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Synopsis

Annie McCormick, a young woman working at Thornton James’s exclusive antique shop in New Haven, Connecticut, finds her usually mundane job suddenly very exciting. Why? Because she’s on her way to Jarritt’s Island to deliver a valuable relic to Curt Devereaux, a handsome and intriguing Frenchman who is converting an old mansion on the resort island into a museum of New England’s history. Annie is to also help in suggesting further acquisitions for the museum, and is secretly glad of the chance to see more of Curt Devereaux.

But what should be a dream job quickly turns into a nightmare! The Devereaux’s chauffeur, Spencer, is a menacing man with the look of a hardened criminal, and the mansion to which he drives her, White Oak Manor, is such a grim and cold-looking structure that Annie wonders what the original owner must have been like, and why Curt Devereaux would choose it. Further complicating things is the presence of Monique de la Roche, Devereaux’s beautiful associate in the museum enterprise, who treats Annie like an unwanted guest, and Karen Wyler, the young and pretty manager of a neighboring hotel, who seems to have her own designs on Curt.
Worse yet, Annie has barely arrived when the valuable relic, the St. Anne’s Cross, is stolen! When the police arrive to question them about the theft, Annie feels suspicion directed toward herself.

Worst of all, though, Annie discovers that White Oak Manor seems haunted, and hides a sinister secret that threatens her sanity, her life, perhaps her very soul.

Gary Alan Ruse is the author of five earlier published novels (“Houndstooth” and “A Game of Titans,” published in hardcover by Prentice-Hall, “The Gods of Cerus Major,” published in hardcover by Doubleday; also “Morlac: The Quest of the Green Magician” and “Death Hunt on a Dying Planet,” both paperback originals by NAL/Signet Books) and numerous stories in magazines and anthologies, as well as more than 900 newspaper stories for Miami’s Community Newspapers and the old Miami News.

Gary Alan Ruse is also the author of the Smashwords book “Murder in Deer Park,” a historical mystery featuring President Grover Cleveland and his young bride, Frances as they solve a murder mystery during their honeymoon at a Victorian resort in Deer Park, Maryland in 1886.

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