RWA RITA© AWARD FINALIST
KISS OF DEATH MYSTERY/SUSPENSE DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARD WINNER
NATIONAL READERS' CHOICE AWARD FINALIST
A man awaits execution for a murder he did not commit . . . A woman returns to a place of scandal and death to save her brother . . . A small town's simmering secrets are about to ignite in a blaze of suspicion and deadly retribution . . .
Twenty years ago, Lea and Ted Hardy came home from school to find their parents dead, victims of a murder-suicide. Lea leaves the small town of Stonybrook and the painful memories behind. But Ted can't seem to escape the past. Marrying the pampered daughter of Stonybrook's leading family, he starts a new life–until he discovers secrets that lead to the death of his wife and daughters. And to accusations of murder. Now, convicted and facing execution, Ted has given up hope.
Then Lea receives anonymous letters proclaiming Ted's innocence. Determined to save her brother, she must return to a town that harbors a fierce desire to see Ted die . . . taking long-buried secrets with him. Desperate, Lea turns to Mick Conklin, a man she is deeply attracted to but cannot fully trust. She needs an ally, now more than ever. Because the fuse has been lit, and the bright fires of truth are about to blow Stonybrook wide open.
Coffey (Trust Me Once), which is a pseudonym for James and Nikoo McGoldrick, skillfully balances smalltown scandal and sexual intrigue with lively plotting and vivid characterizations in this engrossing romantic thriller. When 31-year-old social worker L a Hardy learns that her brother has been convicted of murdering his estranged wife and two daughters, she returns to her conservative hometown of Stonybrook, Pa., to raise cash for the mounting legal bills and a death row appeal. L a plans to fix up and sell the dilapidated childhood home where she was orphaned by the murder/suicide of her parents more than 20 years earlier, but she soon learns that old enmities die hard in her town. With the exception of her gorgeous next-door neighbor, Mick Conklin, who is conveniently a contractor, and his troubled teenage daughter, L a is given the cold shoulder by unforgiving townsfolk and police who are convinced her family is cursed. Even after she's attacked in her home and threatened by a crazy Vietnam vet, the town sheriff blames her for disturbing the peace. For a thriller, there's very little action here. Instead, a series of tantalizing flashbacks help build suspense, and a thoroughly enchanting romantic subplot fleshes out the story.