Vera Custodio has never fallen in love, though she has strong feelings for her friend and sometimes lover, Zach Spencer. Long-forgotten memories resurface when Vera discovers Zach’s mother was the woman her father supposedly murdered many years ago.
After losing his leg, former triathlete Zach Spencer reevaluates his life—and realizes he’s falling in love with Vera. When she ends their relationship, Zach is determined to prove his love and follows her to Australia in search of the killer.
Caught between a web of family secrets and a deranged adversary, Vera and Zach must depend on each other for survival. Love blossoms, but the truth explodes everything Vera knows about herself. Will she close her heart forever or risk it all for a shot at happily-ever-after?
Knowing Vera is a suspenseful, cross-cultural romance mixing an unsolved murder, action and adventure, and hot, steamy love scenes.
My body stretches with sweet languor on the crisp clean sheets. Sunlight streams through the lace curtains, but the chatter of maniacal laughter outside my window knocks me from my Zach-induced stupor. Who let a troupe of monkeys loose?
I peek through the curtains to investigate. A pair of cartoon-looking birds with smiley beaks, dark brown wings and eye patches giggle from a tree near the window. I wonder if they are the famed kookaburras that substitute for alarm clocks in these parts.
Jolting electro dance music beeps from Zach’s phone and I fumble for it on the nightstand to answer it.
“Vera?” Maryanne’s voice pipes through the handset. “I was up all night with Emma and turned off my phone. Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. I wanted to know how Emma’s doing.”
Maryanne yawns. “I brought her home from the hospital a few days ago. We’re still tube feeding, but she’s doing well except for the apnea. The monitor was going crazy last night. I had to rouse her every hour or so.”
“You must be exhausted. I’m sorry. I’m so glad you called back.”
“Vera?” Maryanne’s voice lilts. “You sound way too happy. Did you and Zach make up?”
How can she tell? Butterfly wings fan my stomach, and I can’t find my voice.
“You still there?” Maryanne persists. “He’s really a good man if you stop putting him on a pedestal.”
“He says he’s falling for me.” The words come out too fast and breathy.
“How do you feel about it?”
“I don’t know,” I say, even though I suspect I’m in too deep. “It’s like when he’s hurting, I hurt, and I can’t turn my back on him. I can’t walk away, like I always do.”
“You’re in love.” She sounds so gleeful. “It’s finally happened.”
“You think?” I want her to confirm it. I want her to tell me it’s true, even though I’m afraid the bubble will burst and it’ll only be a dream of teddy bears and cotton candy and carnival rides and sticky kisses.
“Oh, it’s definitely L. O. V. E. Girl, I knew you had it bad when you went every night to his bedside, when you brought him food, and helped him learn to walk again. And when you tried to break up and kept going back? You were a goner.”
Part of me bristles to hear her explain it so glibly. “I wasn’t that obvious. Besides, there are issues, problems.”
“There are always problems. That’s what makes it worthwhile.”
“You’re such a romantic,” I tease. “Me? I’m practical. Sure, he’s sweet and irresistible. But he’s vulnerable right now, so he’s latching onto me. Once he gets his mojo back, he’ll be back to his tomcatting ways.”
“Is that what you want?” Maryanne pins me. “You say these things, but do you really want it to be that way? Or are you afraid to admit that he might really love you?”
The butterflies scramble for the exit, and I roll onto my stomach. “It’ll hurt so much more when I lose him. I can’t relax. There are serious things going on.”
Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.
Rachelle Ayala has written four novels. Michal’s Window is a powerful and emotional journey as lived through the eyes of Princess Michal, King David’s first wife. Broken Build is a story of redemption and healing where a man learns to love and trust the woman who destroyed his life. Hidden Under Her Heart is a heartfelt love story mixed with controversy over difficult decisions.
Her latest is Knowing Vera , a steamy romantic suspense involving family secrets, disability, and an unsolved murder.
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