Dead Ringers: Volumes 1-3

Dead Ringers: Volumes 1-3

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

In the first three volumes of the serial, Jade Greene investigates why she’s missing memories and begins to suspect that some of the people of Midway Beach aren't who they seem to be.A paranormal mystery serial for young adults on up. All nine 25,000-word volumes now available in boxed sets and a complete collection!Dead Ringers 1: ILLUSION Jade Greene's memories of the two days she went missing are slowly returning, but they involve a blinding headache and an evil clown with a syringe. Not exactly the stuff of sanity.Dead Ringers 2: INVERTIGO Max Harper insists Jade's best chance to find out why she remembers so little of her abduction is to team up with him. But can she trust him?Dead Ringers 3: THE SPIDER Someone in Midway Beach isn't who they seem to be and unless Jade and Max can figure out what's going on, they could become the next victims.
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Dead Ringers 1: Illusion

Dead Ringers 1: Illusion

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

Jade Greene’s memories of the two days she went missing are slowly returning, but they involve a blinding headache and an evil clown with a syringe. Not exactly the stuff of sanity.A paranormal mystery serial for young adults on up. All nine 25,000-word volumes now available in boxed sets and a complete collection!Jade Greene remembers nothing from the time she went missing except a blinding headache and an evil clown with a syringe. Not exactly the stuff to convince others of her sanity.Nobody at the summer carnival where she works even believes Jade was abducted except her secretive co-worker Max Harper. When Jade and Max stumble across a body on the beach, only two things are certain. People in town aren't who they seem to be. And things for Jade are about to get much, much worse.
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Sound of Secrets

Sound of Secrets

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

An original publicationSynopsisIs he reaching out from the grave to ask her to solve the mystery of his death? A romantic mystery with ghostly overtones.Cara Donnelly is sure she's never visited the sleepy Florida town of Secret Sound. So why does the very name ring a haunting bell? Why does so much of the scenery look familiar? Most importantly, why does she see a little boy get hit by a car thirty years after the incident happened?Cara wants to get out of town fast after experiencing the strange vision despite the connection she feels to police chief Gray DeBerg. The townspeople, including Gray, are not happy about Cara stirring up the pain of that tragic event.But after Cara learns the boy was kidnapped shortly before the event and his kidnapper never found, she feels the boy is reaching out from the grave to beg her to solve the mystery of his death. If she runs from him and Gray, she fears she'll also be running from herself.Reviews“Darlene Gardner creates characters with substance by giving them problems and heartaches and making it easier for the readers to understand them... [She] crafts magnificent romances. “ -- Fresh Fiction, June 2011“Darlene Gardner continues to perfect the art of writing amazingly heartfelt romances.”-- Noveltalk, May 2010“Ms. Gardner writes fabulous, real-life characters readers can care about... [She] likes to create an intriguing family situation to see how characters react to it -- and each other."-- Romance Reader at Heart, July 2007
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The Truth About Tara

The Truth About Tara

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

Tara Greer's world is fine the way it is--even if some details of her childhood simply don't add up. Life on the beautiful Virginia coast with her mother and young foster brother are all she needs. What she doesn't need is gorgeous stranger Jack DiMarco's suspicion that she was stolen as a child. Because if he's right, the truth would devastate her family.Steering clear of Jack is the easy answer, right? Wrong! The sexy, compassionate on-the-mend baseball player is everywhere she turns...exactly where her heart wants him. But their future seems unlikely when being with Jack means facing a reality that could cost Tara everything.
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Bait & Switch

Bait & Switch

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

After switching places with his identical twin to catch a criminal, Mitch is the one who's hooked - on his brother's girl!Grant "Mitch" Mitchell is a cop accustomed to bailing out his charming, irresponsible twin, but his brother's never been mixed up with a criminal before. The plan to get his twin out of trouble is a simple bait and switch.Mitch will go undercover as his brother to gather enough evidence to put the bad guy in jail. It seems easy enough until a blond knockout shows up on his brother's doorstep. She's not only gorgeous, she's spitting mad. Before Mitch knows it, he's trying to keep his hands to himself while winning back his brother's girl!Meanwhile, his twin is living it up while attempting to impress a woman who thinks he's Mitch. Which leaves a doozy of a question: Are the women falling for them or their mirror images?Review"A fun, laugh-a-minute read."-- RT Book Reviews (41⁄2-star review), Oct. 2002"Ms. Gardner has a fresh, romantic voice that will appeal to all readers. If you love engaging characters, funny, laugh out loud humor, and passionate romance, you'll love Bait & Switch!"-- Romance and Friends, Oct. 2002"Bait & Switch is pure rib-tickling entertainment from first page to last."-- ReaderToReader.com, Oct. 2002About the AuthorDarlene Gardner has more than 30 books in print, from single-title romantic comedies to emotionally charged family dramas.
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The Stranger's Sin

The Stranger's Sin

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

SUMMARY: Accused of a crime she didn't commit, Kelly Carmichael skips bail and heads to Indigo Springs. It's a shot in the dark, but with her freedom at stake she has no choice if she wants answers. When forest ranger Chase Bradford starts asking questions, Kelly tells him she's a stranger passing through.That's the first lie.Now she has to keep lying. She's walking a dangerous tightrope…especially when she starts falling for the single father. How will Chase react when he finds out who she really is? Will the honorable guy feel duty-bound to bring her in? Or will he stand by her? If only she had the courage to trust him with the truth….
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The Secret Sin

The Secret Sin

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

SUMMARY: Annie Sublinski was sixteen when a brief encounter with Ryan Whitmore left her pregnant. Ryan stood by her decision to give up their baby for adoption. Now that child is here in Indigo Springs, forcing Annie to confront the man she's been avoiding all these years….It seems she underestimated Ryan. He wants to get to know the daughter he thought he'd never see. And her mother. As old feelings resurface, Ryan surprises Annie with the intensity of his passion. He refuses to give up on her…on all of them. But Annie has to forgive herself for the past if she has any hope of building a future.
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Wish Upon a Christmas Star

Wish Upon a Christmas Star

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

The odds are about a million to one. But after eleven years, P.I. Maria DiMarco jumps at the possibility that her brother might still be alive. And when she makes a wish on a rare pre-Christmas shooting star, well, it could be a sign. Logan Collier doesn't think so. Not that Maria should put her trust—or hope—in her ex-love, who long ago left her heart in pieces. Yet here Logan is in Key West, helping Maria chase down leads and, like her, trying—and failing—to ignore the attraction heating up between them. Even if her search takes her nowhere, Maria isn't giving up. Not on finding her brother…or on a second chance with Logan. About the AuthorWhile working as a newspaper sportswriter, Darlene Gardner realized she'd rather make up quotes than rely on an athlete to say something interesting. So she quit her job and concentrated on a fiction career that landed her at Harlequin/Silhouette, where she's written for Temptation, Duets and Intimate Moments as well as Superromance. Visit Darlene on the web at www.darlenegardner.com Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.Maria DiMarco stared down at the photo of her once vibrant brother, then back up at the woman who'd broken Mike's heart when he'd been barely eighteen."Why would you come here out of the blue and show me this?" Maria asked, a bite to her voice.The angry question had barely escaped her lips when she caught sight of the glittering gold star on top of the Christmas tree in the corner of her office. In the season of goodwill toward men, she needed to keep better hold of her temper."Why wouldn't I come to you?" Caroline Webb asked. "You're a private investigator."Caroline had been waiting outside her office door at the strip mall on the outskirts of Lexington, Kentucky, when Maria returned from her appointments late that Monday afternoon. At first Maria hadn't been positive she recognized her. In a red coat that matched the stripes in the candy canes on the light poles and high-heeled black leather boots, Caroline looked more like a fashion model than the girl she remembered. Caroline had also lost weight, played down her Kentucky accent and was no longer a brunette but a blonde.Maria handed back the photo. "Perhaps you'd better explain."She shrugged out of her black pea coat and hung it on a hook next to the door. Bracing herself to talk about the brother who had died in the 9/11 terrorist attack, she flipped the switch that turned on the tree lights. The festive sight didn't stop the waves of sadness from washing over her."Can we sit down?" Caroline indicated the chairs flanking the desk at the back of the room. Perhaps she realized it would be tougher for Maria to get rid of her if she acted as though she'd come here with an appointment."After you," Maria said with a sweep of her hand.Caroline took off her coat, too, revealing a long-sleeved green dress that hugged her slim figure. Above her left breast was a pin of a holly wreath, and she smelled of an expensive perfume. She took her time settling into one of the utilitarian chairs, then passed the photo over once more. Maria's black-haired, blue-eyed brother wasn't the only one in the picture. He had his left arm slung around a much-younger Caroline's shoulder. Mike was smiling. She was not."The photo's from senior year, a few days before Mike dropped out of high school and went to New York City." Caroline brushed her newly blond hair back from her face, calling attention to her expertly made-up eyes. "It came in the mail yesterday.""Who sent it?" Maria asked."That's the thing. I don't know. There was no return address, no note." Caroline pulled something from the outside pocket of her leather handbag—Coach, as trendy as it was expensive—and held it out. "There was, however, a second photo."The teenage Caroline was the only person pictured. It was a side view of her sitting on a bearskin rug beside a fireplace with her knees pulled to her chest, completely nude but with none of her private parts visible."Mike promised me he'd destroy that photo," she said, her voice a murmur."Obviously, he didn't." Maria couldn't imagine how the person who'd sent the photo had come into possession of it. However, she still didn't understand why Caroline was here. Did she want to hire Maria to make sure no other nude pictures of her surfaced? "Are there more?""No, just the one.""As these kinds of photos go, this one's pretty mild," Maria said. "I suppose I could try to find out who sent it, but I don't see the point.""I think I know who sent it," Caroline said, her voice steady. "I think it was Mike.""What?" The word erupted from Maria. Pain lanced through her, strong enough to have felled her if she hadn't been sitting down. "You know that's impossible. Mike died at the World Trade Center."Her visitor leaned forward in her chair, her gaze pinned to Maria's. "What if he didn't? What if he's still alive?"Maria had clung tight to that hope after the terrorist attack. Mike had started working as a busboy at the Windows on the World restaurant only a few days before. She'd rationalized that he might not have shown up for work that day. As the days and the weeks and the months went by with no contact from him, however, she'd had to let go of the hope.With as much calm as she could muster, she handed the two photos back. "I'd like you to leave now."Caroline made no move to take them. "I haven't even told you yet why I think they're from Mike."Maria reached for the other woman's cool hand and pressed the photos into it. "Somebody sent you the pictures as a prank, Caroline. I assure you it wasn't my dead brother.""It wasn't only the pictures," Caroline said. "Mike called me, too."Maria shook her head. "You've got a lot of nerve, coming in here and lying to me like this, especially eight days before Christmas.""It's not a lie!""Oh, no? What did Mike do? Leave a message on your voice mail that he wasn't dead, after all?""You don't have to be sarcastic," Caroline said.But she did. Even though eleven years had passed, the pain of losing her brother was still so raw Maria could barely stand it when someone mentioned his name. Of all the DiMarcos, he'd been the most like her, in both looks and temperament. That hadn't always been a good thing."What would you have me do?" she asked."Hear me out," Caroline said. "Can you at least do that?"Maria's law enforcement training kicked in. She'd been a dispatcher and a police officer before she'd become a private investigator. She knew not to discount anything, no matter how preposterous, before hearing the entire story. She nodded once."Thank you." Caroline took an audible breath. "I got the first call about a week ago on my apartment phone. It was a man. He said in this whispery voice, 'I miss you, Caroline.' I asked who it was. 'How could you forget me?' he said, and hung up."It sounded like a classic prank, although more insensitive and cruel than most. "What came up on your caller ID?""It said Wireless Caller but didn't give a name or number," she said. "I only picked up because Austin was asleep and I didn't want the ringing to wake him."Maria's eyes dipped to Caroline's ring finger. The overhead light glinted off a pear-shaped diamond that appeared about two carats in size."Austin's my fiance," Caroline explained. "We're getting married on Valentine's Day."Mike's impassioned voice insisting that Caroline would be his wife someday came to mind, along with her own, telling him he was being a fool. Maria couldn't bring herself to offer congratulations."Why did you leap to the conclusion the caller was Mike?" she asked."I didn't, not then," Caroline said. "After a while, I even started to forget about it. But then Saturday, the day the photos arrived, I got another call. I probably shouldn't have picked up, but I couldn't stop myself. It was the same man. Again he told me he missed me.""Is that all he said?" Maria asked.Caroline shook her head, her teeth worrying the red lipstick off her bottom lip. "I demanded to know who it was. He said it was Mickey. And that's when I thought it really might be Mike.""Mickey?" Maria repeated."We took a shortcut through an alley once when we were in downtown Lexington. A mouse darted out from behind a Dumpster and Mike screamed," Caroline said."So I started calling him Mickey. You know, short for Mickey Mouse."Maria refrained from saying she thought the nickname was mean-spirited. If she tallied up the transgressions Caroline had committed against Mike, that one might not even make the top five. Dumping him in the cafeteria in front of all his friends topped the list."I never heard anybody call him Mickey," Maria said."Nobody else did, only me, and only when we were alone," she stated. "You know how macho Mike was. He hated the nickname, because he didn't want anyone to know he was afraid of mice."That sounded like Mike. He'd projected a tough-guy exterior that only those closest to him knew shielded a vulnerable heart. Maria could feel her own heart speeding up, thumping so hard she thought Caroline might hear it. "Are you sure nobody else knew about the nickname?""Positive."Mike's remains had never been found. They'd never spoken to anyone who had seen him go into the World Trade Tower that day. They'd never buried him."Did the caller say anything else?" Maria asked."No," Caroline said. "He hung up. And Saturday I got the pictures in the mail, just like I told you."Maria felt almost dizzy. That wouldn't do, not if she was going to get to the bottom of this. She tried to shut off her emotions and think like the private investigator she was. "Do you have the envelope the photos came in?""I do." Again Caroline dug into the side pocket of her handbag. "Here it is. And here's a printout of my phone record I got off the internet. I circled the two anonymous calls in red pen."The envelope was plain and white, with what appeared to be a computer-generated typed address. Handwriting comparison, then, wasn't a possibility. There was no return address. The postmark was from last Wednesday in Key West, Florida.Think, Maria, she commanded herself before looking back up at her visitor. "Does anyone you and Mike went to high school with live in Key West?""I don't think so," Caroline said.Something to check out, Maria thought."How about Mike?" she asked. "Did he ever talk about going there?&#...
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An Honorable Man

An Honorable Man

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

A rugged stranger asking questions... Sierra Whitmore figures the guy is just a journalist doing his job. That's before the reserved doctor gives in to the powerful attraction simmering between them. Before she discovers the real reason Ben Nash came to Indigo Springs. Uncovering the truth behind his mother's death seems to be Ben's driving mission. But when his quest unearths a secret in Sierra's own family, how can she ask this passionate, honorable man to choose between her and justice? Or maybe Ben has already made his choice. Especially if he knows that exposing the past could cost him his future...with Sierra.
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That Runaway Summer

That Runaway Summer

Darlene Gardner

Romance / Contemporary / Young Adult

For Jill Jacobi, who's on the run with her younger brother, Indigo Springs is the perfect place to hide. So no matter how powerfully attracted she is to the kind veterinarian, Dan Maguire is a risk she can't afford to take. Except every instinct is telling her he's a man she can count on. And Dan seems so sure that they'd be right together. It's tempting to lose herself in her own growing feelings for this tender, handsome man. If she could only trust him with her secret... Lies brought her here. Will lies keep them apart?
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