A woman of the law,
A man with a past,
And trouble on the horizon.
Sensible, capable, and always in control, Leigh Mitchell is the local sheriff of her sleepy Indiana home town. But Leigh is turning thirty and feeling restless. Something needs to change. She needs to change. So when a sexy stranger asks her to ride the Ferris wheel one moonlit night, she takes a leap of faith-and falls for Will Scott, dangerous secrets and all. By turns passionate and tender, Will reveals little about his past and less about his future, even when the town suspects him of committing a terrible crime. Now on the uncertain back roads of life, take-charge Leigh must learn to let go...and trust not only the cold dictates of the law but the hot-blooded demands of her heart.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
May 31, 2003
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Back Roads by Susan Crandall
The diesel cloud enveloped Will as the truck driver pulled away from the intersection. He stood on the side of a dark two-lane highway with all of his earthly possessions crammed into a road-worn backpack, deciding which direction to take. Heart warred with head, his good sense telling him not to venture down this road. It had been paved with good times on his previous visit; why take a chance on ruining it? But he'd been pulled across the miles by the innocent and secure memories engraved during the one care-free summer of his youth. How he longed for the simple comfort of familiar surroundings, of childhood dreams yet to be born, and to be, even for the briefest time, away from the ugliness that stained his adult world. The shroud of exhaust cleared, and there before him was the sign: GLENS CROSSING 4 MI. Will looked at the red tail-lights of the truck receding into the night, then in the direction of the town.
He'd just walk a little closer, camp nearby, then decide in the morning. Tonight, painful thoughts of his current situation made it far too easy to crawl back into the past. The darkness had a way of distorting both past and present, making them more hideous and more marvelous than they actually were. In the light, he could see things more clearly - the horror of the last months less pronounced, the delights of the one wonderful summer less remarkable.
He walked a good part of the way toward the town. His aching feet told him he'd covered over two miles, when it caught his eye. There, across the wide open expanse of a bean field, rose the lighted spokes of a Ferris wheel. A harvest moon, so large and low in the sky that it appeared to be painted on the black of night, sat on the horizon, seemingly side by side with the carnival ride. A filmy haze sent three gray fingers across the enormous golden disk. One of those fingers appeared crooked and beckoning.
Well, hell. A sign? The hairs on the back of his neck prickled and rose as the skin at the base of his skull tightened. Had he been thirty minutes later, that moon would have been up in the sky where it belonged, away from the thin clouds, the inviting golden light brightened to cold blue-white.
Instead of being calmed by the thought of divine intervention, he sighed heavily with the weight of too many miles, too many memories. He closed his eyes briefly and told himself, once again, to wait. Tomorrow. A word which had for the past four months become his mantra.
He glanced around, looking for a good place to bed down for the night, and heard the steady thrum of a sub-woofer pounding ever nearer. A long minute passed before he saw the headlights of the car.
It sped past him, the reverberation from the speakers battering him in the chest. He watched it pass, wondering how the hearing of the car's occupant could ever recover. Immediately, the brake lights brightened and the car slowed. The driver slammed it into reverse before the tires stopped rolling forward, adding a squeal to the bass and the smell of burnt rubber to the air.
The car stopped in front of him, nearly rolling over his toes. The tinted window came down and a girl in her late teens leaned across the passenger seat. For a moment his heart skipped a beat. If he didn't know she was dead, he'd have sworn he was looking at his sister, Jenny - same shoulder-length brown hair, same tilt to the green eyes. Then the girl smiled and the eerie similarity disappeared, the smile too wide, the lips too full. "Need a ride?"
He started to tell her no, when she added, "I'm just going to the carnival, but I can give you a lift that far." The carnival. The Ferris wheel. Well, damn, he didn't have to be hit over the head to get the picture. He was destined to walk the streets of Glens Crossing once again. A peculiar sense of security radiated from the garish lights that flashed against the pitch black sky. Blue, red and green bare bulbs, strung like gypsy baubles, broke the darkness overhead, washing out the stars. Leigh Mitchell watched the brightly lit spokes of the Ferris wheel revolve, feeling once again that life in Henderson County hadn't changed much since she was five years old.
This year the dust puffed a bit higher underfoot and the flat, dry odor of dead grass was stronger because of the drought. But the carnival, as most every other social landmark, remained essentially unaltered from season to season, year to year, decade to decade. It was the last fling of summer; the boisterous, colorful boundary between seasons. Trampled grass beneath her tennis shoes, the tempting aroma of grilling sausage and green peppers, sticky cotton candy on smiling cherub faces, hard-won stuffed animals wrapped in teenagers' arms - all the same as last year, and the year before, and the year before that.