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Authors: Stephanie Tyler

Promises in the Dark

BOOK: Promises in the Dark
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Praise for the novels of Stephanie Tyler
“Tyler bundles thriller and romance in a very appealing package to launch a new trilogy.… Tyler’s in-depth character study transcends the formulas of romantic suspense, making the attraction believable and real. Readers will eagerly anticipate future installments.”

Publishers Weekly
(starred review)
“Get ready for two complicated characters in a dangerous and complex situation … Tyler kicks romantic suspense up a notch with this one.”

Romantic Times
“Ms. Tyler has written an amazing story about the will to survive.”
—Suspense Romance Writers
“A sexy and witty first book in an exciting, action-packed romantic suspense series.”
—Fresh Fiction

Hard to Hold
is a suspenseful and empowering story with sizzling escapades. Stephanie Tyler is a master in spinning tales with uber sexy SEALs and equally strong women.”
—Romance Junkies
“The follow-up to the brilliant
Hard to Hold
, this new novel maintains the same degree of edginess, sexiness and out-and-out suspense readers have come to expect from Tyler.”

Romantic Times
“Edgy and compelling, romantic suspense at its best.”
—Cherry Adair,
New York Times
bestselling author
“Love Love Love this!! Can’t wait for the thrilling conclusion.”

Night Owl Reviews
“The action moves at a blistering pace through dangerous territory with barely time to breathe between conflicts. Kaylee and Nick’s romance is an awakening for them both, risking everything for love.”

Reader to Reader
“The third in a series about dark, intense and sexy Navy SEALs, Tyler’s novel has two complicated characters who are neck deep in an investigation—and under the watchful eye of a killer. Tyler does it again with this tight, riveting, very hot read!”

RT BOOKreviews Magazine
“What a great ending to an overall fabulous trilogy. You get it all, romance, adventure, and mystery.… This series is one you will want to put on your keeper shelf so that you can reread them over and over.”

Night Owl Reviews
“Filled with non-stop action, heart pounding suspense, steamy love scenes and a truly heinous villain,
Hold on Tight
was a thrill ride from start to finish. Author Stephanie Tyler has truly mastered the art of keeping her readers on the edge of their seats. If you are a fan of military romance, and enjoy books packed with action and intrigue, as well as very hot love scenes,
Hold on Tight
, along with the previous books in the trilogy, are the stories for you.”
—Romance Junkies
“An intense and enjoyable book.”
—Romance Reviews Today
(including stories by Stephanie Tyler and Sydney Croft)
Promises in the Dark
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
A Dell Mass Market Original
Copyright © 2010 by Stephanie Tyler
Excerpt from
In the Air Tonight
by Stephanie Tyler copyright © 2010 by Stephanie Tyler
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Dell, an imprint of The Random House
Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
is a registered trademark of Random House, Inc., and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.
eISBN: 978-0-440-33972-4
This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming novel
In the Air Tonight
by Stephanie Tyler. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.
For the men and women of the United States military.
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

Winston Churchill
As always, I have many people to thank.
My editor, Shauna Summers, for her unwavering support, and everyone at Bantam Dell who helped during the making of this book, which includes Jessica Sebor, Evan Camfield, Pam Feinstein, and the art department, who rock my world with their covers.

My agent, Irene Goodman—for believing and for listening.

Larissa Ione, because I could not do this writing thing without you.

My amazing support system of Lara Adrian, Maya Banks, Jaci Burton, and Amy Knupp—you guys help keep me (semi-)sane. (I know, who am I kidding.…)

All my amazing, wonderful readers, who make my day with their e-mails and letters and blog posts and shout-outs on Twitter and Facebook. And a special shout-out to the Writeminded Loop!

And always, for Zoo, Lily, Chance, and Gus.

The past is never dead. It’s not even past
—William Faulkner
17 years earlier, Freetown, Sierra Leone

hmohs … Ohmohs?

How much?

The incessant calls echoed in his ear, a mix of Krio and English he wouldn’t soon forget as he ran through the crowded marketplace along the narrow streets by the harbor. He’d long ago grown immune to the noise, the dust, the bodies that passed too close. Learned how to be invisible so he could steal food, clothes and whatever else he needed to survive in the busy place. Even pickpocketed the occasional tourist.

To blend in, he’d covered his head so the blond hair wouldn’t make him stand out more. Rubbed his face with a fine dust and kept his eyes averted because there was nothing he could do about the blue color, which got more intense as his skin tanned under the hot sun.

He would not get stolen or sold again.

He remembered the last town he and his parents had traveled to. The soldiers had come in one night, and if he concentrated hard enough, he could hear his mother’s voice, begging,
Don’t hurt my son

He hated that that was the only thing he could recall of her now, the rest overshadowed by the horror he’d seen. And they had hurt him, dragged him away from his parents and put a cloth over his mouth that made him sleep.

When he’d woken up, he was with a new family.

Udat wan ehn uswan yu want?

Which one do you want?

He’d lasted for a day before he’d escaped, even though there was no one to go back to. He’d found a deserted alley to sleep in for a few nights until some other boys found him. Some American, some African.

All had the same story. And so those friends he’d made here became his family. Together they stayed free, and he lost track of the long days that stretched into even longer nights.

There were five boys altogether, the oldest being twelve.

He was eleven, but felt so much older. He ached in a way he shouldn’t, because he knew too much.

The oldest boy taught him, kept them all moving from place to place. Recently, they’d crashed in an abandoned warehouse that seemed promising for longer than a few nights. Plenty of spots to hide.

There were rumors of a place close by that helped kids, but the oldest boy warned that he’d just be taken and sold again if he told his story.

No one wants to help us

He didn’t feel well, hadn’t wanted to go hunting through the stalls for something to eat, but the rest of the group was counting on him. His stomach burned, tight from hunger. He’d never get used to that, the gnawing feeling that he would never be full or comfortable again.

Even after he ate, he felt sick.

That didn’t stop him from grabbing bread filled with fish and rice. The tourists haggled, the locals smiled and the music pounded in his ears.

Today was easy—it was packed and the small fight that had broken out helped him. He moved past the chaos toward his escape route.

“Boy.” A man clapped a hand on his shoulder and spoke loudly. “You shouldn’t be alone.”

The feeling closed in on him again—he was too small, too weak. Suffocating under the disguise. He opened his mouth to say,
I’m with my mother
, to point to some unsuspecting woman who would not claim him, but nothing came out.

Instead, he jerked away from the man who no doubt had seen him steal one of the day’s prizes and ran down the alley. No one followed, and he considered it a victory, stuffed some of the bread into his mouth and chewed, the roiling in his stomach abating for the moment.

He would go back to the warehouse and share the rest.

But as he slowed to a walk, a bag went over his head, blocking both light and air. He struggled, but the body against his was bigger and stronger.

Later, he would learn not to struggle, found that going limp was actually a better strategy. That a swift skull to the attacker’s chin with the element of surprise was damned effective.

But then … he’d known next to nothing except for the fact that no one would ever get the best of him again.

When he opened his eyes, he was in a drug-filled haze. It might’ve been minutes later—or hours or days—and he knew it didn’t matter anyway.

A man and a woman stood over him. They looked concerned but he had to get away from them.

Panic turned to terror, even as the man held him to stop him from shaking and the woman spoke of home and brothers. School, play and
nothing bad will ever happen again under our watch

This time, he didn’t have the strength not to believe them.

BOOK: Promises in the Dark
5.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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