Night Herons (a Men of Steele spinoff series), Book 1
Old betrayals, new enemies, and a second chance at forever.
On a mission to expose the crimes of a powerful man, Emma Gallagher’s informant is killed before he can hand over the proof she needs. When the man who once broke her heart gets the files instead, she’ll use their fierce attraction, his guilty conscience…whatever it takes to recover the evidence to bring a murderer to justice.
Former special operator Jason Chin was hired to protect his wealthy client’s interests, but when an assassin attacks Emma, he’s forced to rethink everything he knows about the job, the choices of his past, and the woman he never stopped loving. On the run with her, he risks it all to outwit a deadly enemy and convince Emma to be his future.
“LIE WITH ME is another emotional, gripping page-turner from Gwen Hernandez! You can always count on her to deliver the perfect balance of steam, action, and suspense!”USA Today Bestselling author Rachel Grant
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- Most of Lie With Me takes place in Lucerne, Switzerland, one of my favorite cities, nestled in the Alps on a beautiful lake. Here are a few pictures of places mentioned in the book. (Clockwise from top left: the Dying Lion monument, the Altstadt on the River Reuss, the vintage album cover I saw in a shop window, someone being evacuated on a gurney via cherry picker (scary!), poster of Mt. Pilatus in a hotel hallway, view of the Alps from the top of Mt. Stanserhorn.)
- Music that motivated me while writing Lie With Me includes Blue Monday by Sebastian Böhm, Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Sleigh Bells, Blinding Lights by The Weeknd, Sign of the Times by Harry Styles, Howl by Jake Houlsby, and Go Home by Angel Olsen.
- In Lie With Me, Night Heron Books is located in Hermosa Beach, CA. Here's a picture of the “walk street” (facing the beach at sunset) where Nolan spots Dallas on a phone call.
- I worked at a the football office in college, and that definitely gave me the inspiration for Jason Chin's sport of choice. We even got to dress up on occasion…
- The Turaco really is the national bird of Switzerland, and I think it looks more suited to the tropics than the Alps. You? Here's one I saw live in a butterfly conservancy in Key West.
The message was innocuous enough. Anyone reading over Emma Gallagher’s shoulder wouldn’t understand its import.
The informant she’d been waiting on was finally ready to meet at their predetermined location at six-thirty. Her pulse tripped as she tapped out a reply under a pseudonym, hoping traffic heading into downtown LA wasn’t too bad this late in the day. A laughable thought. If there was an event at the Coliseum or the Crypto.com Arena, she was probably screwed.
Gemma: On my way.
Time to speed up her current mission. She smiled smoothly at the software engineer sitting next to her in the trendy restaurant bar in Silver Lake. “Sorry, but I have to go.” So much for happy hour. She drank the last of her chocolate martini in one gulp.
Thad flipped back his sandy blond hair and frowned, his pretty blue eyes narrowing. “Did you just sit with me for a free drink?”
No, I sat with you to get information. She adopted a confused look. “People really do that?”
“I’m not making up an excuse to get away from you. I really do have to go.” She hesitated, biting her lip. “Maybe we can exchange numbers?”
His smile triggered a pang of remorse. He was cute and seemed nice, and she was taking advantage. If things went to plan, though, he’d never know. His boss’s exploitation of teenage girls would be revealed, and his heart might end up a little bruised. Assuming he even liked her that much. In reality, he probably just wanted a hookup.
“Okay, what’s your number?” she asked. “I’ll text you so you have mine.”
Thad was clearly pleased that he’d know immediately the number wasn’t fake. He probably wouldn’t be pleased by the spyware embedded in the link she’d send him later, after they’d chatted a bit.
To seal the deal, she gave him a quick hug, feeling a twinge of guilt at her team’s underhanded methods, even though she believed their actions were for the greater good. “Thanks for the drink.”
She exited the bar and speed-walked to the parking space she’d magically found about a hundred yards away. The air was warm and humid, and she sported a sheen of sweat by the time she slid behind the wheel of her dime-a-dozen Prius and pulled onto the busy street.
An hour later—now wearing a wig of long, auburn hair—she skated through the door of a twenty-four-hour diner downtown and spotted the middle-aged man with graying hair sitting in a booth at the back. As planned, he wore a UCLA baseball cap and a green polo shirt.
She slid into the booth across from him. “Hi. Thanks for meeting me. My dad thinks you’ll be a great mentor.”
He gave her a nervous smile and the code phrase, “Darren is a good man,” in a thick German accent.
After the server took their orders, Emma introduced herself as Gemma, and got down to business. Viktor was reluctant to talk openly, despite the noise of the restaurant and their separation from the rest of the crowd. He insisted that everything she needed was in the file folder he shoved across the table with blunt fingers.
“If you think you can help me after you look at those, I will give you more.”
He’d found her through Dave Ulrich, an investigative reporter she’d once worked with at LA Today. Dave and several other journalists she trusted had agreed to send her informants with important stories their newspapers or magazines refused to pursue. Sadly, power, money, and cronyism held sway even in the fourth estate.
“Why not go to the police?”
His expression darkened. “He is too wealthy, too powerful. And my family must be safe. If he knows I did this…”
“Okay.” Emma gave him a reassuring smile. “Thank you for trusting me.”
“I am returning to Switzerland on Wednesday,” he said, blindsiding her with the information. “There is a meeting happening next week that could help. I will try to record it.”
She sat forward. “Only if you feel safe. Do you need help with technical equipment?”
“I have what I need, but you have to meet me in Lucerne for the exchange,” he said. “I cannot return to America without making my employer suspicious.”
“There are secure ways to share files electronically—”
“No.” His blue eyes narrowed. “I do not trust this to the Internet.”
An inconvenient, but common, sentiment from informants. “All right. If I can’t make it, then one of my colleagues—”
“No,” he interrupted again, his entire body tense. He placed his hand on the folder. “Every new contact puts me and my family at more risk.”
Shit. “Okay, okay. I understand.” Emma nodded and smiled, trying to ease his agitation. It looked like she was going to Switzerland.
Published: March 21 2023, 978-0991607365
Previous book: Blind Trust (Men of Steele series w/crossover characters)