Title: The Innkeeper’s Sister by Linda Goodnight
Honey Ridge Series Book Three
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary/Historical, Women’s Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Welcome to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, where Southern hospitality and sweet peach tea beckon, and where long-buried secrets lead to some startling realizations…
Grayson Blake always has a purpose—and never a moment to lose. He’s come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery…and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.
Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can’t erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she’s lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth…and hope.
Excerpt (TLC Tour)
As she took the last step and moved toward him, a smile on her face, Grayson recognized her…and his stomach dipped with a kind of pleasant dread.
Head tilted slightly, the woman extended a hand, silver bracelets dangling from her wrist but otherwise devoid of jewelry. “I’m Valery Carter. Welcome to Peach Orchard Inn.”
Grayson slid his much longer fingers against hers. Her skin was firm and smooth, her nails trimmed but decorated with blaze-red polish. He recognized her, but apparently, she’d forgotten him. No surprise there.
He realized he was staring, and she was waiting. “Grayson Blake. This is my brother, Devlin. We have a reservation.”
A tiny frown puckered her brow in thought before her face cleared. “Grayson and Devlin? I know you.”
She laughed, tossing her hair so that it made a whispery sound against her shiny blouse. “That’s not a come-on.”
“Too bad,” Devlin, the glib-tongued devil, said, and Valery’s smile widened. “As kids we spent every summer here with our grandparents, Evelyn and Jeff Mayfield. They had a farm on the other side of town.”
“Yes.” She eased her hand from inside Grayson’s. “I remember you two. One of you caused a lot of mischief.”
Grayson jerked a thumb toward his brother. “That would be Devlin.”
She turned her attention to his brother. Hand on her hip, one eyebrow lifted, Valery’s expression wasn’t a bit businesslike as she teased, “Are you here to save the puppies, the whales or to search for Yeti?”
Grayson groaned. “Maybe you remember us too well.”
“The infamous escapades of Devlin Blake and his sidekick? Everyone in Honey Ridge remembers.”
Sidekick. Yeah. That would be him.
Devlin turned on his pretty-boy charm. “Yeti? Is he here? Want to join me in the search?”
Valery’s laugh sounded, low and warm. “You haven’t changed a bit.” Her golden gaze focused on Grayson. His insides tightened. The sidekick brother had been an awkward, skinny, nerdy teenager. No doubt she remembered that, too.
“Grayson.” She mulled his name with her soft Tennessee voice. Then her eyes danced with humor, and he was certain she remembered too much.
He cleared his throat, checked his watch. “Are we early? I want to get settled and get back to work.”
“Such a rush,” she mused. “But your rooms are ready. Do you have bags?”
“In the Jeep.” Grayson checked his watch again. They still had daylight. “We’ll get them later.”
“So, what kind of business brings the pair of you back to Honey Ridge?”
“The gristmill across the road. We purchased it.”
Her tidy eyebrows arched. “Really? What on earth for?”
Grayson’s smile was more of a smirk. He enjoyed the scoffers, the unbelievers who said the Blake brothers couldn’t make a design happen. Then, when they did, the surprise and pleasure was so much sweeter.
“You created something beautiful out of this house. We thought we’d do the same with the gristmill.”
“Reopen the mill? But why? No one grinds their own grain these days.”
“As a restaurant. It’s what we do.”
Her brow furrowed in thought. “You know, I think I’ve heard that somewhere. Blake Brothers Restaurants. Isn’t there one in Chattanooga?”
“The Depot, with the private dining cars?” Grayson said. “That’s us.”
“Great steaks. Very posh. Oh.” She pointed. “You’re bleeding.” She opened the credenza and pulled a tissue from a box.
Grayson touched his cheek. “Attacked by a vicious briar.”
“Here. Let me.” She moved into his space until he smelled exotic perfume, tiptoed up on ballet flats and patted the tissue against his cheek. Up close and personal, her amber eyes were spoked with gold and ringed in black, her lashes thick and long, enhanced with some sort of female magic.
NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA, the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.
I am giving away one PRINT copy of The Innkeeper’s Sister (contest open to US/Canada Addresses ONLY). To enter the giveaway, please fill out the form below by 5 PM Mountain Time Saturday July 22nd:.
Follow the rest of the tour HERE.