RELEASE BLITZ WITH EXCERPT: The Woman by the Lake by Kristen Ashley

THE WOMAN BY THE LAKE, a suspenseful new enemies-to-lovers, opposites-attract, forced proximity small-town romantic thriller from New York Times Bestselling Author, Kristen Ashley, is available now!

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Riggs and Nadia are thrown into a tangled web of history, betrayal, grief, secrets, with only one thing certain… someone—or something—wants them off that lake.

 

 

Nadia Williams needs somewhere peaceful to sort through her grief after her mother is brutally murdered. She finds a cozy cabin at the side of a tranquil lake in the quaint town of Misted Pines in the Pacific Northwest.

The minute she arrives, she knows it’s perfect.

The very night of her arrival, however, someone—or something—is scratching at her window.

The next morning, she meets her one and only neighbor, Doc Riggs. He’s a rough, good-time guy who rubs Nadia wrong immediately. They clash, and neither of them are happy to be sharing their lake.

But soon, Nadia learns the lore around her cabin, and how the townsfolk are certain it’s haunted by the ghost of the man who was murdered there fifteen years before.

Riggs and Nadia are suddenly thrown into a tangled web of history, betrayal, grief, secrets, with only one thing certain.

Someone—or something—wants them off that lake.

 

 

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“An enthralling and unforgettable romantic thriller… completely captivating and utterly addictive…” ~Danielle, Red Cheeks Reads

 

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EXCERPT:

 

Sweat slicked body, covered only by a pair of cutoff jean shorts, and running shoes on his feet (sans socks—I mean, who ran in jean shorts and shoes with no socks?).

His dark hair was too long. Not long-long, like lumbersexual long, but the wet curls not only hugged the sides of his face, but also all around his neck. His all-over-tanned body was fit and buff—ankles to neck lean, defined muscle. He sported chest hair, fuller between his bulging pecs, a smattering from collarbone down to everywhere, a dense line leading down the center of his six-pack and into his shorts.

And he had a masculine face hewn by a loving hand. Strong nose. Hollowed cheeks. Prominent brow. Square jaw covered in dark scruff.

Gazing at him, I felt a stirring, the power of which I hadn’t felt in seven years.

In fact, considering it had been seven years, that stirring felt more powerful than any I’d ever had before in my life.

His head turned to me as he ran into the clearing. He stopped, put his hands on his hips, that gorgeous chest rising and falling with his quickened breaths. He started walking toward me, and he smiled.

A slash of perfect, white teeth made a normally extraordinary visage deliciously criminal.

“Hey,” he called.

The sound of his deep voice shook me out of my stupor, and I replied, “You’re in my yard.”

He stopped walking and his head swiveled slightly on his neck, shifting a bit to the side, his ear dipping toward his perfectly muscled shoulder.

“Sorry?” he asked.

“You’re in my yard,” I repeated.

He looked down at his beat-up running shoes, then again to me.

“Yeah,” he confirmed. “Run through it every morning a few times when I’m home.”

The when I’m home bit was intriguing.

I refused to be intrigued.

“Well, I live here now and”—I swung my coffee cup out—“as you can see, I’ll be taking my coffee on the back veranda in the mornings. So from here on in, if you’d refrain.”

His lips were quirking as he asked, “The veranda?”

I swung my coffee cup again. “The back porch.”

“I know what a veranda is,” he shared. “Just don’t know anyone who’d call it that when it’s attached to a shack in the woods.”

I was offended, not only on my behalf, since I now lived there, but on Dave and Brenda’s. They clearly put a lot of work into this place and kept it in tip-top shape.

“This isn’t a shack,” I refuted with some heat. “It’s a cabin.”

“Same thing.”

“Hardly.”

He pointed toward the south but didn’t take his eyes off me when he proclaimed, “It takes me five seconds to run through your yard.”

His inflection on yard was not at all missed.

Sure, it wasn’t a yard, per se, but instead, a big patch of dirt with a healthy scattering of trees that ended in a lake.

It was still my yard.

“I’m Doc,” he introduced himself, taking another step forward, clearly not of Dave’s bent to keep his distance so I, a woman alone in the wilderness, would feel safe. He was now only maybe ten feet away.

And I knew with no doubt I couldn’t outrun him, and I definitely couldn’t overpower him.

That muscle.

Lord.

And this was Doc, my helpful neighbor who was going to teach me how to use the generator.

Fabulous.

“The next part is you telling me who you are,” he prompted when I made no reply.

“I’m a woman who functions a lot better after she’s enjoyed two solitary cups of coffee.” I lifted my cup. “This is cup number one, and I’m not halfway done.”

This amused him, greatly, and I knew that because the smile he gave me was bigger, wider and whiter than the last one.

That stirring came back.

Terrific.

“I’ll be quiet when I do it,” he assured. “And I won’t bother you.”

“You won’t run through my yard,” I returned.

“You won’t even know I’ve come and gone,” he told me. The Woman by the Lake Teaser Chapters

I had a feeling every heterosexual woman in a hundred-mile radius knew when he’d come and gone, certainly if he ran in cutoff shorts through her yard, so I wasn’t buying it.

“I won’t because you won’t be running through my yard,” I retorted.

“It isn’t a big deal,” he said, and he still sounded amused, not like he was getting annoyed, which made this whole conversation worse than if he’d stop being a man, listen to me and do as I requested without an irritating conversation.

“Is there a reason I’m repeating myself?” I demanded.

He dropped his head and lifted his hand to me. A hand, not incidentally, that was big, had long fingers, looked strong, and I could see even at this distance, was calloused from work. But he didn’t do this to hide him losing his temper.

It was to hide his laughter, something he failed at doing, since those powerful shoulders were shaking with it.

Who was this guy?

No.

Nope.

I didn’t want to know.

I arranged my face in another scowl, which only made him bite back a bark of laughter when he lifted his head and saw it.

Obviously, this made my scowl scowlier.

“You don’t want me running through your yard, you got it,” he acquiesced (finally!). “I won’t run through your yard.”

I nearly said thank you, but decided against it, because I shouldn’t have to thank him for not doing something he shouldn’t be doing in the first place.

I didn’t run.

But I did know, if you did, you ran on roads.

You ran on sidewalks.

You ran on public trails.

You didn’t run through people’s yards.

When no one lived there, okay (sort of).

But I lived there now, so…not okay (definitely).

Therefore, I just stared at him. The Woman by the Lake Teaser Chapters

He didn’t hide his hilarity (though it wasn’t vocal) when he said, “Nice to meet you Solitary Coffee Lady.”

I did nothing but raise my brows.

His hilarity became audible with his chuckle, which was as rough and attractive as the rest of him.

He then turned, ran through my yard, and disappeared in the pines.

Ugh.

Whatever.

I sipped my coffee.

Stared at the lake.

Put that conversation behind me.

And felt the crushing weight of a year in the pines with nothing real to do, except the impossible, settle on top of me.

The sun was shining, glinting off the peaceful waters of a lake that was a good twenty yards away.

And still, I felt like I was drowning.

©2023 Kristen Ashley

 

 

 


About Kristen Ashley:

Kristen Ashley is the New York Times bestselling author of over eighty romance novels. She’s a hybrid author, publishing titles both independently and traditionally, her books have been translated in fourteen languages and she’s sold millions of books.

Kristen, born in Gary and raised in Brownsburg, Indiana and was a fourth-generation graduate of Purdue University. Since, she has lived in Denver, the West Country of England, and she now resides in Phoenix. She worked as a charity executive for eighteen years prior to beginning her independent publishing career. She now writes full-time.

Although romance is her genre, the prevailing themes running through all of Kristen’s novels are friendship, family and a strong sisterhood. To this end, and as a way to thank her readers for their support, Kristen has created the Rock Chick Nation, a series of programs that are designed to give back to her readers and promote a strong female community. You can learn more about Kristen and the Rock Chick Nation on her website.

Connect with Kristen:

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