Read Touch of Betrayal, A Online
Authors: L. J Charles
What they’re saying about A Touch of Betrayal…
“A combustible concoction of intrigue, betrayal, and murder. Everly’s latest adventure has a ‘touch’ of everything.”
~ Andris Bear, author of the Deadly Sins series
“Lucy Charles’s character, Everly Gray is growing and evolving right along with her psychic abilities. With every Everly adventure, I can’t wait to see what’s next!”
~ Teresa J. Reasor, author of The SEAL Team Heartbreaker Series
“LJ Charles continues to treat her readers to deliciously woven tales of suspense, friendship and love. Everly Gray and her gifted fingers offer a heroine to cheer for.”
~ Adrienne Giordano, author of the Private Protector series
A TOUCH OF BETRAYAL
An Everly Gray Adventure
L. j. Charles
Touch of Betrayal
Bored, restless, and ever curious, Everly Gray schedules a week off from her personal coaching business, takes her ESP fingers out of protective custody, and begins to explore the remains of her parents’ property. It’s time for her to track their killers and bring them to justice.
That’s the plan. Until one of her so-called friends kidnaps her for an impromptu trip to Hawaii, and she discovers the pain of betrayal. Can she find the strength to stand alone?
Before he married Everly, Mitchell Hunt made a bargain with the devil—and lost. When he shows up in Hawaii to make things right, danger follows. Things escalate when a rogue government agent and a militant psychopath with her gang of minions vie for control of Everly and her healing gifts.
Mitch’s betrayal has flipped his relationship with Everly to the other side of romance—and there’s no way back. Or is there?
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
A Touch of Betrayal
Copyright © 2013 by L. j. Charles
Cover Design by Lucie Charles
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means—except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews—without written permission.
For more information: [email protected]
For C. B. Williams.
Your imagination is priceless.
A NOTE TO MY READERS
In the Everly Gray Adventures I intended to grow her personality in tandem with her experiences—a ‘coming of age’ series so to speak. This story moves Everly from the world of chick lit into true adventure.
a Touch of Ice
, Everly is closer to a twenty-something than a thirty-something. She’s hidden from the world to protect herself from the overwhelming amount of information her fingertips pick up, and has focused on her personal coaching business to the exclusion of life experiences.
A Touch of TNT
brings her into the ‘tumultuous twenties,’ and she begins to share her gifts, using them to help law enforcement. In
To Touch a Thief,
Everly stretches her wings to become a leader rather than a follower, and
a Touch of the Past
brings her to a critical turning point. She faces her heritage and begins to accept who she is as she catches up to her true chronological age.
a Touch of Betrayal
, Everly becomes an adult and discovers ‘the other side of romance.’ This is not a happy-ever-after story, but it does open the door for a new world of adventure.
As Everly has matured, she’s pushed my boundaries as a writer, and Betrayal took both of us into new territory. I hope you enjoy the ride.
Special thanks to Faith Freewoman, Editor
CAST OF CHARACTERS
: Red hair, midnight blue eyes, pale skin, of Scottish and Hawaiian heritage. Everly was born with ESP fingers. When she touches people or objects, she “sees” things about them. She and Mitchell Hunt were recently married.
: Sandy brown hair that streaks blond on sunny days, amber eyes, (although Everly insists they’re more chocolate). He’s a famous photographer who works mostly confidential gigs for the military.
Black Irish with dark hair and azure blue eyes. Moves like the night and doesn’t say much. He works for one of those three-letter agencies that no one mentions, and moonlights as a physician. Yes, he does have a medical degree. Pierce has been Everly’s mentor in the world of chasing bad guys, and he used to be Annie Jamison (A.J.) Stone’s partner before she retired. He calls Everly Belisama after a Celtic goddess. It means Summer Bright, and I believe it has something to do with her red hair, but I wouldn’t swear to it.
Annie Jamison Stone Martin
: Blond, light green eyes, retired sniper. Annie was Everly’s next door neighbor and best friend. Soul sisters. Tynan Pierce’s former partner in the world of dark and dangerous, Annie has retired from the spy world, recently married Sean Martin, and they have a daughter, Madigan. When she married Sean, she moved to Hawaii.
: Blond with brown streaks, dark green eyes. Annie’s brother and a former homicide detective for Apex, NC law enforcement. Adam follows procedure—always. He was Everly’s mentor for police work, but recently moved to Hawaii to be near Annie and his new niece, Madigan.
Head of the Apex Police Department. Smooth mahogany skin, shaved head, stands taller than most, with a brusque demeanor, except when talking about his daughter, Grace. He leaves his desk to check out crime scenes when Everly is involved—to oversee her psychic gifts, and keep the department out of trouble, i.e. keeping Everly and her association with law enforcement out of the news.
Millie and Harlan:
The butler and gardener (respectively) that Everly’s parents hired to care for their home, and for Everly when they were away on business.
Everly’s grandfather. A sixty-something Hawaiian shaman with white hair, leathery tan skin, kind brown eyes, and a devious mind. He teaches Kahunas-in-training by avoiding their questions, forcing them think. He trains Everly when she’s in the islands, and recently passed his healing gifts to her.
Everly’s grandmother, who was a talented Kahuna before her death. She was childhood friends with Millie.
: A shaggy bit of canine Everly rescued and fell in love with. She was delighted, and relieved, when Detective Adam Stone adopted him. Merlin helped El to discover some important clues in
a Touch of TNT
, and they’ve been fast friends ever since.
It had been over a
since Pierce’s phone number flashed on my cell. The sound was turned off, or the haunting notes of Mo Ghile Mear would have filled the emptiness of Mitch’s living room.
I brushed my fingers over the Answer button. Did I want to hear what Tynan Pierce had to say? Probably not, but he’d never called me unless it was important.
I pushed the button. “Hello, Pierce.”
“You okay, Belisama?” Was there a catch in his voice?
“Yes. Mitch and I are settled. I haven’t done anything about my parents’ estate yet…but…I’m okay. Better than, on most days.” A smile touched my words. I heard it. Felt it.
“That works. Need you in Hawaii.”
A chill trickled down my spine, but I ignored it. I’d become very good at ignoring things. Like how bored I was hiding out in the country. “We’ve been there a few times. For Annie and Sean’s wedding, when Madigan was born, and just to visit. Why now?”
“Your grandfather is missing.”
I blew out a breath. “He does that. It’s a Kahuna trait.”
“Gonna need to follow him. He’s tracking Millie and Harlan. Could use your fingers.”
“Millie and Harlan? You know where they are? I haven’t done any spy work since Mitch and I got married.”
Pierce chuckled. “Don’t know where they are yet, but I will. And no more spy work. I left the agency.”
Another chill. This one skimmed over my arms. “Annie didn’t say—”
“She doesn’t know. Has a baby to protect.”
“I can’t just up and leave.”
“Hunt’s next assignment is here. Come with him.”
Mitch hadn’t told me.
I once had a home that
was my sanctuary, the place I ran to when I needed to think, or just to be. I thought it was a forever kind of deal, solid, sturdy, safe. But until the sound of my tires crunching on the gravel driveway grated along my nerves, until the surreal quiet pounded in my ears when I turned off the engine, and until I stood on the scorched ground, I didn’t realize how much love is like death.
Love can sneak up on you, slam into you, or hang around silent and patient until you hardly realize it’s happened. I loved my childhood home, and if anyone had asked me, I would’ve said so. But until it burned to the ground, I hadn’t realized the memories it contained were as important to me as my next heartbeat.
I wandered past the scorched earth where the house used to be, pretending there was still a path leading to the garden. When I reached my favorite spot—where a bed of white, purple, and pink petunias used to grow—I squatted to brush my fingers over the rough ground then picked up a handful. The damaged earth was cool and gritty in my fist, and I watched the ESP images flashing through my fingertips and onto my internal monitor. The explosion that had decimated the house was eerie without sound, but still, the shock of it kicked hard at the soft spot under my ribs. My heart swelled, aching for what used to be, as the clump of soil spilled between my fingers.
The last time I’d stayed here, my gardener, Harlan, had been digging in this soil, planting, weeding, and tending the new growth.
So much had changed.
But I wasn’t here to confront my grief. This was about Harlan and his wife, Millie. I uncapped my water and swallowed, chasing the chalky taste of dust and worry from my throat. The earth should have held traces of Harlan. Why didn’t it? He’d been my parents’ gardener, and then mine after they’d been killed. The blast shouldn’t have destroyed Harlan’s energy pattern, not when he’d been so attuned to the earth and plants, not when he’d touched them every day for almost thirty years.