RIVER ROAD – Jayne Ann Krentz
G. P. Putnam's Sons - (Hardcover)
The Present in Summer River, California
When Lucy Sheridan was thirteen, her academic parents divorced. She split her time with them and with her Aunt Sara in Northern California's wine country. She was staying with Sara the summer she was sixteen when she was unexpectedly invited to a party with the slightly older “in crowd” led by Tristan Brinker, son of one of the richest and most powerful men in the area. Just as Lucy was becoming aware that this party was not the place for her, the handsome Mason Fletcher turned up to escort her home. Tristan didn't like it, but he knew better than to mess with Mason Fletcher. Lucy wasn't keen, either, on being told what to do, but the eighteen year old Mason was certainly attractive! Lucy never went back to Summer River until thirteen years later when her Aunt Sara was killed in a car accident with her friend Mary. Lucy now works as a forensic genealogist—one who searches out heirs—for Brookhouse Research in Vantage Harbor. Lucy is in town to tie up Sara's estate, of which Lucy is the main beneficiary. That means going through the house and readying it to sell, and she also must deal with ownership of valuable shares in a major local corporation.
Mason Fletcher and his brother Aaron were raised in Summer River by their Uncle Deke after the deaths of their parents. The brothers now own and run an investigation firm back east, but Mason is in town for a while. Lucy is surprised to find him behind the counter of the hardware store Deke bought after retiring from the army. As Lucy and Mason get reacquainted, he offers to help her with her renovations of Sara's house. The first thing they do is remove the tiles that sealed up the fireplace. What they find is a shock of a major kind!
After Mason saved Lucy from Tristan Brinker's nefarious plans, he warned Lucy's Aunt Sara about him. Apparently that wasn't necessary, because Tristan left town the next day and was never seen again. Soon old and new secrets begin to emerge. . .
This is only the beginning of a mystery with many threads…threads of motives running from greed to revenge, betrayal and concern. And through it all is the burgeoning relationship between Lucy and Mason and the discovery of their deeper characters.
I discovered romance and women's fiction at a late age when volunteering at the local library, and Jayne Ann Krentz (or JAK) was one of the first authors I read. RIVER ROAD is reminiscent of those earlier works. Take a trip with JAK to the beautiful California wine country and see if you can untangle the mystery.