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The way back home

by Barbara Freethy

Book list The first in Freethy's new series about the fictional Northern California town of River Rock finds the Hayden family facing one disaster after another. First, son Rob is killed six days before his enlistment is up, and his twin, Alicia, a single mom, is devastated. She and her father are still recovering from a rafting accident that killed the fiance of Alicia's best friend. They are trying to decide whether to reopen their rafting business for the season since many in town view them as killers. When Rob's best friend, former marine Gabe Ryder, shows up, Alicia's world spirals even deeper. She's still hurting after her brief affair with rugged, aloof Gabe ended with him walking away without a word. Now he has inherited Rob's house. Adding to the tension, someone cuts the fuel line in Alicia's car and torches the rafting office, and Alicia must rely on stoic Gabe to discover who is threatening her life. Despite some plot gaps, Freethy's latest will beguile fans of small-town romances.--Henshaw, Pat Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Bestseller Freethy (Don't Say a Word) tugs hard at the heartstrings with this contemporary series launch set in smalltown Northern California. It hasn't been an easy year for single mother Alicia Hayden: after a catastrophic accident involving her family's venerable river rafting business, her twin brother, Rob, serving in the Marine Corps, is killed in action. Alicia is grieving Rob's loss and dealing with the town's accusations about the accident-which left her best friend's fiance dead-when Rob's best friend, Gabe Ryder, a fellow Marine, arrives in River Rock. Gabe and Alicia had a short but passionate affair years earlier, and while Alicia is now dating a local schoolteacher whose son is best friends with her nine-year-old, she can't deny that she's still strongly drawn to Gabe. As an escalating series of incidents threatens to bankrupt the rafting company, Alicia and Gabe begin to realize the truth about their relationship and its future. Freethy's skillful plotting and gift for creating sympathetic characters will ensure that few dry eyes will be left at the end of the story. Agent: Karen Solem, Spencerhill Associates. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved