Danger wears many faces....
Ten years ago Rachel Grant's fianc�, Thomas, disappeared. His body was never found. Now there's a stranger in town, a man who could be Thomas's twin--or his ghost.
His name is Adam Delafield. He's been watching Rachel for days. He has the locket she gave Thomas before he vanished. And he says he owed her father three million dollars.
But there's no record of the loan--or a shred of proof that Adam is who he claims to be. And he's always nearby as accidents begin to threaten Rachel's life.
Is he an innocent man who only wants to repay a debt? Or a figure from the past with a score to settle? Rachel must expose lies and unravel stories, find out who wants her dead and why...before the next attempt to kill her succeeds.
In Hooper's fiction (Finding Laura), death is a permeable membrane, not a brick wall. The ghost of Rachel Grant's fiance of 10 years past returns to sentimental effect in the author's pale new novel of romantic suspense. Rachel was 19 when silver-haired cargo pilot Thomas Sheridan disappeared on a mysterious flight to South America. Yet a decade later, when family estate matters bring Rachel back to Virginia from her life as a designer in New York, she starts catching glimpses of a fair-haired man who has just got to be Tom. Then Rachel's car goes out of control because somebody has cut her brake line. Is the man, who calls himself Adam Delafield, the culprit or Rachel's guardian angel?or both? Adam says he has come to town to repay the $3 million Rachel's late father, Duncan Grant, lent him on a handshake, but she doesn't know whether to trust him. Ultimately, trust provides the subtext for the novel. Rachel is flanked by tough-talking men with hard-voweled names, attorney Graham Becket and businessman Nick Ross, each with his own mysterious agenda that may imperil Rachel or save her life. Unfortunately, Hooper's heroine is too vague a character to compel the reader's concern, and her story is not so much enriched by plot threads as freighted with them?hints at CIA escapades, South American dictatorships and judge-fixing are left dangling. Most of the sex, tenderness and humor are allocated to Tom's sister, Mercy, and Ross, moreover, draining the novel of much-needed emotional tension.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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August 30, 1999
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Excerpt from Haunting Rachel by Kay Hooper
It was no more than a glimpse of movement on a street corner that caught Rachel's attention. She turned her head more or less automatically, drawn as always by the glint of sunlight off silvery blond hair. She expected to see, as she always had, a stranger. Just one more blond man who would, of course, not be who she wanted him to be. Except that it was Thomas. She stood frozen, with four lanes of cars filling the space between her corner and his, and when their eyes met, she almost cried out. Then the light changed, and traffic began moving briskly, and a noisy semi blocked her view of the corner. When the truck had passed, Thomas was gone. Rachel stood there until the light changed again, but when she rushed across the street, there was no sign of him. No. No, of course there wasn't. Because it hadn't been him. Realizing that her legs were actually shaking, she found a table at a nearby sidewalk café where she could keep an eye on that corner, and ordered a cup of hot tea. It hadn't been him, of course. It was never him. "Are you all right, miss?" the waitress asked when she returned with the steaming cup. "You look sort of upset." "I'm fine." Rachel managed a smile she doubted was very reassuring, but it was enough to satisfy the young waitress. Left alone again, she dumped sugar into the tea and fixed her gaze once more on the corner. Of course it hadn't been Thomas. Her mind knew that. It had been only a stranger with a chance resemblance that had seemed stronger because distance had helped it seem that way. And perhaps a trick of the light had helped, as well as her own wishful thinking. But it couldn't have been Thomas. Thomas had been dead nearly ten years. No, they had never found a body, or even the wreckage of the plane, but Thomas's life had certainly ended somewhere in the impenetrable depths of a South American jungle. Even though he had promised to come back to her. Her knees were steady once more when Rachel finally got up nearly an hour later and left the café. And she didn't let herself stop or even pause when she passed the corner where a memory had so fleetingly stood. Knowing that she was late helped her to walk briskly, and common sense pushed the memory back into its quiet room in her heart. It was after three o'clock on this warm and sunny Tuesday when she went into a building in downtown Richmond. She went up to the fourth floor, entered the law offices of Meredith and Becket, and was immediately shown in to see Graham Becket. "Sorry I'm late," she said at once. "Rachel, you didn't have to come down here at all," Graham reminded her as he moved around the desk to take her hand and kiss her lightly on the cheek. "I told you I'd come to the house." "I needed to get out." She shrugged, then gently reclaimed her hand and sat down in his visitor's chair. He stood looking down at her for a moment, a somewhat rueful expression on his face, then went back around the desk to his own chair. A tall, dark, good-looking man of thirty-eight, and a highly successful attorney, he was accustomed to female interest. Except from Rachel. He knew Rachel fairly well. He had been her father's attorney for nearly ten years and one of the executors of the estate after Duncan Grant and his wife had been killed eight months ago. But knowledge didn't stop Graham from hoping that one day she would notice he was a man who was closer to being one of her contemporaries than her father's. And a man, moreover, who had been half in love with her for years. Today, she hadn't noticed. "More papers to sign?" she asked, her slight smile transforming her serene and merely pretty face into something haunting. Graham had tried to figure out what it was about that smile that made Rachel ins