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From the moment she inherits a priceless diamond and emerald necklace, trouble follows Caroline Dupris. Toby, her husband, is murdered. Now, another murder, perhaps a case of mistaken identity, appears linked to Toby’s death. When Rob Tyler, Caroline’s one-time love interest, suddenly reappears in her life, she is wary. Is Rob her savior or a man after the royal cross?

Her life in jeopardy, Caroline escapes from Richmond, Virginia and heads to a house she owns in South Carolina that is the secret hiding place for the royal cross necklace. But danger follows her home and so does Rob. When he appears, the necklace disappears making Caroline suspect Rob. Still, with no one else to turn to, she must trust him. Is that trust a mistake? Together, can they retrieve her precious family heirloom?  Can Caroline escape the stalker who has followed her to South Carolina?



     Caroline paused by the door and reached for the side table where memory told her a candle stood in place in a holder. Her fingers closed around a tall wax taper. Relieved, she took a match from the attached packet and struck it. Then, moments later, she held the flickering light in her trembling hands.

     For a moment, Caroline leaned against the door and stared at the furniture shrouded in irregular shadows. Little had changed since she was last here. The same comfortable sofa stretched wide beneath the double windows; the big chair with striped slipcover sat angled across the far corner, near the sprawling brick hearth.

     As Caroline gazed at the familiar scene that glimmered, dimly visible in the moonlit room, a lump gathered in her throat. She tried without success to swallow it back.

     Four years. It had been almost four years since Caroline last entered the house. After Toby's death, she never went back, never faced the memories—good ones from the first year, unhappy ones after that.

     But now she had no choice. She had to find the necklace she had hidden away for safe keeping.

     More and more, she worried someone would break into the house and uncover the secret crevice.

     She held the candle high and climbed the wide curving stairs that led to the second floor. At the doorway to the bedroom, their bedroom—hers and Toby's from long ago, Caroline paused. She drew a deep breath, then slipped inside and set the flickering candle with its holder on the bedside table.

     She had been homesick their first night in the farmhouse together, she remembered. All night long, Toby cuddled her in his strong embrace, telling her he would always love her. That was his first lie. He had not.

     Dragging her gaze from the antique brass bed, Caroline turned toward the closet, opened the door. Everything looked the same. Even the outdated clothing that hung on wooden hangers. She swallowed hard. Toby's shirts and jacket were where he had left them.

     Caroline knelt beneath the clothing, and then ran her fingers along the wall until she encountered the familiar wooden knob a few inches above the floor. When she foud it, she twisted hard until a small section of closet flooring rose beneath her hand.

     It worked.

Caroline’s heart hammered.  Was the necklace still there?

She was almost afraid to look. She had not opened the crevice for many years.

What if it were gone?



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