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She’d made a career out of studying light, but now she’s entered a seductive, dangerous world of shadow and lies . . .
Anna Solas, poor artist working two jobs, is swept away by Evan Halifax, his charm and his good looks, and marries too quickly for her family’s comfort.
Evan takes Anna to his stunning lakeside mansion, the North Twin on the Les Jumeaux estate, where she discovers he lived with his first wife Elizabeth until her disappearance and presumed death. He says they can live anywhere Anna wants to, but his explanations unravel bit by bit.
Anna is increasingly uneasy, wondering what really went on in the decadent home theatre, who is watching her from the South Twin—the matching home on Lake Tahoe’s shore, and the identity of the nightmare woman who appears to her at night, whispering a message she dreads hearing.
She becomes determined to uncover the truth behind Elizabeth’s life in order to save her own sanity.
Read an Excerpt
We drove from Tiburon to Tahoe. When I asked Evan why he wanted to go by car versus plane—I knew he often used a private plane service—his answer surprised me.
“I realize you’re leaving your entire world behind, marrying me and moving to a place you’ve never seen,” he said, his eyes trained on the road in front of us. “The drive will prove to you that we’re not going to be living that far from the familiar. You can hire a driver and escape back to San Francisco in a matter of hours, if you should want to.”
“Don’t say that,” I admonished. He glanced over at me swiftly. “I’m not going to want to escape anything. I’m going to love it as much as I love you.”
He gave that small, distracted smile, and turned his attention back to the road.
We talked a good deal on the first few hours of the trip. It seemed to me, however, that Evan grew more and more withdrawn as we began our steep climb into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
In the silence, I had the opportunity to reflect on my nervousness about going to Tahoe instead of staying at Evan’s home in Tiburon. Or maybe the quiet and the unknown road unwinding in front of me caused that charged issue to push up to the surface of my awareness like a splinter being rejected by the body. Evan had told me that he bought his home in Tiburon six years ago, after his wife had died.
But he’d lived at Tahoe with her.
Why did he want to take me, his new bride, to a place where he’d lived with, and lost, his first wife? The question started to expand inside me. I was about to explode with it as we left the main highway and took a road that dipped and climbed through a rugged mountain landscape.
“Evan?” I began uneasily after a pause of us not speaking for nearly an hour.
“It’s okay,” he said. “I know the road is twisty and it may seem like I’m going a little fast. But I’ve driven this highway since I was sixteen. You’re safe. I would rather you had me drive you around here, though, until you get used to the mountain roads.”
“No. It’s not that.” At least not entirely. I actually did appreciate the reassurance about the curving, steep road and his deft, swift driving. I placed a hand on my lurching stomach.
“You lived in this house. The one we’re going to, I mean. With Elizabeth. Isn’t that right?”
I felt him glance at me and wanted to scream out for him to keep his gaze on the road.
“I don’t understand. Why do you want to go there? Now.”
“You’re wondering why I want to return to Les Jumeaux after marrying you?”
“Le jumu… “ I attempted to repeat, confused.
“Les Jumeaux. It means the twins, because it’s two identical homes, separate, but side by side.”
“And we’re going to live in…”
“The North Twin,” he finished for me.
“And the other house?”
“Is owned by Elizabeth’s father.”
Noah Madaster. The name popped into my head, a remnant of me doing all that online research about Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s father had been a high-profile figure from a prominent family, I recalled, a former doctor and one-time governor of Nevada.
“But he won’t be there, will he?” I asked, finding the idea of being neighbors with Elizabeth’s dad awkward.
“No. He and his wife have retired to their ranch in the Carson Valley,” Evan said.
At my sigh of relief, he grabbed the hand resting on my thigh and held it firmly.
“And as for your question, I wanted to come back now because I could. With you at my side, Anna, I can finally return to the place where I grew up, the place I consider home. You’ve made me strong again.”
I watched him as he pressed the back of my hand to his mouth. I felt his kiss all the way to my core.
At that moment, we rose to the summit of the mountain. I had my first glimpse of the expanse of Lake Tahoe, a sparkling sapphire gem nestled in the rocky, pine-covered cradle of the mountains.
It was like an opening. Not just in the landscape. In my spirit. It was the strangest thing.
It felt as if I’d come home, too.