Amanda Quick The Girl Who Knew Too Much

ISBN 13: 9780349409450

The Girl Who Knew Too Much

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9780349409450: The Girl Who Knew Too Much

The New York Times bestselling author of 'Til Death Do Us Part transports readers to 1930s California, where glamour and seduction spawn a multitude of sins...
At the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel on the coast of California, rookie reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool...
The dead woman had a red-hot secret about an up-and-coming leading man, a scoop that Irene couldn't resist. Seeking the truth about the drowning, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Once a world-famous magician whose career was mysteriously cut short, Oliver Ward is now the owner of the hotel. He can't let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago...
With Oliver's help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past--always just out of sight--could drag them both under...

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Amanda Quick is a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, the author, under various pen names, of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers; there are more than 35 million copies of her books in print. She is also the author of the Ladies of Lantern Street and Arcane Society series. She lives in Seattle, WA.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

The abstract painting on the bedroom wall was new. It had been painted in fresh blood.

There was blood everywhere in the elegant, white-on-white boudoir. It soaked the dead woman’s silver satin evening gown and the carpet beneath her body. There was blood on the white velvet seat of the dainty chair in front of the pretty little dressing table.

Anna Harris’s first thought was that she had walked into the middle of a nightmare. The scene simply could not be real. She was asleep and dreaming.

But she had grown up on a farm. She had hunted deer with her grandfather. Caught and cleaned fish. Helped deliver calves. She knew the cycle of life and the smell of death.

Still, she could not leave the room until she made certain. Helen had collapsed on her side, facing the wall. Anna crouched next to the body and reached out to check for a pulse. There wasn’t one, of course.

There was a gun, however. A small one. It lay on the carpet not far from Helen’s right hand. Acting on instinct—she certainly wasn’t thinking clearly now—Anna scooped up the weapon.

It was then that she saw the message. Helen had used her own blood to write it on the silver-flocked wallpaper just above the baseboard. Run.

And in that moment, Anna knew that the perfect new life she had been living for the past year was an illusion. The reality was a dark fairy tale.

Run.

She rushed down the hall to her lovely blue and white bedroom, pulled a suitcase out of the closet, and started flinging clothes into it. Like the shoes and the frock she was wearing, almost all of her wardrobe was new, the gift of her generous employer. Can’t have my private secretary looking like she shops at a secondhand store, Helen had said on several occasions.

Anna was shaking so badly she could barely get the suitcase closed and locked. With effort she managed to haul it off the bed.

She went back to the closet and took the shoebox off the top shelf. Tossing the lid aside, she started to reach into the box for the money she kept inside. She had been in her late teens a few years earlier when the crash occurred, but like so many others who had lived through the experience, she had no faith in banks. She kept her precious savings close at hand in the shoebox.

She froze at the sight of what was inside the box.

There was money, all right—too much money.

With all of her living expenses paid for by her employer, she had been able to save most of her salary for the past year, but she certainly had not saved anywhere near the amount that was in the box. Helen must have added the extra cash. It was the only explanation, but it made no sense.

In addition to the money there was a small, leather-bound notebook and a letter written on Helen’s expensive stationery.

Dear Anna:

If you are reading this, it means that I have made the biggest mistake a woman can make—I have fallen in love with the wrong man. I’m afraid that I am not the person you believed me to be. I apologize for the deception. Take the notebook, the money, and the car. Run for your life. Get as far away as possible and disappear. Your only hope is to become someone else. You must not trust anyone—not the police, not the FBI. Above all, never trust a lover.

I wish I could give you the glowing reference you deserve. But for your own sake you must never let anyone know that you once worked for me.

As for the notebook, I can only tell you that it is dangerous. I do not pretend to understand the contents. I would advise you to destroy it, but if the worst happens, you may be able to use it as a bargaining chip.

I have always considered us to be two of a kind—women alone in the world who are obliged to live by our wits.

I wish you all the best in your new life. Get as far away as possible from this house and never look back.

Yours with affection,

Helen

Helen Spencer had been bold, adventurous, and daring—a woman of the modern age. She had lived life with passion and enthusiasm, and for the past year Anna had been caught up in her glittering, fast-paced world. If Helen said that it was necessary to run, then it was, indeed, vital that Anna run.

She emptied the contents of the shoebox into her secretarial handbag. After a few seconds’ hesitation she put Helen’s little gun inside, as well. She closed the handbag, gripped it in one hand, hoisted the suitcase, and hurried out into the hall.

When she went past Helen’s bedroom she tried not to look at the body, but she could not help herself.

Helen Spencer had been ravishingly beautiful, an angelic blonde with sparkling blue eyes. Wealthy, charming, and gracious, she had paid her small household staff, including her secretary, very well. In return, she had demanded loyalty and absolute discretion concerning her seemingly small eccentricities such as her occasional demands for privacy and her odd travel schedule.

Like the others on the mansion’s very small staff—the middle-aged housekeeper and the butler—Anna had been happy to accommodate Helen. It had been an enchanted life, but tonight it was over.

Anna went down the stairs. She had always known that her good fortune could not last. Orphans developed a realistic view of life early on.

When she reached the ground floor she went past Helen’s study. She glanced inside and saw that the door of the safe was open. The desk lamp was on. There was a blue velvet bag inside the safe.

She hesitated. Something told her that she had to know what was inside the velvet bag. Perhaps the contents would explain what had happened that night. She set the suitcase on the floor, crossed the study, and reached into the safe. Scooping up the velvet bag, she loosened the cord that cinched it closed and turned it upside down over the desk.

Emeralds and diamonds glittered in the lamplight. The necklace was heavy and old-fashioned in design. It looked extremely valuable. Helen had some very good jewelry but Anna was sure she had never seen the necklace. It wasn’t Helen’s style. Perhaps it was a family heirloom.

But the more pressing question was, why would the killer open the safe and then leave such an expensive item behind?

Because he was after something else, she thought. The notebook.

She slipped the necklace into the velvet sack and put it into the safe.

She went back into the hall, picked up the suitcase, and rushed outside. The sporty Packard coupe that Helen had insisted upon giving her was waiting in the drive. She tossed the suitcase and the shoebox into the trunk and got behind the wheel—and nearly went limp with gratitude and relief when the well-tuned engine started up on the first try.

She turned on the lights, put the car in gear, and drove down the long, winding drive, through the open gates, and away from the big house.

She gripped the wheel very tightly and forced herself to concentrate. She had not learned all of Helen Spencer’s secrets tonight but she had stumbled upon enough of them to make one thing blazingly clear: She had to get as far away from New York as possible.

The narrow mountain road twisted and turned on itself as it snaked down into the valley, a harrowing trip for those unaccustomed to it, especially at night. But her grandfather had taught her to drive when she was thirteen, and she learned on bad mountain roads. She knew how to handle tight curves, and she knew this particular mountain road very well. She had driven her employer back and forth between the Manhattan apartment and the secluded mansion many times during the past year.

Helen’s faithful butler, Mr. Bartlett, had doubled as her chauffeur before Anna arrived at the mansion. But Bartlett’s eyesight had begun to fail. Helen had been thinking of looking for a new driver when she hired Anna. Helen had been delighted to discover that, in addition to her stenography skills, her private secretary was also a skilled driver. Saves me from having to hire a chauffeur, she had said.

Helen had always been very keen on keeping staff to a bare minimum. She was not a stingy employer—just the opposite, in fact—but she had made it clear that she did not want a lot of people around her at the mansion. Tonight it occurred to Anna that the reason Helen had limited the number of people on her household staff was because she had secrets to hide.

I’ve been incredibly naïve, Anna thought.

She had always prided herself on taking a cold-eyed, realistic view of the world. A woman in her position could not afford the luxuries of optimism, hope, and sentiment. For the most part she considered herself to be quite intuitive when it came to forming impressions of others. But when she did make mistakes, the results tended to be nothing short of catastrophic.

She reached the small, sleepy village at the foot of the mountain and turned onto the main road. Unable to think clearly enough to come up with a destination, she pursued a random route, passing through a string of tiny towns.

Run.

She continued driving an erratic pattern straight through the next day, stopping only for gas and a sandwich. But at nightfall exhaustion forced her to pull into an autocamp. The proprietors did not ask for a name, just enough money to cover the cost of a private cabin and a hot meal.

She collapsed on a cot and slept fitfully until dawn. In her feverish dreams she fled from an unseen menace while Helen urged her to run faster.

She awoke to the smell of coffee. A newspaper delivery truck arrived while she was eating the breakfast provided by the couple who operated the camp. She bought a paper and unfolded it with a mix of dread and curiosity. The news of Helen Spencer’s murder was on the front page.

Wealthy N.Y. Socialite Savagely Murdered.

Private Secretary Missing. Wanted for Questioning.

Stolen Necklace Found in Dead Woman’s Safe.

Shock iced Anna’s blood. She was now a suspect in the murder of Helen Spencer. Helen’s warning came back to her: You must not trust anyone—not the police, not the FBI. Above all, never trust a lover.

The last bit, at least, was easy enough, Anna thought. She did not have a lover. She had not had one since Bradley Thorpe. That humiliating debacle was the last occasion on which her intuition had failed quite spectacularly.

She pulled herself back from the cliff-edge of panic. She was a proud graduate of the Gilbert School for Secretaries. Gilbert Girls did not panic. She had been trained to exert control over chaos. She knew how to set priorities.

First things first: It was time to choose a destination. She could not continue to drive aimlessly up and down the East Coast. The very thought of spending weeks, months, or years on the run was enough to shatter her nerves. Besides, the money would not last forever. Sooner or later she would have to go to ground. Catch her breath. Get a job. Invent a new life.

She was not the only person who had spent the night in the autocamp. The others gathered around the table for breakfast, eager to get back on the road. They chatted easily, sharing travelers’ tales. All of the conversations started the same way. Where are you headed?

There were many answers but one in particular stood out because it sparked curiosity, wonder, and several nods of agreement around the table.

By the time she finished breakfast she had made her decision. She would do what countless others had done when they were forced to build new lives. She would head for that mythical land out west where a vast blue ocean sparkled beneath a cloudless sky, and orange trees grew in people’s backyards. A land where glamorous people created magic on the silver screen and got involved in titillating scandals in their spare time. A land where everyone was too busy inventing the future to care that she had no past.

She got back behind the wheel and started driving west.

Somewhere along the line she came up with a new name for herself: Irene Glasson. It had a Hollywood ring to it, she thought.

She found the highway to her future right where the other travelers had said it would be—in downtown Chicago.

Route 66 would take her all the way to California.


Chapter Two

“You failed.” Graham Enright folded his hands on top of the desk. “In addition to terminating Spencer, you were supposed to acquire the notebook.”

Julian was standing in front of the art deco portrait on the wall, examining it with the intent expression of a connoisseur. He could have passed for one if necessary. Not only had he received an excellent education that included an appreciation of the fine arts, he was a born actor.

From his artfully cut blond hair to his fashionable suit with its perfectly knotted tie and the elegant pocket square, he looked as if he played polo in his spare time. The accent and manners were pure East Coast Old Money, and it wasn’t an act. Julian’s ancestors had not actually arrived on the Mayflower, but they had been on board a yacht that docked soon thereafter.

“I assumed the notebook would be in Spencer’s safe,” Julian said. He looked and sounded bored by the conversation. “It was the logical place to look so I cracked it. Took me several minutes, by the way. When I realized the damned notebook wasn’t inside I searched the study and Spencer’s bedroom. It would have been impossible to go through the entire house. The old mansion is huge.”

“Spencer probably had a second safe, maybe one hidden in the floor.”

Julian inhaled deeply on his cigarette. The brand was French. Very expensive. Very exclusive.

“What did you expect me to do?” he said. He did not take his eyes off the portrait. “Pry up every floorboard in search of a hidden safe? Sorry, I’m not a carpenter. I don’t do household remodeling work.”

“You shouldn’t have gotten rid of Spencer until you had that notebook in your hands.”

“Spencer kept a gun in her bureau drawer. At some point she became suspicious. She went for the weapon. I had no choice. It’s not my fault I couldn’t find the damned notebook.”

“The client is not going to be pleased.”

“That’s your problem, not mine. You’re management. I’m just a field agent, remember? True, I’m your only field agent but, nevertheless, I’m just hired help.”

Graham ignored the barb. “Enright and Enright has a contract to recover the notebook and get rid of anyone who might have had access to it. I expect you to complete the assignment.”

Julian turned around. “I’ll be happy to make further inquiries but I want something in return.”

Graham controlled his temper with an effort. He was not in a position to bargain. The reputation of Enright & Enright was on the line.

“What do you want?” Graham asked.

“A promotion to vice president of the firm.”

Graham pretended to give that some intense thought. Then he nodded curtly.

“Very well,” he said. “But I will expect results and I will expect them soon.”

Julian’s sensual mouth curved faintly. His gem green eyes glinted with amusement. “You really are nervous about this contract, aren’t you?”

“I want it completed satisfactorily, yes. The client is a new one with very deep pockets and wide-ranging interests. If we are successful, there is the potential for a gr...

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Amanda Quick
Editorial: Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom (2017)
ISBN 10: 0349409455 ISBN 13: 9780349409450
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Descripción Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2017. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Amanda Quick, the bestselling author of Til Death Do Us Part, transports readers to 1930s California, where glamour and seduction spawn a multitude of sins . . .When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool . . . The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn t resist - especially since she s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician - until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago . . . With Oliver s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past - always just out of sight - could drag them both under . . . Nº de ref. de la librería AA29780349409450

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Descripción Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2017. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Amanda Quick, the bestselling author of Til Death Do Us Part, transports readers to 1930s California, where glamour and seduction spawn a multitude of sins . . .When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool . . . The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn t resist - especially since she s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician - until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago . . . With Oliver s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past - always just out of sight - could drag them both under . . . Nº de ref. de la librería AA29780349409450

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