The Devil’s Playground by Eliza Freed
(The Faraway Series, #1)
Pub date: November 10th 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Former U.S. Attorney, Meredith Walsh, took some time off to raise her children. But the time took away everything she once trusted about herself. She’s lost within the mundane confines of her children's schedules of lacrosse, soccer, Cub Scouts, and math facts. Desperate for a sliver of her former passion, and isolated in the small town her corporate husband relocated her to, she counsels herself on risking her family for the rush of a fling.
But Vincent Pratt, the local chief of police, weakens Meredith’s abhorrence of affairs and her dedication to her family. With him, she finds a new version of herself, one capable of contributing in her new world, and thriving in her lonely home. In spite of the fact, she’s not the kind of woman who has an affair.
“What is this place?” I asked as Vince shook the umbrella outside and set it open just inside the door.
“It’s my hunting cabin.”
“How fitting.” I slipped out of my rain boots. Vince watched me from the center of the room as I placed my boots near the door. I stood up straight, facing him, facing this.
“I just lost power.” He was still watching me as if I might disappear. “Luckily, I had some candles.”
I nodded, again surveying the stark décor.
I took two long steps and interrupted him with my hands on his stomach. The fabric of his T-shirt was thin, and damp from the rain. His chest heaved as his hot breath swept across my face. Everything about him was warm and inviting. I rested my forehead on his chest and let the scent that was distinctly his flow through me. It took me back to the school bus to Philadelphia. To where I first inhaled the perfect mix of mahogany and strength.
“Meredith,” he started again, and I wished he wouldn’t. I raised my lips to his neck and inhaled again. I wouldn’t let myself think. He hadn’t shaved, and I let his beard scrape against the side of my face, anything to touch him. I didn’t want to consider this, I wanted to feel it. “This can be whatever we want it to be. It doesn’t have to be an affair. It doesn’t have to be what everyone else has done before us. We’re not them.”
His argument against typical did nothing to sway me to our union’s merits, but the expression on his face, his determination to make this work, moved me.
“Tell me what you want.” His voice was gentle near my ear, and I wanted to stay in this cabin, in the storm, forever.
“I don’t know what I want anymore.” The tension rose in my chest. All the schooling, all the money, and I didn’t know what I wanted. How was that possible? I could have anything, but I couldn’t name one thing. “Since I stopped working, I’m lost.” I lowered my eyes to his chest. I was ashamed.
“No, you’re not.” His arms wrapped around my shoulder, his hands moved my hair away from my neck, and he leaned down, letting his lips rest there. I shivered before a heat spread through me. “I found you,” he said, and tilted my face to his. Vince kissed me without waiting for an answer.
He kissed me, right there in the middle of the room, until a heat sank down my spine, anchoring me to the ground in front of him, assuring me against every reasonable argument that this was going to be okay.
Eliza Freed graduated from Rutgers University and returned to her hometown in rural South Jersey. Her mother encouraged her to take some time and find herself. After three months of searching, she began to bounce checks and her neighbors began to talk; her mother told her to find a job.
She settled into Corporate America, learning systems and practices and the bureaucracy that slows them. Eliza quickly discovered her creativity and gift for story telling as a corporate trainer and spent years perfecting her presentation skills and studying diversity. It's during this time she became an avid observer of the characters we meet and the heartaches we endure. Her years of study have taught her laughter is the key to survival, even when it's completely inappropriate.
She currently lives in New Jersey with her family and a misbehaving beagle named Odin. An avid swimmer, if Eliza is not with her family and friends, she'd rather be underwater. While she enjoys many genres, she has always been a sucker for a love story...the more screwed up the better.