Villains come in all shapes and sizes. Some have serious psychopathic tendencies, but if well developed, they are understandable—often broken victims that took a bad turn. Stephen King did a fantastic job of creating such a villain in Mr. Mercedes, and literature abounds with similar miscreants. We can’t get enough of them.
Other stories require subtle, less maniacal villains—regular folk landing in their role through common vices. Two such villains drive the plot in Hearts in Ruin. One, a college department chair, succumbs to pride. As a young man he championed a breakthrough archeological theory and built his career on it. But now he defends the status quo, opposing new ideas that challenge his once innovative theory. The other, a college president, succumbs to simple greed involving secret plans to develop the land at issue. Both of these men think they’re doing the right thing, although if either reflected upon their actions objectively, they would be uncomfortable with their decisions. The thing is, like most people, they really don’t examine themselves too carefully or question their own motives. So they carry on and their paths intersect forming an immense obstacle that threatens to ruin the protagonists’ careers and destroy forever an important new discovery.
Title: HEARTS IN RUIN
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Date Published: May 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Word Count: 52,000
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Andrea had one goal in life, a quiet career as a mainstream archaeologist—nothing more nothing less—and she’s one ancient secret away. When she is teamed with maverick prodigy Daniel Fuchs at his controversial pre-Clovis dig on tribal land, she soon realizes his wild theories may sidetrack her career. Her smartest move is to expose him and that is exactly what she plans to do. Except…he’s hot, sexy, and there is a chance his theories may be right.
As the dig deepens and outside forces mount, Andrea and Daniel find their careers and their shaky relationship on the brink of ruin. Who can she trust? To survive professionally and emotionally, Andrea must decide between what is expected and what she believes, because time is running out and the developers’ bulldozers are poised to level the site.
Delve into the mystery and excitement of an archaeological dig in the New Mexico desert and experience the drive, determination, and passion surrounding the quest to unlock the Paleolithic past in this contemporary, romantic suspense. Hearts In Ruin…no shovel required to join this adventure to discover an ancient truth!
In the following excerpt, Professor Lassiter has just learned that Daniel Fuchs has reopened a dig that Lassiter shut down. The reopening threatens the academic theory upon which Lassiter’s career has been based. He is now in the library intending to use his position and experience to intimidate a doctoral candidate into helping him discredit Daniel.
On a hunch, he tried the second floor. Too many of the young scholars relied on computers. He hoped Jeffrey wasn’t one of them. But there he was in the technology center, glued to a screen, clicking with a mouse, slouching, and coaxing a machine to do his work, and his thinking, for him.
The professor stood in the doorway and harrumphed. Jeffrey turned, and then straightened.
He eyed the consoles dispassionately. “This is no way to verify citations.”
Jeffrey shook his head. “Of course not. I just do the preliminaries here. I’m headed to the racks now.”
“Good.” He scrutinized his young doctoral candidate. He wasn’t the brightest of the lot. But he knew his place. “I hear your friend Dr. Fuchs found volunteers for the dig.”
Jeffrey compressed his lips and nodded, avoiding direct eye contact. “I heard.”
The professor drilled him with a hard stare. He wanted Jeffrey to think carefully about his loyalties, and about the importance of obtaining his doctoral degree, before answering the next question. When it appeared Jeffrey was sufficiently uncomfortable, he asked, “Where did he find them?”
Jeffrey hesitated, but the cogs turned. The professor maintained his cold stare and waited. Finally, Jeffrey shrugged. “I think I heard something about Horvath Levy? Something like that?”
Horvath Levy? Professor Lassiter suppressed a smile. It was about time he got a lucky break. He glanced at the notebook next to Jeffrey’s computer station—citations to his current paper. “I need you to do some quick, priority research for me.”
J.C. Conway writes romance, science-fiction, and fantasy stories for adults, young adults and middle-grade readers. He is a long-standing member of Romance Writers of America, Yosemite Romance Writers, the World Science Fiction Society, and Mystery Writers of America. He is also a complex-litigation attorney, a former high-school math and computer science teacher, a family man, and a fan of great fiction that stretches the imagination, probes the depths of the human condition or otherwise illuminates the unknown or the misunderstood.
- Website and Blog: http://jcconway.com
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