Saturday, January 18, 2020

#Spotlight on Inherent Truth by Alicia Anthony

Inherent Truth
(Blood Secrets #1)
by Alicia Anthony
Paperback, 376 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Drury Lane Books, LLC
A woman with buried secrets…
An agent with an impossible mission…
An inheritance that will destroy them both…

When Liv Sullivan’s dead grandmother beckons for help from beyond the grave, the reluctant psychic is forced back to her small Ohio hometown. Scrambling to make sense of her grandmother’s legacy, Liv finds herself face to face with undercover Agent Ridge McCaffrey.

Assigned to protect the woman whose gifts unnerve him, all for a covert psychic intelligence operation he doesn’t understand, Ridge struggles to place duty over desire. But when a body is found at Sullivan Farm and Liv’s allegiance is called into question, Ridge’s mission becomes clear.

Can Liv unearth family secrets that are best left buried before the ghosts of her past destroy her dreams of a normal future?


My grandmother’s voice pierced the haze of sleep. “It’s time, Olivia.”
Her spoken words transformed into the melodic chorus of “Danny Boy,” a song I’d heard countless times over lazy summer days spent at my grandparents’ farm. Perfectly in tune, and full of my grandmother’s usual warmth, only the intense melancholy in her voice signaled that life was about to change.
I roused as the shroud of sleep fell away–not completely awake, but somewhere in that in-between state that exists only in dreams. That fine line between reality and the whims of the subconscious. I knew the space too well.
My grandmother was not really here, not in my tiny apartment in Southern California. Yet this was more than just a dream, a fabrication of the typical sleeping mind. Walking the line of the normal subconscious would have been a blessing. But no, as usual, I’d gone beyond, straddling this world and the next.
I rubbed my eyes and turned toward her voice. She stood at the kitchen sink, not my own nondescript stainless steel version, but the old porcelain apron-front atop the aged wood cabinetry in the Sullivan farmhouse. I sat up on the edge of my bed and listened as she digressed from singing and began to hum the remaining stanzas of the classic Irish tune. A red and white gingham dishtowel flicked expertly around a bright floral-patterned dish, finally coming to rest across her shoulder.
She turned toward me, and the breath caught in my lungs. No matter how many visions I had, I never seemed prepared. Her apparition as real as if she’d landed that afternoon at LAX. More fully-formed than the intense grip of daytime visions, the nighttime images were easier to immerse myself in. I forced a breath and took in the full vision of my grandmother. She winked at me as she made her way from the kitchen toward the antique dining table that had materialized in my living room. All that remained of my studio apartment was the bed on which I sat. My familiar walls and dΓ©cor slid away into the foggy abyss that framed the vision in front of me.
Grandma’s pale blue dressing gown fluttered gently against sun-starved legs. How many Saturday mornings had I come downstairs to the kitchen at Sullivan farm to see exactly this image? For anyone else, that’s what this would be–a memory-induced dream, a creation of the subconscious. But not for me.
The blue of her gown, coupled with the stream of light filtering through an imaginary window, added a shimmer to her eyes. My grandmother had the most beautiful eyes. Rich pools of pale cornflower blue that twinkled when she laughed. A knot rose in my throat. How I longed to hear that laugh.
“Do you remember this one, Liv?” She looked at me. Her gaze pulling like the fingers of some unseen force, coaxing me to join her at the table. I worked my toes into the carpet beneath my feet and I stood from the side of the bed, shuffling toward the vignette in front of me. She pushed a grainy photograph across well-worn oak as I slid into the chair opposite her. The spindles of the oak chair pressing into my spine were the only proof I’d moved from my perch on the bed.
“I took that when he was on a weekend leave in Germany. Can you believe I flew all the way over there just for a weekend with your grandfather?” A light chuckle, like a breeze through well-tuned wind chimes, escaped her lips.
I smiled at the mischievous glint in my grandma’s watery blue eyes. “I bet he was glad you made the effort.”
She reached her hand to cover mine and gave a squeeze. The warmth of her touch spiraled a note of helplessness down my spine as I battled the nugget of comprehension that explained her appearance. I clenched my jaw against the tears pricking at the backs of my eyes, determined to focus on the smiling faces of my young grandparents, primitively colorized in the photograph in front of me. They’d looked so happy.
“It’s time.” Playfulness evaporated from her voice. “You ignored the warning, but you can’t ignore your legacy.”
My stomach tightened as she took the photograph from my hand and replaced it in the leather-bound photo album I remembered seeing at the farm.
“This is about the girl in the woods, isn’t it?” My voice rose above the tentative whisper I usually used with visiting spirits. The call had come a couple months ago, just after New Year’s, but there wasn’t a day that slipped by it didn’t weigh on me.
Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her. Fearful, wide, blue eyes, freckles sprinkled across the bridge of her nose, but what haunted me the most were the familiar trees, the boat house where I’d played hide-n-seek as a child. The gentle lap of water against the nearby shore. All tarnished now. I once knew every square foot of that woods. But that seemed like a lifetime ago. The last time I’d been at Sullivan Farm was over three years ago when we’d moved my grandmother into an assisted living center.
“I expect you’ll take good care of these.” She ignored my question and patted the cover of the album gently, running both hands over it as if she didn’t want to let it go. “There’s something I need you to find, Liv.” Before I could respond, my grandmother turned, ushering a little girl from the bluish fog behind her. I shoved away the flash of blue eyes that pricked from my memory. This wasn’t the missing girl from that mysterious call, the color and shape of her eyes was proof enough for me. I waited for her to speak, but she remained mute. Rosebud lips pressed in a hard line. She just stared at me with enormous deep green eyes.
Her strawberry blonde hair was arranged in pigtail braids and tied with blue satin ribbons, one of which was dirty, the bow bedraggled. She wore a pale yellow dress with short sleeves, the hem draping just above the dimples of her knees. Tiny blue embroidered flowers danced in rows across the smocked bodice. A pair of matching socks and well-worn Stride Rite Mary Janes completed the look. She was cute. Haunting, but adorable.
I shrugged off the eerie familiarity. Images of family photos flew like microfiche files through my brain. I searched each one for someone who could match the girl’s description but came up empty. One thought nagged. I shoved against it, but it persisted–she looked like me.
“Who is she?” My voice a whisper, a waver in the silence.
“The answers rest with her. Come home, Liv.” My grandmother’s voice hung like an echo as the vision faded, dissipating like sun-burned fog. I searched Grandma’s eyes. The knot in my throat thickened with the understanding that I’d never again see their sparkle in the light of day. She raised her long, thin fingers to her lips and blew me a kiss.

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About the Author:
Alicia Anthony’s first novels were illegible scribbles on the back of her truck driver father’s logbook trip tickets. Having graduated from scribbles to laptop, she now pens novels of psychological suspense in the quiet of the wee morning hours. A full-time elementary school Literacy Specialist, Alicia hopes to pass on her passion for books and writing to the students she teaches.A two time Golden Heart® finalist and Silver Quill Award winner, Alicia finds her inspiration in exploring the dark, dusty corners of the human experience. Alicia is a graduate of Spalding University’s School of Creative & Professional Writing (MFA), Ashland University (M.Ed.) and THE Ohio State University (BA). Go Bucks! She lives in rural south-central Ohio with her amazingly patient and supportive husband, incredibly understanding teenage daughter, two dogs, three horses, a plethora of both visiting and resident barn cats, and some feral raccoons who have worn out their welcome.When she’s not writing or teaching, Alicia loves to travel and experience new places. Connect with her online. She’d love to hear from you!

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