dead of winter. An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A sinister house looming over the sea …
He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre
imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress
reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his
bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.But she’s not laughing now. When she was a
teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off
the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head
says no. Her heart says yes.
It’s going to be a long, hot winter.
The kitchen had to be a renovation, but what kind of renovation regressed two centuries. And why?
Run! Crumpet shrieked. Something’s very wrong here!
Whenever Crumpet got hysterical, Annie counted on Dilly’s no-nonsense manner to provide perspective, but Dilly remained silent, and not even Scamp could come up with a wisecrack.
“Mr. Shaw?” Annie’s voice lacked its normal powers of projection.
When there was no reply, she moved deeper into the kitchen, leaving wet tracks on the stone floor. But no way was she taking off her boots. If she had to run, she wasn’t doing it in socks. “Will?”
Not a sound.
She passed the pantry, crossed a narrow back hallway, detoured around the dining room, and stepped through the arched entry into the foyer. Only the dimmest gray light penetrated the six square panes above the front door. The heavy mahogany staircase still led to a landing with a murky stained-glass window, but the staircase carpet was now a depressing maroon instead of the multicolored floral from the past. The furniture bore a dusty film, and a cobweb hung in the corner. The walls had been paneled over in heavy, dark wood, and the seascape paintings had been replaced with gloomy oil portraits of prosperous men and women in nineteenth-century dress, none of whom could possibly have been Elliott Harp’s Irish peasant ancestors. All that was missing to make the entryway even more depressing was a suit of armor and a stuffed raven.
She heard footsteps above her and moved closer to the staircase. “Mr. Shaw? It’s Annie Hewitt. The door was open, so I let myself in.” She looked up. “I’m going to need¾” The words died on her tongue.
The master of the house stood at the top of the stairs.
publication. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of
America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. Susan delights fans by
touching hearts as well as funny bones with her wonderfully whimsical and
modern fairy tales. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a wife, and
mother of two grown sons.