River Road [NOOK Book]

Overview

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Dream Eyes and Copper Beach, a brand-new quintessential Jayne Ann Krentz romance.



It’s been thirteen years since Lucy Sheridan was in Summer River. The last time she visited her aunt Sara ...
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River Road

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Overview

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Dream Eyes and Copper Beach, a brand-new quintessential Jayne Ann Krentz romance.



It’s been thirteen years since Lucy Sheridan was in Summer River. The last time she visited her aunt Sara there, as a teenager, she’d been sent home suddenly after being dragged out of a wild party—by the guy she had a crush on, just to make it more embarrassing. Obviously Mason Fletcher—only a few years older but somehow a lot more of a grown-up—was the overprotective type who thought he had to come to her rescue.



Now, returning after her aunt’s fatal car accident, Lucy is learning there was more to the story than she realized at the time. Mason had saved her from a very nasty crime that night—and soon afterward, Tristan, the cold-blooded rich kid who’d targeted her, disappeared mysteriously, his body never found.



A lot has changed in thirteen years. Lucy now works for a private investigation firm as a forensic genealogist, while Mason has quit the police force to run a successful security firm with his brother—though he still knows his way around a wrench when he fills in at his uncle’s local hardware store. Even Summer River has changed, from a sleepy farm town into a trendy upscale spot in California’s wine country. But Mason is still a protector at heart, a serious (and seriously attractive) man. And when he and Lucy make a shocking discovery inside Sara’s house, and some of Tristan’s old friends start acting suspicious, Mason’s quietly fierce instincts kick into gear. He saved Lucy once, and he’ll save her again. But this time, she insists on playing a role in her own rescue . . .
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Thirteen years ago, Mason Fletcher saved Lucy Sheridan from a would-be killer. Now, after the death of aunt, Lucy is back at Summer River and moments seem to have slipped ominously back into déjà vu. Not only does she find her feelings for Mason rekindled, there is a sense that the man who once threatened her has not died and new dangers are looming not too far around the corner. A surefire bestseller from a master of romantic suspense.

Library Journal
★ 12/01/2013
Thirteen years ago, "guardian angel" Mason Fletcher rescued 16-year-old Lucy Sheridan from becoming the victim of sociopathic classmate Tristan Brinker. Now Lucy is back in Summer River, CA, to fix up the vintage Craftsman-style home she inherited from her Aunt Sara. Mason, on a break from his Washington, DC, security consulting business, is also back in town, to help out his uncle. When he and Lucy open up the old fireplace in her house, a body falls out, and things take an ominous turn. VERDICT Wonderfully appealing protagonists, a clever, skillfully crafted plot, soul-stirring sensuality, and delicious flashes of humor result in a classic tale of romantic suspense from the ever-popular Krentz (Dream Eyes). Seattle-based Krentz also writes as Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle.
Publishers Weekly
11/25/2013
Summer River is a small town in the middle of Northern California’s wine country. This peaceful, serene spot is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities. In this return to romantic suspense, bestseller Krentz (Wildest Dreams: Velvet Touch) brings warmth and mystery to the sleepy burg. Lucy Sheridan returns to Summer River after the death of her beloved aunt and finds an old corpse stuffed into the chimney of her aunt’s house. She also encounters Mason Fletcher, the man who made a subtle but permanent impression on her 13 years before. Together, Lucy and Mason must puzzle out who placed the body in the chimney and whether the death of her aunt is somehow connected, while they also contemplate the renewal of an attraction neither was really aware of in their teen years. Krentz has done a solid job of melding the excitement of a thriller with the sweetness of new passion. Agent: Steve Axelrod, Axelrod Agency. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-07
Returning to Summer River after 13 years, Lucy Sheridan learns that a mortifying event from her adolescence was actually a rescue, and her teen crush and savior, Mason Fletcher, makes a great partner--in life and in crime investigation. As a forensic genealogist, Lucy is used to family disputes over money and property, so when her aunt and the woman's partner are killed in a car accident and Lucy learns she's inherited their estates--including some decisive shares in a family-owned company that is considering a merger--she is wary. Returning to her aunt's home in Summer River after 13 years, Lucy runs into her teen crush, Mason Fletcher, who is taking a break from his security consulting firm. The last time Lucy visited her aunt in Summer River, she was a teenager, and Mason had pulled her out of a local party, humiliating her in the process. Turns out, though, that Tristan, the local magnetic-yet-psychopathic teen bad boy, had some nefarious plans for Lucy, and Mason had saved her from a devastating experience. Now that Lucy is back and knows the truth, that long-ago night casts a chilling shadow across Summer River as she and Mason make a stunning discovery in her aunt's home, and an unknown accomplice to Tristan's misdeeds will kill to protect long-buried secrets. Add in a power struggle for control of Lucy's shares and the future of the company, a few more mysteries, a dead body or two, and a full slate of suspects, and Lucy and Mason have their hands full. Thankfully, they're both really good at solving mysteries, since the more questions that arise, the more attention they draw from someone (or ones) who'd prefer they'd stop asking. As danger and attraction flare, Lucy and Mason are convinced they have a bright future together, if they can survive the investigation. Krentz returns to her romantic suspense roots with an intriguing premise set in charming wine country, using her typical finesse with dialogue, characterization and storytelling in support of an intricate and engrossing plot. Another Krentz winner.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101620984
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 227
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Jayne Ann Krentz
Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of fifty New York Times bestsellers. She has written contemporary romantic suspense novels under that name, as well as futuristic and historical romance novels under the pseudonyms Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick, respectively. She lives in Seattle.

Biography

A successful corporate and academic librarian-turned-author, Jayne Ann Krentz wrote serial romances for several publishers (including industry powerhouse Harlequin) before breaking out in the '90s as a writer of romantic novels. To say that she has been successful is an understatement: A New York Times- bestselling author with more than 23 million copies of her books in print, she writes three sub-genres of romantic suspense under three different pen names: contemporary romances as Jayne Ann Krentz, historicals as Amanda Quick, and futuristic/paranormal romances as Jayne Castle. (In her early career, she employed at least three additional pseudonyms!) In 2006, the prolific Krentz launched The Arcane Society series -- crossover thrillers written under all three noms de plume that feature members of a secret organization devoted to the study of the paranormal.

It would be hard to find a more passionate advocate for romantic fiction than Krentz. In 1992, she edited and contributed to Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance, an award-winning nonfiction essay collection that serves an eloquent apologia for the genre. She has also received the Jane Austen Commemorative Medal from Romantic Times magazine for her work educating readers about Romance. "The Romance genre is the only genre where readers are guaranteed novels that place the heroine at the heart of the story," she says on her website. "These are books that celebrate women's heroic virtues and values: courage, honor, determination and a belief in the healing power of love." Clearly, her legions of loyal fans agree!

Good To Know

I have finally reached the point in my career where I have some say over cover art. Unfortunately, it turns out that I have absolutely no talent for cover art design. Thank heavens I'm with a publisher (Putnam/Berkley) that maintains a terrific art department.

I love green tea and red wine and was absolutely thrilled when it turned out that both are now considered health foods.

I love all animals except for squirrels which, I strongly suspect, are aliens from outer space who are here to take over the planet. You have been warned.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle
    2. Hometown:
      Seattle, WA
    1. Education:
      BA in History, University of California at Santa Cruz, MA in Librarianship from San Jose State University (California)
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***

 
Copyright © 2014 by Jayne Ann Krentz

4

Mason Fletcher lounged against the sales counter, a gleaming wrench gripped loosely in one hand. He regarded Lucy with a lot of interest infused with a dash of cool disapproval. She found the combination both annoying and unnerving. But the real problem was that Mason looked even better now than he had thirteen years ago when he had figured so powerfully in her fevered teenage imagination. Her first reaction upon walking through the door of Fletcher Hardware had been primal and flat-out breath­taking. I’ve been looking for you. The wolf-sized dog that padded out from behind the counter to inspect her regarded her with an expression remarkably similar to Ma­son’s. The animal wasn’t just the size of a wolf—it looked like one, as well. An aging wolf, she concluded. There was some gray around the muzzle. The beast’s eyes were not the standard dark brown associated with most breeds. Instead, they were a disconcerting shade of hazel gold that was a little too close to the color of Mason’s eyes. “That’s Joe,” Mason said, nodding toward the dog. She looked down at Joe and held out her hand. “Hello, Joe.”

Joe stared at her for a moment longer, his gaze unflinching. Evi­dently concluding that she was neither a threat nor prey, he sniffed her fingers. Satisfied, he sat back. Gingerly, she scratched him behind his ears. Joe chuffed a bit and licked her hand.

“He likes you,” Mason said. “Mostly he ignores people.”

“I’m thrilled, of course, that he doesn’t intend to rip out my throat,” Lucy said.

“He hasn’t gone for anyone’s throat for at least a week.” Mason tossed the gleaming wrench into the air and caught it with a barely noticeable twist of his wrist, making it look easy. “Heard you were in town to clean out your aunt’s place and put it on the market.”

“That’s the plan.” She stopped rubbing Joe’s ears and straightened.

She was determined to remain as cool as Mason. It wasn’t easy. She was still struggling to get past the shock of coming face-to-face with him. She had expected to see his uncle behind the counter when she walked into the hardware store.

The possibility that she might run into Mason while she was in Summer River had occurred to her, but she had dismissed it as ex­tremely remote. According to the last update from Sara some six months ago, Mason was in Washington, D.C., where he and his brother ran a very expensive, very low-profile, very sophisticated pri­vate security consulting business.

“How long will you be around?” Mason asked.

She smiled. She couldn’t help it. She made a show of glancing at her watch. “Less than three minutes into this conversation and already it sounds like an interrogation. In hindsight I may have made a mistake when I advised you to go into law enforcement all those years ago.”

“You made the suggestion. I’m the one who made the decision.”

What in the world was that supposed to mean? she wondered. Sud­denly she got that faint, tiny little inner ping of knowing, the same sensation she experienced when she was closing in on a missing heir. Something bad had happened to Mason Fletcher. She would have bet good money that it was linked to his career path. And, being Mason Fletcher, he was taking full responsibility for the decision that had sent him down that road. Mason hadn’t changed, she thought. He was the kind of man who would always take full responsibility—even for stuff that, technically speaking, wasn’t his responsibility.

She sought a neutral topic of conversation.

“I’m glad to see that the hardware store survived,” she said. “When did your uncle buy it?”

“A few months after he retired.”

“It’s the last store on the block that was here when I used to visit Aunt Sara. This town has really changed.”

Most of the old, traditional stores on Main Street had been replaced with upscale shops and trendy eateries. Fletcher Hardware—bordered on one side by a wine shop and on the other side by an art gallery— was a stubborn anachronism.

Mason surprised her with a wry smile. “Welcome to the new, im­proved wine-country boutique town of Summer River. But in case you’re wondering, the old Summer River is still here, just beneath the surface.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning it’s still a small town. News travels fast.”

Lucy nodded. “Which is how you knew that I was here.”

“A lot of people know you’re here, Lucy,” he said.

She raised her brows in polite inquiry. “Is that a warning?”

“Maybe. The fact that you are Sara’s sole heir has stirred up some deep waters.”

“Yes, I know.”

She had been ignoring phone calls from lawyers and realtors for more than a month while she considered how to deal with her in­heritance.

“That’s why I asked you how long you plan to stay,” Mason said.

“The answer to your question is that I don’t know how long I’ll be in town.” She was determined not to let him intimidate her. “A couple of weeks, I think. I need to make arrangements to pack and move my aunt’s belongings, and then I have to get the house ready to put on the market.”

“The place should sell fast,” Mason said. “It’s a real nice little ex­ample of the Craftsman style, and one thing that has come out of Summer River going upscale is that property values have skyrocketed. Folks looking for a weekend house in wine country love that kind of architecture. But the real value is in the property.”

“The old orchard?”

“It’s prime vineyard land. Worth a bundle in this market. Every new Silicon Valley billionaire wants to open his very own winery and put his name on a label. It’s a major status symbol.”

“I noticed that most of the orchards and farms are gone.”

“They’ve been disappearing for years. I’m surprised you didn’t know that. But then, you never came back to visit Sara after you left thirteen years ago, did you?”

The comment, freighted as it was with stern disapproval, hit her like a bucket of cold water. Anger flashed through her.

“Okay, that answers one question,” she said.

“What?”

“I knew the town had changed, but when I walked in here I won­dered if you had changed. Clearly the answer is no. You are still in the habit of jumping to conclusions, assuming the worst and giving lectures.”

He thought about that for a moment and then inclined his head half an inch. “You know what? You’re right. Maybe I did jump to con­clusions. So why didn’t you come to visit your aunt for the past thir­teen years?”

“What makes you so sure I haven’t been back here?”

“Deke mentioned that you never returned.”

“Your uncle implied that I ignored my aunt all these years?”

“He just commented that you hadn’t come back, that’s all.” Once again Mason tossed the steel wrench casually into the air and caught it with fluid ease. “He said you never returned after that summer when I pissed you off by yanking you out of the party at Harper Ranch Park.”

That stopped her. “The old Harper Ranch is now a park?”

“The town took it over a couple of years ago. Grass, picnic tables, a ball field, playground, dog-walking areas, the works. You wouldn’t recognize the place.”

“I see. Well, as it happens, your uncle is right. This is the first time I’ve returned to Summer River since that night.”

“Why?”

She gave him a serene go-to-hell smile. “It’s really none of your busi­ness, is it?”

“Nope, just curious.”

Thirteen years ago everyone said you didn’t want to mess with Mason Fletcher. Nothing had changed except that he was now the man she had known that he would become and then some. It was as if he had been tempered in fire like the steel blade of some ancient sword. Everything about him had gotten harder, stronger, more re­lentless. The sharp planes and angles of his face had become fierce. Time had added some sleek, solid muscle and endowed him with the confident air of a man who knows what he wants, what he will toler­ate and where he draws the line.

The years had given him something else as well—the rare, invisible aura of quiet, inner power that was the hallmark of a man in full con­trol of himself.

He did, however, look considerably the worse for wear around the edges. She had a feeling he’d learned the hard way what every profes­sional guardian angel probably had to learn—that you couldn’t save everyone. For a man as determined and unyielding as Mason, that would have been one very tough lesson.

In spite of her irritation, she felt herself softening. It was hard to stay mad at a man who was born to do the right thing when the chips were down. He really couldn’t help it, she thought. He was what he was, and there was probably no force on the face of the planet that could change that.

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” she said. “Just to clarify, Aunt Sara did not want me to come back here after that last summer. In fact, she didn’t want anyone in the family to visit her in Summer River. We respected her wishes. And while I certainly don’t owe you any explanations, I can assure you that I saw a lot of her. She and Mary stayed with me several times each year. Sara knew that I find the holidays stressful, so she made sure to spend them with me. After she and Mary sold the antiques shop, I joined them on some of their cruises. I can assure you that Sara was not neglected in any way.” Lucy took a breath. “I loved her. And I loved Mary, too, because she loved Sara and Sara loved her. There. Satisfied?”

Mason had the grace to look apologetic. “Didn’t mean to imply you had neglected your aunt.”

She gave him her best fake bright smile. “Of course you did.”

His jaw hardened. “I understand that family dynamics can be com­plicated.”

“No kidding. Especially when viewed from the outside.”

Mason exhaled slowly. “Okay, you’ve made your point. I liked Sara. Mary, too. I was sorry to hear that they had been killed.”

“Thank you,” Lucy said. She hesitated, wondering if it was too soon to probe for answers.

“I suppose you heard it was a car accident?” she said.

“Yes. It’s always a shock. Aaron and I lost our parents in a car accident.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“It’s been a long time,” he said.

“Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen and that it didn’t leave some major wounds. You heal from wounds, if you’re lucky, but there are always scars.”

He looked as if the simple observation had caught him off guard. She got the feeling he was unsure how to respond.

“No,” he agreed finally. “Doesn’t mean there aren’t scars.”

She tightened her grip on the straps of the black tote she had slung over her shoulder. “Were you here in town when my aunt and Mary . . .? ”

“No, I arrived a couple of weeks ago. I’m taking some time off from work.” He eyed her with sudden, sharp curiosity. “Why?”

“Nothing. Just wondered.” She felt a little deflated. If Mason had been in town at the time of the accident, he probably would have asked any questions that needed to be asked. He had been a cop, after all. But he had not been in Summer River when Sara and Mary died. He didn’t know any more than she did. “Sara told me that you and your brother run a security consulting firm back in D.C.”

He looked first surprised and then amused. “Sara kept you in­formed of my whereabouts?”

“I gather that from time to time your uncle told her what was going on with you and your brother.” Lucy smiled. “Sara said he is very proud of both of you.”

“Deke and I always knew that Aaron would do something to change the world,” Mason said. “He wound up with degrees in math and computer science.”

“Impressive. What, exactly, do you and Aaron do as consultants?”

He gave her what was no doubt meant to be a charming consul­tant’s smile. “We consult.”

“Yeah, I get that. And for the record, the I’m-a-consultant-and-I’m­here-to-help smile needs an upgrade.”

Mason stopped smiling. “I’ll work on it.”

I’m serious,” she said. “Who do you consult for?”

“We specialize in closing cold cases. Our clients are mostly small-town police departments that lack the expertise, the technology and the manpower to handle major crimes that have gone stone cold.”

“Do you go out into the field to investigate?”

“Sometimes. But our primary asset is a proprietary computer pro­gram we named Alice. Aaron created it to help identify patterns in an old case. If we can find a pattern, we’ve got a shot at helping the cops track down the perps.”

“Sounds exciting.”

“I’m not a cop anymore, I’m a consultant,” he said coolly. “I don’t see much action.”

He probably wasn’t lying, she decided. But he wasn’t telling her the whole truth, either.

“What can I do for you today?” Mason continued. “I assume you came in here to pick up some of the things you need to get your aunt’s house ready for the market?”

Whoa. Talk about hitting a stone wall, Lucy thought. Mason wanted to change the topic of conversation.

“Actually, I stopped in to get some advice about local contractors from your uncle. I wasn’t sure who else to ask. I know Sara trusted Deke when it came to that sort of thing.”

“I can ask him for some names when he gets back. What kind of work are you thinking of doing?”

“The big-ticket item is the kitchen. It’s badly outdated. Dad says that bringing it up to date will add a few thousand to the value of the house.”

“He’s right,” Mason said. “Is your dad still a professor?”

“Yes. He’s head of the sociology department at the college where he teaches.”

“And your mother?”

“She’s still teaching psychology.”

Mason put the wrench down on the counter. “Both your folks re­married, didn’t they?”

“Yes,” she said, making the word very crisp. “About that contractor. I’ve got a limited budget.”

“Right.” Mason reached for a pad of paper. He pulled it close and picked up a pen. “Okay, you want someone who can update the kitchen without spending a fortune. Anything else?

“The outside needs painting.”

“That’s another major job.” Mason wrote a note on the pad of paper and then looked up. “You’re starting to talk big bucks here. I’m not sure it’s worth it, to tell you the truth.”

“But everyone says those are the sorts of upgrades that add value to the house.”

“That’s true, but around here, it’s the land itself that has the real value. Still, those old Craftsman houses go for a nice chunk of change, and there are always people looking for weekend places. I’m just sug­gesting that you don’t pour a lot of cash into upgrades.”

“There is one project I’d like to do inside that I think will make a big cosmetic difference in the living room.”

“What’s that?”

“I want to restore the fireplace to its original condition. It really was beautiful.”

“I remember it,” Mason said. “There was a lot of nice stonework around it. You don’t see good craftsmanship like that anymore.”

“Unfortunately, Aunt Sara covered the entire front of the fireplace with tile.”

“Huh. Wonder why?”

“I’m not sure. She never mentioned it, so when I walked into the house yesterday I was surprised to see what she had done. I do remem­ber that she complained from time to time. She said the fireplace sucked up almost as much heat as it put out. But she loved to sit in front of the fire in the evenings and read.”

“She probably just got tired of hauling firewood,” Mason said. “Can’t blame her.”

“No, but I wish she hadn’t done such a poor job of putting in the tiles. The original fireplace would have been a huge selling point. Now it’s a giant negative. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the house, and it’s ugly. She must have done the job herself.”

“Typical DIY disaster, huh?”

“Yes, and what’s more, it feels unstable. I could take it down with a hammer and chisel, but I’m afraid of damaging the original stonework behind the bricks.”

“Let’s hope she didn’t ruin the original. Tell you what, why don’t I drop by after work and take a look at it? I’ll bring some tools with me. Maybe I can take care of those tiles for you this evening and save you a few bucks.”

The offer left her openmouthed for a beat, and then, for some inex­plicable reason, her pulse kicked up. It took her a few seconds to pull herself together.

“That’s very nice of you,” she said, suddenly cautious.

“No trouble. It’s not like I’ve got anything else to do this evening.”

“I see.” She gave him a chilly smile. It was always good to know where one fit into a man’s list of priorities.

Mason did not notice the ice in her smile. “Why don’t I drop by around five-thirty? Does that work for you?”

Cocktail hour. Interesting. She tried and failed to suppress the whis­per of anticipation that sparkled through her.

“That will be fine,” she said smoothly. “It’s not like I’ve got any­thing else to do tonight, either.”

“Ouch. Guess I didn’t phrase my offer in the most diplomatic way.”

“As I recall, you always had a very direct style when it came to com­municating,” she said.

“Yeah, my ex-wife used to complain about that a lot.”

Lucy felt the heat rise in her cheeks. “Sara mentioned that your marriage did not work out.”

“No.”

Another wound, she decided. Not a giant blow, but he had defi­nitely taken a hit. He probably blamed himself for the failure of his marriage. Typical Mason. At least he had been brave enough to give it a whirl. She was still hanging back, afraid to make the leap.

“I’m sorry,” she said again.

“Heard you called off your engagement a while back.”

“Yes.”

“Sorry about that.”

She smiled. “We seem to be saying sorry a lot to each other.”

“Look on the positive side—my screwed-up marriage and your screwed-up engagement give us something in common.”

“Two screwed-up relationships is supposed to be a positive?”

“You know me, I was always a glass-half-full kind of guy.”

“Gee. That’s not how I remember you at all. I always saw you as a worst-case-scenario kind of guy.”

An unreadable expression lit his eyes. “And I always thought of you as a dreamer.”

She wrinkled her nose. “Don’t remind me. You were convinced that I needed someone to look after me and make sure I didn’t get into trouble.”

He hesitated, evidently sensing a trap. “Not exactly.”

“Yes, exactly.”

“Well, damn, I knew we would get back to the night that I pulled you out of the party at the ranch. You really know how to hang on to a grudge, lady.”

“Nonsense.” She sniffed. “I don’t hold grudges.”

“Yeah, right. You’re never going to thank me for what I did that night, are you?”

“Probably not.” She turned on her heel and started toward the door. “I’ll be going now. I’m staying at the house, so I’ve got some grocery shopping to do.”

“See you at five-thirty,” he called after her.

She stopped short at the door. “I almost forgot, I need lightbulbs. A lot of them. Half the lamps and wall fixtures at Sara’s place are burned out.”

“We’ve got a fine selection of bulbs. You want the energy savers?”

“What I want are really, really bright bulbs. I swear that old house is as dark as a cave.”

“Sounds like you need halogen for at least some of the fixtures.” He came out from behind the counter and led the way to a display of lightbulbs. “I’ll bring takeout with me tonight.”

He intended to arrive at the cocktail hour, and now he was telling her he would bring dinner with him. Somehow her little home- improvement project had just been transformed into a date with Mason Fletcher.

A deer-in-the-headlights sensation made her go very still. They had been together for all of fifteen minutes and Mason was already taking charge.

On the other hand, she had to admit that she liked the idea of hav­ing company for a few hours that evening. Last night—her first night back in Sara’s house—she had discovered that she did not like being alone in the place. Something about the atmosphere bothered her in ways she could not explain. Maybe it was because it held too many memories of Sara, or perhaps it was simply because the place was so dark, due to the lack of bulbs.

Nevertheless, she could not let Mason take full control of the situa­tion. He meant well, but he needed some pushback. For his own good, of course.

“Forget the takeout,” she said. “I’ve already got plans for dinner.”

“Yeah?” His eyes darkened a little.

“Yeah.” She smiled. “I’m dining in, and since you are going to be kind enough to take out those tiles for me, I will buy enough salmon for two.”

“That works,” he said instantly. “Thanks.”

He looked pleased, she decided. Really pleased. Like he’d just won the lottery. She was feeling oddly energized herself. What had she just done?

“Okay,” she said. “I’ll see you at five-thirty. Bring your tools.”

“I never leave home without them.”

She hesitated and then made herself do the right thing. He was doing her a favor. The least she could do was be gracious.

“Thanks,” she said.

He surprised her with a wicked smile. “For offering to deal with the fireplace or for rescuing you from that party out at the Harper Ranch thirteen years ago?”

She gave him polite bewilderment. “For the offer to help with the fireplace, of course. I don’t recall being rescued from a party. What I remember is being humiliated beyond redemption. But, hey, that’s all water under the bridge now. I forgave you a long time ago because I knew even then you just couldn’t help yourself. In your own heavy-handed way, you were trying to protect me.”

“Heavy-handed, huh? Is that by any chance your way of telling me that I’m a bad communicator?”

“No, it’s my way of telling you that you obviously haven’t shaken the take-charge attitude. But it’s okay because I have been known to take charge once in a while myself. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get my bulbs and leave. There is a lot of stuff to do at the house.”

“What sizes do you need?”

She took out the list she had made and went through it. When she was finished, Mason collected the various bulbs and headed back to the counter. She followed.

Mason rang up the sale, swiped her credit card and gave her the sack full of bulbs.

“Thanks,” she said again. “I’ll see you later.”

Once again she started toward the door.

“Don’t change any bulbs that require getting on a ladder,” Mason said behind her. “Not until I get there. It’s too dangerous. People fall off ladders all the time. I’ll take care of the ceiling and wall fixtures tonight.”

She smiled, shook her head and kept walking. Really, the man did not know when to quit.

She paused with her hand on the doorknob and looked back. “I suppose you know that Sara’s house and land weren’t the only things I inherited.”

“I heard. By some quirk in Sara’s and Mary’s wills, you got Mary’s shares in her brother’s company. It’s all over town.”

“I thought that might be the case,” she said. “Hard not to notice the curious stares.”

“I’m no financial guru, but even I can tell you that it would prob­ably be in your best interests to sell those shares back to the Colfax family as soon as possible.”

“That’s what my parents told me. Turns out it’s not going to be that easy. Two different lawyers representing various members of the Col-fax family have been emailing me and leaving messages on my phone for the past month.”

“Colfax Inc. is one of the few things that hasn’t changed in the past thirteen years,” Mason said. “It’s still a tightly held, family-owned company, and according to Uncle Deke, there is one hell of a squabble going on at the moment. Something to do with a merger proposal.”

“Yes, I got that much from the lawyers’ messages.”

“You don’t want to get in the middle of that situation, Lucy. You know what they say about family quarrels.”

“Yes,” Lucy said. “They are always the worst.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 69 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2014

    Too much $

    10.99 for less than 293 pages!?!? Way too much $$!! Not happy b&n!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 23, 2014

    Not worth the money, short and just plain boring!

    This book was a dissapointment. It is boring and not very well written. I love JAK, but find it hard to believe she was happy with this effort. We paid for her reputation by preordering this book and it does not live up to past books under any of her monikers. Save your money if you have not already bought this. You won't even want to read this at the library.

    For those diehards, like me (I would have ignored this too!) I beg you think really hard. This is only the second ever review I have written, but felt so strongly could not not write this.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Meh

    Meh. Jayne Ann Krentz is an experienced writer and kept me turning the pages. But I had most of the present-day mystery figured out, and the cold-case solution was weak and implausible. Since the surface "solution" turns out to be The Solution, I am not spoiling anything to reveal that the one Mason and Lucy thought to have killed Brinker from the start could not have committed the crime in the manner JAK lays out. It was a two-person crime that was a strange mix of premeditation and opportunity. The killer had tge body bag and tiles ready for stuffing Brinker in the fireplace but then waited for Brinker to come knocking? And could then handle stuff a dead body in the fireplace and tile up the fireplace alone? And despite speculation that the fireplace was tge perfect place to hide a body so it woukdn't be found, who does that? And who doesn't wonder about a recently tiled-over fireplace when the town goon suddenly goes missing?

    Frankly, this was severely disappointing from a veteran writer. I had a better solution thought out halfway through and I still think it would have worked better.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Lucy Sheridan has returned to Summer River after thirteen years

    Lucy Sheridan has returned to Summer River after thirteen years to put her Aunt Sara’s affairs in order after a fatal car crash. She runs into Mason Fletcher, who she hasn’t seen since he embarrassed her at a party the day before was made to leave Summer River by her aunt. All grown up, Lucy is now a forensic genealogist and Mason runs a security firm with his brother. When Lucy and Mason make a grisly discovery in her aunt’s home, Lucy’s determined to find out the truth about what happened thirteen years ago and what is happening now…




    RIVER ROAD is a novel set in an idyllic town with some very dirty secrets. At first our main characters, Lucy and Mason seemed awkward (and not just around each other), but as the story progressed they definitely became more human and relatable. The author eases the reader into what happened in the past, the ramifications on present events, and the myriad connections between characters. There is a small cast of shady supporting characters, each with their own agenda and motive (whether hidden or open). We’re given plenty of red herrings and false trails to follow, but the pieces all fall into place in an exciting story climax. Once Lucy and Mason opened up, I enjoyed the brewing romance there. I also thought it was intriguing how their lines of work helped them keep their wits about them, especially in scary and/or dangerous situations. If you’re looking for a hot sexy romance or a complex thriller, then this book isn’t for you. RIVER ROAD is definitely a light romantic suspense story dappled with humor throughout and a sweet happily-ever-after ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    Disappointed

    I'm a big fan of Jayne Ann Krentz, but I'm having a hard time finishing this book. I'm sorry that I preordered this book. I hope that her next book is better. I still love her books, I just find this book boring.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2014

    Lionkit

    Lionkit padded by the river and she saw salmon...she licked her chops and dived in the water...

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

    Posted August 15, 2014

    Great Book

    Really enjoyed reading this, will be looking for more that are similar to this by Jayne Ann Krentz.

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

    Posted August 15, 2014

    Kayla

    o.o next result

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

    Posted August 11, 2014

    Cl&sigma<_>ck

    You can join. Our HQ is at 'burning skies' right now. Just pop in before Wednesday, because that's when I take all members that are there and finalize the group for a bit.

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

    Posted August 11, 2014

    MagiKK

    Thanks!

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

    Posted August 8, 2014

    In The End

    Rebel Love Song.

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

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Lily

    [Dude. You godmodded the whole incident. I'm ignoring most of it, but don't think my sisters will let you off easily.]

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

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Alex

    I grab your wrist and say no

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

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Vg

    Is this the nursery???

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

    Posted May 23, 2014

    Lilypaw

    An apprentice with hazel fur and soft blue eyes padded in. "May l join?" She mewed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 23, 2014

    MAIN CAMP

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

    Posted March 31, 2014

    It doesn't get any better

    It doesn't get any better than Jayne Ann Krentz. Romantic suspense at it's best. This book was exciting from page one to the last. Loved the Lucy Mason dynamics. This book was as good as all the ones before.

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

    Posted March 11, 2014

    Slow going. Most of JAK books I read in 2-3 evenings. I only a

    Slow going. Most of JAK books I read in 2-3 evenings. I only averaged 1-2 chapter an evening. &quot;River Road&quot; is a contemporary adventure romance without the witty dialogue and humor I've come to expect from JAK.
    I really wanted to stumble across a &quot;Jones and Jones&quot; associate after the fourth chapter. At least I'm looking forward to Amanda Quick's &quot;Otherwise Engaged&quot; from the preview chapter at the end of this book.

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

    Posted March 11, 2014





    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Mistyflower

    May I join?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews

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