The Way We Burn by Michelle Leighton

 

Title: The Way We Burn

Author: M. Leighton

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: June 24, 2018

 

Irresistible attraction. Unimaginable danger. 

I knew from the moment Noah Williamson walked into the diner that he was haunted—deeply haunted—but I couldn’t resist the lure of him. He was gorgeous and fascinating and mysterious, and like a delicate moth to a brilliant blue flame, I was drawn to him. Drawn to his fire.

But if I’d known about his job, about what happened to his wife, I’d have run the other way. Before I got caught up in the red-hot blaze of his life. Before everything in my world got burned to the ground. 

It’s too late to run now. I hesitated and that was it. I fell. I fell for him before I knew there was danger in loving him. 

Noah once told me that this is the way we burn—together or not at all. At the time, I didn’t know what that meant.

Now I do. 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Excerpt from The Way We Burn
by M. Leighton © 2018

CHAPTER ONE

NOAH

 

Maryland, eighteen months ago

 

“Mind going over the story with me one more time?”

I stare at the detective.  I see the disdain in his eyes. I see the disbelief.  He came here with his mind made up.  I’m suspect number one and we both know it.  What we both don’t know is that I did nothing to my wife.  I would never hurt her.  I don’t think I could even if I had to, even if she was trying to hurt me.  She is the only woman I’ve ever loved, the only person whose happiness means more to me than my own. 

Except for our daughter.

Her happiness would’ve meant more to me than my own, too. 

Would’ve.

Past tense.

Grief slices through my chest like a scalpel.  Clean. Neat.  Surgical.  Like someone is cutting out my heart. 

Five months ago, we lost our daughter.  And now I’ve lost Carly.  How the hell is a man supposed to live through something like this?  A child. Then a spouse.  This is the shit nightmares are made of.

And I would know.  I’ve seen nightmares. Up close. Personal.  The kind that sink their teeth in and leave marks. Wounds.  Scars.

 Sweat beads on my upper lip.  I’ve never felt such an intense sense of loss, so much pain.  So much helpless, hopeless agony. 

A few months ago, I’d have said a person couldn’t bear hurt like this. I’d have said the human body couldn’t take it.

But I’d have been wrong.

It can.

I’m proof.  I’m still alive, still standing.  Damned if I know how, but I am.  Even when I’d rather not be, I am.  And now, on top of everything else, I’m being questioned like a felon.  I’m the primary suspect in my wife’s disappearance, and every second they spend focusing on me is another second she’s further from being found.

But there’s nothing I can do to change that. It’s Basic Detecting 101.  The husband is suspect numero uno.  Why?  Because it usually is the husband. I know that.  I also know there will be no convincing them otherwise. 

Maybe if I could split my chest wide open, they’d believe me.  Maybe if they could see what I’m feeling, see the bruised and bleeding thing that used to be my heart, they’d understand. Maybe if they could physically see what this is doing to me, they’d look beyond the obvious.  But outside of that, there’s nothing I can say to make them understand.  That’s why there’s an edge to my voice when I answer this asshole’s questions. I may not be able to change it, but I sure as hell don’t have to like it.

“It’s not a ‘story’, Detective. It’s the truth.  Carly left for work Tuesday morning at seven. She said she had an early meeting.  I texted her at lunch to see if she needed me to bring anything from the store. She didn’t answer.  I haven’t seen or heard from her since that morning.  And that was almost sixty hours ago.”

Sixty hours.  That’s twelve hours after “we’ve got a good chance of finding her”, and twelve hours before “hope for the best, but expect the worst.”  The window is closing.

“Had you two fought before she left?”

There’s a dull throb just above the bridge of my nose. I pinch it between my index finger and thumb.  “No, we hadn’t fought.  We don’t fight anymore.  At all.  I told you we’ve both been recovering from…from…”

I can’t make the words come out. They’re stuck in my throat like tar—black and sticky and foreign.  Bitter.

“The death of your daughter. Right, right.  I feel you,” he placates, making more notes on his pad.  “But they never recovered her body, isn’t that right, Mr. Williamson?”

My eyes snap up to his.  Surely to God he’s not insinuating…

Zero to sixty in one second.  In one sentence.  That’s how long it takes my blood to come to a hard boil. Like lava down a mountainside, it rushes through my veins in a thick, hot river, destroying trees and grass and flowers and life as it goes.  Killing off a little more of what was left of me. 

I take a deep breath, striving for cool.  Or even tepid.  Anything but the blazing rage that’s pumping through me. 

“Detective, I’m a patient man. I work for the FBI, so I understand how this process works. I also understand that I’m at the top of your list of suspects, so I get it. I get it.  But let me make one thing crystal clear.” I take a step forward.  “My daughter was killed. My child is dead.  So while I have agreed to jump through all your hoops, make no mistake. My tolerance has its limits and you are dangerously close to finding out what happens when my patience runs out.  I’ve got nothing left to lose. Not one thing, so wiping the floor with your smug ass might actually improve my situation.  You feel that?” The last is hissed through teeth clenched so tight my jaws ache. I’m practically spitting down into his face, my chest close enough to bump his if I take a deep enough breath. 

I can tell by the set of his lips and the narrowing of his eyes that I’ve pissed him off. But I can also tell that he’s not fool enough to press me one more inch right now. Not one more. It’s there in the way his pupils swell. It’s there in the way his nostrils flare.  He won’t push me.  He’s smarter than that.

My daughter is dead. 

My wife is missing. 

There’s nothing left.  Nothing that matters. There’s nothing they can take from me or threaten me with.  Surely this pathetic lackey knows what I know from years and years of experience—men like me are unpredictable. 

Unpredictable and dangerous.

 

 

 

The Way We BurnThe Way We Burn by M. Leighton
Rosa's rating: 5 of 5 iScream Cones

"My brokenness is drawn to his."

I'm struggling here because I just finished reading this book and I want to write an amazing review that gets across to you how epic this story is, but this is one that must be experienced. You have to go in blind, with an open mind and an open heart. Expect the unexpected, and maybe have a fire extinguisher nearby. Because once you start reading The Way We Burn your kindle might go up in flames if you aren't careful. The heat will be intense and your fingers might get hot, but I promise that once you start reading you won't be willing to let go... ever. This story will stay with you. I've added it to my 'favorites' shelf and I'm visualizing it as a movie. Once the word gets out, Hollywood might be reaching out to M. Leighton. Just a heads-up that she might want to brush up on her screenplay writing skills, just in case.

Without giving away any spoilers, all I can share with you is how the story made me 'feel'.

I felt empathy for Noah. "Gorgeous, quiet, tortured Noah." I felt his pain so intensely as the author put me inside his head and his heart as he remembered his wife.
I felt curious about the details regarding his past. I wanted to know how he ended up in this severely broken state. What happened to his wife? Was she murdered, or was there an accident?
I felt the electrical current that passed between him and the waitress. They were both so broken, but they somehow shared a connection that was a force all it's own. It was so strong that there were times that the buzz reached me through the pages.
I felt a yearning for them to risk their hearts and give love a chance. I understood why they were afraid and cautious, but damn, surely they could see that what was happening between them was something special, right? And because... "Noah unleashed."
I felt WTF?
I felt PTSD
I felt rage and started searching for a shovel to throw in the trunk as I considered who to call for bail money if I got caught. Then I hoped that my prison stripes were vertical instead of horizontal so they wouldn't add pounds. Then I wondered if they served the keto diet in prison.
✦ And finally, I felt everything. Yeah, this amazing story turned me into a hot mess. The author put me through an emotional wringer, and I agreed that, "There's only one real way out. And that's through." Yup, now I need a T-shirt that says, I survived THE WAY WE BURN by M. Leighton.

Was all that clear as mud? Are you intrigued? My mind is blown and this author has earned her way into auto-click status as far as I'm concerned. I'll be reading whatever she comes up with next, even if it's just a recipe or her grocery list. The line forms here...

 
 
 
 

 

Here's what early readers are saying:

“Another story of Michelle’s to fall in love with... I am loving this new side to Michelle. Twist, turns, angst and heart ache combined with a love story only how Ms. Leighton can write them!”  --Rachael

 

“[M. Leighton] broke my brain with this book. I legitimately cannot remember the last time a twist caught me so off guard.” –Teresa, Readers Live a Thousand Lives

 

“A smart psychological thriller with a heart stopper of a twist… M. Leighton is on fire!” –Addison Moor, NYT Bestselling Author

 

“…delivers an unforgettable, heart-pounding story that will leave you thinking about it for weeks after you finish.”  --Courtney Cole, NYT Bestselling Author

 

“Brilliant. Just brilliant.”  --Stephanie, Stephanie’s Book Reports

 

“What an epic mindf***!!”  --Maria, Literati Literature Lovers

 

“Consuming. Intoxicating.  … M. Leighton took what could have just been a suspenseful romance and turned it into something SO MUCH MORE!” –Jessica, Crazy Chaotic Book Babes

 

“Enthralling. Captivating. Jaw-dropping suspense.”  --Courtney, Read-Love-Blog

 

“This is at the top of my Best of 2018 list!” -- Jennifer, Book Bitches Blog

 

“Hands down one of the best romantic suspense books I’ve read this year!” --Angie, Liezel and Angie’s Book Blog

 

“The Way We Burn is a MUST read!!!”  --Catherine, Cat’s Guilty Pleasure

 

“Michelle Leighton takes her writing to a whole new level. This book was riveting.”  --Michell

 

“Brilliantly written…a definite must read!!”  --Kathryn, Tsk Tsk What to Read

 

“I am blown away.  [The Way We Burn] is spectacular!”  --Theresa

 

“I’m convinced this is [M. Leighton’s] best ever!”  --Becky

 

“Michelle Leighton throws one curve ball after another in this fascinating romantic suspense.” – Nadine, Nadine Bookaholic

 

“…grab this book now and call into work, put the closed for business to family and friends. You are welcome.” – Jeanine, Goodreads Review

 

“…brilliantly executed.”  -- Kat, Kitty Kat’s Crazy About Books

 

“…[The Way We Burn] will forever be one of the best I have ever read.”  -- Theresa, Goodreads Review

 

“Bravo to the author!  This is a must read!  Five stars!”  -- Kim, Blogging for the Love of Authors Blog

 

“Brilliant!  You, too, will be burned to ash in the most beautiful way.”  -- Lee, A Story Book Romance Blog

 

“I want to write an amazing review that gets across to you how epic this story is… Once you start reading, you won’t be able to let go…ever.  This story will stay with you.”  --Rosa, iScream Books Blog

 

“This story was unlike any other and is possibly one of the best I have ever read.”  --Natalie, Literary Epic

 

“I am so obsessed with this book.”  --Teresa, Readers Live a Thousand Lives

 

“M. Leighton writes a brilliant story. I was captivated from the first few pages and couldn’t put it down!” -- Amanda Lee, Disheveled Book Blog

 

“This book just claimed the #1 spot for my 2018 Booklist.”  -- We Review Books

 

“A fantastic journey that Michelle Leighton has penned with such ease it should really be a sin!! Trust me….add this one to your MUST READ list today!!”  --Julie, Little Read Riding Hood 

 

“Insanely awesome!  Seriously amazing.  I have one of the best book hangovers!”  --We Do What We Want Book Reviews

 

“Wow.  Just…wow!” -- Sandy, The Reading Cafe

 

“HOLY WOW!  This book blew me away!”  --Jenn, The Geekery Book Review

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, M. Leighton, is a rarely ever comfortable speaking about herself in the third person, but here goes. Michelle is a former nurse who has always harbored a passion for the written word, a weakness for alpha males, and a profound love of all things romantic.

Never in her wildest dreams did this Yankee-turned-Southerner imagine her life as it is today. She has the best job in the world, a husband who treats her like a princess, and a dog that's so smart she may one day write a novel, too.

You can often find Michelle hidden away in her cave, crafting a new story, or out in the sunshine enjoying some quiet time with her man. Movies, wine, and good food are frequently thrown into the mix, and exercise on days that start with Q. She loves laughter, chocolate, the color red, and you can find out more about her at her website. Sign up for her newsletter, she promises not to spam your inbox.  

Also, if you like music, you might like to know that she does, too, and that it plays a big role in her inspiration.  For that reason, she creates a playlist for each book she writes, adding the songs that inspire her as she goes. 

    

      

     

Author : #RosaTheScreamer

iScream, uScream, we all scream about our favorite books!

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