Deadly Ties

Crossroads Crisis Center, Book 2
military romantic suspense, POW, Vet, bestselling romantic suspense

Crossroads Crisis Center #2 Inspirational Romantic Suspense Romantic Thriller

Vicki Hinze, crossroads crisis center series novels, bestselling romantic suspense novels

#1 Forget Me Not

#2 Deadly Ties

#3 Not This Time

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“DEADLY TIES is Vicki Hinze at her absorbing best. Crisply written and fast-paced, DEADLY TIES is a can’t-put-down story of depth, faith and twists and turns that would put anyone to the test.”           

Carla Neggers

HER ENEMY WILL STOP AT NOTHING FOR CONTROL 

SHE WILL RISK EVERYTHING FOR FREEDOM

A horrific crime shatters Lisa Harper’s idyllic childhood. Her father is dead and her desperate mother, Annie, quickly marries Dutch Hauk, an abusive monster who soon reveals his hatred for Lisa. To protect her, Annie defies her ruthless husband and forfeits custody to a trusted friend. Enraged, Dutch vows to keep Annie and Lisa apart–and he does. Years later, though keenly aware of Dutch’s evil intent, Lisa and her mother seize a change to be a family, safe in a home where love dwells. But the fail to fathom how far Dutch will go to keep his vow. Determined to control his women, Dutch proves resourceful. His associates in crime are feared at the highest levels across the globe–and for Lisa they plan a fate worse than death. Yet she too has formidable connections, including former Special Operations Officer Mark Taylor. Burdened by his own traumatic past, Mark has loved Lisa from afar. Now for Lisa and her mother to survive, Mark must risk his life–and even more difficult for him, he must trust God. All as one question haunts them. Can Mark and Lisa untangle these deadly ties before it’s too late?

Info:  Feb 2011, ISBN: 978-1601422064, Random House Religious Waterbrook-Multnomah 

Crossroads Crisis Center Series #2

Deadly Ties

by

Vicki Hinze

Prologue

The child is not; and I, wither shall I go?  –Genesis 37:30 (kjv)

 July 1987

Seagrove Village, Florida

It was an ordinary day. Bad things aren’t supposed to happen on ordinary days. Only normal things.

Annie Harper looked at her reflection in the entryway mirror. Her hair was a wreck. The dark circles under her eyes looked as if they’d been drawn on with markers and then smudged. And her nails were a disgrace. Haggard and beaten down. That’s how she looked. And she felt worse.

“There should be universal rules about this,” she told her reflection. “When a woman is body slammed, she can only take so much without breaking under the pressure.”

Gathering a full head of steam, she frowned and jabbed her finger in the air. “Life should go easy on you then.” That would be humane. Civil. “And if bad things have to happen, there should be warning signs so there’s time to brace and prepare for them.”

She dipped her chin and glared into her own eyes. “Especially if it’s too horrific to wrap your mind around—and it happens not to you, but to someone you love.”

Pain shot through her heart, leaving her chest hollow and empty. “But there aren’t any rules and there weren’t any signs.” She shifted her gaze to the ceiling. “Why, God? Why didn’t You send me at least one bad feeling? An intuitive flash? Couldn’t You spare me even one piddling stomach flutter?” Tears stung her eyes. “I’ve been loyal, obedient. Why didn’t I get something?”

No edgy nerves. No hitch in her chest. No whispered warning in her mind like, Annie Harper, you listen to me, woman. Trouble’s coming. Summon your faith and gird your loins because every mother’s worst fear is about to knock on your door.

Fisting her hand, she rested it on the gleaming wooden table beneath the mirror. But did You? No.

She glared at the vase of freshly cut white roses. The scent was heavy, cloying. “Women’s intuition?” She picked up a bud, plucked a petal, and dropped it onto the spotless marble floor. “Failed.”

Tore off another petal. “Mother’s intuition?” Tossed it down. “Failed.”

Jerked at another petal. “God?” Thrust it. “Failed.”

Her breath caught in her throat. “Everything failed.”

She reached for more petals, but she had stripped the rose bare. All that remained was its stem and thorns.

Like me.

Outrage and agony ripped from her soul. Oh, I resent this and I wish I had someone to blame. But You didn’t even give me that. Why?

She staggered into the living room and collapsed on the sofa, curling her knees to her chest to keep the pain bottled up inside. If she let it loose, she’d never recover and there was nowhere to dump it.

It was just an ordinary day.

“Take me back,” she cried out, her face tear soaked. Cradling herself, she rocked back and forth, seeking comfort where there was none. “Just twenty-four hours. Please, take me back.”

“Annie?” Miranda Kent came in from the kitchen, clipping an earring back onto her lobe. Not a strand of her auburn hair was out of place. Loose curls framed her face. Her nails, like the rest of her, were perfect.

She snagged a tissue and passed it to Annie. “I’ve put on a pot of coffee. The church ladies were meeting at the club, but I told Nora about Charles. She said they would be here in a flash.”

Annie nodded, pretending to care. She wanted two people in her house. Two. And neither of them would be coming. “Charles and I were at the club night before last.”

She and her beloved husband had dinner with the mayor and forty or so close friends at Somerset House on the Bay. They feasted on salad with baby artichoke hearts and spears of cucumber, then ate honeyed baby carrots and blackened grouper caught fresh that morning in the Gulf of Mexico. Grouper was Charles’s favorite. She swallowed hard. They’d never dine there again.

“We were with you, remember?” Miranda clutched her flat stomach. “I know better than to eat a heavy meal that late. I was up all night.”

Annie and Charles had slept like rocks. Then they’d gotten up, eaten breakfast, and Lisa and he had been on their way.

Miranda sat beside Annie and crossed her legs at the ankles. “Is Lisa seven or eight now? I can’t remember. After thirty, the years tend to run together.”

“Seven.” Annie’s voice cracked. Lisa was bright and beautiful inside and out—at times all sweetness and innocence, and at others wise beyond her years.

“She told me she wanted to be a doctor like her dad. We were at Nora’s birthday party, I think.”

Pain twisted in Annie like hot wires coiled tight. “It’s what she’s always wanted.” Lisa idolized her father. “She has a stronger stomach for medical procedures than I do, and she never complains about Charles’s long hours at the office and hospital.” Annie sniffed and dabbed at her eyes. “His practice takes him away from us so much, but Lisa always defends him.” Oh, how Annie wished he were at the office now. That Lisa were here with her.

“They left early yesterday, didn’t they?”

Annie didn’t answer.

“Annie? They left early yesterday, right?”

“If this shows up in the Village Log, I’m going to cut off your fingers, Miranda.”

“Not a word without your express permission.” She crossed her heart.

Annie believed her. “Yesterday. At the crack of dawn.” Seagrove Village was up in the Florida panhandle, and getting down to Orlando for a trip to Disney World would take a solid eight hours. “Charles wanted to beat the tourist traffic.” She’d been so proud of him for finally taking a break from work to spend some quality time with Lisa. Charles was brilliant and committed to his patients, but he rarely took time off.

“Highway 98 is a nightmare during the season.” Miranda shifted on the white sofa. “I’m sure Lisa was excited.”

She was their only child, their miracle baby. “Beyond excited.”

“Why didn’t you go with them?”

“It’s my month to chair the charity function. I couldn’t beg off, and rescheduling would have been a nightmare for Charles’s staff and patients.” Now she wished she had gone. That she hadn’t, she’d regret forever.

“Just as well.” Miranda stood. “If Charles is anything like my Paul and you’d been there, he would have spent the entire week on the phone with his office.” She walked to the kitchen.

Dishes clanged in the distance, and Annie resented the racket almost as much as she resented Miranda being right. Charles would have used Annie as a buffer, and Lisa didn’t need him just being in the same room; she got enough of that already.

Miranda returned with a tea tray and the puzzle from The New York Times. “I saw this on the counter and thought you might want a diversion.”

“I don’t work the puzzles. I saved it for Lisa. She loves them.” Annie took a cup and saucer Miranda extended to her. “From the cradle, she couldn’t resist a mystery of any sort.” She was good at solving them too.

“Obviously that’s from Charles’s side of the family.”

Annie nodded. “They want to know and fix everything.” If they could fix this, Annie would never complain about that again.

But they couldn’t. God help her, no one could.

Miranda poured tea into her own cup. Steam lifted from it. “Interesting family dynamic. The Harpers are into everything and you avoid everything.”

“I don’t.” Annie took exception. “I face what I have to face to survive.”

“Exactly.” Miranda waved. “You only worry after you’ve prayed and done all you can do. I’ve always admired that about you.”

Annie didn’t want or need admiration. She wanted and needed her family.

She stared through the sheers out to the lawn. It was a glorious summer day, much like yesterday when Miranda andAnnie had skipped the fashion show and played nine holes of golf. The club’s courses were the best in northwest Florida, and Miranda’s game was far better, but then it should be. Annie dabbled. Miranda hit the links nearly every day.

Ordinary.

The doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it.” Miranda set down her cup and got to her feet. “You just relax. Shall I bring the church ladies in here?”

“Yes.” Annie stood. “I’m going to my room for a few minutes to compose myself.”

Miranda nodded. “Good idea.” Pity shone in her eyes. “I’ll keep them busy until you’re ready to see them.”

Annie walked through to the master suite, shut the door, and then slung herself across her bed. If this were yesterday, she’d be in the hammock out back facing the cove, enjoying the salt-tanged breeze, lost in a good book. Even as night had fallen and the clock inched toward eight, she hadn’t been antsy.

Lisa had promised to phone every night at eight for a virtual tuck in. She’d outgrown it but indulged Annie because it was her favorite daily ritual, not that Annie ever dwelled on how much it meant to her. She learned early in life not to want or need anything too much. That could make you do crazy things. But the truth was, it was just too scary—the risks of wanting those things and not getting them. She’d worked hard on that, but life lessons instilled young were as hard to break as bad habits.

Was that just another latent gift of being orphaned and raised by a series of foster parents? Maybe so. Two were good people, but more than two should have been in jail. Yet more likely, she avoided those risks because until she’d married Charles, she had to claw her way through her whole life just to survive.

She scrunched her pillow and wadded it under her ear. The lavender smell reminded her of the roses. She tossed the pillow aside and tugged over Charles’s. His scent clung to the pillowcase. Gripping wads of the fine linen in both hands, she held on tight and buried her nose deep. Yesterday, those early days had faded from her life.

Yesterday, she had a good husband, an amazing daughter, a beautiful home in the village, and more stuff than anyone could want much less need.

Yesterday.

Yet even then, the fear of being hungry never went away. She could tell herself anything, go through all the therapy in the world, but down deep she still feared being hungry again.

Annie always had kept money stashed away for a rainy day. At least, she had until a month ago. Lisa came home from Sunday school and said an orphanage in Haiti needed a roof to get the kids out of the rain.

Images of those children soaked to the skin burned in Annie’s mind now as they had then. She hadn’t slept a wink. It’d been a fierce battle, but on the third day, she forfeited her stash. She wasn’t hungry and the kids were suffering. They needed to get dry.

Charles was indulgent and Lisa was ecstatic, lavish with grateful butterfly kisses and twinkling sparkles in her dancing blue eyes. She had no idea Annie had virtually been on her knees ever since, praying she hadn’t set herself up for starvation.

Ordinary.

“Take me back twenty-four hours,” she mumbled into the pillow. “Let me live them just once more.” She wept openly, begged without shame. “Just once more.”

The picture formed vividly in her mind. Twenty-four hours ago she had walked down the tiled east wing to Lisa’s room. Rex, her two-year-old yellow lab, lay parked right in the middle of her canopied bed. He seemed so sad that Annie lacked the heart to fuss at him. “You miss her too, eh, boy?”

Rex wagged his tail. She crawled up beside him and scratched his ears. Without Charles and Lisa, the house was far too big and empty. Rex felt it too. His bottom line was that he wanted Lisa and Annie in the same space. Anything less and he just wasn’t happy. Truthfully, neither was she.

At straight-up eight, the phone rang. Rex barked and Annie snagged the receiver. “Hello.”

“Mom?”

Lisa. “Hi, darling.” Annie smiled. “Did you make it down okay?”

“We’re not in Orlando. We went to Disney, but Daddy messed up the hotel reservation. He made it for tomorrow, not today.”

“Oh no.” She should have double-checked that. Charles was lousy with the mundane. One of the quirks Annie adored about him. “So where are you guys?”

“In a motel by a big hat. It’s loud here, but the resort man couldn’t find us anywhere to stay, so we drove around until Daddy found this place.”

July Fourth weekend. Not an easy task to find a room with all the tourists in town for the holiday. An incredible amount of racket in the background hurt Annie’s ear. She pulled the receiver away. “Where is Daddy, darling?”

“In the shower. Scrubbing off road grime.”

Rex pawed at her thigh, nudging her to keep scratching his scruff. “So you guys are settling in for the night, eh?”

“Yes, but Daddy isn’t happy about the music.”

“Oh, that’s not the TV?” Annie sank back against the pillows and scratched Rex’s ears. The dog was nearly as spoiled as Lisa.

“It’s off.”

Annie frowned. “So what’s making all the noise?”

“There’s a place across the street that’s got an orchestra.”

A band. Hard rock, from the sounds of it. Charles would definitely hate that. Annie grinned. “Why do you sound winded?”

“Oh, that man’s back, knocking on the door again.” Lisa sounded more annoyed than scared. “Mom, he’s got a spiderweb drawn on his hand.”

“A tattoo?”

“Uh-huh.”

Wait. The man was back? Alarmed, Annie sat straight up. “Lisa, do not open that door.” She tried to keep panic out of her voice, but her throat was clenched-fist, white-knuckle tight. “Go get Daddy, darling.”

“Just a second. The man is saying something to me through the window.”

“What?” Rex perked his ears, lifted his head from her lap—a terrible sign. “What’s he saying?” Was there a fire in the building or something?

“‘It’s time for you to become a shrub.’” Lisa sounded baffled. “What does that mean?”

Become a shrub? Definitely a nut case. Whatever was going on sounded bad and felt worse. “Go get your dad. Do it right now, Lisa Marie!”

A loud crackle ripped through the phone. Something cracked. Splintered. Scuffled. Shattered.

Lisa screamed.

“Lisa!” Annie jumped out of bed. Growling and baring his teeth, Rex barked. “Lisa, answer me. Lisa!”

The line went dead. Annie’s blood ran cold.

Yesterday was no longer an ordinary day. *

Readers’ Group Guide

1.    Annie asks God to let her go back twenty-four hours. Have you ever wished you could go back, regretted a decision you made, felt guilty because if you had chosen differently perhaps another could have been spared a tragic event or being hurt?

2.    Mark feels he let Jane down. Have you ever been in a situation where you disappointed another who mattered a great deal to you? How did you cope, survive, and recover?

3.     Though, Mark’s teammates were as close to him as brothers, Mark said that one day he hoped to belong with a family of his own, one where he was wanted not just needed. What are your thoughts on that?

4.    Annie stayed with Dutch out of obedience to God, even though she was in an abusive relationship. Have you ever known someone in this situation? How would you counsel them?

5.    Dutch believes the key to respect is money. What do you think?

6.    Annie wonders why she hadn’t trusted God to provide for her. Have you ever felt this way?

7.    Lisa is frustrated feeling some Christians get favor, blessings, and peace while she is living on “fumes of faith.” Have you ever felt this way? Mark tells her she doesn’t see the big picture., What would have told her?

8.    Lisa feels like she has been sacrificed for her mother. Describe a time when you have suffered hardship or trials for the sake of another.

9.    At one point Lisa feels she has been “forgotten in a dark tunnel.” Have you ever felt God has forgotten you? Have you ever felt you have forgotten God?

10.    Mark said he believes Christ has redeemed him. He knows this logically, but knowing it and feeling it are two different things. Because of his childhood, he grew up feeling that he had to earn love—Lisa’s and God’s. Have you ever felt this way? How would you advise a friend who is feeling this?

11.    Mark believes that everything Lisa has been through had a purpose. What do you think?

12.    At one point Lisa struggles with not asking God to kill certain people. She asks for forgiveness instead. Have you ever felt this way?

________________________________________________

To see what the Bible says about these things, you can begin by reading the following scriptures from the New International Version:

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

“Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.” (2 Corinthians 13:7)

“Any vow or obligation taken by a widow or divorced woman will be binding on her.” (Numbers 30:9)

“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

“Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” (Exodus 20:20)
“Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

“Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” (Psalm 42:9)

“Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.” (Jeremiah 2:32)

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”   (Romans 8:28)

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Endorsements

“DEADLY TIES is Vicki Hinze at her absorbing best. Crisply written and fast-paced, DEADLY TIES is a can’t-put-down story of depth, faith and twists and turns that would put anyone to the test.”  –Carla Neggers, NY Times Bestselling Author

“Deadly Ties is a compelling, suspenseful action adventure novel with a believable faith-challenging message not only for Vicki’s characters but for the reader as well. Vicki Hinze quickly captured my attention, heart and emotions in this gripping tale of pain, healing, forgiveness and second chances. I enjoyed the colorful characters and the sweet, tender and playful love story woven in the middle of this compelling powerful drama. I couldn’t put it down. I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in this series.”  – Nora St Laurent, Founder of The Book Club Network

“Deadly Ties by Vicki Hinze is suspense candy! This is one of Vicki’s best yet and is full of unexpected twists and turns that will have you up late at night with the light on determined to finish this book before daylight. The characters are real and will kidnap your heart. Read this book! (But make coffee)” –Freeda George Foreman

Spotlight Review

“I’m a newbie to Hinze’s work, but I assure you this won’t be the last time I pick up one of her novels. Excellent characterization and a compelling plot draw the reader in and never lets go. Every scene has a reason, every bit of character background has a purpose, but Hinze does a fantastic job of keeping it from the reader until the suspense is worked to the breaking point. The various storylines weave together seamlessly it what are truly Deadly Ties to create a web that entraps the reader in truly excellent storytelling.

“Hinze hits on tough issues, bringing up things such as a Christian justification of divorce, the importance of family, and the evils of human trafficking. Perhaps most importantly, the novel addresses the universal question of the purpose of pain and the importance of faith when all hope seems lost. Evil is unapologetically painted black and bold, making the redemptive power of Christ seem all that much more powerful. Deadly Ties is absolutely magnificent.” –Josh Olds, Fiction Addict

 

“Fans of Christian suspense will enjoy Hinze’s (Forget Me Not) latest thriller.”–Library Journal

DEADLY TIES deals with evil, horrific crimes, and how the characters deal with their challenges and their faith.  A suspenseful and unforgettable story.”–Romance Reviews Today

“You know you are reading a fantastic novel full of suspense when you cannot seem to put the book down. The way the criminal activity started a snowball effect was written brilliantly. Ms. Hinze set this novel with such a tone of mystery, romance, and faith that I was hooked from the first page. Even though you know most of the villains from the beginning, you get a chance to crawl into the mind of the madmen and it is a scary place to be. All I know is that when it comes to this series, I am captivated and cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.”  –Danielle, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

“Deadly Ties by Vicki Hinze is the second book in the series Crossroads Crisis Center.  This story starts and ends with a lot of suspense, deadly intentions and surprises so buckle up, because you’re in for a story that will have you hanging by the seat of your pants (and chewing your nails to the quick!)! This is definitely not a story for the faint of heart…” –Five Star Books and More

“Put your seat belt on friends because you are in for a ride! Deadly Ties is a thriller/suspense novel with faith, love and so much more added in. Vicki Hinze has this way of bringing everything together that you get the whole package. This is the second in the series. The first is FORGET ME NOT. I encourage you to read the first. It will give you more insight into the crisis center and the lives of the characters of this book.”–Robin’s Nest

“Each year, nearly half-a-million women are trafficked around the world for the purpose of sexual slavery. Against this background, Vicki Hinze has fashioned a potpourri of depravity and trials of faith only she could juggle. DEADLY TIES, Book Two of her Crossroads Crisis Center series, is a roller-coaster thriller of violent twists and breakneck turns – from murder and abuse to human trafficking in an international conspiracy. DEADLY TIES is also a cross-over story that dares to examine a heinous crime most Christian fiction chooses to avoid because it is too horrible to think about. Not facing Americans forcing Americans into human bondage for servitude doesn’t make it go away. Only a short time ago, a party of three was arrested in Chicago for human trafficking. Can we continue to pretend it doesn’t happen any longer? “Vicki tackles this question by reeling us in to her novel like a patient fisherman with characters trapped in human dilemmas, thwarted love and quicksand adventure: a perfect formula for a riveting movie that, in the end, reveals the true drama of forgiveness in the pursuit of justice. “I’m not going to summarize the story because I don’t want to spoil the reader’s suspense. You have to read DEADLY TIES to experience its impact, but I think Publisher’s Weekly sums up Vicki’s gift best: She has a talent “for transforming the unlikely into something beautiful.” Truly beautiful, I would say. And worthy of a Christy Award.” –Bonnie Toews, Homecoming Vets

“Don’t start reading too late at night—you may see 2 a.m. like I did. I could not put the book down.  Kudos to Hinze for shining light on a very dark aspect of our society.” — Crosswalk.com

“Hinze delivers a heartwarming, light-hearted friendship that develops into something much bigger than the both of them. You’d have to be blind not to believe Lisa and Mark will get married one day. The acknowledgement on multiple occasions that they will need time to experience life as a couple outside this horrific experience is refreshing.

Hinze did not tip her hat per se. The open ending without all the pieces in place allows the real-life process of not always being able to resolve, capture or provide clean, cut finality. It is a story in process. I, like many others, anxiously await the next book in this series.

The deep richness of each character is superbly crafted within each Hinze storyline. Although Deadly Ties is the second in a series and continues characters from Forget Me Not, you can read this as a stand-alone novel.

The reader’s guide at the conclusion solidifies the faith-challenging message and makes    Deadly Ties more than just captivating entertainment. It will make you think and feel!”  –Dale Lewis for titletrakk.com

“If you like Ted Dekker, you should like this one!  Intrigue, suspense, murder, escape are all here!  I like how Ms. Hinze weaves biblical verse and spiritual struggles throughout the book.  And while there is romance, it does not take over the main storyline.  Lots of action!”–PCS High School Library

“Vicki Hinze presents her readers with another exceptional and riveting inspirational thriller.  She draws us back into the care of the Crossroad Crisis Center, and the wonderful group that makes it a special place.  However, this time Ms. Hinze takes us on a dark journey.  She delves into the world of human trafficking where each moment matters and it is the details that count.  Lisa has faced trials in the past, but they have equipped her for her most dire trial yet.  Mark understands grim situations, but knows that only God is going to be able to help him with current circumstances.  DEADLY TIES sets a fast pace for an incredible tale filled with intrigue, faith, hope, and love.  I certainly enjoyed being glued to the pages watching the action come from all players, anticipating how everyone is going to meet up, and wondering about the final outcome.  I look forward to the next book in this series and having the chance to revisit these fabulous characters.” –Melissa Kammer, NovelTalk

“While romantic suspense is not my first choice in fiction, writers like Hinze, Terri Blackstock, and Robin Carrol keep me coming back because they touch on themes about the life we live from day to day. The good romantic suspense authors understand the trick to making these themes that are common to all us compelling fiction is through plot, pacing, and enough suspense to keep us wondering what will happen next while rooting for the hero to overcome the complexities of his or her life. Hinze has all of these nailed in spades as she reminds us – deadly ties might be hard to endure, but from them can spring ties of hope and joy.”  –T.E. George, Unveiled/Fiction Addict

“What I found in this book was a whole new genre of amazing reads.  The suspense and excitement kept me hooked and Mark’s old friends’ conversations were hilarious.  The Christian message was powerful and encouraging in the Christian Walk.  This book should be for older teens and up since it’s really scary and dark at parts.”  –The Dragon Hold

“Since it had been over a year since I read Forget Me Not, I was very grateful for the excellent job by Hinze of refreshing my memory.  Though this is a sequel, those that have not read the first, would have no problems picking up this one.  There is some overlap in characters and the illegal organization NINA is again involved.  However, the pertinent background information is provided while not spoiling the first book. Like the previous book, Hinze includes some really nice spiritual themes.  Her application of Lisa and Mark’s numerous struggles were well incorporated and executed.  The reminder that often times the difficulties we face are to prepare us for only a future God knows, was presented in a manner that was both encouraging and uplifting.  It’s good to remember that God is always in control and even though it sometimes feels like He’s willing to help others, but not us, He’s still there, He still loves us, and from all sorts of evil, can come an abundance of good. –The Christian Manifesto

“The latest Crossroads Crisis Center inspirational thriller (see Forget Me Not) is an exciting action-packed suspense novel that is enthralling. The fast-paced story line focuses on female trafficking in which Lisa’s beliefs sustains her and give hope to the other three captives through the ordeal. Although OCD Dutch has no redeeming qualities while even Lone Wolf shows his humanity with his Angel and saving Annie’s life (after he took it), fans will relish Deadly Ties!” –Harriet Klausner

“Truly and unforgettable novel! Vicki Hinze has mastered the art of suspense and romance all in one book, Deadly Ties! This novel was a great reminder that even in those times when it seems like God has forgotten us, that is not the case! He has a wonderful plan for us and He can use events in our lives to make us into the person He wants us to be. We can rest in Him, even if we cannot see the big picture. We do not have to be “fumes-of-faith” Christians. He has more than “fumes” for us. We also get His blessings and His strength. Deadly Ties was such a great reminder of that! This book was right up my alley; excitement to the very end of the book. Deadly Ties is a suspenseful story with a ton of faith messages hidden and unhidden throughout for the characters as well as the reader. A cast of loving and evil characters all intertwined into one edge-of-your-seat story about a young girl’s life of pain and loss that she makes herself forget, but is forced to remember in her adult life. Living a life with a tormenting step-father who keeps her from her mother much of her entire life. The terror of this man and his contacts are way too much for one woman to handle. Can she better the future for herself and her mother by reliving the past? I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who loves the kind of book that you just can’t put down.” –Gretchen Schutter

“Wow! Deadly Ties has earned a place on my top favorites list! The first book I’ve read by Vicki Hinze, and I was hooked – I found it nearly impossible to put the book down! The first few chapters build up the suspense and tension, and then when everything lets loose…the reader is left reeling and hanging onto the edge of her seat! I know I am reading a good book when I continually sneak off to my room every ten minutes!”  –Katy, Writer and Reviewer

“If you enjoy suspenseful romance novels, you DEFINITELY need to pick up this book and read it. A sequel is coming next year and I am anxiously awaiting it!! You will be too!”–Penny Henry, Gramma’s Book Reviews

“Domestic Abuse and Human Trafficking. These are crimes that are happening in our country, in some of our own neighborhoods, and Vicki is to be admired and respected for having the courage to write about them with such realism. She does an excellent job delving into the intricacies of each. Bringing me inside the mind of the abuser, which I found quite chilling, and inside the mind of the abused, which I found to be very admirable, made me feel as if I was taking part in the story.” –Homesteading

“[I] have read time after time where the main characters go through a hardship and come out engaged and shortly after, married. Now, I understand perfectly that God can and does this in real life from time to time, however, what usually happens in real life is the opposite. In real life, the characters have to learn to cope with what happened, they also have to live as a real life couple outside of all the drama before they are ready to be married. Hinze allows for this to happen. Though it is obvious that Lisa and Mark will get married one day, they both acknowledge on multiple occasions that they need time to live as a couple outside of this horrific experience. I am really glad that Hinze built this level of real life into her story because it made it much more believable. If I had to give this book a score (1-5, 1 being horrible and 5 being great), I would have to give it a 5. Hinze did a fantastic job of keeping me on the edge wanting to read more.” –For What It’s Worth

READER REVIEWS

“Well, the first thing I have to say about this author, Vicki Hinze, is that she is BRILLIANT! I absolutely could not put this book down and was drawn into the story from the very first few paragraphs of the first chapter! In Deadly Ties, Ms Hinze weaves a beautiful picture of love, courage, forgiveness, and the sovereignty of God in all things. Mark and Lisa (main characters in the story) travel a journey that involves ruthless murder, emotional and physical abuse, kidnapping, human trafficking and cyberstalking. Those things don’t sound so beautiful do they? However, through this suspenseful story Ms Hinze helps the reader to understand the truth that “it’s hard to walk in faith when we’re in one of life’s long and dark tunnels. It’s easy to feel forgotten and lost and helpless and hopeless. But we’re not. In God’s own time, He reveals that to us, and rather than feeling forgotten, we know that He was right there with us in that dark tunnel, gently leading us to His light.” –Jennifer C. Mcilwain

“I usually Don’t Read a lot of Christian Fiction or books that doesn’t have cuss words or sex and  full all out PDA and romance seems in this day and age its in everything tho Vicki has done it awesomely with this series and this book I am hooked on it the characters were endearing and hits a place deep in your heart I loved it.  This was just an awesome series and I defiantly  need to read more of this series and I recommend others do so as well.” –SiNn

“Lisa’s unconventional warfare with her masochistic stepfather–is extremely compelling and there are plenty of exciting twists and turns to keep the reader super-glued to the pages. One of the reasons I like Deadly Ties is that the romantic element of the plot takes a backseat to the heart-stopping action.  Hinze also inserts the element of faith into the plot very well. Mark and Lisa grapple with the age-old questions, “Where is God when I’m surrounded by so much evil?” and “How do I keep a proper faith perspective of God when I can’t see beyond my own dark tunnel of tribulation?” The faith-related dialogue and thoughts do not have that feeling of being “tacked on” just to slap a Christian label on the book, but are genuine expressions of the suffering believer. And the overarching message of the book is one more people need to take to heart–God is good, no matter what the circumstances, and He is faithful to work all things together for the good of those who love Him.”  – Kate, The Parchment Girl

“This is book two in the Crossroads Crisis Center series. I am always eager to read sequels, wondering if they will be as good, or better than the first in the series. In this case, it is even better. I literally could not put this book down. I was pushing to finish it before I left for work, and succeeded. Totally awesome. My favorite genre’ to read is mystery/suspense, and this author nails it.  If Christian fiction was a ball game, Vicki Hinze hit a home run with this.” –Mark Buzard

“I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN! A very suspenseful and action packed novel that held on to me long after I finished the book.” –-Kate Schwartz

“Vicki Hinze is a delightful author, who takes the reader on a  journey of emotions.  The characters are full of personality.  Throughout the story, you will find life changing truths that one could apply to their own life.  This was a new author for me and I will be looking to read more of her writings in the future.  I would rate this book 5 stars and would highly recommend it to my friends.” –Sherree Elmore, Alabama

“I related to the reminder that God has a purpose for each of us and while many hardships in our lives seem senseless and sometimes impossible to bear, there comes a time when we can look back and see how they prepared us for His purpose. I believe I have finally reached that place in my life where I can see how the pieces of my past experiences fit into my present.  If you enjoy action packed intrigue with a bit of romance, you’ll love this book. Although this is the sequel to Forget Me Not, I can verify that you will not have had to read the first book to thoroughly enjoy the second. This is the first of Vicki Hinze’s books that I have read but I will definitely be looking for more.”  –Mary Russel

“…will keep you on the edge of your chair quickly reading to see the outcome. This is one hard to put down book that really delivers and one that you will not want to miss! Suspense with romance at its best!” –Kathy Warth

“Deadly Ties is an action packed, suspenseful novel that will keep you reading late in the night. Only by the grace of God, and many prayers can they endure the unthinkable in this love story.” –Little Homeschool on the Prairie

“OMG this book is like so good and intense. I don’t want to give too much away but man this is one hell of a mystery…” –Kimberley Gaines

“Deadly Ties by Vicki Hinze was not just good-it was really, really good!!!!. This has to be one of the best ever suspense books I have read. What a storyline that kept you guessing and guessing the outcome. She’s a super writer.”  –Vicky Gastineau

“Vicki Hinze does an excellent job of taking the reader on a suspenseful journey. She kept me turning the pages, not wanting to put the book down. Even before I was finished with the book, I was searching for more of her books.” –Holly Jones

“Even though the plot is not something that would happen to your average Joe, the emotional struggles are something that other Christians can find themselves going through at different levels. This made the story more intimate for the reader. Instead of just reading about some crazy suspense story or some fantastical romance, we read about two Christians struggling to survive trials. It was nice that they were not super Christians who could handle anything without a single emotional response.” –Hollie Rushmeyer

“Vicki Hinze is a fantastic writer and I really like her work because of her way of developing the character – it made me feel so connected with the main characters of this book, Annie, Lisa, and Dutch. They were each unique and faithful in their own ways.  I like how this book had a faithful element in it but wasn’t too overwhelming, like some Christian books can be.”  –M.Y.

“…plenty of thrills (and some serious chills) while reading this book in the light of day.  Despite the suspense, violence, and dramatic tension Vicki has placed God in the forefront of this story.  It amazes me that very often, the most suspenseful and edgy stories have the strongest Christian messages.  Vicki wrote that message very well, made it believable and made Deadly Ties a surprisingly uplifting story.”  –Carly Bird’s Home

“Great Story! This author pulled you into the story right from the start. I haven’t read anything by this author so didn’t know what to expect. But this tale had it all, romance, mystery, suspense, intrigue.” –Love 2 Read Novels

“I am always eager to read sequels, wondering if they will be as good, or better than the first in the series. In this case, it is even better. I literally could not put this book down. I was pushing to finish it before I left for work, and succeeded. Totally awesome. My favorite genre’ to read is mystery/suspense, and this author nails it.”  –Thoughts of a Sojourner

There is a great message to the book that lets one know that God has not forgotten them even though they may think he has without it being overly preachy.” –Miss Lynn’s Books

“Truly and unforgettable novel! Vicki Hinze has mastered the art of suspense and romance all in one book, Deadly Ties! This novel was a great reminder that even in those times when it seems like God has forgotten us, that is not the case! He has a wonderful plan for us and He can use events in our lives to make us into the person He wants us to be. We can rest in Him, even if we cannot see the big picture. We do not have to be “fumes-of-faith” Christians. He has more than “fumes” for us. We also get His blessings and His strength. Deadly Ties was such a great reminder of that!”  –Gretchen

” Could not put it down!  Just  when you thought you had read all the books that were your absolute favorites, here comes a new one. A book that leaves you yearning for more of the story. I loved the first book in the Crossroads Crisis Center series, but this one just topped it! Vicki Hinze is such an excellent author, and her way with suspense and mystery sets her high on my list of favorite authors.” –Cindy Loven

“Hinze dealt with the horrors of human trafficking and other contemporary issues masterfully.” –Musichick182

“This was my first Vicki Hinze novel. I am a sucker for a good love story and I love sitting on the edge of my chair in suspense, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this novel. She definitely delivers.”  –Amanda

“AN AMAZING INSPRIATIONAL ROMANCE/SUSPENSE/THRILLER!! A MUST READ! DEADLY TIES by Vicki Hinze is an exciting inspirational suspense/thriller set in present day Atlanta,Georgia.(Crossroads Crisis Center Series). It is the sequel to “Forget Me Not”,but can be read as a stand alone. It is written with depth and details. It has romance,faith,adventure,love,friends,spousal abuse, human trafficking,forgiveness,trust,control,healing and second chances. The characters are believable,engaging and will capture your heart. This is a fast paced,action packed suspense,romantic adventure that will have you captured from the first page to the last. This is a powerful story of the beginning of love and trust entwined with a powerful drama of lost,human trafficking and pure evil. I would highly recommend this book to any one to enjoys suspense,thrillers,and romance. It does have faith entwined into the story but it is not preachy.”  –April A. Renn

“Deadly Ties is a fast-paced thriller, packed with action and suspense.”  –W. Burke

“Deadly Ties is a contemporary fiction mystery, CSI type book. I believe this is the fisrt book I have read by Vicki and I really enjoyed it, in fact I had a hard time putting it down!  Vicki does a great job of of illustrating how even when we think God is not blessing us, He is preparing us for things we are not aware of. God is always in control and does not make any mistakes.”–Missy

“Each year, nearly half-a-million women are trafficked around the world for the purpose of sexual slavery. Against this background, Vicki Hinze has fashioned a potpourri of depravity and trials of faith only she could juggle. DEADLY TIES, Book Two of her Crossroads Crisis Center series, is a roller-coaster thriller of violent twists and breakneck turns – from murder and abuse to human trafficking in an international conspiracy. DEADLY TIES is also a cross-over story that dares to examine a heinous crime most Christian fiction chooses to avoid because it is too horrible  to think about. Not facing Americans forcing Americans into human bondage for servitude doesn’t make it go away. Only a short time ago, a party of three was arrested in Chicago for human trafficking. Can we continue to pretend it doesn’t happen any longer? Vicki tackles this question by reeling us in to her novel like a patient fisherman with characters trapped in human dilemmas, thwarted love and quicksand adventure: a perfect formula for a riveting movie that, in the end, reveals the true drama of forgiveness in the pursuit of justice. I’m not going to summarize the story because I don’t want to spoil the reader’s suspense. You have to read DEADLY TIES to experience its impact, but I think Publisher’s Weekly sums up Vicki’s gift best: She has a talent “for transforming the unlikely into something beautiful.” Truly beautiful, I would say. And worthy of a Christy Award.”–Bonnie Toews

Scenes depicted that I could easily visualize but I didn’t feel they were gruesome.  

“Vicki portrays strong leading characters that struggle with doubt and all life has dealt them. The spiritual element isn’t overpowering, but blends perfectly with the situations happening in the book. In the end they realize that God had been preparing them, through their trials and life experiences, “for such a time as this”. (I can’t remember if that exact phrase is used, but that’s certainly what I concluded.)

There’s a familiar cast of characters from the first book in the series, Forget Me Not, so don’t forget to read that one first. It’s not absolutely necessary, but you’ll love the book!

Overall, I think if you like to read gripping romantic suspense then this book is for you!”  –duhpaynes

Book Title: DEADLY TIES

Series: Crossroads Crisis Center – Book 2

Publisher: Random House Religious Waterbrook-Multnomah

Release Date: February 8, 2011

Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1601422064

E-Book ISBN: 978-1-60142-274-3

Audio [Unabridged]: ISBN: 978-1-60142-206-4

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