Some of my favorite genres to read are mysteries, thrillers, and romance. When you throw a little bit of each of those into a novel, you have me for sure then. I have read a few indie authors who write romantic suspense novels and have enjoyed them thoroughly. Now I have come across another author that I hope, if you enjoy those genres as I do, that you will check out as well.
They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Finn McGraw disagrees. He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him. Finn may have moved on with his life, but he’s never forgotten her.
Now, ten years later, he’s got more than his lost love to worry about. A horrific accident turns his life upside down, resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family and taking the lives of the few people he has left. Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt. And on top of that, the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own. But the closer he gets, the harder she pushes him away. The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.
Excerpt from the Book (copyright 2013)
July 2, 2013
Life can change in the blink of an eye. This blink came when a cop car cruised up The Seacrest’s white shell driveway on a hot Saturday in July.
I’ll never forget the moment. You know how folks remember where they were when John Lennon died? Or when President Kennedy was assassinated? It was like that, every detail stamped into my brain, forever.
A fresh breeze laden with the scent of the sea rustled blue flowers in a nearby hydrangea hedge. Hot and sweaty, I stood in the blazing sun, feeling like a fool. I’d just finished weed wacking around the paddock fence posts. Unfortunately, said weed wacker had spooked Libby Vanderhorn’s favorite mare, Serendipity, who I secretly called Dippy, because she was such a loose cannon. She’d bucked three times and knocking down several fence boards. Libby was a good rider, but this time she’d landed in a sprawling heap on the soft dirt, swearing at me.
The boss’s gorgeous, stuck-up daughter didn’t mince words, and the sting of her accusations still sounded in my head. How stupid can you be, Finn? What’s wrong with you?
Libby’s father held great power on Cape Cod. Rudolph Vanderhorn sat on so many boards, I’d lost count. His father’s fish canning company made a fortune back in the eighties, and he and his daughter had enjoyed the spoils ever since.
I stooped to pick up a hammer from my toolbox, planning to reattach the fence boards before any of Libby’s horses got hurt on the protruding nails. Curious now, I watched the Brewster Police car circle the long drive, heading toward the mansion. The local authorities stopped by every few days to discuss town matters with my boss. But today the blue light was flashing, which didn’t look like a casual visit.
A shudder went through me, and I turned cold. Something bad had happened. I sensed it.
The front door opened, and Rudy watched them approach, one hand shading the sun from his eyes. Like a majestic lion, he stood broad-shouldered and strong, his longish white hair lifting in the sea breeze.
Libby stopped hosing down her big white mare, who thankfully hadn’t hurt herself in the fit she’d thrown earlier. The horse snorted and rubbed her big head against her owner’s arm as if to scratch an itch. Long, dark hair blew around Libby’s face, and she stared with open curiosity at the cruiser, rhythmically combing her fingers through the mare’s curly mane.
I stood still, gripping the hammer, studying the patrol car as it drove past the front porch with its impressive columns and portico. It didn’t stop for Rudy, but passed the six-car garage, followed the driveway to the barn, and rolled to a stop ten feet from me, lights still flashing.
Police Chief Kramer and Deputy Lowell stepped out and ambled toward me, their eyes somber.
I dropped the hammer, letting it thud to the grass near my feet.
“Finn?” Kramer said, approaching slowly. “I’m afraid we have bad news.”
There is nothing worse than hearing that bad news is about to be delivered. My brain went wild, imagining the worst scenarios. But somehow I didn’t quite picture what he was about to tell me.
“There’s been an accident,” Kramer said.
Lowell, a high school football star in his day, kicked the dirt at the edge of the path. “Car went over the cliffs,” he said, avoiding my eyes.
“For God’s sake, guys.” I looked from Kramer to Lowell. “Who was in the car?”
Kramer pulled out a piece of paper. “I regret to inform you that your wife, Cora Mae McGraw, and your brother, Jaxson Robert McGraw, have been killed in a vehicular accident.”
Deputy Lowell touched my sleeve, then awkwardly stepped back. “We’re real sorry, Finn.”
“Car went into the ocean,” Kramer said. “We believe they were dead on impact.”
I stared at them, numbness creeping up my spine. “What the hell?”
“Er, look, if there’s anything we can do…” Lowell seemed remorseful, and he offered a hand when I lost my balance and grabbed for the fence.
Libby and her father appeared at my side in seconds, but in the dreamlike state of denial and shock, I caught only brief snatches of their words, as if the wind had grabbed them, teasing me with the bits and pieces.
“Who was with her?”
And so on.
Libby guided me across the lawn and around back to the mansion’s cavernous kitchen. I leaned woodenly against the refrigerator while the family’s beloved cook, Fritzi, bustled her big, ample self about the kitchen making coffee and pushing fresh corn muffins at the officers.
Someone guided me into a chair. I sat, dazed and unmoving. The voices warbled around me and now my brain began to pick through the new knowledge, still not comprehending.
It wasn’t real. Couldn’t be real.
Jax is dead?
I hadn’t seen my brother in ten years.
Ten years since I’d even talked to him. I sometimes almost drove past the blueberry farm, thinking of my old life. But I never actually stopped there.
Ten years since my parents died in that fire. Since I lost my little sister, Eva. Ten years since my family burned because of that cigarette smoldering in the couch.
Ten freaking years.
I didn’t even know what Jax looked like anymore. Had he lost hair? Gained weight? Turned prematurely gray like our father did at age thirty?
A shudder passed through me. A great gulping sound sputtered from my throat. I think I started to hyperventilate.
I locked eyes with Libby, whose mouth was moving. I couldn’t hear her.
Cora is dead.
Jax is dead.
Laying my head on my arms, I silently convulsed.
One thought wandered around the edges of my brain, refusing to go away, in spite of the enormity of what had happened.
What the hell was Jax doing with Cora?
About the Author
Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys.
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