Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.
But memories in small towns are bitter and long.
Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.
Ellie stopped walking and turned to face him. “Why are you here?”
Dane picked up a flat stone. With a flick of his wrist he sent it skimming across the lake. It danced effortlessly across the surface as if he’d done the same thing a thousand times before. “You know that skeleton they found?”
“I’ve got more skeletons than a graveyard. I can’t pick up and go to another place…to the next photo shoot.” He turned to face her. “Half of my life is here and half’s on the west coast. I have to make them fit together.”
The revelation reminded her of the family she’d left behind in Idaho, reawakening a familiar tug of homesickness. In an effort to find more comfortable ground, she changed topics. “You told me you’re from San Diego. I did a photo op there four years ago. What do you do for a living?”
“I get by.” He took her hand and started walking again.
She sent a speculative glance in his direction, recognizing evasiveness when she heard it. He was wearing a Rolex, and though dressed casually, clearly had expensive taste. Yet he’d booked an ordinary cabin rather than one of the exclusive chalets higher up the mountain.
She liked the feel of his fingers around hers, warm and firm. The contact sent a pleasant tingle up her arm. What the hell was wrong with her, getting caught up in his touch as if it were magic? As if she’d waited her whole life for that sensation. He had skeletons in his past, a brother who couldn’t stand the sight of him and a sheriff who wanted to run him out of town. Eccentric, or just plain trouble?
Purchase Eclipse Lake from:
Writing a Romantic Mystery
Mingling romance and mystery has always seemed like an ideal combination to me. I think it goes back to the days of watching the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys TV series as a teenager. I’m showing my age here, but I remember when those characters were portrayed by Pamela Sue Martin, Parker Stevenson, and Shaun Cassidy. Every Sunday night I looked forward to a new adventure with my favorite teenage sleuths. The mystery element of the episodes became even more exciting when a potential love interest was introduced for one of the characters. Sweet romance, intrigue, and adventure. I was hooked!
So, what goes into writing a romantic mystery novel? Basically, the same formula, but the romance carries almost as much weight as the mystery. Two plots meld together to form a whole. It isn’t enough to concentrate on the romance. The relationship between the hero and heroine has to be balanced by an ongoing mystery, with clues gradually coming to light, much like building romantic elements. Both threads overlap and intertwine, reaching a climatic end at virtually the same time.
In ECLIPSE LAKE, I took my story one step further by stirring a third element into the plot cauldron—the estranged relationship between brothers.
Dane Carlisle is returning to his hometown fifteen years after being released from prison. He’s now a successful businessman and a philanthropist who’d like to make peace with his older brother, Jonah. But he’s left a lot of baggage behind, and there is a trail of bitter blood between him and Jonah. While in Eclipse Lake, he begins a relationship with Ellie Sullivan, a free-spirited photojournalist who is in the area on assignment.
Ellie isn’t looking for anything long term—her job takes her ping-ponging across the map on a regular basis—and Dane hasn’t been with a woman since his wife died three years ago. But his old-fashioned sense of romance gradually wins Ellie over, despite a rocky start. Unfortunately, their relationship hits a bump when Ellie misconstrues Dane’s hesitation as rejection, and decides it’s time to leave Eclipse Lake for a new assignment.
Dane doesn’t want her to walk away, but he has his hands full trying to smooth things over with Jonah, who has been nothing but antagonistic since his arrival. Complicating matters is the mystery at the heart of the book—the discovery of skeletal remains that tie Dane to a cold-case disappearance. The sheriff who sent him to prison fifteen years before is convinced he’s guilty of murder, and makes it his personal mission to prove it. The victim was his daughter.
It isn’t long before old secrets unravel and everyone from Jonah, to Dane and Ellie, find themselves embroiled in solving a case that was the catalyst for the long-standing enmity between Jonah and Dane.
Tying plot threads together is an author’s job. In this case, I had to put a bow on a few more than normal. As a reader, are you partial to romance, mystery, or a little of both?
Eclipse Lake at Amazon:
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.
Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.
Places to find Mae Clair:
You can follow Mae’s Eclipse Lake Blog Tour here, for more interviews, guest posts and reviews.
a Rafflecopter giveaway