The Second Lie (The Immortal Vikings #2)
by Anna Richland
A woman desperate to achieve her dreams.
To reassure wealthy clients, Christina Alvarez Mancini invented a jet-setting British owner for her Napa Valley wine collection service. Success has brought her close to buying her own winery, when irregularities at a London wine auction threaten her business.
A man in love with a good plan.
Stig, an immortal Viking thief, knows he’s found the perfect role. The California woman who created his character won’t discover what he’s up to in England until after he’s pocketed the money he needs. Then Christina walks into the auction preview, ready to ruin his plans, and he knows his boredom has ended.
Secrets that turn deadly.
By the end of the night, these two rivals must cooperate to escape kidnappers, British authorities, media and a pair of mysterious watchers. That’s when a game Stig’s played for a thousand years puts Christina’s life at risk.
Can two people whose identities are based on lies trust each other enough to survive?
EXCERPTS (Exclusive Excerpt):
Hiding from kidnappers and the authorities, Christina finds more than she bargained for in Stig’s secret room.
He knew when she recognized the bottles stored on their sides on the crisscrossed lattice, because she gasped the way most women responded to sapphires.
“A 1947 Chateau Perlus? Is this real?” Her hands hovered in dust motes like a baker in a cloud of flour. She didn’t turn toward him when she spoke, as if afraid to look away from the wine but afraid to touch it at the same time.
“Would I serve a fake?” The smoothness of the high-quality cotton was heaven after the rough denim-blend overalls, and he savored the slide of it across his skin as he changed clothes. It wasn’t a replacement for her hands, but it would have to be enough. For now.
The sound that came out of her lips wouldn’t have been out of place at a football match. “I suspect you’d serve fortified grape juice to the Queen of England and call it Gamay Beaujolais, so yes, you would.”
“Let me rephrase that for my cynical audience.” Doing nothing more than talking with a woman hadn’t felt this exhilarating in years. “Would I bother to store a fake here?”
“If it helped one of your plans, I bet you’d store it in your pants.” She still hadn’t touched the bottles or looked away.
“That worthy vintage is not part of this morning’s plans—” a pity, “—but we can bring a bottle of the ’47 Perlus with us.”
Her breath caught, before she continued in the higher-pitched register of hope. “With us?”
“We’re catching a train to France.” Only three ways off this rock: plane, ship or train. Airport security deployed too much face recognition software, and when she wasn’t dazed with tiredness, Christina might call his bluff and walk away in the midst of an airport. The Dover ferry was for men who trusted that metal floated; he knew better, so process of elimination left the train tunnel under the English Channel. “The Met is searching for us, ergo, we leave London.”
As if she hadn’t heard, she lifted the bottle with two hands, almost like an infant. “I’ve wanted to taste the ’47 my entire life.”
“That’s a lot of procrastination.” He removed his lock picks and passports from one pocket of his discarded trousers and his wallet from the other. His Walther PPK pistol and his watch were gone.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Anna lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. The perpetual drizzle is a good excuse to drink more coffee. She’s a former US Army officer who now writes The Immortal Vikings series from Carina Press and also the author of His Road Home, a novella which Publishers Weekly called “Tantalizing … a raw, emotional story” and the website SmartB*tchesTrashyBooks gave an A rating.
She donates a portion of her book proceeds to two charities: the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for families of wounded soldiers in the US and Great Britain, and Doctors Without Borders, which delivers emergency medical care in more than sixty crisis zones world-wide.
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