Book Showcase: THE DARKNESS WE HIDE by Debra Webb



The Darkness We Hide, The Undertaker’s Daughter #3, by Debra Webb
ISBN: 9780778309475 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488055461 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781690586906 (audiobook on CD – releases April 14, 2020)
ASIN: B083QTXQY9  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B07R71P6T2   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication Date: March 31, 2020


Some secrets are worth dying for.

For months, Doctor Rowan Dupont has been staring death in the face. It followed her back to her hometown of Winchester, Tennessee, ten months ago, cloaking the walls of her family’s Victorian funeral home like a shroud. In investigating the mysterious deaths of her loved ones, Rowan has unearthed enough family secrets to bury everything she’d previously thought true. But each shocking discovery has only led to more bodies and more questions; the rabbit hole is deeper than she ever imagined.

Despite settling in to a comfortable life with Police Chief Billy Brannigan, Rowan knows dangerous serial killer Julian Addington is still out there. She can’t let her guard down now. Not when she’s this close to ending his torment once and for all. But with a storm brewing on the horizon, she’ll get only one shot before the impending darkness takes hold, threatening to wipe away every truth she’s uncovered—and everything she holds dear.





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Read an Excerpt


One



Winchester, Tennessee

Monday, March 9, 7:35 a.m.

Rowan DuPont parked on the southeast side of the downtown square. The county courthouse sat smack in the middle of Winchester with streets forming a grid around it. Shops, including a vintage movie theater, revitalized over the past few years by local artisans lined the sidewalks. Something Rowan loved most about her hometown were the beautiful old trees that still stood above all else. So often the trees were the first things to go when towns received a face-lift. Not in Winchester. The entire square had been refreshed and the majestic old trees still stood.

This morning the promise of spring was impossible to miss. Blooms and leaves sprouted from every bare limb. This was her favorite time of year. A new beginning. Anything could happen.

Rowan sighed. Funny how being back in Winchester had come to mean so much to her these past several months. As a teenager she couldn’t wait to get away from home. Growing up in a funeral home had made her different from the other kids. She was the daughter of the undertaker, a curiosity. At twelve tragedy had struck and she’d lost her twin sister and her mother within months of each other. The painful events had driven her to the very edge. By the time she finished high school, she was beyond ready for a change of scenery. Despite having spent more than twenty years living in the big city hiding from the memories of home and a dozen of those two decades working with Nashville’s Metro Police Department—in Homicide, no less—she had been forced to see that there was no running away. No hiding from the secrets of her past.

There were too many secrets, too many lies, to be ignored.

Yet, despite all that had happened the first eighteen years of her life, she was immensely glad to be back home.

If only the most painful part of her time in Nashville—serial killer Julian Addington—hadn’t followed her home and wreaked havoc those first months after her return.

Rowan took a breath and emerged from her SUV. The morning air was brisk and fresh. More glimpses of spring’s impending arrival showed in pots overflowing with tulips, daffodils and crocuses. Those same early bloomers dotted the landscape beds all around the square. It was a new year and she was very grateful to have the previous year behind her.

She might not be able to change the past, but she could forge a different future and she intended to do exactly that.

Closing the door, she smiled as she thought of the way Billy had winked at her as he’d left this morning. He’d settled that cowboy hat onto his handsome head, flashed that sexy smile and winked, leaving her heart fluttering. Four months ago he’d moved into the funeral home with her. The one-hundred-fifty-year-old three-story house didn’t feel nearly so lonely now. She and Billy had been friends most of their lives and, in truth, she had been attracted to him since she was thirteen or fourteen. But she’d never expected a romantic relationship to evolve. Billy Brannigan was a hometown hero. The chief of police and probably the most eligible bachelor in all of Franklin County. He could have his pick of any of the single women around town. Rowan hadn’t expected to be his choice.

She had always been too work-oriented to bother with long-term relationships. Too busy for dating on a regular basis.

Billy had made her want long-term. He made her believe anything was possible, even moving beyond her tragic past.

The whole town was speculating on when the wedding invitations would go out. Rowan hadn’t even considered the possibility. This place where she and Billy were was comfortable. It felt good. Particularly since fate had given them a break the past four months. No trouble beyond the regular, everyday sort. No calls or notes from Julian. No unexplained bodies turning up. And no serial killers had appeared looking for Rowan.

Life was strangely calm and oddly normal.

She would never say as much to Billy, but it was just a little terrifying. The worry that any day, any moment, the next bad thing would happen stalked her every waking moment. Somehow she managed to keep that worry on the back burner. But it was there, waiting for an opportunity to seep into her present.

“Not today,” she said aloud.

Today was important. She and Burt Johnston, the county coroner, had breakfast on Monday mornings. She locked her vehicle and started for the sidewalk. The Corner Diner was a lunch staple in Winchester. Had been since the end of the Great Depression. Attorneys and judges who had court often frequented the place for lunch. Most anyone who was someone in the area could be found at the diner. More deals and gossip happened here than in the mayor’s office.

But breakfast with the coroner wasn’t the only event that made this day so important.

Today she intended to offer her assistant, Charlotte Kinsley, a promotion and a part-ownership in the funeral home. Since there were no more DuPonts—Rowan had no children and couldn’t say if that would ever happen—she needed to bring someone into the family business. Someone younger who could carry on the DuPont legacy.

Rowan paused outside the diner. The iron bench that sat beneath the plate glass window was empty. Surprise furrowed her brow. Burt usually waited there for her. She surveyed the cars lining the sidewalks as far as the eye could see. No sign of Burt’s. He was never late but there was always a first time. After all, he wasn’t exactly a young man anymore.

She sank down onto the bench, dug her cell phone from her bag and sent him a text. She was the one who generally kept him waiting and he never once complained. She certainly wasn’t going to do so. His car was a little on the vintage side as well. Maybe he had car trouble this morning. Worry gnawed at her. A dead battery or a flat tire. Surely he would have called her.

“Morning, Rowan.”

She glanced up, smiling automatically. Lance Kirby, one of the attorneys who was not fortunate enough to have an office on the square. The ones who had been around a lifetime held on to that highly sought-after real estate. The others, like Kirby, waited patiently for someone to retire or to die. Meanwhile they showed up for coffee in this highly visible location bright and early every morning.

“Good morning, Lance.”

Kirby was a couple of years older than her. He’d lived in Winchester his entire life other than the years he spent at college and law school. He was divorced and had three kids. He’d asked Rowan out to dinner on several occasions. She hoped he didn’t ask again this morning. Coming up with an excuse to turn him down was becoming tedious. Surely he was aware that she and Billy were a couple now.

The idea startled her a little. This was the first time in her life that she was half of a couple in the truest sense of the word.

“If you’re waiting for Burt, he’s parked around back. Every spot around the square was taken before seven this morning.” Kirby reached for the door. “People have come early hoping for a chance to get into the Winters trial. Everyone wants to hear the story on that family.”

Rowan had been reading about the trial for weeks in the Winchester Gazette. “That explains why I had to circle around for a while before I found a spot.” She’d forgotten about the small parking area in the back alley behind the diner. “Thanks for telling me. I was worried he’d stood me up.”

Kirby laughed. “I don’t think any man still breathing would stand you up, Rowan.”

She glanced at her cell phone as if it had vibrated. “Oops. I have to take this.”

The instant she set the phone to her ear, Kirby went on inside the diner, the bell over the door jingling to announce his entrance.

Thank goodness.

For appearances’ sake she kept the phone to her ear a half a minute, then put it away. To pass the time she counted the yellow daffodils brimming in the rock planter built around the tree at the edge of the sidewalk. Those lovely yellow flowers were coming up all around the funeral home, too. Her mother had loved gardening. Early-spring blooms were already bursting all over the yard. Maybe her mother had hoped to chase away some of the gloom associated with living in a funeral home.

Since her father’s death, Rowan had hired a gardener. Somehow her father had managed to keep her mother’s extensive gardens alive and thriving for all those years. Rowan did not have a green thumb at all. She had killed every plant she’d ever tried to nurture. She was not going to be the one who dropped the ball on the family garden.

She glanced up then down the sidewalk. Still no sign of Burt. With a sigh, she pushed to her feet. Maybe he was on the phone, which would explain why he hadn’t answered her text. Rather than keep waiting, she cut through the narrow side alley to the small rear parking lot. With his taillights facing the back of the diner, Burt’s white sedan was nosed up to the bank that faced North Jefferson Street.

Rowan quickened her pace and walked up to the driver’s side of his car. Burt sat behind the steering wheel, staring out the windshield.

For a moment Rowan waited for him to glance over and see her but he didn’t move. Whether it was the lax expression on his face or some deep-rooted instinct, she abruptly understood that he was dead.

She tugged at the door handle. Thankfully it opened. Her heart pounding, she bent down. No matter that her brain was telling her he was already gone, she asked, “Burt, you okay?”

Her fingers went instantly to his carotid artery.

Nothing.

Rowan snatched her cell from her bag and called 911. She requested an ambulance and the chief of police, then she laid the phone on the ground and reached into the car and pulled Burt from his seat. She grunted with the effort of stretching him out on the pavement. On her knees next to him, she pressed her ear to his chest. No heartbeat. She held her cheek close to his lips. No breath.

Rowan started CPR.

The voice from the speaker of her cell phone confirmed that the ambulance was en route. She informed the dispatcher that she’d started CPR.

Rowan continued the compressions, her eyes burning with emotion. Burt was her friend. She had been gone from Winchester for a very long time and he had made her feel as if she’d never left. She did not want him to die. Other than Billy, he was the person she felt closest to. The voice of logic reminded her that Burt was just two months shy of his eightieth birthday.

She ignored the voice and focused on the chest compressions. “Come on, Burt. Don’t you die on me.”

Facial color was still good. Skin was still warm. He couldn’t have been in this condition for long. Hope attempted to make an appearance. But it was short-lived. Even a few minutes could be too many.

Damn it!

The approaching sirens drove home the realization that this was all too real.



Excerpt from The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb. 
Copyright © 2020 by Debra Webb. Published by MIRA Books. 
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.





Meet The Author

Marti Corn Photography
Debra Webb is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 130 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama. Visit Debra at http://www.DebraWebb.com or write to her at PO Box 176, Madison, AL 35758.



Connect to the author via her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, or Twitter.



This excerpt and tour brought to you by MIRA Books

2019 Book 275: THE LIES WE TELL by Debra Webb

The Lies We Tell, The Undertaker’s Daughter #2, by Debra Webb 
ISBN: 9780778308317 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488085802 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781974966417 (audiobook)
ISBN: 9781974966424 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B07L6YKZHG (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 17, 2019 
Publisher: MIRA Books


Nothing hurts like the truth.

Doctor Rowan Dupont knows a serial killer is coming for her. Julian Addington has been waiting. Watching. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes. But what Julian doesn’t know is that Rowan is ready for him. And more than anything she wants answers. How well did the depraved killer actually know her mother? And how many lies have been spun in the years since she took her own life?

Working alongside her childhood friend Police Chief Billy Brannigan, Rowan is determined to get to the bottom of her mother’s puzzling suicide once and for all—even if it means exposing an unsettling past. It certainly seems like her family’s Victorian funeral home has borne witness to more than one dark secret, but when a recent double homicide leads to an even grislier discovery, separating the truth from the lies might be the last thing Rowan does. 






Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Barnes and Noble  |  B&N Audiobook  |  B&N Nook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  eBooks  |  !ndigo Books  |  Kobo eBook  |  Kobo Audiobook  


Rowan Dupont’s life has been turned upside down several times in her life. Her twin sister drowns, her mother commits suicide, and then Rowan attempts suicide. Rowan’s mentor, Dr. Julian Addington, was instrumental in getting her life back on track and on her studies in psychiatry. Little did Rowan know, but Julian Addington had been a fixture in her life well before her suicide attempts. Addington apparently knew Rowan’s mother, and his own daughter was killed in the same area where Rowan’s twin drowned. Now Addington is the prime suspect in Rowan’s father’s murder as well as the murder of her coworker in Nashville. Rowan resigns from the Nashville Police Department and returns to Winchester, Tennessee to reluctantly take over her family’s funeral home. But her home isn’t the safe place she presumed as a previous mortuary assistant and one of her father’s best friends has been arrested for dealing in body parts. Although the Dupont Funeral Home wasn’t investigated, the scandal still taints the funeral home. And Rowan still has a serial killer after her. The only thing left for Rowan to do is to use her knowledge of Addington along with her years of psychiatric experience to help her childhood best friend and Winchester chief of Police, Billy Brannigan, snare Addington. Just when it seems like Rowan is uncovering answers to the questions she has about her mother and Addington, more unanswered questions arise and then a body is taken from the mortuary. What possible link could this recently deceased man have with Rowan’s mother since she’s been dead for years? Can Rowan and Billy find the answers to all of Rowan’s questions and protect her life before Addington strikes again?

The Lies We Tell is the second book in the Undertaker’s Daughter series (third if you count the prequel novella). Rowan Dupont isn’t a wilting Southern Belle out to be saved from the bad guy. She’s the type to grab her weapon and go out looking for the bad guy before he can find her. Given the fact she isn’t a law enforcement officer, I enjoyed this facet of her personality. I also enjoyed the kindling romantic attraction between Rowan and Billy. This attraction or romance isn’t the main component of the story, but it does spice things up just a bit. There’s quite a bit happening in The Lies We Tell including murder, theft of a body, discovery of a cache of dead bodies (read the book to learn more about this fascinating bit of the story), and more. This story provides quite a bit of mystery and intrigue, a bit of mayhem and mischief, a few murders, and a little bit of romance…something for everyone. I’ve previously read and reviewed The Secrets We Bury, the first book in this series, so I was excited when I received the opportunity to read and review The Lies We Tell. Something tells me I’ll be reading both books again, along with the prequel novella The Undertaker’s Daughter before the third book in this series is released next year, The Darkness We Hide. If you’re into mystery thrillers with a hint of romance, then I encourage you to grab a copy of The Secrets We Bury and The Lies We Tell for your next long weekend. (Can you tell I enjoyed reading The Lies We Tell?)


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2019 Book 134: THE SECRETS WE BURY by Debra Webb

The Secrets We Bury (The Undertaker’s Daughter #1) by Debra Webb
ISBN: 9780778308300 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781488085796 (ebook)
ASIN: B07FD8WBP7 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: April 30, 2019


Nothing stays buried forever…

Doctor Rowan Dupont knows death. She grew up surrounded by it in her family’s Victorian funeral home, and it’s haunted her since the day her twin sister drowned years ago. Between her mother’s subsequent suicide and the recent murder of her father, coming home to run the funeral home feels fitting—even if it leaves her vulnerable to an obsessive serial killer.

Rowan refuses to let fear keep her from honoring her family. But the more time she spends back in Winchester, Tennessee, the more she finds herself questioning what really happened that fateful summer. Had her sister’s death truly been an accident? And what pushed their mother to take her own life? The dark lake surrounding Rowan’s hometown holds as many secrets as the bodies that float in its chilling depths. But Rowan is running out of time if she’s going to uncover the truth before somebody sinks her for good.





Dr. Rowan DuPont is a forensic psychiatrist. She was once well respected by law enforcement and thought her career was beneficial. After her father was murdered by her longtime mentor she is questioning all that she’s ever known. She leaves Nashville behind and returns to her hometown of Winchester, Tennesse and takes over the family mortuary business. Rowan’s life has been filled with heartbreak, beginning with the drowning death of her twin sister when she was twelve. This was followed only a few months later by her mother’s suicide. Rowan even attempted suicide a couple of times during her youth, but the only ones that know that secret are her father, her mentor and former psychiatrist, Dr. Julian Addington, and her childhood friend, Billy Brannigan, who’s now chief of police in Winchester. During one of Rowan’s waterfront walks near the place of her sister’s drowning, she discovers bones of a teenaged girl. The bones are eventually linked to a missing teenager from California, Dr. Julian Addington, and Rowan’s deceased twin sister Raven. Adding to the drama of Rowan’s return is her discovery that one of the bodies in the mortuary may not have died of a fall as initially expected. This sleepy small town is now dealing with murder after murder and all are linked to Dr. Julian Addington and his quest to torment Rowan. Can Rowan and Billy uncover all the secrets her family tried to keep hidden all those years ago before it’s too late?

The Secrets We Bury by Debra Webb is the first installment in the Undertaker’s Daughter series and it starts off with a bang, figuratively speaking. Rowan is dealing with the psychological torment of someone that knows all of her secrets and even worse, he knows many of the secrets kept by her parents that she was completely unaware of until now. Rowan feels as if she’s unraveling as she tries to figure out what happened in the past along with what’s currently happening. Yes, there’s a lot going on in this story and there’s no way I can tell you everything without massive spoilers. If you’re into suspense thrillers or psychological suspense reads, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of The Secrets We Bury. If you’ve read anything by Debra Webb in the past, then you’re familiar with her writings and you’ve probably already got this book on your TBR list and a copy on pre-order. If you haven’t read anything by this author in the past, then I suggest you grab a copy of The Secrets We Bury and then you can enjoy reading her backlist while you wait for the next installment in this series. I enjoyed The Secrets We Bury and can’t wait to read the next book to see what happens next with Rowan and Billy.



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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The Secrets We Bury


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