Nora Roberts, bestselling author of The Reef and Genuine Lies, mixes scorching passion with icy suspense in her classic novel of murder and infatuation in a southern townnow available in hardcover for the first time.
In the small town of Innocence, Mississippi, days are long, nights are fragrant, and secrets are hard to keep. But when a brutal killer starts claiming the lives of the town's most attractive women, lifelong neighbors are forced to wonder if the culprit is a stranger lurking in the bayou...or someone right next door.
World-famous concert violinist Caroline Waverly knows nothing of the murders when she arrives in Innocence. Burned out from a childhood lost to endless rehearsals and an all-too-public breakup with the conductor who was her lover, Caroline is looking for a little peace and some time to think. She hopes that a stay at her late grandmother's housethe one with a covered porch just made for soft summer nightswill provide the tranquillity she needs. But Innocence has something else to offer Caroline: a man named Tucker Longstreet.
Blessed with the Longstreet good looks, lazy charm, and family fortune, Tucker is a tall, cool drink of waterand he knows it. He likes to keep his romances short and shallow. But one look at Caroline, and Tucker realizes that she is unlike any other woman he's met. Tightly coiled and coolly reserved, Caroline is determined to fight him off. She might be able to do a better job if she hadn't felt an unexpected thrill at his ardent advances...and if she hadn't been so scared after finding a third murder victim in the murky waters behind her home.
For Caroline Waverly, a beautiful summer interlude could turn into much moreor could stir a killer's crazed dreams. Because there's just one small problem with her new romance: Tucker is the leading suspect in the killings.
Roberts ( Genuine Lies ) plunks a pair of likable lovers into an equally likable rural Southern community; she then keeps the story from turning sweeter than blackstrap molasses by setting loose a serial killer. World-class violinist Caroline Waverly, recovering from a breakdown and an affair gone bad, arrives at her grandparents' house in Innocence, Miss., looking for peace and quiet; what she discovers is the naked, mutilated corpse of Edda Lou Hatinger. Only days earlier, Edda Lou had thrilled local gossips by publicly blowing up at Tucker Longstreet: he wanted out of their affair; she wanted marriage. Edda Lou is the third woman stabbed to death recently, so local police call in Matthew Burns, a federal investigator who specializes in tracking serial killers. In the meantime, Tucker decides to be right neighborly to Caroline, and after her initial resistance crumbles, she responds to his Southern charm. Tucker is on Matthew's list of suspects, and soon a fourth dead woman is found on the Longstreet family property. Caroline, too, faces the knife as she is drawn into a confrontation in which she learns who is behind the deaths.