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Welcome to Hope Beach, a place of intoxicating beauty... where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane. Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams. But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the ...
Welcome to Hope Beach, a place of intoxicating beauty... where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane. Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams. But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime. Libby’s dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.
She stepped closer to the house and jotted a few impressions in her notebook before moving inside to the domed living room. The floorboards were missing in places and rotted in others, so she planted her tan flats carefully. She could almost see the original occupants in this place. She imagined her own furniture grouped around the gorgeous fireplace. She'd love to have this place, but something so grand that needed this much repair would never be hers. The best she could do would be to preserve it for someone else who would love it. She itched to get started.
Her cell phone rang, and she groped in her canvas bag for it. Glancing at the display, she saw her partner's name. "Hey, Nicole," she said. "You should see this place. A gorgeous Federal-style mansion. I think it was built in 1830. And the setting by the river is beautiful. Or it will be once the vegetation is tamed." Perching on the window seat, she made another note about the fireplace. "Nicole? Are you there?"
There was a long pause, then Nicole finally spoke. "I'm here."
"You sound funny. What's wrong?" Nicole was usually talkative, and Libby couldn't remember the last time she'd heard strain in her friend's voice. "Are you still in the Outer Banks? Listen, I heard there might be a hurricane heading that way." She dug into her purse for her jalapeño jellybeans and popped one in her mouth.
"I'm here," Nicole said. "The residents are sure the storm will miss Hope Island. The investor is really interested in this little town. And we have the chance to make a boatload of money on it. It's all in your hands."
"My hands? You're the one with the money smarts."
Nicole was the mover and shaker in Holladay Renovations. She convinced owners to dramatically increase the value of their historic properties by entrusting them to Libby's expertise. Libby had little to do with the money side of the business, and that was how she liked it.
"I think I'd better go back to the beginning," Nicole said. "Rooney sent me here to see about renovating some buildings in the small downtown area. He's working on getting a ferry to the island. It will bring in a lot more tourism for the hotel he's planning, but the buildings need to be restored to draw new business."
"I know that much. But what do you mean 'it's in my hands'?" Libby glanced at her notes, then around the room again. This was taking up her time, and she wanted to get back to work. "We're doing the lifesaving station for sure, right?"
"Yes, I've already seen it. We were right to buy that sweet building outright. After you get your hands on it, we'll make a bundle and have instant credibility here. I've started making notes of the materials and crew we'll need. But I'm not calling about the renovations. I'm talking a lot of money, Libby. Millions."
That got Libby's attention. "Millions?"
"I stopped by the local attorney's office to see about having him handle the paperwork for our purchase of the lifesaving station. Horace Whittaker. He's got both our names on the paperwork now."
"The secretary gasped when she heard your name."
"She knew me?"
"The attorney has been looking for a Libby Holladay. Daughter of Ray Mitchell."
"That's my dad's name."
"I thought it might be. I'd heard you mention the name Ray, but I wasn't sure of the last name."
Libby rubbed her head. "Why is he looking for me? My father has been dead a long time—since I was five."
"He died a month ago, Libby. And he left you some valuable land. In fact, it's the land Rooney thought he had agreed to purchase. So we're in the driver's seat on this deal." Nicole's voice rose.
Libby gasped, then she swallowed hard. "It's a hoax. I bet the attorney asked for a fee, right?"
"No, it's real. According to the secretary, your father was living in the Outer Banks all this time. And Horace has a box of letters Ray wrote to you that were all marked Return to Sender. It appears your mother refused them."
Libby's midsection plunged. Throughout her childhood she'd asked her mother about her father. There were never any answers. Surely her mother wouldn't have lied. Libby stared out the window at two hummingbirds buzzing near the overgrown flowers.
"Do you have any idea how much money this land is worth?" Nicole's voice quivered. "It's right along the ocean. There's a charming little inn."
It sounded darling. "What's the area like?"
"Beautiful but remote." Nicole paused. "Um, listen, there's something else. I met a woman who looked like you a couple days ago."
Libby eased off the window ledge. "Who is she?"
"Your half sister, Vanessa. You also have a brother, Brent. He's twenty-two."
"My father married again?" Libby couldn't take it all in. This morning she had no family but a younger stepbrother, whom she rarely saw. Why had her mother kept all this from her? "What about my father's wife?"
"She doesn't seem to be around. But there's an aunt too."
Family. For as long as she could remember, Libby had longed for a large extended family. Her free-spirited mother was always wanting to see some new and exciting place. They had never lived at the same address for more than two years at a time.
"You need to get here right away," Nicole said. "There are a million details to take care of. This is the big deal we've been praying for, Libby. You will never want for anything again, and you'll have plenty of money to help your stepbrother. He can get out of that trailer with his family."
The thought of buying her stepbrother's love held some appeal. They weren't close, but not because she hadn't tried. "I can't get away until tomorrow, Nicole. I have to finish up here first. We have other clients."
How much of her reluctance was rooted in the thought of facing a future that was about to change radically? She never had been good with change. In her experience, change was something that generally made things worse, not better.
Her partner's sigh was heavy in Libby's ear. "Okay. Hey, want to see Vanessa? She'll be here in a few minutes. There's a beach cam out by the lifesaving station, and I'm supposed to meet her there. I'll send you a link to it. You can see her before you meet her."
Libby glanced through the window toward her car. "I have my computer in the car." She tucked her long hair behind her ear and gathered her things. "What does Vanessa think about our father leaving prime real estate to me?" She left the house and started for her vehicle.
Nicole cleared her throat. "Um, she's pretty upset."
"I would imagine. What did you tell her about me?"
"As little as possible."
"I don't know if that's good or bad."
"I wouldn't worry about them. She and her brother are fishing for info though. She mentioned lighthouse ruins and I asked for directions. She offered to show me, but I went out there by myself yesterday. I'm still meeting her today because I knew you'd want to know more about her."
It sounded like a disaster in the making. "I have so many questions."
"Then come down as soon as you can and get them answered. Wait until you see Tidewater Inn, Libby! It's really old. It's on the eastern edge of the island with tons of land along the beach. The inn was a house once, and it is a little run-down but very quaint. It's hard to get out here. Until Rooney gets the ferry approved, you'll have to hire a boat. You're going to love it though. I love this island. It's like stepping back in time. And I've even seen some caves to explore."
"No road to it from the mainland?" Libby couldn't fathom a place that remote.
"Nope. Boat access only."
Her phone still to her ear, Libby opened her car door and slid in. The computer was on the floor, and she opened it. "I'm going to have to get off a minute to tether my phone to the computer. Send me the link to the harbor cam. Don't tell Vanessa I'm watching."
"When can you get here tomorrow?"
"It's about two hours from Virginia Beach?"
Libby doubted she'd sleep tonight. It would be no problem to be in the shower by six. "I'll be there by nine."
She ended the call, then attached the cord that tethered the phone to the computer. She would use the cell signal to watch Nicole's video feed on the larger screen. Then she could watch and still take any calls that came in. Her skin itched from the brambles. She established the connection, then logged on to the Internet. No e-mail yet.
She owned property. The thought was mind boggling. No matter what condition it was in, it was a resource to fall back on, something she hadn't possessed yesterday. The thought lightened her heart. She stared at the grand old home beside her. What if there was enough money from the sale of the inn to allow her to buy a historic house and restore it? It would be a dream come true. She could help her stepbrother. She could buy some Allston paintings too, something she'd never dreamed she could afford.
A woman pecked on Libby's car window, and Libby turned on the key and ran down the window. "Hello. I'm not an intruder. I'm evaluating this gorgeous old place for the historic registry."
The woman smiled. "I thought maybe you were buying it. Someone should restore it."
"Someone plans to," Libby said. What if it could be her instead of her client?
The woman pointed. "I'm taking up a collection for the Warders, who live on the corner. They had a fire in the kitchen and no insurance."
Libby had only two hundred dollars in her checking account, and she had to get to the Outer Banks. "I wish I could help," she said with real regret. "I don't have anything to spare right now."
"Thanks anyway." The woman smiled and moved to the next house.
Libby ran the window back up and clicked on her in-box. An e-mail from Nicole appeared. She stared at the link. All she had to do was click and she'd catch a glimpse of a sister she had no idea even existed. Her hands shook as she maneuvered the pointer over the link and clicked. The page opened, and she was staring at a boardwalk over deep sand dunes that were heaped like snowdrifts. In the distance was a brilliant blue ocean. A pier extended into the pristine water. The scene was like something out of a magazine. She could almost feel the sea breeze.
She clicked to enlarge the video and turned up the speakers so she could hear the roar of the surf. Where was Nicole? The pier was empty, and so was the sea. A dilapidated building stood to the right of the screen, and she could just make out a sign over the door. Hope Beach Lifesaving Station.
Then there was a movement on the boardwalk. Nicole appeared. She smiled and waved. "Hi, Libby," she said. The sound quality was surprisingly good. The sound of the ocean in the background was a pleasant lull.
Libby had to resist the impulse to wave back. Her partner's blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail under a sun hat, and she wore a hot-pink cover-up over her brown bathing suit.
Nicole glanced at her watch and frowned. "Vanessa is late. Like I started to say earlier, I didn't want to wait on her to see the lighthouse ruins, so I went out there alone. I have to show it to you. Wait until you see what I found. You'll seriously freak! Hey, give me a call. This pier is one of the few places where my phone works. Isn't that crazy—an entire island without cell service. Almost, anyway."
Libby picked up her cell phone, still connected to the computer. They could talk a few minutes. Before she could call, a small boat pulled up to the shore. Two men jumped out and pulled the boat aground. Nicole turned toward them. The men walked toward her. There was no one else in sight, and Libby tensed when Nicole took a step back. Libby punched in Nicole's number. She watched her friend dig in her bag when it rang.
When Nicole answered the phone, Libby leaped to her feet and yelled, "Get out of there. Go to your car!"
Nicole was still watching the men walk toward her. "It's just a couple of tourists, Libby," she said. "You worry too much." She smiled and waved at the men.
Libby leaned closer to the laptop. "There's something wrong." She gasped at the intention in their faces. "Please, Nicole, run!"
But it was the men who broke into a run as they drew closer to the boardwalk. As they neared the cam, Libby could see them more clearly. One was in his forties with a cap pulled low over his eyes. He sported a beard. The other was in his late twenties. He had blond hair and hadn't shaved in a couple of days.
Nicole took another step back as the older man in the lead smiled at her. The man said, "Hang up." He grabbed her arm.
"Let go of her!" Libby shouted into the phone.
The man knocked the phone from Nicole's hand and the connection was broken. The other man reached the two, and he plunged a needle into Nicole's arm. Both men began dragging Nicole toward the boat. She was struggling and shouting for help, then went limp. Her hat fell to the ground.
Barely aware that she was screaming, Libby dialed 9-1-1. "Oh God, oh God, help her!"
The dispatcher answered and Libby babbled about her friend being abducted right in front of her. "It's in the Outer Banks." She couldn't take her eyes off the boat motoring away from the pier. "Wait, wait, they're taking her away! Do something!"
"I told you, the Outer Banks." Libby looked at the heading above the video stream. "Hope Beach. It's Hope Beach. Get someone out there."
"Another dispatcher is calling the sheriff. I have an officer on his way to you."
"I'm going to Hope Beach now."
"Stay where you are," the dispatcher said. "We've got the sheriff on the line there. He's on his way to the site. Don't hang up until an officer arrives."
She had to do something. Anything but run screaming into the street. Libby looked at the computer. She could call up the video, save it for evidence. But the stream had no rewind, no way to save it. If she could hack into the site, she could get to the file. The police could save time and get the pictures of those men circulating. With a few keystrokes, she broke through the firewall and was in the code.
Then her computer blinked and went black. And when she called up the site again, the entire code was gone. What had she done?
Lawrence kept his attention away from the senator long enough to make sure the other man knew who was in charge, then turned from his perusal of his domain and settled in his chair. "You have news for me?"
Senator Troy Bassett tugged on his tie, then pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and blotted his damp forehead. "The city is like an oven today," he muttered.
In his fifties now, he had once been handsome, but his blond good looks had been replaced by flab and gray hair. Lawrence had known him since they went to Harvard together. They knew each other's weaknesses all too well. Lawrence had funneled a fortune into getting Bassett elected. But the rewards were coming—now.
"The vote?" Lawrence prodded.
The senator nodded. "Came through. The ferry system will be added next year."
"Excellent." Lawrence sat back in his leather chair. "I will have possession of the land by the end of the summer."
"I thought the old man refused to sell it."
"Luckily for us, he died." How he wished he could have seen Ray Mitchell take his last breath.
Bassett lifted a brow. "Natural causes?"
Lawrence laughed. "Of course. We both know I like to have my own way, but I've never stooped to murder. I've found money talks well enough that it's not necessary." A smile tugged at his lips. "Though there's always a first time for everything."
You'd met your match in Mitchell though. He was adamant."
"True enough. But his son has no such scruples. He knows when to take a good offer and run with it."
"So he's agreed to your price?"
Excerpted from Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble Copyright © 2012 by Colleen Coble. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted July 30, 2012
I have read almost all of Colleen Coble's novels and this one is just as wonderful as the others!!! Filled with lots of suspense, Godly inspiration and of course romance, makes for a great read!!! Couldn't put it down!!!!! Can' t wait for the next in the series!!
18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 22, 2012
After reading through all the loooooong reviews revealing the plot and storyline, why would I want to waste my $10 reading this book. I really should not call them reviews (although they should be) because it isn't what they are. They are the "mini" version of the book. Look up the word REVIEW in the dictionary. Enough said!
17 out of 59 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2012
Colleen Coble writes such vivid stories and keeps you enthralled with every page!! This is by far her best story!!!
16 out of 19 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2012
Others have summed up the story, so I won't do that here. I just wanted to say Colleen Coble knows how to write a great story, full of suspense and romance. I love the Outer Banks setting she's using for the Hope Beach series. Get this one! You won't regret it!
15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 11, 2012
I really enjoyed this book. To my own surprise I couldn't put the book down. When I started it I thought I would be bored but I kept finding myself looking for the book and comfy place to sit down and read it. It was a good read and would make a great book to take on vacation. I've read other books by Colleen which I have enjoyed. I like her writing and I think she does contemporary fiction well.
I received my copy as a review blogger through Litfuse.
13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2012
This was the third book I’ve read by Colleen Coble and I loved it just as much as I loved the others. She has a way of combining mystery, suspense and adventure and wrapping a love story right up in the middle of it. Her stories aren’t usually predictable unlike many others in the genre; just when I thought I knew where she was going, she threw another twist into the story.
The characters in the story are lovable and their quirks and personalities really help make the story enjoyable and interesting. This was another book that left me wishing there was a sequel, I’m always interested to know what life is like for the characters after the last page is read. Thankfully I just realized that this is the first book in a new series by Coble, the Hope Beach series. Maybe that means I’ll get to catch up with some of these characters in the future! I highly recommend this book as well as the other novels I’ve read by Coble, Lonestar Angel and The Lightkeeper’s Ball.
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to post a positive review.
8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2012
Posted December 12, 2012
Well thanks to all the plot spoiling posters here that revealed every detsil of the book, there is no need to buy it. I wish bn would do something to these braggarts who consistently ruin books for other readers. They should be banned from posting these plot spoilers.
5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 7, 2012
Tidewater Inn is Colleen's first book set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The setting plays a strong role in this book -- I can't imagine the story taking place anywhere else.
Libby inherits a hotel from a father she thought died years earlier. The problem is her friend has disappeared and now the cops are looking at her. A Coast Guard lieutenant tries to find her friend, but isn't sure what to think about Libby. The plot twists and turns through a hurricane and the race to fine her missing friend. Through in love, sibling rivalry and the decision whether she can keep the inn keep the plot moving. This is a cast and locale that I loved and can't wait to return in another book. Please?!?
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 2, 2012
Tidewater Inn is a Hope Beach Novel and is written by Colleen Coble. I jumped at the chance to review this book as Colleen Coble books was one of my favorite author that I found in 2011. In this book you meet Libby Holladay and her business partner Nicole. Libby and Nicole restore historic homes for a living. In fact Nicole finds out while on Hope Island trying to buy an old building that Libby has an inheritance. The inheritance is an Inn built in the 1800’s called the Tide Water Inn. When Nicole is kidnapped on Hope Island it is Libby that authorities suspect. It is up to Libby to find Nicole and save herself. Along the way she finds her father did not really die when she was five and she has a brother and sister. She finds her Aunt Pearl. She also finds romance. I did like this book. I found there to be a little mystery, a little romance and a good lesson on faith in it. Not once did Libby give up on the thought that Nicole was still alive. What I did not like about this story is that I felt like Libby being a suspect was mentioned far too much. I got it really I did, she is a suspect. I was a little disappointed in this book because of that and because every book I have read by Colleen Coble has been so fabulous. I came into reading this book with huge amounts of excitement and expectations of this author. This book was good but not her best. It is still a good read and worth the time of reading it. I give this book my three star rating. I hate to have to give this rating to this author as I love her writings a lot, but part of my writing reviews is they are honest. I did get a complimentary copy of this book from Book Sneeze for just that an honest review.
4 out of 21 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 4, 2012
Libby loves old historical buildings so much that she has made a career out of it. She and her best friend and partner Nicole restores old buildings and sells them. Little did Libby know that she would inherit a masterpiece historical building for herself, and from family she didn’t even know she had.
Libby’s arrival on the Island, finding out she was now owner of the Tidewater Inn, and meeting her new family and the folks on the Island was more than Libby could comprehend. And then when the lights are turned on her as a suspect in her friends murder, well things start getting a little touchy, nasty and very intense and interesting on this small little Island.
Libby is a sweetheart and everyone can learn from her soft spoken, graceful attitude. And for me, the question What Would Jesus Do? Now has a whole new meaning. And Alec is a man everyone wants to have! He’s just adorable! Colleen has created a cast of characters in Tidewater Inn that you will grow to love and adore. The are so very real-life that I sometimes felt like they were family or close friends. I love characters that give readers this feeling. And Aunt Pearl, a character created in the image of Colleen’s own grandmother is the binding that brings the story together. Between Aunt Pearl and Ray’s love for the Lord, my desire is to be more like these two wonderful characters. People who selflessly love God and show it in their everyday lives.
I was provided a copy of this book from Booksneeze for an honest review. The opinions in this review are mine only.
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Posted July 17, 2012
I found the story line of watching a friend get kidnapped on a video cam very intriguing. The story line between Libby and Alec was probably realistic but I would have preferred that he believed in her totally, even if that is unrealistic. (I read to escape reality.) That is my only reason for rating the book a four instead of a five. I found the secondary characters engaging and kept wondering if one of them would get their own book. I was so excited to see an appearance of Bree and Samson from a previous series. There were plenty of characters that could be the bad guys and it kept you guessing. I did not figure out the ending. The author did a great job with the secondary storyline of the WWJD necklace. I found it thought provoking and encouraging.
I received the book for free in exchange for an honest review.
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Posted July 2, 2012
Tidewater Inn begins with historic home renovator Libby Holladay learning that she has just inherited a gorgeous historic inn—and a family she never knew she had. Unfortunately, her newfound siblings are less than welcoming, convinced that she is there for the money and nothing more. Adding to her distress is the fact that she has just witnessed her best friend being kidnapped, and is now under suspicion for committing the crime herself.
Generally speaking, I enjoy Colleen Coble’s books (mystery and suspense, laced with a little bit of romance), so I had hoped that this one would be no exception. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite hit home with me. While I liked the premise of the story, I found that most of the plot felt forced and unrealistic. The first chapter was awkward—so much happened right off the bat with little to no character development, so it made it a little difficult to connect. Much of the story continued in the same manner. The constant suspicion and accusations against Libby became a bit redundant after awhile, and important information that, realistically, would have been presented upfront was withheld until the very end (which I understand in wanting to keep the reader in suspense, but like I said, the way it was done simply felt forced).
If you’re looking to read anything by Coble (which I do recommend!), you might try starting with some of her other books instead. This one isn’t terrible, but it’s certainly not her best!
(I received this book through the BookSneeze blogger program in exchange for my honest review.)
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Posted November 5, 2013
Another compelling story from Colleen Coble. It has mystery as well as character development and interactions that make you think. There are relationships to solidify as well as the theme “What Would Jesus Do.” It does have an ending with closure.
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first time I read anything from Colleen Coble. I loved this book. I have since read 5 more of her books and love them all. Romance suspence her books have it all. Plus they're Christian based too. She is now one of my favorite writers!!!
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