Sooner or Laterby Elizabeth Adler
She saw him in the shadows. She felt him watching her. She knew he was going to get her...The killer always left a signature on his victims...an X carved in their flesh. But he'd spent the last twenty years in a mental hospital. Long enough for the world to forget him. But not long enough for him to forget the
She saw him in the shadows. She felt him watching her. She knew he was going to get her...The killer always left a signature on his victims...an X carved in their flesh. But he'd spent the last twenty years in a mental hospital. Long enough for the world to forget him. But not long enough for him to forget the rich old woman who had him committedor her pretty granddaughter.Now he's been set free.Ellie Duveen was busy running her own restaurant and tenderly watching over her fragile grandmother. Then she met former cop Dan Cassidy, the owner of a local vineyard, and Ellie's hectic life slowed just enough to let her fall in love.So Ellie didn't notice when police found a dead body marked with a grisly X. She only felt someone watching her. Following her. And as a terrifying secret came back from the past to haunt her, Ellie needed an ex-cop's instincts and more. She needed her own unshakable courage to outsmart a killer's deadly, twisted plan.
"Adler is a true genius."
Affaire de Coeur
An Alternate Selection of the Literary Guild and the Doubleday Book Club
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Read an Excerpt
Dan backed his brand-new white Explorer into a tight spot on Main Street. The California sun blazed down, bronzed people in shorts and T-shirts whizzed by him on rollerblades or simply took it easy at sidewalk cafes, and the parking meter still had half an hour left on it. It was early April and he'd seen the weather back east on TV: they'd just had another two inches of snow. Feeling that life wasn't too bad after all, he strolled into Ellie's Place.
The red-haired young woman behind the coffee machine gave him a dazzling smile of welcome that seemed to spread from one pretty diamond-studded ear to the other.
"Be right with you," she called. "The coffee machine's acting up again though, so if it's caffeine you're after, you might want to try Starbucks. It's on the next block."
"Juice is fine. It's eggs I really want, scrambled with a toasted bagel."
"Okay." She wrote the order and headed toward the kitchen in the back.
It was just a tiny storefront cafe done out like a Parisian bistro. The mirrors covering the walls were old and foggy, the bronze sconces were verdigrised, the tables were marble and the chairs cane. A scattering of fresh sawdust covered the tile floor and lace curtains hung from a brass rail halfway up the window, on which the name Ellie's Place was inscribed in green shadowed with gold.
Cute, he thought. Like the waitress. She came back carrying cutlery, napkins and a basket of fresh bread covered with a green-checked cloth, and he quickly amended that statement. You could never call a woman as tall as she was "cute." And she was no cookie-cutter California girl either.
She gave him another glancing smile as she set the bread in front of him and he noticed a smudge of flour on her cheek. Her eyes were the pale bluish-gray of opals, her nose was freckled and her red hair was bunched through a black baseball cap in a long curly ponytail. It was odd, but he felt he'd seen her somewhere before. He guessed it was because she looked a bit like Julia Roberts.
"Out here on vacation?" She arranged the tablemat and cutlery and folded the green-checkered napkin. Her voice was deep and soft as melted chocolate.
"How do you know I don't live here?"
She put her hands on her hips, regarding him. "It's that East Coast pallor. It's a dead giveaway. Most people out here have a tan, even if it's fake."
Dan laughed. "You mean I'll have to apply bronzer in order to qualify as a native?"
Her long legs covered the distance to the counter in three strides. She picked up the glass of juice and brought it to him. "Oh, a couple of days at the beach and you'll be fine. Better watch it though. I know it's only April, but the sun is strong."
He watched her walk back to the kitchen to get the eggs. "How come you're so pale then?"
"That's my grandmother's doing. She always made me wear a hat when I was a kid, never let me sunbathe. She said with my red hair and freckles it would be like frying myself. And you know what? She was right. Now I'm older and wiser, I thank her every time I look in the mirror. No lines, no sunspots. I'm a lucky woman."
Ellie smiled at him again as she put the plate of eggs in front of him. Back behind the counter, she cast him a speculative glance.
Cute, she thought, if you could call a guy that rugged "cute." Deep blue eyes that looked as though they had seen it all; thick dark hair, a hawkish nose and blue-stubbled jaw. Lean, broad-shouldered, muscular.
She shrugged regretfully. She didn't have time for men anyway. A career girl was what she was now, and forever would be. She was determined to make her way in the world. Ellie's Place was only her first venture into the restaurant trade; she already had steps two and three planned.
Dan finished his eggs in record time. He glanced at his watch, then went to pay his check. "Thanks," he said with a smile, "I enjoyed it."
"Enjoy your vacation," she called as he strode to the door.
He stood on the sidewalk, hands in his pockets, taking in the street scene before getting into the white Explorer. Ellie thought he surely had a great walk, confident, sexy.
Putting the thought of sex determinedly from her mind, she concentrated on the problem of the coffee machine. She had already been on the phone twice yesterday, this would make the third call. Maybe today they would send someone out to fix it.
When Jake arrived, she had to dash to Kinko's with the menu. Then she had to go over the week's orders, find out why there was so much waste in the fresh produce. Then there would be the busy lunch trade. After that she would set up the tables for dinner and check with Chan to make sure he was coming in. She would help with the preparations, take a half-hour break for coffee and a muffin, go home, shower, change, and be back at five for the evening stint as waitress, wine steward, dish stacker, and any other job that nobody else wanted.
Sometimes she wondered if she was in the right business. Then when she'd had a good week, or even a good day, she knew she was. And every night when she fell into bed, exhausted--and alone--she told herself it would all be worth it and that, one day, she would be the owner and proprietor of a Michelin-starred restaurant.
So there was absolutely no time, or room, in her life for a cute, blue-eyed rugged guy just passing through on vacation. Or anyone else for that matter. She had her grandmother to take care of and she definitely didn't need a man to complicate her life.
From the Paperback edition.
Meet the Author
Elizabeth Adler is the bestselling author of Sooner or Later, Now or Never, The Secret of the Villa Mimosa, and other internationally acclaimed novels.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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ELIZABETH ALDER KEEPS YOUR ATTETNION FROM PAGE ONE TO THE VERY LAST SENTENCE.
This was my first Elizabeth Adler read. I don't usually go for mysteries but the book jacket got my attention...and it didn't fail to please!
This is the second time that I read this book and still enjoyed it. Elizabeth Adler has a nice writing style where she tells a story without going off on tangents. The plot of this book was unique and there was never a dull moment. The characters were all likable with the exception of the psycho killer. Definitely worth reading.
Ellie Parrish Duveen was five when the brakes of her parents' Bentley convertible failed and the car plunged off a steep California road. Or had the brakes been tampered with? The orphaned Ellie survived, her forehead only scarred, and she grew up under the care of wealthy grandmother Lottie. But as it happened, Ellie's father had a son, Buck, from an earlier marriage. Buck was strictly psycho, and although he dressed and comported himself like Cary Grant, he had the lousy habit of strangling prostitutes during sex. Arrested for such indulgences, Buck beat a jail rap and wound up in a private New York hospital for rich sickos. After 20 years, his grandmother's money ran short and Buck was booted out, essentially for nonpayment. He still had a small sum in the bank, though, which by now had accrued to $35,000 traveling money. Set free, Buck kills another prostitute to get back in shape and goes to California, where he learns that Ellie has opened a restaurant. He then begins to consider recovering his part of the family property and fortune through murder. This puts him directly in Ellie's sphere, and the suspense builds from there.
There were some good elements and I think this author may get better in time, but this one just did not hold my attention at all. Kat
The reviews lie I could not read past ch 4 it was putting my to sleep. I found it very boring. Glad it was only .99
Great story. Difficult read due to the numerous typos (can't get 3 pages without one). Nice, complicated plot with some romance lead to a happy enough ending(for a murder/mystery).
I don't venture out of my author's circle much. I took a chance this time. I was pleasantly surprised. I will be reading books by this author again.
This book leans more to romance fiction rather than mystery… low on my scale of reading material. I love mysteries, but this one is lacking in plot. And the TYPOS are numerous and unforgivable.