Exclusive Excerpt: Unlocking Shadows by Kennedy Layne

UNLOCKING SHADOWS
Series: Keys To Love #4
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Kennedy Layne
Release Date: September 18, 2018

The next book in Kennedy Layne’s KEYS TO LOVE is available now – romantic suspense lovers do not want to miss this!

About UNLOCKING SHADOWS

Gwen Kendall spent ten years in the Navy and used the last four to create a life for herself she could be proud of away from the confines of her overprotective family. Being the only woman in the Kendall clan tended to be a bit overwhelming at times.

Chad Schaeffer had been hired on to help restore an old farmhouse for one of the returning Kendall siblings. He’d heard about the trouble the family had encountered and honestly didn’t want to go anywhere near their properties. He had a change of heart when he saw the most recently returned Kendall sibling stepping out of her car with a key in her hand.

Gwen had waited a very long time to have a place to call her own, just as she had waited for the right man to share her life. One night of seduction convinces her she’s found both, but someone wants to take it all away. It’s been said that old houses retain a piece of each person who has lived there, but she never counted on the dark shadows wanting a piece of her.

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“Did you actually cook for me, city girl?”Gwen would have probably screamed like a little girl at the sight of a spider bouncing on its web had she not first heard the faint sound of her cell phone chiming as the proximity alarm announced Chad’s presence. The security firm who’d set up her system had the surrounding area of the house monitored for any movement. It came in handy for times like this, but for some reason, blood rushed to her cheeks and her heartbeat accelerated as if she’d just run a mile or two.When was the last time a man affected her in such a manner?

Too long to count, which was the sole reason she’d refused to take back her key earlier this afternoon. It wasn’t like they were making a serious commitment to one another, and he would ultimately need to be able to come and go while working on her house.

“City girl?” Gwen opened the fridge and pulled out two bottles of beer to give time for the flush of color to leave her face. “Since when do you consider me a city girl?”

“Well, let’s see.” The intoxicating scent of Chad’s cologne told her that he’d moved into the kitchen and was now in close proximity. “You put in excessively long hours at your new firm, you complained that there wasn’t one of those fancy coffee places in town open twenty-four hours for your convenience, and today was the first time I’ve seen you in a pair of jeans since last weekend. I’d say that qualifies you as more city than country.”

Gwen silently handed over his beer, giving herself time to study him before responding to such a ludicrous claim. Well, it did have some merit, but she’d address that at the appropriate time.

It was obvious he’d showered recently. The ends of his hair that curled slightly were still damp, and her fingers itched to brush them away from his face. He was freshly shaven with a slight sheen where he’d put on his aftershave. She fought the urge to rest her hand against his cheek. She still wasn’t sure he was here for reasons other than he didn’t want to stand her up on her invitation.

“I wasn’t completely sure you were going to show up here tonight,” Gwen finally said rather quietly.

She was unusually tentative to start this conversation considering all of this had been her idea to start with. She also wasn’t usually so cautious with what she wanted.

If she wanted something, she bought it.

If she craved something, she ate it… within her own limitations.

She was a natural born go-getter, but that wasn’t unusual given that she was raised with four brothers. This thing with Chad? She wasn’t quite sure what tactic to take for fear that he’d want nothing to do with her or her offer for more.

“I wasn’t sure, either,” Chad responded honestly, the cap on his beer still secured to the opening. “I’m pretty certain Tobias was about to come out of his house to check on me when I stood by the driver’s side door of my truck for ten minutes debating the idea.”

Many times over the course of the past two weeks they’d had random debates over the silliest of things. She enjoyed a spirited conversation of opposing ideas and listening to his opinions, which were not much different than her own. Well, other than his preference of Dodge over Ford… which was totally insane.

“What eventually changed your mind and had you deciding to hop in that thing you call a truck and drive over here?”

“This.”

Gwen wasn’t expecting Chad to move in for the kill quite so quickly, but he did so with grace and lethal intent. She was a goner the moment his lips brushed over hers. The result was a foregone conclusion before she could take another breath.

Chad must have set his bottle of beer on the counter, because both of his hands were cradling her face. There was no hesitation. There was no uncertainty that he spoke of earlier, and she decided she’d have to take stock in whatever brand of aftershave he used before coming over tonight.

She was now addicted.

How could Chad Schaeffer— the skinny boy she remembered having freckles— turn into a man who could buckle her knees with a single kiss?

“Are you sure about this?” Chad asked, his tone a little breathless. At least he was able to talk. Her lips were still tingling, and she wasn’t nearly done savoring his taste of mint mouthwash. “There’s still time to—”

“This is exactly what I’ve been dying to do since I pulled up to the house and saw you standing on my porch,” Gwen managed to say, setting her beer down next to his. “The only thing missing was a big red bow.”

Chad lifted her underneath the arms, causing her to lose her breath at his obvious intention. She wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck, not wanting to waste any more time than they already had.

“Did you put any precautions on that list that Reese took to the store today?”

Gwen smiled against his neck, getting the gist of where this very brief conversation was headed. They wouldn’t be talking for long.

“No,” Gwen answered with a laugh, not expecting him to set both hands on her ass and hoist her over his shoulder. “Chad! Put me down!”

“It’s a good thing they were on mine.”

About the Keys to Love Series

 Their homecoming wasn’t so welcoming. Four brothers and one sister each gave twelve years of their lives to serve their country and fulfill their family’s legacy of service. As each of them return to their home of record, they weren’t prepared for what awaited them—an unforgiveable sin that has been hidden for twelve long years. Secrets and lies are concealed in the dark shadows of the very town they were raised in, and the Kendall family will have no choice but to rely on one another to unravel the sinister evil that they all hold the keys to unlock.

Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at www.kennedylayne.com.

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