Author Archives: Lucy Peaden

Cheris Hodges. Recipe for Desire. New York: Dafina, 2012.

Imagine a “chocolate Paris Hilton” and you have Charlotte’s number one party girl, Marie Charles. Wealthy, spoiled, and riding on her father’s coattails, Marie is living a life of luxury until the night that she drunkenly assaults her ex at Mez, an exclusive nightclub. Such an embarrassing act would be enough fodder for The Queen City After Dark, Charlotte’s version of TMZ, but blogs and papers go wild when Marie is found behind the wheel of her wrecked Jaguar. Thinking that her father will get her out of her latest crisis, Marie takes the blame for the accident although it was her unlicensed public relations intern who was really behind the wheel. But Richard Charles, a prominent civil rights attorney, is not happy with his daughter’s latest antics, and he supports the judge’s decision to give Marie a strict sentence: a suspended license and five hundred hours of community service at a local women’s shelter.

Marie is angry, but she realizes that she can cope as soon as she lays eyes on Devon Harris, her supervisor at the women’s shelter. Incredibly good-looking and a successful gourmet chef, Devon is not impressed with Marie’s party girl past. Over time, though, the two find that a person’s reputation doesn’t always match who they are: Marie has a generous heart, and Devon is not as guarded as he thought he was. After five hundred hours together, Marie and Devon fall in love, with both agreeing that Marie’s meltdown was the best thing that ever happened to either of them.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Hodges, Cheris F., Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Diana Palmer. Before Sunrise. Don Mills, Ontario: HQN Books, 2005.

A devastating heartbreak three years ago sent Phoebe Keller to Chenocetah, North Carolina, to start over without any reminders of handsome Comanche lawman Jeremiah Cortez. When Cortez’s hasty marriage squashed Phoebe’s dreams of a long-term relationship with him, Phoebe dove into her career as an anthropologist. Now as the curator of the Chenocetah Museum, Phoebe has made a simple life for herself in this small mountain town with her chow, Jock. Hoping that eventually she will forget about Cortez and the pain that he created, she has sworn off men.

In her work, Phoebe is contacted a Native American culture expert who makes some improbable claims about about his discoveries on nearby land. Soon the man turns up dead. As fate would have it, the F.B.I. sends Cortez to Chenocetah. All of the walls that Phoebe put up as a result of Cortez’s betrayal slowly crumble as they work together to get to the bottom of this mystery. Combating greedy “collectors,” Phoebe and Cortez make strong and insightful pair. Working side-by-side they realize that their passion for each other still exists. It intensifies when it becomes apparent that both of their lives are danger. In Before Sunrise, Palmer serves up  suspense and romance in equal measure.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2005, Cherokee, Mountains, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Palmer, Diana, Romance/Relationship

Joyce and Jim Lavene. A Spirited Gift. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011.

October 15th is always a hard day for Dae O’Donnell because it is the anniversary of her mother’s death. Although she makes time for her annual séance in an attempt to make contact with her mother, Dae has pressing matters to attend to. This is also the first day of the Mayors’ Conference Weekend, Dae’s brainchild that brings twenty mayors to Duck, North Carolina, to discuss issues that affect their coastal communities.

Things are off to a great start at the Blue Whale Inn (which, incidentally, Dae’s boyfriend Kevin Brickman runs) with the politicians happily mingling.  But Mother Nature has a different plan. What started as a little bit of rain has suddenly turned into a full-force hurricane, wrecking havoc all along the Outer Banks. Although everyone is supposed to be safe and sound at the Blue Whale, one mayor is missing: Sandi Foxx, Manteo’s flirtatious leader. When Dae finds Sandi’s diamond and ruby ring and thanks to her psychic abilities “feels” Sandi’s fear right before she lost it, she begins to worry for Sandi’s safety.

The next day, Dae discovers Sandi’s body in a shed, and in the midst of the clean-up from the hurricane, the town of Duck undergoes a murder investigation. As mayor, Dae tries to stay involved, and she has help from an unusual source: the ghost of Rafe Masterson, a distant relative and a pirate. With Rafe’s insight and prodding, Dae is able to find out who is disrupting her quiet community and to right some centuries-old wrongs.

This is the third Missing Pieces Mystery.  To start the series at the beginning, read A Spirited Gift.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Dare, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Mystery, Novels in Series

Ellery Adams. The Last Word. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011.

Oyster Bay, North Carolina, has changed Olivia Limoges. When she arrived a few years ago, people referred to her as “the grouchiest woman on the entire North Carolina coast.” Now she’s a fixture of this tight-knit community who is about to open a new restaurant with her long-lost half-brother, Hudson. She also leads the Bayside Book Writers group and is developing an meaningful relationship with the Chief of Police, Sawyer Rawlings. Although it’s hectic, the refined Olivia is content with the life that she has created, especially with the presence of her attentive poodle, Captain Haviland.

In the midst of planning menus, reworking drafts about Ramses the Great and his courtesan, Kamila, and helping Hudson and his wife, Kim, prepare for a new child, the unthinkable strikes Oyster Bay. Nick Plumley, a bestselling author who has just moved to the seaside town is found (by none other than Olivia) murdered. His book, The Barbed Wire Flower, described a horrifying scene at the nearby New Bern POW Camp in which two German prisoners escape after killing one of the guards; Plumley had hoped to do research along the coast for a sequel. As Olivia and the Bayside Book Writers help Chief Rawlings search for the reasons why someone would want the well-known writer dead, they discover a more sinister side to Plumley and his associates. Plumley’s murder also exposes long-buried secrets about one of their own that stun Olivia and Oyster Bay.

Check the availability of this title in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog, or start with the first two “Books by the Bay” mysteries, A Killer Plot and A Deadly Cliché.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Adams, Ellery, Coast, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Penelope J. Stokes. The Blue Bottle Club. Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group,1999.

The year 1929 is coming to an end, and most people in the United States have started to feel the dreadful onset of the Great Depression. For four young women in Asheville, North Carolina, everything in their lives is uncertain except for one thing: their dreams. Letitia Cameron dreams of marrying the wealthy and well-connected Philip Dorn and having a large, happy family. Adora Archer has set her sights on becoming a successful actress in Hollywood or on Broadway. Eleanor James, who has lived a privileged life thus far, hopes to become the next Jane Addams as a social worker. Mary Love Buchanan wishes to follow her talent as an artist. The four commit their dreams to paper and stuff the pieces into a blue bottle stored in Letitia’s attic. No matter what happens in the coming days, the friends will always have their dreams – and each other.

Sixty-five years later Brendan Delaney, a news anchor for WLOS, is at the Cameron House reporting on its upcoming demolition. She thinks that it is just another dead-end story until a worker discovers the blue bottle. This discovery renews Brendan’s passion for investigative journalism, and she sets out to find Letitia, Adora, Eleanor, and Mary Love to learn how (or if) they fulfilled their dreams.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1999, Buncombe, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Stokes, Penelope J.

Susan Donovan. Cheri on Top. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.

Cherise “Cheri” Newberry returns to her hometown just as Barbara Jean Smoot’s Impala is pulled from Paw Paw Lake. Cheri is back in Bigler, North Carolina after a wildly successful stint as a realtor in Tampa. Her beloved grandfather has asked her to come home to take over the family newspaper, the Bigler Bugle,  but Cheri expects to stay in the mountain community only for a month or two. Too much baggage remains in Bigler: her memories of being an ambitious, resourceful woman in a place that stifled her as she was growing up; fears that her parents’ death was her fault; and the still painful sting of losing her first true love, J.J. (now the Bugle‘s dashing editor). She just wants to get the paper running smoothly, and the discovery of the car owned by Smoot, a young woman who went missing in the 1950s, is sure to sell papers and make her return to Florida quicker.

As Cheri begins to sift through the Bugle‘s financial paperwork, she discovers something far worse than low readership. Thousands of dollars have been taken from the company, and that illegal deed is connected to Smoot’s murder. Fortunately for Cheri, she has reconciled with J.J., and their growing relationship gives her strength to confront the truth–and expose some of her own skeletons.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.


Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Donovan, Susan, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Joyce and Jim Lavene. A Touch of Gold. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011.

Life in Duck, North Carolina, during the off season can be slow for the residents of this Outer Banks hamlet. Although the town is fairly small, its history, lore, and spirit more than make up for its size. The quiet of the off season suddenly changes when the Duck Historical Museum explodes. All of the relics–some centuries-old–are destroyed, but that is not the only loss to the community. The greatest tragedy in this strange event is the death of Max Caudle, museum curator and Duck expert, who perished in the blast.  Dae O’Donnell, mayor of Duck and close friend of Max is heartbroken – and oddly affected. Dae, who had been helping Max with a program for school children just before the explosion, was very close to the building before it went up in flames. Now, in addition to her ability to help people find lost objects just by touching them, Dae can “see” the history of things.

Law enforcement officials in Duck think that they have a solid suspect in the arson and the murder of Max until that person is found dead. Later Max’s widow’s home is destroyed. Using her powerful gift, Dae, with the help of ex-FBI agent and beau Kevin Brickman, tries to discover who is wrecking havoc on the coastal village. Their investigation takes them into many aspects of Duck’s past, including long-buried family secrets and gold.

A Touch of Gold is the second novel in the “Missing Pieces Mystery” series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Dare, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Mystery, Novels in Series

Vicki Lane. Under the Skin. New York: Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks, 2011.

Elizabeth Goodweather has seen her fair share of mysteries in Ridley Branch, a small hamlet in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. For now, though, Elizabeth just wants to settle down on her Full Circle Farm, manage her herb and flower business, and marry her handsome policeman boyfriend, Philip Hawkins. Elizabeth’s peaceful life is interrupted, however, when her sister Gloria descends on the homestead. Fresh from Florida and avoiding her potentially dangerous current husband, Gloria is the complete opposite of Elizabeth. Compared side-by-side, Elizabeth and Gloria’s relationship is a mystery in itself. Gloria loves material things, steals men’s attention with her beauty, and buys into all of the new age remedies that plain-looking, salt of the earth Elizabeth mocks. With all this, Gloria grates on Elizabeth’s nerves.

Now that Gloria has made herself at home, however, Elizabeth begins to see a new side of her sister. While she may have some annoying traits, Gloria proves to be a generous, thoughtful, and complex. A skeptical Elizabeth decides to join her sister at a workshop with a medium to show her support, but events that unfold during a séance leave her questioning reality – and put both sisters in danger. It is up to Elizabeth to uncover the truth and to restore harmony in her life, which now includes her sister.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Lane, Vicki, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Anne Rivers Siddons. Burnt Mountain. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2011.

Although Thayer Wentworth has lived most of her life in an affluent community outside of Atlanta, Georgia, the most pivotal events of her life occurred at Camp Sherwood Forest in the mountains of North Carolina. For the tomboy whose father was killed tragically in a car accident when she was just a girl and who shared a strained relationship with her mother, summer camp was a magical escape. Only as a counselor surrounded by happy children and fun co-counselors did Thayer feel as though she truly fit in with those around her. She even falls in love with a co-worker, Nick Abrams, who she believes to be the love of her life. The two commit to each other with promises to reunite once Nick returns from a summer visit to Europe.

Thayer’s mother, however, is determined to destroy not only the teens’ relationship but also the symbol of their bond in a terrible act of betrayal. With the encouragement of her beloved grandmother, Thayer decides to attend The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She falls in love again with a professor who captivates her with his love of Irish mythology, and he becomes her husband. Although Thayer expects to fall into the pleasant routine of marriage, the sparkle of summer camp has not extinguished – with surprising results for all involved.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Siddons, Anne Rivers

Jacquie D’Alessandro. Summer at Seaside Cove. New York: Berkley Sensation, 2011.

New York City-savvy Jamie Newman has just arrived in Seaside Cove, North Carolina, to lick her wounds after her half sister steals her boyfriend. Jamie was not expecting the Waldorf Astoria, but her rental, named Paradise Lost, is dreadful. She is not sure how she will survive the summer until she meets Nick Trent, her landlord. Although the two have a rocky start, Jamie and Nick soon connect over their love of animals, the disappointment of failed relationships, and the shared peace they feel in quaint Seaside Cove. When Jamie’s demanding family begin to invade her sanctuary (and thereby defeat the purpose of her getaway), she relies on Nick to help her make peace with the changes in her life. Jamie discovers that not only do the two agree on almost everything, but also that leaving Seaside Cove to return to the Big Apple might be more difficult than she could have imagined.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, D'Alessandro, Jacquie, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship