Title – Lies and Solace
Author – Jana Richards
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Love is worth the risk…
When their grandfather dies, the Lindquist sisters, Harper, Scarlet and Maggie, inherit the northern Minnesota fishing lodge that had been in their family for three generations. The inheritance is bittersweet. They were raised at the lodge by their grandparents. The natural beauty of the place hasn’t changed, but the building itself is crumbling and desperately in need of repair. The lodge also reminds them of what they lost. Twenty-two years previously, their parents died there in what was ruled a murder/suicide.
As the sisters struggle to breathe new life into the failing lodge, old fears and questions rise to the surface even as new love presents itself. Why did their father murder their mother? What truths did their grandparents keep from them? The sisters must fight to keep the wounds of the past from putting their futures, and their fledgling relationships, in jeopardy.
Lies and Solace Blurb:
She can’t live with one more lie. He can’t tell the truth.
Harper Lindquist is convinced she’s found the answer to her financial prayers. Unless she pours cash into crumbling Solace Lake Lodge, she’ll lose her family’s legacy. Her would-be savior arrives in the middle of a Minnesota blizzard and she’s determined to prove to her reluctant, and trapped, financier the lodge is a sound investment. But Harper isn’t completely honest with him. And she has no idea the lake is hiding secrets of its own.
Ethan James is a liar, but his money is very real. He isn’t convinced a broken-down inn is a smart investment opportunity. But the more he understands Harper’s dreams and desires, the more he wants to be the man to make them come true. The trauma in both their pasts means neither can fully trust the other. They must find the courage to love, to trust, and to accept, or yesterday’s sorrows will keep them apart.
She filled their mugs, then sat in the chair across from him. “You should see it in the summer. The lake is a hundred and twenty acres of sky blue perfection, and so clear you can see to the bottom. It’s a great fishing lake, full of walleye and largemouth bass. Birds of every description sing in the trees, and butterflies and insects fly from wildflower to wildflower. It’s a little piece of heaven and I plan to keep it that way. It’s eco-friendly all the way.”
“So you said in your emails.” She’d written that she wanted to use sustainable practices in renovating and maintaining the lodge. Ethan swallowed a delectable piece of pancake and put down his fork. Time to come clean.
“Please. Call me Harper.”
“Harper, before any more time goes by, I have to tell you that my company will not be investing money into your lodge for renovations.”
A gamut of emotions – disappointment, confusion, desperation – flitted across her face. She carefully set down her coffee cup. “Then what are you doing here?”
“I have a proposition. I wanted to talk to you about it in person.”
She turned her head to stare out the window, her mouth pinched, and her eyebrows drawn together. For an uncomfortable moment, he thought she was going to cry. Damn it. He’d been stupid not to tell her the truth upfront. But when she looked at him again, her eyes were dry, her face composed.
“What’s your proposition?”
“My company recently purchased Miller’s Golf Resort. You said you worked there.”
“Yes. I work part-time in the dining room, and I help with the accounting. I know the Millers have been trying to sell the resort for a while. They want to retire.”
“Yes. Hainstock Investments made them a good offer and they accepted.”
“When did this happen?”
“A few days ago. The final papers haven’t been signed yet, so they probably want to wait until that’s done before they tell the staff.” Ethan paused and sipped his coffee to quench his suddenly dry mouth. “When we saw your ad at the same time we were negotiating with the Millers, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
One of Harper’s eyebrows rose delicately. “The perfect opportunity for what?”
“To expand the resort. Your land is adjacent to Miller’s, and you’ve got a much bigger lake. We’d like to purchase your property so we can build a second golf course and construct vacation condos on the lake. We’d be very careful to use eco-friendly products in all phases of construction.” He named a figure for the land he knew was well above the market price.
Harper looked unmoved by the generosity of his offer. “And what about the lodge? What are your plans for it?”
“I’m sorry, but we don’t have any plans for the lodge. We’d have to tear it down.”
She abruptly pushed back her chair and stood. “You could have saved yourself the trip. If you're going to rip down the lodge and cut down most of the trees for a golf course, I will never sell this property to Hainstock Investments. I’d rather give it away to the nature conservancy I’ve been working with for the last few years.” She threw her napkin on the table. “And since your company is the new owner of Miller’s, you can tell them I quit.”
He stood as well, lifting his hands in surrender. “Harper, wait. Let’s talk about this.”
“There’s nothing to talk about.” Her hands fisted at her sides as she turned to stare out the window at the storm. She gave a sardonic laugh. “I can’t even tell you to get the hell off my property.”
He wasn’t surprised she wanted to get rid of him. “I’ve got four-wheel drive on my truck. I should be able to make it at least as far as Miller’s.”
She sighed and shook her head. “You’ve already been stuck once. The storm’s worse now.”
That was true. It was lucky he’d only driven into a snow-filled ditch rather than a steep embankment, or perhaps into a tree. He didn’t relish going back on the road, but by the set of her shoulders, it was obvious she didn’t want him there. Damn, he should have checked the forecast before he left Minneapolis, but he’d been too excited about the possibilities.
“It’s best if I go. I don’t want to upset you any further.”
“No, that’s crazy. You don’t have to do that.”
Harper gripped the back of her chair with both hands and stared at the floor for what seemed like hours, but was probably no more than a minute. Ethan waited, not sure what he should say or do. Then she straightened and lifted her gaze to his, her blue eyes issuing a challenge. She gave him a half smile. “I’ve got a proposition for you.”
He blinked at her, confused at this sudden turn. “What do you mean?”
“Stay here until the storm is over and listen to my proposal to renovate the lodge. If I haven’t convinced you by the time the blizzard lets up that it’s a solid business idea with the potential to make money, then I promise I’ll consider your offer to buy my land.”
“Are you serious?”
“Very. Can you promise you’ll listen objectively to my proposal, without letting any preconceived ideas get in the way?”
What did he have to lose? “I promise to listen objectively and if I’m convinced your ideas have merit, I’ll take them back to Hainstock Investments.” He folded his arms across his chest. “And what about you? Will you listen objectively to our ideas for your property?”
She took a deep breath and nodded. “I promise I’ll listen as long as your ideas take the environmental health of my property into account.”
It was certainly better than being thrown out into the snow. He extended his hand. “I believe you have a deal, Ms. Lindquist.”
She stretched out her hand to shake his. Her lovely mouth curled into a wide smile, transforming her from merely pretty to exquisite. “Please, call me Harper.”
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When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist. In 2015 her humorous contemporary romance “Always a Bridesmaid” was nominated for a Rone Award in the Steamy Contemporary category. That same year “Always a Bridesmaid” won Best Opening Hook in the Maple Leaf Awards from Trans Canada Writers.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with an elderly Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
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