J.R. Ward Heart of Gold

ISBN 13: 9780451237583

Heart of Gold

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9780451237583: Heart of Gold

She has a passion for unlocking the secrets of the past...

Archaeologist Carter Wessex is drawn to Farrell Mountain to solve a centuries old mystery- and find a fortune in hidden gold. One thing stands in her way: Nick Farrell, a notorious corporate raider with no patience for trespassers on his land, and way too much sex appeal. After an explosive introduction, Carter abandons the project...but with Nick in hot pursuit.

What she finds is something more valuable than gold...

Though wary of Nick’s change of heart, Carter is soon swept up into the mystery- and the arms of a man she swore she’d never fall for. As buried secrets surface and passion grows, the shocking details of the missing gold are revealed. So are Nick’s true motives, leaving Carter to wonder...has everything between them been just another cunning ruse? And how many more secrets has he yet to share? It will take a heart of gold to find the truth—and have faith in a timeless love...  

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

J.R. Ward is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. She lives in the South with her family.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

"I am not a gold digger."

Carter Wessex cradled the phone against her ear while emptying a duffle bag onto the floor of her laundry room. The clothes that came out were covered in dirt, moss, and some other things that looked like they were moving.

"I never said you were." Her oldest friend's voice was soothing, and Carter recognized the tone. It was the same one that had gotten her into trouble when they were teenage girls.

"Yeah, well, I'm also not a masochist," she countered, trying to ward off the attraction she felt toward the opportunity. "The guy who owns Farrell Mountain is a real piece of work. He's thrown more of my colleagues off that pile of dirt than a starting pitcher."

Laughter came over the line. "C.C., I hate sports analogies, and that one barely works."

Carter decided to fight harder, hoping her plan for taking the summer off wouldn't be ruined by a proposition she couldn't turn down. "Well, from what I've heard, Nick Farrell takes misanthropy to a new level, and he's got a particular distaste for archaeologists. Do you know who he is? The corporate raider whose name was splashed all over the papers because he double-crossed some guy in a business deal?"

"I know the story and his reputation."

"So why are you doing this to me?" The words came out in a groan.

"Because it's about time someone solved this mystery. The story's been left hanging since 1775."

"It's a fairy tale, Woody."

"Woody" was more commonly known as Grace Woodward-Hall. The two had first met at a picturesque New England prep school where they'd spent four years specializing in winning field hockey games and smuggling packs of wine coolers into their dorm. They'd been popular thanks to both.

As adults, they had a personal and a professional relationship. Carter's specialty as a historian and an archaeologist was the colonial period. Grace's family ran the Hall Foundation, one of the nation's largest sources of grants for the discovery and preservation of American history. Carter had received Hall funding for a number of her digs.

"You've read that Brit's journal, right?" Grace's Upper East Side background marked her words with perfect intonation, but Carter knew the truth. For all her prim and ladylike exterior, Grace had a raucous sense of humor and an affection for trouble, both of which had cemented their relationship.

"Farnsworth's diary? Of course I've read it. All colonial historians have a copy. It comes with the bizarre predilection for musket balls and minutemen."

Carter glanced down and saw a spider crawling out from under a pair of khakis. She wasn't prepared to kill the thing but didn't want it as a housemate, either. Reaching over the washing machine, she picked up a coffee can full of nails, dumped it out on top of the dryer, and covered the arachnid.

"So you've got to wonder what happened," Grace prompted.

"I know what happened. An American hero was slaughtered, a fortune in gold disappeared, and the Indian guide was fingered as responsible. End of story."

"I find it hard to believe," Grace said dryly, "that you aren't struck by all the holes in that narration. Someone needs to go up on Farrell Mountain and find out what happened to the Winship party."

"Well, it doesn't have to be me." Carter started loading shirts and socks into the washer, careful not to tip over the can. "What they really need is a paranormal investigator to put to rest all that haunting nonsense. Red Hawk's ghost guarding the gold? Give me a break."

"Look, specters aside, this really is the perfect project for you. In your period, up in the wilderness, a prime piece of history ready for the picking."

"I just got home from a dig," Carter moaned. "I've got twelve pounds of dirt under my fingernails, I'm in desperate need of sleep, and I have it on good authority there are black flies the size of bats in the Adirondacks this time of year."

She knew because they were alive and well in the Green Mountains of Vermont, too. Glancing through a screened window, she saw a cheery June day beckoning on the other side but she wasn't fooled. She'd been chewed on by them in her garden that very morning.

"Aren't you curious about what happened to the gold?"

"Like I am about the Easter Bunny. You show me some proof that an upright rabbit carrying a basket of chicken eggs exists and maybe I'll believe there's a treasure up in those mountains."

"Come on, that gold couldn't have disappeared into thin air. And what happened to the remains of the men who were killed?"

Carter leaned a hip against the washing machine. "The Americans should never have transported that kind of fortune while they had a captured British madman on their hands. They were bound to get ambushed. The only surprise was that Red Hawk was the one who turned on them. If one of the aggressors didn't take the gold, someone else probably found it and had the good sense to keep his mouth shut. As for the bodies, they could be anywhere. You know how big the Adirondack Park is? It would be like winning the lottery to find them."

She peered over her shoulder into the washer. Hitting that mess with water was going to create some kind of mud bath but there was room to stuff in a little more. She bent down to pick up another pair of khakis.

"Did I mention we have bones?" Grace drawled. "From a site that's identical to the one Farnsworth described in the journal."

Carter snapped upright. "Bones? What kind of bones? Where were they found?"

Grace's satisfaction came through loud and clear over the phone. "Conrad Lyst found them up on Farrell Mountain."

At the sound of the man's name, Carter's jaw clenched. "That rat. That nasty . . ."

She allowed herself a couple of truly raunchy but descriptive adjectives. And followed them up with a doozy of a noun.

"You finished now?" Her friend asked with amusement.

"Hardly. It's a wonder that man can find his butt in his own pants. And if by some miracle he did, his next move would be to sell it to the highest bidder."

"Professional rivalries aside--"

"That bulldozer is no professional. He's a looter and a thief."

"I can't argue with either of those, but he did find a femur and part of an arm. We examined them here in Boston and they're from the period."

"That doesn't mean they're from--"

"They were found with a crucifix."

Carter forgot all about the laundry. "Any markings?"

"Winship, 1773. We haven't analyzed it fully yet but it looks legit."

The Reverend Jonathan Winship had been the one in charge of the colonists escorting the general. He was one of the men who had been killed up in the mountains.

Carter's heart started pounding in her chest.

"So, you want to talk about an Easter egg hunt?" Grace inquired smoothly.

A half hour later they'd ironed out a grant and, though the laundry remained dry in the washer, the spider had been carefully released back into the wild. After pacing around the house for most of the time they talked, Carter ended up in her kitchen, sitting at her breakfast table in the sunshine.

"I still don't understand why Lyst presented you with the cross," she said. "That's not his style. The more people that know about a find, the harder it is for him to sell it on the black market."

"He says he wants a grant. We won't give him one, of course. If he did dig, he'd just pocket anything of monetary value and mistreat the rest so it couldn't be studied."

Carter let out a snort of derision. "Someone needs to take that man's shovel away, and I could tell them right where to stick it. The real mystery is how the hell Lyst got permission to dig on that mountain."

"He didn't. He trespassed and, as you know, Farrell's idea of a welcome wagon doesn't exactly include zucchini bread and lemonade. Lyst claims some rabid woodsman chased him off with a shotgun, almost killing him in the process."

"Too bad the guy didn't get the job done."

"Well, it got Lyst's attention, which may be the reason he came to the foundation. He probably figures a Hall grant will give him credibility when he tries again."

"He'd go back?"

"You know Lyst. What he lacks in scruples, he more than makes up for in follow-through. That's why you need to go talk to Farrell right now. I know where his summer house is on Lake Sagamore and you can't live more than an hour away from it. I've heard he's usually there on the weekends this time of year. Just drive over this Saturday and ask for permission to dig."

"What makes you think the response I get will be any better?"

"You're going to ask first. And you have better legs than Lyst does. Anyway, doesn't your father run in the same business circles as Farrell--"

"Stop right there." Carter stiffened as anger rushed like acid up into her throat.

Grace was instantly contrite. "I'm sorry, C.C. I didn't mean to . . ."

The use of the old nickname reminded Carter of the long history she had with her friend. She took a deep breath, trying to let go of the rage that came up any time William Wessex was mentioned. It took her a moment before she could respond.

"If I go, I won't be using my father as pull." The word was intoned like a curse.

"Of course not. I shouldn't have brought it up at all."

When they got off the phone, Carter went out onto her back porch. Up ahead, mountains rose steeply, brushing the bri...

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. She has a passion for unlocking the secrets of the past. Archaeologist Carter Wessex is drawn to Farrell Mountain to solve a centuries old mystery- and find a fortune in hidden gold. One thing stands in her way: Nick Farrell, a notorious corporate raider with no patience for trespassers on his land, and way too much sex appeal. After an explosive introduction, Carter abandons the project.but with Nick in hot pursuit. What she finds is something more valuable than gold. Though wary of Nick s change of heart, Carter is soon swept up into the mystery- and the arms of a man she swore she d never fall for. As buried secrets surface and passion grows, the shocking details of the missing gold are revealed. So are Nick s true motives, leaving Carter to wonder.has everything between them been just another cunning ruse? And how many more secrets has he yet to share? It will take a heart of gold to find the truth--and have faith in a timeless love. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780451237583

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. She has a passion for unlocking the secrets of the past. Archaeologist Carter Wessex is drawn to Farrell Mountain to solve a centuries old mystery- and find a fortune in hidden gold. One thing stands in her way: Nick Farrell, a notorious corporate raider with no patience for trespassers on his land, and way too much sex appeal. After an explosive introduction, Carter abandons the project.but with Nick in hot pursuit. What she finds is something more valuable than gold. Though wary of Nick s change of heart, Carter is soon swept up into the mystery- and the arms of a man she swore she d never fall for. As buried secrets surface and passion grows, the shocking details of the missing gold are revealed. So are Nick s true motives, leaving Carter to wonder.has everything between them been just another cunning ruse? And how many more secrets has he yet to share? It will take a heart of gold to find the truth--and have faith in a timeless love. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780451237583

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