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Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell - Romance>Suspense/Mystery/Thriller
He might help her...if the price is right.
Surrounded by potential enemies, Hannah McGarry faces the mystery of her husband's suspicious death, the prospect of bankruptcy...and the disappearance of the fabulous Black Trinity necklace that was to be her financial security. Desperate, she calls Archer Donovan, a silent partner in Pear Cove, her late husband's pearl farm venture. He might help her...if the price is right.
Archer Donovan would rather forget he'd ever heard of Pearl Cove...its memories of living on the dark side, the soul-numbing certainty that there was no law, no justice, no mercy; just hunters and the hunted. That life taught him to trust no one but family. But when Hannah McGarry calls in an old debt Archer is back in the game. And at his side in pursuit of the stolen fortune is a woman he shouldn't want, yet cannot resist...a woman who may know more than she's telling about her husband's death...and more than is safe to know about the dark and elusive black pearls. With deadly competitors on their tails, Archer and Hannah race through uncharted waters in search of the fabulous Black Trinity. And the closer they come to finding the coveted pearls, the closer they come to danger and death...and to each other.
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Like grains of sand grinding inside the oyster,
Archer Donovan wasn't easily surprised. It was a hangover from his previous line of work when surprised men often ended up dead. Yet the unique, peacock-and-rainbow radiance of the teardrop black pearl Teddy Yamagata was holding out did more than surprise Archer. It shocked him. He hadn't seen a black pearl with such color for seven years.
That particular pearl had been clutched in a dead man's hand. Or nearly dead. Archer had fought his way through the riot in time to pull his half brother out of the mess and get him to a hospital in another, safer place.
Long ago, far away, in another country.
Archer had done everything in his power to bury that part of his past. Years later he still was shoveling. But he had learned the hard way that no matter how determined he was, his previous undercover life had a nasty habit of popping up and casting shadows on his present civilian life. The proof of it was gleaming on the palm of Hawaii's foremost pearl collector and trader.
Teddy wasn't in Hawaii now. He had flown to Seattle with a case full of special pearls to show Archer. The extraordinary black pearl was one of them.
"Unusual color," Archer said neutrally.
Peering through the thick, blended lenses of his glasses, Teddy measured the expression of the man who was a sometime competitor in the pearl trade, an occasional client, and an invariably reliable appraiser. If Archer was particularly interested in the tear-shaped black pearl, nothing showed on his face. He could have been looking at a picture of Teddy's grandchildren.
"You must be a helluva poker player," Teddy said.
"Are we playing. poker?"
"You've got your game face on. At least I think you do. Hard to tell under all that fur."
Absently Archer rubbed his hand against his cheek. He had given up shaving several months ago. He still wasn't quite certain why. One morning he just had picked up his razor, looked at it as though it was a remnant of the Spanish Inquisition, and dropped the blade in the trash. The fact that it was six years to the day since he had quit working for Uncle Sam might have had something to do with it. Whatever, his beard had grown into a short black continuation of his short black hair.
And if there were a few gray hairs among the black, tough. The dead didn't age. Only the living did.
"Must be hot when you go to Tahiti," Teddy said.
"It's always hot there.
"I meant the beard."
"I never sent it to Tahiti."
Teddy abandoned subtlety and tried the in-your-face approach. "What do you think of the pearl?"
"South Sea, maybe fourteen millimeters, teardrop, unblemished surface, fine orient."
"Fine?" Teddy hooted. His black eyes nearly vanished into lines of laughter. "It's goddamn spectacular and you know it! It's like ... like . . ."
"Molten rainbows under black ice."
Teddy's thin black eyebrows shot up and he pounced. "You do like it."
Archer shrugged. "I like a lot of pearls. It's a weakness of mine."
"In my dreams you're weak. What's the pearl worth?"
"Whatever you can get for it." Archer's cool, graygreen glance stopped Teddy's immediate protest. "What do you really want to know?"
"What the damn thing's worth," he said, exasperated. "You're the best, most honest judge of pearls that I know."
"Where did you get it?"
Pearl CoveBy: Elizabeth Lowell