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Harlequin HQN
October 2012, ISBN: 0373777280

Genre: Contemporary Suspense

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Whitefire Lake, California
The Present

Nadine Warne rubbed the kinks from the back of her neck and considered taking a bubble bath to soothe her stiff joints. How long had it been since she allowed herself the luxury of an hour soaking in a tub of hot water?


She simply didn’t have the time. With the tiring job of cleaning other people’s houses, a smaller business on the side that she was trying to get off the ground while single-parenting two rambunctious pre-teen boys, there didn’t seem to be a minute she could call her own.

Sam, her husband, had been a dreamer who’d spent too many hours drinking to actually make any of his plans come together. They’d eventually divorced. She’d loved him, but, if truth be told, not as much as she had the other man– the one to whom she’d give her heart so many years ago- was a forbidden and bitter thought.

Hayden Garreth Monroe IV.

Even his name sounded as if it had been hammered in silver. At one time Hayden had been the richest boy in town. And she’d been silly enough, for a brief period, to think that he had cared for her.

Stupid, stupid girl.

Well, that was a long time ago, thank God.

On bicycles, her two sons returned home, the dog on their heels. They were just flying through the front door, fighting as usual when the phone rang. Nadine sent up a silent prayer for her confrontation with the teacher. John was always having trouble in school. He, more than Bobby, had shown open defiance and anger since her divorce, nearly two years before.

“Hello?” she answered as the theme music for the boys favorite cartoon show filtered in from the living room.

“Mrs. Warne?” The voice was cool and male. Principal Strand! Nadine braced herself.


“This is William Bradworth of Smythe, Mills and Bradworth in San Francisco. I represent the estate of Hayden Garreth Monroe III . . .”

Her heart nearly stopped and she barely heard what he was saying as she remembered how the dead man’s son, Hayden Garreth Monroe IV had shoved his way into her world and turned in upside down . . .