The Replacement


Melinda Di Lorenzo

Ari Strange thought she’d survived the worst after the sudden death of her husband. She couldn’t have been more mistaken…

Nearly two years have passed since Ari’s husband died in a shocking hit-and-run, and she’s finally beginning to feel normal. She has a job. An apartment. She’s fully focused on her miracle–her 13-month-old daughter, Lucy-Kate. And she never dreamed it could all go sideways again in an instant…

On a freezing winter night, Ari wakes to find a blood-covered woman taking Lucy-Kate from her crib. In minutes, she goes from frantic parent to being accused of kidnapping her own daughter. The police don’t believe her story. They don’t even believe that Ari is Ari. Rather, they’ve taken the side of the woman who claims—with proof—to be her. The only person who gives Ari the benefit of the doubt is her unfriendly neighbor. But his behavior is sketchy, his motives unclear.

As evidence mounts against Ari, the time to save Lucy-Kate is running out. Can she uncover the truth before she loses everything all over again?

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Chapter One

Awareness comes in like thunderclap. One moment, he’s out. The next, he’s staring up at a cloudless sky while the scent of smoke permeates the air. He sucks in a breath. Chokes. Gasps it out again. The smoke isn’t just in the air; it’s in him.

“Shit.” The word is a growl that cuts away even more oxygen.

He clamps his mouth shut. Holds his breath.

What the hell happened? Where am I?

Then that comes back, too.

A road, slick with ice. A bridge, too narrow for two cars. The flash of oncoming headlights and the blare of a horn and—

“Shit,” he repeats.

And the crash. Metal on metal. A sickening sound that’d been followed by regret over not fastening his seat belt because right then, he’d felt himself sail out of the topless convertible.

She’s going to kill me, he’d thought as the air whipped over his body. If I’m not dead already.

Next came a searing pain in his temple—it’s still there, now that he’s thinking about—and at last, a welcome blackness. Then came this.

Ignoring the all-over throb, he sits up and blinks. Smoke is everywhere. Orange flames rise into the night. His car is only a dozen feet away, and it’s on fire, halfway to being a husk already. He blinks again. Lifts his blurry gaze. It’s then that it comes to him. This was—is—more than an accident. This is a sign. An opportunity. An answer to the wishes he’s made in the darkness.

End of Excerpt

The Replacement is available in the following formats:

ISBN: 978-1-961544-58-1

February 15, 2024

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