Museum curator Grace McKenzie is shocked when she receives word that her ex-fiancé, Steven Hatfield, has been murdered. In his will, Steven has left her his art gallery in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Anticipating that she would turn down the bequest, he asked that she spend a week at the gallery before making her final decision. Motivated by a sense of duty to a man she once loved, Grace agrees to go to New Hope for one week.
She isn't the only person drawn to the small town. FBI agent Matt Baxter has returned to his hometown for one reason only—to clear his father of a bogus murder charge. While he and Grace seek answers, they discover that beneath the surface of this charming, peaceful town lies an old secret a few of its citizens would rather keep buried. And when their search takes an unexpected turn, they have only hours to find out where the truth lies—or be buried with it.
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About the Author
I was born and raised in Nice, France. Though I now realize that the French Riviera is one of the most beautiful places on earth, at the time I hated it.
My best friend and I used to dream of someday moving to Paris, or London, or even Rome. We weren't sure how we'd survive once we got there, but that didn't stop us from dreaming. Then I met my first boyfriend and the wanderlust vanished, at least for a while.
Years later, as I was finishing my second year at the University of Nice, I met an American serviceman, married him and moved to the U.S., all in the space of seven months. Lake Charles, Louisiana, was a little farther than I wanted to go, but I was young, in love, and adventurous.
But far from being the fairy tale I had imagined, those first few weeks on American soil were a nightmare. I didn't speak a word of English, I couldn't cook, and I had never held a broom in my life. Clearly, something had to be done, and I had to be the one doing it.
A year later, the situation had changed dramatically. I spoke English fluently, I had learned how to cook, and I had the cleanest house on the block. I even signed up for a course in creative writing. I wasn't sure why. I needed something to do other than polish the molding, and a writing course sounded like fun.
My years as a U.S. Air Force wife kept me busy. Besides residing in Louisiana, California, Delaware, and New Jersey, I also lived in Germany, Morocco, and Spain. It was during a tour of duty in Spain that a friend told me the base paper was looking for a reporter and I would be perfect for the job.
At first I thought she was crazy. Sure I had taken a course increative writing, but I knew absolutely nothing about journalism. However, by the time Gretchen was finished telling me about the job, I wanted it so badly that I was willing to bluff my way through an interview.
In the editor's office the following day, I lied shamelessly, inventing credentials I didn't have, naming publications that didn't exist and convincing myself I'd end up in purgatory for all my lies.
Much to my surprise, the editor gave me a try-out assignment and a three-o'clock deadline the following afternoon. I had less than 24 hours to conduct an interview I had no idea how to conduct, write an article in a manner that was totally foreign to me and get it back to the editor by the time specified.
Fortunately for me, luck was on my side, or maybe it was just meant to be because the following day I arrived at the editorial office on time, with my manuscript neatly typed and my fingers crossed.
A half hour later I was hired as the new feature writer for the Torrejon Raider. It wasn't until my editor was reassigned to the U.S. that I learned I hadn't fooled him one bit with my phony background.
He knew I was lying, but he looked at me as being gutsy rather than deceitful and that's the reason he decided to give me a try-out assignment. If I did a good job, he'd trust his instincts and hire me. If I botched it up, it would be sayonara, baby. His parting words to me at his going-away party were: "Hang in there, kiddo. I have a feeling you'll go far."
My second husband, Bob, is responsible for my career as a novelist. He knew I wanted to do something different with my life and he suggested I write a book. At first the idea sounded as ludicrous as Gretchen's suggestion years earlier that I become a reporter. Then I remembered how that turned out and thought, Why not? What have I got to lose?
Many novels later, I'm finally convinced that writing women's fiction is my true calling. I often think of that editor, though, and how instrumental he was in my becoming a writer. If it hadn't been for his faith in me and those last few words, I might never have had the nerve to take my husband's suggestion seriously.
Read an Excerpt
October 9, 2006
"Oooh, and don't forget this baby." Angie Viero took the black dress out of Grace's bedroom closet and held it at arm's length. "No vacation is complete without a sexy little number like this one." She was a short, compact woman of thirty-five with a lovely, expressive face and thick, curly black hair everyone loved except Angie.
Grace McKenzie snapped the dress from her friend's hand and hung it back on the rack. "I'm going to Napa Valley to visit my father, not to audition for an X-rated movie."
"How will you ever find a man if you don't advertise?" Angie lamented. "You've got a great body, girl. Show it off."
Grace took two pairs of blue jeans, both faded and soft as silk, and tossed them on the bed. "I swore off men, remember?"
"It's been two whole months since you broke up with what's his name."
Angie made a face. "The name alone should have been a red flag. Anyway, just because Preston was a world-class jerk doesn't mean that all men are created equal. Look at me. I found Mr. Right. So will you."
"I'm not interested in finding Mr. Right."
"Girlfriend, you're about to change your mind." Grace let out a groan as Angie took a photograph out of her pants pocket and dangled it in front of Grace's nose. "What do you think of that? Is he a dreamboat or what?"
Grace glanced at the photograph of a good-looking man in tight shorts and a T-shirt that emphasized his impressive torso. "Where did you find that one?"
"On the Internet. There are dozens—hundreds—of dating services out there, did you know that? No, of course you don't. You don't want to make the effort, Grace. That's your problem."
"My problem is that when it comes to choosing men, I suck. And I'm not talking just about Preston. There have been other fiascos. It's enough to make me want to become a nun."
"No need to do anything so drastic, not when you have me to act as your screener. What do you say? From now on, no more losers for Grace McKenzie."
"What do you think of this silk blouse? To wear with the jeans?" Grace held the garment against her chest.
"Good men don't fall out of trees, you know."
"Or maybe the white pants? No. Too New England." Angie held the hunk's photograph in front of Grace's nose. "His name is Chuck. Now that's a man's name. He's a marathon runner, likes to kayak, and plans to climb Mount Everest. Oh, and he cooks. You need a man who cooks, Grace."
"I noticed that you left out his IQ. Wasn't that listed in his résumé?"
"He graduated from college. Isn't that enough?" She wiggled the picture. "Tempting, isn't he? Come on, would you take another look?"
Grace put the white pants back and opted for a navy jogging suit instead. "No, I won't. Your brand-new career as my official matchmaker has just ended."
"You didn't give me a chance!"
"That's because finding myself a man is not what I want. End of discussion. And before you tell me that the clock is ticking, I'll remind you that I'm only thirty-four."
"And the world is full of twenty-year-olds." Grace laughed and tweaked her friend's cheek.
"Stop worrying about my love life."
"Someone has to."
Although some people might have found Angie's concern for her friend's love life intrusive, Grace didn't. Born and raised in the United States, Angie came from a family with strong, if somewhat outdated, Italian values and traditions. In the Viero household, family came first, and career second—at least for the women.
Angie and Grace had met four years ago when Grace had become the new curator at the Griff Museum of Modern Art where Angie worked as an archivist. Sharing a passion for art, cannolis and old movies, they had become instant friends.
Grace's foray through her closet was interrupted by the sound of the buzzer. She walked over to the bedroom intercom and pressed a button. "Yes, Sam?"
The lobby attendant answered right away. "You have a visitor, Miss McKenzie. A Mrs. Sarah Hatfield?"
Grace heard Angie gasp and had a difficult time containing her own shock. Ten years ago, Sarah Hatfield had been a breath away from becoming her mother-in-law. "What could the mighty Sarah possibly want with you after all these years?" Angie whispered.
"I have no idea. I wasn't aware that she knew where I lived."
Angie made a spooky face. "Sarah knows all. Me? I'm outta here."
"You're not going to leave me alone with her."
"Sorry, kiddo. You're on your own. I can't stand the woman."
"You've never met her!"
"Her reputation precedes her." She gave Grace a peck on the cheek, whispered a quick, "stay cool," and was gone.
"Miss McKenzie?" Sam sounded concerned.
"Should I send her up?"
Peeking from behind the silk screen that separated the bedroom from the rest of the apartment, Grace threw a quick look at the living area. Two empty mugs sat on the glass coffee table beside a half-eaten bagel, several pages of The Boston Globe were scattered on the floor and yesterday's unread mail was still on the sofa where she had tossed it last night. The place was a mess. When was the last time she had dusted?
"Miss McKenzie, should I tell her this is a bad time?" Yes, Sam, you do that. In fact, tell her that I moved and didn't leave a forwarding address. Tell her that I've died. She took a deep breath. "It's all right, Sam. You can send her up."
She released the intercom button and ran back to the living room, grabbing items at random and throwing them behind the silk screen. Sarah hated clutter. It was one of the things, among many, that she had despised about her future daughter-in-law—the clutter. Grace, on the other hand, couldn't live without it. "It's an artistic thing," she had told Sarah. The older woman's reply had been a haughty lift of her right eyebrow, an expression that had once sent chills down Grace's spine.
The front doorbell rang, cutting short her anxieties. Forcing herself to remain calm, she walked over to the door and opened it.The years had been kind to Steven's mother. Although she must now be close to seventy and was completely gray, the short stylish haircut made her look years younger. Her hazel eyes were still as sharp as ever, although Grace detected something else in them, something she couldn't quite identify.
"Hello, Grace." Sarah inspected her from head to toe, taking in the slender figure, the short, tousled blond hair, the Number 12 football jersey with the name Tom Brady on the front, and the blue jeans, ripped at the knees.
Grace gave an awkward nod. Even now that she no longer had to please her, being in the same room with this bastion of Philadelphia society still made her uncomfortable. "Sarah." She cleared her throat. "This is quite a surprise."
"I'm sure." Then, because Grace still hadn't invited her in, she added, "Have I caught you at a bad time?"
"Sort of, but it's all right. Come on in, and don't mind the mess."
Once inside, the inspection continued, moving from the chintz sofa and matching chairs to the authentic Tiffany lamp and the bright throw rugs scattered over the hardwood floor. Her gaze stopped on the stale bagel. "Did I interrupt your lunch?"
"That was breakfast. Cold pizza is on the menu for lunch. If you care to stay."
Sarah's sense of humor was practically nonexistent, but a corner of her mouth curved a little, mimicking a smile. "I won't stay long."
Grace removed an art magazine from one of the chintz chairs and set it on the coffee table. "Please, sit down. Can I get you anything?"
"No, thank you." Only then did she notice the suitcase Grace had taken down from the living room closet earlier. "Are you going somewhere?"
"Napa Valley, to visit my dad."
"He lives in California now?"
"He finally gave in to a lifelong dream of becoming a winemaker. He moved out west a few years ago."
"Please tell him I wish him well."
"I will." Why all this civility? Grace wondered. And why hadn't Steven warned her that his mother was planning on paying her a visit? Unless he didn't know. Sarah loved catching people off guard.
"Grace." Sarah removed her black leather gloves, one finger at a time. "I need your help in a little matter."
That was another surprise. Sarah had a slew of people who took care of her "little matters"—attorneys, close friends, servants. And even if she didn't, Grace would be the last person she'd come to. From the moment Steven had brought her to meet his mother, Sarah had made it clear that she didn't approve of his choice for a wife. Grace was a working girl, a commoner, and as such, she would never understand what it took to be a Hatfield, to stand by her man, to keep a perfect home, to give lavish parties and to sit on the board of half a dozen organizations.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is my first C. Heggan book but most certainly not my the last!! An interesting plot, characters well defined and for a nice change, NO explicit sex needed. If a story is well conceived, it does not need steamy bedroom action to keep the reader turning the page!!
In Boston, Grace McKenzie museum art curator looks forward to seeing her dad in Napa Valley. Her vacation begins the minute she leaves the workplace but before she can go, she is stunned to see the last person she would expect to visit her. The mighty bastion of Philadelphia high society Sarah Hatfield, mother of Steven, the man she was to marry a decade ago, informs her that her son was murdered. Her former fiancé stuns her further from the grave when he leaves his Hatfield Gallery in New Hope, Pennsylvania to Grace though he knew she would refuse ownership, his bequest asks her to stay in the town for one week before rejecting her inheritance.---------------- Wanting to honor Steven¿s last wish, Grace agrees. However, Grace learns that the police arrested one of their own Chief Fred Baxter, as the killer. He had motive as he learned that the victim was having an affair with his wife Denise. After running off an intruder from the galley, Grace begins to find evidence that her ex-fiancé was trafficking in contraband and fakes. Meanwhile Fred¿s son FBI agent Matt takes a leave of absence after completing an assignment in Austria in order to prove his father¿s innocence. When Matt and Grace meet, they are attracted to one another as they work together to solve a homicide, questionable art dealings, and a two decade old disappearance. --------------- WHERE THE TRUTH LIES is a fabulous romantic suspense starring two wonderful lead characters with a mutual interest in solving the homicide that initially looks like an obvious crime of passion, but soon turns into much more. The subplots involving the townsfolk, contraband, and the Baxters augment the prime story line of Matt and Grace teaming up with love in an investigation that is filled with red herrings and fabulous twists and turns. Christiane Heggan is at her best with this winner.------------ Harriet Klausner
Grace McKenzie is an art curator for a Boston museum. She is walking out her door to begin her vacation when she has a surprise visit from Sarah Hatfield, the woman who almost became her mother-in-law ten years before. But Grace is truly shocked when she learns that Steven, her ex-fiancé, has been murdered and that he has left his gallery in New Hope to her. Knowing Grace would not accept, Steven's will asks that she spend one week in New Hope, Pennsylvania, before declining. ................. Upon first walking into the gallery, Grace surprises an intruder. From there on she is surrounded by drama. The man arrested for Steven's murder is Fred Baxter, who was New Hope's chief of police. Motive? The police say that Fred found out that Steven was having an affair with Denise, his wife, and killed Steven in rage. The locals don't believe it though. Grace is intrigued by the mystery, but wants only to put the gallery in order during her week there and leave. Instead, she makes friends with some charming and feisty people. Then she learns Steven may have been blackmailing someone and trafficking stolen goods or art forgery. .............. FBI Agent Matt Baxter returns home to help clear his father of Steven's murder. With the tension between his father and step-mother, Matt decides to stay neutral and out of the way by residing in a hotel instead of with Denise and his sister. Matt and Grace team up to discover the truth. But in doing so, they will uncover deeply buried secrets of people they thought they knew well. At the same time, they find a link to a twenty-year-old disappearance. .............. ***** A fabulous swan song by an amazing author! This is Christiane Heggan's final novel as the author steps into retirement. And what a story it is! The novel starts out with high drama and I found myself hooked instantly. As the reader, I was swept into suspense, intrigue, murder, and a plot with many twists. The Baxter Family, along with the town's history, made for a few juicy sub-plots. Perfect for readers who don't require much oxygen to breathe as they read. *****
this is the 1st book I have read by this author under the selection of romance suspense- the mystery was there the romance was not. Although there is a love intrest -there is little story line development. The characters are ver enjoyable however are lacking a 3rd layer. this gets a 3 from me - an avid romance/thriller/suspense reader