Authors: Amanda Quick
|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|
RENTZ WRITING AS
|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|
|Lie by Moonlight||Mischief||Scandal|
|Wait Until Midnight||Mystique||Surrender|
|The Paid Companion||Mistress||With This Ring|
|Late for the Wedding|
RENTZ WRITING AS
|Canyons of Night||Silver Master||After Dark|
|Midnight Crystal||Ghost Hunter||Amaryllis|
|Obsidian Prey||After Glow||Zinnia|
G. P. P
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
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Published by the Penguin Group
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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
Crystal gardens/Amanda Quick.
PS3561.R44C84 2012 2011049449
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.
For my husband, Frank,
with all my love
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.