Love is sweeter than wine, but so is...revenge.
Terra Cavanaugh had buried the past. She didn’t remember, even when her dying father asked her to save the family’s century-old winery from bankruptcy. It was her last chance to rescue her inheritance—and to confront disturbing visions she didn’t understand.
Jake Vreeland had suffered unspeakable loss. When nightmares haunted him, he braved mortal danger to save others. He and his search dog were soon among the best. But Jake needed rescue himself—from dreams that tormented him, from guilt that weighed him down.
Terra and Jake meet when she returns to Coeur du Vin. They don’t know that they are both searching for rescue, until it becomes clear that someone wants to stop her from saving the winery--someone with… murder in mind.
Terra was asleep when she heard Royal whine. She looked groggily at the clock. It was two a.m.
“What is it?” she whispered.
It was pitch dark outside. All was silent.
Royal looked toward the bedroom door. Her pulse leaped. Then she thought: if someone was out there, Royal would bark. Why wasn’t he barking?
Royal whined again.
She couldn’t just sit here. Throwing back the covers, she got up and tiptoed to the door. She put her ear to it.
Carefully, she inched the door open. Royal slipped through before she could stop him. He headed toward the stairs.
She had to follow. Halfway down the landing, she remembered the flashlight by the bedside. She was about to go back when she heard another creak—outside.
She froze. “What is it?” she whispered.
Royal was scratching at the front door. Every nerve taut, she put her ear to the panel.
She looked at the dog. Maybe he wants to go out.
Jake had made her promise to call him about anything suspicious. But tonight was the first night he hadn’t patrolled, and he’d only agreed to get some rest because Royal was here. She couldn’t wake him for this, not if the dog just wanted out.
She unlocked the door, almost expecting it to be hurled back into her face. Nothing happened. She opened it about six inches. Royal slipped out, put his nose to the ground and took off.
She forgot to be quiet. “Royal!”
The dog disappeared. She called again, but when he didn’t return she ran to the phone.
Jake picked up on the first ring. When she told him what had happened, he said, “Stay there. Don’t go out for any reason.”
“—can take care of himself. I mean it, Terra, stay inside—please. I’m on my way.”
She was dressed in jeans and a sweater, haunting the porch when she saw his headlights. He was out of the truck almost before it stopped, Mano beside him.
“Has he come back?”
“No! Oh, Jake, what if something happens to him?”
“Nothing’s going to happen to him.”
“Why did he take off like that?”
“I don’t know. But while we look for him, you stay in the house and lock the door. Don’t come out for any reason.”
“I’m going with you!”
“It’s too dangerous.”
“It’s dangerous for you too!”
“No one’s after me.”
“But it’s my fault Royal’s gone!”
“Don’t argue with me, Terra. For once, can you just do as I say?”
“No! If something has happened to Royal, I’ll never forgive myself. I’m coming with you, and that’s final!”
He sighed. “All right, but stay behind me.”
“Whatever you say. Let’s just go!”
Jake looked down at Mano, who was eager to go. “Mano, find Royal!”
Mano took off. Standing behind Jake, Terra saw the gun tucked into the back of his jeans.
“You didn’t tell me you had a gun!”
He was grim. “Let’s hope I don’t have to use it.”