Long Time Coming

Long Time Coming

4.3 641
by Edie Claire

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A ghostly contemporary romance from USA-Today bestselling author Edie Claire.

4.5-Star, Romantic Times Top Pick and winner of the Road to Romance Reviewer's Choice Award!

Years and distance kept the memories at bay. But back at home, the past is ready and waiting to haunt her...

Eighteen years have passed since Joy's childhood


A ghostly contemporary romance from USA-Today bestselling author Edie Claire.

4.5-Star, Romantic Times Top Pick and winner of the Road to Romance Reviewer's Choice Award!

Years and distance kept the memories at bay. But back at home, the past is ready and waiting to haunt her...

Eighteen years have passed since Joy's childhood best friend, Jenny, met her death in a tragic car accident just a few days after their senior prom. A broken Joy left their small Kentucky hometown shortly after -- determined never to come back. But when her father's illness forces her to return, she realizes that neither time nor distance have truly healed her troubled soul.

Plagued with nightmares of the accident and crippled by a vague fear whose source she can't identify, Joy realizes that in order to move on she must face the truth behind several disturbing gaps in her memory of that fateful spring. But the only person who can help her is a man she despises: Jenny's erstwhile boyfriend Jeff, now a respected doctor, whose carelessness as a teenager was the cause of Jenny's horrendous death -- and Joy's own emotional destruction. Can she ever forgive? She may have no choice but to try. Because both the danger she sensed -- and the childhood friendship she treasured -- now suddenly seem very much alive...

"LONG TIME COMING is a remarkably well blended romance and mystery, with fascinating shades of the paranormal. The way each layer of Joy's discovery of her forgotten past is revealed is deftly done and exceptionally suspenseful. The relationship between Joy and her parents is heart warming. This one will have you hooked from the first page." December 2003 Top Pick. Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine

"An abundance of charm... Joy's perky first-person narration carries readers along to a warm, gratifying conclusion." -- Publisher's Weekly

"Emotionally gripping, suspenseful and superb... I was held in wonderment over much of this story and realized early on to expect the unexpected. This is a story of trust, love, friendship and healing. Ms. Claire is an author I hope to see more of in the future. If Long Time Coming is any indication of her writing talent, I will be first in line at the bookstores to get more of her work. This is a positively splendid tale from start to finish and is highly recommended." Reviewer's Choice Award -- Road to Romance

"Two words. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! Edie Claire has written a wonderful novel about friendship, love, guilt and death... Utterly riveting." Rating: 10/10 -- Contemporary Romance Writers

"Claire's charming romance disproves the adage that you can't go home again." -- Booklist

"A book of healing, understanding, rebirth, and finally growing up. A story that you won't forget easily... I could only sigh in appreciation as I turned the final page." -- Romance Reviews Today

"Intense, well-written and thought-provoking." -- Old Book Barn Gazette

"A most fantastic novel... When the story comes to an end and the lights have been lowered... and the reader is left with a longing to know more... there is no better compliment to the author." -- Romance Junkies

Originally published in 2003 by Warner Books (Warner Forever).

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Edie Claire movingly explores the world of second chances with this tender contemporary story. Though veterinarian Joy Hudson is now an accomplished and well-established professional, all the trauma of her senior year in high school comes rushing back when she returns to her hometown to help care for her aging father. The memories she tried to erase about her best friend's tragic death, and the boy she blamed for the accident, suddenly seem very fresh -- especially because that boy is now the handsome town doctor who makes his interest in Joy abundantly clear. Even more troubling is Joy's mounting suspicion that someone is either trying to spook her or kill her. It will take all Joy's courage to attend to past and present dangers. Ginger Curwen
Publishers Weekly
Drawing on her experience as a veterinarian, Claire spins a sweet confection about a couple torn apart by tragedy and brought together again by a big, adorable dog. The year after her friend Jenny died in a car crash, Joy left Wharton, Ky., unsure whether she would ever return. Now, 17 years later, she's back to help out during her father's illness and to open her own mobile vet clinic. Rather than live at home ("The moment I walked into my parents' olive green living room, eleven years of higher education and seven years as a practicing professional melted off my psyche like butter"), Joy moves into Jenny's old house. During a foggy morning drive to the hospital, Joy hits a dog belonging to Dr. Jeff Bradford, who was driving Jenny the night of her accident. Joy has never forgiven Jeff for driving drunk, but his dog's injury is an effective tool in bringing the two together. The contrived conflict created by the couple's miscommunication Jeff, it turns out, wasn't drunk at the time of the accident is easily resolved, but Joy's reoccurring nightmares about Jenny's death, ghostly visits from Jenny and a murderer plump the plot to near bursting. While lacking in originality, the book has an abundance of charm, and Joy's perky first-person narration carries readers nimbly along to a warm, gratifying conclusion. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

CreateSpace Publishing
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)

Read an Excerpt

Long Time Coming

By Edie Claire

Warner Forever

Copyright © 2003 Edie Claire
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61277-4

Chapter One


The young real estate agent in the driver's seat lifted one perfectly plucked eyebrow in my direction as she steered her Geo smoothly into the street gutter. I could not blame her for avoiding the crumbling driveway, whose variously sized pits had been filled to capacity by the morning's downpour. She glanced over my shoulder at the dilapidated bungalow whose virtues she had been extolling for the last twenty minutes, then fixed me with a polite stare. "Is something wrong?"

I opened my mouth to reply, but shut it again. The last thing I needed on returning to my humble origins was to acquire a reputation for living in the past. Of all the places I didn't want to live, the past was at the top of the list.

This accursed town was second. "No," I answered finally, struggling to keep my voice even. "I'm sorry. It's fine. Better than the others. Let's take a look." I grabbed the door handle and stepped out onto the curb with one fluid motion, theorizing that if I moved quickly, I might feel less. It was a clammy spring morning, and the chill in the soggy ground seemed to seep straight into my bones. I pulled my jacket tighter around my shoulders and set off toward the house in double time.

"I'm afraid this is the last of what we have listed in your price range," the realtor called, her voice wavering as she jogged around the car to catch up with me. I felt a little guilty as she struggled to find a dry route over the fractured walk, taking care not to muss her linen suit and two-inch heels. But I couldn't make myself walk any slower. If I did, I might notice how much the sugar maple had grown, and wonder if the intertwined J's were still carved expertly in its trunk, ten feet up. I might see the wide, smooth concrete porch wall, and remember how it was the perfect height for swinging legs and watching the cars go by. I might see the bush that had concealed the secret fort, or the window box where the kittens had been born.

I couldn't bear to see any of it. "If you want to bump up a bit, we have a nice three-bedroom over by the high school," the woman offered as she reached my side at the porch steps. She was breathing a bit heavy, and tiny beads of sweat had begun to ooze through her top layer of makeup.

"No," I answered, trying hard to smile. "I'm afraid that's not possible. I'll just have to make do." The smile that met mine was equally strained. We both knew that every other house we had seen so far had required an ability to coexist with rodents, a quality which, as a veterinarian, I suppose I should have possessed. And to my credit, I had no issue with furry creatures who lived in cages and spun on wheels. Those that defecated on kitchen counters, however, were on their own.

The realtor fitted her keys into the lock and began to chatter, her western Kentucky accent intensifying the faster she spoke. The light, distinctive twang and cadence would have charmed my neighbors in Philly, but each extra syllable seemed only to batter my brain. I had sounded just like her. Once.

"The house is over seventy years old," she advised, flipping on the lights and ushering me inside. "But until very recently it's been treated with care, and there are some updates. Now, there's only the one bedroom on the first floor. The second floor is really more of a loft, but it has loads of possibilities-"

I raised my eyes slowly from the floor, tensing my every muscle with the effort. This is not Jenny's living room anymore, I told myself firmly. It is just a house.

I didn't need the realtor to tell me what was where; I could tell her. I knew every nook and cranny, from the mismatched brick on the right side of the hearth to the little round window over the tub. But I didn't want to remember any of those things. And as I forced my eyes slowly over the tiny living/dining room, I was able to succeed, at least partly. Because eighteen years had taken their toll.

The walls I remembered as papered with hunters and bleeding pheasants were now a generic beige, and where warm brown carpet had once lain, there remained only naked hardwood. Plywood covered a cracked window. There was no squeaky kitchen table, no black vinyl recliner. The African violets were gone from the windowsills, the Hummel figurines from the mantel. The realtor's voice echoed with a stillness like that in any empty room.

I let out a slow, relieved breath. I was standing in a shell. A shell of wood and plaster.

"It can use a loving touch," the young woman admitted. "But structurally, my boss says it's in much better shape than you might expect. In fact, at this price, it's really a very good bargain." She walked toward the staircase, which I knew to be hidden on the other side of the kitchen. "Would you like to see the loft?"

My pulse quickened, but only for a moment. Yes, I would see the loft. If it was as empty and sterile as this living room, perhaps it would do me good. The realtor ascended the narrow wooden staircase ahead of me, and it creaked loudly under her negligible weight. "We can have the inspector check out these boards," she chirped a bit nervously. "If there's a problem, we can always negotiate with the seller."

I mounted the steps without concern, not remembering a time when they hadn't protested. The realtor walked slowly, and I found to my surprise that I was impatient to move along, anxious to finish this thing. Barely able to restrain myself from pushing her, I sidled around her at the top step and turned toward the back of the house.

The low archway in front of me had once been framed by yellow curtains dotted with orange butterflies. Now it was bare. I ducked under it and stepped into the tiny alcove.

My heartbeat pounded in my ears as I took in the dormer window, the odd angular bookcase, the low, slanted ceilings. Jenny's furniture was gone, the walls stripped bare. But this place, still, was the same. My best friend had slept here for seventeen years. She didn't sleep anywhere anymore.

"Dr. Hudson?" The realtor stood somewhere behind me, her voice uneasy. I realized with a start that she must have been talking to me for a while. "Joy? Are you all right? Can I ... get you something?"

I drew in a long breath, but felt it shudder in my chest. Hot tears burned my cheeks-tears I didn't remember producing. My voice was gone. My legs were shaking. I closed my eyes to stop it all.

A thin arm wrapped itself around my shoulders, squeezing them tight. It was a comforting gesture, sweet and empathetic, and it flooded me with an unexpected warmth. Despite myself, I smiled. "Thank you," I said weakly, turning to the young woman.

From her position on the other side of the archway, the realtor blinked questioningly. "What was it you wanted?" I stared back at her for a moment, not breathing. She was a full six feet away, and looking a tad impatient.

I wheeled away from her, my eyes wide. "Joy?" the realtor repeated.

I scanned the tiny bedroom again, but knew it was empty.

"Maybe we should go back downstairs?" the woman suggested eagerly. "It's a bit chilly up here."

And yet I felt wonderfully warm. My head was spinning, but my heart was oddly light. I brushed the wetness from my cheeks with my jacket sleeve and faced my escort.

Not being an impulsive person, the words that tumbled from my mouth surprised me. "This house," I said evenly, moving past her toward the staircase. "I'll take it."


Excerpted from Long Time Coming by Edie Claire Copyright © 2003 by Edie Claire. 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

USA TODAY bestselling novelist and playwright Edie Claire is a veterinarian, a childbirth educator, and a mother of three who delights in writing six genres of fiction: cozy mysteries, romantic fiction, women's fiction, humor, ghostly YA romance, and comedic stage plays. Pick up any Edie Claire work and you can be assured of intrigue, humor, a touch of romance (or a hefty dose of it, depending on the book!) and an ending that will leave you with a smile.

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Long Time Coming 4.3 out of 5 based on 5 ratings. 641 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book touched me from the first page. As Joy finds herself back in her hometown she realizes what I think most of us do, why am I here? Stories from her past begin to haunt her as she moves into an all to familiar house where so many of childhood memories took place. This book was a page turner for me, and had a great love story in the end.
mckait More than 1 year ago
But I remember this.. I loved it! It was well written and left me longing for a sequel. I am an avid reader, and sometimes forget books that I have read, but this one has stayed with me. Her characters are realistic and her word paintings of the locale make you feel like you are right there. I encourage you to read these sweet, funny books with a twist of mystery. I don't believe you will regret it, and I think you will join me in hoping for more to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book it makes you want to keep reading just to find out what the secrets are. It has, mystery, action,a little paranormal activity and true love. Clean book too no sex scenes or swears. I just loved this book
kccc1 More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader and this is how I know a book is great:  If I start reading and can't stop (while making dinner, getting ready, at 3 am), it's great!  I could not stop reading this book!  The 700 +pages seemed more like 300!  I would love to see a sequel, there are many places it could lead:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It had a little mystery, a ghost and a love story all rolled into one. The writer gets you from the start and it is a very clean book. Everyone should read it. GJRA
JodyGilchrist More than 1 year ago
EXCELLENT! I highly recommend you read...and it is free! Just finished Long Time Coming and loved it! Each concept (the romance, the ghost story, the mystery, their careers) blended together so well, and made for a really great story. The length was great, too, as I hate short books. Thanks so much for the book, I will recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i couldnt stop reading!! will be reading more from this author! 5stars :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Was very hard to put down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly addictive story filled with love, mystery, suspense and ghosts that keep you entertained right from the first page
chansman More than 1 year ago
I have to be honest, at first I was really interested in this story but then it became an endless cycle of "Joy" being a whiner. Even though I don't normally read stories about paranormal themes, it started out interesting. Then it was just to ridiculous how Joy was just continuing to stay in her home even though all these weird things kept happening. It wasn't like she didn't have nowhere else to go. Jeff, I felt sorry for, he was treated like a leper by Joy. An yet he still feels for her. Why would he? She never gave him hope, shut him down and told him off time and time and he still doesn't give up? This was when I kept waiting for her to snap out of it. The title of the book says it all. it was A Long Time in Coming. For it to be wrapped up when her "ghost friend Jenny" had to step in and basically throw her at him, well I was like "Really, that's how their going to get together?" That left me cold, she couldn't figure it out before then, it was like she had been the one in the car accident and she was brain damaged, that would have explained her stupidity better. I'd like to give it two stars, but since I was suckered into reading the whole stinking story I have to give it three.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beginning was slow, but it really picked up and i couldnt put it down! It was a great mix of mystery, suspense, and romance, with enough humor to make this story perfectly well rounded. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
700 pgs. Clean story for any age group. Heartfelt touching made me feel sad for jenny. The girls had a great relationship. Their friendship was unique. Worth reading. Wanted to know what happenend with the doushe bag vet. Meannie he was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great love story in the end with lots of twist and turns along the way!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read. Had a good story line with some surprises. Enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. I laughed quite a bit, but this story still had the suspense as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story could have easily been told in 200 pages rather than over 700. I got bored with all the fluff and started skimming pages just to get to the meat of the story. I did want to know the details of the accident, so that's what kept me reading, but to read every word of this rambling story would have been near torture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books I've read in a long time! It's one of the few that seemed a little more realistic. There are no billionaires and no sex.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story! If you like Mary Higgins Clark or Sue Grafton novels, you will love this author.
cw1965 More than 1 year ago
This book kept me wanting to keep on reading, I read all 765 pages literally in less than one week. I would read another by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With all the mixed emotions, childhood memories, the romance, this book was a total page turner.
Dyow More than 1 year ago
Not my normal style of book but I enjoyed it. Well developed characters and an interesting plot. I would read other books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The main character was wayyyy too much into her own feelings and insecurities. Very selfcentered. Fickle. Up and down like a yoyo. I could not figure out what Doc Bradford saw in her. She carried way too much baggage and cared only for her own feelings. He should have dumped her. Sounds harsh i know but she just didn,t have both oars in the water.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. I was finding myself unable to put the book down. There was never a dull moment throughout the entire story.
NavyWave62 More than 1 year ago
TRULY WONDERFUL! I can't believe it was free, such a heartwarming story of how things when we are teenagers, can be carried into adult hood. I loved all the character's and was very surprised who was the guilty person. This story was clean, romantic and a great read. This was my first book by this author and I only read this because it was free. Smart, because now I will read more. (ljb)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There wasnt much Romance, it was more of a Mystery novel. No Sex scenes so its suitable for your teenager.