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Carolyn Whitney Madison inherits a house--and a mission--find the long lost Whitney family emerald necklace so her ancestor, Sara Whitney, can rest in peace.
Unlikely accidents and delays threaten her plans, and with evidence the man she's coming to love now may be at the bottom of them, Carolyn fears she'll never attain her most fantastic dream, her chimera--happiness with a man she loves and trusts.
Carolyn Whitney Madison pressed her damp palms against her skirt before she reached up to take the letter from the attorney's age-spotted hand. She straightened in the leather chair, stretching her neck muscles to relax them, but the movement didn't relieve the tension that clutched at her stomach.
Frowning in anticipation, she unfolded the ivory-vellum sheets and began to read the familiar, but shaky handwriting of her late, great-aunt Louise Whitney.
My dear Carolyn,
I hardly know where to begin. The doctors say I haven't long, so this letter is my last chance. You see, I desperately need your help to right a grievous wrong done to Sara Whitney and Robert Ashford, two lonely souls still searching in vain for peace.
What in the world was this about? Sara and Robert died seventy years ago. And providing peace for lonely souls? That sounded as if they were hanging around waiting for help. Oh, sure. The next thing she knew, she would be hearing voices and seeing ghosts. It was laughable.
You remember that I was quite a bit younger than my cousins, Lora and Sara, the daughters of my father's brother, Lloyd Whitney, and his wife, Alice.
On my last visit to Greystone, their summer home on Lost Lake in Upstate New York, Sara revealed a very special secret--Robert Ashford was going to ask Lloyd for permission to marry her. She glowed with happiness, but it didn't last long. All their plans to be together went wrong, and she needs you to make things right again. You alone can give Sara the help she so desperately needs.
Needs? Present tense? For the first time, Carolyn began to think that her dear great-aunt's mind had begun to slip back into the past instead of staying alert. It wouldn't be surprising at her advanced age. And yet Louise had always seemed so sharp and knowing.
Hoping to understand, Carolyn read on about Alice's necklace of large, perfectly matched, black emeralds that was still missing, and about Lora Whitney's demise at Greystone.
Greystone was abandoned following Lora's tragic accident there. The newspaper accounts of her death included mention of Alice's missing necklace. Some boldly reported suspecting Robert had stolen it. Suspicion ruined his reputation, and he never married. Though the rumors about the house are all but gone now, the Ashford name still wears the mantle of suspicion.
Carolyn, the old house is still hiding the secret. I'm sure the necklace is there.
You must find it for Sara and for Robert. So I bequeath the house and all my funds to you to transform it into the inn of your dreams.
But first, you must promise you will personally supervise all of the renovations and search for the necklace. Please, Carolyn. Sara will help you find it. Then she can be with Robert at long last.
Promise me you will do this so we all may know peace.
Your great-aunt Louise
"Chimera is an exquisitely written story. The dialogue blends very smoothly as events unfold. The plot for this romantic suspense is original and includes a couple of ghosts. Descriptions of the wilderness and lake are vivid and colorful.
Lois Carroll creates a beautiful masterpiece of storytelling in Chimera. This book is a must read for those who enjoy ghost stories with a taste of romance and suspense and is one you'll want for your personal library."
Reviewed by Cliff Leach, The Romance Communications
"Chimera is well-written and the supernatural elements intriguing....The climax is suspenseful."
Reviewed by Janet Lane Walters, Scribes World Reviews