Stolen Chances, by Elisabeth Naughton
Nine years ago, Archaeologist Maren Hudson lost everything when a member of her team was killed during a routine dive. Now she’s been drawn back to Mexico and the career she walked away from in order to protect the most precious thing in the world: her daughter.
One desperate phone call brings salvage expert Thad Leighton back to Mexico. For his murdered brother, he’s ready to settle the score, but one look at Maren and everything changes. Years may have passed, but she’s still as mesmerizing as she once was, and a few days on site together have him questioning his priorities and why the hell he walked away from her so long ago.
Sparks between them reignite, but Thad knows Maren is holding something back. Thrust together in the middle of the sweltering Yucatan, Thad is more than willing to strip away her layers. But while the truth might offer the second chance he’s been searching for, forgiveness may be as elusive as the relic they’re both hunting. Because when Thad unearths Maren’s biggest secret and discovers who she’s really working for, suddenly it’s not just about a life that was stolen from both of them, it’s about staying alive and outwitting a madman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
I was never one of those people who knew they wanted to be an author at the age of six. I didn’t have imaginary friends. I didn’t write stories in my journal or entertain my relatives by firelight after Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, I was just a normal, everyday kid. I liked to read, but I wasn’t exceptional at it. And when my teachers complimented me on my writing abilities, I brushed them off. I did, however, always have a penchant for the unique and absurd. And as my mother told me all throughout my childhood, I should have been an actress—I was a drama queen before my time.
Years ago, my husband bought me Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With The Wind. If you ever saw the book, you know it’s a long one. I sat and read that thing from cover to cover, and dreamed of one day being a writer. But I didn’t actually try my hand at writing until years later when I quit my teaching job to stay home with my kids. And my husband? After that week of reading where I neglected him and everything else until I finished Scarlett, he vowed never to buy me another book again. Little did he know I’d one day end up sitting at a keyboard all day drafting my own stories.
My writing journey has not been easy. I didn’t just sit down one day, decide I was going to write a book and voila! sell my very first attempt. As most authors will probably agree, the path to publication is filled with hours of work, pulling all-nighters I thought I’d given up in college, sacrifices, rejections, but a love I discovered along the way I just can’t live without. Instead of a big, thick book to read by lamplight (I do read much smaller ones when I get the chance), I’ve traded in my reading obsession for a laptop. And I’ve never been happier.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a wonderful family and fabulous husband who put up with my writing—and obsessive personality—even when life is chaotic. More than once my kids have been late to swimming or baseball because I needed just five more minutes to finish a scene. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also have amazing friends and a support network I couldn’t survive without. So to all of you out there who have encouraged me along the way, sent me emails and fan letters, phone calls and congratulations, I just want to say, thank you. You make this whole writing gig that much more enjoyable. I truly wouldn’t be here without you.
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