Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Oliana Mercer Series by Marguerite Ashton







Shadowed Seats
Oliana Mercer Series Book 1
Genre: YA Mystery

Oliana knows that every family has a secret, but she never expected hers to come from the grave.
High school senior Oliana Mercer dreams of attending the prestigious Reyersen Drama Academy and pursue her acting career. But when tragedy strikes, Oliana discovers secrets hidden from her by her adopted parents, dimming the lights on her perfect world. 

As the sins of the past surface, Oliana finds herself caught up in a tug-of-war between two families while the love for her boyfriend is tested. 

Determined to find some form of happiness in life, Oliana becomes student director in the high school’s senior play. When her best friend, Devin Worthy, dies during dress rehearsal, Oliana is re-cast as the lead.

Everyone thinks the death was a suicide, except Oliana, whose search for clues may be enough motive for the killer to murder again.










Numbness held me in place as I closed the notebook and tucked it inside the wig. What did this mean? Is the Oliana mentioned in the notebook me? It had to be. But what was this about being set free? My bio parents died in a car accident.
For a second, I felt like I was standing next to a furnace, smoldering in its waves of heat. I hurried out of the attic and stood outside, trying to catch my breath.
Rain pelted my face as I glanced up at my parents’ window on the second floor, then at the driveway where Mom’s minivan and Dad’s pickup were parked. Inside the house, the lights were on in the kitchen. Probably doing what they always do together, cooking dinner.
Grief hollowed my insides. Now was not the time to confront them about what I found. Besides what was I going to do? Tell Mom, I was snooping and found something that freaked me out? The problem was I wanted to go in there and disturb their happiness, so I could get answers about what I’d read. Answers about the handwritten note to Mom by the woman I believed was my birth mother.
I walked several yards away from the house, taking in the plush wet lawn and hostas decorating the rows of brick flower beds. Branches from the giant oak tree reached towards the sky, holding my sanctuary. The tree house.
The ladder leading up to my hiding place dangled, swaying from side to side in the breeze as if calling my name. I dashed for the ladder, puddles splashing underneath my shoes as I retreated to the special place where Devin and I shared our secrets and dreams.
I plopped down on the old bean bag and stared out the window at the small pond my Grandpa Mercer had built when he purchased the house in the late sixties. An angel statue loomed above as water spouted from her open hands, trickling back into the pond.
When I was a little girl, I’d splash the water and watch it ripple as if it took my problems with it. I wished I still believed such a thing was possible.



Staged
Oliana Mercer Series Book 2

It’s been two weeks since Oliana Mercer learned a horrible family secret and witnessed the death of her best friend. Two weeks of heartache, secrets, and lies. While Oliana wants to move on, graduation day is a turning point for her, but for the worse.

Austin wants Oliana to stay and not attend Reyersen Drama Academy, a relative from the past wants her forgiveness, the custody battle for her little brother moves forward…and then there’s James whose recent drug habit landed him in trouble. Now he’s missing. After a charred body, believed to be James is found in a dumpster behind the high school, Oliana receives a text from James’ phone.

When Oliana turns to the police for help, she is pulled into a conflict that makes her question whether to obey the law while fighting with the family who abandoned her.





From CHAPTER 1
The Reunion
Thursday 7:59 p.m.

My life sucks. That’s what seeped into mind as I stared at the woman in front of me as my cast mates exited the stage. The play was done, now it was time for me to step back into the real world and face Linda Durning. The woman who haunted my past.
Linda adjusted the shoulder strap holding her oxygen tank and tucked the clear tubes behind her ears. Her brown blouse and jeans were several sizes too large. Her eyes seemed bigger than normal as they peered out from her frail face.
Even with all the anger boiling inside me, my heart ached for her. “You’re Linda.”
“Hi, Oliana. I’m your grandmother. Your real grandmother.”
“What do you want?”
“Is there somewhere we can talk?”
I glanced up at the auditorium doors, wondering where my parents went. They must be waiting in the hall. Did they know this woman was here? There’s no way. They didn’t want me to know anything about my past. And for a good reason.
I’d wished for the days when I didn’t know anything about my bio family. Except that wasn’t my reality. I knew more than what I wanted.
“We can talk here,” I said, my voice dripping with anger.
Linda’s head reared back. “It’s obvious your adopted mother didn’t raise you to have respect for your elders.”
“My mother and father raised me to have respect for those who deserved it. I know what you did.”
“There’s two sides to a story.”
“There’s three sides. Mine counts.” I hurried towards the exit.
“If you just hear me out.”
“Did you hear my mother out when she came to you for help?”
“I’m dying, and I wanted to make peace with you.”
I halted in my tracks and looked back at Linda. “You’re not going to use me to clear your conscience.”
I pushed open the door, stepped into the hall and waited for it to close.
Click.





Cold Read
Oliana Mercer Series Book 3

Settling into campus life at the posh Reyersen Academy acting school, Oliana Mercer prepares for an audition for a lead part in a play called Cold. She soon discovers that her new roommate is not only vying for the same role, but is seeing Austin - Oliana's ex-boyfriend. She does all she can to avoid Austin until he is found murdered at a party. With hardly any clues, she starts snooping around and descends into Reyersen's forbidden East Wing, which mirrors the set for the upcoming play.

As Oliana learns more about the school's past, she begins to suspect people around her might be involved and becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened. When another body is discovered, Oliana finds out that acting will be her best chance for survival.







Burned Bridges
Prequel to the Oliana Mercer Series

Newly sober and dating the man of her dreams, Traci Collins is ready to enjoy the good life, until her new best friend, Olivia Durning, confides a dreadful secret far worse than Traci could imagine. 

Sealed by a shared bond, and unaware there is more to the secret than what she was told, Collins feels honor-bound to protect her friend when a confrontation between Olivia and her childhood tormentor turns deadly. 

A mysterious text forces Traci to question Olivia's actions and re-examine her loyalties. When the answers to Traci's questions endanger a life she treasures more than her own, she must decide if friendship has a limit. For a bridge once burnt severs ties forever...


Goodreads * Amazon



“I was bothered by what you told me,” I said, knowing how lame I sounded. “Believe me, I regretted it immediately after I said it.”“It’s a good thing I didn’t tell you my entire story.”“What story?” Kevin said.“Olivia–” Norman began.“It’s okay,” I told him. “I deserved that. I promise not to betray your trust again.”Olivia snatched the cards off the table and fanned them in her hand. “Can we just play?”Kevin dealt the rest of the cards. “I hope you know you can talk to me, too.” He placed the remaining stack of cards in the middle of the table.Olivia pursed her thin lips and pulled from the deck. “I’m not mad. I’m embarrassed.” She laid out her first spread of three fives.“What happened to you was not your fault,” Norman said.“Thanks.”I played from my hand and waited for Kevin to make his move as he concentrated on what to play next. Olivia retreated into her own world, tracing the sinew strands of her dream catcher.“Is that a new one?” I asked.“Yes. I love the feathers on it.”“Does it really stop bad dreams?” Kevin wondered.“Most of the time, but I think some of my dreams are too horrid even for a dream catcher.”“You’re not alone,” Norman said.“Drinking used to help me sleep. Forget the past for a night.” Olivia placed the dream catcher in her lap. “It didn’t take long for it to stop working.”“That’s how it was for me,” Kevin said. “Then I began using anything I could as an excuse to drink.”“Same here,” I said. “One thing I’m certain of – it feels good not to wake up with a pounding headache.”We all laughed and finished our game, which I lost. Kevin ordered another round of javas to go, and we packed our things.”“Are we still doing our Thursday dinner?” Olivia asked.“At six,” I confirmed.“I have to stop by the hospital first, to pick up my reinstatement papers,” said Norman.“Congratulations! We’ll make it a celebratory dinner.”“I’d like that.”“I’ll pick up the food after my counseling appointment,” Olivia offered.Everyone else got up and waited for me to stand.I grabbed my onyx cane and struggled to get out of my chair. My knee ached more than usual, which meant a change in the weather was coming. A storm — a big one — was brewing.





When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible. She can be found on Twitter and Facebook.





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