eBook Details

Wild Orchids

By: Jude Deveraux | Other books by Jude Deveraux
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Published: Apr 22, 2003
ISBN # 9780446326926
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EligiblePrice: $7.99

Available in: Secure Adobe Epub eBook

Categories: Romance>Romantic Literature Fiction

Description

Straight from the heart of New York Times bestselling author Jude Deveraux comes a story of love, tragedy, and mystery in a small North Carolina town brimming with secrets.

Have you ever lost someone who meant more to you than your own soul?

Ford Newcombe has. For years, he loved his wife, Pat, more than anyone -- and anything -- in the world. She came into his life when he was just an inexperienced college student with big dreams of becoming a published author. With love and humor, she guided him down the path that would eventually lead him to more success than he ever dreamed possible. Since Pat's death six years ago, Ford has lived a life of solitude, barely able to put pen to paper, and rumors are flying that it was Pat who actually created the books the world so loved. If there's one thing that Ford needs it's inspiration, and it finally comes in the guise of Jackie Maxwell -- a smart, sassy university researcher with just enough attitude to match Ford's sharp intellect. But it's her intimate knowledge of the story of a young woman's friendship with the devil -- and what the townspeople did to her -- that persuades Ford to hire Jackie as his assistant and to move to Cole Creek, North Carolina, where the story is said to have taken place. They soon learn that even though the inhabitants of Cole Creek try to deny it, they are still plagued by the consequences of the otherworldly tale of passion and death. As Ford and Jackie work to unravel the truth, they discover a connection between their lives and the past, a connection that not only helps them solve a long-ago crime but offers the promise of new love.

Loved by readers and critics alike for her "golden touch" (Publishers Weekly), Jude Deveraux has once again created a story that pulls at readers' heartstrings, titillates their imaginations, and uncovers a long-buried passion that far surpasses the boundary between life and death.

 
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Excerpt:

Chapter One: Ford

Have you ever lost someone who meant more to you than your own soul?

I did. I lost my wife Pat.

It took six long, tortured months for her to die.

I had to stand by and watch my beautiful, perfect wife waste away until there was nothing left. It didn't matter that I have money and success. It didn't matter that I'm called an "important" writer. It didn't matter that Pat and I had finally started building our dream house, an engineering miracle that hung onto a cliff wall and would allow us to sit quietly and look out across the Pacific.

Nothing at all mattered from the moment Pat came home and interrupted me while I was writing -- something she never did -- to tell me that she had cancer, and that it was in an advanced stage. I thought it was one of her jokes. Pat had a quirky sense of humor; she said I was too serious, too morose, too doom-and-gloom, and too afraid of everything on earth. From the first, she'd made me laugh.

We met at college. Two more different people would be hard to find, and even Pat's family was completely alien to me. I'd seen families like hers on television, but it never occurred to me that they actually existed.

She lived in a pretty little house with a front porch and -- I swear this is true -- a white picket fence. On summer evenings her parents -- Martha and Edwin -- would sit on the front porch and wave at the neighbors as they passed by. Her mother would wear an apron and snap green beans or shell peas while she waved and chatted. "How is Tommy today?" she'd ask some passerby. "Is his cold better?"

Pat's father sat just a few feet away from his wife at a wrought iron table, an old floor lamp nearby, and a box of gleaming German tools, all precisely arranged, at his feet. He was -- again, I swear this is true -- known as Mr. Fix-It around the neighborhood and he repaired broken things for his own family and his neighbors. Free of charge. He said he liked to help people and a smile was enough payment for him.

When I went to Pat's house to pick her up for a date, I'd go early just so I could sit and watch her parents. To me, it was like watching a science fiction movie. As soon as I arrived, Pat's mother -- "call me Martha, everyone does" -- would get up and get me something to eat and drink. "I know that growing boys need their nourishment," she'd say, then disappear inside her spotlessly clean house.

I'd sit there in silence, watching Pat's father as he worked on a toaster or maybe a broken toy. That big oak box of tools at his feet used to fascinate me. They were all perfectly clean, perfectly matched. And I knew they had to have cost a fortune. One time I was in the city -- that ubiquitous "city" that seems to lie within fifty miles of all college towns -- and I saw a hardware store across the street. Since hardware stores had only bad memories for me, it took courage on my part to cross the street, open the door, and go inside. But since I'd met Pat, I'd found that I'd become braver. Even way back then her laughter was beginning to echo in my ears, laughter that encouraged me to try things I never would have before, simply because of the painful emotions they stirred up.

As soon as I walked into the store, the air seemed to move from my lungs, up my throat, past the back of my neck, and into my head to form a wide, thick bar between my ears. There was a man in front of me and he was saying something, but that block of air inside my head kept me from hearing him.

After a while he quit talking and gave me one of those looks I'd seen so many times from my uncles and cousins. It was a look that divided men from Men. It usually preceded a fatal pronouncement like: "He don't...

Wild Orchids

By: Jude Deveraux
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