Carla Neggers has a magic touch for weaving spine-tingling suspense with romance so sensual it takes your breath away. Here she's at her best, in a delightful potpourri of dangerous intrigue, enchanting wit, and spellbinding desire....
This time Piper Macintosh's great-aunt has really gone too far. Eighty-seven-year-old Hannah, who fancies herself a witch, has sold her historic Cape Cod house to a Tennessean whom she claims is the man for her niece. Piper doesn't think they're a likely match -- particularly not after she meets the reclusive tycoon while trespassing in his garden.
Clate Jackson has come to the windswept Cape to forget, not to get involved with the woman who's digging up valerian root for her great-aunt's crazy potions. But when Hannah reveals an old family secret and warns of danger on the horizon, Clate reluctantly works with Piper to solve a long-ago murder. Unraveling the secrets of Clate's past, however, will take what only Piper can supply: her healing love and her own boldly passionate heart....
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January 31, 2004
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Excerpt from Night Scents by Carla Neggers
The moment Piper Macintosh heard the screen door bang open and shut, she knew she was caught, and probably by Clate Jackson himself. He'd made it plain he wouldn't tolerate trespassers. He'd instructed the realtor who'd sold him Hannah Frye's two-hundred-fifty-year-old Cape Cod house -- who'd told everyone else in Frye's Cove -- to have his property posted in accordance with Massachusetts law. Hannah and Piper had always shared responsibility for the hedgerow that divided their property. Not Clate Jackson. It was his. He'd had a No Trespassing sign posted smack in the middle of it, marking out his territory like a grouchy old wolf.
So here she was, Piper thought miserably, out in his back yard at four o'clock in the morning, clearly trespassing.
Footsteps sounded on the stone terrace up one level from the overgrown herb garden where she crouched. Not tentative, I'm-not-sure-what's-out-here footsteps, but confident, I've-got-me-a-trespasser footsteps.
A fat earthworm oozed out over the cool, moist dirt. The wet leaves of tall yarrow and foxglove dripped on Piper's army-green poncho. The rain had stopped. Too bad. It might have kept her neighbor inside.
A cool breeze floated up from the bay, bringing with it the scents of salt, wild grasses, and scrub pine that mixed with those of the extensive Frye gardens. It was June on Cape Cod, and Piper could smell roses and honeysuckle and a touch of mint in the clean night air, even as her heart pounded.
The gate to the wrought-iron fence that enclosed Hannah's garden of medicinal herbs -- her witch's garden, she called it -- creaked open.
Piper knew she was doomed.
"All right. Up on your feet. Slowly." Slowly What, did he think she had a couple of grenades tucked under her poncho That arrogant tone decided it. She wasn't going home empty handed. Giving a final tug, she broke off the hunk of valerian root she'd been digging. She ignored the horrendous smell. Worse than dirty feet. Only for you, Hannah.
As instructed, Piper rose slowly. She didn't know if her new neighbor came complete with shotgun. He was from the South. He was rich, a prominent Tennessee businessman. He owned one of Nashville's most exclusive hotels. He'd paid Hannah Frye every nickel of her exorbitant asking price for her house and thirty waterfront acres.