Lover's Lane (Twilight Cove Trilogy Series #1) [NOOK Book]


Readers everywhere treasure bestselling author Jill Marie Landis for her tender love stories set against the splendid landscapes of the past. Now, Landis has written her first contemporary novel—a deeply emotional tale of acceptance and forgiveness, the bonds between mothers and sons, and the miracle of finding love for the first time.

For six years Carly Nolan has built a life for herself and her son Christopher, never getting too close to ...
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Lover's Lane (Twilight Cove Trilogy Series #1)

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Readers everywhere treasure bestselling author Jill Marie Landis for her tender love stories set against the splendid landscapes of the past. Now, Landis has written her first contemporary novel—a deeply emotional tale of acceptance and forgiveness, the bonds between mothers and sons, and the miracle of finding love for the first time.

For six years Carly Nolan has built a life for herself and her son Christopher, never getting too close to anyone. Nobody in the sleepy little beach community suspects she is running—from the mistakes she made in her youth, the memory of her fiancé Rick and his unexpected death, and the rich, powerful people who want to take away her child. She has carefully concealed her troubled past from the folks in the isolated haven of Twilight Cove. Until now.

Private investigator Jake Montgomery has been looking for elusive Caroline Graham since the day she disappeared with Rick’s baby. All Jake wants is answers. He finally finds her living under an assumed name, no longer a wild teenager, but a beautiful, devoted single mother who captivates him like no one ever has before. As Carly cautiously allows Jake into her life, she begins to trust another person for the first time in a long while. She never imagines that Jake, caught between his mission and his growing passion, poses a threat to her protected world. For if her secrets are revealed, she might lose the child she holds so dear—and the man who possesses the key to her heart.

Wise and wonderful, Lover’s Lane is an unforgettable story about new beginnings and the search for belonging, superbly told by one of the most talented writers in women’s fiction today.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A heartwarming, sexy page-turner.”

“Jill Marie Landis is the author you’ve been looking for.”

“Characters to love [and] emotion that tugs at the heart.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Jill Marie Landis can really touch the heart.”

“With her first foray into contemporary novels, Jill Marie Landis utilizes all the power and emotion that has made her such a beloved storyteller. Her characters are compelling, believable, and possess all those troubling human foibles.”
Romantic Times (Top Pick!)

“Jill Marie Landis spins a passionate tale of gripping emotions, rich in feelings of devotion and love between a mother and her son.”
NoHo>LA magazine

“An unforgettable story about new beginnings and searching for a place to belong . . . A heartwarming and insightful love story.”
Abilene Reporter-News

“A strong, engaging relationship drama that hooks the reader from the start through a fully developed secondary cast supplementing the prime plot. . . . Readers will appreciate this robust family drama.”
Midwest Book Review

“Heart-touching and impossible to put down. Landis’ compelling depiction of characters extends even to the villainess and six-year-old Chris; the pacing and plot are dead on, and consequently this love story is a joy to read.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307415905
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Series: Twilight Cove Trilogy Series , #1
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 205,364
  • File size: 1,016 KB

Meet the Author

The critically acclaimed author of numerous bestselling novels, Jill Marie Landis lives with her husband, Steve, in California and Hawaii. Her list of award-winning books includes Come Spring, Blue Moon, Sunflower, Just Once, Summer Moon, Magnolia Creek, and Heat Wave. Visit Landis at

From the Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt


Six years later . . . California Coast
Jake Montgomery left Long Beach before dawn on Thursday morning, leaving town a day early to avoid the weekend traffic headed up the coast. After three hours of driving, the dense population centers thinned and the land unfolded, spread out spring green and inviting. He drove past Santa Maria, cut over to old Highway One and followed the coast through Oceano and Pismo Beach.
As half owner of a private investigative firm he had founded, most of his days were spent not only enduring bumper-to-bumper traffic but L.A. road warriors venting their rage and the crowded, pulsing noise of city life as he gathered minutiae—details that among other things helped solve missing person cases, put an end to lengthy divorce proceedings, helped employers decide whether or not prospective employees had enough integrity to hire or promote.
Today the quiet solitude of the long drive helped ease the coil of tension in his gut, a coil that life in Los Angeles County tended to tighten deftly. This was the kind of getaway that his ex-wife used to talk about taking, but that was eons ago, back when they were still kids and newly married, long before they were consumed with their careers. Before there was no going back and the marriage had ended.
Lost in thought, he missed the turnoff to Twilight Cove. Cursing under his breath, he made a U-turn and followed Alamitos Canyon Road, a two-lane highway that wound down to the ocean alongside a creek of the same name. The gentle slope lined with low-growing chaparral ended abruptly after a sharp curve, and the picturesque town of Twilight Cove appeared suddenly, like a mirage.
Thecanyon road ended in the heart of a seaside village complete with a central plaza park with an old-fashioned, tiered Spanish fountain in the middle of a wide, grassy bluff overlooking the Pacific.
He slowed, checked out the various shops and stores, noted the location of The Cove Gallery before turning onto Cabrillo Road, which ran parallel to the ocean. Heading north, he found himself winding through residential sections of town, past wooden Craftsman-style houses. Most appeared to have been freshly painted. Many displayed flower boxes overflowing with alyssum, geraniums, and impatiens in delicate hues from white to pink to scarlet.
When he reached the point on the south end of the cove, he pulled into a scenic overlook, killed the engine and set the brake.
The moment he stepped outside his SUV, the onshore breeze kicked up, forcing him to zip his brown leather jacket. He walked to the guardrail. Even with mirrored sunglasses, he had to shield his eyes from the intense sunlight reflecting off the water. He watched distinct lines of swells form peaks offshore and counted six surfers in full wet suits cutting the waves on short boards. Then he turned full circle, taking in the view.
Lazy rolling hills covered in spring green grass and wildflowers tapered down both sides of the canyon to hug the cove. A few homes were scattered here and there on the hillside.
As he looked back toward town with its idyllic Plaza Park and avenue of historic storefronts, he shook his head. The place might look like Mayberry-by-the-Sea, but as long as real people inhabited it, Twilight Cove wasn’t as bucolic as it appeared to be. He’d been in the investigative business long enough to know that.
The town still resembled the California dream of a hundred years ago—what so many other beach cities would look like if not for overdevelopment, smog, and too many rats in the maze.
The salt air was tinged with the sea and time. Standing in the cool breeze off the ocean, Jake easily imagined a clipper ship racing under billowing sails, her hold filled with wares to sell to the Spanish dons, Indians, and padres living in the shadow of the missions.
Steep steps and a narrow trail below the bluff led down to the beach. Limited parking and lack of accessibility to the cove kept the town from becoming overrun by seasonal tourists the way Monterey and Carmel were. Twilight Cove’s small strand was still pristine. Only the hardy and the surfers didn’t mind tackling the steps.
If it hadn’t been for obligation and the driving need to see if a hunch would pay off, he would have lingered to inhale the fresh salt air and let the strong breeze whip through his hair and clear his mind. But he wasn’t here on vacation. He’d come on what just might prove to be a wild-goose chase, but he was more than willing to risk taking the time if it meant finally winding up a case that had been open far too long.
He’d driven to Twilight Cove because he was a man of detail who hated loose ends, but most of all, he had come because of a personal obligation. He’d come to Twilight out of duty to a friend long gone, a friend as alive as ever in his memory.
The Cove Gallery was exactly as it appeared in the photos he’d seen in the Budget Traveler magazine. Uncluttered and open, with glossy golden oak floors and white walls, the interior was the perfect backdrop for the artwork displayed on the walls and free-form sculptures on platforms scattered around the room.
Jake had no sooner cleared the threshold when a slim young man sporting an artfully trimmed, pencil-thin beard along his jawline started across the room to greet him. He wore wire-framed glasses and was dressed entirely in black.
Geoffrey Wilson introduced himself, extended his hand in greeting, his smile both wide and genuine.
Jake shook hands. “My name’s Jake Montgomery.” He reached into his back pocket, pulled out a folded page carefully torn from a magazine, opened it. “I saw this article on your gallery in Budget Traveler.”
The article stated that Geoff Wilson was twenty-nine years old, had moved west from Chicago three years ago after having grown tired of the brutal winters in the Windy City. The gallery had been open for a year and showcased local talent.
“Wonderful! I’m glad you stopped by. Go ahead and have a look around,” Wilson invited.
“Actually,” Jake pointed to the page that showed a photo of Wilson standing in front of a painting. “I’m interested in the piece on the wall behind you in this photograph. The sunset seascape with the transparent figures in the foreground.”
“An excellent choice, but I sold that a month ago.”
“Who’s the artist?”
“A local. Carly Nolan. Cove Gallery handles her work exclusively. She’s one very talented lady.” He started moving toward the far corner of the room. “Carly brought in a new painting just last weekend. I’m sure you’ll find it equally stunning.”
“So, she lives around here?”
Wilson paused, as if assessing Jake’s character for a second. “She lives nearby, yes.”
Jake followed him across the room, their even footsteps echoing in unison on the bare wood floor. The painting on the wall was of good size with a weathered frame that added to the tone of the piece.
The painting showed the huge dark boulders that ringed the cove and hugged the bluffs as violent storm waves crashed over them. The sky was gun-metal gray, dark and forbidding as the ocean. There were no buildings, no town above the cove, just wild grasses and two ragged junipers battered by the wind.
The artist had depicted a ghostly image of a young woman dressed in the style of the early 1800s standing at the edge of the bluff overlooking the water. Entirely painted in a sheer white, as if transposed over the painting, the woman stood with the fingers of one hand clenching the fabric of her long, flowing skirt. In the other hand she held a hat as if she had forgotten it was there. Long ribbons streamed over the brim, rippling just above the ground. Her hair was unbound, in wild disarray.
She was tall and lithe but her features were as subtly depicted as the rest of her, almost as if the artist wanted the viewer to wonder if there was actually a woman in the painting at all.
She could have been beautiful, or perhaps not. The artist left it up to the viewer to decide.
“This oil is of Twilight Cove from a different angle, one of the most dramatic pieces Ms. Nolan has done to date. Any work that showcases the cove tends to sell quickly. Visitors are so impressed by the beauty of this place that they want to take home a memory that will last a lifetime.” Wilson rolled up onto his toes, settled back on his heels and smiled. “Not to mention the good investment that original oils become.”
The Nolan piece was appealing in a haunting, ethereal way. Staring into the waves on the canvas was almost as hypnotic as watching the ocean. Not only that, but Jake found himself haunted by questions. Why was the young woman alone? Why had she gone to the edge of the bluff during a storm?
Except for a change of weather and time, it was a perfect rendition of the view he’d seen from the scenic viewpoint.
A label on the wall beside the painting listed the title as “Waiting.” The price was more than adequate for a local unknown. The name Carly Nolan was printed neatly beneath the title.
“This one’s a little dramatic for my taste,” Jake said. “Do you have anything else she’s done?”
Wilson’s smile luffed at the corner like a sail losing wind. “Not at the moment. Are you staying in town or just passing through?”
“I was planning on staying until Monday, if I can find a place.”
Geoff leaned forward conspiratorially. “Luckily it’s the off-season. I can call a fine B and B right here in town.”
“That’d be great.”
Jake followed him to the counter to pick up a business card. Wilson picked up the phone and punched in a number. He held his hand over the mouthpiece and whispered, “This is a wonderful place. So romantic.”
Within two minutes Jake had a room reserved at the Rose Cottage a few blocks away. Geoff Wilson made a sticky note to himself with Jake’s name on it with the reference—Nolan painting—and pressed it against the back of the counter.
Jake noticed a couple of tall baskets sitting near the cash register. One was stuffed with Chamber of Commerce maps. The other was filled with five-by-seven-inch cards printed with bios of the gallery’s featured artists. Flipping through, he realized that all but Carly Nolan’s biocard showed photographs of the artists.
He picked one up and read the scant information.
Carly Nolan is a local artist new upon the scene. Her haunting paintings of Twilight Cove and the surrounding landscape peopled with ghostly figures from California’s colorful past are quickly becoming favorites of collectors up and down the coast. Primarily working in oils, she has captured life in the very early days of the area using her own unique vision of color, style, and imagination.
“Please, take one,” Geoff urged. “Actually, if you’d like to meet her, Carly may be working here this evening. I’ll tell her you might drop by.”
“Really?” Jake looked down at the card, at the blank spot where the artist’s photo should be, and wondered if he’d hit pay dirt.
It was his partner, Kat Vargas, who’d found the article in Budget Traveler, not him. The painting in the background of the photo had reminded her of a small oil hanging on the wall above his desk.
Noting the similarities, Kat tore out the article, brought it in and slapped it on the desk in front of him. Then she had folded her arms, cocked her head, and asked, “Think it could be her? Your Obsession?”
Jake pulled his thoughts back, quickly thanked Geoff adding that he wasn’t certain he’d get by tonight but that he’d be in touch either way.
Before he left, he picked up a map as he turned to go and shoved both the biocard and map into the pocket of his brown leather jacket.

Copyright© 2003 by Jill Marie Landis
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great storytelling

    In 1997 Borrego Springs, California, lawyer Arthur Litton offers a million dollars to buy baby Christopher for his clients, the child¿s grandparents. The father of the child, their son Rick recently died. Caroline Graham knows she cannot win a court battle against the wealthy Saunders so she disappears with her child............................ Six years later, private investigator Jake Montgomery thinks he has found the vanished son of his deceased buddy Rick. Jake travels to Starlight Cove to meet painter Carly Nolan, single mother of six year old Christopher. Upon seeing her resemblance to a photo that Rick gave him of his fiancée, Jake concludes he has found Caroline. Jake knows reporting this would make his firm, but waits because he wants to do the right thing by Rick............................... Jake introduces himself to Carly at the gallery. She finds him attractive, but fears any relationship might expose her and Chris. Jake is surprised by her vulnerability, but believes the guilty run and hide. He wonders if Chris might be better off with his widowed wealthy grandmother. As he begins to fall in love, his actions expose Carly and Chris....................... This is a strong engaging relationship drama that hooks the reader from the start through a fully developed secondary cast supplementing the prime plot. Carly is a delightful protagonist living in fear, yet braving everything thrown at her. Jake seems too perfect as he seeks a middle ground between the woman he loves and the mother of his deceased best friend. Readers will appreciate this robust family drama....................... Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012



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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2005

    Awesome Book

    This was the best book ever. I read it in two days most of it on the first day. I couldn't put the book down. I read both Lover's Lane and Heat Wave and I must say that Lover's Lane was better. I love this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2004

    Great Read

    This is the first book that I read by this author, it is a touching and emotional story of a mother who will do whatever it takes to keep her child, including shutting out the man that she falls in love with. This story is wonderful, i would recommend this book to anyone that loves the happy ever after. The characters are real and believeable....this book is a keeper I will definetely pick it back up and read it again in the near future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2003

    Linda - A Reviewer

    What an excellent book! I really enjoyed this book so much I couldn't put it down. I hope Jill Marie Landis writes more books like this one. A must read.

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    Posted August 1, 2011

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