Series- Love and War Stand alone
Genre- Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date- September 29th, 2014
One of the few white kids in a rural Kentucky town, Logan Whyte always kept to his own kind out of self-preservation. He never considered himself racist, but that didn’t stop him from falling in with the wrong crowd that celebrated hate as much as he fought it - or from ending up in prison for eight years on an armed robbery charge.
A successful and educated black woman, Katie Andreassen is tired of being accused of betraying her own race. Her lonely isolation, coupled with her grief over losing her mother, inspire her to create a new pen pal program at Capshaw State Penitentiary, where her father is a warden.
The program brings together the unlikely pair, but Logan and Katie soon find themselves forced to overcome past fears and prejudices. Their friendship doesn’t come easily - threatened by a crooked lawyer with a grudge and a best friend who betrays her promise to help.
When faced with a world that forces them apart, Logan and Katie must show everyone else what they have discovered: that love is, in fact, colorblind.
Katie wasn’t sure how long the phone had been ringing, but as soon as her inner thoughts released her from the past she grabbed the receiver and squeaked out a greeting. “Um … yes, hello?”
Anxiety heightened, Katie listened as the automated voice explained, “You are receiving a collect call from Crashaw Correctional, Inmate #92510.” The recording stopped, and the voice she’d been waiting to hear came on the line as he said his name to the recording that would play for her. She didn’t have time to think much about the gruff, rumbling voice on the other end of the line. Since the automated operator cared nothing about Katie needing to calm her nerves, it continued, “If you’d like to accept these charges, please press one. If not, please hang up the phone.” Before Katie could think, or even second-guess herself, she pressed one and covered her mouth, hoping to trap the nervous squeal that bubbled in her chest with plans to escape from her mouth. The line was silent for a moment before Scott’s southern accented voice filled the line. “Hello?”
Katie hadn’t been sure what to except from Scott’s voice since she’d never set foot in his hometown.
She heard as Scott cleared his voice and tried again. “Hello, Kristen?” The fake name she’d given him surprised her, and she almost wished Kristen were her name.
She found her voice just in time to sound like a fool. “Um … yes, this is her—she … I’m Kristen.” She slapped her forehead, but his warm chuckle stopped her embarrassment and heat blossomed in her chest.
“Sounds like someone is nervous,” Scott teased.
Katie laughed and swallowed her nerves. It was just a phone call, why was she acting so ridiculous? “Just a little,” she admitted.
“Well now, what’s there to be nervous about?” Katie could hear indistinct noises in the background, and she assumed that Scott wasn’t alone in the room. After all, he was in prison and she’d seen the phone pods before. There were eight if she remembered correctly, and since he was in the minimum-security ward, they were free to come and go as they pleased.
“Honestly, I don’t know.” And that was the truth. Katie had lingered by the phone like a crazy person waiting for this call, and now that he’d phoned she was lip-locked.
Scott’s voiced lowered. “Well, can I start this conversation out by saying you have a beautiful voice?” At that, Katie let out a short burst of snorting laughter, which she was sure would change his mind about her “beautiful voice”. Scott laughed as well. “No, seriously. It’s soft and sweet, the way a woman should sound.”
Blushing profusely, Katie smiled. “Thank you, Scott. I like your voice, too. I wasn’t sure how you’d sound, but I like the light Southern accent.”
“Shit, honey, you should hear me when I’m angry. I can make every word one syllable and a ten word sentence turns into four words.”
Katie laughed. “Oh yeah?”
“Yeah. I honestly thought you’d sound more Southern, ’cause you said you were from Virginia.”
“Yes, I am, but I’m from Alexandria. It’s far up north, close to DC, so I don’t really think I have an accent. If you go further down around Suffolk, Virginia Beach, or even to the west, like Clarksville, you’ll hear a bit of the South.” Katie relaxed a bit as she talked to Scott about her hometown. Though while growing up, the place was stressful, it was still familiar and helped erase a bit of the stress in her life. “Now, if you go north all the way up to New York, they’ll call you a Southerner, but if you head down to South Carolina, they’ll call you a Yankee!” She and Scott laughed, and Katie couldn’t help but enjoy the timbre of his voice. Heavy and deep, the sound traveled through the phone and settled in her ear, pleasing the part of her that missed a man’s voice.
“You don’t sound the least bit Southern to me.”
Katie scooted back in her chair and got comfortable. The muscles in her neck loosened, and she took a deep breath. “Of course not, Mr. Kentucky, you are west of Virginia.”
Logan chuckled. “True.”
There was a moment of silence, and Katie almost panicked, but instead she thought back to the letter he’d sent her. “Hey, why did you really want me to tell you a deep, dark secret? Planning to use it against me later?” She chuckled nervously. If Scott ever found out that Katie was the warden’s daughter, would he use her words against her?
“Yeah, about that ... Kristen, I just thought you might need to talk to me about something. I say this because, when a woman reaches out to a stranger, a convict no less, there might be something behind it. You told me that you had friends, so I’m wondering what’s going on in your life that has you reaching out to a stranger instead of your friends.”
Good question. “Hmmm …” She didn’t really have to think about it, but she needed to stall for time. She wasn’t sure what she was going to say to him. However, Scott was smarter than she gave him credit for and called her out.
“What’s this, ‘Hmmm’? You know what it is, and I think you want to tell me.” Scott’s voice lowered, and if possible got even sexier, but Katie ignored the warmth in her belly and focused on his words. At her silence, he added, “You want me to go first?”
Her mouth moved before she even knew it was happening, and she whispered, “Please.”
He wasn’t silent long, but she still felt his hesitance. “Shit, honey, I’m not even sure if these calls are recorded or not.”
“Yes, they are.” Katie knew this for a fact.
“Okay … but I’m still gonna do it. I’ll still tell you because I can’t expect it from you and not do the same in return, right?”
“Right.” Katie was nervous for her turn, but curiosity about Scott and his maybe dark deeds excited her to the core. He was in prison, and Katie could think of a million things he could confess to her. “Don’t tell me anything illegal, Scott,” she pleaded. She wouldn’t tell a soul, but she also wouldn’t be able to talk to him anymore.
Gruff laughter emerged from the phone. “Honey, I wouldn’t sully your ears with more of my crimes if I had any. You aren’t a priest, and I ain’t asking for your forgiveness. Just your time and your honesty.”
About the Author-
Inger Iversen lives in Virginia Beach with her tree-hugging boyfriend, Joshua and her overweight lap cat, Max. When not reading or writing she spends her time watching reruns of True Blood, Walking Dead or killing zombies in Call Of Duty. Of course, if the world were to change into some World War Z type situation, she’d probably be the only chick running around searching for a Ray Gun!
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