We’re pleased to announce the release of our first romantic suspense novel, Jana Hollifield’s The Problem with Goodbye, which is available in print and electronic editions.
The Problem with Goodbye, set in Portland, is a story about untamed passion that leads to murder, sending a young woman into hiding with a stranger whose touch can expose a person's innermost secrets. We're extremely pleased to bring you this debut novel from Jana Hollifield and hope you enjoy reading it as much as we have publishing it.
Here’s a sneak peek:
“That’s a crazy idea.”
“Better than this wandering the city crap you’ve come up with,” Ryan replied, adding the breakfast dishes to the dishwasher with those from last night.
“Why, thank you,” I huffed.
He grinned. “You’re welcome.”
“I don’t want to mix you up in this. Well, any more than you already are.”
“I’ll be fine. This is a risk-free plan.”
I stared at him, an eyebrow arched in disbelief. “Nothing is risk-free. And why? Why would you possibly suggest this?”
“You need help and I’m in a position to give it.”
“How do you know I’m not some kind of wacko?”
The smirk on his face was half humored, half arrogant. “Trust me, I can tell.”
“Oh, Lord. Maybe you’re the wacko.”
He shrugged. “Okay, you’re right. Nuts idea. Let’s call Ollie instead.”
I set my jaw and refused to respond. We stared at one another. He raised an eyebrows at me expectantly, not giving up. Ugh, what a frustrating man. I took in a deep breath but still said nothing.
“If I was going to hurt you, I would have last night.” His tone was so soft and sincere I automatically responded, nodding in agreement.
“It’s just that I can’t put anyone else in danger. I did that with my sister.” My eyes burned and I looked down, fiddling with the sleeve of my sweater until I could talk without sobbing. “I didn’t mean to, but I did.”
“That’s why this is a good idea. If you stay here, there’s no way her killer is going to find you. We don’t know each other. There’s no real connection between us. You can relax here, think things over. Hell, maybe I’ll even convince you to meet Ollie.”
I glared at him. “No…More…Police.”
“Okay, okay.” He held up his hands in surrender. “Look at it this way, it’s not only about you anymore. I’m in a pretty awkward position here. If I were to let you just walk away, Ollie would be beyond pissed at me. So the minute you go for that door, I’ve got no choice, I’m going to have to call him. But if you stay, at least I’ll be able to tell him this was the only way to keep you safe. He’ll understand. Eventually.”
I stared at him, consumed in a flurry of thought. “It was very unfair of me to come to your home in the first place. I see that now.”
“It’s probably good that you did. Running around on your own wasn’t really working for you.”
“Not true. No one found me.”
He cocked an eyebrow but didn’t say anything. I knew what he was thinking, he had, after all, found me in the park. That fact made me wonder how long I could make it on my own before the police got lucky and spotted me. Or worse, my sister’s killer tracked me down. I involuntarily shivered and turned from him to peer around the apartment, scrutinizing the space with more interest this time. “When I took a shower this morning, I saw that you have another bedroom.”
“It’s actually my art studio,” Ryan said.
“You’re an artist?”
“Yes, but you can have my room and I’ll take the couch.”
“Absolutely not. I’m not putting you out of your own bed. I’ll take the couch. If I stay, I mean.”
“Yes, if you stay,” he said and grinned again. “Still wondering if I’m some sort of deviant?”
“Well, yes, sort of.”
“Can’t blame you for that. My eyes are close-set and beady.”
“They are not, you goof,” I said, fighting a smile. “But you are kind of weird.”
He laughed and it was a wonderful sound, masculine and carefree. “Think so?”
“To invite me to stay in your home like this? Yes, definitely.” I looked around some more, unconvinced but sorely tempted. It had felt so good to sleep in a quiet, safe place last night. “Are you really an artist?” I asked.
“Will you show me your work?”
The art studio had an unanticipated effect on me. All artists are known to be at least a little eccentric or odd, which could explain Ryan’s questionable behavior. But his willingness to openly share this side of himself, as if glad for me to know who he was, made me suspect this man had nothing dark in his personality he was trying to hide. His motives in helping me might very well be as pure and honest as it appeared. Genuine fascination slowly replaced distrust as I studied the nearly finished canvas waiting on the easel for his attention, as well as the three finished paintings propped up against the wall. I examined each item avidly, not just the works themselves but also the kind of paints he used, brushes, everything.
I peered over her shoulder at him. He looked like I’d caught him a million miles away. “Do you only paint nudes?”
“Usually. Sometimes a landscape or cityscape, but not often,” he said.
“You’re quite good.”
“I think I’ve seen your work before. With my sister,” I said, mentioning the name of a gallery downtown.
He grinned, looking pleased. “I sold a couple there earlier this year.”
I nodded. “I remember because you have the ability to capture the whole model. I can truly feel her as an individual. It’s like you want the viewer to know she’s a real person, not just a body.”
“Yeah, well, I guess I’m good at reading people.”
My gaze never wavered from his face. “Yes, maybe you are.”