The Weekenders

By: Mary Kay Andrews

Acknowledgments

Writing a novel can truly be a long day’s journey into night, but the following folks lit up my days and illuminated the path by sharing their knowledge, wisdom, talents, and in some cases, their homes, with me.

To Dick and Jane Hansen of Atlanta, many thanks for allowing me to spend time in their beautiful home on Baldhead Island, North Carolina. Baldhead is NOT Belle Isle, but my fictional Belle Isle was certainly inspired by the beauty of Baldhead.

To Beth Fleishman, my sister from another mister, I must offer hugs and thanks for becoming both navigator, copilot, and all-around font of information yet again. Thanks, too, to Beth’s husband, Richard Boyette, for additional help with legal research, and to Sharon Stokes for more of the same.

To Billy Howard and Laurie Shook, who allowed me invaluable writing sanctuary at their Sky High Cottage in the mountains near Highlands, North Carolina, thanks.

Kay Flowers Johnson gave me insight into the world of broadcast journalism. Anne Ksionzyk told me about parenting a child (or two!) with juvenile diabetes. The Rev. Patricia Templeton of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Atlanta advised on funeral protocol and scripture.

It’s been fifteen years since I last committed (fictional) homicide, so when it came time to return to my mysterious roots, my Weymouth Seven sisters were invaluable in helping me get away with murder. As always, thanks to Margaret Maron, Bren Witchger, Alex Sokoloff, Diane Chamberlain, Sarah Shaber, and Katy Munger for their friendship, advice, and support.

Speaking of support, the talented, meticulous, and yes, paranoid-but-in-a-good-way Susan Goggins of Atlanta came to my rescue (again) to help with brainstorming and copy editing, and I will be forever in her debt.

I’ve been so blessed in my career to work with such an amazing team of publishing professionals. Stuart Krichevsky proved, once again, to be the best damn agent in the world, and the folks at SKLA, including Ross Harris, and David Gore always have my back. Thanks, guys!

I can’t remember NOT having the always awesome Meghan Walker of Tandem Literary (aka Jersey Meg) on Team MKA. Here’s hoping for many more launch day spray tans and massages.

And oh, the St. Martin’s Press team at the Flatiron Building, how grateful I am for all you do for me and my books! Thank you, Sally Richardson. Thankyouthankyouthankyou, Jennifer Enderlin, for never giving up on me and always making my books better than I believed they could be. Thank you, Mike Storrings, for another enticing book jacket (and a new author photo that doesn’t make me look like a real estate agent). Thank you, Tracy Guest, for giving me Jessica Lawrence, a dream of a publicist. Thank you, Brant Janeway and Karen Masnica, Jeff Dodes, Anne-Marie Talberg, Caitlin Dareff, and everybody at Macmillan Audio and Macmillan Library.

I owe my many loyal long-time readers a huge debt—for allowing me to pursue my lifelong dream of writing for a living. I promise, I never take you for granted. Thanks, y’all.

I may thank my family last, but I hope they know they always come first in my heart. Especially my starter husband, Tom Trocheck, who became first reader, sous chef, fire-maker, furniture builder, and research assistant this time—literally with one arm tied behind his back. Thanks, too, to the very able Katie Trocheck Abel and her crew, along with Andy Trocheck. I am nothing without my family’s unending love and support.





1

Wendell Griggs was big on promises. Always had been. On their first date, he’d promised Riley Nolan she’d never want to date anybody else. When he’d presented her with her engagement ring—a three-carat diamond bigger than any of her girlfriends had—he’d promised it was the start of a life that would be big and rich and exciting. No doubt about it, her husband was a dreamer. And a schemer.

But lately, Wendell’s promises meant nothing. Just talk. Hollow words meant to placate or stall. Nothing more. What was it her grandfather used to say?

“All hat, no cattle.”

Like today. Wendell had promised—sworn—he’d meet them at the ferry dock at Southpoint in time to make the last boat over to Belle Isle.

It was Memorial Day weekend, a tradition they’d established even before they’d gotten married, kicking off the season on the island where Riley’s family had summered for the past hundred years.

And yet, here she stood. She brushed a stray lock of dark brown hair from her eyes and squinted down at the screen of her smartphone. Still nothing.

Her fingertips raced over the keys.

WHERE R U?

All caps. It was the texting equivalent of screaming. And that’s how she felt, like screaming.

The late afternoon sun shimmered off the water’s surface, and the light breeze whipping the surface of the river carried the faint scent of honeysuckle. It was the prettiest day in weeks, but Riley Nolan Griggs was oblivious to all of that.

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