Today it is my pleasure to spotlight the release of INFINITE POSSIBILITIES by Lisa Renee Jones
From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones comes the second book in the sexy, suspenseful new The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series.
Picking up where Escaping Reality left off, Infinite Possibilities follows Amy and Liam, the darkly entrancing billionaire who demanded everything from her and offered even more—but can she trust him?
Secrets and Lies. They are everywhere: haunting her, tormenting her. In the midst of it all, he’d been her escape, her passion. The only person she’d trusted in six years. And then he’d made her doubt that trust, wounding her deeply. But she is ready to fight and not just for survival. She is fighting for the truth and she won’t stop until she has it, not even for…him.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from Infinite Possibilities:
Silver City, New Mexico Population 10,000
“WHERE THE HELL IS AMY?”
I rush through the back door of The Dive’s kitchen just in time to hear the question from our bald, often-cranky cook. “I’m here,” I reply quickly, hanging my black backpack on the coatrack on the wall just inside the kitchen. “Ready for my shift.”
“You’re late,” George grumbles.
Grabbing the hair clip on the outside of my bag, I wrap my hair into a knot at the back of my head and glance at the clock that tells me I’m actually two minutes early despite a flashback that had brought me to my knees. But I don’t argue, just as I haven’t done anything else to bring attention to myself in the past eight weeks. “Sorry,” I offer, and Katy, the bottle-blond waitress who’s been here three years to my two weeks, casts me a friendly, sympathetic look.
I force a small smile before cutting my gaze away and grabbing an apron to tie around the pink uniform dress that all the waitresses here pair with white tennis shoes. It’s not that I don’t appreciate Katy’s concern. I like her quite a lot, considering I’ve been here such a short time, but I have no idea if we have anything but this place in common. Nor will I ever find out.
I’m here another week, tops; then I’ll find a trucker who feels safe and I’m out of here. It’s my only option until I have enough money and a well-researched plan that enables me to return to Texas without ending up dead like my family.
George flips a burger on the massive grill in the middle of the kitchen. “If you two are ready to work, go give the dinner crowd some holiday fucking cheer. We have turkey and dressing on the menu until Thanksgiving.”
“It’s Halloween,” I say before I can stop myself, not ready for the holiday. Not this year. Not for the past six years.
“Close enough to a holiday for turkey,” George grum-bles. “I got it at a bargain, so go push it to customers. Now get to work. This ain’t Halloween party time for you.”
“Who needs costumes and parties?” Katy quips. “We have a monster in the kitchen every night.”
George glowers. “I’ll show you a monster if I have tur- key left over.”
Katy comes toward me. “The drunks in the dining room are nicer than him,” she grumbles as we exit the kitchen be- hind the long counter where customers can sit instead of at one of the red booths or simple tables.
“I hope you’re right on that one,” I say, stopping as the scents of french fries and bacon mix like sour eggs. Suddenly my stomach clenches, then rolls.
“But you’ll get used to him, I promise.” Katy glances at me and her brows dip. “You okay?”
“I took a vitamin on an empty stomach—I should know better.” As much as I hate all the lies that are my life, this one comes easily. The two waitresses ending their shift head toward us, and I barely register the exchanges that follow.
My mind is in another place, back in Liam’s hotel room, where we had angry, passionate, unprotected sex. I can’t be pregnant. Eight weeks, three cities, one period, and one neg- ative test say I’m not. But my period was barely spotty.
When I finally head toward my first table, any comfort I’ve talked myself into ends when another whiff of bacon hits me and my stomach knots again. Not pregnant, I repeat.
It’s impossible. Right?
Just like working in a roadside diner on the run isn’t possible, and yet it’s happening. That’s enough to make me decide I’ll take another test during my dinner break. Until then, I hope for a busy crowd to keep my mind off of the moment when I look for that little pink line.
ALMOST FOUR HOURS later, I head toward the pass-through window behind the counter to pick up my last order before my break. Thankfully, whatever had affected my stomach is long past, but I still want to put my mind at ease. Most likely it’s due to lack of sleep, worry, and the incessant flashbacks I can’t control without the acupuncture I can’t afford. But I’ll fix that. I’m working on a plan that lets me get settled in Texas, pull myself together, and be on top of my game when I address the past.
“I think every drunk in town has come here tonight,” Katy complains, joining me to wait for her next ticket to come up. “I’ve been groped and hit on all night, and that was just the women.”
“Right there with you on that one,” I say, and for some reason I feel the need to promise myself this job, this life isn’t forever. It’s just a means to an end. It’s smart. It’s me staying off the radar and building resources.
Katy pats her apron pocket. “At least the tips have been good.”
I nod in agreement. “I’m close to my best night ever. And I can use every dime I earn.”
“Can’t we all.” Her gaze flickers over my shoulder and her lips quirk. “And honey, I have a feeling your tips are about to get better. As I was headed over here, a guy who looks real expensive and good enough to eat asked to be seated in your section. No offense, but I tried to get him for me.” She glances down at her ample cleavage. “The girls failed me. I guess he likes them au naturel.”
I go still at her words, and a familiar, too often repeated memory of me telling Liam I want to lick his tattoo flashes through my mind. He is not here. It can’t be him. It just . . . can’t. But isn’t that what I said when he’d shown up at the airport? Can’t isn’t a word Liam likes. Can’t never applies to him.
“Order up,” George shouts and shoves two plates into the pass-through.
Staring at the plates, I will myself not to overreact. Not to create a Godzilla that doesn’t exist when I have plenty of problems before me that do. Liam is not here. I’ve moved around frequently and paid cash for everything. I’ve found small diners to work in that will accept my pitiful “little girl with a lost wallet” excuse during the paperwork process. I promise to replace my ID right away and then write down a random Social Security number. Even the phone calls I’ve made to Texas to research my past were placed on dispos- able phones that I ordered with Texas numbers and a pre- paid gift card. I’ve been smart. I am not traceable.
“You daydreaming, or doing your job?” George demands, snapping me back to the moment.
Grabbing my order, I whirl around, but my chance to scan the diner for the man Katy mentioned is lost when sev- eral people walk in, blocking my view of the rest of the room.
As I set the order on my customer’s table, the sensation of being watched comes over me. No—the sensation of being watched by him comes over me.
Liam. Liam is here. No. No. No. He’s not here. No Godzilla, Amy. No Godzilla.
“Can I get ketchup?” my customer asks.
I manage a choppy nod and turn away, taking a few steps before I stop dead, my attention riveted to the corner booth at the back where Liam lounges, looking as cool and confident as ever in jeans and a charcoal-gray pullover with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows.
This isn’t happening. It’s not supposed to happen now,
like this. I’m no more certain now than when I left Denver if he’s good for me and me for him. Not when he could be the hunter and I the prey.
And yet I feel no urge to run. There’s only the urge to go to him, to touch him, to lose myself in him again. There’s relief that he is here and I’m not alone. And my reaction should scare me. Liam is my weakness—not the strength I’d once seen him as being.
Swallowing hard, I start walking toward him, certain he will have a plan to prevent me running anyway. He tracks my approach with those intense aqua blue eyes of his, his neatly trimmed goatee somehow giving him a worldly, dan- gerous air, his cool stare turning hotter the closer I get to him. And terrifyingly, just as easily, my body burns in reac- tion, warning me that I can’t touch him without losing my- self in the process. That is the power he has over me and knowing this, accepting it, is my only defense.
But my plan, like the one to stay off the radar, is lost on Liam. The instant I stop at his table he angles toward me, gently shackling my wrist, pulling me to him, my bare legs pressing to his jeans-clad knees. The heat in Liam’s eyes be- comes downright fire, and I’m weak and aching for this man as I have never ached for another.
“How did you find me?” I demand. Somehow my hand is on his shoulder, but I don’t push him away. Why don’t I?
“The same way someone else will, if you keep living like this. The CB circuit is broad, and truckers like money. And damn it, Amy, what if one of them had raped you? Or worse, killed you?”
“You think I didn’t worry about those things?” I demand, angry that the control I’d thought I’d had was nothing but a facade he’s destroyed with his money. “I did what I had to.”
“You ran when you overheard me talking to Derek. I saw the security footage. What I don’t know is what you as- sumed our conversation meant. All I’m guilty of is trying to protect you.”
“I can’t trust you, Liam. I don’t trust you.”
“You think I’m involved in whatever you’re running from, don’t you?”
“I don’t know what I think.”
“Would I be here, in a public place with you, if I meant to hurt you? I could have waited until you were alone and cornered you.”
“You weren’t afraid to be seen with me in Denver.” “Exactly.” He settles a hand on my hip, and it is a brand-
ing, a claiming that sets my heart racing. “Because I have nothing to hide. And you have nothing to fear from me. Not from me. I would never hurt you.”
Nothing to fear from him. There are so many ways to translate that. “Liam—”
“Do you know how good it is to hear you say my name again?” His tone is rough, affected. And I’m affected by the emotion I sense in him.
“Let me go,” I whisper, telling myself I mean it, but it doesn’t sound convincing even to my own ears.
“What do I have to do to convince you I’m the one you should run to, not away from? Tell me and I’ll do it.”
“Nothing is going to convince me you’re my hero whisk- ing me away to safety. You put a camera in my computer.”
“I didn’t put the camera in the computer. I found the one your ‘boss’ installed.”
I blink at the unexpected answer. Found it? “Why would you even look for a camera, if you didn’t know it was there?”
“Because nothing added up about your new boss.”
“You promised I could tell you what was wrong when I was ready. So either you lied about that, or you’re lying about this.”
“You couldn’t tell me what you didn’t know was a prob- lem. I won’t apologize for protecting you, Amy. Not then and not now.” He softens his voice. “Run to me. Not from me. Let’s get out of here before someone else finds you.”
Run to him. If only it were so simple. If only I could just say yes. “And if I say no? Will you walk away?”
“Don’t say no.”
“If I do,” I repeat, “will you let me walk away?”
“Raw and honest, baby, no matter what. So, no—not now. Not when I fear for your safety. I won’t let you walk away.”
“So you’re telling me you came here to kidnap me.” “Call it what you want, but I’m not leaving here without
“Amy? Is everything okay?”
I stiffen at Katy’s unexpected interruption and try to pull my hand from Liam’s, but he holds on to it. “Think be- fore you act,” he orders softly. “You’re already on too many people’s radar.”
“I know. Including yours.” My lips tighten. It seems just about everyone can be bought.
“Amy,” Katy snaps, now sounding more irritated than anything else.
“Liam,” I say softly.
“Be careful,” he says, and, with obvious hesitation, re- leases me.
I turn to Katy, acutely aware of Liam standing up and stepping to my side, his shoulder brushing mine. “Sorry, Katy,” I manage, despite my struggle to think of anything but Liam. “I was catching up with—”
“An old friend,” Liam supplies, clearly avoiding the use of his name and this hits a nerve for me. I thought he was fine with being seen with me, but he’s not fine with anyone knowing who he is here?
Katy focuses on me. “We have customers, and some of yours are pretty angry. You need to get back to work.”
“Actually,” Liam says, dropping a stack of money on the booth table, “Amy’s resigning, effective immediately.” He straightens again, still standing protectively by my side as he adds, “That should pay the checks for all of her tables to- night, and leave a generous tip for you for taking over on such short notice.”
Her eyes go wide at the large sum. “Oh. Well.” She scoops up the cash. “No problem. Sorry to see you go, Amy, but”—she looks Liam up and down, and her lips curve—“I get it. Believe me, I do.”
She turns and walks away, but I stay put, and I don’t like where my mind is taking me. Liam has just paid Katy off. He paid the truckers to find me. My father lived a life filled with invaluable relics, which translated to money. I’d tried to find a connection between my father’s work and Liam, and now I have it. Money.
Liam’s hand settles possessively on my back, and I squeeze my eyes shut at the shiver that races down my spine, angry that I can’t control my reactions to this man. “Let’s get out of here, Amy,” he urges.
Panic rises inside me, and I whirl on him and take sev-eral steps backward. “I’m going to get my backpack,” I an- nounce, rushing away to the sound of his soft curse.
He won’t follow, I tell myself. He’ll want to avoid a big scene that draws attention. He doesn’t like attention, or the press that comes with it. And I won’t risk the police, with nothing to truly report and no certainty their records won’t somehow tell the wrong person my location. Or maybe the wrong person already knows. Maybe that wrong person is Liam.
Fighting the urge to look over my shoulder, I push open the door to the kitchen and walk past the grill.
“Hey!” George shouts after me. “Get back on the floor. We have customers.”
I go straight to the coatrack and grab my bag, then turn the corner, heading to the back door. I hesitate as I reach for the latch on the industrial door, certain that Liam will be here at any moment. But there’s only the sound of some- thing frying on the grill. Why hasn’t he followed me?
It can mean only one thing: He’s already outside waiting on me. I flatten my hand on the cold steel, and turn to lean against the door, my mind reeling.
Why can’t this be easy? Why can’t I have some way of knowing whether I can trust him? But I can’t think about whys right now, or how devastating it will be if he’s really a part of all of this.
I have to think through getting out of here—and there really isn’t a good strategy for making that happen. If Liam is outside this door, then the only escape is through the front. But what if he isn’t alone? I don’t think so, but what choice do I have but to try to escape?
Pressing my hand to my face, I will myself to think, think, think. If I get out without Liam seeing me, then what? My money is always pinned in a baggie inside my clothes, but it’s not enough to buy a car and still survive. Not unless I sell the cheap Craigslist laptop I bought a month ago—and I’ll never get to my room to retrieve it before Liam gets to me.
And he’ll look to the highway to find me when he real- izes I’m gone. I’ll have to go to one of the nearby camp- grounds and wait things out for a week or so before I dare try to leave. Liam will look for me, so I can’t rent a cabin. He might even look in the campgrounds, but I have no other immediate ideas. I’ll just . . . I’ll figure it out.
Knowing I’m out of time, I shove off the door as George yells, “Hey, you. What the fuck are you doing in here?”
My pulse leaps and I yank the door open. As I burst into the cloudy, dark night, thunder rumbles overhead; the nearly vacant parking lot is illuminated only by a low- hanging moon. I hesitate, open space and a hill between me and the motel. There is nowhere to run, and I don’t get a chance to try.
The door slams behind me and Liam shackles my upper arm, turning me to face him. “Running isn’t working, Amy. You have to see that.”
“Don’t touch me,” I hiss, jerking on my arm, but he eas- ily holds it. “Let go.”
“Never again, baby. Never again.”
“That’s right,” I promise him. “Never again. You threw money at the truckers. You threw money on the table. You throw money at everything. Well, I’m not for sale, so if you’re chasing after me I must mean more money to you in some way. What do I have that you want? I’ll give it to you. Just let this end.”
He pulls me close, his hard body against mine, my hands pressing against the muscled wall of his chest, where I feel the wildness of his heartbeat. “I don’t need money, Amy. And you don’t have any for me to want, anyway.”
“No, but—” I stop myself before I say my father did and give away something he might not know.
I’m desperate for the truth, any truth, and I throw cau- tion to the wind to bait him. “My father was a famous ar- cheologist who dealt with priceless artifacts of history. That means money. Lots of money. Your adopted father, Alex, had money, too. He could have a connection to my father.”
“What the hell connection could he have to your fa- ther?”
“Alex was never into them. So if this is about the pyra- mids, it’s about me. And my interest is in improving my craft, and understanding what no one else does. It’s my way of making me better. Just me, Amy. Not Alex. And neither Alex nor I need money.”
Him. There it is. The real issue. I don’t want this to be all about him. “Money wants more money, just like lies breed lies. I can’t afford to trust you.”
Tires grind over the unpaved lot and Liam turns me to the wall, pressing me against it. “You keep saying you want honesty, baby—well, here it is. I let you walk into the kitchen, hoping you’d decide to trust me and choose to come with me. But right now I don’t care if you trust me or you don’t. You’re coming with me.”
The beam of headlights hits us, then dims, and I have no doubt this car is with Liam. “Because you’re kidnapping me,” I accuse again.
“Because someone either wants something you have or wants you dead, Amy. I wasn’t the only bidder on your loca- tion. I was just the highest—and while you were in the kitchen, I got a phone call. Someone else gave you up. We need out of here, now.”
Before I can even begin to digest the magnitude of his words, he grabs my hand and drags me forward, and that’s when I see the car clearly for the first time. The sight of the black sedan knots my stomach, and instantly, spots swim in front of my eyes, so fast I feel the world spinning around me. “Liam,” I call desperately, digging in my heels, needing stability to fight the pain piercing my skull. “Liam, wait.” A wave of nausea and more spots overwhelm me, and my legs
Liam scoops me into his arms. “I’ve got you.”
Pain pierces my skull and I curl into the solid wall of his chest, capable only of clinging to his shirt for dear life.
“Get the door,” I remotely hear him say to someone, and I want to know who, I need to know who, but I can’t focus through the pain. I try to open my eyes, but it hurts too badly to even try. Clinging to Liam, I can’t do anything but trust him and pray he’s worthy of that trust.
“You’re okay,” he promises, tightening his arms around me. “Everything is going to be okay.”
It’s the last thing I remember before everything goes dark.
Excerpt. ©Lisa Renee Jones. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
Giveaway: 2 Print copies of INFINITE POSSIBILITIES (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen)
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: What did you think of the excerpt spotlighted here? Leave a comment for the author with your thoughts on the book…
Meet the Author:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES,and has now in development for a cable television show, to be produced by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland). In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists.
Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.
Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.