From New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards, whom Newsweek magazine calls "one of the most popular voices in women's fiction," comes a thrilling new novel of romantic suspense set in a sultry small southern town.
Carly Linton is hell-bent on starting over. After a bruising divorce, she moves back to her tiny hometown of Benton, Georgia, to start up a bed-and-breakfast in the old house she inherited from her grandmother. The whole town remembers her as the proverbial good girl, but Carly is tired of being good -- she's ready to walk on the wide side, and she knows exactly where she wants to start.
Matt Converse, the town's former bad boy, is now the local sheriff and a pillar of the community. But he hasn't forgotten his wild days, or the magical night of the senior prom he shared with Carly years ago. When Carly's dog unearths a dead body on her property, Matt is forced to spend time there, and Carly decides to use her newfound wiles to seduce him. But when someone breaks into Carly's house and tries to take her away, Matt is the only person who can protect her from a mysterious enemy who's making it all too clear that Carly should never have come back to Benton.
Richly suspenseful, tightly plotted, and deeply sensual, Whispers at Midnight is Karen Robards at her scintillating best.
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July 28, 2003
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Excerpt from Whispers at Midnight by Karen Robards
"I hear you two had a fight."
Matt Converse watched the boyfriend's eyes. They flicked away, came back almost immediately. The guy -- Keith Kenan, thirty-six years old, one divorce, employed on the line at Honda for five years and resident of Benton for that same period, clean police record except for one brawl over in Savannah two years back and a couple of old DUIs -- was nervous. Nervous didn't always equal guilt, but it bore watching.
"Who told you that "
Matt shrugged noncommittally.
"So what if we did That don't mean anything. Everybody has fights." Kenan's tone was defensive. He was getting agitated. Matt observed the quickening of his breathing, the tightening of his jaw, the narrowing of his eyes, with clinical detachment. Kenan was a big, burly guy with a dark blond buzz cut, smallish pale blue eyes, and a tattoo of a heart pierced by a dagger on one pumped-up biceps, which was bared by the ratty tank top he was wearing with black nylon gym shorts. The two of them were standing in the combination living/dining room of the apartment Kenan shared with Marsha Hughes.
Correction: had shared. Marsha Hughes had been missing for just over a week. This was Matt's second conversation with Kenan. He'd first talked to him five days ago, after one of Marsha's friends at work had become concerned enough about her unexplained absence to report it to the sheriff's department.
"Everybody has fights," Matt conceded. Kenan started to pace. Matt took advantage of his distraction to glance around. Except for a single meal's worth of dishes on the dining-room table -- apparently the previous night's supper because, upon answering the door, Kenan had complained about being rousted from bed -- the apartment was neat. Furniture by Sam's Club or Wal-Mart. Worn green carpet. Gold drapes drawn against the bright morning sun. Walls painted white, hung with a few nondescript prints. As far as he could tell, nothing out of the ordinary. No telltale brown stains on the carpet. No suspicious dark spatters on the walls. No corpse sticking out from under the couch.
Matt's mouth quirked wryly. If it were only that easy.
"Look, Sheriff, I ain't stupid. I know what you're getting at," Kenan burst out, turning to face him. "I didn't lay a hand on Marsha, I swear."
"Nobody's saying you did." Matt's voice was calm, his demeanor nonconfrontational. No point in provoking Kenan by escalating the discussion into more than it needed to be at this stage of the investigation. It was still quite possible that Marsha had left on her own; she could turn up alive and well somewhere at any minute. On the other hand, he didn't like the feel of things. Call it instinct, call it applied common sense, call it whatever you wanted, but he didn't think that a woman who'd lived in the area most of her life, who'd shown up like clockwork since she'd started at the Winn-Dixie eight years ago, who had regular habits and a good number of friends, would light out to parts unknown without letting somebody know.
"She just took off," Kenan said. "She got in her car and took off. That's what happened. That's it."
Matt took his time. "Mind telling me what the fight was about "
Kenan looked harassed. "Baloney, all right I had some baloney in the refrigerator and it was gone when I got home from work and went to make a sandwich. Turns out she'd fed it to a damned dog." He took a deep breath. "It was stupid. Just one of those stupid things."