Friday, 1 April 2016

Release Day! A Keeper's Truth by Dee Willson

Driven Press is very happy to announce the release of literary romance A Keeper’s Truth in paperback and e-book formats world-wide today. 

A Keeper’s Truth

Every one of us has a soul.
Some are new, some old, and a few, the dangerous, are lost.
But only twelve know why we have a soul at all.
Only twelve remember mankind’s forbidden past.
Tess thinks she’s going crazy when only she sees the naked man in the crowded café, comatose woman in his arms. The nightmares, the visions: something’s not right. But Tess is entitled to moments of insanity. She’s the daughter of mental illness, suicide, and her husband was just killed in a car accident, leaving her an inept single mom at twenty-six.
Then Tess meets Bryce, Carlisle’s illusive bachelor who spins tales from ancient mythology with knowledge beyond his years. His truths intrigue Tess, pull her from the depths, and might just be what she needs to survive.
Compulsively readable, A Keeper’s Truth is an emotionally charged tale of fate, belief, and the power of the human mind. A story that will have you questioning everything you know about the history of mankind, and wondering if somewhere, deep inside, you knew the truth all along.


My name is Tess. I’m the daughter of a liar. And unhinged.

Tess is the name on the sticker stuck to my shirt above my right boob. I wonder why it says that, no one uses my name anymore. It should read: Oh, I’m sorry. Or the extended version: Oh my God, I’m so sorry. I’m greeted with pouty lips and sad eyes. Instant reminders . . . as if I need to be reminded my husband is dead. Meyer has been gone five months, two days, sixteen hours, and twenty-two minutes. The last two minutes only slightly better than the first.

I’m standing in my daughter’s classroom, waiting for my turn to meet her kindergarten teacher, Ms. Bubbly. Actually, her name is Ms. Rainer, but since she wears no sticker herself, I’ve taken the liberty to provide her with an appropriate title, one with more verve. I hover in the back corner, pretending to be enthralled with drawings of horses stapled to the bulletin board. Well, I think they’re horses, or ponies, or some sort of animal with four legs; they really aren’t all that easy to decipher. I’m grateful for the distraction. I’m a shell, a remnant, a shadow of my former self.

I catch a glimpse of affection, a naturally intimate gesture between lovers. His hand on her waist, her leaning into his shoulder while whispering in his ear. I draw a mouthful of air, the word widow encasing me like a tomb, and scan the crowd again, hoping to see Thomas. He’s the only other single parent I know of. He’s not here.

It must be my turn to speak to Ms. Bubbly. She reaches out and with a strained voice says, “So sorry to learn about your loss.”

Great, just what I wanted to hear. I look at my nametag and tighten my arms into their usual position, holding my insides, inside. I realize my lack of finesse a moment too late, and Ms. Bubbly drops her hand.

“So . . . Abby . . .” I can’t think of anything more to say. My mind is mush.
Ms. Bubbly briefs me on her first weeks with my daughter, nothing I don’t already know. Abby is quiet. Abby’s working on her printing skills, her b’s and d’s are backwards. Abby likes to play with Thomas’s daughter, Sofia, her best friend from junior kindergarten. Ms. Bubbly ends with, “Abby seems to be coping,” and I stare at my shoes, the word coping caught in my throat. “Yes, under the circumstances, Abby is doing well,” Mrs. Bubbly says, her animation dwindling.

I realize she’s striving for sincerity, but I can’t help but wonder which circumstance she’s referring to: Abby being fatherless or my inability to raise her alone.

“Good,” I say, because it’s Tuesday, opposite day according to the blackboard.
Ms. Bubbly’s attention wanders, and I consider revoking her title as I mumble goodbye, head for the door, and tear the name tag from my shirt. Head down, I smack my forehead into something solid, then recoil, instinct requiring an assessment of the battle wound.

It hurts already. Life just won’t toss me a break.

“My apologies, Tess,” says an unfamiliar voice. A rich, masculine voice.
My eyes follow the six feet four inches of triple-threat black—boots, jeans, leather jacket—to land on two-day stubble and a large hand rubbing the contours of a chiseled chin. Apparently life can get worse. I’ve collided with Adonis, the kind that stops your heart from beating just long enough to make you forget all the ones who came before, offering nothing but hollow promises and seasoned moves. Been there, done that, burned the shirt.

It dawns on me he said my name, no condolences.

“Do I know you?” I ask, my gaze rising from his chin to his eyes.

Wow. His gray eyes and dark lashes are . . . mesmerizing.

“I doubt we’ve met. Tess, it’s the name on your sticker,” he says, pointing to the name tag now on the floor. His hair, dark and cropped, is windblown and off kilter.

I grab the closest chair, attempting to overcome the strangest sensation, like I’m a feather, floating.

“You all right?” His European accent has an almost liquid quality, at odds with his rugged appearance. “Allow me.”

Relocating his motorcycle helmet from one hip to the other and balancing it under his forearm, he bends to collect my sticker from the floor. Something shimmers, my vision suddenly malfunctioning, and for a split second he’s draped in a luxurious white fur, a blanket of sorts, reaching for a bright colored scarf at his feet, big and bare. His movements are gentle and deliberate, but fast, as if I am watching in fast-forward. With the conclusion of one blink he’s back to normal, leather clad arm outstretched toward me.

I stand stock-still, holding the chair for support, trying to bring my eyes into focus.

“You okay?” He thrusts the sticker at me a second time, I think.

I survey body parts, grateful gravity has kept me intact.

“I’ve been better.” I squeeze my eyes tight, trying to recall what I’d seen, but it’s gone, as if wiped from memory, leaving just a weird sense of déjà vu. Man, I’ve fallen apart since Meyer’s been gone.

“You have,” he says, and my eyes pop open to stare. He’s smiling, amused. “Too much caffeine maybe.”

Have I met this guy before? He doesn’t look like anyone I know, but there is something about him, something familiar. It’s not a good feeling.

“Right, caffeine,” I say, lying. I gave up caffeine when I was pregnant with Abby and never looked back.

He grins like a hyena. “Your eyes playing tricks?”

My mother, in one of her moods, would’ve wiped that smirk away with a kiss. And he’d have let her, stranger or not. She was intoxicating. But I’m not my mother, and my brief lapse in sanity doesn’t require justification. I’m a twenty-six-year-old widow with no idea how to pull it together, so I ignore his question and settle for diversion.

“Are you a teacher here?”

“Not here,” he says. “I promised my niece I’d stop by to meet hers.” He takes my hand. “Bryce, Bryce Waters,” he says, planting a soft kiss on the back of my fingers.
Stunned, I search his face for the slightest hint of perversion, a reason to club him, but I see nothing but a gentleman in wolf’s clothing. Still, I pull my hand away.

“I’m not the teacher.”

He tilts his head. “You’re Tess.” My name drips from his lips like melted butter and warning bells sound in my head, loud and clear. “You’ll need ice for that bruise.” He points to my head. “Take care of yourself.”

A gritty moan vibrates my teeth when I touch my forehead and discover a bump the size of Mount St. Helens. It throbs, making me take note of the headache creeping in. Somewhere under the surface I’m mortified I plowed into this guy without an apology or concern for his chin. I can’t bring myself to grasp the emotion, so I draw a deep breath and say, “Always do,” as I shuffle past and without another word, walk straight out the door.

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About Dee Willson

Dee Willson felt the writer’s call at fifteen, when she penned her first novel and received her first rejection to go with it. Over twenty years later, Dee Willson has published short stories, interviews, contributed to blogs, and wrote the novel A Keeper’s Truth, followed by GOT (Gift of Travel). She currently resides in Burlington, Ontario, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her online at and on Twitter @denisewillson

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