Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robyn Carr is the Rita Award winning author of over 25 novels and lives with her husband in Las Vegas, Nevada.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The tightly knit community of virgin river has been a safe haven for more than a few lost souls over the years – and there’s always room for one more...
A decorated U.S. Marine reservist, LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela was badly wounded in the line of duty, but has found hope and healing in Virgin River. When he agrees to become the town’s first cop, he does so knowing it’s time he settled down. Twice divorced and the lover of too many women, he secretly longs for the kind of commitment and happiness his marine buddies have found – a woman who can tie up his heart forever. He finds that woman in Brie Sheridan, a Sacramento prosecutor who understands his drive to protect and serve. Virgin River becomes a safe haven for Brie after nearly losing her life at the hands of a crazed criminal. Though tough and courageous, she’s got some fears she can’t escape – but now she has someone who will shower her just what it means to trust again.
Mike will do anything to help Brie free herself from painful memories. Passionate, strong and gentle, he vows to give back to her what she’s so selflessly given him – her heart, and with it, a new beginning.
Mike Valenzuela was up and had his Jeep SUV packed long before sunrise. He had a long drive to Los Angeles and meant to get an early start. Depending on traffic around the Bay Area, the drive would be eight to ten hours from Virgin River. He locked up his RV, which was his home. It sat on the property at Jack’s bar and grill; Jack and Preacher would keep an eye on it for him, not that Mike expected any kind of trouble. That was one of several reasons he’d chosen to live here – it was quiet. Small, peaceful, beautiful and nothing to disturb one’s peace of mind. Mike had had enough of that in his former life.
Before coming to Virgin River permanently, Mike had made many trips to this Humboldt County mountain town for hunting and fishing, for gathering with an old Marine squad that was still close. His full time job had been with LAPD, a sergeant in the gangs division. Then he was shot on the job; he took three bullets and had a lot of hard work getting his body back. He’d needed Preacher’s robust food while he worked on his rehabilitating his shoulder. After six months, Mike was as close to completely recovered as he’d get.
Since coming to Virgin River he’d been home only once to visit his parents, siblings and their families. He planned to take a week – one day driving each way and five days with that crowd of laughing, dancing Mexicans. Knowing the traditions of his family, it would be a nonstop celebration. His mother and sisters would cook from morning to night, his brothers would stock the refrigerator with cerveza, family friends and cop buddies from the department would drop by the house. It would be a good time – a great homecoming after his long recovery.
He was three hours into his drive when his cell phone rang. The noise startled him. There was no cell phone reception in Virgin River so the last thing he expected was a phone call.
“Hello?” he answered.
“I need a favor,” Jack said without preamble. His voice sounded gravelly, as though barely awake. He must not have remembered Mike was heading south.
Mike looked at the dash clock. It wasn’t yet seven a.m. He laughed. “Well sure, but I’m nearly in Santa Rosa, so it might be inconvenient to run over to Garberville and get you ice for the bar, but –“
”Mike, it’s Brie,” Jack said. Brie was Jack’s youngest sister, his pet, his favorite. And she was really special to Mike. “She’s in the hospital.”
Mike actually swerved on the highway. “Hold on,” he said. “Stay there.” He pulled off the road onto a safe-looking shoulder. Then he took a deep breath. “Go ahead,” he said.
“She was assaulted sometime last night,” Jack said. “Beaten. Raped.”
“No!” Mike said. “What?”
Jack didn’t repeat himself. “My father just called a little while ago. I’ll get on the road as soon as Ican. Listen, I need someone who knows law enforcement, criminology, to walk me through what’s happening with her. They don’t have the guy who did this – there’s got to be an investigation. Right?”
“How bad is she?” Mike asked.
“My dad didn’t have a lot of details, but she’s out of emergency and in a room, sedated and semiconscious, no surgery. Can you write down a couple of numbers? Can you keep your cell phone turned on so I can call you? With questions? That kind of thing?”
“Of course. Yes,” Mike said. “Gimme numbers.”
Jack recited phone numbers for the hospital and Jack’s father Sam’s cell phone.
“Do they have a suspect? Did she know the guy?”
“I don’t know anything except her condition. After I get on the road, get the phone charged and am out of the mountains and through the redwoods, I’ll call my dad and see what he can tell me. Right now I gotta go. I gotta get down there.”
“Right,” Mike said. “Okay. My phone will be in my pocket twenty-four-seven. I’ll call the hospital, see what I can find out.”
“Thanks. Appreciate it,” Jack said, hanging up.
Mike sat on the shoulder, staring at the phone for a long minute, helpless. Not Brie, he thought. Oh God, not Brie!
His mind flashed on times they’d been together. A couple of months ago she’d been in Virgin River to spend a little time with her brother. Mike had taken her on a picnic at the river, to a special place were the river was wide, but too shallow for fishermen to bother. They’d had lunch against a big boulder, close enough to hear the water whisper by as it passed over the rocks. It was a place frequented by young lovers and teenagers, and that big old rock had seen some wonderful things on the river bank; it protected many secrets. Some of his own, in fact. He’d held Brie’s hand for a long time that day, and she hadn’t pulled it away. It was the first time he realized he was taken with her. A crush. At thirty-seven, he felt it was an old man’s crush, but damned if it didn’t feel awfully like a sixteen year old’s.
When Mike met Brie for the first time a few years back, he’d gone to see her brother while Jack was on leave, visiting his family in Sacramento right before his last assignment in Iraq. Mike was oblivious to the fact that his reserve unit would be activated and he’d end up meeting Jack over there, serving under him a second time. Brie was there, of course, recently married to a Sacramento cop. Nice guy, so Mike had thought. She was a prosecutor for the county in Sacramento, the state capitol. She was small, about five-three, with long, soft brown hair that flowed almost to her waist and made her look like a mere girl. But she was no girl. She put away hardened criminals for a living; she had a reputation as one of the toughest prosecutors in the county. Mike had immediately admired her brains, her grit, not to mention her beauty. In his past life, before the shooting, he’d never been particularly discouraged by the mere presence of a husband, but they were newlyweds, and Brie was in love. No other man existed for her.
When Mike saw her in Virgin River a couple of months ago, she was trying to recover from a painful divorce – her husband had left her for her best friend, and Brie was shattered. Lonely. So hurt. Mike immediately wanted to take her into his arms and console her, for he was hurting too. But Brie, crushed by her husband’s infidelity, was determined not to put her heart on the line again, and she wanted nothing of a man, especially another player who’d had more than his share of women. A further complication – this was Jack’s baby sister, of whom he was so protective it verged on ridiculous. And Mike was no longer a driven, devil may care Latino lover. He was a cripple. The body just didn’t work right anymore.
It had been only a couple of weeks since he’d last seen her. She came back to Virgin River and there was a wedding in town. For a man who could barely walk six months ago, Mike had given Brie a fairly decent twirl around the dance floor at the reception. It was a fantastic party – full of that good old country food, barbeques flaming, the chairs pushed back and the band set up. He grabbed her, laughing, into his arms and whirled her around with abandon, and whenever the tempo allowed, pressed his cheek close against hers, whispering in conspiratorial amusement, “Your brother is frowning at us.”
“I wonder why that is,” she laughed.
“I don’t think he wants you near a man so like himself,” Mike speculated.
That seemed to amuse her a great deal. She tipped her head back and laughed a little wildly. “Don’t flatter yourself,” she said. “It has nothing to do with your great success with women. You’re a man, near his baby sister. That’s enough.”
“You’re no baby,” he said, pulling her closer. “And I think you’re having too much fun with this, getting him riled up. Don’t you realize he has a dangerous temper?”
Unmistakably, she held him tighter. “Not toward me,” she whispered.
“There’s a devil in you,” he said, and looked death in the face by kissing her neck.
“There’s a fool in you,” she said, tilting her head just slightly to give him more of her neck.
In years gone by he would have found a way to get her alone, seduced her, made love to her in ways she’d dream about later. But three bullets had decided a few things. Even if he could spirit her away from her brother’s protective stare, he wouldn’t be able to perform. So he said, “You’re trying to get me shot again.”
“Oh, I doubt he’d actually shoot you. But I haven’t been to a good old fashioned wedding brawl in ages.”
When they said goodbye, he had hugged her briefly, her sweet scent like a cinch around his mind, feeling her cheek against his, his arms around her waist, pulling her close. A bit more than just a friendly gesture – a suggestive one, which she returned. He assumed she was having fun with the flirtation, stirring things up a little bit, but it meant far more than that to him. Brie held his thoughts in a disturbing way that suggested if he were capable of giving her love, she could capture his heart and mind in that powerful way that wipes all other women out of the past. He really didn’t have that to offer anymore. Although, that didn’t keep him from thinking about her, wanting her.
He could not bear to think about all that mischief and sass lying broken and violated in a hospital. His heart was in pieces, aching for her. Dying to know that she was going to be all right.
He put the SUV in drive, looked over his shoulder and got back on the freeway. He gunned the engine and veered across two lanes of fast-moving traffic to make the exit to Sacramento.
"In Carr's third Virgin River novel, Mike Valenzuela is on his way to visit family in L.A. when he learns that Brie, Jack Sheridan's youngest sister, has been raped and beaten by the defendant in a high-profile rape case she had unsuccessfully prosecuted. Mel, Virgin River's midwife, begins to suspect that a serial date rapist is preying on the girls of the community after plying them with drink and drugs, and soon Mike is on the case as Virgin River's constable. Readers of Carr's series will be delighted to see how Preacher and Paige are faring in their new marriage, and how life is treating Jack, Mel, and little David. The combination of realistic romance and tough topics such as rape and the war in Iraq makes this a fine read. And the introduction of Paul, another member of the band of U.S. Marine buddies, and a general's pregnant daughter raises hope that the series will continue."
-- Diana Tixier Herald
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"After being severely injured in the line of duty, LAPD officer and Marine reservist Mike Valenzuela found himself in Virgin River and somehow agreeing to be the town's first police officer. Brie Sheridan's brother, Jack, has made his home in Virgin River along with his wife Mel so it's no surprise that Mike and Brie find themselves spending time together. Brie's husband devastated her when he left her for her best friend; she'd never had any warning that anything was wrong. It's not until Brie is the victim of a savage assault that Mike and Brie truly become close. Brie realizes that Mike is everything she needs. Mike knows that he's struck out at love before but he knows that Brie is the woman he should have waited for. Now they have to get through the assault trial along with the sudden reappearance of Brie's ex-husband.
Whispering Rock could not have been a better ending to the Virgin River Trilogy! Mike and Brie were both characters who intrigued me in earlier books and Whispering Rock couldn't have satisfied my longing for their story more!
In all honestly I could not do a review on just one of these books! It's not often that I find a series where all of the books are equally as good but TheVirgin River Trilogy is a stellar example of what a trilogy should be. In this case I can't recommend highly enough that readers pick up all three books at once. You most certainly will not be disappointed!"
-- Melissa, Joyfully Reviewed
Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr
A Virgin River novel, Book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Mira Books
Release Date: June 1, 2007
$6.99 from Amazon.com
Purchase Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr HERE!!!