Point Surrender by Ann Carter
Amy Winslow isn't looking for a mystery; she doesn't even like secrets. In fact, secrets have nearly destroyed her life. But when a terrible accident forces her to take control of her brother's mysterious California lighthouse, Amy finds herself immersed in its shocking past and uncertain future. Enchanted by the mystery, she refuses to rest until she finds out who died in the aging white beacon, and why.
Case McKenna hasn't quite reconciled his own painful history when he sails his crippled boat into Newburg Harbor, intending to stay only long enough to make repairs. His plans change when he becomes entangled with a local couple intent on restoring a long-shuttered lighthouse. Despite an overwhelming urge to flee, Case follows intrigue and passion, as he, too, finds himself drawn in by Point Surrender...
The view silenced them both. It was some time before either ventured to speak. Case walked the circumference of the light, looking first outside and then at the lens. "Still in place after almost ninety years. Wow." Fingers splayed, he caressed the glass enclosing the lens almost reverently.
Amy watched in fascination as Case admired the craftsmanship. "Do you know anything about these things?" she asked, her fingers still tightly wrapped around the interior handrail.
His spell momentarily broken, Case diverted his eyes to Amy's and shook his head unconvincingly. "Not really. But just look at it! You don't have to know anything about it to appreciate how fine it is. Look at all that brass! Nobody's polished her in a long, long time." These last words were tinged with unmistakable sorrow.
He was quiet for a time, contemplating the lens, before turning back to her. "So do you want to go out, or what?" he asked softly.
Suddenly weak, Amy leaned back against the handrail. "Out?" she whispered, her face now so close she could feel the warmth of his, feel the words he spoke against her forehead.
"Yeah, outside. I'll take you out on the gallery if you want."
"Oh. N–No, that's not necessary. Maybe next trip."
"C'mon. It's okay, really. The fresh air is good."
She let him. When did he take her hand? The feel of his fingers laced with hers was natural, easy, warm. Gently tugging, he slowly led her through the door. Amy's senses were heightened, at least as much by his touch as by the rush of being so high, so exposed to the world.
He was right, the cool air felt good against her cheeks. Maybe she could get used to it, this high altitude thing. Especially with Case McKenna beside her. She ventured a look down at the small, faintly green lawn that spread in patches to the edge of the cliff. And saw him again. The man in the grey shirt.
"Do you see that guy?" she asked, grasping Case's sleeve with her free hand. "Look. Over there. What's he doing?"
Case squinted, looked down. Tilting his head slightly, his parted lips told of his surprise. "That's the guy I saw from my sloop! The guy that fell. He was standing just like that, only facing the lighthouse last time."
Amy turned to look up into Case's eyes. "When was this?"
"When I came into Newburg harbor. I saw this guy fall…but…" Turning to look back toward the cliff, he paused. The man was gone.
Amy pressed her hand to her mouth. "It's the same man I saw the day you came up here to help. He…he disappeared then, too." She stared hard at Case's face, trying to read his take on their similar sightings. "I don't…I don't get it. What…Who is he?"
Case let go of her hand and slipped an arm around her shoulders. "You're looking a little pale. Let's go back downstairs."
"Yeah, okay." Amy was both disappointed and relieved when Case moved away from her and squatted to pull open the trapdoor. After taking a few steps down ahead of her, he turned and extended his hand."I guess I'm the one who needs hand-holding," she muttered, grasping his hand solidly and relishing the warmth that spread throughout her body as a result. Back in the kitchen, she dropped the key back into the drawer next to the sink.
"What do you make of that?" she asked, her heart still thumping hard in her chest.
"Weird. I thought it was just me. I'd been asleep, I guess. But this time, we both saw him. It's gotta be some guy playing a prank."
"Well I sure as hell don't believe in ghosts."
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