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©Copyright 2006 by
Edited by Kate Cuthbert
Cover Art by Sheri Amsel
No part of this book
may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information and
storage retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright
A Legacy and a Haven
For as long as she could remember, Grace Williams loved to spend summers with her grandmother in the Adirondack Mountains. Summers at the farm had been a safe haven from life with her domineering, socialite mother in NYC, a life that somehow had never felt right to Grace. Despite her growing career as an architect and her impending marriage to a rich, ambitious partner in the firm, Grace has a desperate sense that she is living the wrong life.
When her grandmother leaves her the house in the mountains, Grace resolves to go back and try to rediscover her roots. And maybe shed some light on what she really wants. Once there she finds herself strongly attracted to Sam Clarke, the handsome, outdoorsman she’d once loved as a girl. Sam and Grace feel an undeniable pull toward each other, despite their different lives and her fiance back in NYC .
Then Grace discovers that even this peaceful village has its dark secrets including betrayal, deception, robbery and even murder. Entangled more and more in the untold mysteries and secrets of Black River, Grace is stunned to find that some of them involve her intimately. But for her to get what she wants, she must explore them all and discover the truth. Only then can she find the peace and happiness for which she longs.
George stopped and looked at Bob. He had been trying unsuccessfully to control his excitement about this possible suspect. It threw the attention in a whole different direction than the one he feared. He took a deep breath and waited.
“It was something Sam said.”
George’s stare turned into a squint. He was trying to read Bob’s manner, but the older man was quiet and still.
“Go on,” George said evenly, in control again.
“He thinks someone slipped something into Jack’s drink Saturday night. And I’m starting to think it might be possible. Jack was supposed to meet her at midnight, supposedly after Ned and Smithy had finished moving the goods for her, but she never went to meet him. She never left the Matthews’ house. Jack didn’t know she didn’t show up until he woke up the next day. Someone wanted him out of the way. Someone wanted to kill her, but didn’t want to take on a big guy like Jack Clarke.”
“It could mean it was a woman, I suppose,” Bob was saying, more to himself than George.
“Becky, then,” George said quickly.
Bob looked at him. So that was it, Bob thought. He suspects Andrea and wants to protect her. Bob went on as if George had said nothing.
“There’s no real motive for Ned or Smithy to have done it, and, to tell you the truth, I don’t think they have that in them. And Jack was out like a light.”
“So he says,” George sniped. “It could have been an act.”
Bob ignore him. “And Lew was behind the bar until about ten when he went back to the house with Andrea.”
“He wasn’t feeling well,” George said. “Andrea made him some tea, and they watched a movie. I know because I left from there at 10:30. ”
“Yes, you said that,” Bob said, eyeing George. “So who drugged Jack?”
Chapter 1 - Easy Pickings
The old pickup rattled down a dirt road and, rounding a corner, came to a wire stretched across its path. It stopped short, and a man of average height and stocky build, dressed in a dirty sweatshirt and jeans, jumped out and clipped the wire with a big set of metal clippers. The truck rolled on down a long driveway and stopped in front of a cottage, rustic by design, but well kept and adorned with decorative weather vane and backyard sauna. Out came the clippers again, and the lock on the door was snipped and flung carelessly into the grass. The door was kicked open, and the two men from the truck pushed into the house, eyes adjusting to the dark. Curtains were pulled back as they scanned the room. Then, methodically, they stripped the room of anything of value and loaded it all into the covered back of the pick up truck.
It took just over two hours. When they were done, they closed the door and drove away. It would be June before the owners came up and knew they’d been robbed. By then the pair would have cleaned out every summerhouse in the area. They laughed as they drove away, already calculating what they could get for some of the antiques they’d nabbed. They didn’t notice the figure standing in the trees by the wire they’d clipped at the end of the driveway.
Short, dressed in jeans and wool jacket, the hiker shifted weight from one foot to the other, recognizing the truck, and nodding contemplatively. Knowledge was indeed power. This piece of information would be used to fulfill a need. The need had always been there. Only using information at the precise moment to extract the most pain would make it worthwhile.