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Amber Beach (Donovans Series #1)

Amber Beach (Donovans Series #1)

4.3 57
by Elizabeth Lowell

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Honor Donovan is a shrewd businesswoman, yet she has been shut out of Donovan International by her father and four brothers. When her favorite brother Kyle vanishes, along with a fortune in stolen amber, Honor's questions are ignored by the Donovan males. Defying them, she heads to the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest in search of answers.

Honor needs a


Honor Donovan is a shrewd businesswoman, yet she has been shut out of Donovan International by her father and four brothers. When her favorite brother Kyle vanishes, along with a fortune in stolen amber, Honor's questions are ignored by the Donovan males. Defying them, she heads to the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest in search of answers.

Honor needs a guide because she knows nothing about running a boat -- and she knows nothing about Jake Mallory until he answers her ad. One of the things she doesn't know is that Jake is much more than a fishing guide. Until Kyle disappeared, Jake was brokering amber deals in the Baltic for Donovan International. Honor is completely unaware of the old wars, new politics, greed, and stolen amber that have lured ruthless, high-stakes players from around the globe.

Jake wants no part of the intrigue, or of a Donovan woman in his life, but he suspects the Donovans have set him up to take the fall for Kyle's treachery. The way Jake sees it, some Donovan is going to pay for his troubles, and it just may turn out to be Honor

Jake and Honor cast off on a journeys moldering with distrust, betrayal, vengeance... and temptation. A hunger grows between them that is as dangerous as the secrets they keep. Alone at sea, they pursue the stubborn mystery of the Amber Room, flee from relentless enemies, and fight against trusting each other. Yet when Honor and Jake dare to confide in one another, they face a final truth: the penalty for betrayal is death; the reward is a lifetime...together.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A wild-goose chase for the legendary Amber Rooma collection of 18th-century Russian artifacts that vanished after WWII provides the backdrop for Lowell's (Winter Fire) fun but forgettable contemporary romantic thriller. Gem trader and suspected murderer Kyle Donovan is missing, along with a panel rumored to have been part of the Amber Room, and officials from Russia, Lithuania and the U.S. are hot on his trail. His sister Honor, a sassy, naive jewelry designer, is determined to find Kyle first and prove that her brother is neither a thief nor a killer. When Honor hires one J. Jacob Mallory to teach her how to 'fish' the Puget Sound, he pretends not to know that she actually wants to learn how to pilot her brother's boat well enough to search for Kyle on the surrounding islands. And Honor is clueless that hunky Jake is her brother's business associate, who is suspected of conspiring to appropriate the stolen amber. Constant bickering doesn't stave off their mutual attraction, and they end up in the sack only hours before Honor realizes she's been duped. Meanwhile, a busload of incidental international players has arrived at the scene, complicating the already convoluted political intrigue. Still, the moderately paced plot, solid main characters and an up-to-the-minute premise fortify a satisfactory, if unexceptional, romance.
Kirkus Reviews
A well-made, completely predictable and unchallenging second hardcover from Lowell (Winter Fire, 1996)—a romance that offers all the sexual tension, adventure, and squishy clichés that fans of the genre could possibly want.

Tough Jake Mallory (Jake being this year's romance-novel nom de choice for soldiers of fortune and macho men) passes himself off as a fishing guide in order to keep tabs on Honor Donovan, a jewelry designer who's searching for her lost brother Kyle in the San Juan Islands. (Honor needs a boat to find Kyle, and she doesn't know how to pilot a boat; in fact, she hates boats, and she hates fishing.) Kyle, it seems, has disappeared from Russia with a million dollars' worth of Baltic amber and, perhaps, a priceless panel from the famous Amber Room, which had been disassembled and taken from a czar's palace by the Nazis. Jake ("Been there . . . done that . . . got the T shirt") is a former government agent who now manages his own international investment company. Like most heroes of his ilk, he comes complete with scars, black stubble, and the requisite "clean fingernails" (which is typical for the genre: only villains have problems with personal hygiene). Jake believes that Kyle and the Donovans, a colorful family, have framed him for the crime; Kyle's family believes that Jake has set Kyle up; and the CIA is trailing Jake and Honor to get its hands on the Amber Room, as are the Russian mafiya, a Lithuanian freedom fighter, ex-employees of the former KGB, and the Coast Guard. While he strives to clear his name, Jake teaches Honor how to drive a speedboat, catch salmon, and have good sex, which heretofore she'd always found pretty "boring." Some parts of his job are, obviously, more fun than others.

Much livelier than Winter Fire, and perhaps the beginning of a series.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Donovans Series , #1
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2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Honor Donovan took one look and knew the man was trouble. On the other hand, she was already in the kind of trouble even tier family's company, Donovan International, couldn't handle.

"if you're from the police, shut the door on your way out," she said. "if you're a reporter, go to hell."

"Been there. Done that."

"You have the T-shirt to prove it?"

He reached for the buttons on his stained denim jacket.

"Never mind," she said quickly. "Are you a reporter?"

"No. I'm a fishing guide,"


You are the Ms. Honor Donovan who advertised for a person with expertise in Pacific Northwest waters in general and SeaSport boats in particular'?"

She sighed and accepted the inevitable. The big man with the black beard stubble, light eyes, scatted left eye- brow, and clean fingernails hadn't wandered by accident into her missing brother's Puget Sound cottage. Despite this man's less-than-cozy looks, her instincts said he was a better candidate than the others who had come looking for the job.

One of the men had been a cop trying to pass for a fisherman. Another was a recent immigrant whose English defied understanding. A third man was convinced she really wanted the body he was so proud of. The fourth man's English was good, but his eyes had made her think of things that lived in swamps.

It had been three days since anyone else had applied for the job. She was going nuts counting minutes and waiting for Kyle to appear suddenly in the doorway with his crooked grin and a good explanation of why the cops thought he had stolen a million bucks in amber. She refused to consider any other reason forhis disappearance, especially the one that kept her from sleeping, the one that made her throat close around tears she wouldn't cry.

Kyle had to be alive. He just had to be.

"Miss Donovan?"

Belatedly Honor realized that the most recent applicant was still waiting for her to say that she was indeed the one who had posted ads all over the small town of Anacortes.

"I'm the one," she said.

"You took the words right out of my mouth."

She looked at his mouth and knew how Little Red Riding Hood felt when she first saw "grandmother's" teeth.

"Excuse me?" she asked.

"Your ad could have been written with me in mind," he explained

"Do you have references?"

"Driver's license? Fishing license? Boat handier's ticket? Tetanus shot?"

"How about rabies?"

The retort popped out before Honor could think better of it. It came front a lifetime of dealing with big brothers.

"Sorry, Mr.


"Mr. Mallory."

"Try Jake. Saves time."

"Um, Jake. I meant references given by people you worked for in the past."

"You don't know much about fishing guides, do you?"

"If I did, I wouldn't have to hire one, would I?"

He smiled.

She thought of poor Little Red. "You should work on that smile. It really isn't reassuring."

Jake tried to look downcast. It wasn't any more convincing than his smile.

"If your hands are half as quick as your tongue," he said, "I'll make a fisherman out of you in no time."


"Ain't no such animal."

"Fishersan, then."


"Man and woman both end in an. Do you want the job?"

"Fishersan," he said, rolling the word around on his tongue. "Yeah, I want the job. We'll be the only fishersen on the water."

This time Jake's smile was slow, warm, amused, and something more. It reminded Honor that she was a woman as well as the seared younger sister of a missing man. She looked down at her hands and cleared her throat.

"Fishersen?" she asked, distracted. "Oh, I get it. En. Plural. Men and women. You're pretty quick yourself. When can you start?"

"Do you have a fishing license?"


"Then we can't start yet. Too bad. The sun is out. The wind isn't- Slack tide in a few hours. It doesn't get any better than this in the San Juan Islands."

"What would we be fishing for?"

"Whatever we catch. Less disappointment that way."

"Is that your life philosophy?"

"Only after I grew up."

She lifted her head and looked at him intently.

"What's the matter?" Jake asked. "Are my ears on backwards?"

"I was just trying to imagine you as a child in need of growing up."

"Funny. I have no problem imagining you that way. Can you swim?"

"Like a fish."

"Considering my profession and all, you might want to rethink that description."

"You have a point."

"It's on the business end of the hook. First lesson of fishing."

Ambushed by Jake's slow, unexpected smile and deadpan humor, Honor laughed almost helplessly. Then she had to fight tears that were burning behind her eyes.

In the past few weeks she had been through too many sleepless nights. That was why after only two minutes with Jake Mallory she felt like she had been hit by a truck. His particular combination of rough edges, male warmth, and wry intelligence would have appealed to her under any circumstances. Right now, when her defenses were down and her emotions were all over the place, he was lethally attractive to her.

Bad choice of words, she thought. Really bad If she started thinking about death she would cloud up and rain all over Kyle's messy desk,

Blinking hard, Honor stared through one of the cottage's many small windows. Beyond the panes of glass, fit trees swept down rocky slopes to the cold blue-green waters of Puget Sound. Amber Beach was a strip of tawny sand ringed by dark rocks and stranded logs bleached pale by the sea. Kyle's twenty-seven-foot powerboat gleamed whitely next to the floating dock he had built. He had named the boat Tomorrow, because he rarely had time to go fishing today.

Amber Beach. Copyright © by Elizabeth Lowell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

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Elizabeth Lowell is a law unto herself.
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I'll buy any book with Elizabeth Lowell's name on it.

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell has more than eighty titles published to date with over twenty-four million copies of her books in print. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, with whom she writes novels under a pseudonym. Her favorite activity is exploring the Western United States to find the landscapes that speak to her soul and inspire her writing.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
April 5, 1944
Place of Birth:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
B. A., University of California, 1966

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Amber Beach 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I especially loved the part when Jake told Archer off...not many people would! I really wish Ms Lowell would finish the Donovan series by writing about Justin and Lawe and 'let us catch up on the other faimily members and thier kids'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lowell stands out in this book with a lot of snappy dialogue. In this as well as the other Donovan books (Jade Island, Pearl Cove and Midnight at Ruby Bayou) detailed research on precious gems and materials adds a lot of interest for me. She also has research fun with Tell Me No Lies (gold and art forgery) and Death is Forever - I think that is the name of her diamond book, but she tends to rename them like Whirlpool was some other title before; Faberge eggs and forgery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this first and for many times after in paperback and could NEVER get the family of characters out of my mind. I read the above review by a professional and thought it was unfair. I bought the entire series in paperback, and as they where lost I'm adding them to my Nook library. Love love love Jake and all the characters good and bad in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The storyline includes historical facts about Lithuania, the gemstone "Amber", and, surprisingly, a great deal about the complexities of boating. I found it fascinating, even the tidbits about the "Xmas tree" lights on a tug boat's mast and their meaning. The vivid descriptions of the ocean waters (pleasure vs. danger), the USCG boardings, currents & tides, and even the how-and-why-steps to starting the boat engines were unexpectedly exciting, providing a easily imagined hands-on experience. Some of the Russian characters and background information from Czars to communism to decline was easily associated with current events. The explanation of the many varieties of Amber and the determining tests for value and authenticity were conversational yet explicit and never dry or dull. The male/female activity is somewhat typical but the two main characters are similar to Bogart/Bacall, therefore multi-faceted, never shallow or boring. I recommend this book as a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The characters were likeable.This thriller was a real potboiler with plenty of sexual tension and intrigue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
((Its ok)) i smile at u hello i snort softly in your ear glad to see u awake
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
((Hi back and me to i like night better than mornings)) i bend down and nip your throat lightly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U must've went to bed so ttyt gn)) groan and start to pump slowly gding my hooves agisnst your azz
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Penguinlady1 More than 1 year ago
I am not a reader of romance novels in general and I love these books!! They have adventure and danger along with the romance, which breaks it up nicely.   Also, I love gemstones and I think it's fabulous how much research is in each book about that particular gemstone. I, too, would love to read more about the Donovan clan in future books.
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Like this author
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Highly Recommended
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CLMCD More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the whole series.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first of the Donovan stories, this one picks up with Kyle's mysterious disappearance along with a million dollars in missing Russian amber. It offers a mix of colorful characters, including "CIA" type government special agents, ex-KGB, Russian mafia, and Lithuanian separatists. Set in Seattle, it focuses on Honor, the younger sister who hires Jay/Jake Mallory, to operate Kyle's boat and aid in her search, despite her other brothers' objections. Jake has his own reasons for wanting to find Kyle. The right mix of witty dialogue, developing romance, misunderstandings, trust relationship issues, and encyclopedic details about amber and hazards of boating in the San Juan Islands, it makes a great rainy day afternoon read.
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