Where are the bodies buried?
What do writers do when they have to hide a story?
This question really called to me because my kids love horror movies and the macabre is all the rage in our house right now.
Last summer I started a novel about an incubus who falls in love with a young veterinary technician. I got about 15,000 words in and I had to stop writing. I can’t say that I won’t ever finish it, more that I just had to write a different book before I could. I would start writing this paranormal love story and a mystery romance tale would just keep popping up. The two mystery protagonists would not leave me be and so their story got pushed to the front burner. Darling’s Desire was born.
Perhaps another reason the story wouldn’t leave me alone was the setting. The story takes place primarily on a secluded lake in Connecticut where some folks have gone missing. I live on just such a lake, although to my knowledge no one has turned up murdered around here. For a variety of reasons the hero and heroine will have to weather a couple of weeks together in a spooky lake house. Passion, drama and mystery ensue. I promise a happy ending but I refuse to make it easy for this couple!
I love including some suspense in all my love stories. My last release, Loving Link, involved discovering the identity of a narcissistic woman intent on destroying the hero and finding fame. The best part was writing about this really hateful creature who was just so dark and evil. I almost want to have her in one more book.
Well I plan to enjoy the beauty of summer and work on that to be read list that just keeps on growing.
Darling Roberts is going back to the lake house her mother disappeared from thirteen years ago. She needs to decide to stay or sell. The locals believe the place cursed but her best friend thinks it would be a blast to spend the weekend there before heading to Europe. Madison is determined to set Darling up even if that means dragging a recently widowed rock and roll drummer to the scene of a murder.
Ross Daniels has a secret. He can’t stand the pitying looks well-wishers have given him since his wife’s accidental death. The European leg of the Becket tour can’t come soon enough. A weekend stay at a mutual friend’s lake house seems like a decent way to kill a couple of days before hopping a plane, a least until he spends some time with temptation herself.
Will they give in to passion before events at the lake house drive them apart?
He might have dozed for a bit but was wide-awake at the sound of a splash coming from the lake. He leaped to his feet and ran down the steps to the dock. His heart pounded in his chest. He looked out into the black water with only the gibbous moon and some twinkling lights from the house’s windows aiding his view. There, just a dozen feet away and a couple feet down in the water. He slowly started to breathe again. This was no sea monster or what he’d feared the most, a toddling William fallen into the lake. This was a sea nymph come back to haunt him again.
He waited on the dock, watching the slow strokes of her arms slice through the water until she emerged into the night air. “You gave me a scare. I didn’t know skinny-dipping was part of the party plans.” She startled at his voice and sucked in a little water. He gave her a wink and watched her try to regain her composure.
“I’m not skinny-dipping, and I thought you went to bed.” She swam closer to the dock and rested a hand on the scuffed wood.
Darling heaved herself out of the water and twisted her body to sit gracefully on the scarred deck. “Could you hand me that towel?” she asked, pointing to the neatly folded pile by his foot. Ross forced his attention away from Darling as she toweled her bathing suit-clad body dry. She wrapped it around her body sarong-style and wrung the water out of her hair.
“You often go swimming this late at night? I mean, I just want to know what time to be out here for the show.” Ross shifted his weight from one foot to the other, wondering why the hell he was torturing himself by staying out here with Darling practically naked. The moon shone down, steam rising off the lake providing a mysterious glow.
“I haven’t been here since I was nine years old, but yes, back then we used to come down for night swimming.” She shivered a bit, and he caught sight of a flush of goose bumps on her skin. Guess the night air isn’t quite so warm after a dip in the lake.
“You’re shivering. Come here.” Ross pulled her into his arms and rubbed his warm hands up and down her bare limbs to warm her. He really shouldn’t be doing this. He was playing with fire.
“I didn’t mind the chill afterward when I was a kid. Brrr.” She snuggled against him, and he knew all was lost. He moved his finger under her chin and tipped her head back, finding her parted lips with his own. She didn’t move a muscle. At first, it was like she was a statue until he gently licked her upper lip and pressed his kiss deeper into her mouth. Darling let out a soft mew and began nibbling on his mouth and sliding her tongue against his. She tasted like vanilla and salt and smelled of the fresh outdoors and something that was all her own scent. He pulled her tighter against him, teasing his erection against her soft belly and already thinking about what he would like to do next. It had been so long since he’d felt desire, at least desire that he acted upon. He was separated from her lush body by a beach towel and scraps of featherlight fabric, and the thought was driving him wild. He swept his tongue deep in between her lips, thrusting and tasting the way he wanted to plunder other parts of her. In that moment, on that dock under the moonlight, he felt passion and longing like he’d never experienced before. Damn,I’m going to need a dip in a cold lake to shake this.
“Are you the deep-water person?” A shrill voice came out of the shadows from the beach, jolting Ross and Darling apart.
She jumped to the side of him, and he instinctively shoved her behind his body. Ross whipped his head toward the stranger. “Who the hell are you?” he barked, still feeling startled.
“No, you’re not from the deep water. You’re just a stranger. I’m David. I’m David.” The figure came a bit closer to the end of the dock, and now Ross could see that the voice belonged to a teenage boy. He squinted his eyes in the dim light and made out more details about David. That boy has lost too many balls in the high weeds, poor bastard. He had dark hair and thick glasses. He wore a loose T-shirt and jean shorts with old, worn sneakers. He clasped and unclasped his hands nervously before repeating himself. “I said, I’m David. I’m David, and you’re a stranger, you’re a stranger.”
“My name is Ross, and this here is Darling. Do you live nearby, David?” Ross questioned him gently, realizing that the boy was probably autistic or intellectually disabled and not some wandering psychopath who was going to hack them both to bits with a machete. Like his mom used to say about the wildlife, this boy was probably more nervous coming across them than they’d been surprised by him. Either way, Ross kept an eye on David. The boy kicked at the sand a few times with his old sneakers and glanced behind him toward the driveway.
“Yes, I’m David. I’m David. I live next door in the cottage. My dad does outdoor work. I help. I’m David,” the boy responded in his high-pitched voice seeming more at ease now.
Great, we’ve just met Boo Radley. David stepped onto the dock and walked within ten feet of them before giving a slight wave of his hand. Darling moved from behind Ross and waved back to the boy.
“I bet you’re Mr. Whitaker’s youngest boy. I used to live here every summer as a little girl, and now I’m back to stay, so it’s nice to meet one of my neighbors.” Darling smiled warmly at David before continuing, “It’s kind of late. Does your dad know where you are?”
“I’m David. I don’t go out in the water; there’s something in there. I’m David. My dad’s asleep on the couch again. He sleeps a lot.” David shook his head a few times.
“Oh, okay. So what’s this about something in the water?” Darling asked exactly what Ross was getting curious about himself.
“There’s a monster in the water. I’m David. There’s a secret that lives under the water, and someday it’ll come out. I’m David. I don’t like the water. That’s why it’s called Secret Lake, you know.” He looked down at his sneakers as if studying them.
“I’m pretty sure there are no monsters in the water. But, if you want to come fish off the dock or something during the day that would be okay, as long as you let someone know you are here. I don’t want your dad getting scared. It’s late now so we should all probably get to bed,” she offered.
Darling started walking back toward the house before Ross could even suggest picking up where they’d left off. Her stiff stride and squared shoulders signaled she wanted to be left alone, and he knew she was right to walk away from him. What the hell had he been thinking with, ’cause it sure as shit wasn’t his brain. She was practically a kid herself, couldn’t be more than twenty-one or so years old. With a shake of his head he followed David to the top of the driveway where he made sure the kid turned down a narrow gravel road and got to the porch of a small cottage. Once the kid had opened his door, Ross made his way back to the house and tiptoed up to his own room. He wasn’t surprised to see Beauty Belle had moved her dog bed upstairs—clever girl!—and settled in. Guess you’ll be the only woman looking for more of my company tonight. I sure hope you don’t snore, dog. He stripped out of his clothes and dropped into the creaking bed.
About the Author
T.D. Hassett grew up reading the romance greats—Jackie Collins, Julie Garwood, and Judith McNaught. She was certain that life should be like a romance novel, with lots of passion, some incredible adventures, and a guaranteed happily ever after. She attended college in New England, earning a B.A. in History and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology before changing her mind again and studying education. Currently Ms. Hassett lives in Connecticut with her very patient husband and two young children. Her rambunctious family shares their home with three crazy cats and a darling golden retriever named Delilah. Her eccentric relatives and their quest to make her feel like the only normal nut in the family tree inspire her writing.
Visit her at http://tdhassett.wordpress.com — She loves to hear from readers!