Welcome to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, where Southern hospitality and sweet peach tea beckon, and where long-buried secrets lead to some startling realizations…
Grayson Blake always has a purpose—and never a moment to lose. He’s come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery…and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.
Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can’t erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she’s lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth…and hope.
SERIES: Honey Ridge #3
GENRE: Contemporary Romance/Historical Mystery
RELEASE DATE: July 25, 2017
Other Books In This Series
Grayson parked the Jeep in the graveled lot at the back of Peach Orchard Inn and exited the vehicle without saying a word to his brother. He was irked. Ticked. Irritated with his impulsive brother, though this wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last.
With long, efficient strides that ate up the tidy lawn, he approached the wraparound porch of the inn. A white two-story with double galleries and tall columns, Peach Orchard Inn was a stunning example of the Greek Revival architecture popular in the early 1800s. His builder’s eye was impressed with the careful preservation and restoration of historic detail.
A speckled, shaggy dog—an Australian shepherd, he thought—sprawled on the shady porch under a white wicker table. The animal rose slowly, sniffed Grayson’s pant leg, and, wagging his stubby tail, nudged a blue head under the human hand. Grayson rubbed between the dog’s ears. “Hello, fella.”
Devlin by now had caught up, and the dog turned his attention to the newcomer. “We should get a dog.”
“We is plural. We don’t live together. Thankfully.”
“Aw, Gray, get over it. You would have made the deal anyway. I saved you some of your precious time.”
There was that, but Grayson wasn’t ready to forgive this clear departure from their established methods of doing business. He was the bean counter, the deal maker. Devlin was the creative genius. “I could have gotten a better deal.”
“Maybe.” Devlin scrubbed the dog’s head. The animal responded by raising a paw to shake, almost-white blue eyes soft and adoring. Like people, dogs adored Dev and tolerated Grayson. He’d never figured that out.
He pushed the doorbell, unsure of the protocol for entering someone else’s home even if it was a hotel of sorts.
Devlin didn’t share his hesitation. He opened the tall paneled door and stepped into an immaculate foyer and back into a time of carriages and crinolines. Grayson followed, soaking up the architectural details. Over the door, a half-moon window known as a lunette spilled light onto the gleaming oak entry. To one side, a rosewood credenza polished to a sheen held a bouquet of fresh white f lowers. Above the credenza, a glass case displayed some sort of artifacts. He saw a leather journal, a pocket watch, coins, and buttons, among other intriguing items. The piece of framed sheet music, tattered and yellow, especially interested him. He moved to the case, hands behind his back, to peruse.
The light scent of peaches, whether real or artificial, whispered on the air. Peach Orchard Inn. Peach fragrance. Nice touch.
Dev, too, had stopped in his tracks to look around with the interested eye of a design master before tilting his head back. “Get a load of that staircase.”
With a slight curve of polished banisters, the wide, red-carpeted stairway gracefully rose to the second floor. Overhead hung a small chandelier, glittering in the transom light. The entry was elegant and classy, as befit such a house. A house to explore and study.
However, at present, he wanted a shower more than anything before the ticks and poison ivy could take up residence on his skin.
“They’re expecting us, right?” Devlin asked. “I don’t see or hear anyone.”
“I made the reservation myself with the proprietress, Julia Donovan. We should have knocked and waited outside.”
Devlin stepped back to the doorway and thudded his fist against the wood.
They heard a door close and footsteps above them. Grayson looked upward as a terrific pair of legs, followed by a stunning brunette, came into sight. She moved down the staircase with the grace and flounce of a flamenco dancer, her dark hair swinging around her shoulders. In a silky blouse the color of mustard and a slim gray skirt that showed off the perfect amount of curve, she made his mouth go dry.
Go back and catch up with the previous consecutive excerpts:
Tuesday, July 11th: Mama Vicky Says – excerpt
Wednesday, July 12th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt
Thursday, July 13th: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Keep an eye out for these to follow mine:
Monday, July 17th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy – excerpt
Tuesday, July 18th: Black ‘n Gold Girls Book Spot – excerpt
Wednesday, July 19th: Book Mama Blog – excerpt
Thursday, July 20th: Dwell in Possibility – excerpt
Friday, July 21st: A Chick Who Reads – excerpt
And watch for my review on July 24th!
NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA, the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.
Other Books by Linda Goodnight
What about you? Have you stayed in a B&B/Inn before? What kind of house was it?