Summer Thompson doesn’t remember the night her brother died, and she certainly doesn’t want to go back to Pine Point and face any memories that might be awoken there. But ten years after leaving her small hometown, she’s back to settle her estranged father’s estate and be rid of the half-renovated mansion she’s inherited. What she doesn’t expect is to find the house occupied by a hunky handyman reluctant to talk about his past.
Damian Knight has been helping his mother and sister hide from a brutal stalker, but now the peace and carefully guarded safety they’ve found in Pine Point is in danger. The refuge they live in is about to be sold out from under them by the lovely but haunted Summer, a woman who quickly finds her way through Damian’s defenses and steals his heart.
But in a small town full of powerful secrets, the past won’t remain buried. Summer has to face her memories and could lose the man she loves, and maybe even her life.
Each book in the Pine Point series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed in any order.
Book #1: Summer’s Song
Book #2: Winter Wonder
Book #3: Spring Secrets
Book #4: Autumn Allure
About the Author
Allie Boniface is the USA Today best-selling author of over a dozen novels, including the Cocktail Cruise, Hometown Heroes, and Pine Point series. Her books are most often set in small towns and feature emotional, thought-provoking, sensual romance with relatable characters you'll know and love.
A graduate of the University of Rochester and Case Western Reserve University, Allie currently lives in a small town in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and their two furry felines. When she isn't teaching high school English, she likes to travel, lose herself in great music, or go for a long run and think about her next small town story.
Take some time to browse around Allie's website, check out new and upcoming releases, and sign up for Allie's newsletter. You'll get all the news about releases before everyone else, along with the chance to review books before the general public. If you're interested, you can join Allie's All-Stars as well, an exclusive readers' group on Facebook where fans and friends chat with Allie about life, characters and story ideas, as well as win gift cards each and every week!
Read an Excerpt
Ten Years Later
Summer stared at the solid silver container holding her father's remains. She'd always pictured someone's ashes preserved in a fancy urn. Something sculpted or carved. Meaningful. Dignified. Instead, Hope Memorial Services, following Ronald Thompson's wishes, had sealed his remains in a six-by-eight-inch metal box, which now sat in the center of Joe Bernstein's desk.
She pushed the rest of her father's life into a large manila envelope and slid back her chair. "I'm finished." "You're clear on all the paperwork?" the lawyer asked.
"I am. I don't need anything else." Except to get out of Pine Point as soon as possible. She smoothed her suit jacket and brushed the edge of the engraved business card holder deep in her pocket.
Summer Thompson, Chief Curator, Bay City Museum of History. Knowing the words were there, close to her skin, brought some small comfort. She could do this. She could go through her father's affairs and spend a few days in her hometown. It wouldn't kill her. After a look at the house he'd left her, and a meeting with a local realtor, she'd hop a plane back to San Francisco and be done with it all. Within the museum walls, her world made sense. She could return to the business of cataloging other people's lives and studying long-gone civilizations. She could organize press conferences, plan exhibit openings, and design educational seminars for local schoolchildren.
Outside those walls? She lost her voice. She lost her grip. Amnesia had created a world where Summer couldn't puzzle together the last decade of her own life. Even this meeting was a kind of surreal, underwater dream. She could barely say the word father, because Ronald Thompson hadn't been one to her in almost a decade. She mourned his death, in a detached sort of way, but she hadn't spoken to him in years. All the plans and details his lawyer had laid out for her meant little. She didn't belong in Pine Point anymore, and she wasn't about to open old wounds by staying in town any longer than she had to.
"I'll take a drive out to the house this afternoon," she began as pulled out her cell phone to check her messages.
"That's fine. There's one other thing we have to talk about before you go, though."
"I know you're planning on selling the place," Joe began.
"Of course I am. I still don't know why he left it to me." My father did what? Willed me the McCready estate? Honestly, she was surprised the thing still stood. Kids in town had always called the three-story mansion haunted, avoiding it on their way to school. Teenagers broke into it, leaving behind empty beer cans and used condoms. Adults mostly ignored it, driving by its thick hedgerow without so much as a glance at the craggy black rooftop. Now it belonged to Summer, in some strange alternate reality she'd entered as soon as her plane touched down in New York.
"... but that might not be as easy as you might think."
"Why not? Is there some kind of lien? A problem with the property?"
"Not a problem, particularly. But there's an old farmhouse on the back acre that your father rented out. A family's been living there for a couple of years now."
She glanced out the window to the mountains that framed the small town. "So if I sell the estate, farmhouse and all, I'm a schmuck who's throwing someone out of their home."
"You could never be a schmuck. I just wanted you to know."
She pulled at her bottom lip. "Could I sell it with some kind of contingency? Let the renters stay on?"
"I'm sure you could talk to the realtor about that. Might make it harder to find a buyer, though. I know you want to get this taken care of ..." He cleared his throat. "... as soon as possible."
Summer shifted in her chair. Ten years since she'd been back to Pine Point. Ten years of memories she couldn't quite put together, of friendships neglected, of loss she'd tried to tuck away. As soon as possible was preferable, yes.
"Mac Herbert's doing the repairs on the house," Joe added. "You remember him? Went to high school around the same time as you."
"He's got a new guy in town helping him out. Damian Knight. He and his family are the ones renting the farmhouse."
"Hang on — they're still doing work? Who's paying them?" She hadn't expected the place to be in the throes of renovation.
"Your father made arrangements. He left a checking account with enough money to cover materials and labor."
"I had no idea."
"I'm sorry. I thought I mentioned that." The white-haired man leaned forward on his elbows. "You want them to stop? We can list the place as is."
She shook her head. "I guess I'll have to go out and see before I say one way or the other." She knew nothing about selling houses, or about renovations that might or might not make a difference to potential buyers.
"And you're sure you don't want to do a memorial service?"
"I don't think so." According to her father's will, he hadn't wanted one. What on earth would she say to people? Who would come? She hadn't spoken to her father in years. She didn't know if he still had friends here, co-workers, people who would awkwardly shuffle their feet while they paid respects and wondered what she'd spent the last decade doing. "No. He's the one who chose cremation," she added. No headstone in the local cemetery, even though —
She stopped the thought before it could turn into something painful. Don't come back here, Ronald Thompson had grunted into the phone more than once. No reason for ya to. So she hadn't. "No service," she repeated.
Joe reached over and squeezed her hand. He still wore the thick gold ring she remembered as a child, encrusted with his initials and those of Yale Law School. "Sweetheart, you don't have to rush. Take some time to think things through. To process everything." He paused. "I'm worried about you, rushing in and out and ... well, you need to mourn."
But she didn't. She needed to move on, the same way she had years ago.
Summer lifted her purse onto her shoulder. "Don't worry about me. I'm fine." The manila envelope went into her briefcase. She adjusted the clip holding her dark blonde hair away from her face, then tucked the box of ashes under one arm.
He tented his fingers together. "How long are you staying?"
"I'm not sure. A few days, I guess. I'll go look at the house now, start the process of listing it tomorrow. I can't stay any longer than a week, either way." She had museum exhibits coming in. A fundraising meeting the following Tuesday and an interview with the local paper the Thursday after that. The Bay City Museum had a full-time staff of four and a handful of volunteers that ran it in her absence. Summer couldn't put the rest of her life on hold just because her father had died.
"You'll call me before you leave?"
"I will." She stopped with one hand on the door. "You know I'm too old for you to worry about, right?"
The sixty-year-old man rose, all knees and elbows inside a navy suit that hung loose on his angular frame. "Never. Your father would want me to."
My father is dead. She squared her shoulders. And I don't feel any sadder today than I did all those years ago when he sent me away from Pine Point. For a moment, an eighteen- year-old with flyaway hair, bright blue eyes and a stomach full of grief reared up in her memory. She couldn't feel any sadder than she had that day. So much loss. So many tears.
"I'll call you later," she said and waved goodbye.
"Take care, then."
Summer paused just outside the law office. She didn't really want to walk down Pine Point's Main Street to the corner lot where she'd parked her rental car. She didn't want her designer heels to catch in the cracked sidewalk by Evie's Parlor, where the tree roots always came up, and she didn't want to get caught at the only red light in town while Ollie at the corner station pumped gas and whistled at her.
But neither could she stay here one more minute, talking about a man she'd said goodbye to long before he actually left this earth. Outside, at least, the sunlight might blind her enough to keep the ghosts from taking up residence inside her head again. She took a deep breath and lifted her chin. Time to see the McCready house and figure out what the heck she was going to do with it.
On the other side of Pine Point, Damian Knight and Mac Herbert stood on the front porch of the McCready estate, holding ice-cold bottles of water and looking out across the lawn.
Mac took a long drink of water. "Summer Thompson's in town. Just flew in from San Francisco. She's coming over at some point to check out the place. I heard from Ron's lawyer last night."
Ah, the new owner. Damian leaned against the porch railing and scratched his head. "Guess you owe me twenty bucks, then."
"Yeah. You called it right."
"I knew she would. No one would be able to sell a place without even lookin' at it." Damian stuck his hammer into his tool belt, slung low across his waist. "So what's she like?" He'd met her father only a couple of times. Nice guy, but solemn and tight- lipped. He wondered if the daughter would be the same.
"Summer?" Mac shrugged. "Christ, it's been a long time."
"Not that long. And this town isn't that big. Gimme a break. The two of you probably went to Homecoming together or something."
Mac grinned and flipped him the bird. "Nope, never. Summer was too good for me. She was a couple years behind me in school, anyway. We didn't cross paths much." He cocked his head. "But she was pretty cute back then, from what I remember."
"Kept to herself a lot, but yeah. One of those smart types who's good-lookin' but doesn't know it. Hot body, cute face ... Hey, quit hogging the chips." He grabbed an open bag from beside Damian and dumped the crumbs into his mouth.
"Why'd she leave town in the first place? California's a hell of a long way from here."
Mac busied himself with collecting empty soda cans from lunch and tossing them into a cardboard box. "Long story."
"C'mon. Fill me in."
The burly man shrugged. "Her little brother died in a car accident right after she graduated from high school. Summer's boyfriend at the time was driving." He shook his head. "Damn awful thing. Her father sent her off to live with an aunt somewhere near Chicago. I think he figured she'd be better off away from it all, but some people thought he blamed her for what happened. She never came back after that. Dunno how she ended up on the west coast. College, maybe."
Damian whistled. "That's pretty rough. No mom around?"
"Nope. I think she died when Summer was pretty young." Mac stood with a grunt, one hand on his lower back. "Be too bad if she decides to sell this place, huh?"
"You know that house of yours is part of this property, right?"
Damian dug one heel into the ground. Shit. How had he forgotten? The farmhouse was a rental, because they didn't have the money to buy a place outright. They never had. And his mother had just finished decorating it the way she liked.
"Maybe she'll divide the property and sell the farmhouse to you."
"Yeah. Sure." And maybe pigs would get up on their hind legs and dance.
"Sorry, man." Mac clapped a hand onto Damian's shoulder. "Not a done deal, though. Talk to Summer when she gets here. If it doesn't work out, I got a cousin with a couple of rental places over in Silver Valley. You want his number, let me know."
Damian nodded without answering. Despite the sun that scattered its rays over everything in sight, the afternoon had turned glum. He glanced over his shoulder at the mountains that rose just beyond the roofline of the McCready house.
About fifty miles west of the New York-Massachusetts border, Pine Point sat at the base of the Adirondack Mountains. To most travelers, it was only an exit off the interstate, a stop halfway between Albany and Syracuse where you could get some gas or a burger before continuing on to more interesting destinations. It had a movie theater, a grocery store, a school, and a handful of bars. Slow pace, sure, but the people were nice enough. Actually, Damian thought, the people were more than nice. Pine Point got too much snow in the winter and not enough sun in the summer. It wouldn't ever appear in a magazine spread of the country's most glamorous vacation spots. But the five thousand or so residents who made their blue-collar lives here were steady and strong, cut from good cloth. They helped each other out, and they didn't talk much behind each other's backs.
Damina's hand tightened on his tool belt. This town had given his mother and sister a place to escape, a chance for a new life, and for that he was eternally grateful. Summer Thompson couldn't sell the farmhouse. She couldn't pull the ground out from under them. He would do everything in his power to make sure that didn't happen.
Summer nosed her rental car, a white Mustang convertible, onto Main Street. Fifteen years ago Pine Point had installed its first and only traffic light out by the school. Now she could see they'd added another, just past the center of town. Slowing for the red, she braked and looked around. A few changes, not many. The town had a few new stores, the roads were in better shape, and the city limits reached out a little farther, but not much else had changed. In the distance she caught a glimpse of a new housing development dotting what she remembered as farmland with paved roads and sprawling homes.
The light changed and a pickup truck behind her tooted twice. Raising her hand in acknowledgement, Summer squinted into the rearview mirror. Sure enough, she recognized the face at the wheel of the blue Dodge Ram. Back in high school, Billy Watkins had been the leader of a group of kids who skipped every class except gym and lunch and spent their days smoking out by the baseball fields. True to form, the Billy of today clenched a cigarette in his teeth and puffed with a vengeance as he turned the wheel and headed away from her.
She readjusted clammy hands on the steering wheel and wondered who else she'd see. She hadn't left any close friends behind except Rachael Hunter. Everything and everyone else had faded over the years. But as she headed down Main Street and neared Pine Point Central School, memories flashed inside her head. A wide, white smile. Broad shoulders that filled out a football jersey. A warm mouth that moved with painful, perfect slowness down her neck. With little effort, she could almost see Gabe Roberts again — eighteen, baby faced, and handsome enough to bring a lump to her throat. Bare skin against hers. Lips murmuring promises into the small of her back.
His voice, high and panicked. His hand tugging at hers. Shrieking tires and metal thundering against metal. Moonlight and blood and then, finally, darkness. Gabe had been there, the night everything changed.
Summer's jaw snapped shut and she bit the inside of her cheek. Stop thinking about it. It happened forever ago. She couldn't get lost in those memories. Nothing good could come of it.
She turned from Main Street onto Red Barn Road. Here the houses spread farther apart and the sidewalks vanished. Another mile, and a handful of enormous but neglected old homes lined the road. Why on earth did you buy one of them, Dad? Beyond that, why had he left it to her? She took a deep breath and eased the Mustang to the side of the road. Twenty yards away, a wall of thick green shrubbery rose up, parted in the middle by a broken sidewalk. Spires shot into the air above the trees, and a lump grew in her throat. All thoughts of Gabe Roberts vanished in the shadow of the McCready house. Terrifying, monstrous, and all hers.
Summer opened the car door. Time to see what her future was about to hold.
Excerpted from "Summer's Song"
Copyright © 2016 Allie Boniface.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
What People are Saying About This
“Allie Boniface’s Summer Song is an engrossing story about hidden pasts, lost memories, and finding love despite everything else. Summer is a complex character who you will grow to care about…Damian, the protector, is compelling… I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a wonderful read" (4.5 Stars from Ecataromance).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Have you ever felt like you were missing some part of your past that you could not remember even if you tried? Summer is back in Pine Point after her father's death and she can't believe that he has left her the local haunted house. When he sent her away 10 years ago after her brothers death, she wants to go back home as soon as possible. She doesn't have time to sell this house. When she goes to the house, she finds Mac an old friends from school and Damien, a very handsome man with some secrets of his own. Can she sell the house without loosing her heart to Damien? Will she finally know what everyone else in the town knows about that terrible accident that took her brother? This story is one of those that had me hooked at the very beginning and kept me there until the very end. I loved everything about it, it has heartache, loss, pain, suspense, fun and romance. This is a first for me from Allie Boniface and I loved it. I can't wait to read more from her. **I was gifted a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review**
A wonderful read! A sweet story with romance and a touch of intrigue. Summer returns to her hometown after 10 years to handle her father's estate. Coming back brings back so many emotions for her and brings up questions about what really happened before she left. Can she deal with what she finds? Then there is also the handsome handyman Damian... there is an attraction that builds between them, but each has things they have to deal with. You meet a wonderful bunch of characters that touch your emotions. You get pulled into their story and find yourself looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds for them. This was a book that I truly enjoyed! *copy gifted in exchange for an honest review.
I have read all of this author's books and this one is my favorite. I can't wait for her to publish more! I'm not usually a love story reader but I am hooked now.