Read an Excerpt
Storm Over The Lake
By Diana Palmer
Harlequin Enterprises LimitedCopyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.
There was a sense of foreboding in the morning. Dana Meredith crossed out her second try at a lead for the news-feature she was writing about the city's new school superintendent. Cheating with a pen and paper, she grimaced at the computer that had replaced her old electric typewriter and stacks of paper. Some things about modern journalism were just a bit much.
For instance, this neat, uncluttered, impeccable news-room. She sighed. Her first job had been on a weekly newspaper, in an office where visitors always seemed to giggle when they noticed the paper wadded and folded and sitting in lopsided stacks on the desk that probably had a top somewhere under all that clutter. A smile touched her mouth at the memory. Along with the clutter and the long hours and the variety of jobs - everything from writing to proofreading to pasting up to delivering the paper - had come a sense of belonging that made any sacrifice worthwhile. Then, too, there had been the aura of excitement that came with working for an editor who was already a legend - an awesome experience that time had never dulled.
Dana would never have left voluntarily. But her father's death and her mother's lingering illness that followed it had made it necessary. She moved to Miami, to a bigger job and a more specialized nursinghome for her mother. The elderly woman was totally dependent on her doctors, totally oblivious to Dana and the world around her. And it took almost every spare penny Dana made to keep her there, although Dana would never have called it a sacrifice. Mrs. Meredith, in her day, had been a very special woman; it had taken the death of her husband to break that strong will.
"... Dana! Hey, girl, did that interview with the school super deafen you?" a loud voice called inches from her ear.
She jumped and looked up into the dancing blue eyes of the dark-haired girl at the next desk. "Sorry, Phyl, I wasn't listening. What?" she asked pleasantly, her eyebrows raised.
"I said, Jack wants you," she repeated, nodding toward the glass-enclosed office.
"Let's see," Dana murmured thoughtfully, one slender hand idly touching the taffy-colored hair in its severe bun, "I haven't used his phone in a week. I didn't paint green shamrocks on his hood on St. Patrick's Day. I didn't slip his name to the F.B.I. as a dangerous underground radical when those two agents were in the lobby last week. Okay," she said, getting up from the desk. "I've got nothing in this world to be afraid of. Except ... well, I only threatened to stock his swimming pool with guppies, and that doesn't count."
"Get out of here," Phyllis groaned. "You're giving me indigestion."
"Reporters don't get indigestion," Dana reminded her. "Reporters get ulcers."
"Not just reporters," Phyllis contradicted. "Honey, there are two kinds of people in this world - people who get ulcers, and people who give them. I've decided life is too short to be on the receiving end, so shake hands with a giver!"
"A giver?" the sports reporter asked, passing by. "Great! I'll take a couple of twenties, and a five - just until payday, of course."
"I'm passing out ulcers, not money," Phyllis replied.
He stopped. "Oh. Well, in that case, I'll pass. Charlie gave me one of those last week, and I'm trying to trade it to Fred for his broken arm."
Dana eased past him, with her back to the wall. "I used to be sane," she told him. "Years ago, of course."
"Reporters are not sane," Phyllis broke in. "They become reporters because they can't get normal jobs ..."
Dana ducked into Jack's office and closed the door. "You wanted to see me?" she asked the man behind the massive, cluttered desk.
He looked up at the slender young woman. Dana Meredith was pretty, but there was also something very innocent about her, something vulnerable. Maybe it was the soft brown eyes that seemed to dominate her face, or the taffy-colored hair she pulled into that tight bun on top of her head. Maybe it was the soft, pink mouth that always seemed to be smiling. He shrugged. He felt like a Roman throwing a Christian into the jaws of a lion.
And, in a sense, he was. "There's no easy way to put it, honey," he said finally. "You're going to Atlanta on the eight a.m. flight to do a story on the Devereaux Textile Corporation."
Excerpted from Storm Over The Lake by Diana Palmer Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.