What happens to gorgeous, red-haired, ex-CIA agent Rose Chandler when she takes on internationally acclaimed artist, Barrington Bigelow, as her new client? Trouble, big trouble. Summer’s heating up, and so is the search for Barrington’s past love, Jessica. The small town of Haven has two murders in its otherwise peaceful midst, and Rose has to face a wicked demon from her past. With a maddening FBI agent breathing down her neck, and hidden identities to unravel, she’s got a score to settle, a deadly secret to face, and a decision to make that threatens to change her life forever.
Hal Cappodecci locked his car and stood on the edge of the lawn. A few hours earlier, he’d stocked the cottage’s refrigerator with the food his client had asked for, but he’d forgotten to leave a light on for him. He hadn’t expected the dark to be so complete, and he hesitated before walking across the grass. A relative newcomer to country living, he was leery of the dark. He liked to be so close to his nearest neighbor he could smell what they were cooking for dinner. The nearest neighbor to the cottage wouldn’t have heard him if he yelled at the top of his lungs.
He hurried across the yard, zipping his windbreaker as he went. After about fifty yards, he was breathing hard. Rose had been bugging him to try different diets, but she jogged five miles a day and kick-boxed for fun. He’d stick to burgers and fries, throw in a diet soda once in a while to look like he was making an effort.
Thinking about Rose made him smile suddenly. He’d watched her that afternoon, drinking beer with Emily, laughing at Rocky’s lame jokes, playing horseshoes with their kids, and he’d felt the way a dad might of his grown-up daughter. He felt proud. A lone wolf, Rose had spent her life traveling, hardly ever getting close to anyone, and after her husband died, he’d been worried about her, a beautiful aloof woman who hadn’t made an effort to fit in. But maybe, Hal thought as he neared the steps of Solitude, she’d finally started to take his advice, to warm up, trust people, be part of a community. Maybe she was finally going to able to kick back and laugh once in a while.
A band of clouds moved across the sky, blocking the moonlight, and he heard a rustle in the woods to his left. Afraid of wild animals, he picked up speed, wishing again he’d left a light on in the cottage. He was about to head back where he’d hidden the key under the mat when the sound of a car on the gravel drive made him stop. The moon reappeared from the clouds. Someone walked around the corner of the house. He raised a hand in greeting. “Hey,” he called out. And then he saw the semi-automatic, and fear shot through him. If he’d been thirty pounds lighter, he could have made a run for it. Instead, he lunged forward to grab the gun, but he was too big, too slow, and it fired.
He could smell dirt, could feel the newly cut grass on his cheek. A searing fire was spreading through his chest. He sensed the person standing over him, felt hands on his shoulders turning him onto his back. Hal moved his mouth, trying to speak, but his lungs filled. Nothing came out. He stared at the night sky. There were so many stars. He wondered how long it would take to reach them.