Freefall [NOOK Book]

Overview

Ten years ago, Sophie Beaumont had watched as her twin sister, Shelly, had chosen to marry a Canfield man, bear his children and be mistress of his manor. But now Shelly was dead--killed along with her husband, Peter, in a mysterious accident--and it was Sophie who was left to raise her children, live at the Monterey mansion--and marry a Canfield man. Only this time it was Thomas, Peter's older brother....

Because Peter was dead. Or was he? Mysterious appearances at night to the...

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Freefall

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Overview

Ten years ago, Sophie Beaumont had watched as her twin sister, Shelly, had chosen to marry a Canfield man, bear his children and be mistress of his manor. But now Shelly was dead--killed along with her husband, Peter, in a mysterious accident--and it was Sophie who was left to raise her children, live at the Monterey mansion--and marry a Canfield man. Only this time it was Thomas, Peter's older brother....

Because Peter was dead. Or was he? Mysterious appearances at night to the contrary, he was reported to be, though no body had ever been found. And Sophie and Thomas had unfinished business--a love affair, barely begun, cut off abruptly all those years ago. One that this time Thomas was determined to see bloom....

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426862786
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 5/24/2010
  • Series: Silhouette Intimate Moments Series , #1239
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 157,804
  • File size: 518 KB

Read an Excerpt

Freefall


By RaeAnne Thayne

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0373273096


Chapter One

As final resting places go, the El Carmelito cemetery in Pacific Grove, California, was a beautiful place to spend eternity.

The wild sea off Point Piños crashed just a few hundred yards away, wind-gnarled Monterey cypress provided shade and serenity and a small herd of blacktail deer browsed among the grave markers.

Under other circumstances, Sophie Beaumont might have found some small comfort that her sister would be laid to rest here in exactly the kind of place Shelly had loved best. But she couldn't find anything remotely resembling comfort. Not yet. Not when the shock and grief of losing her twin so abruptly raged through her like that fierce ocean battering the rocks.

She hated funerals, she always had, and this one was by far the worst. Sophie swallowed hard as she looked at those elegant matching coffins waiting to be lowered into the ground - one starkly, horribly empty, one containing Shelly's battered remains.

She thought of the burial ritual she had seen a few months earlier in rural China, where mourners wore colorful clothing and celebrated the deceased's life with an exuberant funeral parade. Or the Jamaican way, where the families of the deceased dressed in their Sunday best and feasted for nine days. Shelly would have vastly preferred that to this cold, solemn ceremony.

Two small, sniffly whimpers on either side of her dragged her from her thoughts. Poor lambs. Poor bewildered little orphaned lambs. Her sister's own twins, Zach and Zoe, just five years old, didn't know what to make of this somber service. All they knew was their mother and father were both gone and that their comfortable, secure world had changed forever.

"Shh," their older sister, Alison, whispered to the twins. Her green eyes, far wiser than their ten years, looked at Sophie solemnly as if waiting for her to do something. Sophie gazed back helplessly, not sure what her niece expected of her. Finally, with a heavy sigh, Ali pulled her younger brother into her lap to console him.

Sophie winced. If she wasn't so tired, she would have thought of that. Or at least she wanted to think so.

Following Ali's example, she pulled Zoe into her own lap. The little girl snuggled against her with a few more sniffles, her cheek pressed against the black leather of the slim little blazer Sophie had picked up a few months ago at a market in Belarus. It was far too hot for leather, unexpectedly warm for a cloudy November day on the peninsula, but Sophie had had nothing else with her suitable for a funeral - and no time to find anything else - when Thomas had finally tracked her down two days earlier in Morocco. She'd been traveling nonstop since his call and barely made it to Monterey a few hours earlier, in time to shower and change out of her traveling clothes.

The preacher was droning on about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, about ashes to ashes, dust to dust. She wanted to listen but the words seemed hazy, surreal.

This couldn't be Shelly he was talking about in that dry, lifeless tone. Her sister had been funny and bighearted, passionate about her children and deeply in love with her husband.

Whether the son of a bitch deserved it or not.

Loud, dramatic sobbing down the row of chairs cut through the minister's words like a chainsaw, and Zoe sniffled louder in her arms. Though she felt small and mean for it, Sophie wanted to stalk down the row of mourners and give her mother a good, hard slap. Couldn't Sharon tell she was upsetting the children with her wailing and carrying on?

Of course she couldn't, she answered her own question. And even if Sharon knew, she probably wouldn't care.

The minister droned on until Sophie wanted to scream at him to stop, that he obviously didn't know anything about Shelly if he thought his words carried any meaning about her life.

Zach sniffled again on Ali's lap and Sophie felt heat brush her shoulder. Not a touch, just a stirring of air. Automatically, her gaze shifted to the man sitting on the other side of her niece. Thomas Canfield, brother to Shelly's husband Peter, had wrapped an arm around Ali and pulled her close, Zach and all.

He looked solid and reassuring, his shoulders impossibly broad in his Coast Guard dress blues, and for one insane moment she wanted nothing more than to burrow her head against his chest as if she were five years old just like the twins.

Over the childrens' heads, their gazes met. Not a trace of warmth showed in those icy blue eyes. They were diamond-hard and so bitterly cold she shivered, despite her leather jacket and the heat of the afternoon.

She forced her attention back to the minister, willing herself not to think about how those wintry eyes had once blazed with hot need and breathtaking tenderness.

A few more words, another prayer, and it was done. As the last amen floated away on the sea breeze, mourners stood and began to talk softly among themselves. Sophie stayed seated, feeling numb, her limbs leaden, listless.

"Is it over?" Zoe asked, her lisp making the last word sound like "ov-oh."

She hugged the little girl close. "Yes, sugar. It's over."

"I don't want Mommy and Daddy to be in Heaven." The small voice nearly broke her heart.

"I know. Oh, honey, I know."

Someone with more experience around young children than she probably would have added something wise and comforting but Sophie drew a complete blank. She was still trying to figure out what to say when Sharon glided to them, weeping copiously. Not even her thick waterproof mascara could hold up under those conditions. Black splotches underlined her eyes, pooling in the wrinkles she fought so hard against.

"Oh, Sophie. Isn't this the most terrible thing that's ever happened? My poor girl. My poor baby girl. I never thought one of my girls would die before me. Oh, I don't know how I'll bear it." Sharon began to weep again and the barrel-chested man she'd brought along - another Earl, wasn't it? - handed her a handkerchief and patted her awkwardly on the shoulder.

Sophie should be more compassionate toward her mother. She knew it but still she fought a wave of resentment that even now Sharon couldn't stand to have anyone else be the center of attention. Not even her dead child or her suddenly orphaned grandchildren.

The instinct to flee was almost overwhelming. For one wild moment, Sophie wanted to grab her equipment and her suitcase and hop a plane to any destination, particularly one on the other side of the globe. A place where nobody knew her, where she could be just another anonymous face in the crowd hiding behind a camera lens.

Since she couldn't leave, at least she should be able to crawl into a bed somewhere - anywhere - and sleep for the next forty-eight hours until she lost this jet lag and could begin to cope with the storm of emotions that had buffeted her since Thomas's late-night phone call in Morocco.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Freefall by RaeAnne Thayne Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.. 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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    Great moving story

    I recommend this book.

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