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Secrets We Keep - Signed

Secrets We Keep - Signed

Regular price $14.99 USD
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Please allow 7-10 days for delivery of autographed book if in the U.S. International Delivery can take approximately 2 weeks.

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Another fabulous story—a mystery to solve, danger and romance all wrapped together. If you're not already a fan of Barbara Freethy, this story is sure to make you one." – Susan D., Goodreads

When firefighter Hunter Callaway makes a grisly discovery during a scorching fire at the house of his former high school sweetheart, everything he thought he knew about his past is now in question. The girl he'd loved, the one who'd broken his heart when she'd run away with another guy, might not have been who he thought she was.

The last thing Cassidy Ellison ever wanted to do was revisit her past. But she's suddenly a suspect in a terrible crime, and while she might be able to put off the police, there's no running away from Hunter Callaway—not again. The boy of her dreams is now a man—an impatient, angry, demanding man who wants answers, some of which she has vowed never to speak.

Staying silent has kept her alive, but now her secrets might not only take her life, but also Hunter's. As determined as Hunter is to make her talk, someone else is just as determined to keep her quiet…

What the readers are saying…

"I read SECRETS WE KEEP in one sitting and could not put it down. This is my "comfort food" author where I know I will enjoy and savor the story, still wanting more. The pace was consistent throughout the book and the character development had many layers where you were feeling happy, sad, anxious and overall feelings of hope for yet another Callaway." Debbie

"Oh, I loved it so much. Another great read by Ms. Freethy! It has lots of romance, drama and laughs as well. SECRETS WE KEEP is another Great Callaway story. You must read this one." Mary

"SECRETS WE KEEP was intense, suspenseful, and kept me on the edge of who was the guilty one from Cassidy's past. Lots of twists and turns, almost being driven off a cliff, kidnapped, and almost shot. Lots of action to keep you on the edge. Loved it!!" Karen



Being back in the firehouse after eight months of travel should have made Hunter Callaway feel good—normal. This was his life, the life he'd led since he'd entered the family firefighting business when he was twenty-three years old. That had been seven years ago. Sometimes, it felt like yesterday. Sometimes, it felt like a lifetime. 

But he didn't feel content, not quite sure he was happy to be back, or that he was making the right choice in returning. He still felt restless, a feeling he hadn't been able to shake no matter how many miles he'd put on his motorcycle, no matter how many cities or countries he'd driven through. 

Maybe he just didn't want to be a firefighter anymore.

It was a thought that had gone around in his head for months, but he didn't know if it was just the job or if it was more than that. There was something missing inside of himself—a big hole he didn't know how to fill, and it had been there before he'd almost lost his life.

"Well, look who's here—as if we didn't have enough Callaways already," Gary Parker said, slapping him on the back as he gave him a teasing smile. A stocky man with graying black hair and friendly eyes, Gary was a forty-year-old firefighter, who'd mentored more than a few Callaways over the years. "You filling in for MacKinney?"

"Yes, and it's nice to see you, too, Gary," he drawled. 

"So, where have you been, Hunter? You come back with a bride, a treasure, a new tattoo?" 

"None of the above."

"Well, that's disappointing. Surely, you've got a story or two?"

"A few." 

Gary gave him a speculative look. "Dylan said you were looking for something. Did you find it?"

He shrugged. "I had a good time. I needed a break."

"That high-rise fire last year took it out of you, didn't it?"

"It wasn't just that." He knew that most of his fellow firefighters thought that falling three stories down an elevator shaft, breaking his foot, and cracking a few ribs had been the trigger for his sudden hiatus, that he hadn't just needed to heal his wounds but also to get his nerve back. 

He didn't think it was about nerve. He wasn't afraid to fight fire; he just wasn't sure he wanted to. 

Luckily, he didn't have to comment further as his brother, Dylan, entered the breakroom. Four years older than him, Dylan had dark-brown hair and blue eyes, very much like his own, and most of the Callaway clan, for that matter. As the oldest in the family, Dylan could be a know-it-all but also a protector. Right now, he was in watchful big brother mode.

Out of his five siblings, he and Dylan had always had the most in common, probably because they'd both chosen to become firefighters, following in his father's footsteps as well as his uncle and grandfather and a few cousins. 

"How are you doing?" Dylan asked as Gary left them alone to grab breakfast. 

"Fine," he said, sensing another interrogation coming his way. 

"No first day jitters?"

"I've done this job for seven years. I can barely remember my first day."

"But this is your first day back in eight months. And you've never worked out of this firehouse."

"And yet it feels like every other shift to me," he retorted, although, that wasn't quite true. He was actually happy to be assigned temporary duty in a new firehouse. He would miss his old crew, but he had his older brother here, and his cousin, Burke, who was the battalion chief at the station. Plus, the temporary gig made him feel like he still had a choice as to whether or not he wanted to go for a more permanent position. 

"You talk to Burke yet?" Dylan asked.

"He's tied up in his office. He gave me a wave. I'm sure we'll catch up at some point. How are you doing? How's Tori? The two of you still honeymooning?"

"You know it," Dylan said with a smug smile. 

As he could have predicted, his brother was instantly distracted by the thought of his beautiful wife of four months. 

"I never really thought I was cut out for marriage," Dylan continued. "But I was wrong. I can't imagine a life that would be better than the one I'm living with Tori." 

He saw genuine happiness in his brother's eyes. "I'm glad. Is she still wielding her pen like a sword?" His sister-in-law was a reporter for the Bay Area Examiner, determined to do her best to put light into every dark corner. 

"Yes. She's rattling some of our city council members with her pieces on the homeless situation. But she doesn't back down from a fight," Dylan said proudly.

"You picked a good one."

"I did, and you deliberately distracted me. We were talking about you."

"You don't have to worry about me. I've got my head together." His words did little to erase the lingering worry in Dylan's eyes. "I can do this job. I wouldn't have come back if I couldn't. I know everyone thinks I lost my nerve, but that was never it."

"I know you can do the job."

"Good. Let's leave it at that. I'm going to get some breakfast and try out the new rookie's cooking skills." 

As he moved toward the counter to grab a plate, the alarm went off, followed by the dispatcher's voice, alerting them to a residential structure fire. Breakfast would have to wait. 

Within minutes, they were changing into their gear, hopping onto the truck and getting ready to fight whatever fire was ripping apart someone's business, or life, or both.  

Despite his earlier words to his brother, he had to admit to a rush of adrenaline and jumpier nerves than he remembered, but this wasn't going to be like the last fire. It was a house, not a high-rise, for one thing. 

And he wasn't afraid of fire. He was good at his job. His restless feelings came from a deeper place, didn't they? 

He was going to find out very soon.

* * *

As the truck raced through the city streets, Hunter felt his body tighten with every turn. He'd been down these blocks before, which wasn't unusual since he'd grown up in this part of the city. His parents' house was only two miles away, but he hadn't been in this particular Sunset District neighborhood since high school. He'd avoided it for a reason—a very painful reason.

It couldn't be her house. What were the odds? 

But he couldn't shake the bad feeling running through him. Nor could he stop the memories flooding his brain. It had been fourteen years since he'd seen her. He'd been sixteen years old and madly in love with the girl with the long, blonde hair, dark-brown, soulful eyes, and soft, full lips that grew pink when he kissed them…

Cassidy Ellison.

He didn't want to remember her, but he'd never really forgotten her. 

She'd run out on him the day of the junior prom. She'd left town with another guy, a boy she'd once vowed was only her friend and nothing more. Obviously, she'd been lying about their relationship—probably about everything. And he shouldn't have spent one second more thinking about her.

But she'd always been in the shadows of his mind. He still had so many unanswered questions. One minute, they'd been crazy about each other, making plans for the summer, dreaming about the future, spending every second they could together. He'd never been able to talk to anyone the way he'd talked to her. They'd been connected in every possible way. 

And then she was gone.

At some point, he'd given up on getting answers. He'd moved on. He'd stopped seeing Cassidy's face in every blonde who walked by him. He'd had other women in his life who he cared about. But no one had ever completely replaced her. 

A knot grew in his throat, as the truck turned down a street of single-family homes with minimal front yards but some space between buildings, which wasn't always the case in San Francisco. They came to a stop in front of a two-story house with an attached garage that was engulfed in flames, and he was immediately transported into the past. 

Cassidy had only let him come in the house once, a quick trip after school when her foster parents had been out, and she'd only done that reluctantly. 

But even though he hadn't spent much time inside, he had spent a lot of time kissing her good night on the front porch. His mouth tingled at the memories and as he lifted his gaze to the second-floor window, he could almost see her standing there, waving good-bye to him with a haunted, trapped, worried expression on her face. 

He'd thought at the time that her unhappy gaze meant she was missing him already. Yes, he'd definitely had a healthy ego at sixteen. But later he'd come to believe that she'd just wanted to get away from the house, from the family she didn’t like, the other kids who felt like strangers and were as unhappy as she was. 

He could understand why she wanted to leave the house, but he'd never understood why she wanted to leave him. The fact that she'd left with Tommy Lucas had twisted the knife in deeper, making what he'd thought they'd been to each other a complete and total farce. 

The truck came to a sudden stop, and he yanked his thoughts out of the past. Cassidy hadn't lived here in a very long time. There was no point thinking about her now. 

He followed his fellow firefighters out of the truck, falling into the rhythm of the job he'd done all of his life. It was as if the past eight months off had been no longer than a minute. 

As they hit the pavement, a woman came running up to them. She was in her mid-thirties, barefoot, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, her hair in a ponytail, a wild look in her eyes. 

Dylan intercepted her. "Is this your house?" 

"I'm the neighbor from across the street." She waved her hand toward a light-blue, two-story house. "I saw smoke and flames coming out of the windows, so I came over and rang the bell, but no one answered." 

"Who lives here?" Dylan asked.

"Geralyn Faulkner. She's an older woman. Sometimes there are kids there, too. I don't know who might be inside," the woman said worriedly. 

He stiffened at the mention of Geralyn Faulkner, Cassidy's one-time foster mother. Cassidy had not liked Geralyn at all. He'd seen her around, and she'd always seemed like a nice, motherly woman to him, but he'd never had an extended conversation with her. 

Dylan turned to him and Gary, ordering them to check the house while the rest of the squad prepared to attack the fire. He pulled his mask on, then followed Gary into the structure. 

The smoke was thick, the heat intense. The fire seemed to be everywhere: clusters of flames eating up curtains and wallpaper, sliding down the stairway in patches, finding more fuel as the sparks landed on the carpet or the wood. 

They raced upstairs first, calling out for potential victims, as they cleared the four bedrooms and two bathrooms. 

Cassidy had slept in the room at the end of the hall, and while there were still two single beds inside, there was nothing there to remind him of her. In fact, there was little to remind him of anything. The room looked empty, as if no one slept there anymore. 

He and Gary moved back downstairs, checking the hall bath, a small den, the kitchen and basement and then tried to head into the attached garage, but the fire was greater here, and they hadn't gotten more than a foot inside the door when an explosion knocked them backward. 

He could hear Dylan's voice through the radio, ordering them outside. He struggled back to his feet. He was actually already outside. The explosion had blown them through the door leading out to the side yard. 

As he got to his feet, he saw Gary doing the same. He didn't appear to be hurt, giving him a thumbs-up. 

He looked back at the garage. The fire was blazing. There was no way they were getting in there. 

"Check in, Hunter," Dylan repeated through his headset.

"Gary and I are okay. We're coming through the side yard now. We weren't able to get into the garage."

They made their way out to the front, and then joined the rest of the squad in fighting the fire. Thirty minutes later, the flames were out, but the smoke still hung thick in the air. Half the neighborhood had gathered across the street, watching in worry, hoping that the fire wouldn’t spread to one of their homes. Thankfully, they'd been able to contain it to the single structure.

To be certain, they went through the house again, venting walls and ceilings, looking for any lingering trace of fire in the walls. He was the first one to make it into the garage. There wasn't much left inside the smoking room. Whatever had been there had been turned into ashes. 

There was a heavy stench of gasoline in the air, which could have been stored in the garage or could have been the accelerant used to start the blaze, which might mean the fire had been deliberately set. Based on his experience, and the way the fire had spread so quickly, he thought it was a good bet. 

But who would want to burn down this house? 

Cassidy's image came back into his head now that the adrenaline rush had receded. She'd certainly hated living here. Probably the other kids had felt the same way. But she'd lived here years ago. Who knew if the Faulkners even took in foster kids anymore? 

According to Dylan, the homeowners had not yet been reached, but the police were looking for them.

As he swung his axe at the wall, it felt good to rip into something, if for no other reason than to chase Cassidy out of his head. He probably went a little further than he needed to and had to jump back when a huge piece of sheetrock came down around him. The wall in front of him fell apart and to his astonishment, something hard and unidentifiable tumbled out from between the wood frames and fell at his feet. 

He squatted down to get a better view, his stomach turning over, his heart stopping in shock as he stared in disbelief at what appeared to be human remains: a skull, bones, a rib cage—What the hell? He got up, backing away, his breath coming short and fast. 

"Hunter?" Dylan strode into the garage. "I've been yelling to you for five minutes. Why haven't you answered? What's wrong?"

He looked at Dylan, then back at what was laying at his feet. "This—this came out of the wall," he said gruffly. 

Dylan's gaze narrowed as he came closer. "What is all that?"

He stepped back so Dylan could get a better view. 

"Oh, my God," Dylan breathed. "Is that…"

"A skeleton...and it's been here a long time." He had no idea whose bones he'd just found, but his stomach was churning, and fear was rushing through him. Someone had been murdered, their body hidden behind a wall in the garage of the house where Cassidy had once lived. He didn't know how old the skeleton was, but he was guessing it had been there at least a decade. 

Cassidy had disappeared fourteen years ago, but these bones didn't belong to her. She'd run away. She'd left this place willingly.

Hadn't she? 

He felt sick at the disturbing thought that these remains could be his beautiful Cassidy. 

No! There was no way it was her. She couldn't have been killed. She couldn't have been in this house all these years. 

He heard Dylan go into the driveway and yell for one of the police officers who'd responded to the fire to come into the garage.  

When Dylan returned, he said, "You can go outside, Hunter. I'll take care of this."

"I'm staying."


"Because I have to. I found the body, and…" He couldn't bring himself to say the words aloud.

"And what?" Dylan's gaze narrowed in concern. "What is going on, Hunter?" 

"This was her house," he whispered. 

"Whose house?"


Dylan's jaw dropped, his gaze widening with shock. "Cassidy?"

"This was her foster home."



"But she ran away. She told you she was leaving." 

"I always thought so." 

"It's not her. It can't be her." Dylan's words echoed the refrain going around in Hunter's head.

He was happy to have Dylan's reassurance, but he had a bad feeling in his gut. "What if Cassidy didn't run away with Tommy? What if she never left?"

The Callaways are a family born to serve and protect, many as firefighters. Set primarily in San Francisco, the series features a blended family, with each member in the family getting their own book.

Each book stands alone with a complete story. No cliffhangers! But reading the entire series will give readers a chance to spend more time with this

amazing family!

The books feature romance, mystery and family drama with popular storylines featuring alpha heroes, firefighter romance, girl next door, love at first

sight, enemies to lovers, opposites attract, grumpy sunshine, meet cute, and second chance at love.

I love to write complex books that provide reading pleasure, a mystery to unravel, characters to fall in love with, and a story that will keep readers turning the pages. Start reading the Callaways today!

Don't Miss Any of the Callaway Novels:

  • On A Night Like This (#1)
  • So This Is Love (#2)
  • Falling For A Stranger (#3)
  • Between Now And Forever (#4)
  • Nobody But You (#5) A Callaway Wedding Novella)
  • All A Heart Needs (#6)
  • That Summer Night (#7)
  • When Shadows Fall (#8)
  • Somewhere Only We Know (#9)

Callaway Cousins

  • If I Didn't Know Better (#1)
  • Tender Is The Night (#2)
  • Take Me Home (#3) (Callaway Novella)
  • Closer To You (#4)
  • Once You're Mine (#5)
  • Can't Let Go (#6)
  • Secrets We Keep (#7)

Callaway Series Box Sets

  • Callaways Box Set, Books 1-3
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 4-6
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 7-9
  • Callaways Complete Box Set, Books 1-8
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 1-4
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 5-7