How do you live with yourself when you don’t even know who you are?
On a chill October night, a girl goes missing setting the small town of Oakridge on edge. James has spent the last five years running from a past that still haunts him to this day. Now he finds himself thrust back into a life he thought he left behind. Finding out his new home may be haunted and reconnecting with an old friend while being thrust into a murder mystery, James finds himself trying to figure out which end is up while questioning his own sanity.
**AUTHOR’S NOTE** Buried Secrets is a New Adult, mystery thriller with very little romance but heavy on the suspense.
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USA Today Bestselling author J.C. Valentine is the alter-ego of Author Brandi Salazar, whose enjoyment of tales of romance inspired her to branch out and create her own.
She lives in the Northwest with her husband, their wild children, and far too many pets. Having graduated with honors, she holds a degree in English, which she hopes to use to pursue her dreams of becoming an editor. Brandi entertains a number of hobbies including reading and photography, but her first love is writing fiction-in all its forms.
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James took a bite of his chicken sandwich, not even tasting it. He’d only been in town one night, and already he wanted to turn his car around and go back to Ohio. There he was, just another nameless, faceless boy among the crowd. No one would miss him if he left, and no one would care that he was there. Anonymity. That’s what he liked about Ohio.
Mulling over a wilted fry, James stared unblinking across the busy parking lot. Young couples laughed and shared stories and stolen kisses, while girls in uniform skated over the asphalt balancing trays of food on their upturned palm.
Maybe he was mistaken. Maybe no one here would remember him. It had been almost five years since he’d moved away, gained a new life, and buried his memories of Oakridge permanently. At least, that was what had happened, until his parents decided—out of the blue—to return to Oakridge.
“It’s time we stop hiding in fear and get on with living,” his dad announced over a breakfast of blueberry waffles and maple syrup.
“And back to our friends, our life.” Mom reached across the table, putting another stack on his plate. A tentative smile touched her warm face, then, just as quickly, disappeared. She knew how James felt about Oakridge. He hated it. Had nightmares from his time spent there. “Besides,” she added in a small voice that held a note of pleading. “Doctor Fishburn says it’s time.” James arched a brow that said, “Did he now?” making her shift uncomfortably as she searched for the right words. “He thinks…he thinks it might be good for you…for us, to face the past. Confront it head on.”
James had never been much of a fan of the good doctor. His parents had forced him to attend counseling soon after they’d gotten to Ohio, thinking Dr. Fishburn might be able to make the nightmares stop. But he hadn’t. And how could he, after all? James didn’t even know what they were about, just knew the feeling they left him with when he woke up, his sheets soaked in sweat, his heart racing in his chest, and a terrible feeling that someone had walked over his grave. And he could never remember what the dream had been about. Just as soon as he shot up in bed, the visions began to clear, shuffling back down into the pits of his subconscious, waiting for the next night when they would surface again to torment him.
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