Secrets & Lies by Susanne Matthews - @jandsmatt #RomanticSuspense #Review
Secrets and Lies
Book Four, Hearts of Braden Series 
by Susanne Matthews
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: Full Length Novel


DEA agent, Emily Shepherd, is after the Chef, a crystal meth cook, who sets up labs for the Mexican cartel and walks away—the same man responsible for the deaths of her husband and unborn child. Her search leads her to Braden, Iowa, a small town just right for the Chef’s specialty. But identifying her quarry won’t be easy when she’s up against a woman who sees her as a threat, a male chauvinistic deputy sheriff, and an attractive school principal who might just be at the center of it all.

Jackson Harris has sworn off women. Life is satisfactory, if lonely, until he meets a hazel-eyed damsel in distress who gets under his skin, and triggers that protective instinct of his. There's a killer in town, one who may or may not be a notorious drug lord. Finding him, and keeping his town, his students, and Emily safe, may be harder than he thinks.

Love is breaking out in Braden, Iowa. Follow all the romance with this collection of stories. Secrets and Lies is part of the Hearts of Braden Series, a multi-author series Secrets and Lies stands alone for your reading enjoyment, but the story doesn't need to end there.




Bethany-Kris's Review of Secrets and Lies
****Five Stars****

Emily Shepherd, undercover DEA agent, is going to do everything in her power to take down the Chef, a dangerous Meth cook that ruined her life. In a failed raid that took away her husband and unborn child in an effort to get the Chef out of business and rid his product from the streets, Emily was left far more than husbandless and childless. She was also left permanently disfigured and scarred in more ways than one. The town of Braden looks like it might be the Chef's next spot to cook, and come He*l or high water, Emily is going to take him down. 

Or is she? 

Jackson Harris, Braden high school principal and secret millionaire, has enough to manage between his school, the new food program being implemented, and strange happenings in the town to get caught up in some love affair with a woman. But when that woman also ends up being part of the reason for the happenings, and she's a target of several attacks, every protective instinct he has comes out to keep Emily safe. 

But can he handle her lies? 

Mrs. Matthews Harvester series ranks high on my favorite romantic suspense list. Like way high. Best out there. Got it? Secrets and Lies is now climbing my list as well. As much as I strive to get the right feel for a good and proper romantic suspense, this author gets it every single time. She keeps you wondering and guessing until the very last minute. She makes your heart race and your fingers struggling to catch up to turn the pages faster. She is amazing. 

And I can't say it enough. 

She deserves far more than just the praise I can give. Her writing and storytelling is exceptional. Her stories stand on their own legs. They are fantastic. Read them. Now. 

I felt for Emily. I felt her struggle to maintain some semblance of dignity and independence despite her situation. I felt her pain from losing her husband and child, to her confusion about the attraction she felt to a stranger. And Jackson? What's there to say other than Matthews writes wonderfully souled heroes. They're tough, touching, and great men. 

You cannot ask for more than that. 

Well done, Susanne. Well played. 




“Where do you think you’re going, missy?” the deputy yelled at her as he walked swiftly to her side.
Great. Just what I need.
Lightening flashed in the distance, the roar of thunder coming only seconds later. A fat raindrop landed on her arm.
“Home, thank you,” she replied, and turned to smile at the man.
“Not in the shape you’re in,” he said aggressively. “I saw you stagger in there. I don’t know what it’s like where you come from, but drunks don’t drive in this town. Just how many of those drafts did you have?”
Fisting her hands at her side, she counted to five before looking him right in the eye, fighting to keep distrust and dislike out of her voice. She smiled, but knowing herself as she did, she was probably sneering, just making things worse. The last thing she needed was to get on this man’s bad side and make a scene. “I had one small beer, deputy. I can assure you I’m not drunk and quite capable of driving back to my apartment. I’m just very tired, and it’s been a long day.”
“Don’t give me that bull, lady. If you had one beer, I’m the pope. I saw you almost fall when you stood up. People don’t stumble like that after one beer. And look where you’re parked. That’s a restricted spot and good for a fifty dollar fine. What is it with you big city folks? Don’t think the local laws apply to you?”
“If you look on the dash, you’ll see my handicap parking permit.”
“And how the hell did you get that? Have a hangnail?”
“I have an artificial hip, which is the reason I stumbled when I moved too quickly,” she answered gritting her teeth to keep her temper. “Now, if you’ll be so kind as to step aside. I’d really like to get out of the rain before it gets any worse.”
“What? Are you afraid you’ll melt? How do I know you aren’t lying to me?”
“You don’t,” she ground out on the verge of not only losing her temper but giving him the tongue lashing he so richly deserved. “And unless you’re a medical doctor I’m not about to pull down my pants and show you the scars. Now, I asked you to step aside please and let me go.”
The deputy’s heightened color warned her of his fury. She’d met guys like him before, had worked with them, and it seemed as if she’d pushed his buttons without meaning to. Damn.
“Is there a problem, Kevin?” haircut man asked as he stepped up beside the deputy.
“No problem, Jack,” the deputy snarled, obviously annoyed by the interruption. “Like I said inside, the little lady’s had too much to drink, and now, she’s trying to feed me some cock and bull story about an artificial hip. Like she’s old enough to have her damn hip replaced. I ought to run her in for being mouthy and resisting arrest on top of being intoxicated in a public place.”
“If you arrested everyone for being drunk at Buddy’s, you’d need a jail ten times the size of the one you have. Besides, I think the lady is as sober as she says she is. Jenny brought her a small, light draft while she waited for her food, and since she has the parking permit, I’d say why not give her the benefit of the doubt? She’s probably just passing through anyway—Illinois plates. You don’t want to get tied up doing all that paperwork, and if the breathalyzer and blood work come back clean, Calvin’s going to tear a strip off you for wasting resources again and forcing him to issue another apology. Besides, Jenny gave me your supper, and Buddy says it’s on the house.”
Emily wanted to scream since she was right there and quite capable of defending herself. Haircut man smiled apologetically at her, and she felt as if the wind had been knocked out her. He even had Alex’s dimple. Suddenly, she just wanted to go home, and lick her wounds. Coming here was a mistake. She wasn’t ready to be back at work, back in the field, back in proximity to a man who was the spitting image of the one she’d lost.
“Tell you what,” he continued his argument with the deputy. “I’ll follow her home, and if she swerves an inch, I’ll call you, and you can cite her legitimately for DWI. I’ll even testify for you.”
The deputy looked as if he was about to dispute the point when his radio crackled. “Kevin, you there?”
“Yeah.” He pulled out the radio and depressed the button to answer.
“Sheriff wants you out on the old River Road as soon as possible, and he said to use the lights and the siren.”
The deputy frowned, glared at her once more, and turned to her rescuer. “I got to go, Jack. You’ll follow her wherever she’s staying?”
“I will.”
“Then…” He turned back to her. “…I’ll let you off with a warning. If I see your face in this town again, you’ll be sorry.”
Emily nodded, not trusting herself to speak. He was likely to see a lot of her whether he wanted to or not, but she would let Sheriff Hines deal with the asshole and put the fear of God into him. She would avoid Deputy Dimwit when she could, but before she was through here, she’d take the cocky little bastard down a peg or two, and she was going to enjoy the experience. She would love to flip him onto his back right now and tell him what a jerk he was, but that would most likely get her arrested.
The deputy turned, hurried to the squad car, tossed the bag on the seat, and pulled out of the parking lot, burning rubber, siren blaring and lights flashing.
“Sorry about that,” the man said. “Kevin can be a bit of an ass at times.”

“Just a bit?” she replied and laughed. “I think he’s got the role of pompous ass down pat—might even be a contender for an Oscar.”


About the author:

Susanne Matthews lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada with her husband. She has three grown children and five grandchildren. Of French-Canadian descent, Susanne is an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances regardless of what it takes to get there. A retired educator, she spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers, whether in a contemporary, historical, sci-fi, paranormal, or suspense setting. She loves the ins and outs of complex romances, and the journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Follow Susanne on her:

Twitter @jandsmatt
1 Response
  1. Thanks for having me over.

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