Lies and Solace (Love at Solace Lake Book 1)

By: Jana Richards


As she stared into his dark eyes she realized how much she trusted him, and relied on him. That was something rare for her. The only people she trusted as much were her sisters.



I’m in love with him.

The thought blasted through her brain with the force of a tsunami. The tension of the last few weeks, the insecurity, the mistrust, the fear, slipped easily from her shoulders. For the first time, her mind was clear. She was in love with Ethan and she didn’t want to wait anymore. She wanted him. She wanted him to be her first, her last.

Finding courage she didn’t know she possessed, Harper slid off the stool and walked around the island. She plucked the wine glass from his hand and set it on the counter, then placed his hand on her breast. “Make love with me, Ethan.”

A fire lit in his eyes, telling her he wanted her, too. But there was a question there, a hesitation. “Are you sure?”

She’d never been more sure of anything in her life. “Yes.”

“Harper—”

“Shhh. Let’s not talk anymore.” She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him.

Ethan’s reaction was lightning swift. He wrapped his arms around her and brought her close, his mouth descending on hers in a wild, warm kiss. Their tongues tangled, slid over each other. She’d missed his touch, his taste. She moaned, and in the sound she heard thirty-two years of longing.

For this. For him.



Book One in the

Love at Solace Lake Series





PROLOGUE





Harper Lindquist stood on a wooden crate and handed her grandfather a wrench, watching in rapt attention as he disassembled an outboard motor. She was fascinated by the inner workings of the motor and the way Grampa Bill knew how to coax life back into the old beast.

Grampa raised an eyebrow at her. “Don’t let Grandma see those dirty hands. Make sure you clean up before you go back to the lodge.”

Harper held up her hands to inspect them. They were covered in dirt and grease gathered under her nails. She stopped herself from wiping them on her T-shirt. The last time she’d done that Grandma had scolded, saying she should be more like her little sister Scarlet. Scarlet never got dirty or ruined her clothes. Harper had been hurt and embarrassed when Grandma called her a filthy little hellion. She said that at ten years old, she should be learning to bake, not hanging out in her grandfather’s garage like a grease monkey.

But Mom had defended her, telling Grandma it was just an old T-shirt and could always be washed. She’d kissed Harper and helped her scrub the grease from beneath her nails. As much as she loved her grandparents’ fishing lodge in northern Minnesota, she’d be glad to go home to Minneapolis, away from Grandma Dorothy’s critical eye.

But as the summer dragged on, she began to worry that they were never going home.

“Grampa, is Daddy going to live with us again?”

Grampa Bill heaved a sigh. “I don’t know, child.”

Harper frowned. That wasn’t the positive reassurance she’d been hoping for. Daddy had moved out of their house in the spring, leaving a huge hole in her family. In the months before he left, Harper had heard arguing between her parents and had caught snippets of words and phrases she didn’t fully understand, like “unfaithful”. And some she did, like “divorce”.

When school let out for the summer, Mom packed their things, bundled her and Scarlet and baby Maggie into the car and drove to the lodge. Mom said they’d stay there until she worked some things out. Harper had no idea what that meant, but she’d been ecstatic when Daddy had shown up unexpectedly today.

Harper ached to have him back home. She wanted things to be the way they used to be, when Daddy used to kiss Mom and play with her and Scarlet. He was often away for work, but when he was home he was the best daddy ever.

“Why doesn’t Daddy want to come home? Doesn’t he love us anymore?”

Grampa Bill laid his big hand lightly on her head, sadness etched in the weathered lines of his face. “Harper, your daddy will always love you, no matter what. But sometimes adults have problems they need to work out. Your mom and dad are talking. That’s a good thing. Maybe that means they’re both willing to try.”

Harper nodded. She hoped they tried real hard so they could all go home together.

Willy Eklund, Grampa’s handyman, stumbled into the garage, his breathing labored and his eyes wild with fear.

“She’s in the water! He hit her!”

“What are you talking about?” Grampa asked.

“Miranda! She was arguing with her husband, and then he hit her with one of the oars. Miranda fell in the water and he jumped in after her, but I never saw either of them come up again.”

Miranda? Mom? The wildness in Willy’s eyes scared her. Why would Daddy hit Mom? Were they okay?

“Where did you see them?”

“Around the point. I was on the shore, picking blueberries.”

“Get a boat ready, quick. We’re going out.” Grampa turned to her and she could see he was scared. Her stomach clenched like when she was going to throw up. If Grampa was scared, it was really bad.

“Run to the lodge. Tell Grandma what happened. Tell her to call the police. Go!”