A special message from Jayne Ann Krentz
Summer has arrived in Eclipse Bay and things are definitely heating up between the Hartes and the Madisons. It seems that the mysterious new gallery owner, Octavia Brightwell, is thinking about having a scandalous fling with that rogue Nick Harte before she leaves town. As far as Nick is concerned, a short-term affair sounds perfect. But it isn't going to be easy.
One big obstacle is Mitchell Madison. For reasons of his own, Mitchell has taken it upon himself to play guardian to Octavia. He's made it clear that if Nick fools around with her, there will be a price to pay. And then there's Nick's young son, Carson, who has his own agenda where Octavia is concerned. He doesn't want his father messing up his plans.
Summer in Eclipse Bay is going to be eventful this year. Some long-buried secrets from the infamous Harte-Madison feud are about to surface. The past and the present are on a collision course. I hope you'll join me to watch the fireworks.
The final installment in Krentz's Eclipse Bay trilogy (Dawn in Eclipse Bay, etc.) centers around thriller writer Nick Harte, the handsome scion of one of the tiny town's most prominent families. In the two years since the death of his wife, single dad Nick hasn't even been tempted to let a woman get close. But when he meets gallery owner Octavia Brightwell, his defenses finally crumble. Though she can't deny Nick's many attractions, Octavia herself is far from avid for romance. Then a valuable painting disappears from her gallery's safekeeping, and the local rumor mill suggests that Octavia herself is the culprit. Figuring that a man who writes about criminal investigation is the closest to a private eye that Eclipse Bay has to offer, Octavia enlists Nick to help discover the real culprit. Along the way, he has plenty of opportunities to scrutinize the town's weirder inhabitants and form a relationship with Octavia. Though Krentz's signature comic banter is slightly more subdued here, her playfully intelligent voice retains all of its characteristic charm. Scenes featuring the eccentric townspeople are strained at times, but the lighthearted warmth of the romantic sequences and the appearances of Nick's precocious son, Carson a wonderful combination of budding tycoon and ordinary five-year-old boy more than make up for the occasional lull.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 06, 2002
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Excerpt from Summer in Eclipse Bay by Jayne Ann Krentz
Sixth time in five weeks.
Not that he was counting.
Nick Harte put down the phone very deliberately, got to his feet, and went to stand at the living room window of the cottage.
Six rejections in a row.
A man could get a complex at this rate. Why was he doing this to himself, anyway?
He looked out into the wall of gray mist that shrouded the landscape. Summer had arrived, just barely, in Eclipse Bay, and with it the familiar pattern of cool, damp, fog-bound mornings and long, sunny afternoons. He knew the season well. Growing up he had spent every summer as well as school vacations and long weekends here. His parents and grandparents maintained permanent homes elsewhere and he and his son lived in Portland most of the time, but that did not change the fact that for three generations the Hartes had been a part of Eclipse Bay. The threads of their lives were woven into the fabric of this community.
Summers in Eclipse Bay meant that on the weekends the town swarmed with tourists who came to walk the breezy beach and browse the handful of shops and galleries. Summers meant the age-old ritual of teenagers cruising in their cars along Bayview Drive on Friday and Saturday nights.
Summers meant the summer people, outsiders who rented the weathered cottages along the bluffs for a few weeks or a month at a time. They shopped at Fulton's and bought gas at the Eclipse Bay Gas & Go. A few of them would even venture into the Total Eclipse to buy a beer or play some pool. Their offspring would flirt with some of the local kids on warm nights near the pier, maybe get invited to a few parties. But no matter how familiar they became, they would remain forever summer people. Outsiders. No one in town would ever consider them to be real members of the community with roots here. Eclipse Bay had its own private rules. Around here you knew who belonged and who did not.
The Hartes, like the Madisons, belonged.
But as much at home as he was here, Nick thought, he had long ago given up spending entire summers in Eclipse Bay. Probably because his wife, Amelia, had never really liked the town. After her death nearly four years ago, he had never gotten back into the habit of spending a lot of time in Eclipse Bay.
Until this summer. Things were different this year.
"Hey, Dad, I'm ready for you to look at my pictures now."
Nick turned to see his almost-six-going-on-thirty-year-old son standing in the doorway. With his lean build, dark hair, and serious dark-blue eyes, Carson was a miniature version of himself and all the other males in the Harte family. But Nick was well aware that it wasn't just his physical appearance that marked him a true member of the clan. It was his precocious, frighteningly organized, agenda-driven nature. Carson's ability to focus on an objective with the unwavering precision and intensity of a battlefield commander told you he was a Harte to his toes.
At the moment he had two clearly defined goals. The first was to get a dog. The second was to exhibit a picture in the upcoming Children's Art Show scheduled to take place during the annual Eclipse Bay Summer Celebration festivities.
"I'm no art critic," Nick warned.
"All you gotta do is tell me which one you think Miss Brightwell would like best."
"Got news for you, kid. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that I'm the last person on earth who knows what Miss Brightwell likes."