Cover image for Echo Lake
Title:
Echo Lake
Author:
Neggers, Carla, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
[Large print ed.]
Publication Information:
Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press Large Print, 2015.

©2015
Physical Description:
447 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
Summary:
Heather Sloan has landed her dream job -- the renovation of Vic Scarlatti's stately 1912 country home overlooking the icy waters of Echo Lake in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. It's the perfect project for the family business, but for once, Heather is in charge. Diplomatic Security Service agent Brody Hancock left Knights Bridge at eighteen, a few steps ahead of arrest and the wrath of Heather's older brothers. Though Brody had never planned to return, Vic, a retired diplomat and friend, needs his help. Staying at Vic's guest house makes it impossible to avoid running into a Sloan at every turn -- especially Heather. Seeing her again has affected Brody more than he wants to admit. But Heather is wary of Brody's sudden interest in her, and she suspects there's more to his homecoming than he's letting on.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9781410476661
Format :
Book

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Grand Island Library LARGE PRINT FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print
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Kenilworth Library LARGE PRINT FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print
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Lancaster Library LARGE PRINT FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print
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Julia Boyer Reinstein Library LARGE PRINT FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print
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Summary

Summary

In snowy Swift River Valley, unexpected romance is just around the corner...
Heather Sloan has landed her dream job--the renovation of Vic Scarlatti's stately 1912 country home overlooking the icy waters of Echo Lake in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. It's the perfect project for the family business, but for once, Heather is in charge.
Diplomatic Security Service agent Brody Hancock left Knights Bridge at eighteen, a few steps ahead of arrest and the wrath of Heather's older brothers. Though Brody had never planned to return, Vic, a retired diplomat and friend, needs his help.
Staying at Vic's guest house makes it impossible to avoid running into a Sloan at every turn--especially Heather. Seeing her again has affected Brody more than he wants to admit. But Heather is wary of Brody's sudden interest in her, and she suspects there's more to his homecoming than he's letting on....
Set against the scenic backdrop of a New England winter, Echo Lake is a captivating tale of family, friends and the possibility of new love


Author Notes

Carla Neggers received a degree in journalism from Boston University. Before becoming a full-time fiction author, she worked as an arts and entertainment reporter. She has written over 60 romance novels including the Sharpe and Donovan series and the Swift River Valley series. She also writes under the names Anne Harrell and Amalia James.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Except for college, Heather Sloan has lived in Knight's Bridge, Massachusetts, her whole life. The town's bad boy, Brody Hancock, left years ago and now returns as a squeaky-clean Diplomatic Security Service agent. Their paths cross again as Heather supervises the renovation of retired diplomat Vic Scarlatti's 1912 lake house. Brody doesn't have many memories of Heather, the kid sister of his best friends, but she has had a crush on him since girlhood. Now he is certainly interested in the woman she has become. Meanwhile, someone is sneaking into Vic's house, moving his things around to let him know he is not alone. Neggers' tale of a young woman working in an old house where something creepy is going on has a nice gothic feel. Because Neggers makes lots of references to characters from the earlier Swift River Valley books (Secrets of the Lost Summer, 2012; That Night on Thistle Lane, 2013; Cider Brook, 2014), Echo Lake works best as part of the series, and libraries will want the entire run by this master of romantic suspense.--Mosley, Shelley Copyright 2015 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Thrilled to be chosen to oversee the renovation of retired diplomat Vic Scarlatti's 1912 country house on Echo Lake, Heather Sloan is determined to do her family-of the restoration firm Sloan & Sons-proud. But the return of bad-boy diplomatic security agent Brody Hancock after years away has her off balance and on edge. Brody left under a cloud right out of high school-thanks to Heather's older brothers-so why is he back after so many years, supposedly looking into some unexplained things that have Vic concerned, and why is he suddenly interested in Heather? VERDICT With her unerring knack for creating compelling, sympathetic characters and vivid, realistic settings, Neggers does the near impossible: she brings a small-town, family-loving heroine and a footloose hero together in an engaging romance that has its fair share of surprises. Neggers (Harbor Island) lives in Vermont. (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

A s much as Heather Sloan loved a bright New England winter day, chasing a puppy through knee-deep snow in seventeen degrees wasn't her idea of fun. Rohan--the runaway puppy, a twelve-week-old golden retriever--wasn't quickly tiring of his romp or sticking to the plowed driveway and shoveled walks, either. Not a chance. She spotted his tracks, leading through the woods straight for quiet, frozen Echo Lake. She wasn't following a rabbit or deer by mistake. They definitely were puppy tracks. She paused, noting that the trail veered to the right, parallel to the lake. Something must have caught Rohan's attention. A bird, a breeze, a noise. Great. Heather followed the tracks through a deeper drift, but they disappeared under the low-hanging, snow-laden branches of two gnarly hemlocks. Rohan could easily fit under them. She couldn't. The trees grew so close together that trying to squeeze between them meant getting snow down her back. Going around them would risk a delay in finding the tracks again. She was already cold. She wasn't dressed for a puppy rescue. Ankle boots, leather gloves, a wool scarf and her three-quarter-length chocolate-brown wool coat. Why? Of all days, why hadn't she worn her Car-hartt jacket and L.L. Bean boots? It wasn't as if her attire would impress Vic Scarlatti, the newly retired diplomat whose renovations she was overseeing. His 1912 lake house was out of sight now, up through the trees past a small guesthouse. He was searching the garage, shed and porches. Adrienne Portale, the wine-expert daughter of one of Vic's Foreign Service friends, was searching the house, in case Rohan hadn't slipped outside, after all. But he had, and he would be in serious trouble in this cold if Heather didn't get to him soon. What was a little snow down her back? With five older brothers, it wasn't anything she wasn't used to. They'd had an epic snowball fight on New Year's Day. She plunged between the hemlocks, moving as fast as she could, but there was no way to avoid disturbing the snow clinging to the evergreen branches. She got a spray in her face and a clump down her back and almost lost a boot, but when she emerged on the other side of the hemlocks, she was practically standing in Rohan's tracks. She went still, quieting her breathing as she listened. Her cheeks were numb, and her fingertips and toes ached with the cold. She'd pulled her scarf over her head as best she could in lieu of a hat, but it was loose now, one end dangling down her front. The late-January afternoon sky was cloudless, the air as crisp and clear and cold as it had been since the latest storm earlier in the week. She glanced to her left toward the snow-covered lake. Echo Lake wasn't big, but it was one of the largest lakes in out-of-the-way Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. There. Heather spun around at a sound up ahead and forced herself not to move. She listened, positive she heard something besides her own breathing. Yips. A high-pitched, mournful cry. It had to be Rohan. With a mix of worry and relief, she surged in the direction of the distressed yips and cries, following the tracks through bare-limbed maples and oaks and past white pines. The ground was uneven, the snow sometimes drifting up past her knees. Snowshoes or back-country skis would have helped, but she had left hers in her truck and Vic wasn't much on winter sports. "I like looking at the snow," he'd told her. "I don't necessarily like going out in it for fun." She came to a shallow, rocky brook that emptied into the lake but now was mostly frozen. Water trickled and swirled in a few spots among the snow and ice where the current was stronger. "Rohan," Heather called softly, not wanting to startle him by yelling. "Where are you, buddy?" She heard panting then a whimper. She eased closer to the edge of the brook and peered upstream. Her heart jumped when she saw a golden ball of fur--little Rohan, struggling to climb out from the midst of the water, snow, ice and rocks. "Oh, Rohan. You are in a mess, aren't you?" Trees crowded the bank, and it was steeper up where Rohan was stuck. Getting to him wasn't going to be easy. Staying close to the brook, she grabbed hold of saplings and branches, using them to help her keep her balance in the difficult conditions. Once she was parallel to Rohan, he let out an eager, full-fledged bark. He must have frolicked his way out here, got stuck in the ice and snow and had run out of steam. He was, after all, only a puppy. Heather could see there was no way he could get out of his predicament with just a bit of encouragement from her. She would have to grab him--preferably without ending up trapped in the cold brook herself. "Easy, Rohan," she said, holding on to a thin tree and reaching with her free hand to the shivering puppy. "Let's get you warm and safe, okay?" She stretched, her fingertips within inches of him, but she slipped in the snow. She couldn't regain her footing and went down on one knee, planting her free hand in the snow to keep herself from falling in the brook. She felt cold water flowing into her left boot and up her lower leg but bit back a yell lest she panic Rohan. She finally righted herself, losing her glove in the process. She didn't hesitate. She scooped up the puppy and moved quickly, launching past the tree she was using for balance then sinking against another one. She anchored her feet in the snow to prevent her and Rohan from skidding back into the brook. She cuddled the furry dog against her. She could feel his little heart racing. "I've got you," she whispered, her own heart thumping madly. "I've got you." She wanted to sit in the snow and catch her breath, but she knew that wasn't wise. Her shivering was a warning she was in danger of hypothermia. It would be a cold, wet trek back to Vic's house, so she had to get on with it and keep moving. As she stood straight, she thought she smelled wood smoke--from a fireplace or a woodstove, perhaps. How was that possible? She was too far from the main house. It had to be her imagination or her natural optimism at work. She heard the snap of a twig and looked up through the trees behind her, away from the brook. A man she didn't recognize stepped comfortably down to her and Rohan. He wore a black suede jacket and solid boots but no hat or gloves. He scanned her from head to toe before he spoke. "Nice job with the puppy rescue." "You watched?" "Yes, ma'am. I didn't want to startle you." Heather felt Rohan stir in her arms, but he didn't bark. Probably too tired. "Ready to come to my rescue if I fell in, were you?" "You did fall in," he said, pointing to her wet lower left leg. "Not all the way in." "You'd be a popsicle if you fell all the way in. I was on my way to rescue the little guy myself. I'm staying at Vic's guesthouse. I got in late last night. My name's Brody, by the way." "Heather Sloan," she said. "Good to meet you." Except she felt as if she should know him. Did know him. He narrowed his eyes--dark, flecked with gold--on her. He had short-cropped dark hair, a square jaw, a cleft chin. She shook off the idea that he was familiar somehow. She didn't know anyone who would be a guest of Vic Scarlatti. He stepped past her and picked up her fallen glove out of the snow. She took in his broad shoulders and his dark canvas pants covering muscular thighs. He looked strong and incredibly fit. Another diplomat? Somehow Heather didn't think so. He stood straight and tucked her glove into her jacket pocket. "It's filled with snow. It's not going to keep you warm. I can take the pup if you'd like. Give you a chance to pull yourself together." "I'm fine, thanks, and I can handle Rohan." "Rohan?" Brody stroked the soft fur behind the puppy's ear. "He doesn't look much like a rider of Rohan at the moment, does he?" Heather agreed the Tolkien-inspired name was in-congruently regal for such a rambunctious, cute-as-the-devil puppy. He was getting heavy in her arms, but she noticed his heart rate had settled down. "He's not my puppy," she said. "I just helped look for him." "Vic Scarlatti has a puppy?" Brody grinned as if the prospect both amused and surprised him. "I guess retirement will do that even to a guy like Vic." "He's a stray. Rohan, I mean. Vic found him wandering around alone out here a few days ago and took him in." "Well, good for Vic." "Another guest named him Rohan. Adrienne Portale. Are you two friends?" "Nope. Don't know her." Rohan snuggled deeper into Heather's arms. "I should get back. It's cold even for January." "I'll walk with you." She sucked in a breath. When it came right down to it, she had no idea who this man was. "Thanks, but I can manage." "Mind if I walk with you as far as the guesthouse?" "How do you know Vic?" "We go back a ways." A vague answer. "You're a lot younger than he is." "Yes, I am." Heather hesitated. "I should let Vic know that Rohan is safe." "I already texted him that a dark-haired woman in a brown coat had just rescued a puppy from the brook." "That was efficient." "He hasn't responded. I also told him you could use some dry clothes." Brody nodded up through the woods toward the main house. "Shall we?" Heather could feel Rohan settling into her arms. He wasn't a light puppy. She needed to get moving if she was going to carry him all the way back to the house. She took a step up the hill. "I guess if you're one of Vic's friends, it's safe to go off with you. You're not going to bonk me on the head and dump me in the guesthouse cellar. It doesn't have a cellar, for one thing." "That's a dramatic imagination you have there." "It's not drama. It's being practical. I'm very practical." "Do you say everything you think?" "No. Do you?" His gaze slid over her. He smiled. "No." Despite the frigid temperature, she felt heat in her cheeks. Maybe she should think before she spoke. She adjusted Rohan in her arms again as she took another step up the hill. "I'm also good at taking care of myself." "Come on. You pushed hard through the snow, and you're frozen. Let me take Rohan." Heather didn't protest when Brody scooped up the half-asleep puppy. She tried not to shiver or let her teeth chatter, but with the cold weather and her partial dip in the icy brook, she had to admit she was frozen. "I didn't expect Rohan to end up down here by the lake." "He bolted past the guesthouse. I saw him out the window but couldn't get out fast enough to grab him before he hit the brook. You're okay to walk, aren't you?" "Yep. No problem." "Didn't think it would be. Tough as nails, right?" "Just used to New England winters." "Sure thing." There was something in his tone Heather couldn't quite place. Familiarity? Sarcasm? Amusement? A mix of all three? She couldn't deny she was madly curious about him, but maybe he just had funny ideas about Knights Bridge and the people who lived there. She resisted asking him the four thousand questions she had. She needed to get Rohan back to Vic's. With her wet pants and case of the shivers, she ought to get dry and warm herself She was happy to let Brody lead the way back to Vic's house, thus allowing her to step in his footprints instead of in virgin snow. It was much less tiring, and the snow didn't seem to faze him. "How do you like Knights Bridge so far?" He glanced back at her. "Do you really want to ask me that right now?" "Seventeen degrees, snow, ice, a golden retriever puppy on the loose?" Heather grinned at him. "What's not to like?" "Oh, yeah, Heather Sloan." Just the faintest of smiles. "What's not to like?" Vic Scarlatti bought his house on Echo Lake twenty years ago, when he was a rising star in the US diplomatic corps, and had done virtually nothing to it since. That suited Heather. The previous owner, the granddaughter of the Boston financier who'd built the house, had updated the plumbing, wiring and heat about ten years before the property went on the market upon her death. It was classic Arts and Crafts, oriented to take in the best views of its long-neglected garden and the lake. Brody showed no sign of appreciating the house's charms and potential as he set Rohan on his puppy bed in the small, cluttered mudroom off the kitchen. The little golden retriever immediately gave a deep sigh and rolled onto his side, dozing. "The bed looks new," Brody said. "It is," Heather said, walking past him through the open doorway into the kitchen. "I bought it at the country store in town. I figured Rohan needed a bed." "Does Vic plan to keep him?" "He says absolutely not." She sank onto a chair at the kitchen table. She was stiffer than she wanted to admit after her adventure, but at least she was warming up fast. She pulled off her ankle boots. Both socks were wet, but her left one was sopping. Another of her out-into-the-cold sins was her choice of thin cotton socks. She peeled them off and stuffed them in her boots. She'd figure out what to do about them later, when she didn't have Brody for an audience. He grabbed Rohan's water bowl and filled it at the deep porcelain kitchen sink, one of the granddaughter's additions. He brought the bowl to Rohan and set it close to his bed. The puppy stirred. At first he was too lethargic to care about anything except yawning, but he managed to get onto all fours and lap at the water. "You should have some water, too," Brody said as he rejoined Heather in the kitchen. "It's easy to get dehydrated in this dry cold and not realize it." "Water would be nice." Before she could stand, he had a cupboard open and a glass in hand. He filled it with water and set it on the table in front of her. "Drink up." "You remind me of my brothers. They never look cold, either. You don't even have a red nose. I do, don't I?" "You were out in the cold longer than I was." "A diplomatic answer. My brothers won't go easy on me for almost freezing to death while chasing a puppy." "What would they have had you do?" "Not take chances. Wear wool socks, at least." She smiled suddenly. "But all's well that ends well, right?" "And you don't have to tell your brothers." "True, but it's too good a story not to tell. I wish I'd spotted your footprints instead of Rohan's, though. I'd have let you do the rescuing." Brody unbuttoned his jacket but didn't take it off. He had on a dark sweater over his taut abdomen. Heather was accustomed to fit guys, and he was obviously and decidedly fit. She averted her gaze and drank her water. She was noticing too much about this man. Maybe dehydration and adrenaline had put her senses on overdrive. "Do you have dry clothes here?" he asked. "Why would I?" She snapped up straight, almost knocking her water glass off the table. "Wait. You don't think--" She gulped in a breath. "I'm almost forty years younger than Vic. No. Absolutely not." Brody grinned, his dark eyes sparking with humor. "That's not what I was thinking. I was just wondering if you kept a change of clothes here given your work. You and Vic Scarlatti? Damn, that's funny. Seriously funny." "What do you mean, seriously funny? You say that as if I'm not. " She stopped herself, abandoning that train of thought in the nick of time. "Never mind." "As if you're not attractive, you mean? That's not what I'm saying." He paused, warmth replacing the humor in his eyes now. "Trust me." Heather jumped to her feet, baffled by why she was blurting out things she had no business blurting out. She'd never been good at policing what she said, but she didn't know this man--never mind that he seemed familiar. A trick of her imagination, no doubt. "Right. Well." She took a quick breath. "Main point is, I'll be fine in these clothes. Obviously, I didn't show up here dressed for a puppy rescue. I'm from Knights Bridge-- I live in the village a few miles from here." "Have you always lived in town?" "Except for college, but I went to UMass Amherst. That's not far." "No wanderlust?" Excerpted from Echo Lake by Carla Neggers All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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