17 January 2016

Book Tour & Giveaway ~ Touched To The Depths, Touched Series #4, by Elsa Winckler

Trust can be a deadly weapon...

He was the photographer, she the model and on a sunny beach on Mahé, she stole his heart. But Darryn isn't ready for the powerful feelings Hannah elicits, so when another photographer implies he's also slept with Hannah, Darryn uses it as the perfect excuse to walk away.

But when they meet again, he can't ignore his instincts—Hannah is in danger. Lies and threats make targets of them both, and faced with a situation of pure terror, Darryn is forced to realize he'll do anything to protect her. And to keep her with him, always...

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I have been reading love stories for as long as I can remember and when I ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James, The Brontë sisters, etc. during my Honours studies, I was hooked for life.

I married my college boyfriend and soul mate and after 40 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 3 beautiful grandsons, he still makes me weak in the knees. We are fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty's Bay, South Africa with the ocean a block away and a beautiful mountain right behind us. And although life so far has not always been an easy ride, it has always been an exiting and interesting one!

I like the heroines in my stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong.  And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous!  My stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.

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Darryn wasn’t sure why he was there. But somehow, being close to one of Hannah’s sisters always seemed to calm him down. He was feeling restless, kind of anxious, and he wasn’t sure why. He’d been working non-stop to get photos ready for the launch of their new hotel near the Kruger National Park, and everything was running smoothly.

He hadn’t been sleeping well; he couldn’t stop thinking about Hannah. Nothing new – he was always thinking about her. But ever since the idea of asking her about Stephen White had popped up in his head, he kept coming back to the idea.

Over the last few days his restlessness had increased and with it, a feeling of dread kept him on edge. It was taking all his self-control not to jump on their company plane and go find Hannah. He thought maybe here, close to her sister, he’d feel more settled. And maybe he’d hear something about Hannah’s whereabouts without having to ask.

“You look like hell,” said Don, his oldest brother as he greeted him.

Darryn shrugged and ignored the statement.

“What are you doing all alone on a Saturday night?” Don asked as they entered the big living room.

A television was on, looked like they were watching a fashion channel. He would know, he watched it often enough. In the corner of the room, a huge square box was filled to the rim with toys.

“Just stopping by,” he said easily. “Donato asleep already?”

The stupid grin Don usually got when anyone talked about his son appeared immediately. “Yes, the little guy attended his first party today and fell asleep on the way home.”

“You’ll have to work on his stamina. In your heydays you could party all night long.” Grinning, Darryn motioned toward the television. “And look what you’re now doing on a Saturday night.”

“Caitlin was watching the Paris Fashion Show, as Hannah was one of the models. And then, of course, she had to talk to her on the phone right away.” He frowned. “We haven’t heard from Hannah in a while. As you know she didn’t even attend Dana and Dale’s wedding. Caitlin is worried about her, has been for some time now.”

Darryn rubbed his chest where the feeling of dread was more acute now.

“Don!” Caitlin’s anxious voice sounded down the corridor, and the next minute she was standing in the door, her eyes brimming with tears. She glanced in Darryn’s direction and nodded, but she walked into Don’s open arms.

“What’s wrong?” asked Don.

“It’s Hannah. Something is very, very wrong but she …” She suddenly stopped speaking, stepped out of Don’s arms while grabbing the television remote. The voice that had been faint in the background now filled the entire room.

“…It has been confirmed that it was Sophie Thomas who was pushed in front of a car, not Hannah Sutherland as previously reported.”

Darryn’s heart simply stopped when he heard Hannah’s name and “pushed in front of a car” in one sentence. A loud noise blocked out the rest of the guy’s words.

Caitlin turned around to Don, her face paling. “So that’s what happened,” she whispered. “I could tell something was wrong, but she kept saying she’s fine. That’s it! I’m flying to Hannah tonight …”

Don hugged her close, caressed her shoulders. “Of course, sweetheart, whatever you want, but let’s talk about this,” he said calmly and rationally. “We know Hannah is fine. She wasn’t the person who was pushed. You spoke to her, you heard her voice, she’s okay. What did she say to have you in tears?”

The noise finally subsided in his ears and, flabbergasted, Darryn stared at Don. His mouth was so dry, he struggled to get words out. “She’s really fine?” he finally managed.

Don nodded. “It was another model; she’s fine too, by the way.” He turned Caitlin back to face him. “Sweetheart, what—?”

“She didn’t really say anything, but I could hear she’s been crying. And I’m sorry, but I can’t believe all these things that are happening around Hannah are accidents!” Caitlin hiccupped and pushed away from Don. “I mean, after the first hit-and-run accident she had on Mahé, we all thought it was random, but then Zoe was pushed while she and Hannah were wearing similar-coloured clothes and now this. And there has to be a reason why Hannah didn’t attend Dana and Dale’s wedding.”

Darryn heard Caitlin’s voice as if from a distance. She was saying what had been bothering him for months now.

“But Hannah keeps saying nothing is wrong,” Don said and led his wife to the couch.

“We have all been so busy falling in love and getting married, I think we all knew something was wrong, but we didn’t push Hannah. I know something happened to her two years ago – she was devastated and hid away at my mom’s for weeks. She didn’t want to talk about it, though, and I always hoped she’d talk when she was ready.” She stared at Don. “You know, now that I think about it, it was after those weeks she stayed with mom that all these ‘accidents’ started to happen.”

“So what? You think it has to do with whatever it was that upset her in the first place?” asked Don.

Caitlin nodded. “It has to be. I mean Hannah is the quiet one, the happy one. But ever since that time she has changed.” She sighed and leaned against Don. Her gaze landed on Darryn and she pointed at him.

“Whatever happened to her then had something to do with you. That much I do know. Maybe it’s time you tell us.”

Darryn walked to a chair next to the couch and sat down. She was right; it was time to tell Caitlin what had happened between him and Hannah.

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