By Carolyn Hart

Love is within the air -- yet unluckily, so is homicide -- as award-winning writer Carolyn Hart returns once more to the South Carolina Low kingdom island of Broward's Rock and units her pleasant married sleuths, the Darlings, on separate trails to a killer.

Nothing warms the center like romance -- whilst the uncooked, chilly winds of January kick back the citizens of Broward's Rock to the bone. yet it really is greater than amore that intrigues secret bookshop proprietor Annie Darling and her husband, Max, whilst prosperous, widowed paintings client Virginia Neville broadcasts her engagement to Jake O'Neill, her good-looking, fascinating, and masses more youthful fiancé, at a gala beginning on the Neville gallery. Virginia's cheerful statement leaves some of the accrued -- in particular sure contributors of her envious prolonged stepfamily -- relatively peeved. And one of many visitors takes the scoop more durable than the remaining: earlier than the final champagne bubble pops, homicide disrupts the grand celebration.

Quickly deputized by way of performing Police leader Billy Cameron, troubleshooter Max Darling dives headfirst into the icy investigative waters, leaving spouse Annie a bit of out within the chilly. yet for the reason that her younger assistant, Chloe, is a primary suspect -- and one in every of Jake O'Neill's latest damaged hearts -- Annie is decided to untangle the unholy marriage of jealousy, blackmail, gunplay, and malicious mischief ... no matter if it capacity crossing swords with hubby Max and putting herself within the perilous direction of a cleverly sadistic stalker.

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A person who walked down that direction killed Jake. You did not see him, the blood pooling round his head—" Elaine clapped her fingers over her ears. Annie saved speaking, loud and quick. "—beaten to dying. You greater now not try and get money—" Elaine's eyes flared, yet her gaze was once unbending and rebellious. "—for preserving quiet. i will the police. you will have to solution to them. " Elaine's palms dropped. She rushed to the door, flung it open. "Get out. " Annie attempted yet one more time. "Elaine, please, let's speak. " "Get out. " the woman pointed on the door. Annie took one step, , and he or she was once in the course of the door and down the stairs. Elaine stood within the doorway. "As for the police, i am not chatting with them. i haven't got something to claim. other than maybe"—her sarcasm was once evident—"I'll inform them i did not see a specific thing out of that window. i will inform them you got here to my condominium and attempted to get me to make up anything to avoid wasting this buddy of yours. " The door slammed close. Billy Cameron clattered down the stairs of the Broward's Rock police station. He flung phrases over his shoulder. "Keep after it, Max. See when you can locate Annie. She's the single one on the town who quite is familiar with the lady. " As Billy yanked open the door to the police cruiser, Max positioned out a restraining hand. "Maybe we should always caricature out a plan for the investigation—" Billy hunched over the wheel, his face set in not easy, tight strains. "First factor we obtained to do is locate that lady. 1 wouldn't have enable her cross final evening. good, I will not be fooled two times. i will locate her pronto. it is her fault we're not farther forward. We obtained to determine approximately Brandt's jacket"—the initial try proved optimistic for human blood—"and check with the Neville relations. 1 we will meet again the following in an hour. preserve your cellphone on. i'm going to do an identical. " He pulled the door close. . j... Max stepped again, and the cruiser roared away. I Max watched the dust-churning motor vehicle barrel down the i ,. highway. Billy knew there has been a lot to do, many avenues to discover, yet every little thing used to be on carry until eventually Chloe Martin was once chanced on. was once there something Max can have stated or performed to calm Billy down? Max shook his head. The performing leader was once earlier listening. He used to be too dissatisfied, nonetheless second-guessing his choice to not take Chloe Martin into custody final evening. His complete concentration for the instant used to be on taking pictures her. announcements have been out to county and country legislation enforcement staffs. Lou Pirelli was once scouring again roads. Their most sensible bet used to be that Chloe was once using the previous blue motorbike lacking from her aunt's storage. Or she can have began at the motorbike and now be walking. both means she may possibly simply dart from a street into the woods whilst she heard a automobile. As for the remainder of the research, the statements Annie had accrued nonetheless awaited Billy's overview. Frank Saulter had already been out to the crime scene and brought a sequence of pictures in sunlight. And Frank had packaged Chloe's stained eco-friendly stole and Rusty Brandt's dinner jacket to ship to the country crime lab. Max's task used to be to camp out at demise on call for in case Chloe referred to as there. might be it was once time to permit his arms do the jogging.

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