Lakeside Cottage

( 64 )


If you trust your heart, you'll always know who you are…

Each summer, Kate Livingston returns to her family's lakeside cottage, a place of simple living and happy times—a place where she hopes her son, Aaron, can blossom. But her quiet life gets a bit more interesting with the arrival of a mysterious new neighbor, JD Harris.

JD has a good reason for being secretive. In a moment of sheer bravery, the Washington, D.C., paramedic prevented a ...

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If you trust your heart, you'll always know who you are…

Each summer, Kate Livingston returns to her family's lakeside cottage, a place of simple living and happy times—a place where she hopes her son, Aaron, can blossom. But her quiet life gets a bit more interesting with the arrival of a mysterious new neighbor, JD Harris.

JD has a good reason for being secretive. In a moment of sheer bravery, the Washington, D.C., paramedic prevented a terrible tragedy—and became a national hero. He's hardly able to remember who he was before the media frenzy…until he escapes to this lovely, remote part of the Northwest.

Now Kate and Aaron have rekindled the joy of small pleasures and peace, something JD thought he'd never have again. But how long will his blissful anonymity last before reality comes banging at his door?

"Wiggs's thoroughly captivating tale draws readers into her characters' lives and minds in a way that makes them real and true and unforgettable."


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wiggs is one of our best observers of stories of the heart. She knows how to capture emotion on virtually every page of every book." —Salem Statesman-Journal

"Wiggs's thoroughly captivating tale draws readers into her characters' lives and minds in a way that makes them real and true and unforgettable." —Booklist

"Susan Wiggs paints the details of human relationships with the finesse of a master." —Jodi Picoult

"Bestselling author Wiggs's talent is reflected in her thoroughly believable characters as well as the way she recognizes the importance of family by blood or other ties." —Library Journal

"Susan Wiggs writes with bright assurance, humor and compassion." —Luanne Rice

Publishers Weekly
In Wiggs's appealing summer romance, single mom (and newly unemployed journalist) Kate Livingston and her edgy son, Aaron, arrive at her family's lakeside cottage in Lake Crescent, Wash., to discover unexpected company in the form of a troubled teenage girl and a handsome but mysterious neighbor. Callie Evans has run away from an abusive, unloved childhood; former military medic JD Harris is hiding from the relentless media scrutiny he's received following a sudden heroic action. Each is warily drawn to Kate's good-heartedness, and Kate responds with characteristic warmth and commitment. But their growing bonds are threatened when Callie becomes ill and Kate discovers the famous identity JD has tried to conceal. Wiggs (The Ocean Between Us) strains when her characters interact with the world at large: Kate's overnight success in top-level freelance writing is unrealistic, while both JD's fame and his phobia about it are exaggerated. In contrast, the characters' intimate personal interactions are pure gold. Especially appealing are Wiggs's evocations of timeless summer pleasures and her sweet yet complex depictions of Aaron's healing at the hands of his new father figure and foster sister. Agent, Meg Ruley. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778316961
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 118,397
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA from Romance Writers of America. Visit her website at

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Read an Excerpt

Washington, D.C. Christmas Eve

THE AMBULANCE BACKING into the bay of Building One looked like any other rig. It appeared to be returning from a routine transport run, perhaps moving a patient to the step-down unit, or a stabilized trauma victim to Lowery Wing for surgery. The rig had its customary clearance tags for getting through security with a minimum of hassle, and the crew wore the usual crisply creased navy trousers and regulation parkas, ID tags dangling from their pockets. Even the patient looked ordinary in every respect, in standard-issue hospital draping, thermal blankets and an O2 mask.

Special Forces Medical Sergeant Jordan Donovan Harris wouldn't have given the crew a second glance, except that he was bored and had wandered over to Shaw Wing, to the glassed-in observation deck on the mezzanine level. From there, he could view the ambulance bays and beyond that, Rock Creek Park and Georgia Avenue. The trees were bare and stark black against a blanket of snow, ink drawings on white paper. Traffic trundled along streets that led to the gleaming domes and spires of the nation's capital. A fresh dusting of powder over the 147-acre compound gave the Georgian brick buildings of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center a timeless, frozen, Christmas-card look. Only the activity at the intake bays hinted that the campus housed the military's highest level of patient care.

Although there was no one around, Harris knew he was being watched. There were more security cameras here than in a Las Vegas casino. It didn't matter to him, though. He had nothing to hide.

Boredom was desirable in the life of a paramedic. The fact that he was idle meant nothing had gone wrong, no one's world had been shattered by a motor-vehicle accident, an unfortunate fall, a spiking fever, an enraged lover with a gun. For the time being, no one needed saving. Yet for a medic, whose job was to save people, that meant there was nothing to do.

He shifted his stance, grimacing a little. His dress shoes pinched. All personnel present wore dress uniform today because the President was on the premises to visit ailing soldiers and spread holiday cheer. Of course, only a lucky few actually saw the Commander-in-Chief when he visited. His rounds were carefully orchestrated by the powers that be, and his entourage of Secret Service agents and the official press corps kept him walled off from ordinary people.

So Harris was a bit startled when he saw a large cluster of black suits and military brass exiting the main elevator below the mezzanine. Odd. The usual route for official visits encompassed Ward 57, where so many wounded veterans lay.

Today it seemed the tour would include the in-processing unit, which had recently undergone renovations courtesy of a generous party donor.

The visitors flowed along a spotless corridor. Instinctively, Harris stiffened his spine and prepared to snap to, not that anyone would notice whether or not he did. Old habits died hard.

He let himself relax a little. From his glassed-in vantage point, he craned his neck for a glimpse of the world leader but saw only the press and bustle of the entourage, led by the sergeant major of the army. A moment later, a civilian administrator greeted everyone with a wide smile. She looked as gracious and welcoming as a Georgetown hostess. Apparently, her domain was on the itinerary and she appeared eager to point out its excellence.

Harris knew that her name was Darnelle Jefferson and that she had worked here for a quarter of a century. She was fond of telling that to anyone who would listen. Looking at her, you'd never guess what the regulars here knew-that like many civilian administrators, she tended to spend her entire day being a pain in the ass to all personnel and creating a mountain of paperwork to justify her own existence. Still, she looked cheerful and efficient in a Christmas-red dress with the requisite yellow ribbon pinned to her bosom, and the wattage of her smile increased as the impossible occurred. The President separated from the pack and stepped forward for a photo op.

Then, even more surprisingly, Mrs. Jefferson took charge of the tour, leading the group along the wide, gleaming corridor. Two cameramen trolled along beside them, the big lenses of their cameras capturing every movement and nuance for the nightly news. The party stopped off at the first intake room, where a wounded soldier had arrived from another facility.

Harris knew that the official photos and film would portray the President with the soldier and his family in an intimate circle around the hospital bed. The pictures wouldn't show the vigilant Secret Service, or the booms and mikes hovering just out of sight.

That's showbiz, thought Harris. He didn't understand how anyone could put up with public life. To have everyone's scrutiny on you was a peculiar sort of torture, as far as he was concerned.

The entourage was on the move again, down the scrubbed hallway toward the Talbot Lounge, one of the newly renovated waiting areas, where a twelve-foot noble fir stood, decked in splendor by one of D.C.'s finest florists. They stopped for more photos. Harris could see flashes going off, but he'd lost sight of the President.

Elsewhere in the same wing, the recently delivered patient lay in an intake room flanked on two sides by wire-embedded glass walls. The transport crew had gone to the main desk to fill out their report, and no hospital personnel had arrived yet to in-process the newcomer. The staff members on duty were probably just like Harris, slacking off as they tried to get a look at the President. The patient lay alone, no family member or friend standing by to comfort him in this strange new world. Some people just didn't have anybody. Harris himself might be a prime example of that, if not for Schroeder. He and Sam Schroeder had been best friends for years, since meeting in a battle zone in Konar Province, Afghanistan. Sam and his family made up all that was important to Harris, and he told himself it was enough.

He took the stairs down to the main level, hoping to get a look at the President's face. He didn't know why. Maybe it was the fact that he'd spent a decade serving this country and another four years at the hospital, keeping people from dying. He sure as hell ought to be able to catch a glimpse of the President up close. A memo had advised that there would be a reception later at the hospital rec center-with the Gatlin Brothers performing-but that was sure to be a mob scene.

A pair of marines in dress blues stood sentinel at the double doors to the unit. Harris gestured with his clipboard and flashed his ID, projecting an air of brisk efficiency. Once inside the unit, he had to act busy or they'd know he was loitering in order to see the President, a practice that was frowned upon.

Harris stopped outside the admittance room where the new arrival lay. He took a chart from the U-shaped holder on the door, flipped up the metal cover and pretended to be studying it.

The sound of footsteps and voices grew louder as the presidential party approached.

"…new Cardiothoracic Stepdown Unit is equipped with state-of-the-art monitoring equipment," Mrs. Jefferson explained in broad, grave tones. "It's now our country's leading center of clinical care, research and evaluation…" She droned on as though reading from a prepared script, and Harris tuned her out.

The party drew closer. Finally Harris caught a glimpse of the Commander-in-Chief. His expression was set in his trademark look of compassion. The President and the hospital administrator separated from the group. Darnelle Jefferson led the way toward the in-processing unit where the new arrival lay.

Damn, thought Harris, time to disappear. Quickly-but not too quickly-he slipped into an admit room, connected to the unit by a set of green swinging doors. By looking through the round portals, he could see straight through to the next two rooms. He focused on the new patient through the glass, expecting him to be lying there quiet and alone, probably scared shitless, unaware that the President of the United States was just a few steps away.

Except that the guy wasn't quiet. For a cardiac patient, he seemed awfully busy, sitting up on the gurney, tearing away his mask.

Harris studied the chart he'd grabbed from the rack outside the door. Terence Lee Muldoon. He was a combat vet, a transferee from a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. The chart listed him as twenty-five years old-damn young for heart trouble.

In his time, Harris had seen thousands of cardiac patients. The condition was always characterized by a grayish pallor and palpable look of fatigue.

Not this character. Even from a distance and through two sets of doors, Harris could see that his face was a healthy pink, his movements economical and assured.

At that moment, the entourage stopped in the corridor and the President and Mrs. Jefferson entered Muldoon's room. The glassed-in cubicle was too small to accommodate more visitors, and the bodyguards hovered outside, craning their necks, their gazes constantly on the move, their lips murmuring into their hidden radios. A pair of photographers pressed their camera lenses against the glass. The President greeted Muldoon with a handshake, then moved behind the gurney for the requisite photo op.

There was never a specific moment when Harris decided something was wrong. He never saw a maniacal gleam in the impostor's eyes or heard some sort of evil cackle like in the movies. Real evil didn't work that way. It was all quite…or-dinary.

Sweet baby Moses, thought Harris.

There was also never a particular moment when Harris decided to take action. Making a decision implied a thought process that simply didn't happen. Harris-and the unsuspecting President-had no time for that. Flipping the silent alert signal on his shoulder-mounted radio, he slipped through the double doors into the next in-processing room, adjacent to where the President was. He knew the security cameras were recording his movements, but the stranger next door didn't appear to have noticed him.

Harris refrained from shouting or making any sudden movements. The patient was not yet aware of him, and he didn't want to draw attention to himself. He had to move fast, though, because his movements were going to look highly suspicious to the security cameras. Those watching him were going to think he was a nutcase or worse-a bad guy.

The flow of events unfolded with a peculiar inevitability. Later-much, much later-Harris would watch the videos made by both the security monitors and the press corps, but he would remember none of it.

Seconds before the personnel in the hallway responded to the alert, the patient swept aside the thermal blanket. With his free hand, he yanked away the gown to reveal rows of dynamite duct taped to a body-hugging vest.

"Anybody takes me out," he screamed at the glass wall, "and I go up like the Fourth ofJuly. And I take this whole wing of the building with me." He leaped to the floor and glared at the horrified crowd on the other side of the glass. His fist closed around the igniter, ready to detonate the explosives.

The President stood stock-still. Darnelle Jefferson gave a hiccuping gasp of sheer terror. Harris froze, too experienced to let fear get in the way. He recognized the shield tattooed on Muldoon's forearm. It was the iron falcon and sword of a Special Forces unit.

So they were dealing with a rogue from Special Forces, as highly trained as Harris himself, a disciplined killer gone awry. The assassin hadn't seen him yet. He was strutting in front of the wire-embedded glass while a dozen firearms were aimed at him.

Harris studied the homemade explosive vest and wondered how the hell the transport crew had failed to notice it. The explosives appeared to be plastic ordnance with an igniter operated by a toggle mechanism secured with more duct tape and connected to wires that would activate the explosives. It would have to be detonated manually, unless there was a secondary trigger he wasn't seeing.

Outside the cubicle, bodyguards and marines broke into action. Honed by countless drills, procedure would be followed to the letter. There would be an immediate lockdown, all units would come to full alert and alarms would shriek across the vast, snowy campus of Walter Reed. Even now, a security squadron was probably surrounding the building.

Mrs. Jefferson made a tiny sound for such a big woman and fainted dead away, taking a Lifepak monitor along with her. It crashed to the floor, startling Muldoon, and Harris was sure he'd spook and ignite the explosives. His left hand, which had been gripping the manual trigger, let go momentarily as he regrouped.

Darnelle had given Harris a seconds-long window of opportunity. Knowing he had a chance was all he needed. It was only one chance, though. If he blew it, they were all toast. Or confetti, more accurately.

He burst through the double doors, everything focused on the assailant's trigger hand. His entire body launched itself at the assassin in a single-move tactic, one he'd been trained for but had never used until now.

Muldoon went down, screaming as Harris crushed the man's left wrist to disable his hand. They hit the floor together. Muldoon was shocky from the crushed wrist. That was something.

There was a sound like a rifle shot. Harris felt something hit him like a cannonball. Jesus, had the son of a bitch detonated the explosives?

No, the igniter, Harris realized. The impact had triggered it, but it had misfired. That was the good news. The bad news was, the failed explosion was killing him. His limbs went immediately ice cold as if everything had been sucked out of him. He was aware of movement all around, the President taking cover, the frenzy of highly trained Secret Service men jolted into action. Alarms bayed and someone was screaming. A furious ringing sound blared in his ears. The reek of chemicals seared his throat.

The world dissolved into double images as Harris's consciousness seeped away like the blood on the floor. Sounds stretched out with an eerie echo, as though shouted down a well. "Freeze.. freeze,freeze…." The barked order reverberated through Harris's head. "Nobody move! oove, oove…."

Harris's pulse was thready. Lying in a widening pool of blood, he imagined each system shutting down, one by one, a theater's lights going dim after a final performance. He felt himself quiver, or maybe it was the assassin struggling against him. To die like this, he thought, at the President's feet. That just sucked. Offended his sense of propriety. Sure, it wouldn't matter to him after he was gone. It shouldn't matter at all, but somehow it did.

Harris could see his own reflection in the dome of the 360-degree security camera mounted in the ceiling. Blood spreading out like an inky carpet. It always looks worse than it is, he told himself. He said that to his patients all the time.

The swarm descended, a pandemonium of black suits and dress uniforms as the Secret Service came forward to apprehend the crazy and secure the chief executive.

Harris was cold and headed somewhere dark. He could feel himself slipping, falling into a black well.

"Make way," a loud voice barked, the words echoing, then fading. "Somebody get this man some help."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 64 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2011

    It's a reissue!

    Please put original issue date followed by the reissue date. Nearly bought this again even though I already have it!! Why can't they be honest and say "reissue" instead of making it appear as new. Hate that!

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    NOT a New Book!!!

    Once again B&N puts out an old book and calls it NEW!
    I like this author so I purchased this "new" book only
    to know the entire story because I read it in 2005!!!
    I really think this is deceptive. They should put the
    original published date and then put the NOOK publish

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 10, 2011

    I Also Recommend:


    This was a very good read from beginning to end. Loved it!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Loved it!!!

    I enjoy Susan Wiggs' way of capturing the characters.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    Different cover from 2005

    Great love story. Jd was a hotty. Susan doesnt weigh you down with 20 different charactors. Read this couple years ago. Just as good second time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014


    Choose a res and that is your house. Res 2 are maids needed ads.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    Silverfang ooc

    Hope ur having fun love birds but silverfang has fun planned(ill kill u if ur thinking the dirty kind) at camp. So come back soon! Ill be at camp if ya have questions!

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

    Posted February 2, 2014


    I enjoyed every page. Light romance, human interesting stories of four people.

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  • Posted January 30, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Engaging contemporary romance with drama

    I believe I read this book a few years ago when it was originally published as this is a re-issue (with a beautiful new cover which draws you in). I enjoyed it just as much again. (A sucker for girls and guys escaping for some solitude to a lakeside cottage or cabin) as one of my favorite things to do.

    Kate returns to her family’s lake cottage with her shy son Aaron, and meets a frightened teenager Callie (who has been living in the summer cottages which she cleans.) True meaning of everyone is put in your life for a season or reason.

    Kate invites her to stay with them and then another surprise - a new neighbor JD Harris; however, he is very secretive yet exciting. He is private due to escaping the media for his heroism saving the President from a gunman. These four souls find solace in one another with some secrets, and they face many obstacles and challenges along the way to happiness during this summer journey by the lake.

    A sweet contemporary romance, and as usual, Susan knows how to write romance with a twist!

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

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Excellent read

    This is an excellent book on the lives of four different type of people who have different problems and how working together on them can benefit all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013


    Lays alone.

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  • Posted June 18, 2012

    Nice read.

    Nice read.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I love happy endings!

    Enjoyable book. From beginning to end.

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  • Posted June 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A great feel good story

    I read this in just a few days and fell in love with all the characters. I can't say much without revealing the end, but this story completely captivated me.
    Kate is a very likeable person with a good kid and a big heart. Callie is just a scared young girl trying to do the right thing. JD is hot, lovable and a typical guy with no basis for dealing with his feelings. Somehow, they all mixed well and engrossed me in their lives. I hated it when the story ended, as I wanted to continue reading about their lives. Highly recommended for any Susan Wiggs fan.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009


    great book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    True Romance

    Great reading book for a lazy day to be spent reading!!!! Good subject and interesting story line.

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

    Posted March 3, 2008

    Good -- But Just Didn't Get Me There

    This was a really good story line with well developed characters. The scenes were well written but lacked the OOMPH to take it all the way. Some of the situations were really predictable like the bathrobe and sexy underwear. Good but not awesome.

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

    Posted August 24, 2005

    Lakeside Cottage

    Single mother and writer Kate Livingston and her little boy, Aaron, make their annual trek to the lakeside house that her family has owned for generations. This is supposed to be the first year they will spend alone in it, but that's not quite how it things go for them. An enigmatic stranger is their neighbor, and while J.D. is very attractive to Kate, she knows he is hiding something. They also take in an orphaned, teen-aged girl trying to reshape her life. If this little group can work through all their secrets and issues, they will have a patchwork family filled with love. Failure can only lead to heartache. ................. This leisurely paced novel is filled with sweetness, ambling across the summer as the characters grow. Overcoming heartache and painfilled pasts really supercedes the romantic plot. How the press can completely disrupt lives is also a focus of the story. Somehow, like the family portrayed, all the elements mesh into a cohesive whole.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Delightful family drama

    Though the column Kate¿s Fashion Statement did not pay for food or shelter, leasing properties does but Kate Livingston enjoys.reporting. However, the Seattle News put her on hiatus so she takes her preadolescent son Aaron and moves into the family home in Port Angeles to decide what to do next. Any decision she makes has to factor in that Aaron has behavioral problems......................... That morning she meets runaway teen California ¿Callie¿ Evans, who initially frightened Kate. Callie has been sleeping in the summer properties that she cleans for a living. Kate invites Callie to stay with them, which she does................ Former Special Forces Medical Sergeant has moved into the cottage next door. He is recovering from death threatening injuries, but mostly running from the national spotlight of risking his life to save the President from a lone gunman at Walter Reed.................... This foursome shares the most wonderful summer in their respective lives. However, fall is coming which means getting on with lives, but after a couple months like a loving family will the joy end with each traveling a separate path?.................. Though only two of the four key players are related by blood, LAKESIDE COTTAGE is a delightful family drama starring a likable quartet suffering from individual traumas. Each has a trust problem yet that remarkable summer they come together as a tight unit being there for one another. Though the romance is a solid support subplot, this contemporary fiction is a strong interrelation character study with limited but exhilarating action moments............... Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2005

    Emotional and true

    This is more than a love story. It's about a single woman finding her way in life. Dealing with her angry, hurting son. Discovering a new purpose with a special teenage girl who never had anybody. And of course, falling in love with the hunk of the century. What's not to like???????

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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