LLC/paperback, 236 pages
Book One in the The Outer Banks
The headline in the small town newspaper read Girl Missing, Presumed Dead or Worse.
Leigh Lawson returned to Nags Head, North Carolina after four years with a huge shock. That big and bold headline
was about her! Everyone thought she was dead!
The truth was that she was doing well. While gone, she had gotten clean from drugs and worked hard to get her
bachelor’s degree in engineering. With her life back on track, she returns home in hope that she will receive a warm
welcome. Instead, she gets the townsfolks' disdain.
Everyone hates her, everyone except Jason Altarez, an ambitious and resilient reporter with his sights locked on
Leigh. He chases her with oozing charm and romance, but does he really want her or is he after his next story?
Leigh’s life soon spirals out of control when the police recruit her for an undercover assignment. They want her to go
back to the life of her troubled teenage years, back into the drugs, and help them to bring the local drug supplier to
conviction. It may be Leigh’s only chance to redeem herself with her family and friends. If she can complete this one
assignment, the town will forgive her. The only problem is that she needs to figure out how to stay alive in the
Jason is her continuous partner through it all, proving his dedication to her as he struggles to keep her safe. Leigh
wants to believe he is a man of his word. She wants to believe that her heart isn’t completely foolish for falling for him,
especially when she discovers evidence that Jason may be working for the very drug dealer that Leigh is trying to
have arrested. Will he betray her in the end or will he demonstrate the most romantic notion of all – that love at first
sight truly exists?
|Excerpt for Altered Beginnings
“I’ve got to find her. She could be in danger,” Emma mumbled and turned to leave.
“No, Emma, listen to me. You have to stay out of the middle of this!”
She glared at him. “She doesn’t have anyone, Shawn.”
He groaned loudly, and cursed again. Emma needed to stay away! Why was he always unable to say no to this
“Okay,” he said. “I’ll come with you.”
He had to convince her to try Jason’s house before going after Freddie Garrett like the crazy woman had a mind to
do. He thought she was unreasonable and overemotional and impossible to please, but he also knew he was madly in
love with her. “I’m pretty sure she’s with Ice. She took off the earrings earlier, but the team said they were sure she
was with a guy.”
It didn’t take them long to make the trip. A Lexus pulled up behind them in the driveway. It was Jason. “What are you
guys doing here? What’s wrong?”
Emma answered. “We’re looking for Leigh.”
Jason swallowed back the panic that those words immediately caused. Leigh was probably just inside. Why the hell
hadn’t he come straight home like he’d wanted to? Because Nate said he needed your help and you couldn’t say no,
and you convinced yourself that she was smart enough to wait for you. “I just got home. Let’s see if she’s here,” he
No one expected to see the house in shambles or Leigh on her knees in Jason’s living room when they walked in.
Slick stood in front of her where it looked as if he’d just pushed her there. The air of the house grew thick with
expectation as Slick pointed a gun at the three in the doorway. “Come in and shut the door,” he said.
They did as they were told. Instinct directed everyone’s hands up in the air. Leigh was staring at the floor, her face
hidden behind her thick, black hair.
Shawn took a step closer, but made no move to draw his own weapon. No one spoke at first, afraid to disrupt the
scene or upset the man with the gun.
Slick directed his attention to Jason. “I did a little redecorating. Hope you don’t mind, Ice.” Then, he looked to Shawn.
“Just the man I’m looking for. My boss would like to see you, Shawn.”
Emma gasped. Jason’s eyes remained glued to Leigh. Shawn said, “Let my sister go.”
The look in Slick’s eyes never wavered. He continued to look Shawn in the eye when he suddenly backhanded Leigh
across the face so hard that a noise echoed in the room as if he’d hit a wall.
Leigh moaned softly. She still did not look at anyone, eyes shut and head bent to the floor.
Jason reacted without thinking when he charged Slick. He was brought up short when the gun redirected to point be-
tween his eyes. “Don’t be a hero,” Slick’s velvety voice murmured.
The emotion could be seen surging through Jason as veins popped from his neck. “Stop this!” he roared.
Slick kicked Leigh in the side and repeated, “My boss would like to offer you a job, Shawn.”
Emma began to cry.
Shawn only stared.
Leigh took another kick that made her scream in pain.
Shawn broke his silence. “What do you want from me?”
“You’re a pretty smart guy. I’m sure you can figure out what it means to be on Freddie’s payroll.”
Slick jerked Leigh back to her knees and punched her. “I need an answer, Shawn.”
Emma cried out, “Please, stop this!”
Shawn stepped forward. Tears glistened in his eyes. “Okay, okay, I’ll do it.”
Slick withdrew a wad of cash from his right pocket and threw it on the floor. “That will get you started. Freddie will
expect to see you at the club to confirm that answer. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I’ll be back to finish this if you
don’t cooperate, and I mean soon.”
As soon as the man was gone, Jason was by Leigh’s side. “Leigh, talk to me, sweetheart.”
She was unconscious.
|Reviews for Altered Beginnings
Comment/review = This was an action packed romance novel. I loved the interaction of the characters. I am looking
forward to the next book.
Amazon review by: Nancy M. Ingraham
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review =Leigh left her foster home and never looked back until she received an invitation to her best friend’s
college graduation party. It is not until she attends the party that Leigh learns she is infamous for her disappearance,
earning scorn from her step-brother and most of the town.
Jason is a reporter and feels there is a story about the beautiful woman who re-appeared and shocked the town.
Soon though, he learns that not only is Leigh an interesting story, but she is in danger from a drug dealer and the
In the horrific world of child abuse, drug dealing, and small town "good ole boy“ politics, Leigh doesn't know who, if
anyone, she can count on. While she feels for Jason, he may the biggest threat around her.
Leigh is fascinating, and Jason is intriguing as the intrepid journalist. The friendship she has with her brother and
former best friend give the tale a warmth that the extremely serious mystery needs. The drugs, prostitution, and
violence can be harsh, but the players' concern for others keeps the story encouraging. The dialogue is well done,
and relatively clean for a book dealing with violence. While the bad guy is known early, the reasons are worth waiting
for. Leigh's interaction with the villain and the police require a logic jump, but this is a very interesting book. The dual
love stories added to the book and were a perfect platform for changing loyalties. The sequel is set up well, without
being flagrant. I look forward to reading it when it comes out.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
Rating: 4 Cups
Comment/review =The book keep me wanting to come back for more. It was very hard to put down.Very exciting and
excellent to read. The author is great. I hope to see more of her books
Barnes & Noble review by: Teresa21
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = In Altered Beginnings by Destiny Booze Leigh Lawson is finally free of the drug filled life she had
led. She finally comes home to her best friend Emma Comb's graduation party and finds out the whole town hates her
except Jason Altarez, a hot reporter who feels there is an even hotter story with Leigh being back in town. There is
only one small problem he falls for his story.
Leigh's brother, Shawn Branscom, is a cop who wants his sister to go undercover to get evidence against one Freddie
Garrett, a big drug dealer in town. As Leigh puts her life and the lives of her loved ones around her in danger by
going undercover will she learn that she can trust Jason? Can she stay clean while being undercover?
I loved this story from beginning to end as well as everything in between. The characters were well developed and I
could see and feel everything that they were seeing and feeling. I loved the scenes where Leigh is wondering if she
can trust Jason.
–Carol Langstroth, Manager
Mind Fog Reviews
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = I couldn't put this book down from the very first page until the very last word. Fantastic read! I loved
Amazon review by: D. Rickman
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = This was really a fantastic book. Others that I have shared the book with just can't say enough
good things. One friend bought the book to take on vacation for a "beach read" but couldn't wait after she read the
first page and read the whole book before even leaving for vacation...said she just couldn't put the book down. Good
Amazon review by: Becky Booze
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = This is a 220 some page book that was pacted with information, drama, romance, etc. It only took
me a couple of days of reading and that is with interruptions. The writer doesnt give you a lot of unnecessary
information. She makes all the necessary information available in short and sweet words. The characters and traits
were right on the mark. For a short book there was a jam pack excitement and thriller.
Barnes & Noble review by: smd_5696
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = "This book was such a good read. It was difficult putting it down."
Borders review by: hpeewife
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = Ms. Booze has written a provocative story here. It grabs the reader from page one and keeps them
reading through the end. The grammar and technical writing is spot on, keeping the reader in the story and not
distracting from the action.
Many suspense novels have the problem of not being complex enough, or too easy to figure out before the end of the
story. Altered Beginnings does not fall into this category. The suspense level stayed high and offered a satisfying
conclusion. Also, the atmosphere added so much to the level of suspense in the story. Ms. Booze used this well to her
Altered Beginnings begins strong and keeps the reader until the end, delivering a satisfying conclusion. Don't miss
out on this wonderful story. A+ job, Ms. Booze.
The Long and the Short Of It Reviews
Rated: 4 stars
Comment/review = I started Altered Beginnings on Saturday morning, and finished it Sunday night. I was caught up in
the story from the prologue, and didn't want to put it down.
I'm not a great book reviewer, tending to lean towards "I loved it" or "I was bored". And in the interest of full disclosure,
I will state that I follow author Destiny Booze on Twitter, and she gifted me with a copy of this book.
So I'm very happy to honestly say I did love it.
The violence in the book is a little more than I'm accustomed to in a romantic suspense story, but it's not gratuitous or
presented in sickening detail. It's just there and fits into the world the characters are involved in.
All in all, I would definitely recommend it, and I can't wait to read the next book in this series.
Amazon review by: Robin M.
Rating: 5 stars
Comment/review = I read this book about 2 months ago and I truly enjoyed it. I only rated it 4 stars because the
beginning was about her childhood in the orphanage and how she was molested and then it jumped right into her
returning years later after her high school graduation which left you wondering what happened in between that time.
Well maybe that's what the author wanted you to do is draw your own conclusion about her childhood. Then the story
was rolling from her return to the end. Leigh was a trooper throughtout the whole book. Overall the book was good.
Amazon review by: jazzylady007
Rating: 4 stars
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