New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts presents the second novel in the dramatic trilogy of three men who return home to honor their father's last wish-to care for Seth, a troubled boy in need of a family. Coming home has taught the brothers more than they ever dreamed about the meaning of family and responsibility. Now it is time to learn the meaning of acceptance and love... Of the three brothers, it was Ethan who shared his father's passion for the Maryland shore. And now with his father gone, Ethan is determined to make the family boatbuilding business a success. But amidst his acheivements lie the most important challenges of his life...There is young Seth, who needs him more than ever. And a woman he has always loved but never believed he could have. But beneath Ethan's seemingly still waters is a dark and painful past. He must learn to see around the shadows to accept who he is. Because through Ethan's past lies the future-and his one chance at happiness...
"A warm, satisfying romance with a dash of mystery...will keep readers engrossed." -Library Journal -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 16, 2003
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Excerpt from Rising Tides by Nora Roberts
ETHAN CLIMBED OUT of his dreams and rolled out of bed. It was still dark, but he habitually started his day before night yielded to dawn. It suited him, the quiet, the simple routine, the hard work that would follow.
He'd never forgotten to be grateful that he'd been able to make this choice and have this life. Though the people responsible for giving him both the choice and the life were dead, for Ethan, the pretty house on the water still echoed with their voices. He would often find himself glancing up from his lone breakfast in the kitchen expecting to see his mother shuffle in, yawning, her red hair a wild tangle from sleep, her eyes half blind with it.
And though she'd been gone nearly seven years, there was a comfort in that homey morning image.
It was more painful to think of the man who had become his father. Raymond Quinn's death was still too fresh after a mere three months for there to be comfort. And the circumstances surrounding it were both ugly and unexplained. His death had come in a single-car accident in broad daylight on a dry road, on a March day that had only hinted of spring. The car was traveling fast, with its driver unable -- or unwilling -- to control it on a curve. Tests had proven that there had been no physical reason for Ray to crash into the telephone pole.
But there was evidence of an emotional reason, and that lay heavy on Ethan's heart.
Ethan thought of it as he readied himself for the day -- giving his hair, still damp from the shower, a cursory swipe with his comb, which did nothing to tame the thick waves of sun-bleached brown. He shaved in the foggy mirror, his quiet blue eyes sober as he scraped lather and a night's worth of beard from a tanned, bony face that held secrets he rarely chose to share.
There was a scar that rode along the left of his jawline -- courtesy of his oldest brother and patiently stitched up by his mother. It had been fortunate, Ethan thought as he rubbed a thumb absently over the faded line, that their mother had been a doctor. One of her three sons was usually in need of first aid.
Ray and Stella had taken them in, three half-grown boys, all wild, all damaged, all strangers. And had made them a family.
Then months before his death, Ray had taken in another.
Seth DeLauter belonged to them now. Ethan never questioned it. Others did, he knew. There was talk buzzing through the little town of St. Christopher's that Seth was not just another of Ray Quinn's strays but his illegitimate son. A child conceived with another woman while his wife was still alive. A younger woman.
Ethan could ignore the talk, but it was impossible to ignore the fact that ten-year-old Seth looked at you with Ray Quinn's eyes.
There were shadows in those eyes that Ethan also recognized. The wounded recognized the wounded. He knew that Seth's life, before Ray had taken him on, had been a nightmare. He'd lived through one himself.