Skip to main content

Excerpt - Hidden in Plain View by Diane Burke

Oops, forgot to post this on Friday last week!

Hidden in Plain View
by Diane Burke

Colliding Worlds

After a tragedy rips through her Amish community, Sarah Lapp doesn't rememberanything. She can't recall her Plain upbringing, her deceased husband or the shooting that landed her under the protection of handsome undercover cop Samuel King. She is, however, aware of the confusing feelings he creates in her from the moment he walks into her life. Sam is determined to protect Sarah and her unborn baby in case the shooters return. Because if they do, it'll be more than just Sarah's memory at stake.

Excerpt of chapter one:

Where am I?

Sarah Lapp lay on a bed with raised metal rails. She noted a darkened television screen bracketed to the opposite wall. A nightstand and recliner beside the bed.

I'm in a hospital.

She tried to sit up but couldn't. She was hooked up to machines. Lots of them. Fear pumped her heart into overdrive.

Why am I here?

Again she tried to move, but her body screamed in protest.

Burning pain. Throbbing pain.

Searing the skin on her back. Pulsing through her arm and gathering behind her eyes.

She tried to raise her left arm to touch her forehead but it felt heavy, weighted down, lost in its own gnawing sea of hurt. She glanced down and saw it bandaged and held against her chest by a blue cloth sling.

I've injured my arm. But how? Why can't I remember? And why do I feel so scared?

She took a deep breath.

Don'tpanic. Take your time. Think.

Once more she inhaled, held it for a second, and forced herself to ever so slowly release it. Repeating the process a couple more times helped her regain a sense of calm. Okay. She could do this.

She opened her eyes and stared into the darkness. "Sarah?"

Sarah? Is that my name? Why can't I remember?

Her heart almost leaped from her chest when one of the shadows moved.

The man had been leaning against the wall. She hadn't seen him standing in the shadows until he stepped forward. He obviously wasn't a doctor. His garb seemed familiar yet somehow different. He wore black boots, brown pants held up with suspenders and a white shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows. He carried a straw hat.

"I thought I heard you stirring." He approached her bed and leaned on the side rail. She found the deep timbre of his voice soothing.

The faint glow from the overhead night-light illuminated his features. She stared at his clean-shaven face, the square jaw, the tanned skin, his intense brown eyes. She searched for some form of recognition but found none.

"I'm glad you're awake." He smiled down at her.

She tried to speak but could only make hoarse, croaking sounds.

"Here, let me get you something to drink." He pushed a button, which raised the head of her bed. He lifted a cup and held it to her lips. There was something intimate and kind in the gesture, and although she didn't recognize this man, she welcomed his presence.

Gratefully, she took a sip, enjoying the soothing coolness of the liquid as it slid over her parched lips and trickled down her throat. When he moved the cup away, she tried again.

"Who…who are you?"

His large hand gently cupped her fingers. She found the warmth of his touch comforting. His brown shaggy hair brushed the collar of his shirt. Tiny lines crinkled the skin at the sides of his eyes.

"My name is Samuel, and I'm here to help you."

Her throat felt like someone had shredded her vocal cords. Her mouth was so dry that even after the sip of water, she couldn't gather enough saliva for a good spit. When she did speak, her voice reflected the strain in a hoarse, barely audible whisper.

"Where… What…" She struggled to force the words out.

"You're in a hospital. You've been shot." Shot!

No wonder she had felt so afraid when he'd moved out of the shadows. She might not remember the incident, but some inner instinct was still keeping her alert and wary of danger.

"Can you tell me what you remember?" There was kindness in his eyes and an intensity that she couldn't identify.

She shook her head.

"Do you remember being in the schoolhouse when the gunman entered? Did you get a good look at him?" Schoolhouse? Gunman?

Her stomach lurched, and she thought she was going to be sick. Slowly, she moved her head back and forth again.

"How about before the shooting? Your husband was inside the building constructing bookshelves. Do you remember bringing a basket of treats for the children?"

His words caused a riotous tumble of questions in her mind. She had a husband? Who was he? Where was he? She tried to focus her thoughts. This man just told her she'd been shot inside a school. Had anyone else been hurt? Hopefully, none of the children.


"Sarah. There's no easy way to tell you. Your husband was killed in the shooting."

The room started to spin. Sarah squeezed her eyes shut.

"I'm so sorry. I wish there had been an easier way to break the news." His deep, masculine voice bathed her senses with sympathy and helped her remain calm. "I hate to have to question you right now, but time is of the essence." The feel of his breath on her cheek told her he had stepped closer. "I need you to tell me what you remember—what you saw that day, before things other people tell you cloud your memories."

A lone tear escaped and coursed its way down her cheek at the irony of it all.

"Can you tell me anything about that day?" he prodded. "Sometimes the slightest detail that you might think is unimportant can turn into a lead. If you didn't see the shooter's face, can you remember his height? The color of his skin? What he wore? Anything he might have said?"

He paused, giving her time to collect her thoughts, but only moments later the questions came again.

"If you don't remember seeing anything, use your other senses. Did you hear anything? Smell anything?"

She opened her eyes and stared into his. "I told you." She choked back a sob. "I can't…can't remember. I can't remember anything at all."

His wrinkled brow and deep frown let her know this wasn't what he had expected.

"Maybe you should rest now. I'll be back, and we can talk more later."

Sarah watched him cross to the door. Once he was gone, she stared at her hand and wondered why the touch of a stranger had made her feel so safe.

Sam stood in the corridor and tried to collect his thoughts.


He hadn't expected to be so touched by her unfortunate circumstances. He had a policy to never let emotions play a part when he was undercover or protecting a witness. Sarah Lapp was a job, nothing more, and he had no business feeling anything for her one way or the other.

But he had to admit there was something about her. He'd been moved by the vulnerability he saw in her face, the fear he read in her eyes. She was terrified. Yet she had stayed calm, processing everything he had to tell her with quiet grace.

She'd been visibly upset when Sam had told her about the shooting. She'd seemed shocked when he informed her that her husband had been killed. But learning that she had had a husband at all seemed to affect her the most.

He hadn't had an opportunity yet to talk with Sarah's doctors about the full extent of her injuries. Was she really suffering from memory loss, and if so, was it a temporary setback or a permanent situation?

Sam often relied heavily on his gut. His instincts this time were warning him that he had just stepped into a much more complicated situation than he had first thought.

He needed to talk with the doctor.

When he glanced down the hall, he saw Dr. Clark, as well as several members of the police force, including his superior, with three Amish men in tow. Dr. Clark ushered the entire group into a nearby conference room and gestured for Sam to join them.

Once inside, Sam crossed the room and leaned against the far wall. He saw the men shoot furtive glances his way and knew they were confused by his Amish clothing.

He didn't blame them. He was disconcerted by it, too. He hadn't donned this type of clothing for fifteen years. Yet his fingers never hesitated when he fastened the suspenders. The straw hat had rested upon his head like it was meant to be there.

Jacob Lapp, identifying himself as the bishop of their community and acting as spokesperson for their group, addressed Captain Rogers.

"We do not understand, sir. Why have you brought us here?"

"Please, gentlemen, have a seat." Captain Rogers gestured toward the chairs around the table. "Dr. Clark wants to update you on Sarah's condition."

They pulled out chairs and sat down.

Dr. Clark spoke from his position at the head of the table. "Sarah is in a very fragile state. She was shot twice in the back, once in the arm and once in the head. She has a long road to recovery, but I believe she will recover. To complicate matters, she is suffering from amnesia."

"Will her memory return?" Jacob asked.

"I'm afraid I honestly don't know. Only time will tell."

The man on Jacob's left spoke. "Excuse me, sir. My name is Benjamin Miller. I do not understand this thing you call amnesia. I had a neighbor who got kicked in the head by his mule. He forgot what happened with his mule, but he didn't forget everything else. He still remembered who he was, who his family was. Why can't Sarah?"

The doctor smiled. "It is common for a person not to remember a traumatic event but to remember everything else. What is less common, but still occurs, is a deeper memory loss. Some people forget everything—like Sarah."

"When she gets better, she will remember again, ya?" Jacob twirled his black felt hat in circles on the table.

"I hope that once she returns home, familiar surroundings will help, but I cannot promise anything," the doctor replied.

The men looked at each other and nodded.

"There is something else. Sarah is sixteen weeks pregnant."

Sam felt like someone had suddenly punched him in the gut. Wow, this woman couldn't catch a break. As if amnesia, gunshot wounds and widowhood wasn't enough for her to handle. He raised an eyebrow, but steeled himself to show no other reaction to the news.

The doctor waited for the men at the table to digest the information before he locked eyes with Jacob. "Mrs. Lapp has informed me that Sarah has had two prior miscarriages."

Jacob nodded but remained silent. The information regarding this pregnancy seemed to weigh heavily upon him.

"I'm sorry to inform you, Mr. Lapp, that even though she has made it into her second trimester, she still might lose the child. She has experienced severe trauma to her body, and currently she is under emotional stress as well."

"With my son gone, this will be our only grandchild." Jacob's eyes clouded over. "What can we do to help?"

"You can allow me to protect her." Sam pushed away from the wall and approached the table.

The bishop's expression revealed his confusion. "Protect Sarah? I don't understand, sir. The man who hurt Sarah is gone, ya? She is safe now." Jacob looked directly at Sam. "Excuse me, sir. We do not recognize you. What community do you call home?"

Captain Rogers nodded permission for Sam to answer the questions.

"My name is Detective Samuel King. Standing to my left is my partner, Detective Masterson. To his right is Special Agent Lopez from the FBI. We believe Sarah is in grave danger."

"From whom?" Benjamin spoke up, gesturing with his arm to the men sitting on either side of him. "Her family? Her friends?"

Sam addressed his words to Bishop Lapp. "Since I was raised Amish, Captain Rogers thought it might be easier for me to blend in with your community as Sarah's protective detail."

All three men gasped, then turned and whispered in their native Pennsylvania German dialect commonly known as Pennsylvania Dutch.

Sam understood not only the words, but also the emotions and objections the men were expressing. The Amish do not care for law enforcement and try to keep themselves separate from the Englisch way of life.

"With respect, sir," Jacob said, "although grateful, we do not feel we need your protection, and neither does Sarah."

Sam sighed heavily. "You are wrong." When he had their full attention, he said, "If you do not allow us to help, Sarah will be dead before this week is over, as well as her unborn child and many of the kids who were inside that schoolhouse when the shooting occurred."

Samuel noted the sudden pallor in Jacob's face. He recognized bewilderment in the other men's eyes and glimpsed hesitation in their body language, but they continued to listen.

Sam pulled out a chair and faced the men. He explained about the diamond heist and the murders of the other thieves, which led to the shoot-out in the school.

Matthew Kauffman, the third Amish man in the group, spoke up for the first time. "If you were once Amish, then you know that we cannot allow police to move into our homes. It is not our way."

"I understand your dilemma," Sam responded. "I assure you that although I left my Amish roots behind, I never abandoned my respect for the Amish ways."

"You do not speak like us," Benjamin insisted. "You sound like an Englischer"

Sam slipped easily into the lilt of the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect. "Many years of living with the Englisch, and you can start to sound like one, ain't so?"

"Why did you leave your home, sir?" Benjamin asked.

Sam took a moment to decide just how much he was willing to share with these men.

"In my youth, I witnessed too many things for a young boy to see. I witnessed theft of Amish goods that went unpunished. I witnessed bullying and cruelty against the Amish people, yet I could not raise my hand to retaliate."

The men nodded.

"I witnessed worse. I witnessed drunken teens race their car into my father's buggy just for the fun of it. My parents did not survive their prank."

Several heartbeats of silence filled the room as everyone present absorbed what he'd said.

"The Amish forgive." Sam shrugged. "I could not. So I left."

"It is difficult sometimes to forgive, to not seek vengeance and to move on with life." Jacob's quiet voice held empathy. His eyes seemed to understand that Sam's emotional wounds had not healed and still cut deep. "I understand how hard it can be. I just lost my only son. But."

He looked Sam straight in the eye. "It is not our place to judge." When he spoke, his voice was soft and sad. "Judgment belongs only to God, ya? "

"And vengeance belongs to the Lord, not us," Benjamin Miller added.

"I am not talking about vengeance," Sam said, defending himself. "I am talking about justice."

Jacob scrutinized Sam as if he were trying to determine his character from his words. "How do you know whether what you call justice, Detective King, is what God would call vengeance? Is it not best to leave these matters in God's hands?"

A sad ghost of a smile twisted Sam's lips. "I believe God intended for us to love one another, to help one another. I believe He expects us to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Children. Unborn babies. An innocent woman who doesn't even know the gravity of her loss yet. Isn't that God's will?"

Jacob remained silent and pensive.

Sam had to work hard to control his emotions. There was no place in police work, particularly undercover police work, to let emotions control your actions or thoughts. But he understood these people. He'd been one of them. He knew they were pacifists who refused to fight back. If a gunman walked up and shot them dead on the street, they'd believe it was God's will.

How was he going to make them understand the danger they were in? Or worse, defend against that danger? Jacob was their bishop. He was the one he had to win over. Sam knew the only hope he had of convincing Lapp to go along with the plan was to drive home the pain the man was still feeling from his loss. He challenged him with a hard stare.

"Are you willing to accept responsibility for the deaths of your loved ones, Bishop? Your neighbors' loved ones? To never see your grandchild? To attend the funerals of your neighbors' children? Because you will be killing them just as if you held the gun and shot them yourself."

Sam's voice had a hardened edge, but he made no apologies for his harshness. He had to make these men understand the seriousness of the situation if he stood any chance of saving their lives.

Print books: (Large Print)
Barnes and Noble
Barnes and Noble (Large Print) (Large Print) (Large Print)


You can also purchase this book from any of the stores found at CBA Storefinder.


Popular Posts

Laura’s Apricot Shell Shawl knitting pattern

I usually have a knitting project in mind when I write it into one of my books, but Laura’s apricot-colored shawl just kind of appeared upon the page as I was writing the first scene of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer , and it surprised even me. I immediately went to my yarn stash to find a yarn for it, and I searched through my antique knitting books to find some stitch patterns. I made her an elegant wool shawl she could wear at home. The shawl ended up tagging along with Laura into the next book, Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 5: Prisoner , where it imparts some comfort to her in her trying circumstances. The two stitch patterns are both from the same book, The Lady’s Assistant, volume 2 by Mrs. Jane Gaugain, published in 1842 . A couple excessively clever and creative knitters might have knit these patterns in the Regency era, but they would have only passed them around by word of mouth or scribbled “recipes” to friends or family, and it wouldn’t have been widely use

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Narrow Escape contest for January!

I’m so excited because my January Love Inspired Suspense, Narrow Escape , is now available! Here’s the back cover blurb: KIDNAPPED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT Arissa Tiong and her three-year-old niece are snatched off the street by members of a notorious drug gang. Having lost her police officer brother to a drug bust gone bad, Arissa knows the danger she's in. But she has no idea why they want her. Desperate to protect the little girl, Arissa escapes and runs straight to Nathan Fischer. She knows the handsome, weary former narcotics cop hasn't told her everything about the night that ended her brother's life and Nathan's career. But he's all that stands between her and dangerous thugs who are after something she doesn't even know she has. This is the 4th book in my Sonoma series , but each book is stand-alone. The hero is Nathan Fischer, who had a minor role in the 3rd book, Stalker in the Shadows . To celebrate, I’m giving away 10 copies of Narrow Escape ! Her

Keriah’s Pyrennees Shawl knitting pattern w/ @knitpicks Palette

Why I knit this shawl: I wanted to knit the sunset-colored shawl Keriah was wearing in chapter 5 of my book, Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 2: Berserker , so I looked for an antique pattern that might have been used during the Regency era. This one caught my eye, even though it was published in a knitting book a few decades later than the Regency era. The Spider-Net border pattern was most definitely in use in the Regency period, but it’s also remotely possible that the Alice-Maud stitch and the lacy border stitch patterns were also in use during the Regency, being passed on from knitter to knitter via hand-written receipts, by verbal instruction, or with knitted sampler squares (like how many Shetland lace patterns and Bavarian cable patterns were shared). My/Keriah’s version of this shawl would have been lacy but warm because it is knit with fingering yarn on small needles. Since Keriah was cold, I think she would have grabbed this shawl rather than something more elegant and airy.

Phoebe’s Muffatees knitting pattern

In Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer , Phoebe wears a pair of lace muffatees, or gauntlets/arm-warmers that hide a rather deadly surprise. :) I actually got the idea of having her wear muffatees because I saw a lace manchette pattern in Miss Watts’ Ladies’ Knitting and Netting Book , published in 1840, page 20. However, after doing some research, I found that they were called muffatees in the Regency era, and the term manchette did not arise until a few years later. They were essentially arm-warmers worn under those long sleeves on day dresses, which were usually made of muslin too thin to be very warm. I decided to knit Phoebe’s muffatees using a Leaf Pattern originally suggested for a purse in Mrs. Gaugain’s book, The Lady’s Assistant, volume 1, 5th edition published in 1842, pages 234-237. I think there was an error and row 36 in the original pattern was duplicated erroneously, so I have adjusted the pattern. The original manchette pattern called for “fine” needles a

New contest!

I haven’t had a contest since October! Here’s new one just in time for Christmas. I’m picking 3 winners to each be able to choose 10 books from my Christian book list! And yes, that list includes my books! 1) You get one entry into the contest when you sign up for my email newsletter at . If you already belong to my email newsletter, let me know! 2) You get a second entry into the contest if you Like my Facebook page: . If you already Like my Facebook page, let me know! 3) You get a third entry into the contest if you join my Goodreads group: . If you already belong to my Goodreads group, let me know! 4) You get a fourth entry into the contest if you follow me on Twitter: . If you already follow me on Twitter, let me know! 5) You get extra entries into the contest if you get someone else to join my email newsletter. Just email camy {at] c

Toilet seat cover

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Update August 2008: I wrote up the pattern for this with "improvements"! Here's the link to my No Cold Bums toilet seat cover ! Okay, remember a few days ago I was complaining about the cold toilet seat in my bathroom? Well, I decided to knit a seat cover. Not a lid cover, but a seat cover. I went online and couldn’t find anything for the seat, just one pattern for the lid by . However, I took her pattern for the inside edge of the lid cover and modified it to make a seat cover. Here it is! It’s really ugly stitch-wise because originally I made it too small and had to extend it a couple inches on each side. I figured I’d be the one staring at it, so who cared if the extension wasn’t perfectly invisible? I used acrylic yarn since, well, that’s what I had, and also because it’s easy to wash. I’ll probably have to wash this cover every week or so, but it’s easy to take off—I made ties which you can see near the back of the seat. And

Year of the Dog serial novel

About Year of the Dog : A month or two ago, I remembered an old manuscript I had completed but which hadn’t sold. It was a contemporary romance meant for Zondervan, titled Year of the Dog . The book had gone into the pipeline and I even got another title ( Bad Dog ) and a cover for it, but eventually my editor at the time decided she didn’t want to publish it, for various reasons. She instead requested a romantic suspense, and so I cannibalized some of the characters from Year of the Dog and thrust them into the next book I wrote, which was Protection for Hire . Honestly, I didn’t take a lot from Year of the Dog to put in Protection for Hire , aside from character names and a few relationship ties. I was originally thinking I’d post Year of the Dog as-is on my blog as a free read, but then it occurred to me that I could revamp it into a romantic suspense and change the setting to Hawaii. It would work out perfectly as (yet another) prequel to the Warubozu series and introduc

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 13

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Mari Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Auntie Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri

Chinese Take-Out and Sushi for One

Captain’s Log, Supplemental My agent sent me an article from Publisher’s Weekly that discussed this incident: Chinese Take-Out Spawns Christian Controversy And here’s also a blog post that talks about it in more detail: The Fighting 44s This is Soong-Chan Rah’s blog: The PCS blog In sum: Apparently Zondervan (yes, my publisher), who has partnered with Youth Specialties, had put out a youth leaders skit that had stereotypical Asian dialogue, which offended many Christian Asian Americans. In response to the outcry, Zondervan/Youth Specialities put out a sincere apology and is not only freezing the remaining stock of the book, but also reprinting it and replacing the copies people have already bought. I am very proud of my publisher for how they have handled this situation. The skit writers have also issued a public apology . (I feel sorry for them, because they were only trying to write a funny skit, not stir up this maelstrom of internet controversy. I’ve been in youth work long enou