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Between Lies And Revenge

Published by Rising Action
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

For fans of Megan Miranda and Sally Hepworth, BETWEEN LIES AND REVENGE is a gripping debut of domestic suspense, where a daring jewel heist becomes a lifeline for two women entangled in a web of deceit, pushing them to the brink of trust and betrayal in their quest for redemption and survival.

Years after the death of her brother and the theft of her heirloom jewelry, ex-con Elle is on the run ... until she spots a stranger wearing a signature piece. Determined to take back what is hers, Elle stalks and befriends the woman, using her gemology skills as a ruse. Elle offers to appraise and clean the jewelry, replicating and replacing the pieces instead.

Olivia is drowning. She maxes out credit cards behind her financially-strict husband's back in order to pay for fertility treatments, keep her blackmailing father at bay, and maintain appearances with her wealthy friends and their cultist MLM social circles. When Olivia meets Elle, she finally feels understood ... and inspired.

With Elle’s expertise and Olivia’s connections, the two start a side-hustle by way of home jewelry appraisal parties. When this isn't lucrative enough, they develop the perfect con: switching rich housewives’ gems with fakes. But their hidden truths get in the way of their success, and each other. Before their secrets bury them, they must confess their lies to one another and trust their final con will exact the revenge that’ll secure their freedom, and their lives.

Excerpt

Prologue

You may not miss me, but I miss you. Every single day. You were my best friend. My protector. I was supposed to protect you in return. I was supposed to put my love for you first.

Instead, I killed you.

Chapter One

Sunday, August 28th

Elle

People don’t come back from the dead. I know that more than most. Death is a theft of life that can’t be found, forgotten, forgiven.

Stolen jewelry, though, can be. For twenty years I’ve been determined to find—refused to forgive or forget.

In all my searching, I didn’t expect it to be hidden in plain sight. In a neighborhood skirting an expansive country club, across the city from our current rental home. I came here after the boxing gym to burn off this pent-up boredom with a reasonably paced run and strong imagination. The thud of my feet on the pavement creates a rhythmic beat in tune with my plans for all the ways in which I could steal from these rich ass people … if it wouldn’t mean breaking a vow.

As I come to an abrupt halt on the sidewalk, I realize I’m no longer imagining.

It’s not stealing if it’s already mine.

I can’t take back what’s mine either, not here, with all these impeccably dressed people milling about, their children just yards away at the play area. So many seemingly innocent eyes pretending to not watch me—the outsider. Several gazes and glares slam into me as I turn to face the crowd surrounding several tables that have gold tablecloths and health products on display. Their expressions are a mix between weary and dislike—my free running disrupting them from purchasing their optimal health.

Most of my onlookers turn back to their shopping when I bend over and plant my hands on my knees, gasping for air. I look like I’m on the verge of a medical emergency, and they would rather pretend than feign concern and help.

Lucky for me, I’m not struggling to breathe due to the run, or asthma, or a bee sting.

I bow my head, try desperately to pull in air, close my eyes. Open. Blink, blink, blink. Slowly lift my head and look back in the direction I saw the brunette, hoping I’m right, hoping I’m wrong. My gaze roams the crowd until I find her again, at a different table now, picking up and examining a large canister of protein powder.

I could be wrong, because …

That emerald and diamond bracelet with the stones interlaced in delicate white and yellow gold…

Those elegant gold rope earrings, each with a large sapphire in the basket attached to the post …

That show stopping ring with tiny pebbles of emeralds surrounding the sapphire setting…

They all could be replicas.

I’ve found look alike pieces before, and while I hadn’t seen anyone with more than one, it’s not impossible.

Except …

The emerald cross dangling from a simple gold chain at the brunette’s collarbone—that’s not a fake. It doesn’t have doppelgangers.

My muscles twitch as I refrain from plowing through the crowd to place the brunette in a choke hold—taking back what’s mine when her unconscious body folds to the ground.

Instead, I watch, as a woman with dyed blonde hair and sunken cheeks, comes to the brunette’s side and takes her arm, leaning in to whisper something to her.

“Erin, we’ll be back,” the brunette calls through the crowd, and sets down the large canister.

Someone in my periphery waves at them, as the bottle blonde and the brunette pivot and head across the unnaturally manicured lawn toward a building tucked under several sprawling trees.

I wait long enough to give them a head start before my feet set me in motion, returning to my jog. I follow the sidewalk around the bend toward the facilities, then push the door open to the women’s restroom. It’s pristine—nothing like what us commoners have at public parks. Glancing for feet first, I walk past the two occupied stalls, then step inside one at the end and lock the door, pretending to use the toilet.

“Clara’s tired lately. She asked to decrease her hours. I think we’ll have to find a new nanny. Maybe someone who’s younger, doesn’t have her own family yet,” one of them says. The way she speaks is like nails on a chalkboard, all haughty with whining and almost audible eye rolls.

“Oh, that’s too bad. Did she say she wanted more family time?” the other woman asks, clearly not too bothered by the bathroom conversation.

“God knows. I didn’t ask. But why take the risk, hiring some other nanny with kids,” the first says. “Of course, I can’t have a nanny that’s too attractive either. Wouldn’t want Billy’s eyes wandering.”

“Billy’s so in love with you, I doubt—”

“Please! It only takes one slip. But you’re right, Billy is obsessed with me.”

This woman’s a bitch. If it’s the brunette, I may strangle her after all. But something tells me it’s the blonde who appears to focus on reshaping and changing her body, rather than dressing up what she’s been given.

There’s a noisy flush, and the second woman shouts over it, “You want me to wait?”

“I’ll be out in a sec,” the first says, not answering the question.

I flush my unused toilet, partly deciding to trust my instincts on which woman the brunette is, and partly because I want the slowpoke with a superiority complex to stress over how much longer she’s in the bathroom compared to others.

The brunette is washing her hands when I step out. I give her a pursed lip smile as I lean over the sink next to hers, then glance at the bottom of the mirror to examine her. She finishes washing her hands, then stands next to the towel dispenser when she’s done drying.

I step away from my sink, then take two paper towels before looking her in the eyes.

“Sorry,” she says, shuffling a half step away.

“You’re fine,” I say to her with my warmest smile and nod.

The other woman’s toilet flushes, queuing me to make a move.

As the blonde steps out of her stall and heads toward us, I pivot toward the door, then stop in my tracks, and turn back.

“Those pieces—your jewelry—their stunning,” I say, pointing a finger and moving it in a circle to complement her pairing.

“Thank you,” she says, her cheeks pinking.

The blonde shakes water from her hands and turns around. With her back to the counter, she yanks several towels free, and looks between her friend and me. She elevates her left arm to face level and gently pats her two-carat rock on her ring finger, then her wrist with a glistening tennis bracelet.

“Mrs. Bradley—such an old soul—loves her antiques,” she says with a chuckle, accenting the last word with her lofty disdain.

The brunette’s cheeks morph from pink to fiery red.

“Can I ask; where did you get them?” I address the brunette, making a point to keep my gaze off her friend.

“Excuse me,” the blonde says, stepping closer until she’s almost between us, then tosses her wadded towels on the counter rather than the trashcan. “Why do you need to know?”

Even an idiot could discern the question as an accusation. I immediately interpret every assumption she’s making about me. Some would be correct. I could react in kind, but I need to utilize my pawns wisely to remain in play.

“They’re very inspiring,” I say, sticking close to the truth. “There are so many jewelry makers these days—so much competition. Only a few craft something so unique.”

The brunette opens her mouth but doesn’t say anything because the blonde steps between us, demanding my attention and halting any conversation that could have been.

“So what?” the blonde chastises. “Are you one of those jewelry makers?”

“Something like that,” I say, making sure my tone contrasts hers.

“Steal your ideas off someone else,” the blonde says, then grabs the other woman’s arm and yanks her toward the door. “Let’s go, Olivia.”

The brunette gives me a sympathetic look as she passes me. When the door slams between us, I allow the grin that I’ve been suppressing.

People may not come back from the dead. But the things stolen along with their life … that’s an entirely different story.

Chapter Two

Tuesday, September 20th

Olivia

The fan in Sarah’s office oscillates until a gust comes through the door and hits the side of my face, causing my curls to flutter. Again.

I wrap my sweater tighter and huff. My boss’ need to run a fan at the worst times is a constant reminder of all the things I can’t control, and how I’ve failed at making something of my own.

This was a dreamy job once. I spent a few years engrossed in this position, as Sarah’s assistant, finding joy in coordinating conferences and thriving in the organized chaos. It became my world after I’d dropped out of my post-grad program when I couldn’t handle being on campus with happy people who hadn’t been through terrible things. When Sarah gave me this job fourteen years ago, she saved me.

I wish that the reason I remain in this position was out of loyalty to her, or because of the fulfillment I get from the work. Then, perhaps, gatherings with friends would be easier, without the social divide becoming more prevalent as time goes on. None of my friends need to work anymore—if they ever had to—and many choose not to, instead taking up proud titles such as housewife and country club member.

The truth is this job lost its luster long ago.

I can tolerate it though. Usually. Today, I can’t complete a single task. I can’t focus on anything but the subtle twisting and pricking happening under my pelvic bone. It’s not the familiar cramping I’ve come to dread. Or a constricting barbed-wire pain that would indicate the return of endometriosis.

This could be it. The sign that I’m finally going to succeed at something.

Butterflies in my belly take flight as I imagine a moment of confirmation when I’m unable to control my glee. My phone vibrates on my worn desk, momentarily expanding my thoughts of sharing the news with Camden.

I pick up my phone, opening the text icon. My stomach drops, killing the butterflies.

Larry’s texted with an invasive reminder. It’s that time of the month again. See you Saturday afternoon. Bring cash … 700 will do.

I take a slow breath through my nose, but it does nothing to slow the uptick of my heartbeat. As I do, my phone vibrates again. I wince as I glance at it and am relieved it’s not a follow-up text from Larry, who is epitome of an absent father, except in moments like these. Instead, it’s Erin, letting me know I can come by to pick up my NewLife order I placed weeks ago at her informational in the park, where she said we should experience the benefits of the sun while simultaneously telling us our bodies can’t absorb enough natural elements to fulfill our nutritional needs. At least I’ve already managed to pay for that hefty price tag—the money portion, anyway.

Still, my surroundings close in, and I stare up at my computer screen trying to calm the pulsing that’s moved to my head.

“Olivia, did you hear me?” Sarah calls, mild annoyance in her tone.

“Sorry, I was reading an email,” I lie, standing and moving around my desk.

As I rest my shoulder on her doorframe, the fan pans in my direction, sending my blood pressure up a notch. I focus on her to keep from showing my internal reaction. She’s pretty, with her peppered hair framing her face and bulky purple glasses.

“Have you heard back from all the prospective booth renters for the real estate conference?” Sarah asks, tapping her pen against her desk.

“I gave them all until end of day tomorrow,” I answer, straightening my shoulders. With my aggravation growing, I almost believe the confidence is my own.

“It should have been today,” she mumbles in her normal passive aggressive tone.

“We decided on end of week,” I say, firm but professional. This isn’t the first time she’s moved a deadline on me.

If I had my own business—the dream that led me through school when I was young and hopeful—I wouldn’t have to put up with a boss who exerts her dominance by undermining my work and messing with my strictly scheduled timeframes.

She glares at me from above her glasses, her hands not leaving her keyboard.

“Also, there are no new posts on our socials today.”

If only people knew this company wasn’t so perfect. Instead, what I deliver on all the social channels is an impeccable business, with well-lit images of moments that appear serene, lacing in “candid” moments of the “happy family” team she so desperately wants to construe.

A sharp pain erupts through my pelvic floor, and my chest tightens in fear.

“I’ll take care of it,” I snap. “I always do.”

I turn abruptly and grab my new-to-me Chanel purse from the corner of my desk, then slip its thin strap over my shoulder.

“I’m taking a break,” I say with a renewed niceness.

As I head out of the office and down the long hall, a warm fluid leaks onto my panties.

My thoughts scatter, searching for an explanation of anything other than the obvious.

Not again.

I rush into the bathroom and lock myself in a stall, lowering onto the cool porcelain as my body temperature rises. I don’t inspect my damp underwear. I don’t have to.

My throat constricts as stinging starts behind my eyes. I won’t get to celebrate or tell Camden I’m pregnant. My body didn’t prove me wrong. The possibility of no longer failing, that’s gone now.

A familiar ache grabs my chest, breaking my heart and stealing my breath. A sob escapes my lips, echoing off the metal walls etched in profanities and testaments of love.

*

About The Author

Hannah D Sharpe is an American suspense author. She is a member of WFWA and SinC. Hannah is a nurse who historically specialized in emergency medicine and nursing education, and is now thankful for alternative career options as she navigates motherhood with three young kids … while working from home as an appeals and grievances nurse. She’s also very grateful her husband gets home from work at 2 p.m. In her (not so) free time, Hannah listens to and reviews lots of audiobooks. She lives in Marysville, Washington with two sons, a middle daughter, a supportive husband, and a moody cat, where they constantly juggle time and coordinate extracurricular activities. Between Lies and Revenge is her first novel.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Rising Action (September 3, 2024)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781998076505

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Raves and Reviews

While Sharpe delivers all the juicy twists and turns readers crave from domestic suspense, BETWEEN LIES AND REVENGE is, at its heart, an ode to women—the struggles we face, the sisterhoods we form, and the strength we all possess, in all its many forms. A triumphant roar of a debut!

– Nicole Hackett, Author of The Perfect Ones

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