New and Upcoming Releases

April 30, 2019
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The View from Alameda Island

The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr will be available Apr 30, 2019. Preorder your copy today! Description and cover coming soon.

Sullivan's Crossing Book #4
January 8, 2019
MIRA Hardcover

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The Best of Us

In Sullivan’s Crossing, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr has created a place where good people, powerful emotions, great humor and a healthy dose of common sense are the key ingredients to a happy life. Sullivan’s Crossing brings out the best in people. It’s a place you’ll want to visit again and again.

Dr. Leigh Culver loves practicing medicine in Timberlake, Colorado. It is a much-needed change of pace from her stressful life in Chicago. The only drawback is she misses her aunt Helen, the woman who raised her. But it’s time that Leigh has her independence, and she hopes the beauty of the Colorado wilderness will entice her aunt to visit often.

Helen Culver is an independent woman who lovingly raised her sister’s orphaned child. Now, with Leigh grown, it’s time for her to live life for herself. The retired teacher has become a successful mystery writer who loves to travel and intends to never experience winter again.

When Helen visits Leigh, she is surprised to find her niece still needs her, especially when it comes to sorting out her love life. But the biggest surprise comes when Leigh takes Helen out to Sullivan’s Crossing and Helen finds herself falling for the place and one special person. Helen and Leigh will each have to decide if they can open themselves up to love neither expected to find and seize the opportunity to live their best lives.

Sullivan's Crossing Book #3
December 18, 2018
MIRA Mass Market Paperback, HC & eBook

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The Family Gathering

The Family Gathering captures the emotionally charged dynamics that come with being part of a family. Readers will laugh and shed a few tears as they discover what it means to be loved, supported and accepted by the people who mean the most.

Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads. With his brother and one sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. He’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

But Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar—especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested.

When the Jones siblings all gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together in a way they never were as children. In the struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. They come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.

Originally published April 2018 in hardcover and eBook.

Excerpt

The Family Gathering captures the emotionally charged dynamics that come with being part of a family. Readers will laugh and shed a few tears as they discover what it means to be loved, supported and accepted by the people who mean the most.

Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads. With his brother and one sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. He’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

But Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar—especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested.

When the Jones siblings all gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together in a way they never were as children. In the struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. They come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.

Originally published April 2018 in hardcover and eBook.

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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Virgin River November 12, 2018
MIRA eBook

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Virgin River Christmas Collection

Celebrate the season in Virgin River! Together for the first time, every Christmas story set in the fan-favorite small town—four stories in one value-priced complete box set, only from New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

A Virgin River Christmas “A Virgin River Novel #4”
(originally published November 2008 and reissued November 2013 in mass market paperback and November 2014 within Virgin River Christmas Box Set in eBook and October 2018 within All I Want for Christmas in mass market paperback)

Marci Sullivan is on a journey to find the man who gave her three extra years with her late husband. Veteran Ian Buchanan doesn’t know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into his painful past and the uncertain future. But it is a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

Under the Christmas Tree “A Virgin River Novella”
(originally published October 2009 within That Holiday Feeling anthology in mass market paperback; June 2012 in eBook; Novemer 2014 within ’Tis the Season anthology in mass market paperback and eBook; and November 2015 and November 2017 as a standalone eBook and June 2018 within Virgin River Collection Volume 2 in eBook and October 2018 within All I Want for Christmas in mass market paperback)

When the townfolks discover a box of adorable puppies under the town’s Christmas tree, they call on local vet Nathaniel Jensen for help. But it’s his budding romance with Annie McCarty that really has tongues—and tails—wagging!

Bring Me Home for Christmas “A Virgin River Novel #16”
(originally published November 2011 in mass market paperback and November 2014 within Virgin River Christmas Box Set eBook)

When Becca Timm crashes her brother’s men-only hunting weekend, an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, and she finds herself stranded with Denny Cutler, the guy who broke her heart. As the power of Christmas envelops the little town, Becca discovers that the boy she once loved has become a strong and confident man. And the most delicious Christmas present she can imagine.

My Kind of Christmas “A Virgin River Novel #20”
(originally published November 2012 in mass market paperback and November 2014 within Virgin River Christmas Box Set eBook)

Angie LeCroix wants to spend Christmas in Virgin River relaxing, away from her well-intentioned but hovering mother. Yet instead of freedom, she gets her uncle, who would prefer she never go out at all. And certainly not with navy pilot Patrick Riordan. But Angie has her own idea of the kind of Christmas she wants—and the kind of man. Patrick and Angie thought they wanted to be left alone this Christmas—until they met each other. Now they want to be left alone together. But the Sheridan and Riordan families have different plans for Patrick and Angie—and for Christmas, Virgin River style!

Virgin River Book #20
October 29, 2018
MIRA eBook & Mass Market Paperback

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My Kind of Christmas

Celebrate another Virgin River holiday, only from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

While the Riordan brothers have a reputation for being rough-and-tumble, Patrick has always been the gentle, sweet-natured one. But his easygoing manner is tested by his high-octane career as a navy pilot, and for the Riordan men, when the going gets tough the tough find the love of a good woman.

Angie LeCroix wants to spend Christmas in Virgin River relaxing, away from her well-intentioned but hovering mother. Yet instead of freedom, she gets her uncle, Jack Sheridan.


MMPB Cover
November 2016

If he had his way, she’d never go out at all. And certainly not with Patrick Riordan. But Angie has her own idea of the kind of Christmas she wants and the kind of man.

Patrick and Angie thought they wanted to be left alone this Christmas until they met each other. Now they want to be left alone together. But the Sheridan and Riordan families have different plans for Patrick and Angie and for Christmas, Virgin River style!

Originally published November 2012 in trade paperback and reissued November 2016 in mass market paperback.

Excerpt

Chapter One
Angela LaCroix pulled up to Jack’s Bar on the day after Thanksgiving and parked right next to her aunt Brie’s car. She gave a double toot of her horn before she jumped out and dashed up the steps and into the bar. There they were, waiting for her — Jack, Mel and Brie. Her smile was so big she thought her face might crack.

“You made it,” Jack said. He rushed around the bar and picked her up in his embrace. Then he put her on her feet and said, “I thought you might be bound, gagged and held prisoner in Sacramento.”

“It didn’t get physical,” she said with a laugh. “However, I think my mother isn’t speaking to any of you.”

“That’s a relief,” Jack said. “Then she won’t be calling five times a day.”

“Come here, kitten,” Brie said, edging Jack out of the way to hug Angie. Then Mel jumped off her stool and joined the hug. “It’s so good to have you here,” Brie said. “Your mom will come around.”

“Fat chance,” Jack said. “I don’t know anyone who can hold a grudge longer than Donna.”

“I hope I didn’t cause a rift in the whole family,” Angie said.

Jack walked back around behind the bar. “Sheridans,” he grumbled. “We hang together pretty well in tough times, but we’ve been known to have a lot of differences of opinion. Bottom line is, you’re welcome here any time. You always have a place at my house.”

“And mine,” Brie said.

Angie chewed her lower lip for a moment. “Okay, here’s the thing. I appreciate it, I do, and I plan to spend a lot of time with you, but I was wondering, hoping, that you wouldn’t mind letting me use that little cabin in the woods.” She took a breath. “I need some space. Honest to God.”

Silence hung in the air. “Is that a fact,” Jack finally said.

Angie took a stool and her two aunts automatically framed her on their own stools. “That is a fact. Space…. and it was a long drive. I wouldn’t mind a beer. And maybe take-out.”

Jack served up a beer, very slowly. “There’s no TV out there,” he said.

“Good. But there’s internet connection, right?”

“It’s slow, Ange,” Mel pointed out. “Not as slow as dial-up was, but it’s finicky. The internet connection in our guesthouse is much—”

“I think it’s an outstanding idea,” Brie said, smiling at Angie. “Try it out. If it gets a little too quiet, I have a guest room and Mel has the guesthouse.”

“Thanks, Brie.”

“Hey, when you’re running away from home, you should at least have your choice of accommodations.”

“I’m not really running away from… Okay, that’s what I’m doing. Thanks. Seriously, thanks.”

Mel laughed. “It’s not exactly an original idea. Brie and I both landed here because we were running away from stuff. I’m going to go get Preacher and Paige. They’ve been so anxious to see you. And I’ll call your folks to tell them you made it here safely.”

“You had no trouble driving?” Jack asked.

“I like driving, but my dad insisted we swap cars. I have his SUV and he has my little Honda,” she said. “But I wasn’t nervous. Maybe because I don’t remember the accident.”

There was one thing Angie did remember — almost dying. Seeing her grandmother on the other side. Seeing herself lying in an emergency room covered with blood. The only person she told was her neurosurgeon, Dr. Temple, because she wanted to know if she was crazy. He had said, “I hear that sometimes, about deceased loved ones helping with the crossover.”

“Is it real?” she had asked him.

“I don’t know,” he had answered.

She hadn’t told anyone else in the family.

Angie had been the passenger in a car one of her classmates had been driving on a cold, drizzly, slick March evening. A car on the opposing interstate lane had lost control, crossed the median and hit two oncoming cars. It could’ve been a flat tire or avoiding another car, but there was no villain; no alcohol or drugs to blame; it was an accident. That driver had been killed, everyone else injured, Angie the worst. Her classmate, Shelly, had multiple broken bones but was fully recovered now except for an ankle she said got strangely cold — she blamed the plates, screws and pins.

Angie had a couple of serious fractures for which surgery had been required, she lost a spleen, there was a collapsed lung and she had a titanium rod in a femur, but the big issue was the head injury — there had been an impressive laceration on the back of her head and while there was no open fracture, her brain began to swell and the neurosurgeon implanted a shunt to drain the edema. She had some memory loss which had slowly come back, except, thankfully, not the details of the accident. She had been in a coma for three days and then had to fight her way back to the world through a post anesthetic and pain med haze. They had wondered for weeks if this bright, driven young medical student would have any mental handicaps.

She did not.

She was forever changed, however.

This was where she and her mother had their impasse. Her parents were educators, professors, and the parents of three very smart daughters. To say they monitored their education and pushed them along trajectories they thought were in line with their desires and skills would be an understatement. And Angie had been happy to meet their expectations — she was proud of her academic accomplishments. She often felt it was the singular thing she could be proud of — she wasn’t athletic, musical or pretty. The only place she had real confidence was in her intellectual achievement.

She was fully recovered from her accident and could have gone back to school in September, but she chose not to. Her father, sitting cautiously on the fence, thought a brief break was within reason but her mother disagreed and wanted her back on that horse.

Angie wasn’t sure any more. Of anything. For one thing, she was done having her parents, mostly her mother, decide things like this for her. Angie grew a backbone and said, “I might not want to continue medical school! I might want to make macramé flower pot holders for the rest of my life! Or grow herbs! Or hitchhike across Europe! But whatever it is, it’s going to be up to me!” Donna accused her of undergoing a personality change because of her head injury and Angie suggested she’d finally found her personality and it was remarkably like Donna’s.

No one else in the family thought she was different excepting the fact she had grown wonderfully stubborn. And having Jack, Mel and Brie on her side didn’t thrill Donna.

Angie didn’t go back to medical school, though the dean did tell her she would still have a place with them if she didn’t wait too long. She didn’t discuss it with her parents or her Virgin River cheering section. She’d had a close-up of how unpredictable and tenuous life could be. One minute you’re buzzing along the freeway, singing with the radio, the next you’re looking down on yourself, watching as medical staff frantically worked to save your life and you see your dead grandmother across a chasm of light.

Once she realized she had barely survived, every day dawned brighter, the air drawn into her lungs more precious, the beat of her heart weighing heavy in colossal importance. She was filled with a sense of gratitude and became contemplative, viewing the smallest detail of living with huge significance. Things she took for granted before had grown in magnitude. There was no detail she was willing to miss; she stopped to have long conversations with grocery store bag boys, corner flower peddlers, librarians, booksellers and school crossing guards.

She also looked back at her short life and had some regrets — specifically dedicating so much time to study that she had few friends. Many study partners, but only a few friends. She’d said no to far too many parties and dances for the sake of grades. For God’s sake she was twenty-three and had had two boyfriends! Both pretty inadequate. Was life all about books? Didn’t well rounded adults know how to play? While her few girlfriends were dating, traveling, exploring, getting engaged, what was Angie doing? Making Mama proud.

Yet the family stories about her mother and aunts….apparently they hadn’t sacrificed a social life, though they were all over-achievers. One story had Uncle Jack being chastised when Grandma found packages of condoms floating in the washer water, but they weren’t his —they were Donna’s.

Angie would give just about anything to have that much of a life. Right now she was feeling very fortunate on one hand and on the other, robbed. She was going to fix that if she could.

“And did everyone have a great Thanksgiving?” she asked Jack and Brie.

“I might never eat again,” Brie said. “How about you?”

“We were all at Grandpa’s and it was good, except for a little melodrama about me leaving for a month. Between the aunts, uncles and cousins there seems to be quite a diversity of opinion on how I should live my life.”

“I imagine. And what did Sam say?” Brie asked of her father.

“Grandpa thought it was an excellent idea to come up here for a little while and reminded us all that you did that, Brie.”

“And you know what? He was very supportive and encouraging at the time, even though he was at least as worried about me as your parents are about you. He had guessed I was in love. Your grandpa is a pretty modern, savvy guy.”

“Yes,” she said quietly. She was close to Sam Sheridan and had often wished, over the past nine months, that she could tell him she had seen Grandma. And she looked wonderful. But first of all, she wasn’t sure she hadn’t been dreaming or hallucinating and second, Grandma had been gone such a long time. She didn’t want to stir up grief in her grandpa.

Preacher had a look of stun and awe on his face as he came from the kitchen, stripping off his apron and tossing it over the bar before grabbing Angie up in his big arms and spinning her right off her stool. “Aw, girl, girl, girl,” he said, hugging her tight. Then he held her away and looked her over. “You are beautiful!” And then he had to let go of her to wipe his eyes.

“Preach,” she said, laughing.

Paige slipped around her husband, giving Angie a warm hug. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she said softly.

“Your big scary husband is crying.”

“I know,” she said. “He’s such a dichotomy. The last person you want to meet in a dark alley, but he’s so tender hearted. He cries at Disney movies and Hallmark commercials.”

“Yesterday I cried over football,” he said. “It was pathetic all day. I’m just so damn glad to see you, Ange. Your uncle Jack was a mess while you were in the hospital, he was so worried.”

“And as you can see, all is well,” she said.

“Mel says you want a take-out. I’ll make you anything you want — you just tell me what.”

“I’ll have whatever’s on the menu and a bottle of wine. Do you have any Sauvignon Blanc?”

“Are you sure you’re allowed alcohol?” Jack asked.

“Yes,” she said with a laugh. “Hence the beer. I promise not to get wasted. But gee, some of Preacher’s dinner, a glass of wine, a fire, a book, peace and quiet… Oh Jack, there are logs out there, right?”

“You’re all set,” he said. “Do you know how to light the fire?”

She rolled her eyes. “Preacher, do you suppose I could do a little graze through your kitchen? Grab some staples — a few eggs, some milk, bread, that sort of thing? In case I wake up starving?”

“Absolutely,” he said.

Although it was soft and low, Angie heard someone clear his throat. There, at the end of the bar in the corner was a lone man in an army green, down-padded jacket, dark hair, an empty beer glass and some money in his hand.

Jack turned to him, took his money and said, “Thanks, bud. See you around.”

“Have a nice reunion,” the man said. And he moved to leave.

He was so tall, that was what she noticed first. As tall as her uncle Jack. And his dark hair had some red in it. Dark auburn. She’d never seen that combination before, unless it was on a woman and came out of a bottle. Usually red shades came with blond or light brown hair. The stubble on his cheeks was redder.

As he walked toward the door, they met eyes and Angie felt her cheeks grow warm — caught staring. He had the greenest eyes she’d ever seen. Had to be contacts. He gave her a half smile; only one side of his mouth lifted.

Then he turned and exited.

“Wow,” she said. “Whew. Who’s the hottie?”

Brie laughed and said, “I think our girl is indeed fully recovered.”

Jack let go a little growl. “He’s not the one for you,” he said.

Angie looked around at all the smiling faces — Brie, Paige, Preacher…. “Gee, did I ask if he was right for me? It’s not even my birthday.”

Preacher chortled loudly, another thing the big cook seldom did. “Patrick Riordan,” he told her. “Here sitting out a little leave. He’s Navy. I think he got hurt or something.”

“Nah, he didn’t get hurt,” Jack clarified. “Luke said there was an accident during his last deployment and he decided to take a little leave or something. Riordans, good people, but that one’s got troubles right now. You might want to give him a wide berth. I don’t know all the details, but it sounds like combat issues…”

“Yeah, we wouldn’t want to get mixed up with anyone with combat issues,” Preacher joked. And Jack glared at him. Preacher put a big hand on her shoulder and said, “He’s been kind of quiet and grumpy. If you got to know him a little? I bet he wouldn’t cheer you up that much.”

That made Angie laugh. “Well how about that — we both had accidents. What’s for dinner, Preach?”

“Big surprise, turkey soup. It’ll keep you very healthy. I boiled two carcasses all day. Home made noodles — the best. Even though it’s not raining, I baked bread.”

Her mouth began to water. “I’m in.”

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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Character Sketches

Patrick Riordan—The youngest of the Riordan brothers and a Navy fighter pilot, who is in Virgin River for a respite after losing his best friend when a mission over Afghanistan went terribly wrong.

Angie LaCroix—A young medical student recovering from a catastrophic car accident, who visits her uncle, Jack Sheridan. Her agenda is much like Patrick’s—she needs some time and space to regain her confidence and reassert her goals.

Donna LaCroix—Angie’s mom, Jack’s oldest sister. A journalism professor, she can be overprotective and domineering, one of the reasons Angie flees to Virgin River for a break.

Jake—Patrick’s deceased best friend.

Marie—Jake’s widow. Patrick spends as much time as possible talking to her on the phone or visiting her, feeling very responsible for her as a support.

Megan Thickson—A nine-year-old with a devastating facial scar that’s leaving her disfigured.

Frank and Lorraine Thickson—Megan’s parents.

Dr. Hernandez—A reconstructive surgeon.

Virgin River Book #4 & Novella
October 16, 2018
MIRA Mass Market Paperback

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All I Want for Christmas

Return to Virgin River for the holidays with these two stories from the beloved series by New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

A Virgin River Christmas
(originally published November 2008 and reissued November 2013 in mass market paperback and September 2018 in eBook)

Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.

Marcie tracks Ian Buchanan to the tiny mountain town and, as she pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.

Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles, and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

Under the Christmas Tree
(originally published October 2009 within That Holiday Feeling anthology in mass market paperback; June 2012 in eBook; Novemer 2014 within ‘Tis the Season anthology in mass market paperback and eBook; and November 2015 and November 2017 as a standalone eBook)

With snow falling over the redwood forests, secluded Virgin River is the ideal place to spend the holidays. Each year, the close-knit community gathers in the town square to decorate and light a massive tree. Carols are sung, hot chocolate is shared—and this year, a surprise is about to bring two special people together. When the townsfolk discover a box of adorable puppies under the town’s Christmas tree, they call local vet Nathaniel Jensen for help. But it’s his budding romance with Annie McCarty that really has tongues—and tails—wagging!

Virgin River Book #16
September 24, 2018
MIRA eBook & Paperback

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Bring Me Home for Christmas

Come back to celebrate the holidays in Virgin River, the beloved town from the series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her Christmas wish list’getting over Denny Cutler. Three years ago Denny broke her heart before heading off to war. It’s time she got over her silly college relationship and moved on.


MMPB Cover
November 2015

So she takes matters into her own hands and heads up to Virgin River, the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home, as an uninvited guest on her brother’s men-only hunting weekend. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded in Virgin River. With Denny. In very close quarters.

As the power of Christmas envelops the little town, Becca discovers that the boy she once loved has become a strong and confident man. And the most delicious Christmas present she can imagine.

Originally published November 2011 in trade paperback and reissued November 2015 in mass market paperback.

Excerpt

Chapter One
Rich Timm pulled into Virgin River a mere ten hours after leaving San Diego. He’d made excellent time because he tended to ignore little things like speed limits. And…he had been trapped in the Ford truck with his twin sister Becca all day and had had about enough.

As Becca gazed out the window at the town, she muttered, “Seriously?”

“What?” Rich said.

“This is the place Denny never wants to leave? It isn’t exactly… you know… quaint.”

Rich pulled right up to the only bar in town, right next to a truck he knew belonged to one of the two other buddies from the Marines who were meeting him here. “Maybe that’s not what he was looking for.” Rich put the truck in park and before he turned off the ignition, he turned in his seat and said to his sister, “Since there wasn’t time to warn Denny you were coming along, promise me you won’t make trouble.”

“Rich,” she said with a laugh. “Why would I make trouble?”

“Oh I don’t know,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Because you’re his ex girlfriend? Because this is a guys’ hunting trip and you’re not one and everyone has to take care of you?”

“No one has to take care of me,” she said indignantly. Then she smiled very sweetly. “I’m anxious to meet your other friends. And hunt — I’m anxious to hunt.”

He scowled. “Right,” he said. “You expect me to believe you’re going to shoot a duck and pluck it?”

If I have to pluck it with my teeth to be convincing, she thought. “Of course! I’m a little more excited about fly fishing, though. I can’t wait to try that.” She opened her door. “You about ready?”

He grunted. “Do not be a problem. Do not be a pain in my ass for a week!”

“Do not be a jerk,” she countered.

~~~~~~~
Becca had arrived at Rich’s townhouse at three in the morning, big suitcase and shotgun in hand. When he opened the door wearing nothing but boxers she said, “Guess what? I don’t have anything to do this week. Take me with you. I’ve never been duck hunting or fly fishing.”

“You’re out of your mind, right?” he said, scratching hair crazy from bed. “Didn’t you tell Mom and Dad you were going home with Doug for Thanksgiving?”

She shook her head. “That isn’t going to work out and I don’t want Mom and Dad to cancel their trip plans just so I’m not alone on Thanksgiving.”

“Why isn’t it going to work out?”

“He’s way too busy; he’s going all the way to the east coast for two days. Come on, this is a great idea. A little last minute, but come on. Be a sport.”

“And what about Denny?” he asked. “Your ex?”

She put a hand on her hip. “It’s time we all moved on from that, don’t you think? I have no hard feelings and I’m sure he doesn’t. He probably has a girlfriend. This is a perfect opportunity to make sure it’s all cool between us. I mean really — since you guys are good friends and all… And it was a long time ago.”

“Yeah, but it was brutal,” Rich said, looking down at her suspiciously.

“We were young,” she said with a shrug.

“And what does Doug think about this?” Rich asked.

“Doug isn’t the jealous type. He told me to have a good time. Doug is not your problem…”

“I know,” Rich said. “Apparently you’re my problem.” He let her come into his townhouse. “You better know what you’re doing,” he said. “If you screw up my hunting trip, you’re going to pay.”

“Don’t worry…”

~~~~~~~
It really hadn’t been as spur of the moment as Becca pretended. A lot of planets had converged at once and she found herself planning, though quickly. First of all, Rich had been talking about this hunting trip for weeks, with good old Denny, the guy she once thought she was going to marry, the guy who broke up with her three years ago. The guy she still thought about way too much. Then the elementary school in which she taught shut down due to financial issues they just couldn’t resolve and she found herself suddenly unemployed. Then Doug, the law student she’d been seeing for the past year, made her look at engagement rings in a catalogue.

She had nothing to do besides look for work during the holidays, a dismal prospect, and worry about the fact that Doug was probably leading up to a marriage proposal while the last guy was still on her mind. All the time.

She didn’t get it. Why did she still think about Denny, dream about him? Was it just wanting what was out of reach rather than appreciating what was right in front of her? When Denny broke up with her before going to Afghanistan she had been devastated. By the time he looked her up two years later and suggested they give it another try, she had been furious and told him he was too late, she wasn’t interested. Then she met Doug Carey a year ago, a good looking second year law student, and her mother had been so relieved! Beverly Timm found Doug so much more appropriate for her daughter. Doug had it all. He was a good guy; Becca enjoyed him. He had a bright future. He came from a successful, financially secure family. He loved her. His family had their own sailboat!! It made absolutely no sense to continue to think about Denny.

There was a time when Becca had dreamt of a Christmas proposal and a beautiful ring under the tree. Now she feared it. She wanted to want to marry Doug Carey, but she just couldn’t commit to him while this ghost haunted her. It would be so wrong. So unfair to both of them.

So she had decided. She was going to force Rich to take her with him to this Virgin River, the place Denny had chosen as his home. She’d hunt and fish and try to figure out why she just couldn’t let go of the guy. She would see him again and come to the conclusion that it had been a crush, a first love between a couple of kids that she had idealized in her mind, and she’d go home to the perfect man, finally appreciating him as much as he deserved. They would live happily ever after and the image of Denny would fade, then disappear.

She looked around the town once more as she went up the steps of the log cabin bar where they were all meeting. “Seriously?” she said under her breath. It was kind of a dumpy old town; the houses were small, a lot of them had peeling paint. There weren’t even street lights or sidewalks. Besides a little grocery store and the bar, there didn’t appear to be any commerce. What did these people do for entertainment? For fun? “Hunting and fishing,” she reminded herself. “Whoopee.”

Yeah, she was hopeful. Just a look at this backwoods little town was promising — she’d figure out what happened with Denny, where it all went so wrong and why. They’d been so different in the first place and now she had to find a way to move on so she could happily marry a man with a law degree and his own sailboat.

~~~~~~~
Denny Cutler had come to Virgin River in search of roots and a year after stumbling into Jack’s Bar, he was secure that he’d found the place he would live for the rest of his life. He had friends that were as tight as family. He also had a career, one he had never in his craziest dreams envisioned — he was a farmer! An associate in an organic farm that promised to grow strong and profitable.

It was Jack’s idea that he reach out to a couple of his buddies, maybe from the Corps where he’d spent four years, and invite them to Virgin River for a little guy stuff — hunting, fishing, poker. Jilly Farms wasn’t too busy in late fall and could spare him for a few days. He knew exactly which guys he’d like to host. They were Troy, Dirk and Rich who were like brothers to him during his first hitch, during his deployment to Iraq. Dirk and Troy were both reservists and lived near Sacramento and Rich Timm, also known as Big Richie or sometimes just Big, was from San Diego where Denny grew up, though Denny hadn’t met him until the Corps. Rich got out of the Marines after two years, finished college and was now an engineer who worked for the highway department in San Diego, building freeways and bridges. All three of these guys loved camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, anything a little rugged. And they would love Virgin River.

The only downside to his friendship with Rich — he was Becca’s twin brother. That’s how Denny had met his old girlfriend, through Rich, while they were on leave together back in San Diego, years ago. And since Denny and Becca broke up, the continued friendship put Denny a little too close to all available news about Becca. Rich only told him if he asked, of course, which he couldn’t seem to keep himself from doing, even though he wanted to forget her as thoroughly as she’d forgotten him.

So, when plans fell together for the four guys, it turned out Thanksgiving week was the best time for everyone. “Perfect,” Jack said. “We got Riordan cabins on the river and my guest house is available — plenty of room. We have duck hunting, fishing and Preacher always serves a big Thanksgiving dinner at the bar. The day after Thanksgiving we go out into the woods to find, chop down and put up a thirty-foot Christmas tree outside the bar — that’s a circus you don’t want to miss.”

So the plans were set. Troy, Dirk and Rich were due to arrive on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, depart the Sunday following.

Denny had had a few rough years before settling in Virgin River — his mother had died, he reentered the Corps and was deployed to Afghanistan, he broke up with Becca after they’d been together for over three years — and finally, at the age of twenty-five, things were finally falling into place for him. Life was good. He was happy.

Troy and Dirk arrived by four on Sunday afternoon. Not only was Denny on hand at the bar to greet them and serve them up a beer, but both Jack and Preacher made it a point to be around. Dirk and Troy were going to stay in one of Luke Riordan’s cabins, so Luke and Colin Riordan dropped by for a quick beer to be part of the welcoming party. Preacher had a stout meal planned, but it being the Sunday night before a big family holiday week like Thanksgiving, there weren’t too many out of towners in the bar — just four hunters over in the corner at the table by the hearth enjoying a pitcher of beer. They practically had the place to themselves.

Finally the door to the bar opened and Big Richie stepped inside. He stood just inside the door and wore a look on his face that Denny could only describe as apologetic. And then she stepped inside right behind him.

Becca!

What the hell? was Denny’s first thought. He stood behind the bar, next to Jack, his mouth hanging open. She lifted her chin and smiled at the gathering. Dirk and Troy knew of her, but they’d never actually met her.

Rich gave a lame shrug.

God, she sure hadn’t gotten any worse looking, Denny thought. Five-seven, slim build, large blue eyes, her sun-streaked hair pulled back in a clip that left it flouncing in large, loose curls on the back of her head with little wisps around her face. She was tan, of course. She was a beach bunny. And despite the fact that the memory of how she looked in a very tiny bikini came instantly to Denny’s mind, those long legs and perfect butt sure did justice to a pair of jeans and boots.

He was in a complete daze. Except for the physical response. He was so glad he was standing behind the bar.

Smiling, she walked around her brother and approached the bar. She barely looked at Denny. “Hi,” she said, putting out her hand first to Troy. “I’m Becca, Rich’s sister. I hope I’m not intruding.”

Troy took the hand and a smile slid slowly across his face. “Not. At. All,” he said smoothly.

She grinned at him as he hung onto her hand. “Bet you have a name,” she said.

“Ah… Yeah… I’ll think of it in a second…”

“Troy,” Denny said impatiently. “His name is Troy.”

“Nice to meet you, Troy.” She offered the hand to Dirk.

“Dirk Curtis,” he said. “Nice to finally meet you.”

“Becca, what are you doing here?” Denny asked.

She lifted one shoulder and tilted her head. “Well, I guess it’s going to be either duck hunting or fly fishing — two things I’ve been dying to try. I need to expand my horizons a little bit. Thanks for including me.”

“I didn’t include you.”

“Rich said it would probably be okay, and thanks.” She looked between Dirk and Troy. “You guys don’t mind, do you?”

“It’s a pleasure,” Dirk said.

Troy leaned an elbow on the bar, his head on his hand. “I take it you don’t hunt or fish?”

“She surfs,” Denny said sharply, glowering.

“And I sail, among other things,” she added pleasantly. “We live in San Diego. It’s what happens there — surfing, sailing, volley ball, biking, hiking, skiing in winter. If you guys show me the hunting and fishing ropes, I’ll be glad to teach you to surf — I’m much better at it than Rich, although he might be a slightly better sailor. Don’t do anything different just because I’m along — I’m just one of the guys on this trip. I promise not to get in the way.”

“Right,” Denny said.

“Seriously,” she insisted, narrowing her eyes at him.

“You’re going to be sorry you said that when one of these clowns decides to pee on a bush,” he snidely pointed out to her, lifting one eyebrow.

A bark of laughter came from Colin Riordan, which marked the first time Denny remembered there were others present. Just a second after Colin’s laugh, a giant hand came down on his shoulder and Preacher said, “Give me a hand in the kitchen, would you, Den?”

He treated her to one final, withering glare before following the big cook into the kitchen. Once there, he found himself face to face with a man who could easily top him for fierce, weakening stares. And Preacher said, “What the hell, Dennis! Were you raised by apes?”

“She’s my ex-girlfriend, all right?” Denny said by way of explanation.

“We got that,” Preacher said, his hands on his hips, his bushy black eyebrows drawn together in a scowl. “And your excuse for acting like an ass is…?”

“It was complicated,” he said. “My mom died, I closed up and wouldn’t talk, shut Becca out when she wanted to help. Then without saying anything, I rejoined the Corps and told her after the fact. For which she was very pissed. So I broke up with her before I deployed so she could date other guys while I was gone.”

As he was finishing that tale, Jack was entering the kitchen and got the last of it, but he didn’t need the details. He’d actually heard the story before. Now Jack wore his upside down, contemplative smile, nodding. “Makes perfect sense,” he said.

“It does?” Denny asked.

“Of course. You can’t stand to even see her shake hands with another guy in a public bar, so you cut her loose to date some. Oh yeah. Brilliant.”

“It was not a smart time in my life,” he admitted. “So after my two year commitment I went straight to her and apologized, asked if maybe we could try again.”

“And she said?” Jack asked.

“I believe the direct quote was, ‘Dream on.’ We argued a little bit and she told me I’d been replaced, that she’d probably be engaged in a year. That’s when I decided to come up here. Start over.”

“Well don’t look now, Denny. Your past has followed you. You have to go out there and apologize. Again.”

“Wait a sec, she shouldn’t have just dropped in like this, right on my— my— my whatever this is. She should’ve called. Or Big should’ve called!”

“You seem to be the only one put out by her appearance,” Jack pointed out.

“Rich didn’t look all that happy, but the other two? The only time they’re not on the prowl, looking for chicks, is when they’re asleep. I’m sure they’re thrilled to meet Becca.”

“Then if it bothers you, I suggest you keep an eye on things,” Jack said.

Denny stole a glance at Preacher, who gave a nod.

“Starting with, you have a word with Becca, see if you can sort things out enough to have a good week,” Jack said. “You wanted to do this; you can’t make everyone else miserable just because you have a bug up your ass about a girl. Call a truce or something. Whatever it takes.” And with that, Jack returned to the bar.

But what Denny really wanted to do was take off out the back door.

No, not true, he thought. What he’d rather do was walk back into the bar, grab her and kiss the hell out of her. And beat the crap out of anyone who tried to get between him and her.

But he heard Dream on inside his head. And the voice was hers.

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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Character Sketches

Becca Timms—Several years after her final break-up with Denny, 25-year-old Becca, an unemployed teacher, heads to Virgin River, where she plans to confront the man who broke her heart. She simply wants to let go so she can move on.

Denny Cutler—Having found a permanent home in Virgin River after serving in the Marines, this 25-year-old associate in Jilly Farms is surprised to see his former girlfriend, Becca, in town.

Nora Crane—single mother of a newborn and a two-year-old; very young and extremely poor.

Adie Clemens—elderly widow in need of some Christmas charity; very concerned for her young neighbor, Nora, and her children.

Thickson Family—Frank, a disabled and disgruntled logger; his wife, Lorraine, a hard-working waitress, and their children: eight-year-old Megan and three young boys.

Virgin River Book #4
September 10, 2018
MIRA eBook & Mass Market Paperback

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A Virgin River Christmas

Return to Virgin River for the holidays in this uplifting tale from the beloved series by New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.


MMPB Cover
November 2013

Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby’s shattered body onto a medical transport in Fallujah four years ago, then disappeared as soon as their unit arrived stateside. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. But she is not easily scared off. As Marcie pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.

Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

Originally published November 2008 and reissued November 2013 in mass market paperback.

Excerpt

Marcie Sullivan drove into the small town, her sixth small mountain town of the day, and found herself face-to-face with a Christmas-tree trimming. The assembled staff didn’t look big enough for the job—the tree was enormous.

She pulled up beside a large cabin with a wide porch, parked her Volkswagen and got out. There were three women at work on a Christmas fir that stood about thirty feet. One was about Marcie’s age, with soft brown hair and she held an open box, perhaps containing ornaments. One woman was old, with springy white hair and black-framed glasses, who pointed upward, as if someone had put her in charge, and the third was a beautiful blonde at the top of a tall, A-frame ladder.

The tree stood between the cabin and an old boarded-up church with two tall steeples and one stained-glass window still intact—a church that must have once been a beautiful structure.

While Marcie watched the trimming, a man came out onto the cabin’s porch, stopped, looked up and cursed, then took long strides to the base of the ladder. “Don’t move. Don’t breathe,” he said in a low, commanding voice. He took the rungs every other one, climbing quickly until he reached the blonde. Then he slipped an arm around her, somewhere above what Marcie realized must be a little pregnant bulge and beneath her breasts and said, “Down. Slowly.”

“Jack!” she scolded. “Leave me alone!”

“If I have to, I’ll carry you down. Back down the ladder, slowly. Now.”

“Oh for God’s—”

Now” he said evenly, fiercely.

She began to descend, one rung at a time between his big, sturdy feet, while he held her safe against him. When they got to the bottom, she put her hands on her hips and glared up at him. “I knew exactly what I was doing!”

“Where is your brain? What if you fell from that height?”

“It’s an excellent ladder! I wasn’t going to fall!”

“You’re psychic, too? You can argue all you want, I’m not letting you that high up a ladder in your condition,” he said, his hands also on his hips. “I’ll stand guard over you if I have to.” Then he looked over his shoulder at the other two women.

“I told her I thought you wouldn’t like that,” the brown-haired one said with a helpless shrug.

He glared at the white-haired woman. “I don’t get into domestic things. That’s your problem, not mine,” she said, pushing her big glasses up on her nose.

And Marcie became homesick. So homesick. It had only been a few weeks that she’d been driving around this area, but she missed all the family squabbles, the tiresome complications. She missed her girlfriends, her job. She longed for her bossy older sister’s interference, her goofy younger brother and whatever current girlfriend was shadowing him. She missed her late husband’s large, fun, passionate family.

She hadn’t made it home for Thanksgiving—she’d been afraid to go for even a day or two, afraid she’d never pry herself out of Erin’s grip a second time. Home was Chico, California, just a few hours away, but no one—not her brother and sister, not Bobby’s family—thought what she was doing was a good idea. So, she’d been calling, lying and saying she had tips about Ian and was close to finding him. Every time she called, at least every other day, she said she was getting closer when really, she wasn’t. But she was not ready to quit.

But one problem was looming large—she was just about out of money. She’d been sleeping in her car lately rather than in motels, and it was getting uncomfortable as the temperatures dropped in the mountains. At any moment snow would be falling now that it was early December, or rain could turn to sleet and that little VeeDub could sail off the mountainside like a missile.

She’d just hate to go home with this mission incomplete. More than anything, she wanted to see it through. If she wasn’t successful now, she’d only go home to earn a little money and then do it all again. She just couldn’t give up on him. On herself.

They were all looking at her. She pushed her wildly curly, out of control, bright red hair over one shoulder nervously.

“I… Ah… I could go up there, if you want. I’m not afraid of heights or anything…”

“You don’t have to go up the ladder,” the pregnant blonde said, and her voice had softened considerably. She smiled sweetly.

“I’ll go up the ladder,” the man said. “Or I’ll get someone to go up the goddamn ladder, but it’s not you.”

“Jack! Be polite!”

He cleared his throat. “Don’t worry about the ladder,” he said more calmly. “Anything we can do for you?”

“I… Ah…” She walked toward them. She pulled a picture out of the inside of her down vest and extended it toward the man. “I’m looking for someone. He dropped out of sight just over three years ago, but I know he’s around here somewhere. He seems to be taking mail at Fortuna Post Office general delivery.”

She passed the picture to the man. “Jesus,” he said.

“You know him?” she asked hopefully.

“No,” he said, shaking his head. “No, I don’t, and that’s strange. The guy’s a marine,” he said, studying the picture of a man in uniform. It was Ian’s official Marine Corps portrait, a handsome man all clean shaven and trussed up in dress blues, hat and medals. “I can’t believe there’s a marine within fifty miles of here I don’t at least know about.”

“He might be keeping that fact to himself—he and the Marine Corps had a troubled relationship at the end. So I’ve heard…”

He looked back at her face and his expression was much more tender. “I’m Jack Sheridan,” he said. “My wife, Mel. That’s Paige,” he said, nodding toward the younger woman. “And Hope McCrea, town busybody.” He put out his hand to Marcie.

She placed hers in his. “Marcie Sullivan,” she said.

“Why are you looking for this marine?” Jack asked.

“Long story,” she said. “A friend of my late husband. I’m sure he doesn’t look like this anymore—he had some injuries. There’s a scar down his left cheek and on that same side, no eyebrow. And he probably has a beard. He did the last time he was seen, about three or four years ago.”

“No shortage of beards around here,” Jack said. “Lumber country—men get a little scruffy-looking sometimes.”

“But he could’ve changed in other ways, too. Like— he’s older. Thirty-five now—that picture was taken when he was twenty-eight.”

“Friend of your husband’s? From the Corps?” Jack confirmed.

“Yes,” she said. “I’d like to find him. You know— because he’s been out of touch for a long time.”

Jack seemed to think while he studied the face in the picture. It was several silent moments before he said, “Come on into the bar. Have a bite, a beer maybe, or whatever you like. Tell me a little about him and why you want to find him. How’s that?”

“The bar?” she said, looking around.

“It’s a bar and grill,” he said with a smile. “Food and drink. We can eat and talk.”

“Oh,” she said. Her stomach growled angrily. It was late in the day, about four o’clock, and she hadn’t eaten yet, but she was saving her money for the gas tank and she figured she could forget about food a while longer. Maybe she’d get something real, real cheap to tide her over, like a loaf of day-old bread to go with that half a jar of peanut butter in the car…. Then, she’d find a safe spot to park and button down for the night. “A glass of water would be really welcome—I’ve been driving around for hours, showing his picture to anyone who will take a look. But I’m not hungry.”

“Got lots of water,” Jack said with a smile. He put a hand on her shoulder and started to direct her toward the porch of the bar, but then he stopped suddenly. His brows drew together in a frown. “Go ahead,” he said to her. “I’m right behind you.”

Marcie walked up on the porch and turned to see what he was doing. He was confiscating the ladder so his pregnant wife wouldn’t climb it again, that’s what he was doing. It was a jackknife kind of affair that could be a short or tall A-frame ladder, and he collapsed it, folded it up until he could lift it with one hand. It was about six feet long dismantled and he carried it right into the bar. Behind him, Marcie heard his wife yell, “You’re a bossy pain in the ass! When did I ever indicate I’d take my orders from you?”

Jack didn’t say anything back, but he grinned as though she’d just thrown him a kiss. “Hop up there,” he said to Marcie, indicating the bar. “I’ll be right back.” And he carried the ladder through a door behind the bar.

She took a deep breath and thought, Oh hell—I’m not going to be able to survive the aromas! Her stomach made itself heard again and she put a hand against her belly, pushing. Something in the kitchen was sending out waves of delicious smells—something simmering, rich, hot and thick, like beefy, seasoned soup; fresh bread; something sweet and chocolate.

And when the man named Jack came back, he was carrying a tray with a steaming bowl on it. He put everything in front of her; chili, corn bread and honey butter, a small bowl of salad. “Gee, um, sorry,” she said. “Really, I’m not hungry…”

He drew a cold draft and her mouth actually watered. Gratefully she didn’t drool on the bar. She swallowed hard. She had about thirty bucks and didn’t want to waste it on a fancy meal, not when she needed every cent for gas to hit all these little mountain towns.

“Fine, then you’ll only eat what you want,” he said. “Just have a taste. I showed the picture to Preacher, my cook. He hasn’t seen the guy either. We’ll check with Mike—he’s the town cop and gets around all the back roads, just to know who’s out there—maybe he’ll have a tip or two. They’re also marines.”

“Where exactly am I?” she asked.

“Virgin River,” he said. “Population six hundred twenty-seven at last count.”

“Ah, that made the map.”

“I should hope so—we’re a screaming metropolis compared to a lot of small towns out here. Just try it,” he said, nodding at the bowl.

Her hand trembled a little as she picked up the spoon and sampled some of the finest chili she’d ever eaten. It melted in her mouth, and she actually sighed.

 

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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Character Sketches

Marcie Sullivan—A year after her beloved husband, Bobby, died of wounds sustained while fighting in Iraq, Marcie, 27, leaves Chico, California, to go to Virgin River in search of Ian Buchanan. Bobby’s best friend and his first sergeant in the Marine Corps, Ian saved Bobby’s life, and Marcie wants to find out why he won’t answer her letters of gratitude.

Ian Buchanan—Suffering from the after-effects of war, Ian, 35, lives in seclusion deep in the forest above Virgin River until Marcie Sullivan finds shelter in his remote cabin during a snowstorm.

Erin Elizabeth Foley—Marcie Sullivan’s older sister, a 34-year-old attorney.

Virgin River Book #17-20
August 13, 2018
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Virgin River Collection Volume 5

Return to Virgin River with four uplifting and emotional stories available together for the first time in a premium box set, from New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

Hidden Summit
(originally published January 2012 and reissued March 2016 in mass market paperback and eBook)

When Connor Danson witnesses a violent crime, he must leave Sacramento and keep a low profile until the trial is over. Leslie Petruso didn’t want to leave her hometown, either. But she can’t stand another minute of listening to her ex-husband boast about his new life. Virgin River may not be home, but it’s a place where she can be anonymous. Neither Connor nor Leslie is remotely interested in starting a new relationship…but they can’t deny they have a lot in common—broken hearts notwithstanding. And in Virgin River, no one can stay hidden away from life and love for very long…

Redwood Bend
(originally published March 2012 and reissued Septembere 2016 in mass market paperback and eBook)

Katie Malone and her twin boys’ trip along the beautiful mountain roads to Virgin River is stopped short by a tire as flat as her failed romance. To make matters worse, the rain has set in, the boys are hungry and Katie is having trouble putting on a spare. Dylan Childress and his buddies are on the motorcycle trip of a lifetime. But the sight of a woman in distress stops them in their tracks. In one brief moment, the world tilts on its axis and any previous plans Katie and Dylan might have had for their futures are left at the side of the road.

Sunrise Point
(originally published January 2017 in mass market paperback and reissued May 2012 in mass market paperback and eBook)

Things are better for Nora Crane than they’ve been in ages; still she’s barely scraping by. But she’s got two little girls to look after, so she’ll work harvesttime at the Cavanaugh orchard. Her new boss, Tom Cavanaugh, has come home to take over the family farm. Tom thinks he knows what he wants—he’s ready to settle down with a sweet, traditional woman. Nora doesn’t seem to be the marrying kind, but he can’t keep his eyes off her. Nora has no intention of getting involved with anyone. But it starts to become clear that Nora and Tom won’t be able to stay just friends.

My Kind of Christmas
(originally published November 2016 in mass market paperback and reissued November 2012 in mass market paperback and eBook)

Angie LeCroix wants to spend Christmas in Virgin River relaxing, away from her well-intentioned but hovering mother. Yet instead of freedom, she gets her uncle, who would prefer she never go out at all. And certainly not with navy pilot Patrick Riordan. But Angie has her own idea of the kind of Christmas she wants—and the kind of man. Patrick and Angie thought they wanted to be left alone this Christmas—until they met each other. Now they want to be left alone together. But the Sheridan and Riordan families have different plans for Patrick and Angie—and for Christmas, Virgin River style!

Virgin River Book #13-16
July 30, 2018
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Virgin River Collection Volume 4

Welcome back to Virgin River! Now available in a box set collection, return to this charming small town with more beloved stories form #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

Promise Canyon
(originally published January 2011 in mass market paperback and reissued May 2015 in mass market paperback and eBook)

After years spent on ranches around Los Angeles, Clay Tahoma is delighted to be Virgin River’s new veterinary assistant. He’s been welcomed with open arms by everyone in town—everyone except Lilly Yazhi. Lilly has encountered her share of strong, silent, traditional men. In her eyes, Clay’s earthy appeal is just an act used to charm wealthy women like his ex-wife. Lilly can’t deny his gift for gentling horses, but she’s not about to let him control her. There’s just one small problem—she can’t control her attraction to Clay.

Wild Man Creek
(originally published February 2011 in mass market paperback and reissued October 2015 in mass market paperback and eBook)

Colin Riordan is recuperating from a horrific helicopter crash, the scars of which he bears inside and out. His family is supportive, but it’s his art that truly soothes his troubled soul. Stung personally and professionally by an ill-advised affair, PR guru Jillian Matlock has rented an old Victorian with a promising garden. She’s looking forward to cultivating something other than a corporate brand. Both are looking to simplify, not complicate, their lives, but when Jillian finds Colin at his easel in her yard, there’s an instant connection. And sometimes love is the simplest choice of all…

Harvest Moon
(originally published March 2011 in mass market paperback and reissued January 2016 in mass market paperback and eBook)

Disillusioned and burned out after collapsing at work, rising sous-chef Kelly Matlock has retreated to her sister’s house to rest and reevaluate. Puttering in the garden is wonderful, but Kelly’s starting to get restless…until she meets Lief Holbrook. The handsome widower looks more like a lumberjack than a sophisticated screenwriter—a combination Kelly finds irresistible. Less appealing is Lief’s rebellious teenaged stepdaughter. She’s the reason they moved from LA, but she’s still finding plenty of trouble. Kelly’s never fallen for a guy with such serious baggage, but some things are worth fighting for.

Bring Me Home for Christmas
(originally published November 2011 in mass market paperback and reissued November 2015 in mass market paperback and eBook)

This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her wish list—getting over Denny Cutler, who broke her heart three years ago. So she invites herself on her brother’s hunting weekend in the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded. With Denny. In very close quarters. As the power of Christmas envelops them, Becca discovers that the boy she once loved has become a strong and confident man. And the most delicious Christmas present she can imagine.

Four wonderful stories of finding home and discovering love.

Sullivan Crossing Book #1
July 16, 2018
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What We Find in Small-Town Romance Collection

Four New York Times bestselling authors bring the best of their beloved small town romance series in this new Small-Town Romance Collection!

What We Find “Sullivan Crossing #1” by Robyn Carr
(originally published April 2016 in hardcover and eBook and March 2017 in mass market paperback)

Under extreme pressure, neurosurgeon Maggie Sullivan knows she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can do that is Sullivan’s Crossing. But Maggie’s world is rocked and she must now take responsibility for the land that’s been in her family for generations. When a quiet and serious-looking hiker, Cal Jones, offers to lend a hand, Maggie is suspicious of his motives—until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation. The time Cal and Maggie spend together gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon…if only they can learn to find peace and healing—and perhaps love—with each other.

Also includes:
Serenity Harbor “Haven Point #6” by RaeAnne Thayne
(originally published July 2017 in mass market paperback and eBook)
Secrets of the Lost Summer “Swift River Valley #1” by Carla Neggers
(originally published February 2012 in mass market paperback and December 2015 in eBook)
Sweet Dreams on Center Street “Life in Icicle Falls #1” by Sheila Roberts
(originally published October 2012 as Better than Chocolate in mass market paperback and February 2018 as Sweet Dreams on Center Street in eBook)

Virgin River Book #9-12
July 16, 2018
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Virgin River Collection Volume 3

Welcome back to Virgin River! Now available in a box set collection, return to this charming small town with these beloved stories form #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

Forbidden Falls
(originally published January 2010 in mass market paperback and reissued October 2014 in mass market paperback and eBook)

Reverend Noah Kincaid moved to town to reopen an abandoned church, and the young widower finds an unusual assistant in brash and beautiful Alicia Baldwin. Noah and Alicia are an unlikely team to revitalize a church, much less build a future. The couple has so many differences, but in Virgin River anything is possible, and happiness is never out of the question.

Angel’s Peak
(originally published February 2010 in mass market paperback and reissued December 2014 in mass market paperback and eBook)

Sean Riordan has settled down in spite of himself—he’s not the cocky young fighter pilot he was when Franci Duncan left him four years ago, and he wants them to try again. After all, they have a history. But that’s not all they share… Franci’s secret reason for walking away when Sean refused to commit is now a toddler. News travels fast, and soon the whole town is taking sides. Rebuilding their trust could take a small miracle—and the kind of love that can move mountains.

Moonlight Road
(originally published March 2010 in mass market paperback and reissued January 2015 in mass market paperback and eBook)

Erin Foley is hitting the pause button on her rat-race life and holing up in a secluded cabin. Her plan is to get to know herself…not the shaggy-haired mountain man she meets. Beneath his faded fatigues and bushy beard, Aiden Riordan is a doctor, recharging for a summer after leaving the navy. Erin seems determined to keep him at arm’s length, but he’d love to get closer—if his scruffy exterior and crazy ex-wife don’t hold him back. But there’’s something in the water in Virgin River, and unlikely romances tend to take root…

Midnight Confessions
(originally published November 2010 within MIDNIGHT KISS anthology in mass market paperback and reissued as a stand-alone December 2017 in eBook)

Drew Foley and Sunny Archer are each visiting Virgin River for the holidays. Sunny was dumped at the altar the previous New Year’s Eve and is in no mood to celebrate. But she’s dragged along to the party at Jack’s Bar. Drew, getting over his own heartbreak, sees Sunny across the crowded room and he’s instantly smitten. As the townspeople gather, two lonely revelers decide the best balm for their broken hearts might just be ringing in the new year with a special midnight kiss.

Four emotional stories of second chances, finding home, and falling in love.

June 26, 2018
MIRA Trade Paprback

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A Summer in Sonoma

Girlfriends make the best therapists

They’ve been best friends since seventh grade. But this summer, teetering on the threshold of thirty, four women are going to need each other more than ever.

No one delves into the complexities of female friendship better than #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

Originally published June 2010 in mass market paperback and June 2012 in eBook.

Excerpt

Cassie and Ken walked out of the bar together at seven-thirty. In the rapidly descending darkness of a perfect June night, he pulled her into his arms and covered her mouth in a powerful kiss. Wow, she thought. It was a good kiss—consuming and deep. His hands were running up and down her back. Then one slipped around her side, reaching for a breast, and she withdrew. She pushed him away, laughed nervously and said, “Hold on, pardner. Getting a little ahead of yourself, aren’t you?”

“Sorry,” he said. “I’ve been looking at you, wondering, you know…”

“Well, wonder no more, big fella—rest assured I am definitely a girl. Now, don’t we have plans? Live music in the park?”

“That’s right,” he said, laughing. Then, again, “Sorry.”

As he walked her to his car, she said, “Girls don’t get mad at guys for having romantic ideas. But you do have brakes, I assume?”

“Absolutely, Cassie.”

“Good. You were moving a little fast for me.”

The car was parked at the far end of the lot and she thought, Ahh, he’s car proud. He’d rather walk across the lot than risk a dent or scratch from neighboring cars. He opened the door to the passenger side and she slipped in. She immediately pulled on her seat belt while he got in the driver’s side.

He started the car, but didn’t put it in gear. Instead, he reached over to her side and began to gently caress her upper arm. He leaned toward her across the console, his eyelids becoming heavy, his mouth slightly open. It was like kiss-on-demand, but at least he was moving more slowly, giving her time, waiting for her to respond. She met his lips for a sweet, short kiss. He moved over her mouth with precision, but when she pulled away from his mouth, laughing nervously again, he grabbed her upper arms in his strong grip. “Cassie,” he said in a breath. “What do you say we rethink the music? Maybe skip it?”

“I don’t think so. I was looking forward to it,” she said, her heart rate speeding up a little. She started to smell an ill wind.

“Come on,” he begged. “Think about it. You won’t be sorry….”

She did a quick memory check. She’d been out for happy hour with friends from work when she met him. They’d talked for a long time. She was an emergency room nurse, he was a paramedic—they’d never met before but she did a lot of business with the fire department and had come to think of them as the good guys. He had been polite, attentive, interested. He was a nice-looking guy with a sense of humor. She’d taken his cell phone number and agreed to meet him again, this time for a cup of coffee. That’s how you play safe dating. He’d been a gentleman, walking her to her car after coffee and saying goodbye with a brief, platonic hug. Then she’d given him her cell phone number. So, after a few getting-to-know-you conversations, she’d accepted a date for live music in the park. She still hadn’t let him pick her up; they’d agreed to meet at a bar because finding each other in a park full of people could be difficult.

His behavior now took her by surprise. She’d have to back him down quick. She’d been attracted to him, but no way was she ready to take this to the next level.

“I don’t have to think about it,” she said, her palms pressed firmly against his chest. “I was looking forward to some music. It’s a beautiful night. And what you apparently have in mind is not on the agenda in the parking lot of the—”

Her words were cut off as he slipped a big hand around the back of her head and pulled her, roughly, onto his mouth. She pushed at him, making unintelligible sounds beneath his lips, but he was actually climbing across the console while silencing her with his mouth. For a guy about six feet tall, this was unimaginable, but he seemed to do it with ease. In seconds, he was straddling her hips, towering over her so fast she hardly knew what was happening.

“Hey!” she said when he released her lips. “Hey, what are you doing?”

She was thinking quickly. There were a few cars around his, but he had parked away from the crowd and his windows were darkly tinted. Her next thought was, How is this possible? This is a nice guy! This is a paramedic! My best friend’s husband is a paramedic; I know a lot of their friends! They’re salt of the earth— angels!

But he was pressing her back against the seat, devouring her mouth, breathing real hard and fast through his nose. He popped her seat belt off and although she pushed and her protests were lost as whimpers beneath his mouth, she was focused on the logistics of his attack. He couldn’t possibly plan to rape her in the front bucket seat of an SUV? She was wearing shorts; freeing her from her clothes would not be simple!

Then her seat began to recline—he had his hand on the button. He was slowly laying her down. She was beginning to understand his plan. If he got her flat, he could pull down her shorts. If he raped her and let her loose, if he didn’t leave bruises or marks, he’d claim she wasn’t forced. She’d run her share of rape kits in the E.R., heard her share of he-said-she-said stories while a skeptical detective took notes. Well, by God, she was at least going to force him to leave bruises! She began to kick and push and wiggle, throwing her head and body wildly back and forth, side to side.

“Stop it,” he said. “Stop it now. Come on. We know what we want!”

“Get off me, you son of a bitch!”

“Aw, Cassie,” he laughed, as if she’d uttered some kind of endearment. “Baby, come on—I’m totally into you!”

“You’re crazy! Let me go! Get off me! Now!”

“Come on, come on, settle down….”

“No!” she screamed. Just scream, she told herself. Bite, kick, scream, yell, hit, gouge, anything. She pushed at him with one hand, searching for the door handle with the other. Then, failing to find it, she pounded on the window, hoping to break it, screeching and turning her head away from his mouth so she could get volume. She tried head butting him, but he held her shoulders down and lifted his head back, and he laughed. She was moving around so violently, the car was actually bouncing. He tried to grab her wrist but she socked him in the eye. He grunted in pain and growled, but he didn’t hit back. She continued banging on the window and yelling. She knew one thing—he couldn’t get her out of this parking lot without moving to his side of the car, over that console, and by God she was going to fling herself out of the car before he could take her anywhere.

Suddenly there was a sharp rapping on her window. “Hey!” someone with a deep male voice yelled. “Hey!”

“Oh, God,” she cried, suddenly overcome with relief and hope. “Help!” she screamed. “Hel—!” And then Ken put his hand over her mouth.

Ken lowered the window an inch. “Hey, go away, pal. We’re busy!” And he powered the window back up.

Cassie bit his hand as hard as she could and he jumped so abruptly, he hit his head on the ceiling of the car.

Cassie heard the man with the deep voice try to open the locked door. Then the window’s glass suddenly cracked and, like a spiderweb, spread into a million cracks. But it was tempered glass and didn’t break, merely crystallized, leaving a dent in the glass where it had been hit. A sharp object she vaguely recognized as a key popped through the compromised glass and started boring a hole into it, releasing diamondlike pebbles of glass that fell into the car. Ken decided to return to the driver’s seat. “What the hell are you doing, man?” he screamed at the intruder.

A huge hand attached to a huge arm entered through the hole in the window and reached down to flip the lock. The door opened instantly and Cassie stumbled out. She was gasping as she looked into a face far more frightening than Ken’s. This was a giant wearing a tight white T-shirt covered by a black leather vest adorned with chains. On the arm that had freed her was a tattoo of a naked lady. He had a lot of facial hair—long, thick sideburns and a handlebar moustache that framed his mouth. His hair was pulled back into a ponytail. With his hands on her elbows to help her stand upright, he asked, “You hurt?” His voice was very menacing; he frowned blackly. Cassie was five-three and this guy had a foot on her, at least.

“No,” she said, gasping. “Yes. I mean, no. He…” She couldn’t finish.

He pulled her away from the SUV and turned her around so that he stood between her and the car. “You need the police? Or the hospital?” he asked as he pulled a cell phone out of his pants pocket.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “You were in time.” Then she hiccupped and choked; a fat tear ran down her cheek. “Oh, God!”

“Can I call someone for you?” he asked, his voice miraculously softer.

Suddenly the SUV was in gear, and Ken—the polite, salt-of-the-earth paramedic—took off. The passenger door slowly drifted closed as the car banked and turned, leaving some skid marks behind.

“My purse…” she whimpered.

Suddenly the SUV skidded to a stop just before exiting the parking lot. Through the broken passenger door window flew an object, crashing to the ground. Then the car sped away. “Your purse,” the big guy said. “Stay here.” He walked across the parking lot, squatted to return scattered items from her purse back into it, then brought it back to her. “Here you go,” he said, holding it out.

Cassie looked up at the guy who had saved her. A biker dude. He looked scruffy and scary, like he could be a Hells Angel or something. But Ken, so clean-cut, turned out to be the dangerous one.

“God,” she said. “I never saw that coming. If you hadn’t…”

“You okay? Because I can call the police. I got the plate number.”

“I wasn’t hurt—just scared to death. I swear, that shouldn’t have happened.”

“It looked pretty bad there for a minute.”

“For a minute, it was pretty bad. I think maybe he was going to—” She stopped. She couldn’t say it.

“Hey, now. You sure you’re okay?” the guy asked again.

Cassie fished around in her purse for her keys, her hands shaking. “Yeah,” she said with a sniff. “I’ll be fine. I think.”

“You want me to follow you home or something? Make sure you don’t have any trouble?”

She let a huff of laughter escape through her tears. Imagine having a guy like this follow her, know where she lived? Suddenly the world didn’t make any sense. “I won’t go straight home. I’ll go to my girlfriend’s. She has a protective German shepherd and a six-foot-two-inch husband.”

“You sure you don’t want to just check in with the police?” he asked, his brows furrowing. “Talk to them about it?”

“She also has three kids,” Cassie said.

The big man laughed, a deep and rumbling sound. “Well, I guess that oughta hold anyone back.”

Another laugh puffed out of Cassie, but then she instantly plummeted into tears. Loud tears. Her purse dropped from her hands and she leaned against him, wailing.

“Whoa, kiddo,” he said. “I think maybe I should buy you a cup of coffee, get you a little straightened out before you drive….”

“I’m not… I wasn’t… I haven’t been drinking or anything,” she finally choked out.

“I didn’t mean to sober you up,” he said with a laugh. He bent down and picked up the purse and then, with a big arm draped around her shoulders, he gently, protectively, led her back toward the bar.

Looking up at him, she asked, “What if he comes back?”

“He’s not coming back,” the man said. “You’re okay for now. Come on, let’s have a cup of coffee. Calm down a little. Then you go on to your girlfriend’s. Huh?”

By the time he got all that out, they were nearly at the door to the bar. She wiped at her cheeks, her eyes. “I really don’t know what to do,” she said.

“I know,” he answered. “Coffee, that’s what we do.”

In just a few minutes she was sitting in a corner booth, staring into a cup of black coffee, across from one big, mean-looking biker. And he had a cup of coffee, too.

Cassie could hardly lift her head; she was exhausted, frightened, wrung out, relieved. But as she slowly realized what she really was, she looked up in some surprise, right into the amazing blue eyes of her rescuer. “God, I’m so embarrassed,” she said in a breath.

“You shouldn’t be embarrassed,” he said. “You didn’t attack him. He should be embarrassed, but he’s probably not. Bet he’s scared, though.”

“Of you?”

“Not necessarily. You know, it’s not too late to call the police. My little brother’s a cop, actually. He’s not working tonight, but we could still call him. He’d be good for some advice, at least.” Then he laughed. “Of all us boys, he was about the worst one. Figures he’d turn into a cop. And a real hard-case cop, too. Not a lot of gray area with him. Listen, how well do you know that guy?”

“Apparently not well enough,” she said, shaking her head. “We met at happy hour, then had a coffee date and talked on the phone quite a bit. He works with people I know. I guess.”

“You guess?”

“Well, he said he was a paramedic and my best friend’s husband is a paramedic. I know a lot of their friends. I thought we had mutual friends. Jeez. What if he was just lying?”

“License plates don’t lie.”

“How did you know to help me?”

He smiled. “You’re kidding, right? I heard you. The car was rocking. Two people in the front seat? I figured if it was consensual, you’d both be in the backseat.” He shrugged. “It was worth checking out.”

“What did you use to break that window?”

He lifted a hand. He stared at his own knuckles for a second. They were bruised and swelling.

“Holy cow,” she said. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. It’ll be fine.” Then he grinned. “Maybe he’ll try to sue me or something, huh? I’d love that. So, I’m Walt. Walt Arneson.”

“Cassie,” she said. Then she shook her head. “You must think I’m pretty stupid.”

“Doesn’t sound like it,” he answered.

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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Virgin River Book #5-8
June 11, 2018
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A Virgin River Collection Volume 2

Now available in a box set collection, return to Virgin River with these beloved stories form #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

Second Chance Pass
(originally published February 2009 and reissued April 2010 in mass market paperback)

Vanessa Rutledge’s new baby is helping heal her heart after the death of her husband. She longs to share this love with former Marine Paul Haggerty, her husband’s best friend, but he’s keeping his distance. The good folks of Virgin River might have to meddle to get these two to realize they both deserve a second chance.

Temptation Ridge
(originally published March 2009 in mass market paperback)

Shelby McIntyre’s plans for her newfound freedom include finding Mr. Right—and everything she wants in a man is essentially the opposite of what she gets in rugged Luke Riordan. The jaded, battle-scared army pilot is all wrong for her, but sometimes what you want and what you need are two different things.

Paradise Valley
(originally published April 2009 in mass market paperback)

Marine Corporal Rick Sudder is home early from Iraq, and must reconcile his past life in Virgin River with the man he is now. Can Liz, who never gave up on him, help him mend his broken body and shattered heart?

Under the Christmas Tree
(originally published October 2009 within That Holiday Feeling anthology in mass market paperback; June 2012 in eBook; Novemer 2014 within ‘Tis the Season anthology in mass market paperback and eBook; and November 2017 as a standalone eBook)

When the folks of Virgin River discover a box of adorable puppies under the town’s Christmas tree, they call on local vet Nathaniel Jensen for help. But it’s his budding romance with Annie McCarty that really has tongues—and tails—wagging!

Four moving stories of forgiveness, new beginnings, and the power of love to heal…

May 29, 2018
MIRA Reissue in Mass Market Paperback

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The Summer That Made Us

Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins—they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again.

That was then…

For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.

This is now…

After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.

Robyn Carr has crafted a beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and the value of strong female relationships.

Originally published September 2017 in trade paperback and eBook.

Excerpt

Charlene Berkey was devastated. Her television career had come to an abrupt end. She should have been better prepared—the ratings had been falling and daytime talk shows were shrinking in popularity, but she thought her show would survive. The suits at the network kept telling her she’d be fine. Then, without warning, they canceled the show. They didn’t offer her any options. There wasn’t even a position available doing the weather. She was on the street, unemployed and feeling too old to compete at the age of forty-four.

The situation put a terrible strain on her relationship. Michael, typically such a sensitive man, didn’t seem to understand what this turn of events did to her self-esteem, her self-image. She felt overwhelmed, terrified and useless. She had no idea what the future held for her.

If all that wasn’t bad enough, her sister Megan was only forty-two and fighting stage-four breast cancer. Her most recent procedure to beat the monster was a bone marrow transplant and now all she could do was wait.

Charley made a quick decision. She wanted to use this time she suddenly had to be with her sister. She picked up her phone.

* * *

“I want to go to the lake house,” Meg said. “Like we used to when we were kids. I want to get up on one of those bright summer mornings, sit on the dock and watch the sun rise and the fish jump, and see those old fishermen floating out there with their lines cast, waiting for a catch. I want to spend the summer thinking about the way we were—six little blondes with bodies brown as berries. Half-naked, dirty as dogs, flushed and happy and healthy and strong. Our sleeping bags out on the porch, giggling late into the muggy summer nights.”

“While the mosquitoes ate us alive,” Charley said.

“I don’t remember being upset about mosquitoes as a kid.”

“You got it the worst,” Charley said. “You looked like you had chicken pox.”

“I want to spend the summer at the lake.”

“God, no! It’s not the place you remember,” Charley said. “It must be uninhabitable. It’s been years since the family abandoned it. It’s old, Meg. Old and neglected. It’s dying a slow death, I think.”

“That makes two of us,” she said.

“Please don’t say that,” Charley begged.

“John and I snuck up there once,” Meg said, speaking of her husband, a pediatrician to whom she’d been married for twelve years. They were like the perfect couple with the exception of a brief separation just a couple of years ago. “It looked kind of tired and it needs some work. But…oh, Charley, it brought back such wonderful memories. The house might’ve gone to hell like the rest of the family, but the lake is still so pretty, so peaceful.”

“It’s a long way from your doctor, from the hospital,” Charley said.

“Better still. I’m sick of both. I want to rest, have some peace.”

“And you think opening up that lake house against Mother’s express wishes will bring peace?” Charley asked.

“Guess what? I don’t give a shit, how’s that? Bunny died twenty-seven years ago. If Mother wants to suffer for the rest of her life, what can I do about it? It’s time Louise learned, not everything is about her.”

“She’s going to be impossible,” Charley said.

Megan laughed. “Do you care?”

“I don’t have a key,” Charley said, refusing to answer the question. “Do you?”

“You don’t need a key, Charley. Those windows on the porch aren’t even locked. Or the locks rotted away and are useless. We can get in and have the locks replaced.”

“She’ll have us arrested.”

“Her dying daughter? And her unemployed and homeless daughter?”

“You’re not dying! And I’m not exactly homeless—I’m just going to rent out my house so I can come and be with you.”

“You are unemployed…”

“That’s just for now,” she said. “I’m going to be with you until you turn a corner and start to get better. Stronger. Which you will.”

“At the lake,” Megan said. “Aw, jeez…”

“Admit it, you’re dying to go back. To the scene of the crime, so to speak. We might figure out a few things…”

“What’s there to figure out?” Charlene asked. “It was the perfect storm. Bunny drowned, I was already in trouble even if I didn’t know it, Uncle Roy was down to his hundredth second chance and blew town and Mother and Aunt Jo weren’t speaking. When they couldn’t help each other through the darkness the rest of the family went down like dominoes.”

“All precipitated by Bunny’s accident?” Meg sounded doubtful. “There was other stuff going on or else Mother would have accepted whatever comfort Aunt Jo could give. They were so close!”

“Jo didn’t have much to give just then,” Charley said. “Her husband ran off, leaving her penniless and heartbroken. Mother seemed to blame Aunt Jo. Mother has always found a handy person to blame. All of us kids struggled as a result but I’ve made my peace with it—we were a completely dysfunctional family that, God forbid, should get help.”

Charley had often wondered how they could have been saved from such utter disaster. It was obvious what went wrong—poor little Bunny, gone. But it remained a mystery how everything could go as wrong as it had. That was probably why she had been so successful in the talk show business—that search for answers. She’d had a San Francisco–based television talk show for a dozen years and, since she’d studied journalism and psychology, she’d favored guests who had in- sights into dysfunctional people and relationships. It had been a very popular show.

And it was now canceled. “I want to go back,” Meg said. “I want to see if I remember.”

There it is, Charley thought. Everyone in the family had their own response to Bunny’s sudden death and Megan’s was to forget. Most of that last summer at the lake didn’t happen in her mind. She had been only fifteen at the time. The doctor called it a nervous breakdown and completely understandable, given the circumstances. They hospitalized and medicated her. She didn’t stay in the hospital long, then came home and seemed her old self with one exception—she couldn’t remember almost a year of her life. Pieces came back over time but it wasn’t talked about.

The Berkey-Hempstead family was very good at not talking about things.

“Do you think if you go back to the lake for a while it will all come flooding back, after twenty-seven years?”

“No,” Meg said. “I think I’ll remember the golden days of summers there. I think I’ll remember what a happy childhood we had. For the most part. I think it will be healing. So relaxing and healthy. I want to hear the ducks, the boats on the lake, the children at the camp down the road, the naughty teenagers partying across the lake in that cove. Surely that’s still there, the cove.”

Charlene remembered partying on the beach at the cove around the bend from the lodge. She had been all of sixteen. “Hopefully someone built a great big house there,” she said. “Or a parking lot.”

“I hope it’s not very changed…”

“That’s what you really want?” Charley asked. “It’s all I want.”

Charley knew she had no choice because you don’t deny your only sister who has cancer anything. “I’ll have to go there,” she said. “Certainly things will have to be done to make it civilized. I’ll have to make sure the house is habitable. I should tell Michael our plans, talk with Eric…”

“Will Michael put up a stink about this?” Meg asked.

“I don’t know why he should. Of course I’ll have his complete support—he loves you. Maybe he’ll even steal a little time and come out for a visit, bring Eric.”

“Everything is all right with you and Michael, isn’t it?” Megan asked.

“Of course! Why would you ask that?”

“I don’t know,” Megan said. “You sounded uncomfortable when I asked about him.”

Charlene laughed. “Sorry. This is an odd time. I have no job, no place of my own, no idea what’s coming next. The only home I have is Michael’s house in Palo Alto. It shouldn’t be such an adjustment. But it is.”

“I bet you feel dependent for the first time in your life,” Megan suggested.

“Maybe that’s it,” she said. But that wasn’t it. She and Michael were fighting. They’d had a standoff. About marriage, of all things.

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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Virgin River Book #1-4
May 14, 2018
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Virgin River Collection Volume 1

Welcome back to Virgin River! Available for the first time in a box set, the first four stories in the acclaimed series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr. Discover a remote mountain town that might be the perfect place to start fresh.

Virgin River
originally published April 2007 and reissued May 2010 and December 2012 in mass market paperback)

Nurse practitioner Melinda Monroe comes to town to escape her heartache, though nothing is what she expected. A tiny baby abandoned on a porch changes all her plans, and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.

Shelter Mountain
(originally published May 2007 and reissued May 2010 and February 2013 in mass market paperback)

Paige Lassiter’s sudden, desperate arrival stirs up protective instincts in John “Preacher” Middleton. She and her little boy clearly need help, and if there’s one thing Preacher has learned, it’s that some things are worth fighting for.

Whispering Rock
(originally published June 2007 and reissued March 2013 in mass market paperback)

When wounded former LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela agrees to become the town’s first cop, he knows it’s time he settled down. He’s longing for commitment, and hopes he can help the tough Brie Sheridan to lose her fears and trust again.

A Virgin River Christmas
(originally published November 2008 and reissued November 2013 in mass market paperback)

Marcie Sullivan has finally found Ian Buchanan, a man she owes a special debt to. Maybe in this season of wonder, Ian can look into his painful past and open his heart to the uncertain future.

Sullivan's Crossing March 12, 2018
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Sullivan’s Crossing Collection Volume 1

Join Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as she explores the healing powers of rural Colorado in the new Sullivan’s Crossing series, with the first two novels now available together in a box set.

WHAT WE FIND
(originally published April 2016 in hardcover and eBook and March 2017 in mass market paperback)

Under extreme pressure, neurosurgeon Maggie Sullivan knows she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can do that is Sullivan’s Crossing. But on arriving at the stretch of land and charming general store, Maggie finds she must take on an unexpected responsibility. When a quiet and serious-looking hiker, Cal Jones, offers to lend a hand, Maggie is suspicious of his motives—until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation. As they spend time together, Maggie is given hope for something brighter in the future, if only they can learn to find peace and healing…and maybe even love.

ANY DAY NOW
(originally published April 2017 in hardcover and eBook and March 2018 in mass market paperback)

For Sierra Jones, Sullivan’s Crossing is meant to be a brief stopover. She’s put her troubled past behind her but the path forward isn’t yet clear. Cal and Maggie welcome her into their busy lives and she quickly finds herself bonding with Sully, the quirky campground owner who is the father figure she’s always wanted. But when her past catches up with her, it’s a special man and an adorable puppy who give her the strength to face the truth and fight for a brighter future. Sierra will learn to cherish the family you are given and the family you choose.

Sullivan's Crossing Book #2
February 20, 2018
MIRA Paperback

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Any Day Now

Sullivan’s Crossing is a rustic campground at the crossroads of the Colorado and Continental Divide trails that welcomes everyone—whether you need a weekend getaway or a whole new lease on life. It’’s a wonderful place where good people face their challenges with humor, strength and love.

For Sierra Jones, Sullivan’s Crossing is meant to be a brief stopover. She’s put her troubled past behind her but the path forward isn’t yet clear. A visit with her big brother Cal and his new bride, Maggie, seems to be the best option to help her get back on her feet.

Not wanting to burden or depend on anyone, Sierra is surprised to find the Crossing offers so much more than a place to rest her head. Cal and Maggie welcome her into their busy lives and she quickly finds herself bonding with Sully, the quirky campground owner who is the father figure she’s always wanted. But when her past catches up with her, it’s a special man and an adorable puppy who give her the strength to face the truth and fight for a brighter future. In Sullivan’s Crossing Sierra learns to cherish the family you are given and the family you choose.

Originally published April 2017 in hardcover and eBook.


Still Available in Hardcover

Excerpt

SO, THIS IS WHAT A NEW LIFE LOOKS LIKE. SIERRA

Jones opened her eyes on a sunny Colorado morning to that thought.

She had given this a great deal of consideration. Colorado had not been her only option but she decided it might be the best one. Her brother Cal, with whom she shared a deep bond, was making a life here and he wanted her to be part of it. Sierra needed a new place to start over. A place with no bad memories, where she had no history and yet, had a strong emotional connection. Her big brother was a powerful pull.

When she was a child, it was Cal who’d protected her, loved her unconditionally, cared for her, worried on her behalf. He was eight years older but had been more than just her brother. He had been her best friend. And when he’d left home, or what passed for home when she was ten years old, she’d been adrift. When she’d finally made up her mind to give this place a chance, Cal wanted her to come directly to his house. His house in progress, that is. But that didn’t sound like a good idea; there was only one bedroom finished so far. And, more important—she wouldn’t be a burden to anyone, and absolutely did not want to be in the way of a new couple who were just feeling their way into marriage. Cal and Maggie had been married less than six months and were living in the barn they were converting into a house. Sierra thanked them kindly and said she’d prefer to find her own lodgings and live on her own. A very important part of creating a new life was independence. She did not want to be accountable to anyone but herself.

That’s what she’d told them. The truth, hidden protectively in her heart, was that she was afraid to depend on Cal again as she had when she was a little girl. He had a new family, after all. She remembered too well the pain from her childhood when he’d abandoned her. It was awful.

Independence was a little frightening. But, she reminded herself, she did have her brother near and willing to lend a hand if she needed anything, just as she was more than eager to be there for Cal and Maggie. She was thirty years old and it was high time she built a life that reflected the new woman she was becoming. This was a joyful, challenging, exciting and terrifying change. If a little lonely at times…

She had a short checklist of things she wanted to settle for herself before seeing Cal. First—she wanted to look around the area. Timberlake was the town closest to where her brother and Maggie lived and she thought it was adorable. It was a little touristy, a little on the Wild West side with its clapboard shop fronts and Victorian-style houses, surrounded by the beauty of snow-topped mountains and long, deep fields. The first day she spent in the small town there was a herd of elk cantering down the main street. One big bull was bugling at the cows and calves, herding them away from the town and back to grazing land. They were at once majestic and klutzy, wandering in a little confusion through the cars. An old guy standing in front of a barbershop explained to her that with spring, they were moving to higher elevations, cows were giving birth, grazing was found in different areas. And in the fall, he said, watch out for rutting season. “Those bulls get real territorial.”

That was all it took for Sierra to begin to hope this would be the right place for her, because her heart beat a little faster just watching that grand herd move through town. The old guy had said, “You don’t see that every day.”

She’d found a comfortable, clean, cheap hostel that would let her pay by the week and they were just starting to get an influx of students and adventurers who wanted to take advantage of the Colorado springtime. She’d have to share a bathroom, but it wouldn’t be the first time; she wasn’t fussy and it would make decent housing until she could find something more permanent. The owner of the hostel, a woman in her sixties called Midge, had said there were rooms and apartments being let by local homeowners all over town.

The best part about the hostel—there were people around, yet she would be on her own.

She’d found a part-time job right away—the diner needed early-morning waitstaff help a couple days a week. They’d lost their main morning waitress and the owner’s wife had been filling in. As it happened, Sierra loved the early morning. The money wasn’t great but it was enough to keep her comfortable and she had a little savings.

The most important thing she’d researched before coming to Colorado was locations and times of AA meetings. She even had an app for her phone. There were regularly scheduled meetings everywhere. In Timberlake and in all the small towns surrounding it from Breckinridge to Colorado Springs. They were usually held in churches but there were some in community centers, in office buildings, hospitals and even clubhouses. She would never be without support.

Sierra was nine months sober.

Sierra had reconnected with Cal about seven months ago, right before he and Maggie married. He’d visited her twice since and called her regularly. He’d begun lobbying for her move to Colorado a few months ago. For the eight years previous they’d been in touch but not much a part of each other’s lives and for that she had regrets. Those years had been especially difficult for Cal; the past five years had been brutal. His first wife, Lynne, had suffered from scleroderma, a painful, fatal disease, and had passed away three years ago. Cal had been a lost soul. If she’d been a better sister, she might’ve offered her support.

But that was in the past and the future was her opportunity. She hoped they could rebuild the close relationship they’d once had and become family again. Right before she’d started the long trek south to Colorado, Cal had shared a secret—he was going to be a father.

Sierra was thrilled for him. He would never know how much she looked forward to a baby. She would be an auntie. Since she would never have children of her own, this was an unexpected gift.

Cal Jones lay back against the pillows, his fingers laced behind his head, sheet drawn to his waist. He watched Maggie preen naked in front of the full-length mirror, checking her profile.

“We got a thing going on…me and Mrs. Jones…” he said, his voice husky.

She really didn’t show much yet. Just the tiniest curve where her waist had been. She kept smoothing her hand over it. “I passed the dreaded first three months with no issues,” she said. She beamed at him, her eyes alive. “I’m not sick. I feel great. I’m going to tell my dad it’s okay to tell his friends now.”

“Don’t be too surprised if you find he already has.” “I wouldn’t be at all surprised.”

He watched her with pride. Thin as a reed with that little bump that he put there, her smile wistful and almost angelic. She wanted the baby as much as he did; she thrilled with each day it grew in her. This baby had healed something in her. And it filled him with a new hope. She was more beautiful now than she’d ever been.

“Mrs. Jones, you have to either get dressed or come over here and do me.”

She laughed. “I already did you. Magnificently, I might add.” “I said thank you.”

She reached for her underwear, then her jeans, then her sweatshirt. The show was over. Now he’d have to wait all day to have her alone again.

“It’s time for you to get to work—I need a house. Tom will be here anytime. I’m going over to Sully’s store,” Maggie said. There was much cleanup and restoration to do at her dad’s general store and campground at Sullivan’s Crossing. It was the first of March, and it wouldn’t be long before the campers and hikers started coming in force.

Cal and Maggie were living in the barn they were renovating into a big house with the guidance of Tom Canaday, a local with some amazing carpentry and other building skills. Tom had good subcontractors to help, speeding up the process. Maggie and Cal had married last October and, while the roof and exterior were being reinforced and sealed, dormers added to what were once haylofts, the wiring refreshed, the interior gutted and windows installed where there had been none, they’d been living at Sully’s, in his basement. Tom, Cal and a few extra hands had finally finished off a bedroom and functional bath- room along with a semifunctional kitchen. That bedroom on the ground floor would eventually be Cal’s office when the house was finished. The proper master bedroom would be up- stairs. They had a good seal on their temporary bedroom door so they could sleep there and not be overcome by sawdust or the dirt of construction. They’d been in residence two weeks, thanks to warmer weather and a good space heater.

Maggie spent most of her free time at the store helping her dad. Then there were those three or four days a week she was in Denver where she practiced neurosurgery. On her practice days she stayed at the Denver house she’d owned for several years. During her days away, Cal and Tom did the things that were noisiest, smelliest and messiest—the pounding and sawing, cutting granite and quartz, applying the noxious sealer, installing the floors, sanding and staining. Every time Maggie came home it was like Christmas—she’d find new stairs to the second floor, a bathtub, a new kitchen sink, ceramic tile on the kitchen floor, half a fireplace. But the most precious addition of all was the Shop-Vac. That little beauty kept dirt, sawdust, spillage and debris manageable. It was their goal to have the house finished before the baby came, due in October.

Tom Canaday was at the house, his truck backed up to the door, before Cal had finished making Maggie breakfast—very likely by design. Cal got the eggs back out and started making more breakfast.

Tom brought his twenty-year-old son, Jackson; something he did whenever Jackson had a day free of classes. In the cavernous great room they sat at a long picnic table. Tom had thrown it together and it became the table they ate at, spread plans on, used as a carpenter’s bench, a desk when they held meetings. They met with subcontractors there, spread material samples or design renderings on it, looked through catalogs. It was truly multipurpose.

Once Maggie had gone to Sullivan’s Crossing, the men were still seated at the picnic table, finishing a second cup of coffee when there was a knock at the door.

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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Thunder Point Book #1
December 26, 2017
MIRA Paperback

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The Wanderer

Discover #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr’s popular Thunder Point—a heartfelt series that will make you laugh, make you sigh and make you fall in love with a small town filled with people you’ll never forget.

Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land’s unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he’s been left an old friend’s entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community’s destiny in his hands.

Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.

With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.

Originally published April 2013 in mass market paprback and eBook.

Excerpt

Chapter One
It took Hank Cooper almost eight hours to get from Virgin River to Thunder Point, Oregon because he was towing his fifth wheel, a toy hauler. He pulled to the side of the road frequently to let a long string of motorists pass. He stopped just prior to crossing the California/Oregon border at a redwood tourist trap featuring gardens, souvenirs, wood carvings, a lunch counter and restrooms. Skipping the garden tour, he bought a sandwich and drink and headed out of the monument-size trees to the open road, which very soon revealed the rocky Oregon Coast.

Cooper stopped at the first outlook over the ocean and parked. His phone showed five bars, and he dialed up the Sheriff’s Department. “Hello,” he said to the call taker. “My name is Hank Cooper, and I’m on my way to Thunder Point following a call from someone saying my friend, Ben Bailey, is dead. Apparently he left something for me, but that’s not why I’m headed your way. The message I got was that Ben was killed, and there were no details. I want to talk to the Sheriff. Preferably, see the Sheriff when I talk to him. I need some answers.”

“Hold, please,” she said.

Well, that wasn’t what he expected. He figured he’d leave a number and eat his lunch while he waited.

“Deputy McCain,” said the new voice on the line.

“Hank Cooper here, Deputy,” he said, and in spite of himself, he straightened and squared his shoulders. He’d always been resistant to authority, yet he also responded to it. “I’m a friend of Ben Bailey and on my way into town to find out what happened to him.”

“Mr. Cooper, Ben Bailey’s been deceased for more than a couple of weeks.”

“I gather that. I just found out. Some old guy—Rawley someone —found a phone number and called me. He was killed, Rawley said. Dead and buried. I want to know what happened to him. He was my friend.”

“I can give you the details in about ninety seconds . . . .”

But Cooper wanted to look him in the eye when he heard the tale. “If you’ll give me directions, I’ll come to the Sheriff’s Department.”

“Well, that’s not necessary. I can meet you at the bar,” the deputy said.

“What bar?”

“Ben’s. I guess you weren’t a close friend.”

“We go back fifteen years but this is my first trip up here. We were supposed to meet with a third buddy from the Army in Virgin River for some hunting. Ben always said he had a bait shop.”

“I’d say he sold a lot more Wild Turkey than bait. You know where it is?”

“Only sort of,” Cooper said.

“101 to Gibbons Road, head west. About four miles down Gibbons, look for a homemade sign that says Cheap Drinks. Turn left onto Bailey Pass. It curves down the hill. You’ll run right into Bailey’s. When do you think you’ll get there?”

“I just crossed into Oregon from California,” he said. “I’m pulling a fifth wheel. Couple of hours?”

“More like three. I’ll meet you there if nothing interferes. Is this your cell number?”

“It is,” he said.

“You’ll have good reception on the coast. I’ll give you a call if I’m held up.”

“Thanks, Deputy….what was it?”

“McCain. See you later, Mr. Cooper.”

Cooper signed off, slipped the phone into his jacket pocket and got out of the truck. He put his lunch on the hood and leaned against the truck, looking out at the northern Pacific Ocean. He’d been all over the world, and this was his first trip to the Oregon coast. The beach was rocky, and there were two-story boulders sticking out of the water. A low flying orange and white helicopter flew over the water—a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin, search and rescue.

For a moment he had a longing to be back in a chopper, surprised it was only a moment. Once he got this business about Ben straightened out, he might get to the chore of looking for a flying job. He’d done a number of things air-related after the Army; the most recent was flying to off-shore oil rigs out of the Corpus Christi port. That job had really soured for him after an oil spill. He hated the thought of going back to work for an oil company.

His head turned as he followed the Coast Guard chopper across the water. He’d never considered the USCG. He was more inclined to avoid off-shore storms than to fly right into them to pluck someone out of a wild sea.

He took a couple of swallows of his drink and a big bite of his sandwich, vaguely aware of a number of vehicles pulling into the outlook parking area. People were getting out of their cars and trucks and moving to the edge of the viewing area with binoculars and cameras. Personally, Coop didn’t really think all these mountainous boulders covered with bird shit worthy of a picture, even with the orange chopper flying over them. Hovering over them . . . .

The waves crashed against the big rocks with deadly power, and the wind was really kicking up. He knew only too well how dicey hovering in wind conditions like that could be. And so close to the rocks. If anything went wrong, that helicopter might not be able to recover in time to avoid the boulders or crashing surf. Could get ugly.

Then a man in a harness emerged from the helicopter, dangling on a cable. That’s when Cooper saw what the other motorists had seen before him. He put down his sandwich and dove into the truck, grabbing for the binoculars in the central compartment. He honed in on that boulder, a good forty or fifty feet tall, and what had been two specs he recognized as two human beings. One was on top of the rock, squatting to keep from being blown over in the wind, the other clinging to the face of the rock. And now, thanks to the binoculars, he could see a small boat was floating away from the rock.

Rock climbers? They both wore what appeared to be wet suits under their climbing gear. There was a stray rope anchored to the rock and flapping in the breeze. The man who squatted on top of the boulder had issues with not only the crosswind but the helicopter’s rotor wash. And if the pilot couldn’t keep his aircraft stable, that EMT or rescue swimmer who dangled from the cable could start to swing and slam into the rock.

“Easy, easy, easy,” he muttered to the crew.

The emergency medical tech grabbed onto the wall of the rock beside the stranded climber, stabilized himself with an anchor in the stone, and held there for a minute. Then the climber hoisted himself off the wall of the rock and onto the EMT, piggy back to the front of the harnessed rescuer, both of them pulled immediately up to the copter via the cable. They were quickly pulled within.

“Yeah,” he whispered. Good job! He’d like to know the weight of that pilot’s balls—that was some fancy flying. And that was the hard part. Rescuing the guy up top was going to be less risky for all involved. The chopper backed away from the rock slightly while victim number one was pulled inside and presumably stabilized. Then, slowly edging near the rock once more, hovering there, a rescue basket was deployed. The climber on top waited until the basked was right there before he stood, grabbed it and literally fell inside. As he was being pulled up, motorists around Cooper cheered.

Before the climber was pulled all the way into the chopper, the small craft that had gotten away from them crashed against the mountainous boulder and broke into pieces. It left nothing but debris on the water. These guys must have taken a small boat out to the rock, tried to anchor it on a side that wasn’t battered by big waves so they could climb up, then climb back down to their boat. Once the boat was lost, so were they.

Who called the Coast Guard? Probably one of them, from a cell phone. Likely the one on top who wasn’t hanging on for dear life.

Everyone safely inside the helicopter, it rose, banked, and shot away out to sea.

Cooper found himself thinking, And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our matinee for today. Join us again tomorrow for another show. As the other motorists slowly departed, Coop finished his sandwich, then got back on 101 heading north.

It was a good thing Cooper’s GPS was up to date and followed the deputy’s directions, because Gibbons Road was unmarked. It was a very narrow two lane that went switchback style down a steep hill. It then hit a turn off, but there was only a sign and arrow pointing left, Cheap Drinks. Very classy, he found himself thinking. Ben had never been known as what Cooper’s southern grandmother had called “High Cotton.”

From that sign, however, he could see the lay of the land, and it was beautiful. It was a very wide inlet or bay that stretched like a U settled deeply into a high, rocky coastline. He could see Ben’s place, a single building with a wide deck and stairs leading down to a dock and the beach. Stretching out toward the ocean beyond Ben’s place was a completely uninhabited promontory. On the opposite side of the beach was a marina and a town. There, too, was a promontory that stretched out toward the ocean. However, there were houses all the way out to the point with what Cooper could only imagine to be a drop dead view. The town was built from the marina straight up the hill in what appeared to be steppes. He could see the streets from where he was parked. That would be Thunder Point. Between Ben’s place and the town, only the wide, expansive beach. Looking down, he could see a woman in a red hooded jacket and a big dog walking along the beach. She repeatedly threw a stick; the dog kept returning it. The dog was big, black and white and had legs like an Arabian colt.

He sat there a moment, thinking about anyone taking advantage of those cheap drinks and then getting back up to 101 on this road. It should be named suicide trail.

The sun was shining, and Cooper was reminded of one of Ben’s emails describing his home. Oregon is mostly wet and cold all winter, but there’s one part around Bandon and Coos Bay that’s moderate almost year round, sunny more often than stormy. But when the storms come into Thunder Point over the ocean, it’s like one of the Seven Wonders. The bay is protected by the hills and stays calm, keeping the fishing boats safe, but those thunder clouds can be spectacular . . . .

Then he saw not one but two eagles circling over the point on Ben’s side of the beach. It was a rare and beautiful sight.

He proceeded to the parking lot, not entirely surprised to find the Sheriff’s Department SUV already there and the deputy sitting inside, apparently writing something. He was out of the car and striding toward Cooper just a few seconds later. Cooper sized him up—this was a young man, probably mid-thirties. He was tall, sandy-haired, blue eyed, broad shouldered—about what you’d expect.

Cooper extended a hand. “Sheriff.”

“Sheriff’s Deputy, actually. The County Sheriff’s office is in Coquille. This is a satellite office with a few deputies assigned. Thunder Point is small, coastal, and there’s a constable but no other local law enforcement. The constable handles small disputes, evictions, that sort of thing. The county jail is in Coquille. And, Mr. Cooper, I’m sorry for your loss.”

“What happened to him?”

“He was found at the foot of the stairs to the cellar, where he kept the bait tanks. Ben lived here—he had a couple of rooms over the bar. The doors weren’t locked, but I don’t think Ben ever locked up. There were no obvious signs of foul play, but the case was turned over to the coroner. Nothing was missing, not even the cash. The coroner ruled it an accident.”

“But the guy who called me said he’d been killed,” Cooper said.

“I think Rawley was upset. He was kind of insistent that Ben couldn’t take a fall, but he’d had a couple of drinks. Not nearly the legal limit, but he could’ve tripped. Hell, I’ve been known to trip on no alcohol at all. Rawley found him, and the money was still in its hiding place. Ben kept the money in a cash drawer in the cooler. It was intact. The thing is,” the deputy said, scratching the back of his neck. “Time of death was put at two a.m., Ben was in his boxers, and Rawley insisted there’s no reason he’d get out of bed on the second floor and head for the cellar in the middle of the night. And Rawley might be right—except this could have been the night Ben heard a noise and was headed for the beach. Just in case you’re wondering, there is no surveillance video. In fact, the only place in town that actually has a surveillance camera is the bank. Ben has had one or two characters over the years, but never any real trouble; never been robbed.”

“You don’t think it’s possible someone who knew the place decided to rob it after midnight? When Ben was vulnerable?”

“Most of Ben’s customers were regulars or heard about it from regulars—weekend bikers, sports fishermen, that sort. Ben didn’t do a huge business, but he did all right.”

“On bait and Wild Turkey?”

The deputy actually chuckled. “Bait, deli, small bar, Laundromat, cheap souvenirs and fuel. I’d say of all those things, the bar and deli probably did the lion’s share of the business.”

Coop looked around the deputy’s frame. “Fuel?”

“Down on the dock. For boats. Ben used to let some of his customers or neighbors moor alongside the dock. Sometimes the wait at the marina got a little long and Ben didn’t mind if people helped themselves. Oh, he also has a tow truck that’s parked in town, but he doesn’t advertise it. Since he died and the place has been locked up, the boats have found other docks—probably the marina. There was no next of kin, Mr. Cooper.”

“Who is this Rawley? The guy who called me?”

The deputy scrubbed off his hat and scratched his head. “You say you were good friends?”

“For fifteen years. I knew he was raised by his dad, that they had a bar and bait shop on the coast. We met in the Army. He was a helicopter mechanic and everyone called him Gentle Ben. He was the sweetest man who ever lived, all six foot six of him. I can’t imagine him standing up to a robber—not only would he hand over the money, he’d invite the guy to dinner.”

“Well there you go, you might not have had the more recent facts, but you knew him all right. That’s the thing that makes everyone lean toward accident. That, and the lack of evidence to the contrary. No one would have to hurt Ben for a handout. You don’t know about Rawley?”

Cooper just shook his head.

“A vet with some challenging PTSD issues that Ben came across and gave work. Rawley Goode is around sixty, lives down the coast where he takes care of his elderly father, sort of. He’s not real good around people. He helped out here, cleaned, stocked, ran errands, that sort of thing. He could serve if no one expected conversation; people around here were used to him. I think he might’ve been homeless when Ben met him, but his father has lived around here a long time. Interesting guy, not that I can say I know him. So—Rawley found Ben and there wasn’t anyone to contact.”

“Are you sure Rawley didn’t push him down the stairs?”

“Rawley’s a skinny little guy. The coroner didn’t find any evidence to suggest Ben had been pushed. And Rawley. He was dependent on Ben. Don’t worry—the town gave Ben a decent send off. He was well liked. There are better bars around here to hang out in, but people liked Ben.”

“Yeah, I liked him too,” Cooper said, looking down. “There must’ve been a will or something. Rawley wasn’t the most articulate guy on the phone, but he said Ben left something for me. Could be old pictures from our Army days or something. Who do you suppose I should see about that?”

“I’ll make a few calls, check into that for you.”

“Appreciate it. And maybe you could suggest a place to hook up the fifth wheel?”

“There are several decent spots along the coast for tourists—Coos Bay is a nice area. You planning to hang around?”

Cooper gave a shrug. “Maybe a few days, just long enough to talk to some of the folks who knew Ben, pick up whatever he left for me. I want to pay my respects, just want people to know—he had good friends. We didn’t get together a lot and it sounds like I didn’t get a lot of inside information from Ben, but we were always in touch. And since I came all this way, I want to hear about him—about how people got on with him. You know?”

“I think I understand. The place is locked up—no one would care if you sat here for a while, while you look around at other possibilities. No hook up for your trailer, but you’d be fine for a couple of days.”

“Thanks, maybe I’ll do that. Not a bad view.”

The deputy put out his hand. “I gotta run. You have my number.”

“Thank you, Deputy McCain.”

“Roger McCain, but hardly anyone remembers that. Folks tend to call me Mac.”

“Nice meeting you, Mac. Thanks for helping out with this.”

Sarah walked with Hamlet, her Great Dane, down the street to the diner. She looped his leash around the lamppost and went inside, pulling off her gloves. This was one of the things she loved about this little town, that there was always somewhere to stop and chat for a few minutes. She wasn’t well known around here, had only lived here a few months, but by the way she was treated by her new and casual friends, it was as if she’d been here quite a while. If she wasn’t working, she liked to take Ham down to the beach and stop off at the diner on her way home. Apparently she wasn’t the only one—there was always a large bowl of water for dogs by that lamppost. Twin benches on either side of the diner’s front door frequently seated one or two old guys, passing time.

Gina James was behind the counter; Gina took care of almost everything at the diner except the cooking. There was another waitress at night and a couple of part time girls, but it was a pretty small shop. Gina’s mother, Carrie, was sitting on a stool at the counter, her friend Lou McCain seated beside her. Carrie owned the deli across the street and Lou was a school teacher who helped out with her nephew’s kids when she wasn’t teaching. Two of the said kids were in a booth eating fries and drinking colas, an after school treat.

Sarah said, “Hey,” and all three women said, “Hey,” right back.

“Something to drink? Eat?” Gina asked her.

“Could I have a water, please? And how is everyone?”

“What can I say, it’s Friday,” Lou said. “I won’t be seeing the little bast— er, darlings, till Monday morning.”

Sarah laughed at her. “You’re going to heaven for it.”

“If I died and went to hell, they’d have me teaching junior high,” Carrie said.

“You have a day off?” Gina asked Sarah.

“For Landon’s football game. I’m sitting alert Saturday and Sunday, that’s the price I pay for it.”

“But no one gives you any trouble about it, do they?”

“Nah. They like weekends off as much as anyone. And I’ll gladly fly weekends if I don’t have to miss Landon’s games. It’s not as though I have any other social life.”

Carrie leaned her elbow on the diner. “Wish I was something exciting, like a pilot.”

“Tell me about it,” Lou said.

Before Gina could weigh in the door to the diner opened, the bell tinkling to announce Ray Anne in her version of the Realtor’s business suit — too short, too tight, too much boobage. She scowled. “Sarah, that dog should be on a leash!”

“He is, Ray Anne.” She leaned back on her stool to look out the glass of the door. “He’s all hooked up.”

She wiped at her purple skirt. “He still managed to get me with that awful mouth of his.”

“Well, Ray Anne, you’re just so edible looking,” Lou said.

“Ha ha. Well, you’ll never guess what I just saw! The most gorgeous man—out at Ben’s place. He was built like a brick you know what—worn jeans, torn in all the right places, plain old T-shirt under a leather jacket. One of those flying jackets, you know, Sarah. Driving one of those testosterone trucks, pulling a trailer . . . . Handsome face, maybe a dimple, scratchy little growth on his cheeks and chin. He was talking to Mac. It was like an ad for Calvin Klein.”

“What were you doing out at Ben’s?” Lou asked.

“I wasn’t out there. I was checking on a rental up the hill two blocks. You know—that old Maxwell place.”

“Then how’d you see the tears in his jeans and his stubble?”

Ray Anne dipped a manicured hand into her over-sized purse and pulled out her binoculars. She smiled conspiratorially and gave her head a toss. Her short blond hair didn’t move.

“Clever,” Lou said. “Man watching taken to the next level. How old is this hunk of burning love?”

“Irrelevant,” Ray Anne said. “I wonder what he’s doing here. I heard Ben had no next of kin. You don’t suppose cuddly old Ben was hiding a handsome brother? No, no, that would be cruel.”

“Why?” Sarah asked.

“Because Ray Anne would love a shot at selling that property of Ben’s,” Carrie said.

“That’s not true,” Ray Anne protested. “You know me, I only want to help if I can.”

“And bag a single man or two while you’re at it,” Lou said.

Ray Anne stiffened slightly. “A purely heterosexual notion, Louise,” she said. “One you might not be familiar with.” And as the Sheriff’s Department patrol car passed slowly down the street, Ray Anne said, “Oh, there’s Deputy Yummy Pants—I’m going to go ask him what’s going on. If I can get past the dog!”

And out the door she wiggled.

“Deputy Yummy Pants?” Sarah asked with a laugh in her voice.

“The teenage girls around town call him that,” Lou explained drily. “I don’t recommend it. He hates it. Gets him all pissy. I should tell you what kind of pants Ms Realtor of the Year has. Maybe Busy Pants.”

Carrie’s lips quirked. “She suggested you don’t quite get the whole heterosexual pull. Louise.”

Lou had a sarcastic twist to her lips when she said, “If she turns up dead, can I count on you girls for an alibi?” Then she turned and called to her niece and nephew. “Hey, kids. Let’s make tracks.” To her friends she said, “I’m going to beat Yummy Pants home. Betcha I get more out of him that Busy Pants does.”

Once home, Sarah Dupre hung her red slicker on the peg in the mud room just in time to see her younger brother, Landon, coming toward the back door with his duffle full of football gear. “Hey,” she said. “I didn’t expect to see you.”

“I came home to get a couple of things and grab a sandwich,” he said. He bent to pet the dog. He didn’t have to bend far—Ham was tall. “Gotta get going.”

“Wait a sec,” she said.

“What?” he asked, still petting the dog.

“For Pete’s sake, can you look at me?” she asked. And when he straightened, heavy duffle over one shoulder, she gasped. There was a bruise on his cheekbone.

“Practice,” he said. “It’s nothing.”

“You don’t practice on game day.”

“Yeah, well, I hope I don’t get in trouble for that. A couple of us went out to run some plays, some passes, and I got nailed. It was an accident.”

“You were practicing without a helmet?” she asked.

“Sarah, it’s nothing. It’s a small bruise. I could’ve gotten it running into an open locker. Lighten up so you don’t make me look like a girl. Are you going to the game?”

“Of course I’m going. Why couldn’t you be into Chess or something? Choir? Band? Something that didn’t involve bodies crashing into each other?”

He grinned at her, that handsome grin that had once belonged to their deceased father. “You get enough sleep without me boring you to death,” he said. “Why couldn’t you just be a flight attendant or something?”

She took a breath. He had her there. She flew Search and Rescue with the Coast Guard. There were those occasions that were risky. Edgy. And admittedly, that was part of what she loved best about it. “I trust you’ll be wearing your helmet tonight?”

“Funny. It should be a good game. Raiders are a good match. They’re a good team.”

“Does it hurt?” she asked, touching her own cheek.

“Nah, it’s really nothing, Sarah. See you later.”

She suppressed the urge to beg him to be careful. He was a big kid, already six feet and muscled at sixteen; he was a beautiful specimen. She was his guardian and family. It was just the two of them. She sometimes wanted to just enfold him in her arms and keep him safe, yet when she watched him play, the thrill made her scream. He was a great athlete; she’d heard he was the best quarterback they’d seen in a long time here in Thunder Point.

For the millionth time she hoped bringing him here had been a good decision. He’d been happy in the North Bend high school last year, had barely found his footing, his friends, when she moved them. She just couldn’t bear the same town with her ex, in the home they had shared.

She’d moved them so often . . . .

She put out her arms as if to hug him. Retracted her arms—he didn’t want mush now. Not now that he was a man. Her arms lifted toward him of their own accord and she held back.

“All right,” he said, patiently. “Get it over with.”

She wrapped her arms around him; he gave her a one-armed hug back. Then he grinned at her again. He had absolutely no idea how handsome he was, which made him even more attractive.

“Play your little heart out, bud,” she said. “And do not get hurt.”

“Don’t worry. I’m fast.”

“You going out after the game?” she asked.

“I dunno. Depends on how tired I am.”

Sarah laughed. “When I was your age, I was never too tired to go out. So, if you go out, midnight would be nice. No later than one, for sure. Are we on the same page here?”

He laughed at her. “Same page, boss.”

But as she knew, he seldom went out after a game.

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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