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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Justified Burden
by Lori Matthews
First Lines

image of a woman sat reading by an open window - caption reads 'will these first few lines capture our imagination' - used as the image for Book Beginnings / First Lines, posts

This is a meme for all you ‘First Page Browsers‘

Cover image of the book 'Justified Burden' by author Lori Matthews




“Scarlett Jones’s heart swelled as she pulled into the parking lot of the Wellness Retreat at Canyon Springs. She was proud of the redesign she’d done, and when it opened in two and a half short weeks, everyone would finally see it.

After parking, she climbed out of her SUV. It was still dark and somewhere near the twenty-degree mark. She shivered. So many Christmas songs talked up snow, and having a white Christmas had sounded so jolly when she lived in California. The reality was less cheerful and more bone-chilling, especially at five am. Being awake at this hour was a crime against nature, she was sure. At least against her nature.

The freezing air stung her cheeks and chin as she hurried around the back of the SUV to open the hatch. Why did she choose to live somewhere that her face hurt from the cold? She tried humming “Jingle Bells” to brighten her mood as she gathered all her bags and her notebooks in her arms, but it didn’t help. When Scarlett stepped back to close the tailgate by swinging her foot under the sensor, she slipped on the icy snow and almost ended up on her butt. Regaining her balance, Scarlett tried again. The tailgate closed this time, and she slowly picked her way across the parking lot toward the building.

She glanced down at her boots. They were a beautiful forest green leather that matched her coat exactly. And her eyes. She had bought them on a whim, not knowing how friggin’ cold it was in Canyon Springs in winter. Her toes were frozen, and she hadn’t made it more than ten feet. It didn’t help the boots had spike heels. Scarlett sighed. They had seemed like such a good idea in L.A.

She stepped up onto the cleared sidewalk and breathed a sigh of relief. She moved quickly toward the building’s entryway. After shuffling the items in her arms, she started to rummage through her purse for the set of keys her boss, Sunny Travers, had given her. She stopped a few feet from the main doors as she dug deeper in her purse. She heard a sound and looked up to see a masked person barreling from the building, straight toward her”

Cover image of the book 'Justified Burden' by author Lori Matthews

So, you have taken a sneak peek, would you read the book?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Just to give you an extra helping hand, here is the book’s premise …

Image of author Lori Matthews


Cover image of the book 'Justified Burden' by author Lori MatthewsFormer Navy SEAL, and Personal Security Specialist Rhys Bennett is in Canyon Springs to mend after being shot on his last assignment.

His wound has healed and it’s almost time for him to go back to work, but he’s worried. The sixth sense that’s kept him alive so far is MIA.

For Scarlett Jones, being in Canyon Springs is her chance at a fresh start after a devastating tragedy. She’s desperate for her design business to be successful. But when things keep going wrong on her latest remodel, panic sets in. Is someone sabotaging the worksite on purpose or is it all in her head?

Realizing the distracting Scarlett is in trouble, Rhys puts aside his self-doubt and volunteers to protect her. Watching over the beautiful redhead won’t be too difficult. Or so he thinks until a body is discovered and the mystery surrounding Scarlett turns potentially deadly.

Will Rhys be up to the task of keeping Scarlett safe or will the killer get away with murder twice?

A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City Reader

You might also like to visit the meme host, Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers.

There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered and you never know where that next ‘must read’ is going to come from!

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Based on the cover alone… I wouldn’t have expected this in your TBR pile, Yvonne! I’ll admit it’s not my usual fare, but I bet I’d enjoy it as a change of pace. (and you know I’m more attracted to that dog on the cover than the man) 😉

    • Hi Kelly,

      I do read the odd “romantic murder mystery” from time to time, although like yourself, so long as it is not on too regular a basis!

      I don’t know if you remember me featuring one of Lori’s earlier books ‘Hit & Run’, so I already knew just how much I enjoyed her relaxed style of writing and exactly what I could expect from the story – and I wasn’t disappointed.

      I admit that the jury is still out regarding the cover, although I’ll take the man any day, you are welcome to the dog 🙂

      Review is up March 1st! 🙂

    • Kelly,

      Talking about dogs, I completely missed your last ‘doggie’ puzzle and the latest ‘Home Cooking’, both of which I love, but especially the latter, which is just my kind of jigsaw and it is 1,000 pieces, which is the size I prefer.

      I do have a couple of completed puzzles to share, but I am so snowed under with Blog Tours right now, I just haven’t had the chance to get together a post – Soon, I promise! 🙂

      • I probably shouldn’t have posted the two dog puzzles consecutively, but these day’s I’m posting them as I complete them. They’re actually quite different. The cooking puzzle was a nice change… one I got from a book club friend.

        Hope you can find the time to share some of yours before too long! I always like seeing what others work.

        Deal on the cover. You take the man, I’ll take the puppy (though I fear it’s a Great Dane pup, which might be more than I want!)

        • I always visit both your blogs when you comment on my posts, just in case you have added anything new I might like, so I think this is a case of seeing what I wanted to see, which isn’t very good!!

          I’ll do my best to share ASAP, especially as I have just finished a really nice one called ‘The Reading Room’. It even caught hubbie’s eye, so he fitted in a few pieces (although to hear him you might think he had done the bulk of it!!).

          Perhaps I may swap my man in for the one on the cover and if he enjoys looking after the dog, then we might keep that too! 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Anne,

      The notion of you clicking on the link just to see what was in the picture made me smile, although I have to admit that the small image does leave a lot to the imagination! 🙂

      This was a great little story, which relaxed me nicely between some of the more intense stories I have been reading of late, although I do always marvel at the ineptitude and internal politics of small town policing!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend 🙂

    • Hi Anca,

      Given that the ‘hero’ of this story is ex-forces and has seen combat, the image I would like to have seen might have been a bit more ‘macho’ than this one.

      I do like a man who isn’t afraid to express his feelings and has a softer more caring side to him, but I would probably lose the dog out of the image, even though it is pertinent to the story!

      I have already finished the book, ready for a March review, and it was really good!

      Have a great weekend 🙂

      PS. BTW, did you post from a different PC, as your comment went straight to my spam box and it has never done that before? 🙂

  • That is such a cute dog on the cover. It reminds me of my friend’s dog. The book sounds good too! I do not read many romantic suspense novels featuring former or present SEALs, but I have enjoyed the ones I have read. It’s certainly good to have one on your side if you’re in Scarlett’s shoes! I hope you are enjoying it. Have a great weekend, Yvonne!

    • Hi Wendy,

      Just in case you didn’t catch my earlier post and Goodreads link, this and another book, which I shall be reading very soon, were written by Lori as her contribution the ‘Brotherhood Protectors World Series’, which features a number of books by various authors, all featuring SEAL’s. The founder of the original series has written a brief explanatory note and all the books are listed with links to their synopses


      Scarlett definitely does need help and protection to avoid becoming a victim, in this small town romantic suspense story.

      I am not a big animal person, however I have to admit that dogs look cute when they are puppies, but it is a shame that, like babies, they have to grow up!

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading 🙂

Written by Yvonne