Read Crystal Gardens Online

Authors: Amanda Quick

Crystal Gardens

CRYSTAL
GARDENS

O
THER
T
ITLES BY
J
AYNE
A
NN
K
RENTZ

Copper Beach
Summer in Eclipse Bay
Absolutely, Positively
In Too Deep
Smoke in Mirrors
Trust Me
Fired Up
Dawn in Eclipse Bay
Grand Passion
Running Hot
Lost & Found
Hidden Talents
Sizzle and Burn
Eclipse Bay
Wildest Hearts
White Lies
Soft Focus
Family Man
All Night Long
Eye of the Beholder
Perfect Partners
Falling Awake
Flash
Sweet Fortune
Truth or Dare
Sharp Edges
Silver Linings
Light in Shadow
Deep Waters
The Golden Chance

B
Y
J
AYNE
A
NN
K
RENTZ WRITING AS
A
MANDA
Q
UICK

Quicksilver
Don’t Look Back
Deception
Burning Lamp
Slightly Shady
Desire
The Perfect Poison
Wicked Widow
Dangerous
The Third Circle
I Thee Wed
Reckless
The River Knows
Seduction
Ravished
Second Sight
Affair
Rendezvous
Lie by Moonlight
Mischief
Scandal
Wait Until Midnight
Mystique
Surrender
The Paid Companion
Mistress
With This Ring
Late for the Wedding

B
Y
J
AYNE
A
NN
K
RENTZ WRITING AS
J
AYNE
C
ASTLE

Canyons of Night
Silver Master
After Dark
Midnight Crystal
Ghost Hunter
Amaryllis
Obsidian Prey
After Glow
Zinnia
Dark Light
Harmony
Orchid

G. P. P
UTNAM’S
S
ONS

New York

Amanda Quick

G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS

Publishers Since 1838

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA •
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3,
Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL,
England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
• Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) • Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre,
Panchsheel Park, New Delhi–110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale,
North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) • Penguin Books
(South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Copyright © 2012 by Jayne Ann Krentz

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

Published simultaneously in Canada

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Quick, Amanda.

Crystal gardens/Amanda Quick.

p.        cm.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58042-4

I. Title.

PS3561.R44C84      2012              2011049449

813’.54—dc23

Printed in the United States of America

1    3    5    7    9    10    8    6    4    2

Book design by Meighan Cavanaugh

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

For my husband, Frank,

with all my love

Table of Contents

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-one

Twenty-two

Twenty-three

Twenty-four

Twenty-five

Twenty-six

Twenty-seven

Twenty-eight

Twenty-nine

Thirty

Thirty-one

Thirty-two

Thirty-three

Thirty-four

Thirty-five

Thirty-six

Thirty-seven

Thirty-eight

Thirty-nine

Forty

Forty-one

The Lost Night

One

T
he muffled thud of the shattered lock echoed like a thunderclap in the deep silence that drenched the cottage. Evangeline Ames recognized the sound at once. She was no longer alone in the house.

Her first, primal instinct was to go absolutely still beneath the covers. Perhaps she was mistaken. The cottage was old. The floorboards and the ceiling often creaked and moaned at night. But even as the commonsense possibilities flitted through her head, she knew the truth. It was two o’clock in the morning, an intruder had broken in and it was highly unlikely that he was after the silver. There was not enough in the place to tempt a thief.

Her nerves had been on edge all afternoon, her intuition flickering and flaring for no obvious reason. Earlier, when she had walked into town, she had found herself looking over her shoulder again and again. She had flinched at the smallest rustling noises in the dense
woods that bordered the narrow lane. While she was shopping in Little Dixby’s crowded high street, the hair had lifted on the back of her neck. She had felt as if she was being watched.

She had reminded herself that she was still recovering from the terrifying attack two weeks ago. She had very nearly been murdered. Little wonder her nerves were so fragile. On top of that, the writing was not going well and a deadline was looming. She dared not miss it. She’d had every reason to be tense.

But now she knew the truth. Her psychical intuition had been trying to send a warning for hours. That was the reason she had been unable to sleep tonight.

Cool currents of night air wafted down the hall from the kitchen. Heavy footsteps sounded. The intruder was not even bothering to conceal his approach. He was very certain of his prey. She had to get out of the bed.

She pushed back the covers, sat up quietly and eased herself to her feet. The floorboards were chilly. She stepped into her sturdy, leather-soled slippers and took her wrapper down off the hook.

The assault on her person two weeks earlier had made her cautious. She had considered all possible escape routes when she had rented the cottage. Here in the bedroom, the waist-high window was her best hope. It opened onto the small front garden with its lattice gate. Just outside the gate was the narrow, rutted lane that wound through the dark woods to the ancient country house known as Crystal Gardens.

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