Twisted Innocence (Moonlighters Series #3)

Twisted Innocence (Moonlighters Series #3)

by Terri Blackstock

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Overview

2016 Christy Award Winner for Suspense

Holly Cramer’s past choices have finally caught up to her, but she never expected them to endanger her baby.

Though Holly’s stumbled through most of her adult life as a party girl, she longs to live a more stable life for her daughter. Then police show up to question her about the whereabouts of Creed Kershaw, Lily’s father. She has kept his identity a secret from friends and family—she never even told him about the pregnancy. Now he’s a person of interest in a drug-related murder case.

Determined to keep him out of their lives and turn him over to police, Holly uses her private investigating skills to search for him. But her bravado backfires when he turns the tables and takes her and the baby hostage. As desperate hours tick by, Holly realizes his connection to Leonard Miller—the man who has gunned down several members of her family. Creed claims he’s innocent and that Miller is after him too. His gentleness with Lily moves her, but she can’t trust a man who has held her at gunpoint . . . even if he reminds her so much of herself.

Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310332367
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 02/03/2015
Series: Moonlighters Series , #3
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 124,872
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.82(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

Read an Excerpt

Twisted Innocence

Moonlighters Series


By Terri Blackstock

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2015 Terri Blackstock
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-33236-7


CHAPTER 1

Holly Cramer pulled to the curb of the condemned apartment building, her yellow taxi grinding gears and threatening to die. Though the sun hung bright overhead, the street was colorless, oppressive, with moldy, rotting houses and garbage festering in yards. Men loitered on the road up ahead in front of another boarded house. She shouldn't have accepted this fare, but the customer had called her cell phone personally instead of going through the agency. She must be a repeat customer.

Holly tapped her horn and looked out her passenger window. The house showed no sign of life, but it wasn't the wrong place. The girl had clearly said it was the green house on the corner of Burke and Darby. Holly checked her phone for the caller's number and called her back.

It went straight to voice mail.

Holly sighed. Maybe this was a prank, some kid trying to yank her chain just to see if she'd come. She had done that enough herself as a kid. Back when she was still Panama City's party girl, she'd done things under the influence that had been even more childish, like calling a guy fourteen times when she knew he was with his girlfriend, just to create trouble in paradise. She and her friends would giggle hysterically at the fight they imagined ensued, but the next day, as she nursed the punishment of a hangover, she would hate herself for it.

Not ready to give up on this fare just yet, Holly honked the horn again. The men up the street turned to look at her. Getting nervous, she reached into the pocket of her door, but of course her pistol wasn't there. It was against the law for a cabbie to carry a firearm inside the car while they were on duty. It was locked safely in her trunk.

She thought of bucking the law and getting it out, but that would call more attention to her. This was stupid. She was a mother now, and the last place she should have been was in the slums, waiting for someone to blow her head off just for target practice.

But what if the woman who'd called wasn't a kid at all, but someone stranded here who desperately needed a ride?

"Two minutes, then I'm leaving," Holly whispered.

The loiterers up ahead were showing too much interest in her, and two swaggered toward her. That's it. I'm outa here. She shifted into drive.

"Wait!"

Holly pressed a foot on the brake and looked back, saw a man and woman coming out from behind the abandoned house. They were both skin and bones, and as they hurried closer, she noted their rotting teeth and the sores on their faces. Meth addicts, no doubt. She hoped they had cash.

"I almost left you," she said as the wispy girl slid into the back.

"We came when we heard you." The girl had an irritating smoke-scarred voice.

The guy opened the front door and thunked into her passenger seat. "I'd rather you sat in back," Holly said, moving her money bag and purse to the center console.

"I like it up here," the man said.

"Stevie has a phobia," the girl added, as though that explained it. Holly decided it wasn't worth fighting.

Body odor filled the cab, along with the acrid smell of their habits. Breathing through her mouth, Holly set her meter. "Where to?"

"How much to take us downtown?" Stevie asked as Holly pulled away from the curb, past the dealers.

"Where downtown?"

"Just anywhere."

Holly sighed. She hated nonspecific destinations. "Probably about ten bucks, give or take. Depends on traffic and whether I have to take detours, and where I drop you off."

"Okay, whatever. Just get us out of here."

That didn't sound promising. The man jittered as she turned off the street. "Have I driven you before?" she asked, glancing at the girl in her rearview mirror. "You didn't call through the agency."

"Yeah, you drove me once. Few months ago, you picked me up when my boyfriend ditched me. I still had your card in my purse. Not too many chicks driving cabs."

Yes, she recognized the girl who had run out in front of her cab when Holly was following a subject. She'd had no choice but to give her a ride. The girl had deteriorated since then. Her habit was slowly eating away at her.

Holly didn't try to figure out why they'd wanted a woman driver. Tweekers were always paranoid, so may be they considered a woman to be safer. Relieved to be out of that neighborhood, she breathed easier and pulled onto a road where businesses had long ago closed. She would be glad when she got back onto more populated streets.

Just as Holly's sense of security returned, Stevie slid up his dirty T-shirt and took hold of something in his waistband. She gasped as he pulled out a .38 revolver, cocked it, and pointed it at her.

"Are you kidding me?" She swerved and almost ran off the road. "What are you doing?"

"Keep both hands on the steering wheel and pull over!" He jabbed at her temple. "Do it!"

That would make as much sense as driving off a bridge. Pulling over would ensure that they stole her car and killed her, leaving Lily to grow up without her mother. Holly slowed and pretended to pull over, then stomped the accelerator, swerving hard to make the man lose his balance as she tried to knock the gun from his hand. Shrieking, the girl leaned forward and threw a belt over Holly's throat, threatening to choke her. "He said pull over!"

Holly groped at the belt but kept her foot on the accelerator. "Are you brain dead?" she choked out. "I'm driving!" The car picked up speed ... sixty ... seventy ... "You kill me and you're both dead too!"

The girl loosened the belt, leaving it around Holly's neck, and the man steadied his aim. Holly deliberately ran off the road, then swerved sharply back onto the asphalt. This time she knocked the gun from his hand. He groped for it on the floorboard, found it, then swung it up into her face, its metal splitting her lip.

Tasting blood, Holly swerved again and stabbed her fingers into the soft tissue of Stevie's eyes. He cried out in pain, and she knocked the gun free again.

The girl jerked the belt, forcing Holly's head back against the headrest. Holly clawed at it and slammed on the brakes, throwing her passengers forward. The girl lost her leverage, and Holly got her fingers between the belt and her throat and ripped it away, then slammed the accelerator again.

The crazed man grabbed the wheel and pulled, forcing her to turn into a parking lot. She stomped to a screeching halt just before ramming into a building.

Holly dove for the gun on the floorboard, but the guy kneed her in the face, then thrust a knuckle punch to her eye. Recoiling, she tried to grab the gun, but he came up with his finger on the trigger. "Give me your cash! All of it!" he shouted.

"I don't have any," she lied.

The girl bent over the seat, snatched the money bag and Holly's purse, and bolted out the back door. Holly watched, astonished, as the girl left Stevie behind and ran behind the building.

Cursing, he flung the door open, lunged out, and ran after the woman. Holly stumbled out, wiping the blood from the bloody gash over her eye. She opened her trunk, grabbed her gun, and aimed at him over the hood. "Stop or I'll shoot!" He disappeared around the building.

"I have to pay my mortgage!" she cried, knowing it was useless.

She couldn't run after them. She'd only given birth four weeks ago. She dropped back into the car and pulled around the building, looking for them. The girl had scaled a fence and dropped to the other side. Now she was running into the woods. The man was almost over the fence.

Holly slammed her fist against the steering wheel and tried to calculate how much money they'd gotten. She would have to start all over ... be away from Lily twice as long.

She pulled her phone out of her jeans pocket and called the police, then looked at herself in the rearview mirror. Her lip was already swelling and blood was smeared across her cheek. The gash over her eye dripped blood and her lid was puffing shut.

She looked like someone who belonged here. Someone like them.

CHAPTER 2

Holly stopped at a convenience store on the way home and washed her face in the dirty bathroom, splashing away her tears. She looked like she'd been in a drunken fight with a no-good boyfriend. Her sister Juliet would come unglued.

In fact, Holly didn't want to let anyone see her, but the police had encouraged her to go by the bank to cancel her credit cards. She hoped it didn't take long—she needed to see her baby. Maybe then she'd stop shaking. Breathing in strength and trying to look strong, she took care of business, then headed home.

Juliet sat on the floor in Holly's small living room, holding Lily against one shoulder as little Robbie slept in her lap. Only Juliet could pull that off.

"Hey." Holly dropped her keys on the counter, keeping her face down and hidden.

"Just in time. I think Lily's going to want to be fed soon."

"Yeah, sorry I'm late." Holly couldn't keep her face away from Juliet forever. She needed to hold her child. She crossed the room and took Lily from Juliet.

Juliet gasped. "Holly! What happened?"

Lily nuzzled against Holly's neck, and Holly held her for a moment, breathing in the calming scent of her.

"Are you all right?" Juliet said. "Do I need to take you to the hospital?"

"No, I'll be okay. I got mugged."

Juliet came to her feet and laid Robbie on the couch. "Mugged? Holly!"

Holly burst into tears again. "They cleaned me out. Two dopeheads that I should have realized were bad news when I picked them up."

"Oh, honey." Juliet rushed into the kitchen and searched through the cabinets. "We have to clean that. Come here. Did you call the police?"

"Yeah, I called them. They came, but it was too late. The dopeheads had gotten away. I had to go by the bank to cancel my debit card. Real classy, going in with a bloody lip and eye."

Juliet found hydrogen peroxide and poured some over a paper towel. Wadding it, she dabbed at Holly's lip and eyebrow.

"I feel so stupid."

"Holly, I've worried about this very thing happening."

"Well, it finally did. Are you happy? You can say I told you so. But I have to make a living, Juliet." The baby started to cry, and Holly pulled away from Juliet and went to the couch to feed her.

"How many were there? Can you identify them?"

"I'll recognize them if I ever see them again, but the chances of us finding them are pretty slim. They were meth heads. Skinny as toothpicks and pocked with sores. One of them was named Steve or Stevie, but who knows if that was his real name. I doubt the other one would have called him by his real name, knowing they were going to rob me. The money's gone. I'll just have to earn it back."

"Thank God you're okay. That's the important thing. Oh, Holly. I wish I could help you."

Juliet had financial problems of her own. Holly's oldest sibling had once been rich, the wife of an orthopedic surgeon. Now she was a widow with three children and had to live on a budget. She couldn't bail Holly out of her messes anymore.

But that didn't mean she wouldn't try. "Maybe it's time for you to work full-time for Michael. Business is getting to be more than we can handle working part-time."

"You'd think the fact that he's in prison would've put a damper on business, wouldn't you?"

"For any normal guy. But Michael's not a normal guy."

Holly smiled. Everyone in the area knew Michael's whole felony conviction was a farce.

"Anyway, what if you gave up driving the cab and just did that?"

Holly couldn't believe Juliet would suggest such a thing after loaning her the cash to buy the cab. It had been a way for Holly to hold down a job she couldn't be fired from—unlike all the other jobs she'd had. Juliet had a friend from church who owned a taxi service, and they'd agreed to add Holly's cab to their fleet in exchange for a commission when she was on the clock. By the time she paid them, bought gas, maintained her vehicle, paid taxes, and made her loan payment to Juliet, she could barely pay her personal bills.

Welcome to the adult world—a world she had studiously avoided until her pregnancy.

"How would I pay you back?"

"You could sell the cab to the agency and buy a normal car."

Holly sighed. "I can't live on ten bucks an hour."

"Maybe we can raise your pay." Juliet poured more hydrogen peroxide on the paper towel and dabbed at Holly's eyebrow again. "Are you sure you don't need stitches?"

"I don't know. Maybe I'll go to the doctor after I feed Lily. I just don't know how I'll pay for it. I have a huge deductible." How was she going to pay her mortgage, utilities, diapers, babysitters ...?

While Holly nursed, Juliet sat on the coffee table across from her. "Holly, what if I can get Michael to raise your pay to fifteen dollars an hour? Could you give up cab driving then?"

"What am I going to do with Lily if we're both working the same hours?"

"We can go in together and get a babysitter. Somebody who can keep Robbie and Lily at one of our houses. And sometimes we can have the babies there at work with us. Robbie has a little separation anxiety, so maybe at first the babysitter can just hang out with us at the office, until the babies are used to her."

"I don't know. That place is moldy."

"It's not moldy. I already had it checked. It's just old."

Holly looked down at the peaceful face of her nursing child. She wanted to cry again, but it would just upset Juliet more. If only she could stay home with her baby and focus on her all the time. But when you had a baby without involving the father ... well, staying at home was a luxury you couldn't afford.

At least it would be years before Lily knew that her mother was an idiot who always did things in the wrong order.

"It'll be hard for me too, Holly," Juliet said, leaning toward her. "I stayed home with Zach and Abe. It feels all wrong to leave Robbie, but most mothers have to work, and the kids turn out fine."

Holly shot a look at her. "Please don't give me that quality over quantity stuff. I don't want to hear it."

"We can interview babysitters together. Bottom line, I don't want you driving a taxi anymore."

Holly thought about the investment she'd made in the car. She would be way happier working as a PI full-time than as a cabbie, but she had responsibilities, and it didn't really matter what would make her happier. She had to support Lily. "Like it or not," she said, "I make more driving a cab. If Michael will raise my hourly pay, I'll drive less and work for him more, but I can't afford to give up the cab driving altogether."

Juliet clearly didn't like it. She touched Holly's pink-tipped hair. "I guess you're making a mature decision, even though I hate it. You're growing up."

"Twenty-eight years old, it's about time, right?"

Lily looked up at her, her round eyes unfazed by the bruising, bloody wounds. Holly would never get used to that unconditional adoration. That gaze had the feel of God in it, and it calmed her spirit more than anything ever had.

Whatever motherhood cost her, it was worth it.

CHAPTER 3

The doctor, another of Juliet's friends from church, saw Holly right away. He gave her six stitches over her eye, but her lip would have to heal on its own.

Back home, after Juliet and Robbie left, Holly sat in the rocking chair her sister Cathy had bought her. Lily was awake and alert as they rocked, her big eyes focused on Holly as she sang. Holly wasn't a good singer. She'd often taken a turn in karaoke bars when she was loose enough to have flattened inhibitions, but once a friend had videotaped her. She'd watched it later, horrified that she sounded like a bad audition on American Idol—one that left crass judges in stitches and was played in mockery on all the morning shows. Still, Lily seemed soothed by her voice.

Holding her daughter was the biggest endorphin rush Holly had ever known.

She dreaded leaving her with a babysitter. None of Holly's friends was reliable enough to watch her. She knew. She had been just like them.

The doorbell rang, and Holly felt a flash of panic. Her house ... it was a mess. Who would show up without calling? She stood and glanced in the mirror next to her front door. She looked like she'd just been in a drunken brawl. In the adjoining kitchen, dirty dishes sat piled in the sink. Why hadn't she washed them when she finished eating this morning? The place had a faint odor of dirty diapers. She should have changed the diaper pail.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2015 Terri Blackstock. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
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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Twisted Innocence 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thrilling!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes me want to read all of her books.
NancyMehl-Author More than 1 year ago
Holly Cramer’s life was shaped by bad breaks and even worse choices. But after she met Jesus, she began to believe her future didn’t have to be shaped by her past. As she struggles to raise her daughter, Lily, and fights to stay on the straight and narrow, a man she hoped she’d never see again turns her world upside down. Terri Blackstock knows how to create characters readers can identify with. Twisted Innocence’s Holly Cramer is imperfect and achingly human. Creed Kershaw, a man who at first glance appears to be a lost cause, stokes our compassion and forces us to empathize with him as he wrestles with the darkness in his soul. As readers have come to expect, Blackstock combines action, suspense, and empathy in a compelling and satisfying story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this series and look forward to reading the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She's a good author and I like her insights as I'm not sure what faith I am but search for the whys in all the tradgiciesbthis like holds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it! Full of suspense, but I will say the 2 book in the series was the best by far!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting read. Terri's books always end well leaving room for a dwsire to read more irs a.ways great to see Gods redeeming value at work in the lives of real life situations!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Holly has made mistakes, one of which has left her with bills to pay and a new baby to support. Her sisters rally around to help, but it’s hard to trust they’re not blaming her with every incautious word. Then she gets mugged. So starts Terri Blackstock’s Christian romantic suspense, Twisted Innocence. Holly’s feelings for her child are achingly real – ”Holding her daughter was the biggest endorphin rush Holly had ever known.” Her doubts about her own self-worth will be familiar to anyone who’s ever made mistakes—which must surely be all of us. But her eagerness to load her gun in self-defense is purely American, which might seem odd to an English reader like me. It makes sense though, since this is an American novel set in a world of private investigators, wrongly accused cops, drug gangs and murder. Many of the characters have been introduced in previous novels of the series, but the author brings her readers smoothly up to speed on what they’ve missed, while leaving enough details hidden to entice us to read more. Holly’s family has certainly had more than its fair share of troubles, but everything’s connected, and everything’s heading for an exciting conclusion in this tale. Christians are flawed but believable. Wounds, both spiritual and physical, hurt. And the scene where good sister Juliet declares she can’t sit at a bar—“What if someone from my church sees me?”—is delightfully fun, even as danger draws close. Unexpected love, unwilling trust … perhaps they mirror the love God wants from us. The author makes faith as real as the danger in this tale, and both are tested and well-described, over and over again, before the end’s in sight. As an English Christian reader, I struggle with the unquestioning approach to guns and punishment, but I really enjoyed the story. Disclosure: I won a copy and I offer my honest review.
coramdeo540 More than 1 year ago
Twisted Innocence Terri Blackstock Book Summary: When Holly's secrets backfire, is the mess too big to unravel? Holly Cramer has worked hard to keep the identity of her daughter's father a secret, shamed and embarrassed by the one-night stand. But when the police knock on her door searching for Creed Kershaw, she realizes his identity isn't as hidden as she thought. The fact that Creed is a person of interest in a recent drug-related murder only increases her humiliation. When Holly's and Creed's paths cross, Holly is unsure whether to be terrified of him or trust him. His tenderness with their daughter makes her want to believe his story that he had nothing to do with the murder. Then she discovers that Creed has a connection to Leonard Miller-who killed both her sister's fiancé and her brother-in-law, and kidnapped her nephews-and things only become more complicated. Will Creed lead them to the man who has plagued her family, or become another of his victims? Review: I love Terri Blackstock books and this was no exception. It did take me a couple pages to get into it. But most of it was due to this was the last book of the series and I was going to miss reading about these wonderful characters. The emotion and regret that Holly and Creed had was very realistic and appropriately placed in the story. I liked the honesty that was written into this story. I loved how Creed came from a good home and that he still went his own way. All of the characters had a great and believable depth. That is one of the things that makes reading Terri Blackstock’s books so enjoyable there is no simple answer or resolution.  For me this was another winner.  I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Fiction for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
What a page-turner this book is. Interesting plot, characters that are trying to overcome their past mistakes but other people keep seeing what they once did and make judgments based on that. It sure made me think about how I judge people based on what I used to know about that person, yet I don’t want anyone to do that to me. It’s not fair, but I think we all do it. I loved Holly’s storyline and the fact that she walked away from a life of partying to take care of her daughter. I could totally feel the need to nurse when she was away from her daughter too long and her desire to do the right thing and prove it to everyone else. I wanted Creed to be a good guy and hoped he would be. I won’t tell you one way of the other :) But it’s obvious he wants to care for his child. There are a lot of characters in this story and some storylines that must have carried over from previous books in this series. I haven’t read any of them. But I found that I wasn’t lost or frustrated. If anything I just had a desire to read the previous books so I could see what had happened. So I do think you can read this book on its own, I did and still thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like mystery, drama and tension you will enjoy this book. A copy of this book was given to me through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review.
susanwalkergirl More than 1 year ago
I was excited at the opportunity to read Terri Blackstock’s newest book Twisted Innocence, which is the third book in her Moonlighter series. This book carries on the storyline of the Cramer family, Cathy, Juliet and Holly, who have been gravely impacted by the illegal drug trade in their hometown of Panama City, FL. Since coldblooded murder, Leonard Miller, walks free they continue on their relentless quest to find him and bring him to justice. Twisted Innocence focuses on the youngest sister Holly, an admitted party girl, whose life has had sudden change in direction with the birth of her daughter Lily. Has Holly really changed her ways? Will she make better and wiser decisions now that she’s a mom? Or will she continue down the slope of irresponsible decisions that impact other people? Is her Christian faith real? If so, how will her faith be manifested in her life? Answers to those questions are revealed throughout the story. I appreciate how Terri Blackstock weaves Christian faith into her characters and views life from the lens of the Bible. She also shows people as real, in the process of growing in their faith, changing and sometimes backsliding. I found myself challenged in my emotional response to Holly and some of her decisions. I think it revealed how I feel in real life when I see loved ones making unwise decisions. I’m impressed with how Terri handles the relationship the girls have with their father, a former minister who fell into sin and deserted his family when they were still children. His sin greatly impacted his daughters. But he’s back in their lives now as he suffers from Alzheimer’s and is in a nearby care facility. I think this story portrays a good picture of how children can obey God’s commandment to honor their parents even when their relationship has been broken. One thing I would have liked to have seen handled a little stronger is in a conversation between Holly and Creed. As they talk, Holly assures Creed that God hasn’t given up on him and is not disgusted with him. Holly says, “I get the feeling that He’s not made at me. He wants better for me and for you.” Our God is a God of steadfast love, kindness and mercy. But He is also holy and He hates sin. Our sin is what necessitated God the Father (who is loving, holy, just and righteous) to send His only begotten Son to die in our place and pay the penalty for our sin. I would like to have had the truth that God does hate sin brought out. Without the knowledge that I have sinned against God, I don’t see my need for a Savior and forgiveness from God whom I sinned against. I highly recommend Terri Blackstock’s newest book Twisted Innocence. It’s a good read, fast paced and intriguing with Christian faith woven throughout the book. If you’ve not read the earlier books in this series, I think it’s a good read on its own. Terri fills in the necessary background of the characters from the earlier books. I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Zondervan publishers for the opportunity to read Twisted Innocence in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.
Readers-Corner2 More than 1 year ago
This was my favorite Terri Blackstock story in a very long time. Twisted Innocence is engaging from the first word of Chapter One. This is a wonderful story of Christ’s redemption for not just Holly and Creed, but all of the characters. I highly recommend this awesome story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read every single book that she has ever written. I love Terri Blackstock so much and how she portrays the story. I am so excited to read this book!!!!! ;D
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Twisted Innocence. It is the third book in a series, however, I had not read the first two books and I followed the storyline just fine. The author did a good job of catching me up to what had been going on in the previous books. I do think that my reading enjoyment would have been even greater had I read the whole series, but I still liked this book very much. I really liked Holly Cramer. She has turned her life around for the sake of her new baby. She no longer runs with a wild crowd or parties her days and nights away. She is dedicated to this sweet baby girl and to doing the best she can for her. There is a continuing story throughout the three books that deals with a powerful drug lord. I did not have any trouble following this plot. Holly’s family and other people close to their family have been brutally targeted and have had many problems because of this man. The continuing battle against his evil hold on their city was thrilling. This book flowed very smoothly and was a quick read for me. I enjoyed the plot and the characters and definitely recommend it for fans of suspense and romantic suspense. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through Litfuse Publicity, in exchange for an honest review.
HeartofaBookWorm More than 1 year ago
When reading a book "series", isn't waiting for that FINAL book just excruciating!! For me, waiting for Twisted Innocence was just that!!  I was BEYOND excited to have this book in my hot little hands. Immediately I cleared my schedule, you know... finished cooking, ate my dinner, cleaned up the kitchen,  got everything ready for the next day, and THEN I began reading!!!  I knew right away that this book was going to be even better than the previous two (Truth Stained Lies, and Distortion)! You have to wonder how Terri Blackstock does that, because EVERY book she writes is phenomenal!!! But that would explain why she has sold over 6 MILLION books worldwide, right!! Anyways.... TWISTED INNOCENCE ROCKS!! Holly, bless her heart, has come such a long way since becoming a Momma! She's left her party days behind her, which includes her baby's daddy, Creed. When she finds out Creed may be wanted for murder she is soooo glad she never told him she was pregnant!  But you know how those "best laid plans" go right??!!?? She never dreamed that she would see him again, let alone see a side of him that is so kind and loving, especially when he is with their daughter! Is there a future with Creed in it or will Holly have to one day tell Lily that her father is in jail for drugs & murder??  Creed knows about those "best laid plans". He had high hopes for his future, as did his parents. But then he started using and selling drugs and got messed up with a big time drug dealer, Leonard Miller. One day Creed receives a voice mail notifying him that he "might" be a Father. Not long after that, he finds out he "might" be wanted for murder!! How in the world can he change his course and those plans to get on the right path for him? Is it true, could he really be a father? And a murderer?? Leonard Miller had some of those "best laid plans" himself. He planned the perfect "set up" for a murder to fall on Creed's shoulders.  He was also determined to see his plans play out with the Cramer family. But as we all know, things don't always work out like we hope! Will he be able to take out Creed before he talks to the police? Twisted Innocence is a MUST READ! Truly, you can't turn the pages fast enough and you can't put it down either!! Heart of a Bookworm gives Twisted Innocence an obvious 5 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥'s
Shopgirl152ny1 More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting suspenseful story without a moment of boredom! I found the investigation aspects interesting and there was nonstop action! I felt for Holly and her struggle to be a good mom and make better choices than she had before. I admired her toughness and her willingness to give people a second chance like she'd been given. I had read the previous book in this series and it was nice to catch up with the characters again and get some closure on ongoing plot lines. There's some explanation in the book as to what happened before so it works to read it without having read the others first, but it won't be as meaningful. The characters struggle with their faith, from trying to deal with a pastor father's betrayal to hardships that keep piling up with no end in sight and wondering where God is in it all and why He's not fixing everything. There were a couple great conversations dealing with this and the fact that Jesus' death on the cross covers all your sins and mistakes and that He hasn't given up on you. There was a bit of romance, though it seemed one relationship moved quite fast. This was wonderful suspense with real likable characters. You should check it out! I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
BeccaW More than 1 year ago
I was given the opportunity to review the third and final installment in the Moonlight Series, but I had not read the other books first. I feel that this may have been why I did not quite enjoy this book as much as I thought I would have. I felt like I was missing something even though the author does recap things in one of the earliest chapters. I still felt a little lost with the characters, but this book can be jumped into as a standalone once you get into some of the entries that help with character recognition from the earlier two books. I will definitely be going back and reading the other two and then giving this book another go. Even though the recap helped me, I really do think that to get the best effect of the story that the author is putting across that the books should be read in order. I was never one to follow the rules when it came to books though. If there is a story that I want to read, I tend to read it. Just in my nature to be impatient and my impatience did not fail me this time. I did enjoy the storyline and the characters that I was introduced and reintroduced to through this final novel. I have seen the rave reviews now for the first two books and that just gives me even more excitement that I will love starting the series from the beginning all over again! This novel had it’s good times and it’s bad times. The good was definitely outweighing the bad events and for that I was happy. The suspense for the reader is still always there even though nothing quite what you might think ends up happening in a bad way to any of the characters. The book kept me on the edge of my seat and I was constantly thinking about what could possibly happen next. (This is exactly why seeing the reviews for the other two books now makes me slap myself for not reading them already before this!). Where have I been?! Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my review. All thoughts are my own.
debhgrty More than 1 year ago
Deb's Dozen - Loss of innocence, an innocent baby, father a murderer? Drugs, death, danger! Holly Cramer has always been the party girl, playing her way through life until a one-night-stand results in pregnancy and the birth of her daughter, Lily. Chastened by the consequences of her behavior, Holly has attempted to set her life straight by driving a taxi and working for her brother-in-law's P.I. Firm. Still, she can barely make ends meet. Mugged by a fare, her billfold and money stolen, Holly teeters on desperation again. Then the baby's father, Creed Kershaw, enters the picture, as does Howard Miller - the drug lord believed to gunned down several members of her family. Could things possibly get any worse? Will Holly's fragile faith take her through this trauma? What will happen to Lily now that her father's in the picture? Terri Blackstock leads us through curves and chaos in Twisted Innocence, the third book in The Moonlighters Series. Although the book supposedly stands alone, unless you've read the first two books, you'll be confused by the characters and find them very ill-drawn. The plot, although twisty, is predictable as is the ending. I've loved Terri Blackstock's writing for years and have read many of her other series. However, I was disappointed by this book -- seemingly written just to tie-up the loose ends in the series. I rarely write a review when I dislike a book, but unless you have recently read Truth Stained Lies and Distortion so that you know the back-story, you'll be disappointed. Zondervan gave me a copy of Twisted Innocence for my candid review.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Terri Blackstock in her new book, “Twisted Innocence” Book Three in the Moonlighters Series published by Zondervan takes us into the life of Holly Cramer. From the back cover: Holly Cramer’s past choices have finally caught up to her, but she never expected them to endanger her baby. Though Holly’s stumbled through most of her adult life as a party girl, she longs to live a more stable life for her daughter. Then police show up to question her about the whereabouts of Creed Kershaw, Lily’s father. She has kept his identity a secret from friends and family—she never even told him about the pregnancy. Now he’s a person of interest in a drug-related murder case. Determined to keep him out of their lives and turn him over to police, Holly uses her private investigating skills to search for him. But her bravado backfires when he turns the tables and takes her and the baby hostage. As desperate hours tick by, Holly realizes his connection to Leonard Miller—the man who has gunned down several members of her family. Creed claims he’s innocent and that Miller is after him too. His gentleness with Lily moves her, but she can’t trust a man who has held her at gunpoint . . . even if he reminds her so much of herself. Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to. Shakespeare told us that, “all good things come to an end”. He most certainly was correct about this series with this book it ends here. Oh, but what an ending! It has all been leading up to this. The bad guy from the first book is back and he is looking for trouble. Holly had had a one night stand and now does not want the father to know he is the father. Plus there are all kinds of other problems going on. Ms. Blackstock has provided us a first-rate mystery. If you did not read the first two books in this series don’t worry Ms. Blackstock lets you in on what is going on. However I do recommend that you do read the previous two just for your own enjoyment. Once the action gets going Ms. Blackstock revs up the thriller quotient considerably which will have you reading and flipping pages as fast as you can. Don’t start this book late at night because it will be very difficult to put it down or stop thinking about it. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
bjs0 More than 1 year ago
Terri Blackstock I one of my favorite writers and this book did not disappoint. I have read all her books and they are all well researched and deal with life in our world today.
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
THE MOONLIGHTERS SERIES which began with the action packed TRUTH STAINED LIES, then continued its gripping story of the Cramer family in DISTORTION will conclude in Terri Blackstock's latest novel TWISTED INNOCENCE.  Terri Blackstock was among the first Christian authors I read and most certainly the first author of Christian suspense I read.  More than a decade later, I find each new series better than the previous.  In TWISTED INNOCENCE, Holly, the youngest sister of the Cramer family, is trying to juggle a new and better life -- single parenthood, a night job driving taxi, and her second job dabbling as a private investigator.  All that means she relies heavily on her two sisters who both have complicated lives - one who is still reeling from the aftermath of her husband's secret life, and the other, Kathy, a lawyer is intent on freeing her fiancee from an unjust prison sentence.  While they are glad that Holly seems to be putting her wildchild behind her, even while keeping the pink hair, they wonder why Holly has never shared the paternity of her four week old daughter.  When Holly is visited by a pair of police officers who are looking for the baby's father in connection to a drug killing, Holly is at first glad that no one in the family knows the father's identity, but quickly concludes she must find him and learn the truth about the killing.  Like all of Blackstock's tales, there is a faith thread throughout. In this series, all three sisters struggle with personal faith, partly because their father, a pastor, demanded perfection from his children but hid his own life of infidelity and lies. Now powerless and suffering from dementia their father remains an unresovled stumbling block, especially to Holly. Readers might question why include a four week old baby in a suspense story, but the little one's presence is all about her innocence and how the choices others make determine how that innocence changes. I am so glad that all three novels in THE MOONLIGHTER SERIES are now published.  I highly recommend these books if you like fast action contemporary stories, ones packed with suspense.  Get all three books at once because there are unresolved cliff hangers in the first two books,  and if you are like me, the suspense will demand that you move forward to find out how it all settles out for the Cramer family. Blackstock has done a commendable job of focusing each novel on a different sister while keeping the stories so intertwined that you really need to read all three (and  will want to).  I received a prepublication ecopy of TWISTED INNOCENCE from NETGALLEY for review purposes.  All opinions are mine.
Steve_Doc_Hilton More than 1 year ago
Fasten your seat-belts . . . it’s going to be a bumpy ride!  In the third installment of the MOONLIGHTERS SERIES, Terri Blackstock reveals the truth behind all the clichés  . . . “Life is no picnic,”  “We all have to grow up sometime,” and “Life is never always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.”   Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.   Holly Cramer’s past is rapidly becoming present.  And it isn’t a pretty picture.  No one was even supposed to know about Creed Kershaw, Lily’s biological father.  She’d never even told him about the pregnancy.  So when the police show up asking questions as to his whereabouts, all Holly sees is row after row of trouble that she was going to have to work over.  Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love.  But by God’s grace, she is not going to have to go through it alone.  And when she comes out on the other side of this crucible, she and all who survived will be fit vessels for the Master’s use. 5 Stars for fast-paced Christian suspense!
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
Another great book by Terri Blackstock, and although it is the second book in this series, you can read it alone, but the first is just as wonderful as this one. You won’t be disappointed, especially if you love mystery and suspense this one has it all. As the story unfolds we have sister Holly and her new baby Lily, and she sure seems to be turning her life around. Of course, things can’t stay peaceful, and boring. No way here, poor Holly is robbed and beaten up, and then doubted by her family. I did wonder about her obsession with finding the father of her baby, but not wanting him in her life. Rather, I found you, but stay away from me. Creed Kershaw the baby’s Dad comes with his own set of problems, and boy does he, in the end you will wonder if he will even survive. Now we have the nemesis of the first book, does come back to torment all of there lives again, Leonard Miller, a very evil man with no value for human life. Is anyone safe? Who or whom can be trusted? There is evil and threats everywhere, and danger seems to be coming from every corner. There are poisonings, snipers, and bombings, will anyone one survive? Love the faith that many of these characters showed, and the story shows Gods hand on those who are believers. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Zondervan, and was not required to give a positive review.