Dear Reader,

What things do you collect or hold on to—consciously or not?
That’s one of the questions kept running through my mind when I was writing my latest novel, A Promise of Safekeeping.
Me—I collect green elephants. I can’t even tell you why I love them, but I do.

My hero, Will Farris, he collects all kinds of things…doorknobs, old toys, rusted jukeboxes…he even has a collection of enigmatic old skeleton keys, though he doesn’t know what a single one of them ever opened—or locked away. Will is an antiques dealer and a picker in Richmond, Virginia. And he’s got a soft spot in his heart for anything a little worn, a little rough around the edges, a little run down.  He’s one my favorite heroes ever.

But he’s met his match with my heroine, Lauren Matthews—a professional body language reader who is smart, sexy, rich, and way too put-together for Will’s liking. Ten years ago, when Lauren was a young attorney blinded by the drive to please her parents, her actions caused an innocent man—Will’s best friend, Arlen—to go to jail. When Lauren realizes the mistake she made, she knows she must seek Arlen’s forgiveness. But there’s something standing between her and a heart-to-heart with Arlen. And that’s Will.

If you know my books, you know my stories aren’t “easy” love stories. There are three characters in this book who are locked—absolutely locked—in an impossible situation. Like Will, each character holds a key…but will it unlock the lives they’re hoping for? Or will it lock them in?

I hope you’ll check out A Promise of Safekeeping; it’s in stores now! And if you do, be sure to let me know what you think by dropping by my Facebook page! 

Cheers and best,

Lisa Dale



Excerpt from A Promise of Safekeeping

© Lisa Dale


They were walking down a long country lane—or at least, a narrow clearing that had at one point been a lane but which no driver would dare run a car down anymore. The old road was thick with ridges of green-brown mud from ATV wheels. On either side of the lane, Will caught glimpses of promising old treasures in the overgrown woods—bits of rusty things he couldn’t entirely see: an old refrigerator with the door cockeyed, a ladder that hadn’t been climbed in twenty years.

He took her arm, stopped her. They stood in the middle of the forgotten road, tangles of Virginia creeper carpeting the ground around them. Will didn’t hide his concern. Or his frustration. “If you think someone was following you, why didn’t you call me?”

“Because it was just a feeling. I’m sure I imagined it.”

His grip tightened. “I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the first rule of self-defense is to trust your instincts. You should have done something.”

“I did. I went inside.”

He realized he was holding her; he let her go.

“You’re angry,” she said.

He took a deep breath. “What was your first clue?”

“Glabella wrinkles.”

“Sounds sexy. What’s that?”

She reached up and touched the spot between his eyebrows. “Here.”

His eyes closed for a moment, and when he opened them again she was looking up at him, the rust-brown of her irises glinting like tiger’s eye. “Glabella,” he said. “It sounds better on you.”

She smiled.

“What else?” he asked. “What other parts have names?”

Her eyes sparkled. “The pad on your chin has a name. It’s called the chinboss.”

He looked at her chin; if she’d had a harder jaw, her chin would have made her face more soldierly than soft. He took a risk, reached out and touched, pinched the nub of flesh with his thumb pressing the middle. It was firm and soft as a peach. “Hmm,” he said quietly. “What else?”

She didn’t smile this time. She was watching him, steady. “Philtrum.”

“Where’s that?”

“The small indent from the nose to the upperlip. Some mythologies say it’s a mark left by the angel Gabriel, who touches his fingers to a baby’s lip before it’s born.”

“Why?”

“To keep them from telling the secrets of heaven.”

Philtrum. He touched her gently, and she let him. He’d never looked at a woman’s face so closely before, and Lauren’s held up to the scrutiny. Without make up, she wasn’t the porcelain doll she’d once appeared to be on TV. Her seemingly flawless skin actually showed freckles and lines. Beneath her beauty was her sleeplessness, her resolve and strength, all the pressure she put on herself—but also something hidden and tender. He wondered if, for all her studying the human face, she could ever put words to the way a person’s features said so much in a way that was much deeper than superficial expressions of muscles and bone.

He dipped the tip of his index finger into the valley of her philtrum, the cradle of her upper lip. He wanted her mouth, to trace his index finger along her lips, and, if she would let him, push for entrance. Instead, he shifted his hand to her cheek. A safer terrain, with no name that he knew of to make his heart pound. He’d committed to drawing his hand away one split second before he thought she may have leaned into it. 

Philtrum is Greek for love potion,” she said.

“Why?”

She looked up at him, eyes hazy. “They thought it was the most sensual part of the body.”

“And to think I never gave it half a thought.”

“Maybe you should,” she said.

He stilled. He wasn’t so dense as to miss the challenge in her voice. But what did she want from him? A quick lay—a fling with a handsome redneck, like so many women he met on picks? Something that she could tell her friends about when she was back in Albany? A way to make her ex-boyfriend jealous? To up her chances of getting to Arlen? Or was it possible that she simply wanted him for no reason besides the wanting?

“Ho there!”

He didn’t have to come up with an answer. Hobo Jim had stepped out of the underbrush, and he stood in the middle of the lane waving his floppy straw hat around over his head and laughing in birdlike whoops.

“I got an old mattress back here,” he said. “If you don’t mind the mice.”

Will pulled himself up straighter and he thought My God, I’m still fifteen years old. He gave Lauren a nod, then held her eye long enough to tell her that he’d come back into the real world now, and that in the real world, things were different.

Hobo Jim’s smile was as big as the moon from a hundred feet away, despite his long gray beard. He stood grinning like Lauren and Will were the most exciting things that had happened to him in a year.

“Oh wow,” Lauren said under her breath. “Now that’s an antique.”

“He’d probably let you buy him for a hundred bucks,” Will said.

She turned back to him, and then she was laughing, and Will was too. If she’d thought for a moment that she might like to kiss him, she thought it no more. She gave him one last glance and then trudged through the mud toward the old picker who lived out on this property, the man who was shouting at her that she’d come to the right place if she was looking for a good time.

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Contest!

Lisa Dale is giving a $50 gift card to a book retailer of choice to one first prize winner. Plus, second and third prize winners will each receive copies of books from her backlist. For a chance to win, go to Lisa's website, read the excerpt for A Promise of Safekeeping, and answer this question:

What antique does Will buy when he first meets Lauren Matthews?

Then, send an email to staff@authorsoundrelations.com with the answer and your full name and mailing address. Please also indicate which book retailer you'd like to have the gift card for in case you win. Be sure to mark the subject heading as 'Promise'.

Winners will be contacted via email shortly after January 16th, 2012.

Good luck!

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