Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cover Reveal: Whispers from the Dead (Serenity's Plain Secrets, #2) by Karen Ann Hopkins

Whispers from the Dead (Serenity's Plain Secrets, #2)
Release Date: December 16th 2014


Some Amish communities aren't so cozy.

Whispers From The Dead is the powerful and thrilling sequel to Lamb to the Slaughter, in the Amish mystery series, Serenity’s Plain Secrets. Sheriff Serenity Adams and Daniel Bachman are once again partnered up in a criminal investigation, when they travel to a northern Amish settlement that has been riddled by arsons for the past two decades. Serenity quickly discovers that there is much more going on in the touristy community than just barns being set on fire and that the new group of Amish has their own secrets to hide. She begins to unravel an extensive criminal underworld that threatens to destroy everything that the simple people of Poplar Springs hold dear and even puts her own life in jeopardy. And although Serenity tries desperately to avoid it, things begin heating up between her and Daniel, making her wonder if true love and happiness are really within her grasp.

Whispers from the dead
by Karen Ann Hopkins

The cheeseburger and fries were extra salty, just the way I liked them and as I took a bite of the burger, I waited for Rowan to answer Daniel’s question.
            Rowan shifted in his seat across from me and Daniel uncomfortably for a lingering moment and finally said, “Yeah, I knew Austin Gentry.”
            Motioning for more with his hand, Daniel prompted, “Were you friends?”
            Rowan glanced out the window beside our table.  “Not exactly friends.  But we knew each other.  He was spoiled and bit arrogant, but he was all right.”  He looked back at us and met my gaze evenly, “He shouldn’t have died that night.”
            I swallowed down my food and quickly admonished, “Of course not.  It’s a horrible way to die and he was still just a kid.”
            “No, that’s not what I meant,” Rowan shook his head. “Austin shouldn’t have been sneaking off to a barn in the middle of the night with his girlfriend.  I’m sure that he would still be alive today if he had a little more sense.”
            The callousness of his words chilled me and I glanced sideways at Daniel to gage his reaction.  Daniel looked at me with wide eyes.
            Daniel beat me to the punch.  “Wow, man.  That’s pretty damn cold.”
            Rowan’s dark eyes looked away.  “It is what it is.”
            I pressed on, “Do you have any ideas who might be the culprit?”
            Rowan rounded on me and with steel in his voice, he demanded, “Why are you so focused on something that happened nearly two decades ago, while we have burnings from the past few months that we need to solve?”
            I didn’t waver.  Calmly I said, “I think they may be connected.”
            “Really?”  Rowan stretched the word out, making it clear that he didn’t agree.
            “And then there’s the explosion that killed your wife,” I plowed on, staring unflinchingly into Rowan’s eyes.
            Rowan let out a breath and leaned forward to rest his elbows on the table.  He pressed his fingers into his head as he was trying to remove a deep pain before he met my gaze once more. 
            Rowan’s discomfort was pulsating in the air, but I was able to push aside any sympathy that I might have and patiently wait for him to answer me.  Rowan was definitely hiding something.  I was sure of it now. 
The plastic covered blue booth seats were small and Daniel was sitting close enough that our legs pressed against each other.  Even for the dramatic conversation and my desire for answers from Rowan, I was hyper aware of Daniel’s close proximity and how weirdly right it felt.  We were literally on the same side this time and it shamed me to admit that it was a wonderful feeling. 
Rowan’s gaze finally rose from the table top.  In a quiet voice, he said, “There was a gas leak, I already told you that.”
Just as softly, I said, “Did it ever occur to you that foul play may have been involved?”
I squinted and bit my lower lip.  It was a pivotal moment.  If I said the wrong thing, it would screw up any chances of Rowan opening up.  But then again, if I said the right thing, a big piece of the puzzle might fall into place. 
“I’m sorry to bring up bad memories.  It was just a thought, that’s all,” I assured Rowan.
Rowan’s gaze became fierce and he said, “We need to find out who is setting these recent fires before someone gets hurt or even dies, the way Austin and Kathryn did.”
I didn’t like being spoken to in such an angry tone and I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes and lean in toward Rowan, who held his ground, returning my heated glare with his own.
“I’ve been here for a total of two days and I’m doing the very best I can to sift through all the information, leads and assumptions.  If you don’t like the way that I’m handling the case, then go ahead and send me home.  But if you do that, I can almost guarantee you that with this town’s climate of bad blood, secrecy and poverty, you’ll never find out the truth.”
My words hung on the air the same as the foul stench of decaying flesh.  I didn’t like the way Rowan stared at me, his mouth slightly gaping.  And I certainly didn’t like having to go all Clint Eastwood on the Amish man, but my patience was wearing thin.  I couldn’t shake the needling sensation at the back of my mind that something very dangerous was on the horizon.  Poplar Springs definitely had bigger issues than just the barn burnings. 
“I understand, Sheriff Adams.  I wish you to stay, and I will interfere with your investigation no longer.”  He placed his hat on his head and abruptly stood up.  “I have chores to do at the farm.  Can we be going now?”

I inwardly smiled at the win, but I managed to keep my face blank.  I nudged Daniel as I quickly wrapped my burger and fries in a napkin to take for the ride back to the Amish community.

A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.

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