"I opened it not knowing what to expect, but it took absolutely no time at all before I was flying through it, unable to put it down. I loved this book! I thought it was fun, hair-raising, sexy, and a nail-biter. I found myself torn between rooting for the characters, wanting to yell at them, and sympathizing with them depending on the page. " - Charity, Goodreads
Published: October 3rd, 2018
For twenty-four-year-old Skye Winters, criminal profiling is the perfect career: helping solve cases without all the emotional baggage. When her cousin, Kortney, becomes the latest in a string of young women to vanish, Skye’s professional and personal lives collide. Cue the nuclear mushroom cloud.
Amid the fallout, Skye meets Wes Carson, the mysterious and smart-mouthed new biker in her father’s motorcycle club. She tries to ignore their chemistry, even after accepting Wes’ aid in the search for Kort. Then one spontaneous afternoon takes them over the edge, forcing Skye to consider she might be in love. Too bad it’s with a liar.
Unraveling Wes' lies leaves Skye ensnared in an FBI investigation, making her question her profiling skills and her heart. With Wes in danger, her affection overrules her caution with disastrous results. Will Skye survive to solve the case, save Kort, and still salvage a relationship with Wes?
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Leather and Lies
My steamy, contemporary romantic suspense novel, Leather and Lies, follows 24-year-old criminal profiler, Skye Winters, as she searches for her missing cousin. After she accepts the help of mysterious, smart-mouthed biker Wes Carson, she soon discovers he’s not all he seems. And neither is the novel. Here are ten things that might surprise you about Leather and Lies.
10: I set the novel in and around Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania because of my familiarity with the region. One of the early scenes takes place in Frances Slocum State Park as an homage to my grandmother, who is buried in the cemetery overlooking the park.
9: The plot was inspired in part by a real FBI investigation that took place outside of Harrisburg in 2005.
8: I modeled Wes Carson’s Harley Davidson after my husband’s bike. When it came to personality attributes, my husband provided more of the inspiration for Skye than Wes.
7: In the earliest draft of Leather and Lies, Skye didn’t have a missing cousin. Instead, she was assigned to build a victim profile for several missing women. Feedback from a writer’s group reading it suggested that I should make the search more personal to Skye, which is how her cousin Kortney came into existence.
6: Skye’s best friend, Andrea, is named after the character from The Walking Dead. I gave a nod to her namesake with a “zombie outbreak response team” tire cover on her SUV.
5: There are some Easter eggs sprinkled throughout Leather and Lies for northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) residents. They include a mention of kielbasa and pierogi for dinner, a teaberry milkshake, and one single use of the unique colloquial term, “heyna.”
4: The idea for Leather and Lies came to me while I was standing at my kitchen sink doing dishes, musing over the notion of penning a romance novel with a strong female lead who didn’t need a man to rescue her.
3: Skye’s interest in becoming a criminal profiler began as a result of her oldest brother’s tragic death when she was ten. Her parents sent her to a grief counselor, who helped Skye get over her anger at the motorist responsible for killing her brother by walking her through a forensic psychological study of a drunk driver.
2: Hewers is a fictional bar frequented by Skye’s missing cousin, Kortney, but I based its description on the bar where I met my husband. Maybe that’s why it was one of my favorite scenes to write.
1: When writing Leather and Lies, I drew heavily on my experiences as a social worker. Readers will see this most heavily in the character of Kortney, the people she associates with, and the stark description of her impoverished living conditions.
I dart through the clubhouse, breaths quickening with each step. Back in the house, I take the stairs two at a time. Racing into my bedroom, I dig out a pair of well-worn jeans, slip into them, and transfer my cell phone into a pocket. I pull on socks, then root around in the bottom of my closet for my hiking boots and lace them up. They are the closest thing I own to motorcycle boots. With one foot out the door, I pause, considering one additional accessory.
You think he’s hiding something. Better to be safe than sorry. Especially given Kort and the other missing women.
Reaching between my bed and nightstand, my fingers sweep across the four access keys of my gun vault as if I’m playing a piano piece. As the last button in the combination depresses, the side of the safe pops open. Grabbing my compact Walther PPS handgun, I drop the single stack mag, checking it for bullets before jamming it back in and racking the slide. I locate my inside-the-waist holster in my sock drawer and slide it just behind my right hip, securing it with a belt. The gun slips in and once my loose tank top gets pulled down, the weapon barely prints.
Digging my wallet out of my purse, I slide my driver’s license and concealed carry permit into my back pocket. Leaving my bedroom, I clomp back to the clubhouse, grabbing my mother’s leather jacket and helmet off two pegs on the wall next to the French doors.
About the author:
Celeste Straub is a hopeless romantic who enjoys plotting the slightly sadistic journeys her characters go on before they finally reach their happily-ever-after. She enjoys a quiet country life in northeastern Pennsylvania, residing on a piece of the old family farm with her husband, son, and two cats. Writing as a hobby since childhood, Celeste spends her days as the grant writer and operations director for a local non-pro3t agency focusing on public health issues. When she’s not penning steamy romance scenes in her spare time, her interests include traveling, visiting amusement parks, collecting baseballs, hiking, and reading.