Dawn in Eclipse Bay

Free Dawn in Eclipse Bay by Jayne Ann Krentz

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Authors: Jayne Ann Krentz
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not exactly an old friend of the family, but he certainly qualifies as a longtime acquaintance, and we are sort of connected because of you and Rafe and all. I thought, what the heck? I still had the names of several nice women in my files.”
    “What went wrong?”
    “What can I say?” Lillian held out both hands, palms up. “Gabe became the client from hell.”

    “We’ve got no choice but to move out for at least three weeks,” Hannah said an hour later. She passed a large ceramic bowl across the table to Lillian. “The Willis brothers have sent us straight into remodel hell. It was bad enough when they were doing the plumbing.”
    “They kept shutting off the water without warning and we had to cope with a stack of bathroom fixtures in the front hall for ages,” Rafe said. “I started having nightmares featuring endless mazes of gleaming porcelain commodes.”
    “We keep assuring each other that we’re lucky to have the full attention of the Willis brothers,” Hannah said.
    “There’s a new wing being built up at the institute and we were worried for a while that the folks up there would lure Torrance and Walter away. Fortunately they called in outside contractors.”
    “We made it through the endless commodes phase,” Rafe concluded, “but there’s no way we can live here while they refinish the wood floors and paint the rooms.”
    “I can see the problem.” Lillian gripped the bowl in one hand and served herself a large helping of Rafe’s dill-and-yogurt-laced cucumber salad. “The dust and fumes would be bad for Winston.”
    “Wouldn’t do us much good, either,” Rafe said dryly. “Besides, we need a vacation before we open for business. We’re going down to California to tour some wineries in the Napa Valley. It will be a good opportunity to finalize my selections for the wine list that we’ll be using in the restaurant.”
    “Another astounding coincidence.” Gabe dipped the edge of a wedge of sourdough bread into the fragrant curried potato stew on his plate. “I’ve decided to take some time off, myself.”
    Rafe raised a brow. “Good idea. About time you grabbed a few days off. It’s been a while since you got out of your office.”
    “So they tell me,” Gabe said noncommittally.
    Lillian stilled. “You’re going to be here in Eclipse Bay for three or four days? That’s all?”
    Rafe chuckled. “Don’t worry, Lillian, he won’t loiter long in the vicinity, if that’s what’s worrying you. He can stay at Mitchell’s place for a couple of days, at least until Mitchell gets back from Hawaii. But after that he’ll be on borrowed time. I can safely predict that after forty-eight hours the two of them will be at each other’s throat.”
    “Really? Just two days?”
    “Sure. Take it from me. Mitchell will start in with his usual lectures, telling Gabe how he’s become too obsessed with M.C. Gabe will tell him where to get off. Next thing you know, Gabe will be packing his bags.”
    Lillian allowed herself to relax. Rafe had a point. Everyone knew that the three Madison men were notoriously stubborn and hardheaded. The trait no doubt made it next to impossible for any two or more of them to share a house for an extended period of time.
    “You’re right.” Gabe raised one shoulder in easy acquiescence to Rafe’s prediction. “A day or two of sharing a house with Mitchell would be about all I could take.”
    Rafe winked at Lillian. “Told you so.”
    “Lately he’s been getting worse with the lectures, if you can believe it,” Gabe continued. He shook his head sadly. “In hindsight, giving him a computer was a major mistake.”
    “Are you kidding?” Rafe chuckled. “He loves that thing. Took to it like a duck to water.”
    “He’s got an aptitude for it, all right,” Gabe said. “But he’s not using it the way I thought he would.”
    Lillian paused, her fork in midair. “How did you expect him to use it?”
    “For good, wholesome, educational purposes. I

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