Dark Paradise: A Novel
New Eden, Montana, is a piece of heaven on earth where one woman died in her own private hell. Now it’s up to ex-court reporter Marilee Jennings to decipher the puzzle of her best friend’s death. But someone has a stake in silencing her suspicion. Someone with secrets worth killing for—and the power to turn this beautiful haven into a . . .
And as Mari digs deeper beneath New Eden’s picture-perfect exterior, finding the truth is suddenly no longer a matter of justice.
It’s her only hope of staying alive.
degradation. He still remembered that first meeting as if it had happened last night. He had seen her across the room at a party in the elegant home of Ben Lucas. Her gaze hit him like a laser beam. Then that patented smile canted the corners of her mouth, wry and knowing, as if she were fully aware of her evil power over men and delighted in it. His skin had tightened from the scalp down, tingling with raw sexual awareness. At the time her hair had been nearly platinum blond, cut in a
at all had happened. “Well . . . with what happened this afternoon and all . . . I just thought . . .” He turned to her and gave her his warmest, most understanding smile. Fatherly, he thought. Kind. “That wasn't your fault.” “Will is my husband—” “Will is a fool. He didn't have any right to come here. He didn't have any right to say those things to you.” Samantha swallowed the knot of guilt in her throat. “I'm his wife.” “He doesn't deserve you.” He tilted his head as he came toward her,
The sound skimmed over her flesh like a clammy hand. Superstitions from childhood floated up from the depths of her mind. Owls were bad luck, bringers of omens, the familiars of evil spirits. Her Cheyenne grandfather, whom she remembered only as a stooped, gnarled man with a face like tree bark and the sour stink of liquor on his breath, had told her and her brother Mike that owls brought news of death. Silly. Why should she think of death? But the night seemed suddenly too still around her,
admit that. He needed a woman. He'd gone too long without. He was feeling edgy and distracted. In his mind's eye he could see Lucy standing in the open door of her fancy little log house wearing nothing but a pair of high-cut black panties and a see-through blouse. She leaned against the jamb, completely relaxed, her eyes glittering with amusement, her brassy yellow hair tumbling over one shoulder in a wave of silk. How about it, cowboy? Want to ride tonight? He didn't like her, didn't respect
ranch and everything and everyone on it. There was nothing in him stronger than his sense of personal accountability to that trust. Forgetting about the mare, he wandered to the far side of the round pen and laid his arms against the second rail from the top. From there he could see for miles down the slope of the mountain to the broad valley that was carpeted in green, studded with green. Pines stood shoulder to shoulder, ranks of them marching down the hillsides. In the breeze, the pale green