NEXT OF KIN - Sharon Sala
Rebel Ridge , Book 1
MIRA Books
ISBN: 978-0-778-31312-0
February 2012
Romantic Suspense

Los Angeles, California and Rebel Ridge, Kentucky - Present Day

A gas leak at her apartment building forces Beth Venable to spend the night with her friend, Sarah, and, unable to sleep, Beth finds herself stargazing.  What she sees through the telescope changes her life.  Beth notices a couple having a violent argument across the street, and before she can fully process what's going on, the man slits the woman's throat.  Sarah calls 911, and Beth ends up at the police station where she identifies the killer through his mug shot.  When she returns to Sarah's apartment, Beth finds Sarah dead, and the police finally tell her that the man she identified is involved in organized crime.  Protective custody turns out to be not very safe for Beth, and after the third safe house is attacked, Beth turns to her family to keep her safe.

Ryal Walker is shocked to learn what Beth is going through and agrees to help protect her.  He and Beth were very much in love ten years ago, but her parents decided to move without notice, and Ryal never heard from Beth again.  His letters to her were returned unopened, and Ryal eventually gave up hope of ever seeing her again, but he's never forgotten his first love.  This isn't the way Ryal wanted Beth to return, but he's anxious to see what's become of the girl he loved, and to find out if the woman still holds his heart.

A terrifying ordeal presents Beth with the opportunity to face her past in NEXT OF KIN.  The move from Kentucky to Los Angeles was as much of a surprise to Beth as it was to the rest of her extended family, and Beth has always believed it was her fault.  In addition to being distant cousins, there is an eight year age difference between Beth and Ryal, and she believed the move was because her parents disapproved of the relationship.  She's in for a few surprises when she goes back to Kentucky , but still nothing is more shocking to Beth than the fight for her life.

NEXT OF KIN is a captivating blend of intense suspense and reunion romance.  Both Ryal and Beth are still carrying around the hurt from their past relationship, and neither has truly gotten over it.  If they can get past the pain, is there a chance to rekindle what they had?  Readers get a chance to see more than Ryal's and Beth's sides of the story, as it alternates between them hiding in the mountains, and the impact the murder has had on the killer himself, as well as his attempts to find Beth.  We are also introduced to Ryal's two brothers, one of whom is suffering from PTSD, and will hopefully be getting his own story in the future.  A thrilling tale, be sure to pick up your copy of NEXT OF KIN.

Jennifer Bishop