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Magnolia Secrets

Magnolia Secrets
Walker and Lainey share one explosive night together, and he awakens to find her gone. Shrugging it off as just a glorious one-night stand, he accepts a new job in a small town: New Hope, Mississippi. That's where he finds Lainey again. She just happens to be married to the Chief of Police-and Walker's new boss.

Lainey is terrified that Walker will divulge their secret. If he does, Lainey is a dead woman. But despite the danger, she can't forget the one passionate night she spent in Walker's arms. Walker demands answers from Lainey: What secret is she hiding? Why is she so afraid? And when people begin dying, he wants to get to the bottom of it. Why is the police chief trying to brush off the deaths? Why doesn't he want Walker to work the cases? What kind of secrets is he hiding?

Drawn together, unable to deny their passion, they risk their lives. Lainey is trapped. Walker is determined to save her and uncover the truth. Can they expose the secrets before a ruthless man destroys any hope for a brighter future?
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Magnolia Secrets (excerpt one)

Walker saw so many new faces he began to lose track. There were other officers, their wives or girlfriends, and several children. He nodded, shook hands, and made small talk. He took the longneck Evan held out to him and raised it to his lips.

He managed not to spew out the mouthful of beer when he turned around as Evan spoke.

“And here is my beautiful wife. Come say hello to Walker, Lainey.”

Walker stared. He knew it and was glad the dark shades hid the shock in his eyes. There she stood, the woman he had almost come to believe had been a figment of his imagination.

Lainey’s face went pale, her eyes wide. She forced a smile and stepped up to Evan’s side, clutching the handle of a glass pitcher with a grip so tight her fingers were white.

“It’s so nice to meet you,” she managed around the lump of fear in her throat. Please, God, she thought, don’t let him tell. She raised her eyes to his, a silent plea in them.

Walker locked gazes with her and gave a solemn nod. “Ma’am. Thanks for having me.”

When Evan motioned for him to continue their walk, Walker brushed by Lainey without another look.He wouldn’t call her out on it today, not here. But he would damn well find out what her game was.


Magnolia Secrets (excerpt two)

Lainey heard a knock on the back door and opened it to find Walker on the other side.

“What are you doing?” she whispered. She cast a glance over her shoulder, fearful that Evan had somehow came back into the house.

“Relax. He’s at the office already.” Walker gently moved her aside and stepped inside. “I made sure of that and walked over here. No one saw me.”

“What do you want?” She led him into the laundry room and closed the door behind them.

“I had to make sure you were okay. I haven’t seen you out since Friday, and then only in passing.” He tilted her head and noted the new bruises on her face. His mouth tightened. “I guess this explains why.”

She gave him a little smile. “Thank you for checking on me. You’d better go now, before our luck runs out.”

Walker couldn’t help himself. He leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss on her lips, then trailed his mouth down the smooth column of her throat. Lainey dropped her head back with a little whimper and her hands flexed on his shoulders.

She didn’t know how long they stayed locked together, simply holding onto each other, reveling in each other’s touch. When the shrill ring of the telephone sounded, she jumped like she had been shot.

Lainey let out a shaky laugh. “I need to get that, and you should go.”

Walker nodded. “One more week, Lainey. We’re almost there.”

He left her reaching for the telephone, slipping silently out of the kitchen door.



Ribbon Reviews for this title:
(These are similar to our Bookworm reviews, but they are
not submitted by our in-house reviewers. Each Ribbon Review corresponds to the matching color of our Bookworm reviews.)

A really good story with Lainey – a name I loved, meeting Walker Bell in a night club and spending the night together. She is gone in the morning and he starts his new job, a detective in the local police department. It’s only then he finds out Lainey is the wife of the police chief.

He isn’t happy that she gives him the brush off and will hardly acknowledge him. What he doesn’t realise is her husband is a wife beater and will punish her just for looking at another man.

The story was well written and fast paced, especially when deaths started occurring and we knew that the police chief was somehow involved.

The end of the book brought everything to a climax as an exciting shooting and hostage exchange took place.

Submitted by Karen J. Mossman








Magnolia Secrets is an engaging book, just when you think the story line is the standard old plot there is a twist. I enjoyed reading this book and found it an easy read (no need to look stuff up).

If you enjoy light thrillers with a little love story thrown in you will enjoy this book.
Beth starts you off with a hot and steamy one night stand. The next morning Lainey is gone and Walker is left wondering where she went.

Walker is moving to a new town and a new job, when much to his surprise his one night stand is the wife of his new boss. For a police detective he misses several signs of Lainey's abuse at her husbands hand. But once he finds out the truth, he steps up in a huge way.

Beth does a wonderful job with the gritty details of spousal abuse while also giving an undercurrent of something more sinister happening.

You don't have to wait long to find out and it's a roller coaster ride till the end.

While Lainey may be abused, she is written with strength of character, courage and a heart filled with love for others.

Spousal abuse, drugs, corruption and love conquers all, all wrapped up in a gritty and compelling book with an HEA ending.

Being from the South myself, I enjoy books set in small Southern towns, Beth has it down pat.

I am definitely a fan.
Walker and Lainey share one explosive night together and he awakens to find her gone. Shrugging it off as just a glorious one-night stand, he accepts a new job in a small town: New Hope, Mississippi. That's where he finds Lainey again. She just happens to be married to the Chief of Police-and Walker's new boss.

And so begins a tale of melodrama in the quaint and unassuming town with the ironic name. Upon reading the first encounter between Hale’s Walker Bell and Lainey Holley, I could not help but cringe at the overwrought description of sexual tension. I wanted so badly to believe that there was natural chemistry between the two characters, but every time he called her kitten, I was dragged further away from the moment and closer to shutting the book for good.

Two intertwined plots compose this story. The first involves the volatile relationship between the brutish Evan Holley and his wife, whose one night stand in the midst of an escape from her husband comes back to haunt her. The second plot consists of a drug deal gone badly and a scattering of dead bodies. While the first storyline was well constructed, in fact a wrenching portrayal of an abusive marriage, the second storyline strayed. It came together in the end as a Law in Order-esque showdown that had me questioning whether I was still reading the same book. As a reader I felt as if I knew very little about the victims involved, and therefore I struggled to empathize, detached from those Hale presumably meant for readers to feel a connection to; namely Jimmy and Johnny—the ill-fated brothers—who were you guys really? I barely knew you. Criticism aside, Hale did a spectacular job at illustrating the importance of helping those who are victims of abuse. Lainey is surrounded by supportive figures who each do his and her best to keep her out of harm’s way. With only a brief glimpse into Lainey’s past, how young she married, and her experience in foster care, she was the one character that I wanted to truly be happy by the book’s conclusion. In my mind, her happiness should not only derive from the gallant police officer with whom she slept with that one time, but rather her experiences volunteering with children at the local school. Hale did a wonderful job at this too; she reiterated the importance of a woman’s independence and the blessing of having one’s own life to live.

The relationship between the two protagonists is thinly developed, hanging by a thread of flirty one-liners and pet names. Walker started out as that guy who will not just leave you alone at the bar and developed into someone who may actually value a woman (but still insist on using the demeaning nickname, kitten). However, there is promise between the two protagonists, the ending of the book a clear harbinger of a budding substantial romance.

If you like books with romance, action, and mystery, this is the book for you.

Lainey is in a horrible domestic abuse relationship. It leads her to a one night stand with Walker Bell. When Laineys husband hires Walker on his police force, they are both surprised to see each other. When bodies are found all over town, Walker has to put his detective skills to the test. He has to solve the crime and help Lainey get away from her abusive husband. It's a dangerous game.

I enjoyed this book so much. It kept me reading from the first page. I love a simple, easy read. It gives just enough information about each character to keep you informed without going overboard with information. I, also, liked the farmville game reference since I play that as well. I liked Lainey's strength and understood her pain and fear.

I would definitely recommend this to other readers and would love to read more from this author.

The first thought that crossed my mind when I started to read this book was: girl prepare yourself, because if this book is like the others from this author that I've read, I know it will be one hell of a ride, in a good way of course.

The way Beth Hale continues to write had me hooked from the first page. The way she tells her stories, the fact that this book is told in the third person, is so inviting that I couldn't stop reading even if I wanted to. And just seeing the way this book started, oh boy, I knew it would be steamy. The simple yet compelling writing and the fact that she has so much attention to details sent me inside the book. It made me feel like I was a part of the plot.

Magnolia Secrets tells the stories of Walker and Lainey. Walker is a COP who, after an event that marked his career, chose to move to a quieter town, far from the madness of big cities. He loves what he does and wants to be the best police detective in the world. Lainey is married to the police captain in the city where they live. She’s a frightened woman who lives in constant terror and fear. Life was never easy for her and what she wants the most is to be happy, but unfortunately things are not always what we want.

When Walker and Lainey meet, there an immediate attraction that they can't deny. But will it be simply lust or something else? The theme that this book wakes up is something that unfortunately happens between four walls and, in most cases, nobody knows, primarily because of fear to tell someone, and because of the repercussions that this can entail.

Fear, crime, and suspense are present in this plot as well as love, desire, and camaraderie. There were parts of the book where I feared for the lives of the characters, but there were others that I wanted the bad guys to simply disappear.

Beth Hale, this book is completely different from the other books I've read, and I loved it. I love that you're a versatile author who can melt readers with love and hot scenes but also can terrorize with crime and suspense. Thank you for this fantastic opportunity and for allowing me to discover another facet of your writing!
Addressing the issue of domestic abuse is a challenge in fiction. Beth Hale handles the subject honestly in her romantic thriller “Magnolia Secrets”. From the first chapter in this compelling book I was firmly hooked.

The story revolves around Lainey Holley, her husband Chief of Police Evan Holley, and newly hired Officer Walker Bell. Beginning with a hot sexual encounter between Lainey and Walker the tale soon turns to Walker meeting his new boss. What Walker doesn’t know when he first arrives in the town of New Hope is that Evan Holley is Lainey’s husband. Another thing he isn’t aware of is the abuse the Chief rains down on his wife on a regular basis.

As Lainey walks the fine line her husband has drawn for her, dictating her every move, her clothing, her daily activities, and even the meals she prepares, she also struggles to keep the abuse a secret. Ashamed of the bruises and black eyes she has learned to cover up, she avoids contact with Walker as much as possible.

Meanwhile Walker views her as a cheating wife in spite of his continued desire for her. Little by little the truth comes out. However there is an even darker secret in the Chief’s life. And it is this secret that threatens the Chief, Lainey, and the security of the town of New Hope.

Hale has constructed a fascinating story with complex characters and an excellent plot. Uncovering the covert activities of what seems to be a quiet small town, Hale paints a picture of the illusion of bucolic country life. New Hope is a town where good people are touched by the corruption of authority figures. Still, secrets are kept and wounds are hidden in an effort to keep the peace.

I couldn’t put this book down. There are a few minor typos and misspellings but they in no way affected my enjoyment of this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a solid crime story with plenty of sexy romance and taut action.
Lainey is a well-crafted heroine whose secret life rocks a small town and captures the heart of her hero. Her story is compelling and emotional–because sadly, spousal abuse is a real problem in the world. It was riveting to see her grow and become stronger throughout the story, and finally begin to feel comfortable in who she was as a woman and a person with a purpose in life other than serving as a punching bag for her controlling husband. The scenes were written in vivid detail and one could almost feel the burn on Lainey’s cheek and taste the salty blood on her lip when she “took her punishment” as she often phrased it.

This story kept me turning page after page with witty dialogue and plot twists that I never saw coming! It would appeal to readers from many genres–romance, mystery, and chick-lit. – I look forward to more from this author!
Two fresh starts offset one another and set worlds into parallel motion.

Lainey was free. She had prepared to leave an unstable world behind her. She was ready to make a brand new life and start it off passionately with Walker, the handsome stranger. It was going to be a heat of a moment launch; a grabbing of the new life by the reigns and taking it for all it was worth.

Walker Bell was in the right place at the right time. He was on his way to a new job in a quiet place, when he happened into that fortune, as their paths crossed that fateful evening.

After the chance encounter, she was gone; much as those nights of singular passion come full circle.

Walker moved along and took up residence in his departed great aunt’s place in New Hope. He was starting a new job there as an officer, working under Police Chief Evan Holley.

The small town with Oak lined sidewalks and a small downtown, with little shops and storefronts, was a far cry from big city Biloxi where he served prior.

As he gets settled in, unpacks, and begins to learn his way around, events take a turn when he discovers at Chief Holley’s picnic that the Lainey he met on his way to New Hope was Lainey Holley and things were not as they seemed.

As more events unfold, the circumstances destabilize for Officer Walker Bell and Lainey Holley as their worlds collide.

I recommend “Magnolia Secrets” by Beth Hale
– JASON ZANDRI (former RRR reviewer)
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