A Home by the Seaby Christina Skye
Grace Lindstrom has followed her fiancé across three continents, starry-eyed and full of dreams. But when he dies in a plane crash, Grace discovers that their life together was the cruelest kind of lieand swears to never lose herself to that kind of love again. Until one night, when a chance encounter leads her to the kind of man she's always
Grace Lindstrom has followed her fiancé across three continents, starry-eyed and full of dreams. But when he dies in a plane crash, Grace discovers that their life together was the cruelest kind of lieand swears to never lose herself to that kind of love again. Until one night, when a chance encounter leads her to the kind of man she's always dreamed ofand the deep family ties she's never known.
Noah McKay knows he can't offer Grace any kind of futurenot when he spends every day putting his life on the line. But when Grace's grandfather suddenly falls ill and she's called home to the small island town where she grew up, he realizes he can't live without her. Aided by good knitting, good chocolate and deep friendship, Grace is slowly learning to trust againbut can she learn to love a man whose secrets run so deep?
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Noah McLeod took a deep breath. Wind gusted up the street, stabbing at his face. He hunched his shoulders, facing the icy gale. The cold air was actually a relief after the horrible day he'd just had.
It always took time to shrug off the work. You didn't forget, but at least you managed to move on. If bad dreams and explosions haunted your sleep, then you shrugged those off, too.
Slowly Noah flipped up the collar of his leather coat. He focused on the cold, slipping into the moment and letting the hard edge of duty and responsibility fade, repeating the rule he had learned years before.
You have to move on. If you can't leave the work behind, it will drive you over the edge and one day you'll snap.
Noah had seen it happen too often. In a job where you fought mayhem and horror on a daily basis, balance was everything. He tried to remember that rule now.
After the savage day he'd just finished, he was entitled to bury his work deep and forget about responsibility. He'd been fielding emergency calls every night for a month now, and emergency calls came to his department for just one reason because everyone else had failed.
His department was the place you called when you could smell the bitter edge of your own fear. You called Noah's unit when you had an improvised explosive device or a nasty set of wires shoved into what could be a brick of Semtex. Noah was the man who always knew which wires to pull and when to back away.
Far, far away.
But tonight had been too close. He had nearly become a splatter on a concrete wall, thanks to a close encounter with a new device no one in D.C. had ever seen before. For thirty mind-blurring seconds he had looked death right between the eyes. Then he'd remembered seeing something similar in Afghanistan seven months earlier. Once Noah had seen the interior wiring, he'd made the connection. But it had been a close call.
He closed his eyes, feeling the wind pick up, rattling the windows behind him. The building where he worked was surrounded by high fences and concrete walls. For security reasons, there was no sign or business name posted. The black trucks parked outside didn't have government plates. As far as outsiders could tell, they belonged to a civilian waste-disposal company.
But the disposal Noah did was far more dangerous.
A weight dug into his shoulders as he looked up at the top window of his lab. Inside that secure room, computers were updated nightly with data about every new model of explosive device made anywhere in the world. Each morning his team pored over that data and integrated the knowledge into their disposal procedures. No detail was ignored. His team trained hard, and Noah was proud that they were the bestand that they still had their lives to prove it.
His brother hadn't been so lucky.
Frowning, Noah ran a hand through his dark hair.
You can't go back. Matt is gone. The remote car bomb that took him is a footnote in your government training manuals now, and you all learned from it. But Matt didn't have the resources you have.
So he's gone. Pack it up and move on.
It was the same conversation Noah always had about this time of night after a long, demanding shift. But how did you forget a beloved brother whose generosity and laughter had touched everyone around him? The cold sense of loss had become Noah's old friend, as familiar as his guilt. He hadn't been able to reach his brother in time to help. There had been next to nothing left of the body after the explosion.
And Noah knew he should have been the one who died in that explosion.
He blew out an angry breath. A big storm was headed in that night. According to the weather reports, there could be a foot of snow. Maybe more. Good thing he didn't have far to drive.
As he walked down the quiet street, Noah saw the brightly lit windows of the big townhouse on the opposite corner. He heard muted music and saw people moving inside, all diamonds and furs, dressed for a big night out. It felt odd and disconnected, like watching a movie.
Then Noah saw her.
She appeared within the frame of the window, calm and beautiful amid a throng of beautiful women. Her dark hair swung around her face and even at this distance Noah swore he could see the shimmer of her eyes. She stood right by the glass, and when she looked out light fell on the black dress she wore, brushing her high cheekbones and full mouth.
She wasn't beautiful, Noah thought. Her nose was a little short and her chin a little too long. No, not beautiful. Yet he couldn't look away.
Something about her touched him, made him feel as if his world was perfect and intact. Safe and stable, as if there was still decency and honor to be found if you looked for it.
He bit back a harsh laugh. His chosen work had stripped him of any such illusions. Any breath could be your last. Any friendly face could hold murderous deceit. He knew that cold truth from personal experience.
He felt something brush his neck. Snowflakes spi-raled down in the dark. He should be going.
But he couldn't pull his gaze from that big window.
She smiled at a man in a dark suit that looked hand tailored. She toyed with her necklace and then shook her head when a waiter offered more champagne. Orchids gleamed on a pedestal beside her. The chandelier winked over her head.
She outshone everything, in nothing but a plain black dress and a necklace with one simple pearl.
A little curve of hair brushed her neck. Noah wondered how it would feel sliding against his fingers. How her skin would warm at his slow touch.
He jammed his hands into his pockets, suddenly aware of the night and the snow. Was he off his head? He wasn't a man to be easily distracted. He didn't fantasize about strange women he saw through a distant window. Noah enjoyed his share of hot, uncomplicated sex, and he didn't lack for willing partners in his bed. But he made sure that any woman in his arms knew that he was offering only a few hours of pleasure and laughter.
No strings. No future. No tears. He enjoyed a woman's companybut he could walk away without a backward glance.
But this woman wouldn't be easy to forget.
The knowledge made him go still. Something told Noah that this woman would trust and hope, offering her dreams and hopes in return. That trust would make her dangerous and impossible to forget. As it was, she distracted him, and she was barely visible through the window. What kind of distraction would she present if he actually met her and spoke with her?
If he touched her?
Snow brushed his neck, and Noah sighed. The storm was already pounding toward D.C. Why was he standing here, gawking like an idiot, wondering about a woman he was never going to meet?
Shift was over. He should be having a few drinks with his team by now. Maybe he'd find an easygoing woman who laughed just a little too much and wouldn't mind that Noah almost never smiled. The potential for hot, reckless sex had seemed like an excellent idea two hours ago, when he had been staring down four red wires in a cheap metal box, on his way to becoming a dead man.
"Everything okay, McLeod? No problems with your shoulder after the blast today?"
Noah swung around at the unexpected interruption. Ed Merrill, his superior, was pushing forty and carried about twenty-five extra pounds. He had just given up smoking and his temper could be volatile. Now he was frowning as he pulled a set of car keys from the pocket of his parka.
"I'm fine, sir."
The older man studied Noah intently, missing nothing. "You did all the right things. You took safe assessment and identified the device. Then you pulled back and waited for the backup team. Everything by the book."
"Yes, I got it right, sir." Noah's voice hardened. "Except the timer went wacko and spontaneously detonated, throwing me twenty feet against that concrete wall. I should have been fasterand smarter. I should have taken more precautions. I expect it in my men, so I damned well better expect it in myself." Noah cleared his throat. "Sir."
"Noted. But this is a new category of device here. You responded as well as anyone could, and you made the connection before it was too late. Rest assured, we'll do a thorough review on Monday, once forensics has gutted those components. Meanwhile, don't grind yourself up about it. Go get a beer and relax."
"Just what I was planning to do," Noah said quietly.
His superior turned up his collar against the icy wind. "Good. There won't be anything new until the tech people weigh in anyway. So go somewhere dark and smoky. Female companionship highly encouraged. It's a good night to remember you're still alive." Merrill's eyes narrowed. "Are you involved with someone?"
"Good. There'll be plenty of time for commitment once your hot time is done."
Hot time meant working with live explosive devices. Hot time took all you had, all you were. Everyone on Noah's team knew the truth. You sweated and you prepared and then you did it all again the next day. Not much was left behind when you closed the door and headed home.
Without thinking, Noah turned slightly. His gaze slid back to the party in the big house across the street. The woman's hair glinted amber as she turned under the chandelier. He could almost smell her perfume as she moved, trailing a hint of something sweet but subtle. He felt a kick of hunger. Lust mixed with sharpening curiosity.
He had to meet her, just once.
"Noah, did you hear me?"
"Sorry, sir. I was just thinking about finding someplace dark and smoky."
"You keep looking at that party going on across the street. You know the owner?"
Merrill tossed his keys up and down. "I do. That house is owned by a very wealthy media executive. Six magazines, four radio networks and three cable channels, last time anyone counted. And the woman in the windowsomeone you know?"
"Someone you want to know? I could wrangle an introduction." Merrill smiled slowly. "My wife did some legal work for the owner several months back. I could walk over and pull a few strings, if you're interested in meeting her."
"Who?" Noah tried to look bored.
"The woman you've been staring at. There's snow all over your coat, in case you haven't noticed. The storm is due to hit in the next two hours, and they're saying we can expect a couple of feet. So you're going to do one of two things. You're going to get that beer or you're going to let me get you an introduction. Make up your mind. I want to be home in time to tuck my kids into bed," Merrill said gruffly.
Noah rubbed his neck. He was seriously tempted. He wanted to see her face up close and hear her laugh. Suddenly he wanted a dozen things
Forget it, pal. There's no place for a woman like that in your life. No room for complications or commitments. Hot time doesn't leave you anything left to share. You knew that when you signed on.
"No need, sir. Donovan's meeting me at Wily's Place. He owes me two hundred now, after our last two games of darts. I figure I'll double that tonight." Noah managed to keep his gaze steady, away from the brightly lit house across the street. He was surprised at how hard it was.
"Fine. Go and clean up. You're entitled. But if that shoulder starts acting up, I want you into medical for evaluation immediately. Is that understood?"
Meet the Author
Christina Skye loves a good adventure. Living in Arizona gives her plenty of room to practice target shooting and to trek off-road on her motorcycle, researching the details for stories rich with “snappy dialogue” and an unerring ability to keep “the narrative energy high and the pacing swift” (Publishers Weekly). With over two million books in print, her novels appear regularly on national bestseller lists. Visit her online at www.christinaskye.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book has it all. A main character with a heart that needs healing and a hero with patience to teach her to open her heart to love. Skye introduces us to three woman friends re-united again in a venture of selling yarn and knitting class after living a fast-paced life in Washington D.C. The main character is called home when her grandfather, who raised her is stricken with a heart attack. The characters seem like people what you would know--they are 3 dimensional and real. This will take you on an emotional ride that you will love! The hero is back there too and it happens to be an island off Washington State that stuck me as a heavenly place to live. You immediately are involved with these characters and the genius of Christina Skye is shown in that she can take these people from one place to the other and the reader can almost smell the sea! This seems like the first of a trilogy and I'm waiting and waiting (not patiently) for the next installment! This is definitely a "KEEPER"!
Life isn't always fair, and Grace just found that out. Grace Lindstrom, a cute woman with sparkle, is slowly picking up the pieces of her life. She has a job she loves, where she researches food that takes her to exotic locales. She hasn't seen her fiancé, friends or grandfather in a long while with her hectic life, and she misses them dearly. Life deals her a double whammy when her fiancé, a UN negotiator, is killed in a plane crash. Then later, she finds out from a couple different sources that he was a cheating scoundrel. Her heart is shattered into a million pieces. He is a rat, but she still mourns his death. Will she be able to trust a man again or even open her hurting heart to love? Fate blows in a humdinger of a man, top-secret bomb disposal expert Noah McKay, who is a striking, mysterious man with a sincere heart and immense patience. It is a stroke of good luck one cold blustery night when Noah makes the acquaintance of Grace. He has yearned for a woman just like her to complete his life. Only one thing stops him from getting to close to a woman and that is his profession. He never completely divulges to anyone the details of his job, afraid of their reactions to it and since it is top security, he is not allowed to talk about it at all. Will this girl be the one to accept him for who he is and what he does? The winds of life blow in unexpected directions and unfortunately separate Noah and Grace. Grace's grandfather has a serious accident that takes her back home to Oregon, the sleepy little town by the sea where she grew up. Grace looks forward to meeting her good friends back home in addition to taking care of her grandpa. Unbeknownst to Grace, her friends back home have many surprises in store for her, especially stress relieving surprises of the eating chocolate and good food, knitting and a hearty good laugh. In addition, Noah is working with his bomb disposal team on a dangerous assignment that is keeping him very busy for an extended period. Was the time that Noah and Grace spent together enough to make them realize how much they complete one another? A HOME BY THE SEA is an achingly beautiful novel of deep emotions, secrets, close friendships and love. Destiny brings Noah and Grace together on a windy, winter night and then when fate unexpectedly tears them apart, their attraction and love for one another is tested. Christina Skye expertly delivers a true testament to friendship in the raw - the giving, laughing, listening, helping, caring and crying that real friends do together. If you are careful, you can hear your own laughter with your best friends echoing through the pages. I loved how the author takes the reader on a sweeping journey through betrayal, lost loves, deep family emotions, honest-to-good friendships and learning how to forgive and forget. Ms. Skye teaches that there are more blessings wrought from change than anyone realizes. One thing I love about Ms. Skye's books is her beautiful endings, and this book did not disappoint. This novel delves deeply into friendship and family. I only touched the surface of all that happens in this epic love story so I recommend that you buy it! A HOME BY THE SEA delivers an emotional punch to the heart with its sharp plot and vivid romance. This book is hard to put-downable!
Love the characters
I enjoyed this story a lot. Good story, not just a formula romance that you know what will happen. I enjoyed it & look forward to something like this again from Ms Skye. I took 1 star off because the main characters were apart for too long & it would have been easy to forget about the hero :( But overall it was a good story &
enjoyed the story. was different from her other books witch I enjoyed.
Grace Lindstrom has tried over the last year or so to rebuild her life from the ashes that the death of her fiancé left, the betrayal that followed and the heartbreak that continues. With the biggest career opportunity arrives the meeting of an enigmatic man that just might change her mind about relationships. When a family emergency strikes she drops everything and rushes home to Summer Island Oregon, where surrounded by her lifelong friends she learns to breath again, and perhaps to dream again too. Noah McLeod needs utter concentration for his highly dangerous job but his life has been anything but since the tragic death of his brother. But when he suddenly spots a face through a window his whole life changes. Grace and Noah have much to offer each other but there are many struggles they will have to face to make it. Will they be brave enough to take a leap of faith or will their haunted pasts control their future. Christina Skye brings us one of the most heartfelt of romances from her beautiful scenic Oregon shore to her unforgettable couple and her narrative that is as pain filled as it is promising. Her plot is one of triumph and tragedy of love and of pain and it's a story of life and of loss. Her dialogue does the landscape of the Oregon coast proud and her narrative is easy to read and hard to put down because you just have to know what happens to these characters next. And her characters, they are all wonderful and not just the hero and heroine but all the co-stars and even the bit players as well. I feel as though I know all of these people personally after reading this. Her hero is hard to forget with the personality that every woman wants not just talk dark and handsome but the strong silent type as well. The heroine could easily be pitied but her personality doesn't allow it and you will find yourself intrigued and awed by her. The romance is one that you right off the bat know won't work but some how they will and the journey to that knowledge is half the enjoyment of the read. The love scenes are sensual and a little racy and yes I read them twice, okay three times and am still fanning myself thinking about it. If you're looking for a read that will be remembered long after the final page is closed, if you're looking for those just a bit larger than life characters who's story you will recommend to your friends or family, if you're looking for that first stocking stuffer of the season, this is the one. If you just want a read for yourself to curl up with by the first fire of the season or if you enjoy the writing of Susan Wiggs or Susan Mallery, give this one a try. And something tells me that we haven't seen the last of this bucolic town or it's residents. Thank you Ms. Skye, this was my first experience of your writing but it won't be my last.
Although she has never moved on beyond the death of her fiancé in a plane crash, Grace Lindstrom has buried herself in her job as she travels the world to write about food. However, she has an opportunity in DC that the international gourmet historian cannot ignore though it means remaining in one place. Military explosives detachment specialist Noah McLeod is fortunate not to have been splattered with his latest bomb disposal. He and Grace meet at a dumpster where someone discarded kittens. They are attracted to each other, but he knows he cannot offer her what he believes she deserves. However, when her beloved grandpa takes a bad fall that has left him with amnesia, Grace heads home to the Oregon barrier isle Summer Island to care for him while he heals. Her departure is a wake up call for Noah who knows life without his Grace would be unbearably lonely. This is an entertaining contemporary romance starring two likable individuals who fall in love but each believes they have no long term future together. Although several support characters detract from the overall engaging sequel to Christina Skye's entry to The Knitting Diaries anthology (see Return to Summer Island), fans will enjoy this return to the Oregon coast. Harriet Klausner
So after the start of the first camp the three half blood got confused. They got leslie and ronnie's names mixed-up and split. Ronnie then changed her name to katrina and tried to start camp again. It was successful. Until the drama kicked in. Fights were increased, hearts were broken, and one villian called eathan and his accoplice a became imposters of other rpers. The camp broke apart. (To be continued)
Love, family,friends....it seems like it should be a series.....what happens to jilly, and caro, and gage. Etc.