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Summer Rain - Print Books

Summer Rain - Print Books

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From #1 NYT Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy comes the third and final book in the Lightning Strikes Romantic Suspense Trilogy. Action, suspense, romance and family secrets lead to an explosive conclusion!

Danielle Monroe is determined to use her new job in DC as a stepping-stone to a high-powered political career. But the secrets surrounding her father's death continue to overshadow her goals. Her family thinks she holds the final piece of the puzzle, but she doesn't even know what the puzzle is…until an attractive and possibly dangerous stranger shows up in her life.

Patrick Kane is searching for answers about his own dark tragedy, not realizing that the beautiful Danielle may not just hold the key to his mystery but also his heart. They have to stay alive long enough to find out.

What The Readers Are Saying

"A uniquely different, unpredictable plot weaving together romance, intrigue and mystery from the past and present effortlessly. This is the third book in the Lightning Strikes series but can be read as a stand alone. Exciting read!!!!" Carol – Goodreads

"Another wonderful, exciting story in the Lightning series! I love the Monroe family. I held my breath through most of this book & loved every page." Jan – Goodreads

"Full of action, suspense, intrigue, danger, and love. I read all three of these books and read them in order. They were all very good and could be stand-alone stories; all full of adventure and wonderful characters. But this one really wrapped them all up and tied them all together." Deb - Goodreads


Eight days earlier

The storm clouds had been moving through the Texas sky all afternoon, getting darker and thicker by the minute. Dani Monroe had grown up in the southern Texas city of Corpus Christi, and she was used to summer storms, but she'd hoped that today would be dry, that the wedding of her younger sister would be filled only with sunshine and happiness. 

Not that Alicia would care that a storm was coming, she thought, as she stared out the window of the childhood bedroom she'd once shared with Alicia. Her sister had been chasing lightning for years, taking award-winning photographs of dramatic electrical storms, hoping always to find a clue to their father's disappearance in the flashes of light. 

Lightning was Alicia's gateway to the truth, or so she believed. Dani was not convinced, but she had to admit the events of the past six months were difficult to explain and rationalize away. And it wasn't just Alicia who had started to believe in the lightning legends of their ancestors; it was also her brother Jake. Right before he'd crashed his plane into the Mexican jungle, he'd told her that he'd seen their father in a burst of light. It had happened again days later when he'd been fighting to save the life of the woman he loved. 

Both Alicia and Jake were convinced that there was a mystery surrounding their father's death in a stormy plane crash ten years ago. They'd found some clues to support their theory in the last year, but still had no definitive proof, which left them all in what felt like an even worse limbo than they'd been in before. 

She wanted it all to go away. She felt almost desperate with that desire. But she couldn't seem to escape the past, no matter how much she wanted to. 

She let out a sigh. Damn the storm clouds for making her think about lightning again. Today was supposed to be happy and joyous. She didn't want to feel sad. But it wasn't just the weather making her nostalgic and wistful. Her father's absence on this day was pronounced.  

Wyatt Monroe wasn't going to walk Alicia down the aisle for her wedding. He wouldn't be there to give Alicia’s groom Michael Cordero a slap on the back and tell him to take care of his little girl. He wouldn't argue with his wife Joanna or stand next to his oldest son Jake in the wedding photos. 

And he wouldn't be there to tell her, his middle child, not to worry about being left behind, not to feel bad that both Jake and Alicia had found love before she did. Her father, more than her mother, had always seen the insecurity she tried to hide, a result of middle child syndrome. She wasn't the oldest or the youngest, so she had to be the best. The need still drove her, and she tried to embrace that part of herself, because it did make her try harder, work more, strive for greatness. 

On the other hand, she didn't need her dad to tell her anything. She wasn't looking for love. She had a career in Washington DC, working as a legislative assistant for the United States senator from Texas, Ray Dillon. It was a lifelong dream that had finally come true.  

She'd started out in Dillon's Corpus Christi office seven years ago, and now she was working at the Capitol with legislators and lobbyists for one of the most important men in the Senate, someone tagged for a presidential run in the not-so-distant future. Her life was crazy but good, and tomorrow she'd be heading back to that life, thoughts of her Texas past forgotten.  

The bedroom door opened behind her, and she turned around as Alicia entered the room. Her sister wore a short pink floral bathrobe. Her long, dark hair had been pulled back in a stylish but loose bun at her neck, and her wedding makeup enhanced her thick black lashes, dark eyes, and glowing olive complexion. Alicia took after their father's side of the family with her Latin looks, while Dani had inherited their mother's fair skin, green eyes and dark-blonde hair. 

They looked like night and day and their personalities were just as different, but there was still a strong bond of sisterly love between them.  

"You look beautiful, Alicia." She felt a knot of emotion come into her throat. "And you don't even have your wedding dress on yet." 

"Thanks. I could say the same for you. What do you think of your bridesmaid's dress?" 

She glanced in the full-length mirror on the closet door as Alicia walked over next to her. "I like the dress. I might actually wear it again." The silky teal-colored, spaghetti-strapped dress fit her like a glove, and the mini-length made it feel more like a cocktail dress than a bridesmaid's gown. 

"I had to fight Mom on it," Alicia said. "She wanted a more traditional gown. You owe me, Dani." 

She grinned. "Fine. When I get married, I'll let you pick out your own dress, too." She turned to face her younger sister. "I thought Katherine would be here by now," she added, referring to Jake's girlfriend and the other member of the small bridal party. 

"She's downstairs. She'll be up in a second. Mom says the limo will be here in thirty minutes to take us to the church. She wants everything to go according to schedule."

"I'm sure it will," Dani said with a smile, seeing the stress in Alicia's eyes. "Today will be perfect."

"I hope so. It feels like it's been a lot of work so far."

"Now starts the fun part." 

Alicia nodded. "I'm definitely looking forward to the honeymoon." 

"Are Jake and Katherine making wedding plans yet?" she asked. 

"Not that I've heard. While they're officially engaged and living together, they don't seem to be in a big hurry to set a date. They're just lucky Mom has been consumed with my wedding. As soon as it's over, she'll be pushing them to pick a church and a reception location. I heard Katherine say something about next spring, but we'll see. She's settling into her job at the hospital, and it took her so many years of study to become a doctor that I think she wants to make her career a priority for a while."

"That makes sense." 

Alicia wandered over to the window and gazed out at the gray sky. "It looks like rain is coming." 

"I think it will hold off until after you tie the knot, but I'm glad you didn't choose to get married outside." 

"Me, too. I thought about it, but if it weren't raining, we'd probably all be sweltering in the heat. Summer in Texas is never cool." 

"Very true. I just wish it was a sunny day for all the photos." She paused. "But maybe this kind of weather is perfect for my little lightning chaser." 

Alicia laughed as she turned back around. "I'd actually prefer to skip the lightning today. It usually brings chaos and change with it." 

"Is that the lightning or you?" she teased. 

"Maybe both." Alicia paused, her expression turning serious. “I'm so glad you came, Dani. I know you're super busy at work."

"Not too busy for your wedding. I would never miss your special day. But to be completely honest, I am mixing in a little work this weekend. Senator Dillon needs me to represent him at an event in town tomorrow. It's a ribbon-cutting at a new park in honor of a congresswoman who died awhile back in a plane crash."

"I remember that," Alicia said with a nod. "It happened about two years after Dad died, and the circumstances reminded me of that horrible night that we all had to live through. Every time I hear about another crash, I feel the panic and uncertainty of those first few days when we thought a miracle might happen, but the miracle never came."

"I know." She was sorry she'd brought it up. "Let's not talk about any of that today. And I don't want you to worry about me running off before the wedding reception is over. The park event is not until four o'clock tomorrow afternoon. You and Michael will be on your honeymoon by then." 

"I'm not worried."

"Good, because Mom made a snotty comment about how I always find a way to do business even during important family events."

"It's fine, Dani. I think it's wonderful that you're passionate about your job. I've always admired your ambition. I certainly don't have the same drive as you do. You're going to change the world—I know it," she added with a smile.

"I'm not sure about the whole world, but I'd like to make some small changes somewhere. Anyway, that's a conversation for another day. I have something else I want to discuss with you." She pulled a dark-purple velvet pouch out of her handbag and took out a gold band. "The wedding ring that our great-grandmother gave me—I think you should have it. You should wear it today. It will bring you luck." 

Alicia immediately put up her hand in protest. "No way. Mamich gave that to you. It's your luck, not mine." 

"You know I don't believe in Mayan magic. But you do, so the ring means more to you." What she didn't tell Alicia was that the ring had been weighing on her mind ever since Jake had brought it back from Mexico and given it to her. She didn't know why, but having it made her feel strange—it connected her to something she didn't understand and didn't want to learn more about. 

"I'm sorry, Dani, but I can't take it," Alicia said with a definitive shake of her head. "That's the wedding ring our great-grandfather put on our great-grandmother's hand. It was her wish for you to have it. She said it would give you strength. That you would need it."

"It's not magic, Alicia." 

Alicia's steady gaze met hers. "Why does it bother you to have it, Dani?" 

"It's not very attractive." 

"That's not the reason," Alicia said with a dismissive wave of her hand. 

"I wasn't close to Mamich or that side of the family. I don't believe in lightning gods and other worlds and all that stuff. I just don't. I have too much of Mom in me, I guess. I'm realistic and pragmatic and I believe in what I can see, what's real."  

"None of that matters, Dani. Mamich wanted you to have the ring. So, it’s yours." 

She sighed. "Fine, but it would have been a nice something old to wear today." 

"Mom already gave me the necklace she got from her mother for my something old, so I'm covered. Why don't you put the ring on, Dani? I'd love for you to wear it during the ceremony. It would make it feel like Mamich was here with us."  

Alicia's pleading gaze made it impossible to say no. And she was just being silly. She could wear the ring. It didn't have actual magic powers. She slipped it on the third finger of her right hand and then immediately wanted to take it off, but she resisted. If she really believed the ring had no power, then it shouldn't bother her to wear it. 

Needing a distraction, she said, "Shall we get you into your dress?" 

Before Alicia could reply, the door opened, and Katherine Barrett walked in. 

Wearing the same bridesmaid's dress that Dani had on, Katherine's golden-blonde hair was pulled back in a French braid, and her blue eyes were sparkling with happiness.  

"How's the bride?" she asked, giving Alicia a hug.

"I'm great, and you look so pretty," Alicia replied. "The color of the dress brings out your eyes."

"Thanks. Any nerves?"  

"Not about marrying Michael. About this whole wedding hoopla—a few. I really wanted a simple ceremony and a small gathering, but somehow Mom invited half the neighborhood, and all of Michael's relatives from Miami made the trip, even though we're going to have a dinner there in a few weeks to celebrate. I just wasn't expecting this to turn into such a huge affair."

"You need to breathe," Dani said with a laugh as Alicia ran out of breath. "It's all going to be good. Mom will make sure of that."

"She's also the reason I'm nervous. If I mess up her perfect wedding—" 

"You won't. You couldn't." She walked over to the gown hanging in front of the closet. "You need to get in your dress now. It's almost time."  

With Katherine's help, she got Alicia into a stunning off-the-shoulder, white lace gown.

"Gorgeous," she murmured, truly impressed by the vision that was her tomboy sister. "You clean up nicer than I imagined." 

Alicia laughed. "It took a village to get me to this point." She paused. "But seriously…I want to thank both of you for being here, for standing by me. Over the past few months, we've come so close to losing each other that I want you to know how grateful and blessed I am that we're all together."  

"We are lucky," Katherine agreed. "There were a few moments in Mexico when I wasn't sure Jake and I would make it back to Texas."

"And a few moments for me and Michael in Miami that made me realize how tenuous a hold we all have on life," Alicia said. "I just wish…" 

"That Dad was here," Dani finished.

Alicia's troubled gaze met hers. "That, too, of course. I'm going to miss him walking me down the aisle. But I was going to say that I wish we had all the answers and that I could feel like the danger was over, but I don't." 

"Alicia, stop," she said. "Not today. You shouldn't be thinking about anything besides marrying Michael."

"I know, but I can't help myself. Dad has been on my mind a lot the last year, and even more because he isn't here today, and he should be. There are still so many unanswered questions about his death, Dani."

"You're not going to answer those questions today—maybe you never will. Sometimes you have to let go and just accept reality."

"I can't do that," Alicia said, shaking her head. "Dad's death ties into what's been happening at MDT, the leak of classified data, the stolen weapons—it's all linked together in some way. And Mamich told Jake that you're going to find the last piece of the puzzle, that you'll be the one to find the truth, Dani."

A shiver ran down her spine at her sister's words. "Mamich always spoke like she was delivering the last line in a tragic play. She was living in a tiny village in Mexico at the time of her death. How could she possibly know anything?" As she finished speaking, thunder rumbled through the air, sending another shiver down her spine. 

"I feel like you just woke someone up," Katherine murmured, an uneasy gleam in her blue eyes.

She frowned at her soon-to-be sister-in-law. Katherine was a doctor, a woman of science. "Woke up who?" 

"I don't know—angry lightning spirits?"   

"Come on, Katherine. I know you don't believe in any of this."

"I didn't believe before I went to Mexico with Jake, but that trip and meeting your great-grandmother changed my perspective. Things happened there that I can't explain, and they all seem to be tied to lightning."

"Okay, enough," she said firmly. "We are not going to talk about all that now. Today is for you and Michael, Alicia. It's to celebrate your love and your promise to stay together for the rest of your lives. Let's concentrate on that. The unanswered questions have to wait. I want you to have a happy day."

"Fine," Alicia said. "I will shut up for now. But when I get back from my honeymoon, and I'm finally done with all this wedding mania, we are going to talk again." 


"It's time," her mother announced from the doorway, interrupting their conversation. "Is everyone ready?" As Joanna Monroe walked into the room, her gaze fell on her youngest daughter and her eyes grew teary. "Oh, Alicia, you look so pretty."

"Don't cry, Mom," Alicia said warningly. "Or I'm going to start."

"Me, too," Dani said with a little sniff. She wasn't usually sentimental, but today she felt overwhelmed with emotion.

"I'll try not to cry, but I make no promises," her mother said, dabbing at her eyes. "The limo is downstairs. It's time to go." 

* * *

An hour later, Dani watched Alicia and Michael exchange their vows. The look of love on both of their faces was so powerful and intense that Dani felt a huge tug on her heart. She also saw Jake and Katherine exchanging the same kind of adoring looks from across the aisle. Her siblings were on their way to forming their own families. 

She was happy for them, but she felt a little alone, a little wistful. Which was silly, because she had a great life. She just needed to get through the reception, and tomorrow's ribbon-cutting, and then she could be on her way back to her life in DC. 

After the ceremony, as Michael and Alicia paused for photos on the steps of the church, Jake caught up with her in between pictures of the entire bridal party. 

"How are you, Dani?" he asked. "I haven't had a chance to talk to you since you got here."

"It's been a whirlwind," she replied. "It looks like you and Katherine are doing well."

He grinned. "Better than well. She's the love of my life." 

"I think I always knew that. Even in high school, you two had a special kind of something. I'm glad you found your way back to each other."

"With a little help from some lightning," he said dryly.

She sighed. "You're not going to start in on me, too, are you? It wasn't so long ago that you were on my side, and we both thought Alicia was crazy."

"Good point. Now I'm as crazy as she is." He paused, his humor dimming. "I just want you to be careful, Dani. I don't think this is over. And I feel like you're going to be the one to finish it. That makes me worry."

Nervous goose bumps ran down her bare arms. "I don't know what it is."

"Neither do I. So watch your back."

"Dani, Jake," Alicia called, waving them over. "We want one more family shot." 

"Coming," she said, following her brother up the steps. 

As they posed together, she was once again very aware of her father's absence. 

In the distance, she could hear the buzzing of a small airplane, another reminder of Wyatt Monroe, the man who had spent so much of his life up in the sky. 

The clouds parted for just a moment, a sliver of blue shining through. She hoped that was a good sign. But as quickly as it had come, it disappeared. 

Maybe Jake was right. Maybe the storm wasn't over yet.

Lightning leads to danger...leads to love in this exciting, page-turning romantic suspense trilogy.

The Monroe siblings lost their father in a plane crash caused by a lightning strike. A decade later, they begin to unravel clues revealed by another flash of lightning. Along the way, they encounter life-threatening danger, devastating secrets, and an unexpected love.

A legend about lightning threads its way through these complex, twisting, romantic mysteries to add an unusual and interesting dimension to the trilogy.

The series includes:

  • Beautiful Storm
  • Lightning Lingers
  • Summer Rain
  • Lightning Strikes Box Set

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