Before Every After by Samantha Sotto - Excerpt

A smartly written romance, mystery and historical adventure all wrapped up in a page-turner that will have you guessing until the very end. – Adena Halpern, author of The Ten Best Days of My Life Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well. As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max's stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her happily ever after. And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to. To read more about Before Ever After or Samantha Sotto please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.
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  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.Copyright © 2011 by Samantha Sotto-  Yambao All rights reserved.Published in the United States by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.  www .crownpublishing .com Crown and the Crown colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.Library of Congress Cataloging- in- Publication Data Sotto, Samantha.Before ever after: a novel / Samantha Sotto.—1st ed.p. cm.1. Marriage—Fiction. 2. Family secrets—Fiction. I. Title.PS3619.O87B44 2011813'.6—dc222011003327ISBN 978- 0- 307- 71987-4 eISBN 978- 0- 307- 71989-8 Printed in the United States of America Book design by Lynne Amft Jacket design by Jennifer O’Connor Jacket photographs: ( book with flower  ) Cavan Images/Getty Images;(  painted wood  ) Shutterstock 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1First Edition  1  Prologue    ,  /  Three Years Ago  J    asmine. It was not Max Gallus’s top choice for his last thought, but it would have to do. He wondered if there was time to say it out loud.He had difficulty telling which came first: his phone shattering against his cheek, his skin tearing from his ribs, or the flames taking dibs on what was left. He was certain though that the Silence came last. It always did.
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