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Hot Rocks

Hot Rocks

Titel: Hot Rocks
Autoren: Nora Roberts
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    Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
     
    Previously published in Remember When by Nora Roberts and J. D. Robb.
     
    This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
     
    HOT ROCKS
     
    A Jove Book / published by arrangement with the author
     
    PRINTING HISTORY
    Jove mass-market edition / February 2010
     
Copyright © 2003 by Nora Roberts.
    Excerpt from Big Jack by J. D. Robb copyright © by Nora Roberts.

     
    All rights reserved.
    No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
    For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
     
    eISBN : 978-1-101-17157-8
     
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Jove Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
JOVE® is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The “J” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
     

     

     
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To Mary Kay McComas,
who sort of plays a musical instrument,
but who is the best of pals

Covetous of others’ possessions, he was prodigal of his own.
    SALLUST
     
     
Who in the world am I?
Ah, that’s the great puzzle!
    LEWIS CARROLL

CHAPTER 1
    A heroic belch of thunder followed the strange little man into the shop. He glanced around apologetically, as if the rude noise were his responsibility rather than nature’s, and fumbled a package under his arm so he could close a black-and-white-striped umbrella.
    Both umbrella and man dripped, somewhat mournfully, onto the neat square of mat just inside the door while the cold spring rain battered the streets and sidewalks on the other side. He stood where he was, as if not entirely sure of his welcome.
    Laine turned her head and sent him a smile that held only warmth and easy invitation. It was a look her friends would have called her polite shopkeeper’s smile.
    Well, damnit, she was a polite shopkeeper—and at the moment that label was being sorely tested.
    If she’d known the rain would bring customers into the store instead of keeping them away, she wouldn’t have given Jenny the day off. Not that she minded business. A woman didn’t open a store if she didn’t want customers, whatever the weather. And a woman didn’t open one in Small Town, U.S.A., unless she understood she’d spend as much time chatting, listening and refereeing debates as she would ringing up sales.
    And that was fine, Laine thought, that was good. But if Jenny had been at work instead of spending the day painting her toenails and watching soaps, Jenny would’ve been the one stuck with the Twins.
    Darla Price Davis and Carla Price Gohen had their hair tinted the same ashy shade of blond. They wore identical slick blue raincoats and carried matching hobo bags. They finished each other’s sentences and communicated in a kind of code that included a lot of twitching eyebrows, pursed lips, lifted shoulders and head bobs.
    What might’ve been cute

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