Amber Beach (Donovans Series #1)

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Overview

Deadly secrets are buried on Amber Beach ...

Donovan International is a power to be reckoned with in the dazzling and cutthroat worldwide gem trade -- and is therefore a target for the murderous greed of unscrupulous competitors. Though a shrewd businesswoman, Honor Donovan has been effectively shut out of the dangerous family enterprise by the Donovan males -- until her favorite brother, Kyle, mysteriously vanishes along with a fortune in ...

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Overview

Deadly secrets are buried on Amber Beach ...

Donovan International is a power to be reckoned with in the dazzling and cutthroat worldwide gem trade -- and is therefore a target for the murderous greed of unscrupulous competitors. Though a shrewd businesswoman, Honor Donovan has been effectively shut out of the dangerous family enterprise by the Donovan males -- until her favorite brother, Kyle, mysteriously vanishes along with a fortune in stolen amber.

Now, linking up with "fishing guide" Jake Mallory -- whose previous association with the Donovans has bred mistrust and suspicion -- Honor sets out for the Pacific Northwest in search of answers. But old wars and new politics have lured ruthless, high-stakes players from around the globe into a deadly game. And suddenly, elusive trust can be the only salvation -- and death the penalty for deceit -- if Honor and Jake hope to survive the perilous intrigues surrounding a breathtaking lost Czarist treasure known as the Amber Room ...

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380775842
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/2/1998
  • Series: Donovans Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 190,946
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Lowell

Elizabeth Lowell's exciting novels of romantic suspense include the New York Times bestsellers Dangerous Refuge, Beautiful Sacrifice, Death Echo, The Wrong Hostage, Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove, and Midnight in Ruby Bayou. She has also written New York Times bestselling historical series set in the American West and medieval Britain. She has more than 80 titles published to date, with more than 24 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.

Las aclamadas novelas de suspenso de la autora Elizabeth Lowell incluyen varios bestsellers en la New York Times. Lowell ha vendido más de treinta millones de ejemplares. Vive con su esposo en Seattle, Washington y Sedona, Arizona, con quien escribe novelas de misterio bajo un seudónimo.

Biography

Extensive and versatile, Elizabeth Lowell's résumé of titles (in almost every genre) is as long as the list of her various pen names. She's written science fiction, mystery and romance. She's also penned historical fiction and collaborated on a movie novelization. So prolific is Lowell that she and her husband, Evan Maxwell, have had to create a whole raft of pseudonyms for her books.

Her earliest work, from the 1970s, is science fiction and is written under her actual name, Ann Maxwell. The romances she and her husband began writing together in the early '90s are under the same name, because their publisher wanted a female author’s name on the cover. Their Southern California mystery series featuring the divorced lovers Fiddler and Fiora are written under A. E. Maxwell (Ann and Evan), while their joint novelization of the 1992 Val Kilmer movie Thunderheart is under the name Lowell Charters (his middle name and her maiden name.)

Her biggest solo success, the romance novels that have taken her repeatedly to The New York Times bestseller list, are credited to Elizabeth Lowell -- a combination of the couple’s middle names.

Lowell’s romances are noted for their sass and, of course, their sex. But her characterizations, particularly, draw high marks. "Elizabeth Lowell's talent is enormous," wrote The Romance Reader in its review of 1984's Forget Me Not. "She has made a well-deserved name for herself by crafting likable, plucky heroines and enigmatic but intelligent heroes." And, in 1996 the Chicago Tribune wrote, "The protagonist she has chosen for her hardcover debut, Winter Fire could give a Navy SEAL lessons in survival."

Lowell embarked on a popular series in 1997 with the publication of Amber Beach, which introduced readers to the Donovan family, titans in the menacing world of precious gemstones who must dodge murderers, thieves, and power-hungry governments to protect their business. Of the first in the series, Kirkus Reviews wrote, "A romance that offers all the sexual tension, adventure and squishy clichés that fans of the genre could possibly want."

When Lowell was getting started as sci-fi writer Ann Maxwell, she was writing on legal pads while caring for her two young children. Evan was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, covering international crime. In the early 1980s, after he had already collaborated on three mystery novels with Lowell, Maxwell decided to quit daily journalism and write fiction full-time.

The couple has since become a cottage industry of genre fiction operating out of their Seattle-area home. They collaborate on some projects, go solo on others. Lowell has described a seven-day-a week work packed with deadlines, an organized effort that starts out with book outlines that typically take about a month to draft as well as character sketches. Then the writing begins.

"My fiction deals with problems of strength rather than problems of weakness," she told Contemporary Authors. There is no appeal or purpose for me in reading -- or writing -- fiction that portrays incessant, excruciating, and pointless pain in the lives of characters."

Good To Know

Readers are surprised to find out that the books Lowell writes with her husband are true collaborations. "In fact, a lot of people, once they know, say, 'Oh, I know who did this in the book, and I know who did this,' and they're almost invariably wrong," she told the Los Angeles Times.

Two of the most intriguing time periods for Lowell are medieval England and the post-Civil War period in the American West. "In both cases it was a time of expanded possibilities for individuals, regardless of birth or heritage, to create a better life and, ultimately, a better world, from chaos," she told Contemporary Authors.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ann Maxwell; A .E. Maxwell; Annalise Sun; Lowell Charters
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 5, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      B. A., University of California, 1966

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,"

"Piranha?"

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.

"Mallory."

"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."

"Fisherwoman."

"Ain't no such animal."

"Fishersan, then."

"Fishersan?"

"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?"

"No."

"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.
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Table of Contents

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First Chapter



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 her 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."

"Piranha?"

"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, scarred left eyebrow, 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 for his 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 handler's ticket? Tetanus shot?"

"How about rabies?"

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

"Sorry, Mr...."

"Mallory."

"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."

"Fisherwoman."

"Ain't no such animal."

"Fishersan, then."

"Fishersan?"

"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 scared 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?"

"No."

"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, fir 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.

Now Honor was afraid he might never have time.

She cleared her throat, rallied her thoughts, and said huskily, "The business end of a hook. Sharp. I'll keep it in mind."

"Better in your mind than in your thumb. How soon can you get the license?"

"Fishing?"

"Yeah."

"Any time, I guess. Where do I get it?"

"Anywhere they sell fishing gear."

"Fishing ..." Slimy, slippery, smelly, disgusting fish. She sighed. "I can hardly wait."

Jake's eyes narrowed until little more than gleaming slits of gray showed between black eyelashes. He didn't know what he had expected of Kyle Donovan's sister. He only knew that it wasn't Honor.

"You should work on your enthusiasm," he said.

"I've had a rough month, as you probably know if you read the newspapers."

"Losing a husband--" Jake began, as though he didn't know who Honor was.

"Brother," she corrected.

"Brother, huh?"

"And he's not lost. Not really."

"A brother who isn't lost, not really. Is that why the police are expecting him to turn up here?"

"What do you mean?"

Jake shrugged and thought fast. It was something he was good at. Most survivors were. His first thought wasn't comforting: if the lady with the sad, sexy mouth, stubborn chin, and baggy black sweat suit hadn't noticed the plainclothes cop hanging around the turnoff to the cottage, she was either too stupid or too innocent for whatever game Kyle was playing.

Or had been playing. Missing could be another way of saying dead.

"The name on the mailbox is Kyle Donovan," Jake said. "He's the one who has gone missing, right?"

Honor nodded. The motion sent sunlight gliding through her short chestnut hair. Her unusual amber-green eyes gleamed with the same tears Jake had heard in her voice. He shook his head slightly. She looked much too vulnerable to be the sister of a liar, a thief, and a murderer.

But then, life had taught Jake that looks were a lousy index of character. Actions were what counted. Honor was a Donovan aiding and abetting another Donovan. She might look as sweet as a Girl Scout selling cookies, but when she advertised for a fishing guide, she had declared her entry into an international treasure hunt whose only rule was winner take all.

Jake intended to be the winner.

"You can tell me all about your problems while you show me the boat," he said.

"That's not necessary. I'm looking for a fishing guide, not a father confessor."

"All part of the service," he said, turning away. "Like bartending."

"Don't you want to discuss salary?"

"A hundred dollars a day."

"That's not a discussion."

He turned back toward her. "Two hundred."

"A hundred it is."

"Sold. Let's go look at the boat."

Wondering if she had made a mistake, Honor shoved back from her brother's desk. The sudden movement jarred one of the many small cardboard boxes scattered across the surface. One box skidded over papers and fell off the edge. A hunk of rich, transparent yellow leaped out of the cardboard, heading for a crash landing on the bare floor.

No sooner had she realized what was going to happen than Jake moved.

Nothing hit the floor.

"My God, you're quick," she said, startled. "Thank you. Kyle told me that amber can shatter like glass."

Jake didn't need Honor's words to know that he was holding amber. Nothing else on earth had quite the same warm, weightless, satiny feel. He shifted the piece into a shaft of sunlight coming through a window and let the light play through the golden resin. Unless he was mistaken--not likely--he was holding an exceptionally fine chunk of Baltic amber.

"That's part of a shipment my sister and I just received," Honor said. "I've never worked with amber before, but it's really fascinating. So old, so enduring, yet so exquisitely fragile."

Jake gave her a sideways look. "Are you a dealer?"

"No. A designer. The Donovan males wouldn't let mere females go out in the big, bad world and buy rough gems."

"Smart of them."

"That's a matter of opinion."

"Your brother didn't go missing in Disneyland."

Honor's mouth flattened.

The phone rang. She reached for it with a sense of relief. If another reporter was calling, she would enjoy slamming the receiver down in his ear.

"Donovan residence."

"Hi, Honor. How's it going?"

Her oldest brother's deep, impatient voice came through the receiver as though pushed through wet sand.

"You sound like you're on another planet," she said.

"Petropavlosk/Koryak Autonomous Region."

"Say again?"

"Eastern Russia to folks who don't live here. The Kamchatka Peninsula."

Honor's hand tightened as she tried to keep hope or dread from thickening her voice. "Have you found Kyle?" she asked starkly.

"No."

"Neither have the police."

"The police! Did you call them after I told you not--"

"I didn't have to call anyone," she interrupted. "For the last three days cops have been all over Kyle's cottage like a bad smell. What's going on?"

Static filled the line. She could almost hear Archer thinking fast and hard.

"What did they want?" he asked.

"Like you, they don't answer questions, just ask them."

"What questions?"

"Who am I, what am I doing here, when was the last time I saw Kyle, when was the last time I heard from him, have I received any packages--"

Very carefully, Jake put the piece of amber back in the box and set it on the desk.

"--do I know a man with two fingers missing on his left hand and Third World dental work--" Honor said as though reciting a lesson.

Jake wished he could swear aloud. Every word she said told him more than he wanted to know about Kyle and Honor and amber ... and not nearly enough. Either she was a hell of an actress hiding knowledge of where Kyle had stashed the amber or she was an innocent sucked into a game only pros should play.

He hoped she was an actress. But whether innocent or as guilty as her brother, Honor still was Jake's only chance of finding the missing amber.

"--am I sure I haven't seen or heard from Kyle," she continued in a monotone, "when did he come back, why didn't he contact me when he landed in Seattle--"

"What?" Archer demanded. "When did Kyle--?"

"Ask the cops," she interrupted curtly. "It's their story, not mine. I haven't seen hide nor hair of Kyle. Reading between the lines, his passport came through SeaTac. Presumably with him."

Her brother let out his breath in a string of Afghani curses.

"I'm sure I would agree if I spoke the language," she said. "What's going on?"

"Have you checked Kyle's post office box?"

Her fingers clenched around the phone. "I repeat. What is going on?"

"What about his answering machine?"

Silence and static gathered.

As always, Archer outwaited his younger sister.

"Yes and yes," she said through her teeth.

"And?"

"No and no."

"Keep trying."

"It would help if I knew what I was looking for."

"Your brother. You remember him, don't you? Kyle of the charming smile and strange eyes."

"Don't forget the stolen amber," she retorted.

"What?"

"Stolen. Amber. Am I ringing any bells?"

"I'd ring your bell if I could get my hands on you. What kind of amber?"

"Ask the cops."

"That was all they said?" Archer asked. "Stolen amber?"

"Yes."

"Raw or worked?"

"They didn't say. What was in the shipment that disappeared along with Kyle?"

"Who said anything about a shipment of amber disappearing?"

"The cops."

Archer grunted. "Not good. Someone is telling tales out of school."

"Don't look at me. You haven't told me anything except to come here and wait. Is it true?"

"What?"

"Did Kyle disappear along with a fortune in stolen Baltic amber?"

"I don't know. Is that what the cops are saying?"

"Implying," she said distinctly. "There's a difference. The difference between being questioned and being charged. What about Lawe? Where is he?"

"Last I heard, he was still in Lithuania."

"What about Justin?"

"Kaliningrad," Archer said. "Is Faith with you?"

"No. She's on her way back to San Francisco from Tokyo. She's going to spend a few weeks in Hawaii along the way."

"For these small things, Lord, I am grateful."

"What does that mean?"

"It means that you and your dear twin get into more trouble together than apart.'

"The same could be said of Lawe and Justin," she pointed out. "But look on the bright side."

"Show it to me."

"Mom could have had three girls. Faith, Honor, and Chastity. Can you imagine being saddled with a sister called Chastity?"

Her brother laughed, surprising both of them. "Thanks, I needed that."

"What?"

"A laugh."

Honor's smile was as sad as her eyes. "Archer?"

"Yeah?"

"You think he's still alive, don't you?"

The static had never sounded more unnerving. She held her breath, waiting.

"Until I see the body ..." Archer's voice faded.

"Yes." She took a harsh breath. "Kyle isn't a thief or a murderer!"

Silence stretched. A chill went over Honor.

"Archer?"

"Kyle was thinking with his hormones."

"What does that mean?"

"Some little prick tease had him tied up in knots."

"Are you saying that Kyle wanted this woman enough to steal for her?" Honor asked.

Eyes closed, breath held, she waited for Archer's answer. All that came was silence followed by static. After too long her brother swore wearily, drowning out the static. In her mind she saw him raking his fingers though his dark hair in a gesture of frustration that all of the Donovan men shared.

"We don't know what happened," he said. "The evidence against Kyle looks good. Too damned good. Almost like ..."

Again, Archer's voice faded into static.

"Keep talking," she said. "Tell me you don't think what the cops think about Kyle."

"That he's guilty of theft?"

"And murder."

"Whatever happened, I think that the explanations I'm hearing are too tidy."

"What makes you say that?"

"Too long and involved. Just take my word for it."

"But--"

"Have you checked the boat?" Archer interrupted.

"For something smaller than my six-feet, two-inch brother?" she asked sweetly.

"Never mind. I'm sending you back home."

"What? I just got here."

"You're leaving."

"What about Kyle's boat?"

"Stay off it. Even tied at the dock, the Tomorrow is way out of your league. Pack up, Hornet. Go on back home and design gemmy little knickknacks for Faith."

Honor hated that particular nickname. She also hated being treated like she was addicted to all-day suckers.

"Archer, you--"

"If the cops bother you before you leave," he said, talking over her, "sic one of Donovan International's lawyers on them."

"What about reporters?" she asked tightly.

"No comment."

"No problem. I don't know anything."

"That's the whole idea. Start packing."

"But--"

She was talking into a dead phone. With a disgusted word she dropped the receiver back into the cradle. It would be a cold day in hell before she tamely packed her bags and left. She wasn't some schoolgirl to be ordered around.

"Trouble?" Jake asked.

Honor jumped. She had forgotten she wasn't alone. She spun around. Jake was standing a few feet away with a local newspaper in his hand. She wondered if he had read the mixture of half-truths and breathless speculation about Kyle Donovan, a mysterious corpse, and missing amber that passed for news in the morning edition of the Fidalgo Island Patriot.

"Family," she said tersely. "Can't live with them and they won't let you live without them."

Jake made a sound that could have been understanding, but it was hard to tell with a growl. She chose to believe the rumble offered sympathy.

She needed it. Her oldest brother could have taught tight lips to a clam, the cops thought her favorite brother was a murderous crook, said favorite brother had vanished ... and she had just signed up to learn how to fish.

A complete disaster all around.

"Ready to go look at the boat?" Jake asked.

"Why not? Everything else has gone wrong."

"Your enthusiasm bubbles over like a plugged toilet."

"Understandable. I'm sooo excited."

Black eyebrows climbed. "You did advertise for a fishing guide, correct?"

She took a deep breath. "Yes. Sorry. I'm a bit worn out."

"You look like you could use a cup of coffee," he agreed. "Does the galley work on your boat?"

"I think so."

"You think so." He shook his head. "Have you owned the boat long?"

"No. My brother ... left it to me."

The explanation sounded lame even to Honor. She was terrified of small boats and hated fishing, both of which Jake would soon find out. Then he would wonder why she wanted to learn how to run a small boat and go fishing.

Maybe he would accept masochism as an excuse.

"I ..." She swallowed and tried again. "It's still painful. I'd rather not talk about it."

Jake wasn't surprised. No matter how innocent Honor looked, she was hiding a lot.

But then, so was he.

"C'mon," he said. "Let's check out your boat."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

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(30)

4 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Smart feisty women. Tough sexy men. Great banter. Good read.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2003

    I LOVE THE DONOVANS!!!

    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'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2001

    enjoyable read...good suspence

    The characters were likeable.This thriller was a real potboiler with plenty of sexual tension and intrigue.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    Homeyblaze

    Hi rainpaw

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    Rainpaw

    I sleep

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    App den

    Amber clan leader:heatherstar

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2014

    Emilee to kyle

    If u got blocked go to the next res

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    TO ALL

    I NEED ADVICE ON WAYS TO COMMIT SUICIDE? ~AMBER

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Brambleblaze

    Brambleblaze let out a small purr and he licked her head. "I love you Amberpelt."

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Amberpelt

    She purrs. "Me too, Brambleblaze. Anytime we want to meet privitly, me here." She purrs.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Ip

    L.......

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Same as many another quick read

    If you want to compare to fast food you would say the fries weren't fresh and hamberger too long under warmer light and coke flat and ice melted same old same old pagecoubter

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 5, 2013

    Real good reading

    I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the whole series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2013

    Honor's story

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Arielle

    Nxon this is my new house.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    witty dialogue/fun read

    I really enjoyed this first installment of the Donovan Brothers. I saw that some reviewers prefered the last two books of the series, but personally I liked the first two because I found them to be more light-hearted and loved the witty dialogue and relationships that they formed. Jay/Jake is a strong and caring man and Honor is a woman that we would want to emmulate. She has a backbone and she is loyal to her family even when they would prefer that she let the men handle all the problems. Let's hear it for strong female characters with moral fiber!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2005

    really good

    this whole series is wonderful. this book isn't the best but it is a good read. the family is fun and interesting and i love pearl cove and midnight in ruby bayou. jade island is also not the best in the series but it's also pretty good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2002

    Great Book

    i love this book, and the other 3 books in this seris.. they are funny and suspenseful and i just love them.. they are all great

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2001

    You will LOVE Honor!

    I think the first indication that I would enjoy this book was on about the third page when Honor looks at the dishevalled, very scruffy Jake and thinks of Red Riding Hood and My, Grandmother, what big teeth you have. She tells him he's not really reassuring her confidence & away you go! Honor is a sexy, opinionated, and witty character, rich in depth and dimensions, who completely steals the show. Her family is overbearing but loves her and Jake is the perfect foil to her tempestuous spirit. But don't let that fool you...he gives as good as he gets. Read this book & the 2nd, Jade Island, @ her brother. Though not as good as the original, you have to follow the storyline & read Pearl Cove, the 3rd! It's EQUALLY as good as Amber Beach. And believe me, you'll feel a tiny more knowledgable about stones, too. What fun researching this book must've been for Ms. Lowell!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2001

    bad deal on bookcassette

    although this is a great book, and audiobooks are a wonderful way to entertain yourself while doing disagreeable tasks like housework, this price is way out of line. The Brilliance Audio Bookcassettes, which can be recognized by the picture of a cassette in the upper right corner are specially recorded so that each of the stero tracks carries different material. This way, for example with this book, 11 hours can be recorded on only 4 cassettes. This is not a bad thing, as long as you know what you're getting, but the average retail price of these is under $25. The price quoted here is appropriate for the more expensive audio books where this would require 8 or more tapes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews

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