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Authors: Elisabeth Barrett

Deep Autumn Heat

BOOK: Deep Autumn Heat
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Deep Autumn Heat
is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.


A Loveswept eBook Original


Copyright © 2012 by Elisabeth Barrett
Excerpt from
Here Comes the Bride
by Gayle Kasper copyright © 1995 by Gayle Kasper.
Excerpt from
The Wedding Chase
by Rebecca Kelley copyright © 1998 by Becky Kjelstrom.
Excerpt from
About Last Night
by Ruthie Knox copyright © 2012 by Ruth Homrighaus.


All Rights Reserved.


Published in the United States by Loveswept, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.


and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.


Cover design: Lynn Andreozzi


eISBN: 978-0-345-53433-0




To my darling daughter, Hannah.

A new life. A new beginning.


The Legend of the Lorelei
by Nathaniel Jacobs

Come ’round the fire and I’ll tell you a tale

Of the
Siren Lorelei
and a gusty gale;

The worst nor’easter e’er to pass

That split the ship from bow to mast.


Lightning crack’d and thunder roared

And there, yet many miles from shore

Fire raged upon the prow,

The wrath of God come raining down.


For all their sins, pirates damned to Hell

Heard for themselves the last death knell,

All left for dead in a watery grave

A fitting end for murderous knaves.


O’er a hundred men were lost,

Three men only, battered and tossed

Were spared the horror and the gore

Made it safe upon the shore.


And as they rested, weary and spent

Believing salvation Heav’n sent,

A boat washed up in black of night

With an iron chest sealed tight.


Containing treasure with a mystical lore,

Bound by a lock that three keys bore,

Forged of a metal stronger than steel,

Not stronger though than each man’s will.


Mere riches could no way compare

To the treasure they found there,

Worth more than gold was this plunder

Blessed providence it had not gone under.


And as the sun rose on a blood red dawn,

Pirates had no time to mourn;

They’d dance the hempen jig if caught

And so a hiding place each sought.


Laying low till the sun was down

Afore venturing out into the town,

The three men made a solemn pledge

In which no man could drive a wedge.


To secret the chest within a cave

Hidden well by tide and wave,

Until the time they’d reunite,

Retrieve their spoils and again take flight.


Dividing then, each pirate three

Concealed with stealth one ancient key

Vowing to return again one day,

Then clasped hands and went separate ways.


But God has plans for lowliest men

Fickle fate! There was no way to ken

That they’d not return to the place

Where once they’d met with His own grace.


And to this day from vale to beach

The legend’s secret hast not been breached;

Keys, chest, lore—it silently waits

From a deep slumber for to wake.


Mere myth or truth? The legend grows

Until no living person knows

What truly happen’d on that night

When the
was lost to sight.


Pirates on Boston’s Gold Coast: A Compilation of Lore
by Branford Weld © 2011 Reprinted with permission from the Star Harbor Historical Society


“Any local worth his salt knows what time the fishing starts in Star Harbor,” a large, handsome, dangerous-looking man with raven-black hair intoned in a deadpan. “And it ain’t eight-thirty.”

After listening to this blatant insult, Sebastian Grayson, world traveler and master chef, fought the urge to throttle the man who was now reeling in his line. Throttle him, or toss his own tackle box off Mutterman’s Pier and crawl back into his tiny berth on Val’s boat. Of course, both would require energy, so he let exhaustion win out. Pulling his leather jacket more tightly around his tired, aching body, Seb leaned back on a pylon and closed his eyes, breathing in the familiar tang of salt water and wet wood. The cold, foggy air rushing into his lungs was helping to wake him up some, but he’d still kill for a latte.

Cole’s wisecrack had definitely hit a nerve. Just like his brother, Seb was Star Harbor born and bred, and even though he hadn’t lived in town for the last decade, it didn’t mean he’d lost his “local” status. He’d been on this pier a thousand times. The clang of the buoys in the harbor, the strain and creak of the boats at their moorings, and the cries of the seabirds searching for their morning meal were all imprinted on his brain. The images of his three brothers were imprinted there, too, each of them in his favorite spot along the wharf, just as they were now.

Val, the oldest, stood against the far pylon, his lean, wiry frame concealed by an oversized fisherman’s jacket, longish black hair curled at his nape. Cole, second in age, was seated with his broad back up against another pylon, his eyes covered by mirrored sunglasses. Theo, Seb’s twin, had one long leg folded against his chest as he leaned on a bench, his rod in one hand and a book of Whitman poems in the other. Theo’s green eyes were the exact mirror of his own, and right now they were crinkled in mirth.

The Grayson brothers, Star Harbor’s former resident bad boys, were back in town and
ready for business.

That is, after Sebastian got his coffee.

Farther down the wharf, a few older men who’d cast their lures at the crack of dawn were silently packing up to leave, their thick jackets buttoned up against the early autumn chill as they gathered their morning’s catch. Each of Seb’s brothers had already caught a few fish large enough to keep—striped bass and mackerel, mostly. If Seb had been out here fishing at five-thirty like they’d been, he’d have something to show for his efforts, too.

“Sleep well, princess?” Cole asked, his deep voice cutting through the mist. Theo snickered softly from behind his book.

“Mmm,” Seb grunted. He tried to ignore them but he knew it was futile. His brothers were dead set on giving him hell for sleeping late. Cole pushed his sunglasses up on his head, revealing deep blue eyes. Funny, he didn’t remember his brother looking so hardened. Ever since Cole had returned from Afghanistan where his Special Forces unit had been stationed, he’d been on edge. Seb was glad Cole had left his job as a cop in Boston to become the sheriff of Star Harbor. Maybe being back in their small hometown would do him good.

“Seb needs his beauty sleep, isn’t that right?” Theo teased with a smile.

They weren’t going to quit ribbing him until he rose to the bait. “Any one of you could have woken me up,” Seb complained.

“No one would dare. Don’t you sleep next to your wicked sharp knives rolled up in that nylon bag?” Cole said, his mouth curving up in a half smile.

“At least I don’t sleep with a loaded Glock on my nightstand,” Seb retorted before he could stop himself. In less than a second, Cole’s smile was gone and he was standing up, his posture putting all of Seb’s senses on high alert.

“Not today.” Val’s calm, even voice sliced through the tension. Both brothers backed down, realizing that Val was right. For a moment they had forgotten that they were here in Star Harbor for one reason: to pay homage to their father, who’d died twenty years ago during a hurricane. No matter where they were or what they were doing, they always gathered together in
their hometown on Labor Day weekend, the anniversary of his death.

Val and Cole lived in Star Harbor, but Seb had driven his motorcycle in from New York City and Theo had flown in from San Francisco. As was their tradition, they’d spend the long weekend together, remembering their dad.

Seb swept his gaze over the misty water, watching the boats pitch and roll through the haze as the tide slowly went out. Then he turned toward the town. The old-fashioned gas lamps that stayed on all night were still lit, but the fog was thick and he could barely make out the Victorian houses lining Harbor Street. Star Harbor looked exactly the same as it did when he’d left it so many years ago.

God, being here brought back so many memories. Like the time he and his brothers had rigged those fireworks to go off seconds before the annual summer small craft regatta started. It had taken the organizers at least an hour to get everything back on track. Or the time they all ditched school to head to Providence for Oktoberfest. Their mother had been furious. A smile crept onto his face. For a few moments, he could almost forget his weariness and the mountain of work waiting for him back in New York—planning his fall menu, brainstorming for his television show, and figuring out where he was going to open his new restaurant. He thought he might have settled on Boston, but he couldn’t be sure until he found the right venue. Crap, he’d better be sure. He’d already spent too much time trying to make that decision.

BOOK: Deep Autumn Heat
4.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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