Guest YA Author Emerald Barnes

Hi, Kim!  Thanks for having me today!  I’d like to introduce my character, Marion James, from my latest release, Read Me Dead!

I’m Marion James.  My niece is Alexia Wheaton.  She saw my sister and brother-in-law, her parents, murdered at the hand of a man we thought was a random mugger.  Little did we know it was for more than their jewelry and money. 
I teach English at the local high school, Bakersville High in Mississippi.  I have a daughter, Alisa, and a wonderful husband, Dave.  We took in Alexia and her twin brother, Matt, when their parents died.  I don’t regret my decision.  What I do regret is that I didn’t know Alex was hiding a terrible secret about the death of them.  I didn’t even try to figure it out.  All I did was sit back and let her deal with the death with her psychiatrist and her dad’s best friend, Dr. Carey Finnegan. 
I regret the mistakes I’ve made, and I regret the decisions I made about dealing with Alex’s secret.  How was I supposed to know who the real murderer was?  How was I supposed to know that her life was in danger and I’m at risk of losing her forever? 

Read Me Dead a YA Romantic Suspense
Alexia Wheaton’s problems go beyond picking a dress and a date for homecoming.
 For seven years, Alex has lived with a painful memory - her parents' horrific murder. As the sole witness, she has kept quiet to protect herself, but when the local newspaper reveals her secret, Alex is plagued with fear that her parents' murderer will soon find her - and silence her forever.
 Alex is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents' murderer to justice. 

There is a quick knock on the door.  “Alex,” Aunt Marion says.
“Come in.”
Marion turns the doorknob and slowly pushes the door open.  She peeks in first and then walks inside.  She’s dressed in a blue tank top and black pajama pants with little blue hearts on them.  Her hair is curled and her makeup immaculate.
“Good morning, sweetie,” she says hugging me.
I return the hug, and then Marion takes a seat on the edge of the bed.  I turn to face her. 
“You look just like Audrey,” she starts.
“Thanks,” I mumble.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her.”
“Me either.”
“Matty looks like Cameron too, don’t you think?”
I nod.  Marion smiles warmly, and when she smiles, I see my mother.  Marion and Mom were close, and at times, they looked almost identical.
“Alex, I’m really sorry about everything that’s happened.  I know I was upset last night, but I worry.  And now, I worry even more since that story’s out.  I wanna talk to that Max guy and give him what for.”
I know that if anyone can make someone cower in fear, it’s Marion.  I want her to be there, but she can’t get out of school as easily as Dave can take off work. 
“Will you forgive me?” Aunt Marion asks when I don’t say anything.
“What for?” I ask.
“Acting like that last night.”
“Of course,” I say, “but I don’t really need to.”
“Good, but I do want to say that you aren’t allowed to leave the house without someone by your side.  Preferably one of us.”
“I have a feeling Landon and Christian won’t let me out of their sight.”
She kind of laughs and asks, “What’s going on there?”
“I think they both want to date me.  Christian even kissed me yesterday.”
“Does Landon know?”
“Are you going to date either one?”
“I don’t know.”
“How come?”
“I just don’t think I need a boyfriend right now given everything that’s happened.”
“You do know that this will eventually pass, and you’ll have to make a decision.”
“I know.”
“You’ll make the right one, honey.  They’re both good boys.”
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