9780060511104

Secret Sis

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780060511104

  • ISBN10:

    0060511109

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-07-16
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Summary

The Search For Her Sister Could Cost A Woman Her Life Christy McKenna, the smartest fashion writer in New York, thought she'd escaped her childhood in the impoverished rural West. Then came a call for help from the one person she could not refuse-her sister, the internationally celebrated model known only as Jo. Jo's plea draws Christy back to the magnificent mountains and mysterious red-rock canyons of the Four Corners country. But she's too late-Jo has disappeared. However, Christy does find an unlikely ally in outlaw archaeologist Aaron Cain, and together they pursue Jo and a fabulous cache of ancient Indian artifacts worth millions. Christy and Cain clash at every turn, but their antagonism soon turns into partnership-and blazing passion.

Excerpts

The Secret Sister

Chapter One

Call Jo-Jo. Urgent.

The message on the call slip was three days old, just one of many notes that had built up during Christy McKenna's two-week vacation. But reading it made her stomach feel as though the bottom of the world had just fallen out.

Christy hadn't heard from her younger sister in twelve years. It had been bad news then.

Undoubtedly, it would be bad news now.

Even as the thought came, Christy felt the old familiar mixture of love and guilt snake through her. Jo-Jo couldn't help being born with the kind of beauty that literally made people stare. It wasn't Jo-Jo's fault that most people tripped over themselves in their rush to please her. Why should she be blamed for thinking she was the center of the universe?

You like people because of certain things, Christy reminded herself wryly. You love them despite certain things.

For better or for worse, Christy loved her beautiful younger sister.

The cool breath of the past chilled Christy's spine as she flipped through more messages. After more than a decade of silence, Jo-Jo had called five times in two weeks.

Christy had never entirely forgiven Jo-Jo for taking whatever caught her eye on her way through life-her sister's clothes, shoes, boyfriends, friends, Grandmother McKenna's gold nugget necklace.

Of all that Jo-Jo had taken, only the necklace still rankled. It was the only piece of the past that Christy wanted.

Jo-Jo had known it. That was why she took it.

Christy knew it too.

So what? she thought. Gramma is dead. I'm in New York. Jo-Jo is wherever Jo-Jo wants to be. I'm doing what I love. Right?

Frowning, Christy looked around her office. The shelves were still crammed with books on art, fashion, philosophy, and human adornment, from Stone Age body painting to Tiffany's most astonishing diamond necklaces. The lone window still needed washing and still had a view of another Manhattan high-rise an arm's length away. The nameplate on the door still said Christa McKenna, Contributing editor.

Nothing had changed, yet Christy couldn't help feeling that everything had changed. Maybe it was as simple as wanting a few more weeks of vacation. Maybe it was as complex as the restlessness that had overtaken her in the months since her thirtysecond birthday.

And maybe it was the past, wounded but not healed.

Call Jo -- Jo

The past, and the hope that this time would be different. This time the old wounds would be healed because Jo-Jo was finally old enough to understand that other people hurt, other people cried, other people bled. Not just Jo-Jo. Everyone.

Even her sister.

Christy reached across her desk for the newest Horizon magazine and flipped to Peter Hutton's standing six-page ad package. The layout had been shot on the deck of a yacht off Martha's Vineyard and featured Hutton's signature model, a internationally famous beauty known to the world by only one name. Jo.

Leggy, blond, innocent and salacious in the same instant, Jo-Jo was dressed in a pastel silk pullover sweater and white silk slacks. The sea wind swept her straight hair to one side, letting her look up from under at the world with her wide green cat's eyes.

Christy stared at the ad as though it might give her a hint as to why Jo-Jo was calling after all these years. Nothing came but the sheer physical presence of the woman herself.

Jo-Jo was a departure from the fence-post standards that often prevail in America" modelingHer waist was as slender as a girl's, but she had awoman's hips and high, full breasts. The weave of the silk sweater was so loose and the yarn so fine that her nipples stood out clearly.

The silk of the slacks was equally thin, almost sheer. A brunette would have had to shave up to her navel to wear those slacks. On Jo-Jo the clingy material was an "accidental" striptease frozen just before, the moment of revelation.

Pure Hutton, pure Jo-Jo. Seemingly casual, sensually challenging, and manipulative as hell. Jo-Jo -- and Hutton -- skated breathtakingly close to being coarse yet always managed to escape that label. Sheer beauty had a lot to do with it.

"What's the matter?" Christy asked the ad. "Did Hutton finally discover you aren't his alone? Is he going to throw you out on Your fantastic tush?"

Urgent.

Christy shivered and set aside the magazine. She could no more ignore her sister's needs now than she had been able to long ago, far away, in another part of the country. Call and find out what's wrong.

Get it over with. Call and find out what's wrong. Because you know something is.

The call-back number had an area code of 505. Christy pulled out a phone book and flipped to the map in the front.

Colorado.

For a moment she was too surprised to do more than stare. Jo-Jo had hated the West even more than Christy.

With clipped motions, Christy punched the number into the keypad. Somewhere in Colorado a phone rang. It was answered abruptly, with a single word.

"Yes."

But the clear, sexy alto was all the identification Christy needed. She could send her own ID along the line, too. She knew of no other person on earth who called Jody McKenna Jo-Jo.

"Hi, Jo-Jo. What's wrong?"

There was a starkly drawn breath followed by silence.

"Hold, please."

Jo-Jo's voice was neutral, the tone of someone talking to a phone solicitor.

Christy waited, puzzled and irritated. And guilty.

Where Jo-Jo was concerned, nothing much had changed in the twelve years since the sisters had last spoken. Christy still felt that the breach between them should have been fixed by her. She was the one who understood human nature. She should have been able to teach Jo-Jo more.

Through the phone came the sound of a chair being pushed back, a door closing, and Jo-Jo returning. When she spoke again, her voice was animated, teasing, faintly taunting. It was the old Jo-Jo, to the last full stop.

"Hi, Christmas. Bet my call shocked hell out of you.

The Secret Sister. Copyright © by Elizabeth Lowell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from The Secret Sister by Elizabeth Lowell
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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