Month at the Shore

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Overview

Acclaimed USA Today bestselling author Antoinette Stockenberg consistently engages readers with her breathtaking stories of small-town romance tinged with danger. Now she returns with a tale of one woman's struggle to put the past to rest-even as it haunts her every waking moment...

A Month for New Beginnings Laura Shore's memories of her Cape Cod childhood are far from fond, mostly serving as a persistent reminder of why she left home in the first place. But now she's back. Her...

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A Month at the Shore

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Overview

Acclaimed USA Today bestselling author Antoinette Stockenberg consistently engages readers with her breathtaking stories of small-town romance tinged with danger. Now she returns with a tale of one woman's struggle to put the past to rest-even as it haunts her every waking moment...

A Month for New Beginnings Laura Shore's memories of her Cape Cod childhood are far from fond, mostly serving as a persistent reminder of why she left home in the first place. But now she's back. Her tyrannical father is dead, and his children have banded together to try to salvage the family nursery he ran into the ground. Laura, her younger sister Corinne, and their black-sheep brother, Snack, have given themselves exactly a month to try to get the business on its feet. Developers wait in the wings, eager to purchase the property, while local-boy-made-good Kendall Barclay is there whenever Laura turns around. Kendall's intentions may be honorable, but his attentions are the last thing she's interested in...

A Month for Bitter Endings Yet Kendall turns out to be a rock-steady shelter from the storm of publicity that blows in after he makes a shocking discovery on the property. Suddenly a murder investigation is underway, placing the Shores under the scrutiny of village gossips—and someone far more dangerous. Someone who thinks that this secret should have stayed buried. And who will stop at nothing to see that Laura's first visit home in years is also her last...

A Month At the Shore

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stockenberg is a fresh, exciting voice. Her writing is delicious!" -Jayne Ann Krentz

"Stockenberg is the only writer working today who could be an heir to Mary Stewart's romantic suspense crown." —Teresa Medeiros

The Romance Reader - Jean Mason
"A MONTH AT THE SHORE is a most enjoyable contemporary romance. The book illuminates the power of childhood experiences in shaping lives. Rooted as it is in their past, the attraction that sparks to life between Laura and Ken makes eminent sense ... Ken is the perfect hero, clearly a gem. Stockenberg has created an interesting cast of characters, provides a most satisfactory romance, and integrates the suspense element seamlessly into her story. This is a perfect book for a summer day."
The Best Reviews - Shayne Sawyer
"A savvy, sexy novel with twists and turns. The dialogue is natural and witty, and the characters jump off the page. If you like a good mystery, with murder, revenge, and tantalizing sexual play, you'll enjoy this book."
Romance Reviews Today - Astrid Kinn
"An addictive novel that draws the reader in from the very first page. The characters are extremely sympathetic and believable .... An all-around excellent read, A MONTH AT THE SHORE is enthralling. To be placed on your must-read pile immediately. Don't miss out on this captivating story of love, family, and trust."
Contemporary Romance Writers Reviews - Marilyn Rondeau
"The writing and emotional pull [is] finely drawn out .... The plot has just the right amount of intrigue, suspense, and a wonderfully sensual romance as the inspired hero does his best to become [the heroine's] knight in shining armor. The villain is a surprise twist to the mystery of the murder. Set in a wonderful locale ... you will truly enjoy A MONTH AT THE SHORE."
About Romance Fiction - Hope Richardson
"This is a must read. It will keep you guessing throughout and you will be shocked to find out just who is the murderer. Don't pass this one up!"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312981556
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/18/2003
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.76 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Antoinette Stockenberg was born and raised in the Midwest and then moved to New England. At Brown University, she abandoned a half-finished doctoral dissertation on Thomas Hardy to move aboard a sailboat, where she managed to write several novels before she and her husband moved back ashore. From her rooftop deck in Newport, Rhode Island, she can see both the harbor and her garden, the best of both worlds. The author, a RITA winner, ahs won numerous awards, and her books regularly appear on bestseller lists, including USA Today.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Here he comes at last."

Against a blood-red sun sliding into a dark blue sea, a beat-up Subaru without a muffler wheezed its way toward the two sisters standing on the knoll.

Laura Shore was dismayed by the bedraggled sight: it was so typically Shore.

"Well, he missed Dad's funeral," she said, sighing. "Why should I be surprised that he's missed the memorial?"

"You're not being fair," her sister protested in their brother's defense. "Six months ago, Snack was in jail for stealing a car."

"Yeah. Obviously not the one he's driving," Laura said dryly. "Will you look at that wreck? I'll bet he went out of his way to drive right down Main in it, tooting to everyone in sight."

Corinne grinned and said, "That's our Snack."

It had always amazed Laura that her sister was so willing to accept their brother's outlandish, provocative behavior. But then, Corinne had managed to live at home with their father until the day that he died. She'd been tempered in a very hot fire.

"What do you want to bet he stopped at Foxwoods?" Laura said.

"Today? Snack wouldn't do that."

"Wouldn't hit the slots? Since when?"

"Not today," Corinne insisted.

It might have been the ocean damp, it might have been their father's grave: suddenly Corinne shivered in her thincotton sweater and had to hug herself. "I'll bet he had car trouble. It's a miracle that he made it all the way here from Tijuana in that thing."

"Tijuana. God." Laura turned her back on the noisy, smoking car in time to see the last sliver of orange dip below the horizon, leaving behind a rich tapestry of gold, blue, and lavender sky. It was a spectacular Cape Cod sunset, and despite her resentment at being summoned back home by her younger sister, Laura felt the pull of the moment.

0

"Why," she asked with grudging wonder, "would Snack move to Tijuana when he could have stayed here?"

Corinne shrugged. "Why did you go off to live in Oregon? To make a mark, I suppose."

"I could just as well have made my mark in Chepaquit," Laura said quickly, rounding on her younger sister. "That is not why I left. I left to get as far away from Dad as I could."

"And from everyone else around here, Laura. Admit it."

"If you mean, from some of the people in this stifling, small-minded town-then, yes, I suppose so."

"Mm-hmm. You and Snack. You're more alike than you know."

It was a startling comparison, and Laura didn't like it at all. Corinne was a shy, sweet, totally naïve homebody who'd virtually never ventured off the Cape. How could she possibly have any insight into people?

Laura had to ask. "Corinne-just what, exactly, did you mean by that?"

Corinne shrugged. "You know. Big chip on the shoulder? You and Snack just deal with it in opposite ways, that's all." Her gaze was locked on the Subaru now, and she was waving her arm in broad arcs.

"I do not have a chip on my-"

Snack beeped loudly half a dozen times in return, making Laura wince. "The man is driving in a graveyard," she snapped, "not in a St. Patrick's Day parade."

"Laura, stop. You haven't seen one another since Mom's funeral. Bend a little, won't you? It's been so long since we've all been together."

"Three years isn't so long. Anyway, Snack could have come to visit this past Christmas, when you did."

"How? He had to be in court."

Laura smiled grimly. "Case closed. So to speak."

But she was still smarting from her sister's observation. Laura and Snack, two sides of the same warped coin? It wasn't possible. Corinne didn't know what she was talking about. She hadn't taken a psychology course in her life-hadn't had the chance to go to college, period-whereas Laura had worked and scrimped and saved and earned not only a degree in computer science, but a minor in psychology as well.

And never once, during all of the psych courses she'd taken at Oregon State, had it occurred to fs20her that she and Snack shared the same motivation for their respective behavior. The same genes, yes. Apparently. But not the same motivation.

Please. The very thought was laughable.

Snack stopped at the end of the winding lane, got out of the car, and began climbing the rest of the way with long-legged strides. A cigarette dangled from his lips; he pitched it over a headstone and smiled at his sisters sheepishly.

"Brakes went kaput," he explained when he got near. "Just over the line in Jersey. I had to tip a mechanic thirty extra bucks, all I had, to work late. So I'm starving, incidentally. And I blew it anyway-didn't I, big sister?" he added with an edgy and yet good-natured smile at Laura. "I know, I know: thirty-one, and what a mess. Go on. Say it. I'm waiting."

Same old Snack.

Laura said nothing.

He laughed and took in the sweep of Nantucket Sound that lay before them and, with a wink at Corinne, said, "Great view. Dad picked a good spot. Morning sun, sheltered from the wind-not bad. Not bad at all. Ever notice that about graveyards in these old towns? They're always on primo real estate. Yep. Every single one I've ever-"

Suddenly Corinne threw her arms around Snack and began to cry. Taken aback, Snack murmured comforting words without making whole sentences out of them, patting her back as he spoke. Over her shoulder he cocked his head at his older sister, a half-smile of query on his lips: were they friends, or were they not?

Laura brushed a few grains of sand from the silk skirt of her dark gray ensemble and then let her glance drift from it to her brother's greasy jeans and denim jacket. "I see you dressed for the occasion?"

A corner of Snack's thin, finely drawn lips lifted a little higher, and he shrugged. "Dad wouldn't have recognized me any way else."

Laura made a dismissive sound and said, "'The fog will be rolling in soon. We'd better get back to the house. Come on, Rinnie. Snack can follow us in his car."

Corinne withdrew from her brother's embrace and wiped her eyes with outstretched fingers. "No, wait. Snack needs to say ... hello, and I guess goodbye. We'll wait for you by your car," she said to him in gentle command.

She linked her arm through Laura's and led her away, giving their younger brother a quiet moment in which to pay his respects, whatever they happened to be.

Corinne walked down the grassy knoll without looking back, but Laura had no such compunctions. She glanced over her shoulder to see Snack standing at the foot of their father's grave, its new headstone obscured under bunches of flowers from the family nursery. Snack's head was bowed, his thumbs hooked in the pockets of his jeans.

Despite her desire not to care, Laura found herself wondering what was going through Snack's head. Was he really reflecting, or was he just faking it? Was he feeling what she had felt earlier in that same spot-confusion, and a horrible, wrenching emptiness? Or was he simply wondering what Corinne, a wonderful cook, had whipped up for them for supper?

With Snack, it was always hard to tell.

After a moment, he bobbed his head and then turned and hurried to catch up with his siblings. Even in the fading light, Laura could see that his thin, boyish face was pale. His voice was subdued as he said, "I could damn well use a drink about now."

"What else is new?" Laura murmured from the other side of Corinne.

Her brother snapped, "Not your attitude, that's for sure."

"There's nothing wrong with my-"

"Stop! Both of you-stop. Think where you are."

Embarrassed by the reprimand, Laura said stiffly, "She's right, Snack. Truce." She held out her hand and shook her brother's firmly when he accepted her offer.

Corinne, presiding over the handshake, sounded relieved. "Good. This has to be a team effort if my plan's going to be a success."

"Success? I'm not used to the sound of that word," Snack quipped.

"What're you talking about?" Laura asked. "What plan?"

Corinne pulled out a rubber band from the pocket of her skirt and began binding her long, sun-streaked hair in a ponytail. With a sweet and gentle smile, she said, "I'm going to make you both an offer you can't refuse."

Snack was all ears. "Oh? Whaddya got?"

"Follow me. You'll see."

Corinne climbed into the nursery's pickup truck, a blue Chevy that was older than Snack's Subaru but not quite as rusted, and Laura climbed in beside her.

"What're you up to, Corinne?" she demanded to know. "Whatever it is, it had better be quick. I leave tomorrow."

Corinne merely smiled. "You'll see."

They were about to pull out when they were halted by the sound of Snack yelling after them to hold it.

Laura groaned. "Now what?"

They climbed back out of the truck. Snack was standing beside the Subaru. "It won't start," he announced in that half-smug, half-defiant voice that they knew so well. "If I had to guess, I'd say it's the solenoid, but who knows? I think the old girl took a look around and thought, 'What the hell, this is as good a place as any to die.'"

"Do you want us to tow you?" Corinne asked.

"No," Laura said quickly. "We'll leave it here. A tow truck can come for it in the morning. It's not exactly blocking traffic."

Them towing Snack. It was all Laura needed: a decrepit truck towing a decrepit car through the middle of town on a Saturday night. She could hear the old snickers so clearly. Oh, how she hated being back!

Snack took his duffelbag out of the Subaru's trunk and tossed it in the back of the pickup, and then he squeezed into the front seat next to Laura. It was predictably tight, and Snack was ripe from his long drive.

"Just like old times, huh?" he said, tugging at Laura's blunt-cut hair. "Remember how Dad used to throw us all in the back of the truck for cranberry harvest?"

The word "cranberry" sent Laura hurtling back in time. For a year or two at the end, when money was especially hard to come by, their father had dragged them off to the cranberry bogs like migrant workers, and that's exactly what they had looked like as they rode in the back of the truck in plain view of everyone in Chepaquit. Oliver Shore was the sole surviving heir to a fourth-generation nursery, and yet he ran it so badly that he'd had to farm out his own children.

Driving out to the bogs hadn't been too unbearable, because few people were up and around at that early hour; but coming back, they had felt painfully on display. They were teenagers, after all; the experience was excruciating. Laura used to pull her baseball cap as far down over her eyes as she could, not because she thought she was disguising herself, but because at least then she couldn't see who was laughing at her.

Often they'd miss school; she hated that even more. Snack, of course, was happy to skip, and even Corinne was relieved-she'd always been shy-but Laura had wanted desperately to make something of herself, and the cranberry bogs were not the place to do that.

"I do remember Octobers here," Laura said quietly. "All too well."

She much preferred her Octobers in Portland, where her garden was a feature on the annual fall tour in her neighborhood, and where afterward she held an open house for the other entrants, treating them to various coffees as well as desserts, none of them baked by her.

"Hey, isn't that the old Sumner place?" Snack said, peering through the deepening dusk. "Holy shit, I hardly recognize it. Who lives there now? The fricking governor?"

"Oh, some trust-fund baby bought it," Corinne explained. "He's playing at being a gentleman farmer. He has sheep."

Whereas the Sumners had pigs. Even so, the Sumner girls had never occupied the lowest rung of the social ladder. That position had been reserved exclusively for the Shore kids.

Laura scarcely glanced at the shingled, gabled farmhouse, now trimmed in pristine white and surrounded by a fenced-in, gently rolling field. She didn't need a walk-through to know that the kitchen was filled with Sub-Zero appliances and that the new wing held a master bedroom with a walk-in closet the size of an Olympic pool. The same kind of gentrification was going on back in Portland. Bigger, better, more: it was the mantra of the new millenium.

"I wonder what became of the Sumner girls," Laura said, only vaguely curious. She was far more curious about what had become of Sylvia, the bright, shining star who had suddenly appeared in their evening sky, and then not long afterward had orbited out of all of their lives. Sylvia, who had been everything that Laura was not: sexy, confident, beautiful, and most of all, free as a butterfly to go wherever she wanted and do whatever she wanted.

"Jean Sumner got married and lives in Indiana; I think she's pretty happy there," Corinne said in a home-town, gossipy way. "Jan, I'm not sure about. I think she's moved to Maine."

Snack said, "So who's still around? Besides you, I mean."

"Lots of people," Corinne argued, sounding defensive. "Two of the Bosenfield kids still live nearby, and so does Nonni Pritchard. And Kendall Barclay, naturally, because of his bank. Will has a practice in Chatham. And, let me see, who else? Oh-Leon Borkowski!"

"Porky Borky?" said Snack fondly. "He's still around?"

"He lives with his mother over the liquor store."

i0

"Gee-eez."

Every name felt like a pinprick to Laura, and two of them were red-hot needles. Which was why coming back to Chepaquit was always a hundred times more painful than leaving it had been.

She remembered vividly the day she moved out. By then the dazzling Sylvia had been gone for nearly a year. Laura had had all that time to reflect on what exciting and dramatic lives people like Sylvia led, and to contrast it with how empty and limited her own life was.

by six P.M. on her eighteenth birthday, Laura was packed and ready to run. After a final, bitter fight with her father, she hadn't even stayed for cake, breaking her mother's heart. It was her single regret.

That, and leaving Corinne. Corinne had been too loyal to their parents and to the family business to leave. Well, that phase of her life was behind her now. As soon as she sold the nursery, Corinne would be free to follow her heart's desire. She had paid her dues, with interest. As sole heir, she was going to enjoy her well-deserved reward. No one was more pleased about that than Laura.

She glanced at her sister and let her gaze settle into a thoughtful study of her profile. Corinne might be thirty-two, but hard work and the sun had taken their toll: even in the near-dark, Laura could see thin lines branching from the corners of her sister's green eyes, and a deepening of the line that ran from her nose to the full, well-shaped mouth that presided over a strong, resolute chin.

Was she alluring? It was hard to say. She was Corinne.

Copyright © 2003 by Antoinette Stockenberg

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 548 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 548 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2012

    Another excellent read

    I devoured this book almost in one sitting. All of the characters were very believable and hard to let go, and the whodunnit was a surprise. The romance was both touching and hot, a fun combination. Plus, I loved the setting of a garden center with an ocean view!

    38 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    Highly recommended

    I've read several of this author's books and they all held my interest, this one included. She weaves romance, mystery, and family in a way that keeps the reader turning the pages. Loved the hero!

    30 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 17, 2012

    A wonderful story...

    Couldn't tear myself away. I smiled all the way through. My first book by this writer, and I plan on reading everything else that she has written...which will of course be very easy with my new NOOK Tablet...lol!

    25 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    1432 pages

    Just down loaded this its 1432 pages. Not bad for ¿.99.

    23 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Hooked me and I couldn't put it down...

    A Month at the Shore is the third book I have read by Antoinette Stockenberg—and I’ve not been disappointed yet. There’s always just the right balance between the drama and the lighter side, the romance and passion. I found everything I enjoy reading rolled into this book—including a murder mystery! As in the other books I’ve read by this author, the dialog is snappy, the descriptions are vivid, and the coastal setting is lovely.

    22 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 27, 2012

    Great Reads!

    I am reading all of this author's books on my Nook and enjoying them all! Better in many ways, than Danielle or some of Nora's!

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 17, 2012

    Wonderful read and I recommend highly!!!!

    Wonderful read and I recommend highly!!!!

    14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    Great

    Awsome read, once I began reading I could not stop. I will read more from this author. I've read quite a few of her books and have enjoyed everyone. There is romance and mystery al in one. Job well done.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Excellent read!!

    I could not put it down, this the first book ive read by this author but i plan to read many more. I fell in love with the characters, and was left wishing for more when i finished reading. I would recommend to anyone who loves a little romace with big a twist.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    A great read. The characters were believeable and the the story

    A great read. The characters were believeable and the the story had a good finish. It did not wrap up suddenly like other books do. Well written.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    I have read several of Antoinettes books and loved them all!! I

    I have read several of Antoinettes books and loved them all!! I love mystery and I love romance, and she does them both sooo well!! I never guess the mystery and the romance is just romance, not a lot of unnecessary sex... can't put her books down, and always look forward to reading the next one!!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    A wonderful book!!

    Must read :)

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    An enjoyable light summer read

    I did enjoy this book. It was simple and sweet with somewhat entertaining story line.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Recommended

    A great summer read

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2012

    A great book to read any time of the year!!

    It's been awhile since I read this one, but I do enjoy her books. Many twists and turns in her stories...I like that! I also like that she adds a little bit of fun, suspense and magic to her writing.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Great summer read

    Really enjoyed this. Good mystery, and characters you can get behind and root for. Could not put it down.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    A Cape Cod story.

    This is a great story that has it all -- love, laughter & mystery. If you live anywhere near or on Cape Cod this is a great and easy summer read! Wonderful & spellbinding.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Great author!

    Her books are wonderfully written, charactors have depth and life to them. I am working my way to reading all of her books!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    Romantic Mystery

    Amusing romantic mystery set in a small beach town. Not a brain teaser but a nice escape read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    My hometown is mentioned in this book

    Quick read love the setting and the mention of Portuguese food and my hometown. Would love to chat with the author. I would recommend this book~fun summer read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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