Veil of Night

Veil of Night

3.6 277
by Linda Howard

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In this thrilling novel of romantic suspense, Linda Howard cordially invites us to an elaborate wedding—one in which rings will never be exchanged, kisses will never be shared, and the bride will never see the light of day, because a killer has been waiting under a


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In this thrilling novel of romantic suspense, Linda Howard cordially invites us to an elaborate wedding—one in which rings will never be exchanged, kisses will never be shared, and the bride will never see the light of day, because a killer has been waiting under a

Jaclyn Wilde is a wedding planner who loves her job—usually. But helping Carrie Edwards with her Big Day has been an unrelenting nightmare. Carrie is a bridezilla of mythic nastiness, yet the unpleasant task at hand turns seriously criminal when Carrie is brutally murdered and everyone involved with the ceremony is accusing one another of doing the deed. Assigned to the case, Detective Eric Wilder finds that there’s too much evidence pointing toward too many suspects. Compounding his problems is Jaclyn, now a prime suspect, with whom he shared one deeply passionate night before Carrie’s death. As the heat intensifies between Eric and Jaclyn, a cold-blooded murderer moves dangerously close. And this time the target is not a bride but one particularly irresistible wedding planner, unaware of a killer’s vow.

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Product Details

Piatkus Books
Publication date:

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Chapter One

Six weddings in five days. Holy shit.

All Jaclyn Wilde could think was that her mother, Madelyn, who was her partner in Premier, the events planning firm to hire in the greater Atlanta area if you wanted your guests to be impressed, must have been sipping a couple or twelve champagne martinis when she’d accepted so many bookings so close together. It wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if the bookings had been anything other than weddings: a party was simple in comparison to a wedding, because they were relatively free of emotional turmoil. A wedding, on the other hand, was fraught with every emotion known to man. It wasn’t just the brides; it was the bride’s mother, the groom’s mother, the maid of honor, the bridesmaids, the parents of the flower girl and the ring bearer, the cousins who weren’t invited to be in the wedding party, what colors to choose, the date, the location, the damn font on the friggin’ invitations . . .

“Jaclyn Wilde,” the clerk called, interrupting Jaclyn’s increasingly stressed and frantic thoughts.

The clerk’s voice was too cheerful. Didn’t she realize it was inappropriate to sound cheerful when you were collecting payments for traffic violations? Maybe it was asking too much that she sound glum, but she could at least sound bored and noncommittal, instead of all but dancing with glee at taking someone’s money.

Jaclyn stifled her irritation; it stemmed more from the almost impossible workload facing her during the coming week than it did from paying her speeding ticket. Adding to her stress was the fact that because they’d been working so hard, she’d forgotten to mail in the money for the speeding ticket, and today was the day it was due, so she’d either had to take time off from work—thereby increasing the stress by getting behind—or have a warrant issued for her arrest. Yeah, that would be a real stress-reducer.

Being late was her fault. If the city of Hopewell, where she lived and where she’d received the ticket, had been set up to receive online payments, she could have handled it that way, but it wasn’t. She got up, silently forked over the cash, and a minute later was striding down the hall, the speeding ticket already forgotten because that particular item had just been checked off her to-do list.

She glanced down at her watch. She had just enough time to get to her next appointment—Carrie Edwards, a bitch for all seasons, and one of the reasons why six weddings in five days was looming as Mission Impossible. Carrie’s wedding wasn’t even one of the six; her wedding wasn’t for another month, but Carrie was taking up way too much of their time with her histrionics and constant flip-flopping on decisions. One bridesmaid had already told her—Carrie, not Jaclyn—to go fuck herself, which was a first in Jaclyn’s experience. Usually, no matter what the bride did, the members of the wedding party would grit their teeth and see it through. Even when they did drop out, they’d make polite excuses. Not this girl; she’d let Carrie have it with both barrels, and hadn’t minced words.

When the blow-up happened, Jaclyn had stepped out of sight, allowed herself a wide smile and a fist pump, then schooled her expression and returned to try to forestall a hair-pulling, eye-gouging cat fight. She’d have loved to see Carrie with a black eye, but business was business.

If she hadn’t been so wrapped up in her thoughts she might have been faster on her feet, but when a door suddenly swung outward she was caught by surprise and slammed into the tall, dark-haired, dark-suited man who stepped into the corridor. She gave a short, sharp “Oomph!” The impact knocked her briefcase from her hand and sent it spinning across the gray-tiled floor. She felt one foot, elegantly shod in three-inch heels, begin to slip, and in panic instinctively grabbed the man’s arm to steady herself. Her free arm slipped inside his open jacket and she grabbed a handful of shirt fabric, holding on for dear life. The side of her arm brushed against something very hard, and there was a very brief glimpse of leather before she made the startled identification of holster, followed by gun, then cop. Considering she was in city hall, the conclusion was both logical and inescapable.

The arm she grabbed turned to iron as the man immediately tensed it to hold her weight; he half-turned, his other arm sliding around her waist to catch her. For a brief moment, no more than the second needed for her to catch her balance, she was held firmly against a very warm, very solid, indisputably male body.

He released her the moment she was sure-footed, but he didn’t back away. Not immediately, anyway. She blew out a shaky breath. “Wow. Whew.” Her heartbeat, thrown into high gear thanks to the collision and almost falling, was pounding against her rib cage so hard she could feel the thuds. A spill on the floor of city hall would’ve been par for the course on this perfectly crappy day, but the last thing she needed right now was to break an ankle or something. Even a sprained ankle, at this point, would throw Premier into a time-crunch they simply wouldn’t be able to handle.

“Are you all right, ma’am?”

He bent his head down as he spoke and his breath, scented with spearmint chewing gum, brushed her temple. His voice was a warm baritone, with a slight rasp that roughened it just enough to take the tone from mellow to something . . . more. She didn’t know just what that more was, just that it was there— Wait a minute. Had he just called her ma’am?

Did she look that haggard?

Jaclyn squashed her initial annoyed reaction. The badge he wore explained the “ma’am.” Actually, being almost anywhere in the South explained it. He wasn’t commenting on her appearance; he was a cop, a civil servant on his best behavior. She blew out another breath, and realized she hadn’t yet released her grip on either his arm or his shirt. He couldn’t step back, not as long as she clung to him. She forced her fingers to unclench from both shirt and arm, and she took the necessary step back to put some distance between them.

“I’m fine,” she said as she looked up at him. “Thanks for catching me. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.” A small part of her brain, the part reserved for hormones and irrational decisions, gave a wolf whistle. Abruptly she felt both over-heated and overexcited. Damn, he was fine-looking, in a way that wasn’t at all boyish and depended more on strength and an air of competency than it did on regular features. There were boys, and there were men. This was a man. This was a man who had it, that indefinable quality of sex appeal, maturity, and strength all mingled together into a potent whole.

He gave a slight smile, a nice and natural, easy curve of his lips. “Not the best layout here, as far as traffic goes.”

“Don’t mention traffic to me,” Jaclyn said, almost under her breath.

He shot a quick glance of comprehension in the direction from which she’d come, and his smile widened a little. She liked that smile more than she should.

In her line of business, Jaclyn met a lot of men; unfortunately, they were usually about to get married. Not always, of course, but it took something special to get her attention this way: a certain look, an unexpected chemistry . . . and to be honest, it had been a very long time since she’d had the time to admire any man.

She didn’t have time now, either. She had to really hurry, or she’d be late.

“Thanks again. Sorry I almost smashed you flat.” She gave the polite cop a quick nod of her head, a friendly—but not too friendly—good-bye, then looked around for her dropped briefcase.

The case had spun all the way across the wide hall, coming to a stop against the far wall. Before she could reach for it, a man in stained jeans and a dingy T-shirt stretched tight over an enormous beer belly laboriously bent down and picked up the case. “Here ya go, ma’am,” he said, holding the slender case out to her in one meaty paw and smiling a ridiculously sweet smile for such a rough face.

“Thank you,” Jaclyn said as she gripped the handle, giving the burly guy a warmer smile than she’d given the cop, because she wasn’t attracted to him at all, so being nice to him didn’t seem as dangerous as being nice to the cop. As she strode away down the hall she mused on how cock-eyed that reasoning was, on a logical basis, but how rock solid it was on some gut-level feminine instinct. She didn’t have time for the cop, didn’t have time to be attracted to him, so she wasn’t about to do anything that might attract him.

As she walked away, she was almost certain that he was watching her, but she didn’t dare turn around to look. She didn’t need to turn around; she could practically feel the bull’s-eye his gaze was painting on her back.

She hurried out to the parking lot, using her remote to unlock her steel-gray Jaguar just before she reached it. In almost one motion she opened the door, tossed her briefcase onto the passenger seat, and slid behind the wheel. Her first action then was to hit the door lock, a safety precaution she’d taken so often it was second nature to her now. As she turned the key with one hand, she was pulling the seat belt into place with the other.

She didn’t need another ticket, so she kept an eye on the speedometer. She especially wasn’t going to speed on the way to a meeting with Carrie Edwards; it was all she could do to keep the car heading in the right direction, and even then she flirted with the idea of calling her mother and saying, “I’m throwing up, have hives, and probably the measles; can you handle my meeting with Carrie?” So what if Madelyn was occupied with getting the final details in place for a wedding tomorrow, and had the rehearsal to get through? Madelyn was the one who had taken Carrie’s booking in the first place, so it was only right she should share some of the joy of dealing with her.

Jaclyn sighed. No, she couldn’t do that to her mother. Well, maybe she couldn’t. She certainly wasn’t in a hurry to meet with Carrie, who was the worst of the worst in a business that often seemed to bring out the worst in some women. Sometimes a client would be a delight from start to finish, but just as often one of the principals would make her think there really was something to be said for getting married at a courthouse or an all-night chapel in Vegas—not that she’d be foolish enough to say so aloud. After all, weddings were her bread and butter.

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Veil of Night 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 275 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
While paying her traffic ticket fine, Jaclyn Wilde loses her balance and falls into the arms Hopewell, Georgia Police detective Eric Wilder. She likes what she sees (and feels), but has no time for an encounter because as an event planner for Premier, which she co-owns with her mom, they host six weddings in five days. At the end of a brutal day made worse by Carrie "Bridezilla" Edwards, Jaclyn stops off for a drink. Also at the same bar is Eric. The exchange business cards so they can hook up in a week, but lust gets the better of them and they spend a night making love. Carrie fires Jaclyn and slaps her former planner in the face in front of many witnesses. A few hours later, Carrie is found murdered with the weapon being kabob skewers. Eric leads the investigation and as such must treat Jaclyn as a stranger being that she is a prime suspect; although he is positive she is not the killer. He plans to find the killer, keep Jaclyn safe from someone who wants her dead, and somehow regain her trust lost by doing his job. The quality of Linda Howard's romantic suspense novels remains consistently high as affirmed by Veil of Night. The tale is filled with tense intrigue, a strong police procedural investigation, a memorable cast, plenty of humor and a powerful lead couple - the cop and the suspect who go from lust to distrust as Eric performs his job. This is a must read. Harriet Klausner
jordandean More than 1 year ago
I love old school Linda Howard. I mean LOVE. I own them all. This one (as well as the next to last Burn) are not joining my keeper shelf. It was just meh. Sort of a blend of the funny To Die For books w/ Blair, but not as funny, with some of her suspense style. The whodunit part was also pretty flat and reminded me plot-wise of her Blair books too. I guess when you have written this many books plot lines sometimes get reused. I advise getting it from the library or waiting to borrow a friend's copy or just re-read To Die For which was hysterical and original Linda Howard!
TubReader More than 1 year ago
I've had issues before with Linda Howard before as an author because she a has a very strong habit of basically using the same characters over and over again but just giving them different names. However the plot of "Veil of Night" looked interesting to me and I was in need of book to relax with so I purchased it. I will say with this book, my biggest issue was not the characters, I actually found both Eric, Jaclyn and the other supporting characters to be interesting,relatable and humorous. My big complaint about this book was the actually the plot, it revolved around a murder of a bridezilla ( a character who isn't around long but you certainly don't grieve for her) and who did it. Howard has it all but spelled out for you in pretty much the middle of the book(although it is not for the characters) so you're not really left with the anticipation of the resolution of the murder. I will say for anyone interested in this book ( or is just a Linda Howard), just be prepared for a serious lack of suspense and mystery but great chemistry between the two lead characters.
Ronelle More than 1 year ago
To whom do I make a request to get a refund? Linda Howard should be ASHAMED of herself for writing this farce "an empty and patently ridiculous story" and calls it a novel. I've read her earlier books and have been entertained by them; to name a few Dream Man,Mr. Perfect, Dying to Please; Cry no more, is to me the last interesting book supposedly written by her. In the last five years the books with her name as author has been UTTER RUBBISH. I believe Linda Howard has lost her MOJO...or is someone else writting for her....
BLUEEYEBE More than 1 year ago
This is about an event coordinator named Jaclyn who is having a very busy week with six weddings in five days and a bride from hell to deal with in the meantime. It is a light hearted romantic suspense full of suspense, humor and drama. Predictable but fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I listened to this as an audiobook during long work commutes. Fast paced, entertaining, and totally enjoyable. Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a frivolous mystery/love story and was cute, but a bit tedious. I'm not sure that I ever even finished it.
DawnBuzy More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book. (Sorry Linda, I am a fan of yours but this was blah.) My recommendations for Linda Howard books: Death Angel Kill and Tell Mr. Perfect And my all time favorite: All the Queen's Men
Colbe Moe More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of linda howard bit this one just didn't make me feel any type of connection with the characters. Frankly I thought the heroine was stuck up and the hero was dull.
Romance_rookie More than 1 year ago
Jaclyn Wilde literally runs into Eric Wilder while dealing with a traffic violation at city hall. They end up later at a bar and have a night of very passionate sex. The next day Eric is called in to investigate the homicide of a young woman. It turns out Jaclyn is the main suspect, seeing as the victim was a young bride and Jaclyn her wedding planner. Jaclyn had been slapped in the face because the "bridezilla" was anything but pleased with Jaclyn's service. Eric has to clear Jaclyn's name and can't play favorites especially because of their former relationship. Veil of Night starts off strong. It has a fast, interesting beginning. Unfortunately, things slowly deteriorate from there. First off, let me state for the record that I cannot be impartial when writing this review. I have been a long time fan of Linda Howard. She is one of my favorite all time authors, however I have been less than enthusiastic with her recent releases. This one included. The problem for me is that I have come to expect a really superb romance, with a strong romantic thread between the hero and heroine. Veil of Night does not deliver in this aspect. While Jaclyn is a fine heroine and Eric a definite hero, the romance is left to the wayside as Howard allows the murder and the details to detract from the main relationship. I can't help but compare Howard's recent work with her former and it just can't compare. I would say that if reading Howard for the first time, there is still something about her writing that can lend itself to intrigue. The characters invite confidence and an easy manner that will draw readers in. The mystery is somewhat ordinary and hard core mystery fans will most likely think that part of the story is weak. Overall, I am not impressed. I just can't help compare Veil of Night to her other work and it just doesn't stand up. It makes me so sad. I just don't want to give up on her books, but what can I do? I don't think I can hang in there any longer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was eagerly awaiting this book because the synopsis sounded more like the Linda Howard I had been reading for years. She had starting writing dark stories that I found unappealing. So I was so hoping for a great read. Unfortunately it was a huge disappointment! The characters were so shallow that I could have cared less about them and the story was thin. Please, Linda, go back to writing the funny and sexy great reads that most Linda Howard fans adore!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HRHIII More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading the book. It was an easy read. I found the characters quite interesting and I got several chuckles. There wasn't really much mystery or suspense, as it was pretty easy to figure out the 'who dun it' before the middle. But it was fun to see what would come next between Eric and Jaclyn, as the tension and her wit were so thick!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down
mommyboy More than 1 year ago
I have read some of her other books and this one is not up to her usual caliber. it was actually kind of harequinny...and that is an insult as far I am concerned. it sounded like it would be a good read, but it just wasn't worth the time. not a very good mystery or love story either.
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BookReflections More than 1 year ago
Jaclyn, a wedding planner and worakaholic, finds herself in the busiest of all weeks when she finds herself scheduled for four weddings (not to mention the rehearsal dinners).  Even with the impossible schedule in front of her, she finds that her biggest frustration is Carrie Edwards, the bridezillas of all bridezillas.  When Carrie is found murdered, all eyes turn toward Jaclyn as the last person to see her alive.  With many witnesses to their last altercation, Jacklyn is soon the prime suspect.  Frustrated at finding her busy week even crazier, Jaclyn must endure question after question from Detective Eric Wilder, a man with whom she has a bit of history.  Detective Wilder is determined to find out who murdered Carrie before the case ruins any chance of a future with Jaclyn. I absolutely love Linda Howard and one thing that she usually gets right is the romance.  I found the chemistry between Jaclyn and Eric to be so hot!  I smiled every time they were on a page together.  It just all seemed to fit just right.  The dialogue was so witty and cute.  My only issue with this book is that the mystery was a tad boring.  The entire middle of the book could be taken out and I probably would have cheered.  I almost think the book would have been more interesting with Carrie alive than dead.  Now SHE is a character that can raise some eyebrows.  Things started getting a bit boring after she was murdered.  This is a case where the beginning of the book was just too fun and exciting for the good of the rest of the book. While I would recommend reading this book, I'd say to check it out of the library if you can.
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