Inherent Truth by Alicia Anthony
A woman with buried secrets…
An agent with an impossible mission…
An inheritance that will destroy them both…
When Liv Sullivan’s grandmother beckons for help from beyond the grave, the reluctant psychic returns to her small Ohio hometown. Scrambling to make sense of the clues left by the vision, Liv finds herself face to face with undercover agent, Ridge McCaffrey.
Assigned to protect a woman whose gifts unnerve him, for a covert psychic intelligence operation he doesn’t understand, Ridge struggles to place duty over desire. But when a gruesome discovery is unearthed at Sullivan Farm, the truth becomes clear…
Some family secrets are best left buried.
Inherent Truth is the first installment of the gripping Blood Secrets psychological suspense series about the cost of truth and the price we pay for love. For pulse-pounding page-turners laced with a touch of romance, and shocking twists that will leave you dying for the sequel, this award-winning series is for you.
Targeted Age Group:: adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Inherent Truth started as my own quest for catharsis. When I began writing this book, my grandmother's health was declining to the grips of dementia and I'd just learned of the passing of my birth mother, who I never took the opportunity to meet. These experiences made me wonder about the secrets these women would take to the grave, never to be told, answers lost to the loved ones they left behind. And from that, the heroine of this book, Liv Sullivan was born.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Creating characters is probably one of the best parts of the process for me. Liv and Ridge came quickly. Of all the characters I've written, Liv is the most similar to me. I wanted her to be a loner of sorts, careful of who she trusts, but she needed to possess a quiet inner strength, one that surprised even her at times. As for Ridge, he needed to be the opposite. I wanted a take charge alpha hero–rugged, handsome–but with flaws that threaten to expose the vulnerability tucked away on the inside. I think Ridge embodies that very well, throughout the series.
I was ten when I watched my cousin die. Granted, at the time I didn’t know the kid I’d seen through a light blue haze was a member of my family. To me, he was just a stranger, like all the rest. A specter sent from the depths of my brain to wake me up in the middle of the night. I still remember like it was yesterday.
The dream sent our household into a sleep deprived frenzy. Me, screaming for my parents to turn on the lights, tears running in rivers down flushed cheeks. My dad, sitting on the edge of the bed, rubbed his hand in circles across my shoulders, consoling me. It took a long distance phone call the following morning for my mom and dad to understand that the dream had been more than a figment of my overactive imagination.
“How did it happen?” My mother’s voice was tight, wobbly as she spoke into the kitchen telephone receiver. It was the only one in the house that was still corded. I watched from the living room couch as she twisted the stretched curlicues of cord around her index finger.
When she slid into a chair at the kitchen table with her hand planted firmly over her lips, heaviness descended on the room, blanketing the air with cold finality. To this day I remember the lead weight in my chest, the struggle for breath. Maybe that’s what he’d felt in his last moments. My mother was still holding the phone in one hand when she turned to stare at me. Eyes wide with some emotion I couldn’t yet interpret. Now, sixteen years later, I can tell you for certain it was terror.
My sixteen-year-old cousin, Curt, had been killed racing home from a party to make curfew. I’d seen it all. Told my parents every detail. The skid on the damp roadway. The slam into a poorly placed telephone pole. Even the good Samaritans who’d stopped in the dead of night to try to dig him out of the twisted wreckage. Smoke filtered up from the heap of metal before I saw him, standing on the other side of the car, smiling at me.
“Tell Mom, I’m sorry,” he’d said. His voice cut short by the wail of a siren.
It’s funny. I can still picture that dream in lifelike detail. But now, instead of terror, there’s a peaceful comfort attached to the memory. I think that’s how it works for me. The visions can’t hold any power over me once I work them out–figure out how to help.
In those early days, I’d been scared senseless. I’d wake up in a cold sweat, flailing to turn a light on, to familiarize myself with reality again. For a while I slept with the bedside lamp on, hoping the luminescence would create some kind of barrier between this world and the next. It was my grandmother who helped me realize it was useless, of course. The dreams were a part of reality–my reality, anyway.
But that awareness of what my dreams were–what that made me–changed everything. The energy in our household sparked with frustration. My mother and father argued. Family outings trickled to a rare occurrence. My life consisted of school, home, homework, and bed, praying to whatever god would listen to let me sleep through the night. Every once in a while some deity would listen, most times, not. I learned to keep what I saw to myself. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Within two years, my mother had run through all the psychiatrists and magic pills she could find to make me normal again. By the time I was twelve, I was spending the majority of my time at my grandparents’ farm, away from the family I’d disgraced and the marriage I’d destroyed. At least, that’s how it seemed to twelve-year-old me.
“I will not allow my daughter to be a freak.” My mother’s words after a particularly heated exchange with my father regarding my condition are what drove me to become the Liv Sullivan I am today.
The “f” word, as I’d taken to calling it, hummed in my skull now, just as it had when I was a girl. Hunkered down on the steps of my parents’ home, eavesdropping through tears, the people I loved arguing about an affliction I didn’t fully understand and over which I had no control.
Of course, if it wasn’t for all of that, I might never have learned I had two choices in life–remain the small-town freak or reinvent myself as a big city fraud. I chose the latter, finding out pretty quick that the best place to hide was in plain sight.
I grabbed my headset off the chair and slid into position in front of my laptop, fresh cup of coffee in hand. Rays of early January sun filtered through the sliding glass door of my studio apartment.
“Liv, you free?” A clipped note of anxiety in Celeste’s voice crackled through the earpiece.
Cee and I had worked together for almost two years now and although we’d never met in person, she was the closest thing I had to a friend. She worked from headquarters, dispatching calls, and always passed the most challenging cases off to me. But more calls meant more money. I glanced at the stack of unpaid bills on the corner of my desk. At this point, I’d take just about any loon she threw my way.
“I’m here, Cee. What’s the story?”
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