50 Harbor Street
Cedar Cove, Washington
Considering that I'm married to Cedar Cove's private investigator, you might think I enjoy mysteries. But I don't―especially when they involve us! Roy and I have been receiving anonymous postcards and messages asking if we "regret the past." We don't know what they mean....
On a more positive note, we're both delighted that our daughter, Linette, has moved to Cedar Cove to work at the new medical clinic. A while ago I attended the humane society's "Dog and Bachelor Auction," where I bought her a date with Cal Washburn, who works at Cliff Harding's horse farm. Unfortunately Linette is less enthusiastic about this date than I am.
Speaking of Cliff, the romance between him and Grace Sherman is back on. But that's only one of the many interesting stories here in Cedar Cove. So why don't you drop by for a coffee at my husband's office on Main Street or our house on Harbor and I'll tell you everything that's new!
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Debbie Macomber, the author of Hannah’s List, 1022 Evergreen Place, Summer on Blossom Street, 92 Pacific Boulevard, and Twenty Wishes, is a leading voice in women’s fiction. Three of her novels have scored the #1 slot on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle was Hallmark Channel's top-watched movie for 2009. Winner of the 2005 Quill Award for Best Romance, the prolific author has more than 140 million copies of her books in print worldwide.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Corrie McAfee was worried. And she knew that her husband, Roy, was too.
Who wouldn't be? Starting in July, Roy—a private investigator—had received a series of anonymous postcards, and while the messages weren't overtly threatening, they were certainly distressing.
The first communication, which had been mailed to the office, spoke of regrets. During the intervening weeks, there'd been several others. Corrie had read each postcard so often she'd memorized them all. The first one stated: EVERYONE HAS REGRETS. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU'VE DONE YOU WISH YOU COULD DO OVER? THINK ABOUT IT. There hadn't been a signature then, or on any of the other cards. They'd arrived at infrequent intervals and been mailed from different locations. The cryptic messages kept playing in her mind. The passing of time hadn't helped; she was as much in the dark now, in October, as when she'd seen that first postcard.
There was a final gasping, gurgling sound as the coffee drained into the glass pot. The noise distracted Corrie from her worries for a moment—long enough to glance out the wide office window that overlooked downtown Cedar Cove, Washington. Serving as Roy's secretary and assistant had its advantages, and in this instance, disadvantages. Sometimes ignorance truly was bliss; the current situation was definitely one of those cases. She'd sleep better if she'd never learned about the mysterious postcards.
And yet... even if Roy had managed to keep them hidden from her, she would still have known—because the last message had been hand-delivered, at night, to their front door. Not to the office like the others, but to their home. Late one evening, someone had walked up the sidewalk and onto the porch of their house. As it happened, Roy and Corrie were entertaining dinner guests that night—and had opened the door to discover that an unknown person had left a fruit basket and an accompanying note. Chills raced up Corrie's spine at the thought that this person knew their home address.
"Is that coffee ready yet?" Roy called from inside his office. Apparently she hadn't delivered it fast enough.
"Hold your horses—it's coming." Corrie didn't mean to snap at her husband. Normally she wasn't short-tempered. This uncharacteristic outburst revealed how upset she was by everything that was happening to them. Sighing, she filled a clean mug for Roy and carried it, steam rising, into his office.
"Okay, that does it," she said, putting the coffee on the corner of his desk. "We have to talk."
As if he didn't have a care in the world, Roy leaned back in his chair and locked his fingers behind his head. They'd been married for twenty-seven years, and Corrie found him as attractive now as she had in college. Roy had played football for the University of Washington and been a "big man on campus," as they used to say. He was tall and broad-shouldered, still muscular, his posture as straight as ever. He stayed in good shape without apparent effort, and Corrie envied, just a bit, the fact that he'd never gained any weight. His dark hair had thinned and was streaked with gray, which only added a look of dignity to his appearance.
Of all the women he dated during college, he'd fallen in love with her. Theirs hadn't been an easy courtship, though. They'd broken up for more than a year, and then reunited. Once they were back together, they realized how much they loved each other; there'd been no uncertainty about their feelings. They were married shortly after graduation and their love had endured through trials and tribulations, through good years and bad. They'd had plenty of both.
"Talk about what?" Roy asked casually.
His nonchalance didn't fool Corrie. Her husband knew exactly what was on her mind. "Does THE PAST HAS A WAY OF CATCHING UP WITH THE PRESENT tell you anything?" she murmured, sitting down in the chair normally reserved for clients. She wanted Roy to understand that she wouldn't be put off easily. She was afraid he knew more about these postcards than he'd let on. It would be just like him to try to protect her.
Roy frowned. "Those messages don't have anything to do with you, so don't worry about it."
His answer infuriated her. "How can you say that? Everything that happens to you affects me."
He seemed about to argue, but after all these years, he recognized that she wasn't going to be satisfied with glib reassurances. "I'm not sure what to tell you. I've made enemies and, yes, I have regrets, but who doesn't?"
Roy had reached the rank of detective for the Seattle Police Department and been forced into early retirement because of a back injury. In the beginning, Corrie had been excited to have her husband at home. She'd hoped they'd be able to travel and do some of the things they'd always planned, but it hadn't worked out that way. Roy had the time now, but their finances had been adversely affected when he'd had to take early retirement. Their income was less than it had been by at least twenty percent. In a money-saving effort, they'd moved from Seattle and across Puget Sound to the community of Cedar Cove. The cost of property was much more reasonable in Kitsap County, which also offered a slower pace of life. When the real estate agent showed them the house at 50 Harbor Street, with its wide front porch and sweeping view of the cove and lighthouse, Corrie knew immediately that this house and this town would become their home.
They'd moved from the big city, and it hadn't been as much of an adjustment as Corrie had feared. Folks in town were pleasant, and Roy and Corrie had made a few good friends—notably the Beldons—but kept mostly to themselves. They knew their neighbors' names and exchanged greetings, but that was about it.
To Corrie's disappointment, Roy had grown restless with retirement. His moods had reflected his boredom, and he was frequently cantankerous. Everything changed when he decided to rent office space and hang out his shingle as a private investigator. It was a decision Corrie had encouraged. Soon her husband was busy and looking forward to each day. He took on the cases that suited him and turned down those that didn't. Corrie was proud of Roy's skills, proud of his success and the way he cared about his clients. Never did it occur to her, or apparently to Roy, that one day he'd be solving his own mystery.
"You could be in danger," Corrie murmured, letting her anxiety show. She refused to hide her feelings, refused to pretend all was well when it wasn't.
Roy shrugged. "I doubt I'm in jeopardy. If anyone wanted to do me harm, they would've done so before now."
"How can you say that?" she asked irritably. "Bob was followed, and we both know it wasn't Bob they were interested in. He was driving your car. They thought they were following you."
Bob Beldon, together with his wife, Peggy, was the owner of the local Bed-and-Breakfast, Thyme and Tide. Bob had borrowed Roy's car and phoned in a near panic, sure he was being followed. Roy had advised him to drive immediately to the sheriff's office. As soon as Bob had pulled in to the station, the tail had left him. Only later did Roy and Corrie figure it out. Whoever had shadowed Bob had assumed it was Roy driving.
"The letter said we're in no danger," her husband reminded her.
"Of course! That's what they want us to think," Corrie argued. "Whoever's doing this wants us to lower our guard."
She cut him off, rejecting any further attempts to pacify her. "That basket was delivered to our front porch. This... stranger walked right up to our home and left it, and now you're telling me we have nothing to worry about?" Her voice quavered, and she realized how close she was to losing control of her emotions. She was tired of being afraid, tired of waiting for the next message—or worse. Tired of waking up with her eyes burning from lack of sleep. Her first conscious thought every morning was fear of what might happen that day.
"The basket came over a week ago, and we've heard nothing since." Roy said this as if this was supposed to comfort her. It didn't.
"There was no postcard in the mail today, was there?"
he asked, and she heard an unmistakable hint of tension in his voice.
"No." Corrie had collected the mail, flipped through it and tossed the bundle of bills and circulars on her desk.
Roy nodded, as if to say Well, then?
"Roy," she said with deceptive calm, "I can't remember the last time I slept a night straight through. You're not sleeping well, either."
He didn't agree or disagree.
"We can't go on pretending everything's all right."
Roy's handsome features tightened. "I'm doing everything I can," he told her curtly.
"I know, but it isn't enough."
"It has to be."
Corrie wasn't an expert in the area of investigations, but she knew when it was time to seek help, and they were well past that point. "You need to talk to somebody."
"Who?" he asked.
The only person she could suggest was the local sheriff. "Troy Davis..."
"Not a good idea," Roy said. "Whatever this is about happened long before we moved to Cedar Cove."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Regrets. Every postcard mentions regrets. There isn't a cop who doesn't have regrets—about things we've done or haven't done or should've done differently."
She thought—but didn't say—that every human being had regrets. It wasn't restricted to cops.
"The last message said I JUST WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DID. DON'T YOU HAVE A SINGLE REGRET? To me, that implies I did something—arrested someone, testified against someone—when I was a detective for Seattle."
Her voice fell to a whisper. "You were on the force a lot of years. Surely there's a case or two that stands out in your mind."
Roy shook his head. "Do you think I haven't thought about...
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Buchbeschreibung Mira Books Mrz 2010, 2010. Taschenbuch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - Fifth in the 'Cedar Cove' series. Corrie's PI husband has been receiving anonymous postcards asking if he regrets the past. On a brighter note, their daughter has moved back to Cedar Cove to work at the medical clinic, and Cliff Harding's romance with Grace is back on. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 9780778303428