Title: Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
Lakeshore Chronicles Series Book Eleven
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Join #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs on a journey to a charming Catskills town that feels like home and where a cast of brilliantly drawn characters awaits in a poignant story of reconciliation and the healing power of love.
Mason Bellamy’s world is fast, loud and decorated with the most extreme risks. Nothing can tempt him to give up his high-rolling Manhattan life and high-maintenance girlfriend—not even family. When he’s called home to upstate Avalon to help his quadriplegic mother in her deepest time of need, he sets his mind on temporary, determined to craft a way to care for her from a distance.
Alice Hayes is supposed to be his best solution. Hiring the gentle-hearted yet struggling caregiver as a live-in nurse gives Alice and her two daughters shelter, his mother companionship and Mason the freedom to escape to his adrenaline-pumped, no-attachments routine. But Alice’s beautiful presence promises to repair Mason’s frayed family ties. And his unstoppable attraction to Alice could lead to the most exhilarating thrill of his life.
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It was a known safety procedure that in an avalanche zone, only one person at a time should go down the mountain. Mason wondered if his father had been aware of the precaution. He wondered if his father had violated the rule. He doubted he would ever ask his mother for a detail like that. Whatever had happened on this mountain a year ago couldn’t be changed now.
Ivy took off her shades, leaned over and kissed the beer stein. “Bye, Daddy. Fly into eternity, okay? But don’t forget how much you were loved here on earth. I’ll keep you safe in my heart.” She started to cry. “I thought I’d used up all my tears, but I guess not. I’ll always shed a tear for you, Daddy.”
Adam waggled his gloved fingers in front of the camera. “Yo, Dad. You were the best. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Except for more time with you. Later, dude.”
Each one of them had known a different Trevor Bellamy. Mason could only wish the father he’d known was the one who had inspired Ivy’s tenderness and loyalty or Adam’s hero worship. Mason knew another side to their father, but he would never be the one to shatter his siblings’ memories.
Adam pushed through the warning gate and started down the mountain, the camera on his helmet rolling.
Ivy waited then followed at a safe distance behind. Thanks to Adam, the cautious one of the three, each of them wore gear equipped with beacons and avalanche airbags, designed to detonate automatically in the event of a slide.
Their mother had been wearing one the day of the incident. Their father had not.
Adam skied with competence and control, navigating the steep slope with ease and carving a sinuous curve in the untouched powder. Ivy followed gracefully, turning his S-curves into a double-helix pattern.
The lightest of breezes stirred the icy air. Mason decided he had worked too hard to climb the damned mountain only to take the conservative route down. Always the most reckless of the three, he decided to take the slope the way his father probably had, with joyous abandon.
“Here goes,” he said to the clear, empty air, and he thumbed open the lid of the beer stein. The cold air must have weakened the pottery, because a shard broke loose, cutting through his glove and slicing into his thumb. Ouch. He ignored the cut and focused on the task at hand.
Did any essence of their father remain? Was Trevor Bellamy’s spirit somehow trapped within the humble-looking detritus, waiting to be set free on the mountaintop?
He had lived his life. Left a legacy of secrets behind. He’d paid the ultimate price for his freedom, leaving his burden on someone else’s shoulders—Mason’s.
“Godspeed, Dad,” he said. With his ski poles in one hand and the beer stein in the other, he raised his arm high and plunged down the steep slope, leaning into a controlled fall. Just for a moment, he heard his father’s voice: Lean into the fear, son. That’s where the power comes from. The words drifted to him from a long-ago time when everything had been simple, when his dad had simply been Dad, coaching him down the mountain, shouting with unabashed joy when Mason conquered a steep slope. That was probably why Mason favored adrenaline-fueled sports that involved teetering on the edge between terror and triumph.
The ashes created a cloud in his wake, rising on an updraft of wind and dispersing across the face of Trevor’s beloved, deadly mountain.
The things we love most can kill us. Mason might have heard the saying somewhere. Or he had just made it up.
The faster Mason went, the less he was bothered by something so inconvenient as a thought. That was the beauty of skiing in dangerous places. Filled with the thrill of the ride, he was only vaguely aware of Adam pointing the camera at him. He couldn’t resist showing off, making a trail in a fresh expanse of untouched powder, like a snake slithering down the mountain. Spotting a rugged granite cliff, its cornice perfectly formed for jumping, he raced toward it. Lean into the fear, son. He aimed his skis straight down the fall line and launched himself off the edge. For several seconds he was airborne, the wind flapping through his parka, turning him momentarily into a human kite. The steep pitch of the landing raced up to meet him with breathtaking speed. He wobbled on contact but didn’t wipe out, managing to come out of the landing with the mug still held aloft.
He gave a short laugh. How’s that, Dad? How’d I do? In one way or another, his whole life had been a performance for his father—in sports, in school, in business. He’d lost his audience, and it was liberating as hell. Which made him wonder why tears were fogging up his goggles. Then, as the slope flattened and his speed naturally slowed, he realized Ivy was waving her arms frantically.
He raced toward them and saw that Adam had his mobile phone out.
“What’s up?” he asked. “Was my epic run not pretty enough? Or are you posting a tweet about it already?”
Despite the chill air, Ivy’s face was pale. “It’s Mom.”
“On the phone? Tell her I said hi.”
“No, dipshit, something happened to Mom.”
Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America.
I am giving away one PRINT copy of Starlight on Willow Lake (Contest open to US/Canadian Addresses ONLY). To enter the contest, please fill out the form below by 5 PM Mountain Time Monday August 10th:
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