Afraid to Breathe by Debra Jupe

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  • The Donavon Sister Series

    Country singer superstar, Teddie Donavan, returns to her hometown for a sabbatical due to exhaustion, and to come to terms with her parents' deaths—a tragedy that has haunted her for seventeen years. She'll also have to face the boyfriend who broke her heart.

    Drew Millard has been miserable since he walked out on his now famous girlfriend. Not only did he miss his chance to hit the big time—he also lost his one true love. Since Teddie left, he's made mistake after mistake. Just when he's on the verge of straightening out his life, Teddie reappears.

    As the two cautiously explore a second chance at love, past demons and a new danger threaten to destroy them.  Is a future possible for the former lovers? Or will death step in and end it all?

    Rating: Spicy
    Page Count: 320
    Word Count: 71353  
    978-1-5092-2396-1 Paperback
    978-1-5092-2397-8 Digital

    Excerpt

    “You made me your assistant for a reason.”

    Teddie Donavan craned her neck, her cell phone clasped between her shoulder and ear. She wrestled with the steering wheel, ready to make a third stab at squeezing parallel into a compact parking space.

    “I’m not standing in your way, Aubrey,” Teddie snapped. “You should be able to perform your duties without my input.”

    She struggled to straighten her vehicle. Once the sedan was even, she drove forward to align her car’s nose next to the pickup parked ahead of her. Shifting into reverse, her foot tapped the accelerator as she orbited the wheel, far right. Slowly, the car backed, veering within a pair of monster-size trucks. Trucks purchased to overcompensate for something their presumed male owners lacked, evidently.

    Her car rolled until the rear tires bumped a curb and came to an abrupt stop. Blowing out a frustrated breath, she threw the gear into drive and mentally regrouped, prepared to attempt round four.

    “I can’t do my work effectively if you refuse to cooperate,” her elder sibling pestered. “Your feedback’s required.”

    Teddie fought to reel in her aggravation. “You’ve overseen my agenda since my beginnings. You’re more familiar with my routine than I am.”

    “Not the point, Teddie. We have quite a few details to discuss concerning your current itinerary.”

    “I’m on sabbatical. That’s as detailed as my schedule gets.”

    She repositioned the car, primed to restart the parking process. This time, she smoothly manipulated into Main Street’s last open spot. An arm raised, executing a muted fist pump. She killed the engine and unbuckled her seatbelt, happy to abandon the torturous drill.

    Next on the list. End this call. Aubrey wouldn’t lay off, and Teddie was way past tired of her constant debate.

    “Your calendar is still full. You need to tell me which events are postponements and what we can cancel.”

    “I’m aware, Aubrey.”

    “Good. Also know I didn’t make the flight here because Jacob’s Cove is a great vacation destination. Nor did Raven.”

    “No one asked you or Raven to tag along. In fact, I’m not clear why you’re here. This work could’ve been done electronically.”

    “We’re worried, Teddie. Your last few months were rough. Personally and career wise. You have to keep your guard up and watch every movement.”

    Teddie pocketed the car’s remote and snatched a credit card lying in the center of the console, then exited, using her rear to slam the door. “Right. Since we’d rather avoid the press jumping in to speculate why I’m revisiting my hometown after a seventeen-year absence.”

    “No, we don’t want them to know. Our job is to protect you, and you’re not cooperating.”

    “They can always research archives.”

    “True. Even so, your personal life’s been under a microscope. Are you set to suffer more when the unknown is divulged and dissected?”

    “I’ll manage any new leaks the same as I did the old ones.” Teddie rested against a warm fender. Legs crossed at the ankles, she surveyed the neighborhood. “Might as well get past the hard part.”

    “Which is why you decided to make a trip into town?”

    “Pantry’s bare. I prefer my nourishment closer than fifteen miles. A journey into the Cove’s jungle is warranted.”

    “You should check into a hotel. Ease into ancient memories instead of delving in full throttle.” Aubrey hesitated. “Or better yet, come to Cerulean Beach, and stay with us a while.”

    “I’m fine where I am.”

    “We’ve ordered room service. Lobster Bisque and homemade bread.”

    “Sounds yummy, but I’ll pass.”

    “The old house must be a total disaster.”

    “Yeah, but I didn’t anticipate finding it in good shape after so many years of vacancy. The crew we pay to do upkeep does a decent enough job on the exterior, but the inside’s a mess. I plan on bringing in professional cleaners.”

    “Then tonight you’ll sleep in dust, dirt, and whatever.” Aubrey stopped. “A bunch of creepy crawlers may invade your space once lights are turned off.”

    “I’ll manage.”

    A span of silence ensued. Teddie hoped the pause meant their exchange was about to wind down.

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Afraid to Breathe

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