JoAnn Ross has published over ninety novels, has been published in twenty-six countries, and is a member of the Romance Writers of America's Honor Roll of bestselling authors. She has won several writing awards, including being named Storyteller of the Year by Romantic Times. Her work has been excerpted in Cosmopolitan and featured by the Doubleday and Literary Guild book clubs. With her husband and two fuzzy little dogs, she divides her time between the mountains of East Tennessee and the coastal lowlands of South Carolina. Visit JoAnn on the Web to subscribe to her electronic newsletter, at JoAnnRoss.com.
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It was a damn three-ring circus. And Olympic County sheriff Jack O'Halloran had gotten stuckwith the job of ringmaster. Despite the cold spring drizzle, the hillside was covered with people, many carrying cameras. Some bolder or more curious, individuals pressed as close as they could to the white police barricades. Kids were running all over the place, laughing, shrieking, chasing one another, having themselves a dandy time. The mood couldn't have been any more electric if a bunch of TV stars had suddenly shown up on Washington's Olympic Peninsula to tape and episode of NYPD Blue .
Ignoring the rain dripping off the brim of his hat, Jack scowled at the vans bearing the names and logos of television stations from as far away as Spokane. Which wasn't all that surprising. After all, Coldwater Cove had always been a peaceful town. So peaceful, in fact, it didn't even have its own police department, the city fathers choosing instead to pay for protection from the county force. Crime consisted mainly of the routine Saturday night drunk and disorderly, jaywalking, calls about barking dogs, and last month a customer had walked off with the ballpoint pen from Neil Olson's You-Pump-It Gas'N Save. It definitely wasn't every day three teenage girls barricaded themselves in their group home and refused to come out.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ida Lindstrom, their court-appointed guardian and owner of the landmark Victorian house, had apparently set off this minicrime wave when she'd been taken to the hospital after falling off a kitchen stool. Although the information was sketchy, from what Jack could determine, when a probation officer had arrived to haul the unsupervised kids back to the juvenile detention center, Ida had held an inflammatory press conference from her hospital bed, adding fuel to an already dangerously volatile situation by instructing the girls to "batten down the hatches."
Having grown up in Coldwater Cove, Jack knew Ida to be a good, hardworking woman. Salt of the earth, a pillar of the community, and unrelentingly generous. During her days as the town's only general practitioner, she'd delivered scores of babies --including him. Since lumbering was a dangerous business, she'd also probably set more broken arms than any doctor in the state, and whenever she lost a patient -- whether from illness, accident, or merely old age -- she never missed a funeral.
She'd inevitably show up at the family's home after an internment with a meatloaf. Not one person in Coldwater Cove had ever had the heart to tell her that her customary donation to the potluck funeral supper was as hard as a brick and about as tasty as sawdust. Ida Lindstrom had many talents, but cooking wasn't one of them. Six months ago, when they'd buried Big John O'Halloran, Jack's father, who'd dropped dead of a heart attack while hiking a glacier on nearby Mount Olympus, Jack's mother had surreptitiously put the heavy hunk of mystery meat and unidentifiable spices out on the back porch for the dogs. Who wouldn't eat it, either.
Jack admired the way Ida had taken to opening her home to at-risk teenagers at a time when so many of her contemporaries were traveling around the country in motor homes, enjoying their retirement and spending their children's inheritances. But the plan, agreed to by the court, the probation officer, and Ida herself, dammit, had been for the retired doctor to provide the kids with a stable environment, teach them responsibility and coax them back onto the straight and narrow. Not turn them into junior revolutionaries.
"I still think we ought to break down the damn door," a gung ho state police officer insisted for the third time in the past hour. Jack suspected the proposed frontal attack stemmed from an eagerness to try out the armored assault vehicle the state had recently acquired at a surplus government military auction.
"You've been watching too many old Jimmy Cagney movies on the Late Show," Jack said. "It's overkill. They're only juveniles."
Juveniles whose cockamamie misbehavior was proving a major pain in the ass. The standoff was entering its sixth hour, television vans were parked all the way down the hill, the satellite systems on their roofs pointed upward, as if trying to receive messages from outer space. Jack figured he was a shoe-in to be the lead story on the six o'clock news all over the Pacific Northwest. Hell, if he didn't get the girls out pretty soon, they may even make the national morning programs. And while Eleanor O'Halloran would undoubtedly be tickled pink to see her only son on television, the idea didn't suit Jack at all.
"They're not just your run of the mill juveniles," the lantern-jawed officer reminded him unnecessarily. "They're juvenile delinquents."
"Minor league ones. The most any of them are guilty of is truancy and shoplifting. Want to guess how a bunch of grown men wearing combat gear staging a military assault on three little girls would play on TV?"
Excerpt from Homeplace ©2006 by JoAnn Ross. All rights reserved.
Although high-powered attorney Raine Cantrell dreamed that success might make the father who abandoned her take notice, she is still very much alone. Then she gets an urgent call from three kids in trouble in her Washington State hometown, and suddenly Raine is returning to face unresolved feelings, unhealed wounds - and unexpected desire.Get Your Own Copy: Kindle | Nook
Sheriff Jack O'Halloran, a man with a tragic past and a daughter to raise alone, has three teens barricaded inside a house and the media clamoring for a story. He isn't ready for Raine to invade his territory - and Raine isn't ready for anyone to touch her heart. Unable to deny the attraction, they decide to have a simple affair. But they are about to discover that love is rarely simple - and that lives can change forever in a heartbeat.
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She may have walked away from her marriage, the career she’d worked hard to achieve, and a spectacular Malibu home with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked the vast blue Pacific Ocean. But what was a woman to do when her seemingly idyllic existence turned out to be little more than a pretty illusion, as ephemeral as the morning fog curling around her ankles?
“Well?” Lilith Lindstrom Ryan’s smile was brimming with self-satisfaction. “Isn’t it perfect?”
“For Norman Bates, perhaps,” Savannah murmured as she eyed the Far Harbor lighthouse with misgiving.
Savannah remembered the lighthouse standing regally at the edge of the cliff like an empress above a forest of dark green conifers. Now it had the look of a dowager who, through no fault of her own, had somehow found herself on skid row.
Graffiti covered the graceful tower that had once gleamed like sunshine on snow; the glass of the lantern room had been broken, and the railings that had been painted to match the red top cap were not only rusted, they looked downright dangerous.
The two houses on the cliff-side property were in even worse shape. Paint was peeling off the once white clapboards, and curling red shingles suggested that the roofs would leak.
Surprisingly, the grounds hadn’t been entirely ignored since the lighthouse duties had been taken over by an automated light housed in an unattractive but utilitarian concrete tower a mile away. Someone had planted the most amazing garden Savannah had ever seen. A dazzling mix of tall, stunningly beautiful lilies, irises, Shasta daises, and spiky bright snapdragons in primary colors were bordered by snowy white clouds of baby’s breath.
“It was beautiful once,” Savannah’s mother reminded her. “And could be again. You just need to use your imagination, darling.”
“I am. I’m imagining spiders the size of my fist and the hordes of mice that are undoubtedly living in the place.’ Savannah really hated rodents. Especially these days, when they reminded her so much of her rat of an ex-husband. “It’s a good thing we’re here in the daylight, because if we’d come at night, I just might start believing in the ghost.”
The lighthouse was rumored to be haunted. By whom was a matter of speculation that had kept the good citizens of Coldwater Cove, Washington, arguing for nearly a century, but the most popular notion was that the ghost was a former lighthouse keeper’s pregnant wife, Lucy Hyatt.
“A ghost would be wonderful publicity,” Lilith said enthusiastically, “But even without it, lighthouses are incredibly romantic. And that sweet little assistant lighthouse keeper’s cottage will make a perfect honeymoon getaway.”
“Good idea. Are you going to call Frankenstein and his bride for the booking, or shall I?” Savannah asked dryly.
“You were always such an optimistic little girl.” The silver crescent moons hanging from Savannah’s mother’s ears caught the stuttering morning sunlight as she shook her head. “So open to new things. Your aura used to be as bright as a morning star. These days it’s distressingly muddy...
“Why, if I weren’t a white witch, I’d put a spell on your horrid ex-husband for hurting you so badly. At least you had the foresight not to take his name.”
“Savannah Fantana would have sounded like something from an old Gilda Radner Saturday Night Live skit.” Savannah wished the subject hadn’t come up. Talking about her unfaithful, amoral ex-husband definitely wasn’t on today’s to-do list.
Today was about finding a suitable bed-and-breakfast location. Having spent weeks searching Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Savannah had begun to despair of ever finding a suitable candidate for her post-divorce venture.
“Besides,” she said, “as I told Raine when I first came home, I think my pride was a lot more wounded than my heart.”
“That’s why you spent all those days hiding in bed and the nights crying into your pillow,”
“All right, perhaps I was more upset than I let on, “Savannah reluctantly allowed. “But I’ve put my marriage behind me.” Didn’t she have the papers, stamped with the official seal of the state of California to prove it? “In fact, I honestly believe Kevin might have actually done me a favor.”
Excerpt from Far Harbor ©2000/2006 by JoAnn Ross. All rights reserved.
After her seemingly idyllic marriage turns out to be a mere pretty illusion, Savannah Townsend returns to her hometown of Coldwater Cove, Washington. Determined to live life on her own terms, she takes on the task of restoring the local Far Harbor lighthouse and making it the cozy inn she had always dreamed of. But she hasn't anticipated opposition from the lighthouse's owner, her grandmother's disturbing memory losses, or the problems of an emotionally wounded teenage girl. Most of all, she hasn't planned on having feelings for Daniel O'Halloran, a caring and passionate man from her past.Get Your Own Copy: Kindle | Nook
As affection moves to attraction and then to something far deeper, Savannah learns that nothing in life worth having comes easily. She also discovers some dreams really are forever.
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So, what do you think of the excerpts? Would you want to read either of these books?
Remember: the $3.99 price is good until 7/10/12
Remember: the $3.99 price is good until 7/10/12
Thank you to Ayelet at Pocket Books for the feature.