Wild and restless, Kyle Donovan has freed himself from the constraints of his family's high-powered gem-trading empire to rove the world as a treasure hunter. Now the president of Donovan International has given Kyle an assignment with explosive ramifications. A casehe must take.
When one of China's legendary cultural treasures isstolen, Lianne Blakely, a mysterious and beautiful jade expert, is accused of the theft. Its Kyle's job to get to the bottom of what could be a potential disaster for the Donovans as well as Lianne.
But Kyle finds himself irresistibly drawn to the exotic beauty and captivated by her fierce claim of innocence. Soon they are in dangerous pursuit of the real thief, drawn deeper into the perils of spiraling power plays, and linked by a passion as powerful as the lore of the ancient culture and as enduring as the splendor of the treasured jade.
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April 06, 1999
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Excerpt from Jade Island by Elizabeth Lowell
The pounding on Lianne Blakely's door made her sit straight up in bed, her heart beating rapidly. For an instant she wondered if she was dreaming all the noise. She certainly was tired enough to be dreaming. She had worked late last night, arranging and rearranging the beautiful jade pieces in her apartment until she was certain she had the right design for the Jade Trader display at tonight's charity auction.
The pounding increased in volume.
Lianne shook her head, pushed heavy waves of black hair out of her face, and stared at the bedside clock. Barely 6 A.M. She looked out the small window. Dawn had arrived in most of Seattle, but not in her old, west-facing apartment above Pioneer Square. Even if the morning had been clear-it wasn't-no sunlight would reach her windows until late morning.
"Lianne, wake up! It's Johnny Tang. Open the door!"
Now she really wondered if she was dreaming. Johnny had never been to her apartment, or to her business office, which was just down the hall. In fact, she rarely saw him at all unless she was visiting her mother in Kirkland.
"Just a minute--I'm coming!" she called.
Grateful that there were no neighbors to complain about all the yelling on a Saturday morning, Lianne kicked off the duvet, grabbed the red silk robe her mother had given her last Christmas, and hurried to the door. Two locks and a dead bolt later, she yanked the door open.
"What's wrong?" Lianne demanded. "Is it Mother?"
"Anna is fine. She wants to see you before the auction."
Mentally Lianne rearranged her crammed schedule. If she did her own nails, she could manage a visit. Barely. "I'll swing by after I set up the Jade Trader exhibit."
Johnny nodded, but he didn't look like a man who had gotten what he came for. He looked restless, irritable, caged. Anger bracketed his full mouth and tightened the skin across his wide cheekbones. Despite that, he was a handsome man. Two inches under six feet, lean, quick of hand and mind, and with a generous smile when he was in the mood to use it.
"Do you have any coffee?" he asked. "Or are you still stuck on Chinese caffeine?"
"I have coffee as well as tea."
"I'll take mine black. Coffee, not tea."
Lianne stepped away from the door as Johnny walked in. She didn't know exactly how old her unacknowledged father was---close to sixty, surely-but he looked barely forty. Through all the years of Lianne's childhood, her mother's lover had aged hardly at all. Some silver hair was now mixed in with the black, a few laugh and frown lines had appeared, there was a slight blurring in the line of the jaw; small things, really, when Lianne thought of all the changes she had been through from birth to almost thirty years of age.
And never once in all that time, through all her changes, had Johnny Tang acknowledged that Anna Blakely's child was also his own.
Pushing the thought away, Lianne closed the door and shot the dead bolt home. What Johnny did or didn't admit was no longer the most important thing in the world to her. Jade was. Tang jade. Her father's father's collection. Hundreds of pieces, thousands. All of them were precious, some were priceless, and each piece of jade gleamed with time and secrets and the luminous soul of art.
"Couldn't resist playing with them, huh?" Johnny asked, gesturing with one hand.
There were jade sculptures sitting on the small kitchen table, more objects lay on the floor, and some of the smaller pieces perched on the tiny counter.
"Playing? If that's what you call it," Lianne said. "They aren't exactly dolls."
He gave a crack of laughter. "Father would faint if he heard you say dolls and jade in the same breath."
"Wen knows I respect jade."
"Wen is using your skill and not paying you enough."
Lianne gave her father a startled look. "He taught me everything I know."