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Strand of Deception - Sample Chapter

Strand of Deception - Sample Chapter

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Published by bhpub
When Gina Ford, the daughter of a prominent Tennessee politician, goes missing from the University of Memphis a week after another girl was murdered on the same campus, police call in the FBI. Nick Hagar, married to his job as Special Agent in Charge, is assigned to the case, and when Gina’s body is found, her father demands justice.

Maddie Baxter is the forensic expert running DNA tests from the crime scene. When they come back without a match, Nick asks her to do a familial DNA run that yields a shocking result: the prime suspect is Adam Alexander, the very same guy who broke Maddie’s heart when she was in college.

But do scientific advancements tell the whole story? Strand of Deception offers romance, suspense, and a lively debate about the impact of DNA testing, for better or worse, on the United States justice system.
When Gina Ford, the daughter of a prominent Tennessee politician, goes missing from the University of Memphis a week after another girl was murdered on the same campus, police call in the FBI. Nick Hagar, married to his job as Special Agent in Charge, is assigned to the case, and when Gina’s body is found, her father demands justice.

Maddie Baxter is the forensic expert running DNA tests from the crime scene. When they come back without a match, Nick asks her to do a familial DNA run that yields a shocking result: the prime suspect is Adam Alexander, the very same guy who broke Maddie’s heart when she was in college.

But do scientific advancements tell the whole story? Strand of Deception offers romance, suspense, and a lively debate about the impact of DNA testing, for better or worse, on the United States justice system.

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Published by: bhpub on Jan 25, 2013
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09/17/2014

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 xvii
Prologue
 The stack of photographs slipped to the floor, splaying across the wood planks like wildflowers over a grassy meadow. Her hands trembled as tears flowed down her cheeks.  This wasn’t real. This couldn’t be happening.  Yet the pictures proved otherwise. This was real, very real.Her knees weakened. She slumped into the leather chair behind the desk. Even the familiar
whoosh
 couldn’t comfort her now. The proof of his betrayal assaulted her. On the floor. On the desk. In her hand.Photographs of him in another woman’s arms. How could he do this to them, his family? To her? Surely he knew this would destroy them, but he cheated anyway. She didn’t understand. Did they mean so little to him? Her heart ached in a way she never thought possible. Like someone shredded her insides. Another sob escaped her clenched lips. It bounced off the walls and rattled her ears. She never imagined betrayal like this would hurt so badly. So deeply.She held her head in her hands, her elbows digging into the unyielding wood of the desk. Her lungs fought to push air in and out. Her legs wouldn’t stop quaking. The morning sun beat past the curtains and flooded the loft  with light. How dare such a symbol of joy invade when her entire life had just been destroyed?
 
STRAND OF DECEPTION
 xviii
Swallowing against a dry mouth, she bit her bottom lip and stared at the photographs. All of a sudden, she felt physically ill. This would destroy not only their family, but his career. His future. Was that why the pictures were taken? Her heart slammed against her ribs as another thought raced through her mind . . . Why were the pictures
here 
? Everything in her didn’t want to believe what stared her right in the face. But there was no other explanation. The photos were here . . . for  what? Money? A favor? Blackmail?Bile burned the back of her throat. This was all wrong. Everything.Her mind struggled to comprehend. She’d let him into the family. Trusted him. Thought she loved him and he loved her.  Apparently, she was wrong.Dead wrong. The pictures mocked her from all sides. This was her fault. She didn’t have a choice now—she’d have to confront him and hear his excuse, not that she’d believe any lie he told. She’d destroy the photographs, all of them, and demand the negatives.  Then she’d shut him out of their lives forever, even though it  would kill her.Her legs barely supported the weight of her decision as she ran for the bathroom.
 
1
Chapter One
“Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.”
E
LVIS
 P
RESLEY
Two Weeks Ago
 “We call Ms. Madeline Baxter to the stand.”Maddie wiped her hands on her skirt and stood. She’d testified at various trials over the years, but never one like this. Only a handful of people sat in the stuffy courtroom, the heat turned too high. She took the oath to tell the truth amid little fanfare before taking her seat in the witness stand.She glanced over the few people sitting on the very hard, very uncomfortable pews. The judge had closed the hearing to the media, but the hounds waited just outside the oversized doors of the Shelby County Courthouse. Those allowed inside were legal figures, police, family members, and of course, the defendant.“Ms. Baxter, will you please state your name and occupation for the court record?”

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