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Cause for Alarm

Cause for Alarm

3.9 53
by Erica Spindler

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Kate and Richard Ryan have the perfect marriage--marred only by their inability to have a child. The adoption agency's call fulfills that dream...and opens the door to a nightmare....

Julianna Starr has chosen Kate and Richard to be more than the parents of her child. For Richard is the man of her fantasies, the one she's been waiting for. Stalking the couple


Kate and Richard Ryan have the perfect marriage--marred only by their inability to have a child. The adoption agency's call fulfills that dream...and opens the door to a nightmare....

Julianna Starr has chosen Kate and Richard to be more than the parents of her child. For Richard is the man of her fantasies, the one she's been waiting for. Stalking the couple, Julianna molds herself in Kate's image and insinuates herself into Richard's life, determined to tear their perfect marriage apart.

But for Kate and Richard, the nightmare has only begun. Because Julianna is not alone. From her dark past comes a man of unspeakable evil....

No one is safe--not even the innocent child Kate and Richard call their own.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Spindler's latest romantic suspense (after Shocking Pink) moves fast and takes no prisoners. Kate and Richard Ryan, the perfect couple (money, good looks, successful power careers, great house on Lake Pontchartrain), adopt a baby girl to make their lives complete. Unbeknownst to them, the birth mother, Julianna, a young woman on the run from her ex-lover, CIA contract-killer John Powers, is more than a tad unhinged. Unable to tear herself from the beautiful lives of the Ryans, Julianna falls for Richard and becomes his mistress. Meanwhile, baby Emma fulfills Kate's life in a way material success never could. But Powers is closing in on all of them, vowing bloody revenge, and Kate finds herself turning to old boyfriend Luke Dallas, bestselling author of detective stories, for aid and comfort. Though marred by an occasionally clunky prose style, Spindler's newest is an intriguing look into the twisted mind of someone for whom murder is simply a business. (Mar.)

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Cause For Alarm

By Erica Spindler


Copyright © 2005 Erica Spindler
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0778323765

Mandeville, Louisiana, New Year's Eve, 1998

Light blazed from every window of Kate and Richard Ryan's grand old home on Mandeville's Lakeshore Drive. The house had been built nearly a century before, at a time when gracious southern living meant something, a time before MTV and the breakdown of the American family, before it was okay for politicians to cheat on their wives and before the evening news calmly recounted grisly murders as if the daily occurrence of such events wasn't a horror in and of itself.

The house, with its double, wraparound galleries and floor-to-ceiling windows, spoke of wealth, of status, of solidity. Of family. The family Kate and Richard would never have.

Kate stepped out onto the house's upper gallery, shutting the French doors behind her, muffling the sounds of the New Year's Eve party in full swing inside. The January night, bitter cold and blustery for southern Louisiana, slapped her in the face. Crossing to the gallery's edge, she gazed out at the black, turbulent lake. She curled her fingers around the rail and leaned into the wind, unconcerned at the way it tore at her hair and cut through her thin, shirred velvet gown.

Across Lake Pontchartrain, connected by a twenty-sixmile causeway, lay New Orleans, a decaying jewel of a city, home to Mardi Gras and jazz and some of the best food in the world. Home, also, to the privilege of St. Charles Avenue, the poverty of the projects and the soaring crime rate that went with such explosive extremes.

Kate imagined the party happening on that shore, one celebrating not only the new year, but the last year in the century as well. A turning point, the end to an era, a door closing.

For her, too, she thought. And Richard.

Before the holidays, she and her husband had been forced to face the fact that they would never have children. The results of their last tests had been conclusive: Richard was sterile. Up to that point they had assumed their inability to conceive had been the result of her many, varied but correctable, problems. But when none of those corrections had done the trick, the doctor had insisted on testing Richard.

The results had devastated them both. Kate had been angry -- at the world, at God, at all the people who had babies so effortlessly and with such little care. She had felt betrayed. Useless. Cast adrift.

And then she had felt better. For even though they hadn't gotten the answer they'd wanted, at least they had one. She could give up the exhausting and emotionally draining quest for pregnancy and get on with her life; they could get on with their lives.

Infertility treatments had taken their toll. On her personally. On her and Richard's marriage, on their professional lives. A part of her felt nothing but sweet relief at getting off that roller coaster, at being able to finally let it go.

If only she could let go of her longing for a child, her longing to be a mother. Some nights she lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, the ache inside her so great she couldn't sleep.

Strong arms circled her from behind. Richard's arms. "What are you doing out here?" he whispered, bending his head close to her ear. "And without a coat? You'll catch your death."

She shook off her melancholy and smiled over her shoulder at her husband of ten years. "With you to keep me warm? I don't think so."

He grinned, and his eyes crinkled at the corners. At that moment he looked as boyishly handsome at thirty-five as he had at twenty when she met him. He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. "We could get naked and do the wild thing. Right here. Right now."

"Sounds kinky." She turned in his arms and looped hers around his neck. "I'm game."

He laughed and leaned his forehead against hers. "And what would our guests think?"

"Hopefully they're all too well-mannered to wander up here uninvited."

"And if they're not?"

"They'll see a side of us they never have before."

"What would I do without you?" He dropped a kiss on her mouth and drew slightly away from her. "It's about time for me to make my announcement."


"Who me?" He laughed and shook his head. "Never."

He meant it, Kate knew. Her husband's self-confidence never ceased to amaze her. Tonight, he was announcing his intention to run for St. Tammany Parish District Attorney, yet he wasn't nervous. He wasn't anxious or plagued by self-doubt and second thoughts.

Why should he be? He expected his announcement to be applauded by their family and friends, by his business associates and the leaders of the community. And he expected not only to win the race, but that the run would be nearly effortless.

Of course he did. Richard had always lived a kind of starred existence. Had always been the chosen one, the one voted most likely to succeed, the winner. He wore success as comfortably as others wore ten-year-old athletic shoes.

"You're certain Larry, Mike and Chas are one hundred percent behind this?" she asked, referring to his law partners at Nicholson, Bedico, Chaney & Ryan.

"Absolutely. What about you, Kate?" He searched her gaze. "Are you one hundred percent behind me? If I win, our lives will change. We'll be scrutinized, constantly under the magnifying glass."

"Trying to frighten me off?" she teased, leaning against him. "Well, it won't work. I'm one hundred percent behind you and your decision. And you might as well forget about 'If you're going to win,' because you are. I'm certain of it."

"With you at my side, how can I not?"

When she tried to laugh off his words, he cupped her face in his palms and gazed into her eyes. "I mean it. You have magic, Katherine Mary McDowell Ryan. You always have. Thank you for sharing it with me."

Tears stung her eyes. She chided herself for her earlier melancholy and silently counted her blessings. The girl who'd worn shoes with holes in the soles and hand-medown school uniforms to St. Catherine's, the girl who had never known the security of a comfortable home, the one who had attended Tulane University on a scholarship, squeaking by borrowing books and waiting tables at night, had come a long way. In no small part because Richard Ryan, favorite son of one of New Orleans' first families had unbelievably, miraculously, fallen in love with her.

"I love you, Richard."

"Thank God." He leaned his forehead against hers.

"Now, can we please go inside?"


Excerpted from Cause For Alarm by Erica Spindler Copyright © 2005 by Erica Spindler.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Catching a summer cold changed Erica Spindler's life forever.

Up until that fateful malady, Erica planned on being an artist. She had studied for that profession, earning both a BFA and MFA in the visual arts. Then in June of 1982, she stopped at a local drugstore to pick up cold tablets and tissues; the cashier dropped a free romance novel into her bag. She hadn't read a romance in years but once home, with nothing to do but sniffle and watch daytime TV, she picked that romance up--and was immediately hooked. For the next six months she read every romance she could get her hands on. Sometime during those months, she decided to try to write one herself.

The moment she put pen to paper, Erica knew she had found her true calling. Since that day, Erica has published more than twenty novels. Her titles have been published all over the world and Red was turned into both a wildly popular graphic novel and daytime drama in Japan. Critics have dubbed her stories as "thrill-packed, page turners, white knuckle rides, and edge-of-your-seat whodunits" and The Times Picayune praised 2003's In Silence, calling it "Creepy and compelling; a real page turner."

Erica is a USA TODAY, New York Times extended, Waldenbooks and amazon.com bestseller. In 2002, her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. An RWA honor roll member, she received a Kiss of Death award for her novel Forbidden Fruit and is a three-time RITA award finalist. In 1999 Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen-Up award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998. Praisedby booksellers as "The best suspense novel I've ever read" and "A perfect 10 out of 10," Erica's 2004 release See Jane Die is the story of a woman who must face her darkest fears when her husband becomes the prime suspect in the brutal murders of two women.

Erica and her husband--a man she describes as funny, handsome and way too sassy--met in art school and have been together ever since. They have two sons, born nine and a half years apart. Erica makes her home in the New Orleans area, although she originally hailed from Illinois.

Erica came to her present home in much the same way she came to writing--fate intervened. She and her husband, then college students, traveled to New Orleans to see the King Tut exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Without advance tickets, they had a choice: wait in line all day or spend the day sightseeing. They chose the latter and fell head-over-heels in love with the city.

Erica is currently at work on her next thriller for MIRA Books.

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Cause for Alarm 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Spindler has done it again. The charcters and story come together beautifully.
dscjustme More than 1 year ago
This was my third spindler book. Could not stay away from it. Kept my interest. This story line was quite different than the first two of hers that I read. I will be reading more of her books that is for sure. Can't fo wrong here if she is an author that you like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by Erica. It was great! From the begining to the very end. I highly recommend this to read, only if you like sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next.
ravenmama1021 More than 1 year ago
Read this book while on vacation and this was truly a great beach read. This wasn't my 1st Erica Spindler book and definitely wasn't my last. I love her writing style and how well she portrays the characters and the setting.
TJH72 More than 1 year ago
This book had me gripped from the start. Full of suspense and intrigue and very hard to put down. A definite "must read" for fans of thriller/suspense novels.
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. I really, really did. But I didn’t like Richard. At all. He’s selfish, insecure, egotistical, and prone to bouts of jealousy. He’s not exactly husband material, even though Kate has been married to him for the past ten years, in what I can only assume was wedded bliss, until he found a bed more enticing than his own. Sure, he’s attractive for middle age, and he seems to take care of himself, but that doesn’t give him a license for adultery. And I’d have to say for an ex-CIA officer, John Powers isn’t really all that appealing either. He takes child molestation and stalking and revenge and a sense of perverted justice to a whole new level, and as long as he has a gun or knife in his possession, he doesn’t care who gets in his way. Yeah, he pretty much has that whole evil thing down pat. While Luke Dallas does have his finer moments, he starts out as a reasonably unlikeable character, and he’s become just a wee bit obsessed with rubbing his writing success in the face of Richard and Kate, to the point that his Christmas cards are filled with publicity announcements for his latest masterpiece. But he did change (and for the better) by the end of the novel, while Richard proceeded on his downward, self-obsessed spiral faster than Tiger Woods. Right about now, you might be asking yourself why I gave CAUSE FOR ALARM four stars. Other than a group of unlikeable characters (all of which seemed to be male), this book held my attention from the first page to the last. The story provided enough twists and turns to rival a West Virginia holler, intriguing characterization (if you exclude about a handful of males), I could practically taste the humidity in the Mandeville, Louisiana setting, and the book moved as swiftly as an interstate highway. If I didn’t already have more Erica Spindler novels in my Kindle, I’d certainly be adding a few more after this entertaining read. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
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Page turner
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I bought the book based on the reviews from other readers. I still haven't finished it. Can't seem to get into this book.
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KristenH More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent thriller by Erica Spindler, one of my idols and fellow Shelfari friends. Great action, drama and suspense in short chapters for a two day read. Fabulous! Julianna Starr finds the perfect couple to help them out as their surrogate. For Kate and Richard Ryan, it was the dream solution, if they couldn't adopt. But when she agrees, Julianna goes after Richard and pretends to be Kate. She stalks them. But she's not alone. Someone from her past, is now after Julianna and the Ryans, and turns their world upside down.
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