On the rooftops of London, you can be anyone.
A year ago, Lanie Briers escaped a serial killer. She grew up in a theatre family and her act was mediumship, but not anymore. Life, now, is a hidden retreat above a quirky Bloomsbury museum, where she waits and watches.
Nick Tawes is an unexpected intrusion. He's a landscape architect filming a television series on roof gardens, and he intends to build one in Lanie's aerial territory. He has his own demons, old family troubles, that lure Lanie out of her refuge and into living again.
But as summer progresses and the sky garden grows, Lanie's enemy is closing in--because some secrets must go to the grave.
Stories fed identity—and changed it.
Lanie had used stories to shock and survive. She’d used them carefully, crafting her old stage act of mediumship to draw out people’s stories and reflect them, eliciting gasps of awe at her insight. Magic, went the murmur. But it wasn’t magic. They were the same tricks conmen used.
And she’d used those tricks brutally, as the one weapon left to her. Survival had cost her the joy of performing.
But that was the past. She forced the memories away. Here was safe harbor, the library that was a sea captain’s final berth. A fantasy, but a comforting one.
She was searching for a spy glass to add to the photos she’d take when the electronic beep from the front door signaled the entrance of a visitor.
A tug at her jacket and a pat to her hair—Good, the chignon doesn’t wobble—and she was ready to perform.
Lanie Briers, museum curator and woman-in-hiding. Heroine of Sky Garden.
What are you keeping a secret?
Last year, I escaped a serial killer. He killed himself, and I lived. But he bequeathed me a secret, and that secret, that person, is out there. Maybe he’s watching me, maybe he’s not, but if he feels threatened…
What are you lying to yourself about? To others?
I’m lying to myself that I’ve recovered from my encounter with a serial killer. I have a valid reason to be hiding out above the Horry Museum, but I’m also, metaphorically, still trapped in that cellar. I have nightmares. I can’t believe that I survived…can’t bring myself to live, again.
Is there anyone in your life that you are attracted to?
Nick Tawes is too attractive for his own good. He’s not conventionally good-looking, but he’s tall, dark-haired and intense, and that does it for me. Plus, his passion for the sky garden he intends to build in my rooftop retreat makes me wonder what else he could be passionate about. But I can’t risk finding out.
What scares you about this person?
Nick doesn’t do commitment. Well, nor do I. But I used to. My family’s giving me space because I asked them to—I didn’t tell them it was because I feared the killer haunting me—but I come from a loud, loving and boisterous theatre family and I can’t imagine being as alone as Nick is. He’s estranged from his aristocratic family, and there’s definitely a secret there.
What do you think he/she can do for you that no one else can?
Nick can make me believe it’s worth living again. He can make me think of love.
What does this person know about you that no one else does?
I have secrets even from Nick, and one day they’re going to destroy us. But there is something Nick knows about me that no one else does. He knows that I’m a survivor. You could say that everyone knows that, after all I’m alive. But Nick knows that I will fight my corner. I could love him just for his belief that I am strong. Do you know what he said when I described the serial killer kidnapping me and how I escaped? He said, “Congratulations on surviving.” He understood that I’m not a victim!
How do you decide of you can trust someone?
Trust is so hard for me. In the end, it comes down to what your instincts say. If they scream “run!”, don’t hang about. And if they whisper, “kiss Nick”? Well, maybe I should listen to them.
When you walk into a room what do you notice first? Second?
First I notice the people. Before…well, before the kidnapping and what I did to survive, I used to perform with my family as a medium. I’d pretend to contact people who’d died. I did it respectfully and with full disclosure to the audience, and then, I’d show them how I made them believe the act. Some people walked away convinced that I lied about that bit, and that I actually talked with the dead. Maybe, in a sense, I do.
The second thing I notice on walking into a room is the dust. Isn’t that funny? It’s a consequence of my new job as a curator at the Horry Museum. Believe me, maintaining a museum is all about worrying about dust, smeared fingerprints and maintenance.
What unusual hobbies or interests do you have?
I collect vintage clothes, specifically those from the 1950s, and I wear them. I also make my own from old sewing patterns. There’s an old trick from my stage life: if you don’t want people to notice you, as a person, then give them something else to focus on. I give them the 1950s clothes, and people seldom look at my face. Except Nick.
If you had one wish, what would it be?
Obviously I’d wish that the serial killer never obsessed about me. If I could hide from him… But then, there’s no going back. I just have to make sure that the secret he bequeathed me doesn’t kill me—or anyone I love!
Jenny Schwartz will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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Jenny Schwartz is a hopeful romantic with a degree in Sociology and History — people watching and digging into the past. She lives in Western Australia and is working towards her dream of living by the sea. Jenny writes romantic suspense, as well as contemporary and paranormal romance.