Hidden Summit (Virgin River Series #17)
  • Hidden Summit (Virgin River Series #17)
  • Hidden Summit (Virgin River Series #17)

Hidden Summit (Virgin River Series #17)

4.2 237
by Robyn Carr

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Sick of running into her cheery ex-husband and his new wife, Leslie Petruso accepts a job at the Virgin River branch of Haggerty Construction and takes the high road right out of town. Now she's got Paul Haggerty's business running like a well-oiled machine. In fact, things are so busy Paul jumps at the chance to hire an extra set of hands.

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Sick of running into her cheery ex-husband and his new wife, Leslie Petruso accepts a job at the Virgin River branch of Haggerty Construction and takes the high road right out of town. Now she's got Paul Haggerty's business running like a well-oiled machine. In fact, things are so busy Paul jumps at the chance to hire an extra set of hands.

Just like Leslie, Conner Danson has been burned by love. But if Leslie was disappointed by her relationship going bad, Conner was decimated. He's got no time for women…although he spends an awful lot of time pretending not to notice Leslie. And she's pretty busy "ignoring" the chemistry between them.

According to Conner and Leslie, they have only one thing in common—they're done with love. But everyone in Virgin River can see that things are heating up at Haggerty Construction. And as far as Paul Haggerty can tell, the best thing he can do is hang on to his hard hat and watch the sparks fly!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The 17th in Carr’s Virgin River series (after Bring Me Home for Christmas) is sweet but lacks dramatic tension despite what should be a compelling premise. Leslie Petruso arrives in Virgin River, Colo., to escape an unpleasant ex-husband determined to be her best friend. Danson Conner witnesses a murder, enters a witness protection program, and is implausibly renamed Conner Danson before being sent to hide in the small town. Despite personal reasons to avoid intimacy, they nevertheless fall for each other. Rural life, the protagonists’ troubled backgrounds, and well-drawn secondary characters enhance the refreshingly realistic romance, but the denouement is too pat, as are the loose secondary elements of drug addiction, murder, and spousal abuse. Overall, this addition to the series offers a generally pleasant yet unexciting dip into a familiar setting. Agent: Liza Dawson Associates. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"This book is an utter delight." -RT Book Reviews on Moonlight Road

"Strong conflict, humor and well-written characters are Carr's calling cards, and they're all present here.... You won't want to put this one down." -RT Book Reviews on Angel's Peak

"This story has everything: a courageous, outspoken heroine; a to-die-for hero; and a plot that will touch readers' hearts on several different levels. Truly excellent." -RT Book Reviews on Forbidden Falls

"An intensely satisfying read. By turns humorous and gut-wrenchingly emotional, it won't soon be forgotten."
-RT Book Reviews on Paradise Valley

"Carr has hit her stride with this captivating series."
-Library Journal on the Virgin River series

"The Virgin River books are so compelling-I connected instantly with the characters and just wanted more and more and more."

-#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

Product Details

Publication date:
Virgin River Series, #17
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Brie Valenzuela finished her large latte and looked into the empty cup. She'd been waiting in this coffee shop for over an hour, trying to look engrossed in her newspaper, but as the time ticked by, she only grew more concerned. The man she was meeting was a witness to a murder and needed a place to hide out. She'd be hooking him up with a place to stay and a job in Virgin River as a favor to one of her colleagues from the Sacramento District Attorney's office, and when a witness was late in meeting his contact, there was reason to be concerned.

Brie wanted to make a phone call to Sacramento but didn't want to alarm anyone. Instead, she asked the barista for another latte.

This witness, now known as Conner Danson, had seen a very well-known, high-profile Sacramento businessman shoot another man. Danson had been taking trash out behind his hardware store when it had happened and had seen everything. He'd called the police and become the sole witness to the crime. Thanks to his prompt report, they'd found evidence of blood in the man's car, though it had been cleaned, but no weapon. DNA tests had proved the blood belonged to the victim. But, shortly after an arrest had been made, Danson's hardware store had burned to the ground, and a threat had been left on his home phone voice mail: You stayed out of the heat this time, but you won't slip by us again.

Clearly the suspect, Regis Mathis, a very distinguished pillar of the community, was "connected."

Brie had served as an Assistant District Attorney with Max, officially Ray Maxwell, some years ago. Max was now the D.A. He'd suspected some trouble with other witnesses' anonymity and wasn't sure whether the leak was in his office or the Federal Marshal's unit. A cautious man, he'd set up his own program. He wasn't about to take any chances on losing the only witness to a high-profile murder. Virgin River was an excellent option.

It was another twenty minutes before the door opened and a man entered, but her first thought was that he couldn't possibly be her witness. First of all, he was too young to own a prosperous hardware store that catered to custom builders—this guy was no more than thirty-five. And he was, for lack of a more refined description, hot. At about six-two, he was built like a warhorse, his muscles popping into prominence beneath the white T-shirt under his opened leather jacket. Wide shoulders, narrow hips, low-slung jeans, long legs. Although he wore a very unhappy expression at the moment, his face was perfectly symmetrical—square jaw, straight nose, thick brows and deep, dark blue eyes. He sported a very handsome, sculptured and tightly trimmed mustache and goatee.

He lifted his chin in her direction. She stood and he walked toward her. She opened her arms. "Give me a hug, Conner. Like we're old friends. I'm Brie Valenzuela."

He complied a little reluctantly, nearly swallowing her small frame in his embrace. "Nice to meet you," he said quietly.

"Sit down. I'll get you a coffee. What's your pleasure?"

"Just plain old coffee. Black."

"Got it." She went to the counter, ordered, collected the coffee and returned. "So," she said. "We're about the same age. We could pass for friends from college."

"I didn't really go to college," he said. "One semester."

"That works. How old are you?"


"Aren't you kind of young to own a successful business?"

"Used to own," he said, his expression darkening. "It was my father's. He died a dozen years ago but I was raised in that store. I took over."

"I see," she said. "So, we're friends from college. You're up here looking for something a little different after the builder you worked for in Colorado Springs shut down—there's a complete script of your history in this envelope, though I'm sure Max went over all of it with you."

He gave a nod. "And gave me my new ID. I picked up the truck this morning in Vacaville."

"I reserved you a small cabin. Very small, but comfortable. It's going to be temporary, and that's fine to say to people. And a friend of mine, Paul Haggerty, is a builder. He'll give you a job—he can keep you on through summer if necessary. It's his busy building season. That gives you six months, but you won't need that much time. I hope."

"Who knows about me?" he asked her.

"My husband, Mike, and I. And you want Mike to know. He's not just a small-town cop, he's a very experienced LAPD detective. Otherwise, you're completely anonymous. Look, I'm sorry you have to go through this, but on behalf of the state, thank you for agreeing to testify."

"Lady, don't thank me. I am out of choices," he said. "And don't stand anywhere near me in a thunderstorm because I am a magnet for lightning at this point. My life has gone straight to hell in the past year."

Brie frowned. "Don't call me lady," she said. "My name is Brie and I'm helping you. Show some gratitude. You're not the only person alive to have some bad luck. I've had my share. Now, I have a new cell phone for you. Here's the number. We gave your sister a new cell phone, as well. The area code for both phones is Colorado Springs and the D.A.'s office is picking up the tab. You won't get reception in the mountains, forests or town of Virgin River, but while you're out on construction jobs in clear areas or around here, in Fortuna, you'll have reception. And," she said, sliding him the large envelope, "directions to the Riordan cabins and to Paul Haggerty's office. Also, directions to a little bar and grill in Virgin River—good food. Do not get drunk and spill your guts or you'll probably just be moving again. If you live that long."

"I don't get drunk."

"More's the mercy," she muttered. "If you need anything, call me at this number. Do not call the D.A. He'll contact you through me. This is serious, Conner. You don't have any options. Whether you agree to testify or not, the man you witnessed committing murder obviously has the means to have you taken out. The authorities have always suspected he's that kind of man, even though he appears on the surface to be quite upstanding."

"Understand something," he said to Brie. "If it weren't for my sister and nephews, I might just go up against him because A, I'm that kind of man, and B, I'm a little past caring."

"Katie could be collateral damage, just being related. Remember, when you speak with your sister, no clues about where you are. Don't discuss the time zone or weather or landmarks, like redwood groves. There's no point in taking chances. Let's get through this whole. Hmm?"

He lifted his coffee cup in a silent toast. "Yeah."

"Get settled into your cabin. Go see Paul and get your job. When you're comfortable, I'll have you to dinner. Maybe talking with Mike will settle your nerves a little."

"If you had any idea what the past year has been like…"

She put her hand over his in what might appear as a gesture of friendship to the casual observer, but her voice was firm. "I'm sure it's been hell. Can I just remind you that this is a favor for an old friend? I'm sticking my neck out for the D.A. because he's a good man and I owe him. We have a mission here. You're a friend from college, so go the extra mile and try to be pleasant. I don't need my brother and my close friends wondering why the hell I'd find you a place to live and a job because you're such an ass! So—"

"Brother?" he asked.

"Yes. I was an A.D.A. in Sacramento, but now I'm freelance up here and I have a husband and a little girl. I came up here to hide out while I was getting ready to testify against a rapist. I stayed after the trial."

He swallowed audibly. "Rapist, huh? Who'd he rape?"

"Me," she said. "First he beat the conviction—I was the prosecutor. Then he raped and tried to kill me. So, you can assume I understand some of what you're going through."

He was quiet for a long moment. He had been the primary support for his sister and nephews for a few years now. He couldn't help but wonder how he'd feel if Katie had gone through something like that. It turned his stomach. Finally he swallowed thickly and asked, "Did you get him?"

"Life sentence, no parole."

"Good for you."

"This goatee," she asked, running her fingers over her own upper lip and chin. "Is it new?"

"A slight change was suggested," he said.

"I see. Well, I understand you're going to need some time to adjust. Give me a call if you get antsy, but for right now—try to enjoy the area. It's incredibly beautiful. A man could do worse."

"Sure," he said. "And, I'm sorry you had to go through what you had to go through, you know?"

"It was awful. And behind me now, as this will soon be behind you. You can get a fresh start. Um, Conner? You're not a bad-looking guy, but this wouldn't be a good time to hook up, if you get my drift."

"Not a problem," he said. "Not looking to hook up."

"Good. I guess," she said, standing. "Hug me like an old friend."

He opened his arms. "Thanks," he said roughly.

Conner followed the directions to Virgin River. Conner Danson had formerly been Danson Conner, owner of Conner's Hardware, so the name change had been merely a reversal, which was a little easier to get used to than an entirely new one. Danson was an old family name—some ancient great-grandfather. His parents, sister, nephews and ex-wife had always called him Danny. But at work he had been called Conner or sometimes Con or even Connie by quite a few. It wasn't difficult to remember to respond to the new name. He was tall, had brown hair, blue eyes, a small scar over his right eye, one slightly crooked tooth and a dimple on his left cheek.

The past five years had been a challenge and the past year, a nightmare.

Conner and his sister, Katie, had inherited their father's business—Conner's Custom Carpentry and Hardware. Construction work and running a hardware store was no walk in the park, it was very physical. His muscles had been hard-earned. They'd outsourced custom kitchen and bathroom jobs to builders and sold commercial hardware, cabinetry, fixtures, accessories and lumber used by contractors. Conner had managed it full-time with about ten employees and Katie had done the books, mostly from home so she could take care of her twin boys. Their merchandise had been highend; the business had done well.

When Conner had been thirty, Katie's army husband had been killed in action in Afghanistan—she had been twenty-seven, pregnant and ready to give birth. At that point, Conner had had to take over their support. They couldn't sell the family business—their source of income would have dissipated in no time. And Katie couldn't contribute enough time to the family business to draw an adequate salary for herself and her sons. So—Conner had worked a little more than full-time, Katie had worked part-time and Conner had picked up the slack so Katie and the boys could live in their own home, independent.

Those days had been long, the work demanding. Many days had ended with Conner feeling as if he'd been married to a store, and while he loved his family, he hadn't had a life. Still, hard work never bothered him, and he'd remained good-natured and quick-witted. His customers and employees had enjoyed his laugh, his positive attitude. But he had needed something more.

And then he'd found the perfect woman—Samantha. Beautiful, funny and sexy Sam with the long, black hair and hypnotizing smile. And God, going to bed with her had just wound his clock! She was a whiz of an interior decorator who had helped Katie slap her little three bedroom into a showplace in nothing flat. She'd wanted him constantly. Loved sex.

Little had he known.

One year of marriage later and he'd found out she was cheating—and not with a guy, but with every guy she met.

"She's sick," Katie had said. "It's not even like she's unfaithful, she's a sex addict."

"I don't believe in sex addicts," Conner had said.

"She needs help," Katie had said.

"I wish her luck with that," he had replied.

Of course they divorced. He ended up paying for an expensive treatment program, but escaped alimony. He hadn't recovered from that before things got worse.

All he'd been doing was taking trash out to the Dumpster in the alley behind the store. A man in a black town car had gotten out, walked around to the passenger side, opened the door and put a bullet in the head of his passenger. Conner had crouched behind the Dumpster while the man, whom he'd unfortunately gotten a very good look at, had pulled out the victim's body and used Conner's Dumpster as the coffin. Then he'd calmly gotten back in his fancy car and driven out of the dark alley.

This was the point at which Conner would have done a few things differently, because he had seen the man and the license plate and the dead body. It would have probably been a lot easier all around if he'd pretended he hadn't seen a thing, but calling the police was an automatic response for him. Unfortunately, Conner's name had appeared on the warrant—it was how the police had been able to get it signed by a judge. Within a couple of days someone had burned the hardware store to the ground.

The ground.

At that point, even the decision not to testify would have come too late. Mr. Regis Mathis was a very important man in Sacramento. He endowed Catholic charities and supported high-profile politicians. Of course, he'd been investigated a few times by the feds for tax evasion and had a reputation for professional gambling—very successful legal gambling—but he was also a successful developer who sold golf course condo lots. He had never been indicted.

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Hidden Summit 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 236 reviews.
booksonmynook More than 1 year ago
I love how Robyn Carr makes her characters so lively, likeable and believable in all her books. I've read all of her books and cannot wait to read her new one.
Ejaygirl More than 1 year ago
Leslie Petruso and Connor Danson both came to Virgin River to escape their old lives, although Connor's was not by his own choice. He's being stashed away as a witness to a murder by a prominent businessman in Sacramento while they await the trial. Leslie wants to get away from her ex-husband who wants them remain close friends along with his new pregnant wife. Both Leslie and Connor see their stay in Virgin River as temporary until they figure out what's next. When Connor sees Leslie for the first time it's an instant attraction. She has a similar reaction when she meets him at Paul Haggerty's office where they both are beginning work. Leslie and Paul are old acquaintances since she worked for his family's business in Grants Pass. Neither is interested in a committed relationship given Leslie is still healing from her divorce and Connor is living a secret life. Chemistry soon takes over and they embark on their "commitment free" relationship that transforms both of them. Connor and Leslie are extremely appealing characters at the center of this story. Following their developing relationship was an interesting journey as they discovered themselves as well as each other. It was heartwarming to see Leslie blossom and get a backbone as she starts to see just what she's made up of. Connor, who's been a workaholic his entire adult life, has a chance to step back and create relationships outside of work for the first time ever. Of course, the town of Virgin River orchestrates its typical magic, with many of the residents we've come to treasure appearing in the story in substantive roles. However, what sets this one apart is that all of the subplots center around Connor and Leslie, either as individuals or as a couple. While I have come to expect and prefer the multiple storylines that characterize this series, the focus on these two characters really works. We get to be immersed in their romance, watch it and them blossom and finally evolve. I really liked this story and am a huge fan of Connor and Leslie. Carr invested a lot of time in developing these characters and their relationship and it pays off in a big way. This ranks as one of my favorites but, of course, I cannot wait for the next installment in the series. (I received an ARC from NetGalley)
bookchelle More than 1 year ago
I only started reading the Virgin River series in the summer of last year. I read them quickly, without breathing for air. The series quickly became a guilty pleasure, and I accepted every single word that Robyn Carr wrote. Like many contemporary romances, the characters had a love story where the love was sweet and the pleasure steamy. But there was a point in time when the stories started to blend together, and while I normally enjoy seeing the original characters, I was getting tired of them. I think I was burned out. So, like a lot of other times, I stepped away from the series. Until now. Robyn Carr’s Hidden Summit is the seventeenth book in the series. I believe I skipped a few books, but it didn’t matter. Carr brought me back to the quaint town that I first fell in love with. Everything was where I left it, and the characters were there to welcome me back. But don’t get me wrong. I was a little hesitant to read this. And to my surprise, I found comfort in the familiarity of the characters. Hidden Summit was clearly different from the other titles in the series. Carr introduces us to Conner Danson. He escapes to Virgin river after witnessing a murder in Sacramento. Conner’s move was a precaution after his hardware store was burned to the ground. The DA forced him to lay low until the start of trial. His sister and nephews had to be separated from him, to further increase protection. He was secretive and mysterious, but slowly warmed up to the town. He quickly became a part of the charm and found himself caring more than he thought possible. Leslie was also running, but from her ex-husband, and the constant reminders in Grants Pass. Leslie is the tie to the rest of the folks at Virgin River. She was formerly an office manager for Haggerty Construction, and when the going got tough, she had a second family to welcome her. Like a lot of female leads in romance novels, Leslie has a few self-esteem issues. But after a divorce, I think that’s natural, don’t you think? So it wasn’t too cliché, but I think Carr did a great job of writing Leslie’s character. There’s a kinship between Conner and Leslie that was enjoyable to read. Their relationship was easy and their chemistry was realistic. It wasn’t filled with fluff and rainbows. I could imagine this scenario, minus the murder and trial, with one of my friends. Oh! And how could I miss the quick wit and easy banter between the two? The dialogue was comedic relief at its finest. I’m telling you, there was something different about Hidden Summit in comparison to the others. It was a pleasure getting to know Conner and Leslie, together and individually. Carr also only mentions a few of the familiar townsfolk. It wasn’t overpowering and they didn’t take away from the main focus of the story. Hidden Summit was truly Conner and Leslie’s story, through and through. I felt like some scenes were stretched out while other scenes needed something more. There was a good amount of back story, but I wanted more. While a good part of the book is well-paced with a good proportion of detail to action, the last third or so seemed rush. Maybe it was me and how I absorbed the book. So you’ll have to read it for yourself to see if you feel the same way. Hidden Summit is a great book as a stand alone, but fills your reading soul with the comfort and warmth that is popular in Robyn Carr Virgin River books. I suggest picking this up for a lovely romantic read to kick in the new yea
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of the Virgin River books. It is hard to wait for the next one to come out. Sure wish she could write faster. I have never read a series of books that I feel like I know the characters in the storoes. Hidden Summit was as good as all the other books. I highly reccommend all of the Virgin River books.
Scrappynut More than 1 year ago
Another great book of love, family, and friends by Robyn Carr. If you loved books 1 through 14, you'll love this one, too. I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it in one sitting! Love this whole series - can't wait for the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being a resident of the area this series is based on makes reading them all the more enjoyable, but the stories could be set anywhere and be just as heart-warming. In this busy busy rush rush world it is nice to read about a small town where life moves at a slower pace and people really take care of one another. I have read every book in the series and have already pre-ordered the next one due out on Dec. 27th
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
can't wait for the next book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lorettaFL More than 1 year ago
Love reading the Virgin River series and can't wait till the next one comes out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
must read! all 20 books in Virgin River series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Jen Book provided by Nancy Berland Public Relations for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book If you’ve read any of my other reviews of the Virgin River series, you know I’m a fan and count these books among some of my favorites. Hidden Summit is another solid addition to the series. Warning… slight spoiler ahead (even though it is explained in the first chapter). Hidden Summit opens with Connor entering the witness protection program after seeing a murder and agreeing to help put the criminal behind bars.  He’s sent to Virgin River to hide out until it’s time for the trial.  Leslie runs to Virgin River to get away from her ex-husband and her old boss runs a construction company based in the small, remote California town.  Neither Connor or Leslie are looking for love, but they can’t ignore the sparks whenever they’re around each other. I really did like this book.  I was slightly disappointed when both main characters were completely new to the series, but it was tempered with plenty of cameos from some of our favorite residents.  I liked Connor and Leslie, enough that I wanted to see them get their happy ending.  Connor’s back story was much more interesting than Leslie’s.  As the story developed, I often found myself thinking that Leslie just needed to tell off her ex-husband and get on with her life (always easier said than done). But in the end, it was the ending that left me cold.  It was just so abrupt.  I finished what felt like the ending of a chapter, turned the page and the book was over.  I was expecting something more and it just wasn’t there.  I mean, the romance was finished, Leslie and Connor each resolved their conflicts, but I still felt like I was hanging and I don’t like that feeling. I still love this series and recommend it to everyone.  It’s best read in order, although it does stand alone.  And I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beverly_D More than 1 year ago
I came to this a Virgin River virgin... but I will probably be reading ALL the books. Conner Danson is a decent guy who had the bad luck to be the only witness to a murder, and worse luck that the murderer has enough connections to burn down the family hardware store and threaten his life and that of his sister. Leslie Petruso is divorced from a narcissistic personality who won't leave her alone to lick her wounds, but insists she MUST still want to be besties with him and his new, pregnant wife (after long refusing her requests to start a family together). Both Conner and Leslie come to fictional Virgin River, set in Humboldt county California, with romance as the last thing on their minds. I enjoyed so many things about this book. Both characters are in their thirties, and are not rushing the romance, nor denying the attraction they have for each other. When they do get into bed, condoms are a given, and the sex is hot, but the book is not all about the sex, but a gradually increasing  LIKING/falling in love with one another, and a showcasing, however idealized, of small-town life. Although there is the angle that Conner's life is (theoretically) in danger, this is NOT a romantic suspense; the pace is slow, and the ending doesn't come with the hero shooting it out with the bad guy. I also immediately related to Leslie because I have my own annoying ex in Grants Pass, Oregon, which I found amusing. If you like your romance slowly simmered rather than insta-love, you'll appreciate this book and series.
karen3151 More than 1 year ago
Once again I thoroughly enjoyed reading about old friends in the Virgin River series as well as new characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dommo More than 1 year ago
I want a weekend getaway in the town of Virgin River! This is my 3rd of Robyn Carr's books and 1st of the Virgin River series. Ms. Carr gives the love story and the side plot of Conner Danson's witness protection/murder trial the right amount of focus. I prefer a book that let's the side plot be the side plot and not the main focus of the story. The romance is very sweet between Leslie and Conner. I thoroughly like that Ms. Carr gives their love play a good amount of attention and frequency. A very easy and pleasant read. And it can be read as a standalone novel. I will definitely revisit this town in reading the other books in the series!
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