Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair is Romantic, Full of Family Drama, and High Tension!

Promise me. The voice of Dane Carlisle’s late wife echoed in his head, drowning out the muted din of conversation at the Quartermaine. Too bad it didn’t soften his seventeen-year-old son’s hostile stare. So much for choosing a trendy bistro to break the news he intended to drag the kid across the country. Even the familiar coastal views of San Diego stretching beyond the restaurant’s windows didn’t help. 
“Pennsylvania?” Jesse repeated, forgetting the half-eaten teriyaki chicken and crinkle cut fries on his plate. “You can’t be serious, Dad. What’s in Pennsylvania?” 
Jonah was in Pennsylvania, along with the mess Dane had left behind when he’d landed in prison fifteen years ago.
“Go back to Onyx and make peace with your brother,” Alicia had urged weeks before her death. “You need to make peace with Jonah. Jesse’s old enough to be told about your past.” Sawyer Stanton, his late business partner and the man who’d helped him turn his life around, had agreed. 
So why had it taken him three years to work up the nerve?
How could he possibly tell Jesse what a hard-assed delinquent he’d been? A foul-mouthed felon with a chip on his shoulder who’d blamed the world for his dead-end existence. His son viewed him as a supportive father, philanthropist owner of Sawyer-Carlisle Security, Inc., and the man who’d adopted him when he was six. Not the same by a long shot. “It’ll be a good experience, Jess.” 
That went over like a lead balloon. “Why can’t I stay here?” Jesse slouched in his chair. “Summer’s just starting and I don’t want to spend it in the mountains. I’m seventeen, not a kid.”
 “I know that.” He’d argued it in his head for over a week, but Alicia would want them together. He wanted them together. Sometimes the sparse fifteen-year age gap between them made him feel more like a tyrannical big brother instead of a father. It was how he’d once thought of Jonah. Time to drop the bombshell. “You’ve never been east, and… I grew up in Pennsylvania. I have family there.” 
“Family?” Jesse leaned forward, shoving his dinner plate away. This was news. “You told me your parents were dead.”
“Sometimes people say things because it’s easier than explaining the truth.”

Eclipse Lake

By Mae Clair

Wow! A great book, having romance, suspense, family drama and a murder mystery! Don't expect to solve it though, because the murder is all tied up in the family drama taking place...in Onyx, Pennsylvania. Dane Carlisle had left years ago and had never returned... He'd been the young terror of the town, getting into whatever trouble he could get into and finally got caught and put in jail.

But he had turned his life around, gotten married and adopted his beloved wife's son, became a loving father and, with the support of his partner, had now, after his partner's death, become owner of a major security company... Something haunted him, however. When Alicia had been near death, she had begged Dane to reconnect with his brother, Jonah. To do so, he'd also have to open himself up to the town in which he'd caused so much trouble, and to a memory that had stayed with him day and night since he'd left. How could he face everything?

“Uh-huh.” A pause said he wasn’t buying it. “Why’d you leave in the first place?” 
Because I was a thief who slept with my brother’s girlfriend. A screwed up kid with nowhere to go but down. “I needed a change.” He moved to the dresser and collected his watch, his throat tightening at the sight of the Rolex. Alicia had given it to him the year before she died. 
“I’m going into Onyx for a while.”
 “How long?”
 “I don’t know.” 
“You want to hook up for dinner, or should I scope out something on my own?”
 He should have thought of dinner himself. Would have, if he hadn’t been so distracted. “There’s a marina about five miles down the road with a restaurant. Let’s meet there at six.”
Jesse nodded. “Dad.” The tone of his voice made Dane pause halfway to the door. “When are you going to tell me what’s going on?” Jesse stood and stuffed his hands in his pockets. “You haven’t been the same since we got off the plane. I’m not a kid who can’t handle it— whatever it is.” 
“I know.” Annoyed with himself, Dane crossed the room and slung an arm around his shoulders. “Look... having you here with me is one less thing I have to worry about. I know you’d rather be home, but try to have a good time.” 
Jesse eased from under his arm. “While you’re off doing something you won’t tell me about?”
“I’m going to see Jonah. Happy now?” 
Jesse stared. “That depends. Will I get to meet him?”
“I don’t know. We didn’t part on the best of terms.”
“Does he know you’re coming?”
“I sent a letter.”
“A letter?” Jesse rolled his eyes. “Seriously? You haven’t seen this guy in fifteen years and that’s the best you can do? You should have tracked down his phone number and called.” 
Dane headed for the doorway. Talking about Jonah and their lack of a relationship would lead to a host of questions he wasn’t ready to answer. “Six o’clock,” he called. “At the restaurant. Don’t forget.” 
“How could I?” Jesse mumbled. “It’s not like I have anything else to do.” 

At the same time that Dane and Jesse arrived in town, Ellie Sullivan, a photojournalist with Coast-to-Coast was trying to create the picture of Eclipse Lake that would show her feelings of this beautiful place... Each evening she would climb the mountain, use various pieces of equipment, hoping to capture the image she actually saw...and felt... It was keeping her here in Onyx until she was satisfied...

At least until she met Dane and realized that there was a much more important reason for staying...

What happened to Dane when he first saw her was to heap a lot of grief and guilt on top of all the other emotions he was dealing with...Ellie was the first woman for whom he felt an attraction since his wife had died...He had thought Alicia was the one love of his life, but now...

Registry, Onyx, Lazy Bend. There was something about the Pennsylvania countryside with its picturesque quality that spoke of family and fellowship. She’d never feel the same tug on her heart standing in the center of a teeming metropolis like Los Angeles or New York. Or hiking the barren arroyos and skeletal ghost towns of the west where the wind sang dirges through hollowed out ridges of stone.
 “Good evening.”
She jerked at the intrusion of the genial voice, thoughts of family hustled aside. Dane stepped into the clearing, holding a large picnic basket, a blanket tucked under his arm. “Hi.” Ellie couldn’t stop a smile. He looked different tonight, wearing olive khaki shorts with heavy brown hiking boots and a white shirt. His long hair was pulled back in a ponytail, making the classic lines of his face appear European. It was easy to imagine him riding a touring bike through southern France or Italy, stopping at an open-air cafĂ© in Venice. He was more than a simple distraction. He had all the makings of a fatal diversion. 
Dane held out the basket. “I brought dinner. Hope you’re hungry.” 
“Starved.” She took the blanket and spread it over the ground. So what if she indulged in a brief romance?

And then to make things even more complicated, a body was found in the location where all the teens normally hung out... In fact, Dane had been at that spot the night when Brenda Harland, the Sheriff's daughter, disappeared. The body was later determined to be Brenda and the Sheriff was out for blood... Dane's and even his son's!

Dane had contacted Jonah and had made at least some preliminary overtures, but Jonah wasn't having any of his crap... That is, until he learned that he was an uncle... And when Jesse called him "Uncle Jonah," his heart had slowly begun to melt...

And it all came to a head during the Strawberry Festival which led right up to July 4th!

If you're looking for a contemporary romantic suspense novel with an old-fashioned feel, this one is for you! It speaks of being able to turn your life around, the need for love and family...and forgiveness...and solves a cold-case with a very surprising ending that you'd never, ever guess...and, yet, to be quite understandable... The role of father that Dane had undertaken had to have been learned from his early life in Onyx... Now he was coming back, not to gloat about the fortune he made, but to respond to the death wishes of his wife and to reconnect with family, if at all possible...

Heartwarming yet fun to watch as the main character works to lose his past, bad reputation and be recognized for what his life now was...with a lot of help from his adopted, loving son! I loved it! Highly recommended!


Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars. Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats. Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at MaeClair.net

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