightclub."
He stared hard at her, fighting the wild urge to up and run, just leave her for a team of snow plows to find. All he saw were tears welling as she winced again.
"My right ankle," she said through gritted teeth. "I think it's broken."
His shoulders sagged. Ten months hiding from the paparazzi had turned him into a paranoid ass. "All right. Here we go."
He slid his arms under her, braced her back and neck, and pulled. She made a few mewing sounds, but on the whole was quiet and still.
"Where were you going in such a hurry?" he asked, mostly to keep her mind off the pain.
"I ... I don't remember." She sounded surprised, and her brow furrowed. "I know ... it was somewhere important. Critical."
"Must have been, for you to be out in this." He thought about sharing his opinion of her horrendous driving skills, but steeled himself and continued to pull until he could see her feet. Although there was no outward appearance of a broken ankle, he slowed his rescue, instructing her to lift her leg so it didn't bang anything on the way out. She complied, but gasped and whimpered.
A blast of wind slammed into him, and he clenched his teeth, thinking about the warmth of Leo's cabin. How it'd never felt homey until just now. His brother would have a fire blazing, and there was that half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel's in the pantry. Lock could almost feel the burn of a couple of whiskey shooters. More than a couple.
The woman lay supine on the snow now. He stood and arched his back, squinting through the raging snow across the highway at the black nothingness that hid a steep incline to help and heat. His only choice was to carry her up to the cabin; nothing else was nearby. Old Sam's shop was half a mile down the road. Too far. No, the cabin was it — besides, what with Leo's medical training, he'd know what to do.
Lock glanced down. The blood from her temple trickled slower, and her breath came in steady little puffs.
"Your knees are bleeding," she murmured.
"Just a few souvenirs from your window." He crouched beside her. "I'm going to carry you to a cabin at the top of that hill where we can patch you up. Let me know if anything hurts, okay?"
"I can hobble." She winced and seemed out of breath. "Just help me stand."
"You'd never make it. It's a hike."
"I'm feeling much better. Do not carry me."
He couldn't believe they were wasting time arguing about this. Brushing his freezing palm across his lips, he blew harshly, hiding his impatience. "Look, if you weren't sporting a head wound and maybe a broken ankle, and this wasn't turning into a full-fledged blizzard, we could sit around and have ourselves a merry debate. Now button it, sweetheart, you're getting carried."
"Great," she breathed. "Rescued by a caveman."
"Great," he mimicked with a smile. "Saving an obstinate feminist."
A trace of a grin appeared, and she stayed silent, so he chalked that up to a win.
He swept the beam around the car interior but saw no purse and didn't want to spend time rummaging. Instead, he unzipped his jacket and placed it around her, stuck her hands into his gloves, and held out the flashlight. "Do you think you can hold this steady?"
"Yeah, and I have the Brownie badge to prove it."
He ignored the sarcasm, handed the flashlight off, and gathered her up. She felt almost emaciated beneath his jacket, and her violent shivering took him by surprise. She hadn't been doing that earlier. Was she going into shock? Even if he ran, he wouldn't get her to Leo fast enough. Dread crawled through him.
The beam swung wildly before she gripped it with both hands and pointed it straight ahead, emitting a little moan.
"You're doing great," he muttered, stepping cautiously toward the guardrail. "You okay?"
"Yeah. Just a little dizzy." Her voice sounded weak, and in the dim light, her expression seemed dazed, her skin bluish-white again.
He tried to keep a smooth stride up the embankment, but her soft whimper made him pause and adjust her trembling body closer. He crossed the icy highway like a geriatric to avoid slipping and dropping her.
"What's your name?" he asked. Maybe talking would keep her mind off the pain and his mind off all the disastrous things that could go wrong during this climb.
"Jesselynn Claire. Wait ... not right ..." the rest of her answer was too soft for him to catch over the shrieking gale. The beam skewed left, then dropped at his feet as her eyes rolled back in her head.
Shit. "Hold on, baby, just hold on." He plowed into the forest, fighting his way upward through the violent storm.CHAPTER 2
Lock staggered the final yards to the dimly lighted cabin and yelled for Leo at the top of his exhausted lungs. The woman in his arms didn't even stir. He shifted her again. Slight as she was, she was dead weight, and his biceps screamed from the strain. Sweat blanketed his back, turning his shirt into an instant, freezing compress under the snow-soaked sweatshirt.
"Leo," he hollered again, teeth chattering. He trudged the last several feet, her wet ponytail slapping his hip in time with his stride. The inviting scent of burning logs enveloped him, and a part of him calmed down. He'd made it. Leo could take it from here.
His brother wrenched the door open. The wind immediately tore the knob from his grasp, slamming the door against the foyer wall. Leo stumbled back, looking stunned by the snowflakes streaming inside. Or maybe it was the sight of a body in Lock's arms.
"Call nine one one," Lock muttered, lurching into the warmth of the cabin. "I think she's in shock or something."
He paused as Leo shoved the door closed and threw the bolt. They both stared open-mouthed at the woman, Leo in astonishment and Lock from panting. Her eyes remained closed, her face pale and bloody.
"What happened?" Leo sputtered as Lock stomped in place to clean off his boots.
"I saw her car crash through the guardrail."
"Holy crap," he said under his breath and dug in his pocket for his cell phone. By the look on his face, there was no signal. He went into the kitchen and grabbed the wall phone. "Shit. The land line is down too."
And obviously the electricity. The forecasters had seriously under-predicted this storm. Lock sidestepped past a couple of lighted hurricane lamps on his way to the den. He settled her gently on the sofa, very aware that his brother hadn't moved from the kitchen. Not this again.
Excerpted from Locked, Loaded, & Lying by Sarah Andre, Anya Kagan. Copyright © 2015 Sarah Andre. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
At first I didn't like the male protagonist's name (Lock) but once I got into the book I didn't care. I liked him and I loved the interaction between him and the female protagonist, Jordan. It kept my interest all the way through to the end. I enjoyed reading it and I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves romance and mystery.
I was completely drawn into this story very quickly. I couldn't put it down and spent every opportunity I could get dipping into it- before work, at the breakfast table etc. There was good chemistry and banter between the characters which was quite amusing. The mystery of who committed the murder kept me guessing right up to the very end. I liked that there were so many plausible suspects to choose from! Even Lock himself wasn't above suspicion. I enjoyed the process of elimination as Jordan and Lock investigated the different theories and suspects as well as their burgeoning romance the more time they spent together. A great read, Highly recommended. Copy received in exchange for an honest review
Oh, this was great. I was engaged from the first page, all the way to the end. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but there are so many twists and turns in this story that you won't get bored. They aren't predicable either. This is truly a story many will enjoy!
Jordan Sinclair and Lock Roane wear masks that they want the rest of the world to see. Their worlds are going to collide on a snowy road though, and a mask or two might fall. But in the meantime, Jordan is hiding a painful; childhood secret never seems to go away. Jordan’s mother is everything to her, and no one is going to take her away. While Lock, is shielding himself from the paparazzi and fans who have already declared him guilty even before his trial. Lock’s brother, Leo, is his constant supporter and critic. Leo also happens to be my favorite character because he is very much relied on by Jordan and Lock. Although Lock would prefer not to acknowledge as much, he needs and wants his brother’s approval. Leo is the negotiator and diplomat between Jordan’s and Lock’s tiffs. If Leo can broker a deal between those two, then he can between nations. Tension can either help or hurt, and both apply to Jordan and Lock. It’s what adds to the mystery behind what Jordan is really hiding, and what Lock plans on discovering. You better watch out for Jordan and Lock! I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Locked, Loaded, & Lying is an intense and intriguing romantic suspense novel that follows Lock Roane and Jordan Sinclair, who have been thrown into desperate circumstances together. Lock is hiding, awaiting trial for murder, and Jordan is desperate to uncover information on Lock in order to write a story on the famous skier. Both end up keeping a lot of secrets from each other, but their motivations are understandable given the situations that both find themselves in (there is a lot and I don’t want to spoil it). Despite their misgivings about each other, their attraction really builds along with the story, giving a lot of depth to their interactions and troubles with each other. I really liked how both characters circumstances were not immediately clear, leading to some judgments by me, but throughout the book they both became much more human and understandable, like Lock having a clear personality that he used for the media to hide and protect himself. Andre does a great job of bringing real humanity to the characters of the book, and I was really invested by the end. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
This book kept me up until morning , turning the pages to make sure the real murderer was identified and there was a happy ending. Fantastic!
Oscar Pistorius, anyone? That is the first thing that came to mind for me when I read the synopsis for this book. Maybe I jumped on this book because I followed and wrote articles on the Pistorius murder trial in 2014. In case you aren’t familiar with the case, it made international news, coming from South Africa. Paralympic, double amputee, Oscar Pistorius was on trial for the murder of his girlfriend who was shot multiple times inside their house. So moving into the story of Lock Roane and the murder trial he is about to face for allegedly slaying his girlfriend, I was excited to read it and see how it all came about. Even though I paralleled Lock to Oscar, not much else is really the same. They just both happen to be Olympic athletes that “murdered” their girlfriends. Lock has been in hiding for the last ten months, awaiting trial, staying out of the media, and making sure to keep his spot on the team if he isn’t found guilty. The week before his trial is to begin, he rescues a woman who was driving recklessly on the highway right down the hill from where he is hiding out. In good conscious, he couldn’t just leave her in her overturned car as a blizzard descended. Jordan Sinclair is in desperate need to get to Aspen, Colorado to find the elusive Lock Roane. It is the only way she can save herself and, more importantly, her mother. She has been running from her past which has, finally caught up with her. As Jordan’s time is running out, she finds herself sliding off the road and the next moment, in the warmth of a cabin with two handsome men. Jordan couldn’t have been any luckier, other than the fact that her body is bruised and busted and her car with her belongings is no longer within her reach, but she found Lock. Now she only has a few days to get the material she needs and to get out of there. But then she learns about Lock. She gets to know the man behind the Lock and Load persona that only the media gets to see. Lock is suspicious of Jordan and her non-stop questions and her bright eyes that he keeps getting lost in. Lock isn’t sure of what Jordan’s agenda is, but as soon as he senses her getting too close, he throws up Lock and Load, pushing her away. What he doesn’t expect is Jordan to stick it out, being persistent in getting through to him. Until he discovers her secret and realizes what her real agenda is. But how can he reconcile what he learned about her with the woman he has begun to know? The trial is approaching fast and Jordan finds herself veering from her original mission and helping Lock with is defense for the trial. Jordan had followed the story these last ten months and instantly found him guilty, right along with the rest of the world, but the more time she spends with him, the more she decides he may not be guilty after all, but how to prove it? Despite why Jordan is in Colorado, Lock allows her to help him figure out what really happened the night his girlfriend was found murdered. As these two, along with Lock’s twin, Leo, traipse around Aspen trying to find out the real events of the night, leading up to the bloody morning, secrets surface and they find themselves in danger of having the same fate as Lock’s girlfriend. I found myself liking Lock as himself and as Lock and Load. I didn’t have a stand on if he was guilty or not, but the more I read and started to know who he was, I was praying they could figure out what really happened and that he wasn’t guilty. Jordan was a strong, determined woman whose past is one most wouldn’t be able to survive, yet she did. She was a character I admired. Leo was the reserved character that had more to say in his silence than the other two when they would verbally spar. There were heart racing moments, terror-filled moments, hope blooming and bursting moments, and utterly adorable moments.
Excellent read that is well written and full of suspense, deception, and romance. After a drunken blackout Locke, Olympic skier, awakes to find his fiancee dead, lying in a pool of blood. Since he's now the number one suspect, he goes into hiding to give his legal team time and stay away from the paparazzi. After stumbling upon a woman involved in a car accident, he has no choice but to help her, hoping all the time that she doesn't recognize him. Little does he know that she has a few problems and secrets of her own!! This is an excellent romantic suspense that I highly recommend.