Title: Means to an End
Author: Elizabeth Romero
Synopsis: Ashby Devereaux was born into a life of abuse, shame, and fear. For seventeen years Ashby’s life has been ruled by her stepfather, whom she calls “Poppa.” Garrett Devereaux is mean whether drunk or sober. Her mother the once beautiful, carefree Marie Boudreaux, was the cherished only child from a prominent Catholic family in New Orleans. That was before she became pregnant; before she was exiled to the backwoods of North Carolina and bound, through a deal made by her prideful father, to a marriage with a man who belittled and beat her. Momma was powerless to protect Ashby and her twin brother, Danny, from the wrath of Garrett’s words, fists, and belt. At school, Ashby kept to herself and did her best to hide her bruises and despair.
But now, on her seventeenth birthday, life seems more unbearable than ever. Danny is gone, and Momma lives in a drug induced fog—from the pills Garrett feeds her. Garrett has been visiting her tiny bedroom with an increasing, terrifying intensity. Yet, unknown to Ashby, seventeen will be the year of her rebirth—and the beginning of a wonderful new life. However, it will take a bloody battle, a daring escape, and a whole lot of hardship, cunning, and courage to get there.
In her gripping debut novel, MEANS TO AN END (Two Harbors Press; $16.95 Paperback; ISBN: 978-1-62652-041-7), Elizabeth Romero introduces Monique Moreaux, who transformed herself from a victim—the downtrodden, timid Ashby Devereaux—into a strong, confident, and brilliant woman sought out by detectives for her keen insight into crimes against the vulnerable. Marking the first installment in the 'Redemption' Series, set primarily in New Orleans, MEANS TO AN END uncovers the roots of Monique’s drive to protect and avenge abused women and children, while unraveling violent crimes and mysteries of its own.
Set in 1985, 'MEANS TO AN END' opens in the midst of Ashby’s terrible, unbearable home life. When Garrett’s sexual molesting culminates in rape, with a shattering outcome, Ashby finally finds the strength to defend herself—with a knife. Urged on by her Momma, Ashby flees North Carolina, with a burning destination in mind: New Orleans. Once there, she knows she’ll find her brother, Danny, who ran off four months back and, to her aching disappointment, she hasn’t heard a word from since. In New Orleans, if her dreams come true, she might also meet her Grandparents and see the lovely white columned house where Momma grew up.
Traveling as Monique Fontaine, her new identity, borrowed from a kind stranger, Ashby arrives in New Orleans. There she encounters a sometimes harsh, yet always colorful and exciting new reality. Despite its dangers, Monique quickly feels right at home in this big, bustling city of diverse people, delicious food, and exotic experiences. To have a place to sleep and earn enough to eat, Monique takes a job as a humble “cleanup girl” at Ms. Blanche’s house—a brothel. With shiny black hair, long legs, and striking figure, Monique could easily have made more money as a dancer, but scrubbing floors suits her fine. Haunted by her memories of Garrett, she recoils every time a man looks at her, let alone touches her.
While minding her work and her own business, Monique draws the attention of the highly respected Judge Moreaux. When Ms. Blanche conveniently sends her on an errand, she meets this refined, handsome older man, who appears to be a real gentleman, but is he? Gradually, Monique begins to open her heart to Bradley Moreaux. Fighting against fear and insecurities she dares to hope that she could escape her past and find love, but Monique receives chilling news. An investigator has arrived in town—looking for Ashby Devereaux.
Will Ashby/Monique be able to find her beloved twin Danny before she’s caught and arrested for her stepfather’s murder? Can she trust Bradley with her secrets? Or is the judge another man destined to betray and abandon her?
Keeping readers riveted until its greatly satisfying climax, MEANS TO AN END marks the start of a thrilling new mystery series starring a brave, resilient, and fascinating woman. The second in the series 'THE WATCHED' is a physiological thriller presently in the works.
Author Biography: Elizabeth Romero was born the third of four children in a rural area of North Florida .In her early teen years she relocated to Louisiana where she remained for the greater part of her life. She married at a very young age and after four years found herself a divorced mother of two sons. Armed with an entrepreneurial spirit and great deal of tenacity she made a life for herself and her children in the field of real estate. Her interest in writing started with reading as a child when books would whisk her away to wonderful places. Her own novel was always waiting for just the right time.
When hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 she moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to wait out the economy. It was there that the time was right and she started her first novel which was on and off the back burner for several years.
In 2010 she retired to Florida to write full time.
Elizabeth is single and lives on a lake in Miami with her canine friend, Charlie. ‘Means To An End’ is her first novel in a Trio of novels based on this character and the next ‘The Watched’, a psychological thriller is in the works.
Publisher: Published June 2013 by Two Harbors Press