Lucy Baker walks away from her high-flying legal career when she successfully defends yet another heinous criminal. Almost a year after her life-changing decision, Lucy has never been happier. Leaving New York City for the suburbs, tending her garden and her dog, Lucy is making future plans with her fiancé, Jonathan St. Clair -- and getting acquainted with her neighbors, including the handsome, exasperating one next door, Wylie Wilson. But when FBI special agents confront Lucy with shocking revelations about her fiancé's secret double life, everything about her husband-to-be is cast in suspicion. Recovering from a freak accident that has left her with a heightened sense of intuition, and getting closer than she ever dreamed to Wylie, Lucy must determine who to trust -- and fast, before someone breaks down her defenses and targets her....
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New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels has a passion for romance that stems from her other joys in life—her family, animals, and historic homes. She is usually found in South Carolina, where she is either tapping out stories on her computer or completing some kind of historical restoration.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Six Months Later
Lucy Baker shoved her tennis racquet into its case, waved to her tennis partner, and proceeded to jog across the high school field to the track where she would run her daily five miles. A roll of thunder caused her to pick up her feet and sprint. When she reached the track, she tossed her canvas bag onto the bleachers and took off running.
Tennis, and a five-mile run every day regardless of the weather, had became a routine for her in the six months since she'd stopped practicing law.
Lucy kept one eye on the threatening thunderclouds overhead and the other on the track. She picked up her speed, not wanting to get caught in a thunderstorm. Off in the distance she could hear hard, rolling thunder, which seemed to be getting closer. One more lap to go. If she pushed it into high gear, she could pass the other runners, who looked like they were dragging. It was always this way on the last lap, she thought smugly.
She loved passing the muscle boys, shouting out words of encouragement. They were slugs compared to her. In all fairness, not that they needed to know, she'd run track in high school as well as college. She'd hurdled, too. Best on her team. She had the medals to prove it. Of course, they were locked away in one of her trunks. One didn't show off medals. At least she didn't. It was enough for her that she'd earned them, had them, and could look at them anytime she wanted to. Sometimes she needed to remind herself that at one time she'd been the best of the best.
Her coaches had said she was good enough to go to the Olympics. She had thought so, too. But life got in the way, and she'd had to bow out. She didn't have any regrets. Taking care of her mother during the last two years of her life had been more important than bringing home the gold.
Lucy whizzed past the bleachers at the south end of the track. She couldn't help but notice two men in dark suits, their arms crossed over their chests. She wondered which one of the guys on the track they were waiting for.
Sweat dripped down Lucy's face, soaking the tank top she was wearing. Her muscular arms glistened. She was hurting. She'd pushed too hard, too fast on her last lap. "No pain, no gain," she muttered over and over as she flew down the track. She saw the bleachers beckoning her. For one wild moment she thought she was at the wrong end of the track when she saw the two men approaching the north side bleachers. They must have run at her own speed to get there at the exact moment she came to a stop, bent over, with the palms of her sweaty hands on her knees as she took deep breaths. They looked as if they were in great physical shape under their dark suits. She wondered again who they were waiting for.
When her breathing was almost normal, she walked over to the end of the bleachers away from the men and did leg stretches. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see them approaching her. Lucy looked around to see if anyone was paying attention. Her heart kicked up a beat. This was suburbia, nothing happened in suburbia.
Lucy was about to reach up to the second row of seats for her gym bag when one of the men handed it to her. "Lucy Baker?"
"Yes. I'm Lucy Baker." She waited. They could have passed for twins. Frick and Frack. Yin and Yang.
"Special Agent Harry Conover. This is my partner, Larry Smith."
"What does that mean? Special agents of what?" She could feel an itch settle between her shoulder blades.
"We're from the Federal Bureau of Investigation." Two badges were suddenly shoved under her nose. Lucy backed up a half step and reached for the men's credentials. She read them carefully before she handed them back. She waited, her heart thumping inside her chest.
"We'd like to talk to you for a minute."
Lucy looked up at the darkening sky. She could still hear the thunder, now directly overhead. It sounded more ominous for some reason. "Why? I haven't done anything wrong. I pay my taxes on time and never cheat. I never even got a parking ticket. It's going to pour in another minute. Like I said, why?"
"We could sit in our car and talk."
Lucy snorted. "I-don't-think-so!" No sooner were the words out of her mouth than the sky opened up. Within seconds she was soaked to the skin. "As you can see, I'm already drenched. If you want to get those nice suits all wet, oh, well," she said with false bravado. Why did the FBI want to talk to her?
The agent named Harry said, "We'd like to talk to you about your fiancé."
Lucy gaped at the two men. "Jonathan? Why? Oh, God, did something happen to him?"
"Not yet," Larry said. "We'd like you to tell us about your relationship with Mr. St. Clair."
Lucy relaxed. The rain was coming down harder. Before long it would be like a waterfall. "I'm going to marry him. We're engaged." She waved her ring finger to show off her three-carat diamond.
"We already know you're getting married next year, on Valentine's Day. You have your gown. Let's see, you purchased it at Bethany's Bridal Shoppe. They're doing the alterations as we speak. The invitations have been ordered. You're holding the reception at the Ritz-Carlton. I believe there are 250 guests expected. Dinner is a choice of lobster or filet mignon. The salad is an arugula medley. Vegetables are baby carrots, peas from the Emerald Isle, potato-apple fritters, and flaky croissants. Dessert is wedding cake. Cristal champagne will flow endlessly," Agent Smith said, his expression as flat as his tone.
Lucy didn't like what she was hearing. There was nothing like an FBI check to put the fear of God into a person. There was shock as well as fear in her eyes as she backed up one step, then another. They followed her.
"A pretty pricey wedding for a girl who graduated at the top of her law school class, quit a thriving criminal law practice, and now makes popcorn balls and sells them through a catalog."
Well, they had one thing wrong. She wasn't the one who made or sold the popcorn balls. Lucy eyeballed the two agents. "I make an honest living, and I pay my taxes. Listen, I have to go home. It was nice talking with you gentlemen. If you want to talk to Jonathan, call him or go to his apartment. He doesn't leave for work till around nine-thirty when he's in town." She knew for a fact that Jonathan wasn't in town. Let them spin their wheels.
The agent named Larry wiped the rain from his forehead. "If we wanted to talk to Mr. St. Clair, we would have gone to see him. We know his habits as well as we know yours. Agent Conover and I would like to talk to you."
"What do you want to talk about? If it's about Jonathan's business, I'm afraid I can't help you. I don't know anything about it."
It was raining harder now. Since she was already soaked clear through to her skin, what did it matter? "Furthermore, I don't have to talk to you. The last time I checked, this was still a free country. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go home."
"Miss Baker." It was Agent Conover talking now. "It's imperative you not tell Mr. St. Clair about our meeting this morning. By the way, Jonathan St. Clair is not your fiancé's real name."
Lucy whirled around. "What are you talking about? Of course it's his real name. Jonathan is Jonathan. You must have him mixed up with someone else." Overhead, thunder boomed, followed by a streak of jagged lightning ripping across the gray sky.
"If you talk to your fiancé, it will jeopardize the case we're working on. We can take you into custody if we want to. In order to avoid that, we're asking you to cooperate with us."
Take me into custody. Jonathan isn't Jonathan. I'm having a nightmare, and I'll wake up any second now. She pinched herself. She felt the pain.
"All right, I won't say anything to Jonathan. Now can I go?"
"We'll know if you break your promise, Miss Baker. Do you know what obstructing justice means?" Agent Conover asked. "Of course you do; you're a lawyer."
"We'll talk again, Miss Baker."
"No, Agent Smith, we will not talk again because there is no need for us to talk. I cannot help you with whatever it is you're doing or investigating. I told you I would not say anything to Jonathan, and I won't. That's the end of it."
"Where was your fiancé born, Miss Baker?"
"Winchester, Virginia, but then you probably already know that."
Both agents threw their hands up in the air. They looked like they were catching rain by the handful. "You see, wrong again. Your fiancé was born in Akron, Ohio. Do you want to know his real name?"
His real name. They were making Jonathan sound like some kind of criminal. Lucy could feel her shoulders start to slump. Her voice could barely be heard over the rumbling thunder. "What is it?"
"Leo Banks. His friends used to call him Lucky Leo. Does that ring any bells for you, Miss Baker?" Agent Smith asked.
Lucy looked at both agents. She hoped they would freeze in the rain, just the way she was freezing. They'd just invaded her life and turned it upside down. She thought about the thousands of seed pearls that were being sewn on her wedding gown. The FBI agents had made a mistake. Of course, this was all a mistake.
"I never heard the name before. I'm telling you, you have the wrong person. Jonathan is not this...this Leo Banks person. I would know. I saw a picture of the house he grew up in. The house is in Winchester, Virginia. I know the street and house number, but I can't think of it right this minute."
"Were you ever there, Miss Baker?"
This was all wrong. This shouldn't be happening. But it was. "No, I've never been there." Both agents raised their eyebrows.
She sounded desperate when she said, "Jonathan is incredibly busy. We just couldn't find the time to get down there. Winchester is a bit of a drive."
"The house in Winchester belongs to one of Leo's friends."
It's all a bunch of lies. It has to be all lies.
"Did you ever meet your fiancé's parents?"
"How could I meet them? They live in Spain. If we couldn't find th...
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Book Description Book Condition: New. Nosy Neighbor, The. Bookseller Inventory # BBS-9780743477499
Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97807434774990000000
Book Description Pocket Books, 2005. Mass-market paperback. Book Condition: New. Mass market (rack) paperback. Glued binding. 368 p. Audience: General/trade. Bookseller Inventory # Alibris_0008077
Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Lucy Baker likes to think she takes the high moral ground. After all, she walked away from her career as a successful defense attorney after she helped yet anpther of her murdering clients get off. But she s in shock when the FBI tells her that her fiance, Jonathan St. Clair, is really a con man named Leo Banks. She begins to investgate his background, only to discover his apartment abandoned and her life changed forever. The FBI blackmails Lucy into helping them fine her on-the-run fiance after they show her evidence that Jonathan has hidden millions of dollars in dirty money under her name. Confused and scared, Lucy turns to her annoying neighbor, handsome lawyer Wylie Wilson, for help. Their romance quickly blossoms, but Jonathan grows suspicious of Lucy s new behaviour and decides she has become a threat that must be eliminated. During a record-setting blizzard that immobilizes the Eastern seaboard, Lucy and Wylie must defend themselves against Lucy s ruthless fiance. Bookseller Inventory # LVN9780743477499
Book Description Simon & Schuster India. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # S&S-9780743477499
Book Description Simon & Schuster India. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # S&S-9780743477499
Book Description Pocket Books, 2005. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0743477499
Book Description Pocket Books, 2005. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0743477499
Book Description Pocket Books, 2005. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110743477499