New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart presents a captivating contemporary romance novel in the tradition of Robyn Carr, Susan Mallery, and Barbara Freethy. Some of Lucy Sinclair's best days were those spent growing up in small town St. Dennis-working at the family inn and enjoying summers filled with swimming, sailing, tennis, and the company of Clay Madison, her best friend. But Lucy's darkest day, the one that shattered her innocence with violence and fear, also happened in St. Dennis. And the town she once loved became the place she gladly left behind-along with the terrible secret she's kept for twenty years. While Lucy headed off for college and a career, Clay remained-more than satisfied with the life St. Dennis had to offer. But now, even after inheriting his family's thriving farm and starting up an organic brewery, he can't help feeling that something's missing. And when Lucy comes back to town to plan a celebrity wedding at the Sinclair family inn, she and Clay reconnect, and find themselves reevaluating their long-sleeping friendship that could blossom into something deeper. Like a bookend to those distant childhood days, this summer will be Lucy's chance to finally confront her hidden pain, make peace with the past, and plan her own whole new future. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Mariah Stewart's Long Way Home.
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May 29, 2012
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Excerpt from Home for the Summer by Mariah Stewart
Stewart / HOME FOR THE SUMMER
When Lucy Sinclair was twelve years old, she packed a suitcase to go away by herself for the first time. There had been something exciting and so grown-�up about folding her clothes and tucking them inside the plaid fabric travel bag next to her sneakers and sandals and the plastic cosmetic case she borrowed from her mother for her toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, and shampoo. She'd also packed a diary--�in which she planned to write every day--�and a pen with which she could record the anticipated noteworthy moments as well as write postcards home.
She'd returned from those two August weeks at her aunt and uncle's Pennsylvania farm without having opened the diary and all but three of her postcards were still secured in the rubber band. As instructed, she'd sent one to her parents at the end of the first week ("Aunt Clarissa and Lydia were both stung by yellow jackets yesterday and we spent the whole afternoon in the emergency room. Jake got poison ivy from playing in the weeds. I don't think I have it yet. Love, Lucy"). The other two went to her younger brother, Ford, who at eight was deemed too young to go away by himself ("Uncle Pat says you can come when you're ten, which is totally unfair because I had to wait until I was twelve"), and to her best friend, Clay Madison ("I went fishing in the lake and caught three bass in one day! We found a cool old cemetery that has graves from the Revolutionary War! I took lots of pictures--�can't wait to show you!").
Now, at thirty-�five, packing had become so routine she could do it with her eyes closed, and these days, her trips rarely promised such adventure. The old plaid suitcase had been banished years ago to the attic, and, knowing her mother, was probably still tucked up under the eaves, and she couldn't remember the last time she'd gone fishing. The one thing that hadn't changed was the look on her mother's face when Lucy entered the lobby of the Inn at Sinclair Point, suitcase in tow and her computer bag over her shoulder, and announced that she was ready to leave for the airport.
"Do you have everything?" Grace Sinclair asked her daughter.
Lucy opened her handbag and checked for her plane ticket, her sunglasses, and the keys to her rental car. "Got it all. And if by chance I did forget something, you can always send it out or hold on to it until I come back next month to meet with Robert Magellan.
"I'm still having a hard time convincing myself that's really going to happen." Lucy shook her head as if still in disbelief that one of the wealthiest men in the country wanted to talk to her about planning his wedding. "Thanks for arranging it, Mom."
"Thank Trula. She's the one who's insisting that Robert not even consider another event planner," Grace reminded her. "Or another venue."
"I did thank her." Lucy slid her sunglasses to the top of her head. "I thought I'd get to thank her again this morning, but she doesn't seem to be up yet."
"I'm glad she's sleeping in." Grace lifted Lucy's computer bag. "She never gets a chance to--�"
"Baloney. I've been up for hours." Trula Comfort, Grace's best friend for just about as long as either could remember, marched down the steps and joined them near the information desk. "I thought I'd be gracious and allow you two to have a nice breakfast together without me hanging around."
"Trula, you can hang around as much as you want." Lucy hugged the older woman. "I'm so happy you were here this weekend."
"I was glad to be here. Thought it would be good to see your work product before I browbeat Robert and Susanna into having their wedding here, with you at the helm."
"Ha." Grace grinned. "You just admitted to browbeating."
"One does what one must when one must." Trula gave Lucy one last hug, then looked around for something to carry.
"I'll take that." Daniel, Lucy's brother and the inn's proprietor, grabbed the handle of Lucy's suitcase just as Trula was about to. "You weren't planning on sneaking out on me without saying good-�bye, were you?" He put a hand on his sister's shoulder.
"Have I ever?" Lucy asked as she fished in her bag for the keys she'd had just a moment ago but dropped when she hugged Trula. "I'm just trying to get organized. It appears I need a committee to get on my way."
Daniel wheeled the suitcase toward the inn's double doors and held one side open for the trio who trailed behind him.
"Thanks, Danny." Lucy smiled as she stepped outside into a crisp early winter morning. "Brrr. I keep forgetting how chilly it gets here in December. Remind me to bring a coat back with me next time."
"Any chance next time might be Christmas?" her mother asked. Lucy could tell that Grace was trying her best not to appear too hopeful.