Stranger in My House
Release Date: June 13, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense
When Kirby Swallow assumes her half sister’s identity to help figure out who's threatening her, she finds herself in way over her head. On the remote Texas ranch her sister calls home, she confronts a growing list of suspects and a rising body count—all while wearing her sister's 4-inch heels. The only problem is the sexy ranch manager, Seth Maguire, is starting to catch on to the charade. The attraction between them is undeniable—and soon, what starts out as just a one-night stand, turns into something much deeper. But someone on the ranch is out for blood…and Kirby's next.
He guided Darcy into the wide path of grass and clover between the lavender fields. Frankie fell into step beside him, and a deeply irrational sense of well-being washed over him. Miss Bea had skinned him alive twice in one morning. A new record. A new low.
So why the hell was he feeling so mellow?
The scent of lavender floated in the warm air. The grayish-purple wands dipped and rolled like waves. Frankie took a deep, noisy sniff. “Hmm. Smells good.”
“Must have been hard for you when my cousin sold the cattle and took up farming.”
He glanced at her, expecting to see mocking, catlike eyes, but instead he was met with curiosity. Or was it interest? “I guess. Not exactly what I expected when I came here.”
“What did you expect?”
He shrugged. What did she think he’d expected? “A working ranch. A herd of steers from here to the horizon. Beefsteak for dinner. Whiskey for dessert.”
She burst out laughing, and he almost laughed, too. A comfortable silence settled over them, and he slipped back a pace so he could study the new Frankie. Her cat eyes didn’t seem so damned spooky this morning. His gaze lingered on strong cheekbones, golden skin, the gentle puff of pink lips. A breeze lifted. Long, black hair unfurled, gleaming like jet.
This girl couldn’t be Frankie. It wasn’t just the horse business. It was the way she acted, asking questions all the time and looking startled when Miss Bea went off on her. Sure, she knew a lot about the house and him and the workings of the ranch. And sometimes she’d tilt her head just like Frankie and do Frankie’s Beyoncé strut, but not all the time.
So if she looked like Frankie and talked like Frankie and knew about Frankie’s life, but wasn’t Frankie, who the hell was she? Besides Frankie’s doppelgänger. He should be alarmed, wary even. But instead he felt as if he’d finally turned a corner.
Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.
I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.
Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be released by Entangled on June 13. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries.
She and her husband live in Chicago.