Rainshadow Road

By: Lisa Kleypas




To Jennifer Enderlin,



with thanks for your insight, patience, and encouragement—you are a gift I never take for granted.



Love always,

L.K.





Acknowledgments



As always, I owe endless gratitude to the many people who helped me in this process of getting words from my heart onto the printed page, especially my spectacular agent, Mel Berger, and my editor, Jennifer Enderlin, who deserves every flattering adjective in the dictionary. Huge thanks also to my much-adored friends at St. Martin’s Press, including Matthew Shear, Sally Richardson, Lisa Senz, John Murphy, Nancy Trypuc, Sarah Goldstein, Sara Goodman, John Karle, Olga Grlic, Jessica Preeg, Matt Baldacci, Anne Marie Tallberg, Brian Heller, and the entire sales force.

I couldn’t make it without the friendship and fantastic work of Cindy Blewett at Truly Texan, Sheila Clover and Michael Miller at Circle of Seven Productions, and Kim Castillo of Author’s Best Friend—I am incredibly lucky to have the benefit of so much talent.

Thanks to my lovely author friends Christina Dodd, Teresa Medeiros, Eloisa James, Connie Brockway, and Emily March, who help me spiritually, creatively, professionally, and every other possible “ly.”

I am blessed to be friends with some of the nicest and smartest people on the planet: Cristi Swayze, Rich and Amy Kittinger, Tonia Boze, Sue Carlson, Ellyn Ginsburg, and Lynda Lehner.

Thanks to Ireta and Harrell Ellis for their support, love, and great advice.

And most of all, thanks to my husband, Greg (my constant hero and favorite personal photographer), and our two fabulous children, who make every day of my life joyful.






One



When Lucy Marinn was seven years old, three things happened: Her little sister Alice got sick, she was assigned her first science fair project, and she found out that magic existed. More specifically, that she had the power to create magic. And for the rest of her life, Lucy would be aware that the distance between ordinary and extraordinary was only a step, a breath, a heartbeat away.

But this was not the kind of knowledge that made one bold and daring. At least not in Lucy’s case. It made her cautious. Secretive. Because the revelation of a magical ability, particularly one that you had no control over, meant you were different. And even a child of seven understood that you didn’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the dividing line between different and normal. You wanted to belong. The problem was, no matter how well you kept your secret, the very fact of having one was enough to separate you from everyone else.

She was never certain why the magic came when it did, what succession of events had led to its first appearance, but she thought it had all started on the morning when Alice had woken with a stiff neck, a fever, and a bright red rash. As soon as Lucy’s mother saw Alice, she shouted for her father to call the doctor.

Frightened by the turmoil in the house, Lucy sat on a kitchen chair in her nightgown, her heart pounding as she watched her father slam down the telephone receiver with such haste that it bounced off its plastic cradle.

“Find your shoes, Lucy. Hurry.” Her father’s voice, always so calm, had splintered on the last word. His face was skull-white.

“What’s happening?”

“Your mother and I are taking Alice to the hospital.”

“Am I going too?”

“You’re going to spend the day with Mrs. Geiszler.”

At the mention of their neighbor, who always shouted when Lucy rode her bike across her front lawn, she protested, “I don’t want to. She’s scary.”

“Not now, Lucy.” He had given her a look that had caused the words to dry up in Lucy’s throat.

They had gone to the car, and her mother had climbed into the backseat, holding Alice as if she were an infant. The sounds Alice had made were so startling that Lucy put her hands over her ears. She shrank herself into as little space as possible, the humid vinyl seat covers sticking to her legs. After her parents dropped her off at Mrs. Geiszler’s house, they drove away in such a hurry that the tires of the minivan bruised the driveway with black marks.

Mrs. Geiszler’s face was creased like a shutter door as she told Lucy not to touch anything. The house was filled with antiques. The agreeable mustiness of old books and the lemon tang of furniture polish hung in the air. It was as quiet as church, no sounds of television in the background, no music, no voices or telephone ringing.

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