Genre: Romantic Suspense / Christian Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date of Publication: February 8, 2022
Number of Pages: 384 pages
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When her best friend is murdered the same way her brother was, who can she possibly trust?
A decade ago, Delaney Broward discovered her brother’s murdered body at the San Antonio art co-op he founded with friends. Her artist boyfriend, Hunter Nash, went to prison for the murder, despite his not-guilty plea.
This morning, Hunter walks out of prison a free man, having served his sentence.
This afternoon, Delaney finds her best friend dead, murdered in the same fashion as her brother.
Stay out of it or you’re next, the killer warns.
Hunter never stopped loving Delaney, though he can’t blame her for not forgiving her. He knows he’ll get his life back one day at a time, one step at a time. But he’s blindsided to realize he’s a murder suspect. Again.
When Hunter shows up on her doorstep, asking her to help him find the real killer, Delaney’s head says to run away, yet her heart tells her there’s more to his story than what came out in the trial. An uneasy truce leads to their probe into a dark past that shatters Delaney’s image of her brother. She can’t stop and neither can Hunter—which lands them both in the crosshairs of a murderer growing more desperate by the day (hour?).
In this gripping romantic suspense, Kelly Irvin plumbs the complexity of broken trust in the people we love—and in God—and whether either can be mended.
PRAISE FOR TRUST ME:
“Irvin follows the characters through twists and turns, writing through the lens of faith and broken faith, while illuminating a bridge across shattered relationships to second chances. This one’s an emotional roller-coaster.” — Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency in Publishers Weekly Review
“Trust Me is an apt title for Irvin’s new suspense novel. Kelly Irvin is a master at spinning a complex story web with surprising twists and relatable characters. Highly recommended!” —Colleen Coble, USA TODAY bestselling author of A Stranger’s Game and the Pelican Harbor series
“I found I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough in Kelly Irvin’s latest novel, Trust Me. I promised myself just one more page and I’d stop reading for the night…just one more…just one more. At times I could barely breathe. What a fabulous story! I loved it!” –Carrie Stuart Parks, award-winning author of the Gwen Marcey series
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Author Kelly Irvin dishes about why
Trust Me’s Delaney Broward boxes
One of the many challenges for me as a fiction writer is making sure I don’t imbue my characters with my own interests, values, personality quirks, and biases. In other words, my heroines can’t be me. It’s harder than a reader might realize. I’m a 64-year-old former journalist who writes fiction for a living. I’m a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. My heroine in Trust Me is Delaney Broward, 32, single, a former social worker who now owns a framing shop in La Villita, San Antonio’s historic art district. Our worlds don’t overlap.
So how does a grandma get inside the head of a millennial and write from her point-of-view? Some of the basics include reminding myself about things like millennials prefer texting to calling. They’re on social media. They have smart phones, smart watches, and streaming services. Food trucks, on-line shopping, gluten-free diets, Starbucks, and Instagram. My daughter is 31 and my son, 30, so I take a page from the way they interact with the world.
Then I created a character whose interests and experiences are completely different from mine. Delaney was a star collegiate softball player. She’s artistic. She grows her own vegetables and donates them church food pantries. She’s renovated her grandparents’ house with a series of DIY projects. She lives alone and has no living family—a reality that is hard for me to fathom, having grown up with four brothers and sisters and a large extended family.
Still, with the help of research, I can handle all that. I’m a fiction writer. It’s my job to create characters completely different from me (I also write novels in the Amish romance genre, after all.). The hardest part of writing Delaney’s character was her affinity for boxing. I admit it, I’ve never been able to understand the excitement people have for this sport. I can’t bear to watch boxers beat each other up. Why give Delaney this pastime? Because it fits with her determination to make herself into someone different—someone tough, someone who couldn’t be hurt again, an independent woman who can take care of herself.
Delaney’s boxing skills also creates an opportunity in her investigation into her brother’s death that she wouldn’t have had otherwise. It all ties together nicely, but you’ll have to read Trust Me to find out how! Here’s an excerpt from an early boxing scene:
“Her friend the punching bag waited for [Delaney]her. It never complained or talked back. After her warm-up stretches, she donned her bright-red gloves and started with the speed bag. The need for concentration and a steady rhythm took over.
Sweat began to build immediately. Her body warmed. Her mind zeroed in on the bag.
No other thoughts.
Breathe. In and out. She didn’t pretend the speed bag was Hunter’s face anymore. It seemed juvenile, but her therapist had said it was a healthy substitute for the real thing.
One-two-three. Switch. One-two-three. Switch. One-two-three.
When her arm and shoulder muscles screamed for mercy, she turned to the seventy-pound punching bag.
“Okay, Macho Man, are you ready for me?” She’d painted an enormous happy face on the black bag. Macho Man was always happy to see her. “Let ’er rip.”
Feet shoulder width apart, left in front of the right, knees slightly bent, weight off the heels. The stance used to seem counterintuitive, but now it felt natural, giving her body the torque it needed to throw her weight into the cross.
Left jab, right cross, jab, cross, jab, bob and weave, jab, jab, roundhouse, bob and weave, jab, jab, upper cut, dodge, parry, jab, cross.
Sweat rolled into her eyes and burned. Her muscles howled. Her vision tunneled into that face. The intruder’s face had been hidden. Who was he? Why did he kill Ellie? Why hadn’t he killed Delaney? Blood. Blood everywhere. Adrenaline whooshed through her.
Jab, jab, roundhouse.
Her footwork was lousy, but she’d never had boxing lessons. What she knew she garnered from watching YouTube videos and film of fights. She’d even dragged Jess and Cam to several bouts at the Alamodome. Cam spent most of the time with her hands over her eyes while Jess kept up a running commentary along the lines of “barbaric,” “cavemen,” and “ouch, ouch, ouch.” There had been a time when she would’ve agreed. Her perspective had changed. Life had changed it for her. Boxing allowed two opponents to fight to the mat under a strict set of rules bound by a certain sense of honor. Much like a duel.
Boxing as a form of therapy might have saved her life.
A voice penetrated the fog. She whirled, gloves high, ready to throw her weight into a punch. Her front kick landed square in Hunter’s chest.
Boom, down he went.”
Bestseller Kelly Irvin is the author of almost 30 books and novellas, in romantic suspense and Amish romance genres. The two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist worked as a newspaper reporter for six years on the Texas-Mexico border. Those experiences fuel her romantic suspense novels set in Texas. A retired public relations professional, Kelly now writes fiction full-time. She lives with her husband professional photographer Tim Irvin in San Antonio. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two ornery cats.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Three winners each receive autographed paperback copies
of Trust Me.
(US only; ends midnight CST 3/4/2022.)
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