Caught Between a Lie and True Love
Paige Calhoun knows how to avoid trouble.
But when her dad returns to Serendipity Island, she has to make a choice. Turn her back on the grandma who raised her and the island she once called home, or jump head first into her dad’s latest scheme.
Brody Jackson always plays to win.
Until his one careless mistake drags him back to Serendipity Island and into a battle for permanent custody of his teenage daughter.
Brody’s got no time for one hot woman who’s messing with his mind and his game. And Paige can’t afford to let one gorgeous man distract her from staying one step ahead of the family business. When fate brings them back together on Serendipity Island, the life they each thought they wanted isn’t the one they get.
This book includes a family-phobic heroine, a hunky hero whose luck—and love life—are about to change, lies, romance, chocolate chip cookies, nighttime shenanigans, a con-artist who swears he’s gone straight, teens with their own agenda, and a battle-of-the-sexes secondary romance.
Complete Character List:
- Paige Calhoun: Estranged from her grandmother and the island she once called home, Paige can’t afford to let anything distract her from saving the residents of Serendipity Island from her dad’s latest scam.
- Brody Jackson: When the star quarterback gains conditional custody of the teenage daughter he never knew existed, he’s forced to move back to Serendipity Island and attempt to figure out this Dad gig.
- Jeb Calhoun: Paige’s dad swears he’s gone straight, but Paige doesn’t trust him. He’s the reason she was forced off the island and the reason she has a juvie record now.
- Matilda Hannibal: The island’s real estate agent and President of the local Ladies Society, Matilda wants custody of her granddaughter, Hope, even if it means giving up her Tuesday and Thursday nights secret rendezvous with a certain delicious someone.
- Delores Peabody: First Lady Delores Peabody-Jackson has such a nice ring to it, and if Delores has to knock off a resident or two to get the title, it won’t be the first time.
- Starr Calhoun: Paige’s thirteen-year-old daughter wants off Serendipity Island and her new friend Hope might be her ticket off.
- Hope Jackson: Brody’s teenage daughter doesn’t want to live with her dad or her maternal grandmother. All she wants is to return to the Mainland and her friends.
- Olivia Calhoun: Paige’s eight-seven-year-old grandmother might appear fragile and in need of help, but the feisty woman has finally met her match in her great-granddaughter, Starr.
- Judge Harry Malone: Harry has a brand new motorhome and plans to spend his retirement on the open road, but convincing the woman he loves to join him just might be impossible.
- Lisa-Lee: Paige’s mom was never the mothering kind and discovering that she is a grandma might be the thing that finally pushes her over the edge.
Extras & Tidbits: Want to get the inside scoop on this story? Then check out the blog posts below.
Ever since the release of book three in the Caught Between series (Caught Between a Rock and a Hunka Man), I’ve wanted to change out the series covers to better differentiate the books from my Rocky Mountain series. After all, the Caught Between series is all fun and...read more
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I’m baking cookies for the family—my “mom” task for the week—a mouth-watering chocolate chip cookie recipe that my baby sister shared with me years ago. The cookies got me to thinking about the cookies in my new Caught...read more
I’m a little bit behind in my April reads but I have a really good reason. Honestly. Truly. In fact, I have—almost—the best reason in the world. (And no, I didn’t have another baby. Or solve world hunger…sorry.) Book one of the Caught Between series is almost here. In...read more
Whenever I’m struggling through the work-in-progress, as I am with the midpoint rewrites on Sex, Lies & Family Ties, I get easily sidetracked. So when people started to talk about the movie THE WORDS starring Bradley Cooper, it gave me something besides my WIP to...read more
CAUGHT BETWEEN A LIE AND TRUE LOVE
Paige Calhoun shrank down on the driver’s seat of her Mini, one eye on the gate of the Serendipity Island Ferry, the other on the humongous motorhome looming in her rearview mirror.
The driver—the Judge who’d sent her to juvie school fourteen years ago—surely wouldn’t recognize her after all this time, but she wasn’t taking any chances. The last thing she wanted to do was explain to her thirteen-year-old daughter how she’d screwed things up, then been booted to the curb by her grandmother.
Beside her, Starr slumped in the passenger seat like a rag doll, huffed out a dramatic sigh, and crossed her arms over her chest. “You forced me to leave town in the middle of the night. I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to my friends.”
Paige inhaled deeply, then attempted to exhale her tension. It didn’t work. “It was six in the morning, not the middle of the night.”
“I’m old enough to take care of myself. You could’ve left me at home.”
“Not likely.” Paige remembered what it was like to be a teen and to be bad. She forced a smile and prayed her normally intuitive daughter didn’t notice the worry behind it. “Besides, I like having you with me.”
“What about what I want?”
What either of them wanted at the moment was insignificant. Her own instincts were never wrong. In fact, the one time she’d ignored them, she’d lost everything, including a future here on Serendipity Island.
The teen scowled. “You won’t ask her to come live with us, will you?”
Olivia Calhoun, Paige’s paternal grandmother, would never leave the island, but Starr didn’t know that. Paige couldn’t resist teasing the out-of-sorts teen. “You could share your bedroom with her and change her diapers.”
Starr tugged at the bill of her baseball cap, and turned her glare forward, all teenage attitude and misery. “Mom, that’s not funny.”
With her short dark hair stuffed under the baseball cap and an overlarge t-shirt hiding the beginning of feminine curves, the girl looked nine instead of thirteen. But behind that deceptively innocent demeanor was a budding con-artist.
The girl was too much like her grandfather for her own good.
As the ferry gate opened, a horn honked behind them, and Paige put the car into gear and turned her gaze forward.
Serendipity Island. Population 5263.
Starr sat a little straighter, her natural curiosity overcoming the teenage surliness. “Where’s Olivia’s house?”
“Don’t call her Olivia. She’s your great-grandmother.” Paige inched the Mini off the ferry, then turned onto Tranquility Drive. Along the edge of the highway, palm trees danced in the warm gentle breeze while the mid-day sunlight glinted off the distant ocean whitecaps. A few miles down the road, she took the first turn off the highway into town. “Gram’s house is only a few blocks from the beach. You’ll love it here so much, Starr, you’ll never want to leave.”
The teen snorted and slumped back on the seat. “Never going to happen, Mom.”
Paige breathed deeply, drawing in the familiar scent of coconut suntan lotion and mangoes. It reminded her of warm summer days spent lounging on the beach, and getting up in the morning to a bowl full of freshly picked fruit.
Starr’s voice intruded on her memories. “Why do the houses look so weird?”
“They’re constructed of concrete panels to withstand tropical storms. Plus the concrete keeps out the summer heat.” Turning onto Gram’s street, she pulled up in front of a blueberry toned two-story home that was trimmed with canary yellow, pulled the key out of the ignition, and the tightness in her stomach returned full force. “Here we are.”
As Starr grabbed the door handle and clambered out of the car, Paige’s attention drifted to the house next door. The house where Brody Jackson, her teenage crush, had lived.
He’d been long gone by the time she’d been arrested, snapped up by one of the national football teams on the mainland, living a life of fame and fortune, so far out of her league, she’d forced herself to forget about him.
The house had recently been repainted, the white so clean and bright, it nearly blinded her in the afternoon sun. She wondered if his parents still lived there, then decided it didn’t much matter. If she were lucky, she’d be long gone before they even realized Gram had company.
A movement down the street caught her gaze, and she saw the huge motorhome from the ferry barely roll to a stop before it cruised through the intersection and disappeared from sight.
“Mom, are you coming?”
In the distance, the ferry horn sounded the call to board the passengers and vehicles leaving the island, and she was suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to grab Starr, climb back into the Mini, and run before things went sideways. But she couldn’t.
She had one week till the ferry returned.
One week to find her dad.
One week to run him off the island before he pulled off his next score.