Meet Kimberly Belle a debut author of The Last Breath. She is here to share what the Last Breath is about. I got a chance to meet her a few weeks ago. She has a copy to giveaway for this book. Please follow the rafflecopter. This giveaway will run from November 20-30 at midnight. Only open to US Residents.
For humanitarian aid workers like GIA ANDREWS, home can mean a lot of things. A two-bedroom ranch behind a picket fence. A fourth-story walkup in the city. A mud hut under a banana tree. A country on a passport.
But for Gia, home is the place where she will always be known as the murderer’s daughter.
Sixteen years ago, Gia’s father, RAY ANDREWS, was convicted of murdering her step-mother, ELLA MAE ANDREWS. Gia has spent the years since chasing disasters around the globe in an attempt to escape her own. It’s not just a job but a lifestyle, one that soothes her gypsy soul and keeps her half a planet away from her personal ground zero. But when her dying father is released on a technicality, Gia reluctantly returns home to rural Appalachia to face her past.
Back home in Rogersville, a tiny blip on the Eastern Tennessee map, she resumes her role as daughter of the town’s most infamous murderer. A role complete with noisy protesters on her front lawn, reporters who ambush her all over town, and eager gossips who consider her misfortune fair game.
And she finds herself largely alone. Her siblings, BO and LEXI ANDREWS, refuse to have anything to do with their father, and her uncle CAL ANDREWS, a feisty attorney known as the Tennessee Tiger, is too busy sweet-talking judge and jury in Knoxville to visit more often than an occasional weekend. Gia’s only company besides her sick father is colorful hospice nurse FANNIE MILES, pure Appalachia in yellow and lilac scrubs.
Emory Professor of Law JEFFREY LEVINE is so convinced her father is innocent, he’s writing a book about the case. He raises questions about the testimony of DEAN SULLIVAN, the neighbor who claimed he saw Ray break into his own house the night Ella Mae was murdered. Gia is still uncertain. As much as she’s always wanted to believe her father’s claims of innocence, the shadows on her doubt run in both directions.
Thank your God of choice for JAKE FOSTER, charming owner of the Roadkill Bar and Grill in town, who provides a welcome distraction in the form of good food and better sex. Their relationship is simple, uncomplicated, easy. And temporary. Gia has no intention of falling for a man who’s made his home in a town she vowed never to return. Her heart, what’s left of it, is her own.
But the worse things get at home, the more she can’t get enough of Jake. For Gia, he’s like a mini-vacation from the stress of her life back home in Rogersville. Before long Gia is hooked, body and soul.
One night, a conversation in Jake’s truck jiggles loose a long-forgotten memory of Ella Mae and Dean. Gia doesn’t need a Professor of Law to tell her that if Dean and Ella Mae had been lovers, Dean had motive. Motive to lie on the stand. Motive to point the finger at Gia’s father. Motive to murder.
Sixteen years ago, Gia ran. This time around, she’s determined to stay long enough to discover the truth. Gia tells Jeffrey about Dean and asks him to go public with the affair. She informs her siblings, who put aside their guilt long enough for a shaky reconciliation with their father. And she and Jake confront the reclusive alcoholic Dean, who admits to the affair, hints at his guilt for murdering Ella Mae, and tells them Ella Mae had been pregnant. Only now that Dean’s become the crazy town drunk, will anyone besides Jake and Gia believe him?
But folks in Rogersville love a good scandal, and they pounce on Dean’s. The protesters pack up their bullhorns and signs and go home. They’re replaced by a friendlier crowd of former friends and neighbors, driven by guilt and curiosity, who come to hold vigil.
Inside the house, the family gathers around Ray’s bedside, where Ray reveals Jake is Ella Mae’s child, the son she gave up for adoption at birth. Gia is furious and heartbroken by Jake’s lie of omission, and she can’t find an ounce of forgiveness for him in her too-scared, too-scarred heart.
Ray’s last days are turbulent, and he’s not always lucid. He confuses Fannie for his long-dead mother, and he mistakes Gia for Ella Mae, shocking Gia with the amount of anger he feels toward his former wife. Hallucinations? Gia is unsure. And then the professor calls with news that Dean had an alibi the night of the murder, and just like that, Gia’s father shifts back up to prime suspect number one in her mind.
Gia has to know for sure. While the rest of the house is asleep, she sneaks downstairs and wakes Ray, pretending to be Ella Mae. He’s scared and sick enough to fall for her trick and confirms what Gia already suspected: Ray is Ella Mae’s killer.
Gia refuses to keep any more secrets. She orders Cal to tell Bo and Lexi, then heads to Roadkill to tell Jake that her father murdered his mother. Their relationship ends on the very same barstool where it began.
By the time she returns home, her father has died and Lexi is storming out. On the front lawn, Gia and Lexi are confronted by a crazed and armed Dean, who blames Gia for spreading talk of the affair around town and the entire Andrews family for the way his life fell apart after Ella Mae’s murder. Jake, who followed Gia home for another attempt at reconciliation, arrives a few minutes later and puts himself between Gia and Dean, taking the bullet meant for Gia.
Almost losing Jake puts things into perspective for Gia. She realizes that every single decision she’s made in the past sixteen years has been motivated by an attempt to escape her past. In order to build a life worth living, she has stop allowing her past to influence her future. That means finding forgiveness for Jake, but more importantly for her father, even if she will never be able to forgive his actions. Only then will Gia be able to still the gypsy in her soul and write her own happy ending with Jake.
Meet author Kimberly Belle:
Kimberly Belle grew up in Eastern Tennessee, in a small town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians. A graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, Kimberly lived for over a decade in the Netherlands and has worked in marketing and fundraising for various nonprofits. Her debut novel, THE LAST BREATH, was published by Harlequin MIRA in September 2014. She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.
Connect with Kimberly on Facebook, Twitter , and Goodreads. For more about Kimberly and her books, please visit her website.