Deceived

 

Deceived brings history to life in a suspenseful, contemporary tale that sends the protagonists on a research trip to a past close to their hearts. Barcelona’s debut book brings an excellent author to the fore; the intrigue blends beautifully with the romance.  – Heather Graham, New York Times Bestselling Author

Deceived ExcerptReviewsBook Club Questions

Deceived Excerpt


Wednesday, June 29 | New Orleans, Louisiana

Young mothers don’t deserve to die as collateral damage for the misdeeds of others. He shook off the random thought, blaming it on his fatigue and the mind-game that it played. He couldn’t afford to dwell on the tragic circumstances of what he was about to do. Lisa Smithfield, a graduate student who happened to be the single mother of a two-month old baby, was a gateway to freedom, which would come through the emotional destruction of others and also result in financial gain for him. By the fourth day of July, the lives of four women would end. Lisa Smithfield was first. Then he’d move on to the next three, the ones who really mattered. No one who needed to die bore responsibility for that necessity. They were simply the best pawns he ...

Wednesday, June 29 | New Orleans, Louisiana

Young mothers don’t deserve to die as collateral damage for the misdeeds of others. He shook off the random thought, blaming it on his fatigue and the mind-game that it played. He couldn’t afford to dwell on the tragic circumstances of what he was about to do. Lisa Smithfield, a graduate student who happened to be the single mother of a two-month old baby, was a gateway to freedom, which would come through the emotional destruction of others and also result in financial gain for him. By the fourth day of July, the lives of four women would end. Lisa Smithfield was first. Then he’d move on to the next three, the ones who really mattered. No one who needed to die bore responsibility for that necessity. They were simply the best pawns he had to play.

The 2800 block of Melody, a narrow, one-way street with potholes, had broken lights and sagging power lines. A few blocks away, the manicured grounds and stately buildings of Tulane University gave way to mansions. In the opposite direction, equally close, were slums. On Melody, abandoned homes sat amidst wood-frame doubles and cottages, where lights shone from within. Despite the dumpiness, a beautiful essence from sweet-olive trees infused the night’s moist air.

No humans were in sight.

Brilliant lightning etched the dark sky into a sizzling and ever-changing canvas, signaling a thunderstorm’s approach. Surveillance had indicated that Lisa worked on campus on weeknights in the student-faculty office. She left the office at ten, and she normally ran a few minutes late. He waited for her behind a hedge. Soft-soled shoes padded on the sidewalk. She walked past him without noticing he was there. The small bit of baby weight that remained on Lisa made the blue-eyed student even prettier. She juggled her backpack while searching her purse for keys, oblivious even as he walked towards her.

He gripped her ponytail with a gloved hand and wound it tight around his wrist. Before her sharp intake of breath could become a scream, he placed his pistol flush against her temple and braced for recoil. The silencer muted the noise. Particles of flesh, blood, and bone flew back, away from him. She fell against her car, then slid to the grass between the street and the sidewalk. He picked up her keys, then took her purse and her book bag. Lightning flashed as he drove away in his car. Two seconds later, thunder broke.


Deceived Reviews


Deceived will have you working up a sweat as you unravel a mystery, follow some interesting plot twists, and revel in a steamy romance.

– Tangi Lifestyles Magazine

“Stella Barcelona’s stunning debut, Deceived, has it all. Mystery-check. Action-check. Romance-check. A heart pounding must read.” – Cherry Adair, New York Times Bestselling Author

“A weaver of words, Ms. Barcelona creates a story that draws you in from page one, keeps you on the edge of your seat, and leaves you wanting more. The plot is original and the research and historical facts make Deceived an excellent and intriguing read. Not only the main characters, but the supporting characters as well, are interesting, believable, and loveable. . . . Deceived is a fast paced, heartwarming, maddening, and enjoyable book all rolled up into one terrific package!” – InD’Tale Magazine

“Barcelona has written a ...

Deceived will have you working up a sweat as you unravel a mystery, follow some interesting plot twists, and revel in a steamy romance.

– Tangi Lifestyles Magazine

“Stella Barcelona’s stunning debut, Deceived, has it all. Mystery-check. Action-check. Romance-check. A heart pounding must read.” – Cherry Adair, New York Times Bestselling Author

“A weaver of words, Ms. Barcelona creates a story that draws you in from page one, keeps you on the edge of your seat, and leaves you wanting more. The plot is original and the research and historical facts make Deceived an excellent and intriguing read. Not only the main characters, but the supporting characters as well, are interesting, believable, and loveable. . . . Deceived is a fast paced, heartwarming, maddening, and enjoyable book all rolled up into one terrific package!” – InD’Tale Magazine

“Barcelona has written a story that grabs you from the beginning and sucks you right in.” – The Reading Café, Review Blog

“Deceived brings history to life in a suspenseful, contemporary tale that sends the protagonists on a research trip to a past close to their hearts. Barcelona’s debut book brings an excellent author to the fore; the intrigue blends beautifully with the romance.”– Heather Graham, New York Times Bestselling Author

“The weather may be chilly outside, but a few lines into local author Stella Barcelona’s debut novel, Deceived, will have you working up a sweat as you unravel a mystery, follow some interesting plot twists, and revel in a steamy romance.” – Tangi Lifestyles Magazine

“Must read for romantic suspense lovers.” – BCWAB, Review Blog

“Finally – Someone gets New Orleans right!” – La. Family Historian, Amazon Review

“2 A.M. page tuner. . . . A great ‘history mystery’ that doesn’t get bogged down in details.” – S. Harris, Amazon Review

“If you enjoy a little suspense and intrigue with your romance, I would definitely add Deceived to your reading list. Stella Barcelona is a great new voice in romantic suspense!” – Smart and Savvy with Stephanie, Review Blog


Deceived Book Club Discussion Questions


  1. Was the author’s portrayal of New Orleans in Deceived consistent with your vision of the city? Were any of the settings in New Orleans familiar to you?
  2. Are there places in the novel that you would like to visit?
  3. Deceived blends romance and suspense, with a fictional historical mystery that is solved in the present day. Did one aspect of the story appeal to you more than the others?
  4. The story is told from the point of view of three main characters: Brandon Morrissey, Taylor ...

  1. Was the author’s portrayal of New Orleans in Deceived consistent with your vision of the city? Were any of the settings in New Orleans familiar to you?
  2. Are there places in the novel that you would like to visit?
  3. Deceived blends romance and suspense, with a fictional historical mystery that is solved in the present day. Did one aspect of the story appeal to you more than the others?
  4. The story is told from the point of view of three main characters: Brandon Morrissey, Taylor Bartholomew, and the villain. How did the varying points of view affect how the story was told? Do you like when authors use more than one point of view to tell a story?
  5. Why do you think the author included Carolyn in the story?
  6. Brandon was initially annoyed by Taylor’s incessant questions, but it was a quality he grew to love about her. Have you ever disliked something about someone that you grew to love?
  7. Why do you think the author chose Deceived as the title? Can you name the characters who were deceived?
  8. A) What do you think about Brandon telling Taylor:
    “You don’t look brilliant. You’re too damn gorgeous and put together, in a stylish way. You look like you care more about the latest fashion than anything serious.”
    Have you ever been told, or have you told, someone something similar?
    B) Brandon follows the comment in 8(A) with:
    “Don’t get mad. Use it to your advantage. Look so good that you dazzle them, then kick them in the balls when they’re not looking. I don’t know how many juries you’ve been before, but I’d bet money that your track record is going to be a winning one.”
    What do you think about this comment? Do you believe it is a realistic assessment that a seasoned lawyer such as Brandon would make to another lawyer?
  9. Have you ever visited a museum that focuses on World War II history? Where was the museum? Did you enjoy it? Have you been to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans? What did you think of it?
  10. If you could rewrite the ending of Deceived, what would you change?
  11. In a movie version, who should play Taylor and Brandon? The villain?
  12. What three words would you use to describe Deceived?