You Made Me Love You
Book One of the Return to Summer Island Series
They all adored her...but one of them wanted her dead
For five friends, summers on a British Columbian Island revolved around the beautiful Simone DeRosier. A talented singer, Simone was destined for stardom. Years later when she made it big, she immortalized her friends in a hit song just before her unexpected death.
Harrison Kincaid, Simone’s husband, was one of those friends. After Simone’s apparent suicide, a devastated Harrison left the island, and left the care of his home to real-estate agent Justine Melbourne. Now strange occurrences in the house have brought Harrison back…and into Justine’s life.
But Harrison has reason to believe that Simone’s death was murder, and he won’t let anything–not even another chance at love–stand in the way of finding the murderer.
- This is Book One in the Return To Summer Island trilogy and sets in motion a mystery that will make many years to finally solve.
- I love writing about friends who have known each other a long time. But what happens when someone new asks to join their group? In this story, Simon Derosier is that person, and her inclusion in the group will alter all their futures forever.
- There are extra materials at the back of this book, including a deleted scene from the novel, as well as an interview from Simone where she answers the equivalent of Vanity Fair Magazine's Proust Questionnaire.
- Meet the main characters in this series in the character guide on my Extras page.
The Forget-Me-Not Friends:
Simone DeRosier: renowned jazz singer and pianist, she coined the phrase “forget-me-not friends” in one of her hit songs. She was Harrison’s wife until her apparent suicide before the story opens.
Harrison Kincaid: hero of Book 1, during his childhood, Harrison came from a weathly family who spent holidays on Summer Island. Entralled by Simone, he finally married her and was devastated by her apparent suicide.
Aidan Wythe: Raised by his mother in Seattle, Aidan has been Harrison’s best friend for as long as he can remember. Aidan is the hero of Book 2. Emerson Cotley—a local on Summer Island, he took over the family landscaping business after his parents were killed in a car accident.
Jennifer March: heroine of Book 3, her family owns the Lavender Farm Bed and Breakfast on Summer Island. She and Simone were best friends.
Gabe Brooke: Gabe owns a real estate business on Summer Island, as well as the local newspaper. He married Harrison’s sister, but also had a suspicious relationship with Simone.
Enjoy an Excerpt
For Simone DeRosier the songwriting process always started with the lyrics, and ideas for lyrics almost always came from her journals. She'd started keeping one when she was only eleven. Letters to my Mom was the way she'd thought of them then. Back in the days when she'd still hoped there was a possibility her mother might read them.
Sprawled on the sofa in her studio, on the second floor of her and her husband's Gulf Island home, Simone paged through her journal. Something she'd written the other night had given her an idea for a new song.
There it was. And yes, it was perfect. Sad, yet so true. She copied the lines onto a pad of paper, then sat and reflected.
It didn't take long. The verses gushed out of her, one after the other. The only thing that slowed her down was the need to physically write them onto paper.
Soon she had it all. So few words. And yet the song said it all. It really did.
She rubbed the back of her neck and considered taking a break. But this song was too important and her time was running out. She had to keep working. Had to find the music that would make her lyrics come alive.
She went to the piano, warmed up with a few jazz progressions. A motif emerged, so effortlessly she couldn't believe it. She let her fingers play with the tune, listened to it expand and swell.
My God, it never happened this easily. Usually she had to work and struggle and sweat. But this time the melody flowed easily. Melancholy, yet sweet. Perfect for her lyrics. Perfect for this moment in her life and what she needed to communicate.
She grabbed blank pages of musical scores from the desk and returned to the piano. Time passed in a blur. At one point she paused to reflect on a transitional phrase and her gaze happened to light on a photograph of her family. She and Harrison looked so happy. And Autumn, perched on her father's shoulders, was absolutely joyful.
Next to that was another picture, this one of her friends. There were six of them, the forget-me-not friends, clowning for the camera, grinning and laughing.
Simone swallowed and looked away. She loved all of those people so very much. Her family. Her friends. Why couldn't that be enough? But it never had been.
She focused on her music again, the music that had been her salvation for as long as she could remember. She worked as fast as her fingers would allow, filling first one page, then starting another. She was almost halfway through when the doorbell rang.
Three short buzzes, then a longer ring. She groaned, knowing immediately who it was, and that he wouldn't go away until he'd talked to her.
What lousy timing.
Reluctantly she set down her pen and rose from the bench.
"Coming!" she called, as the doorbell pattern was repeated. She ran down the stairs then threw open the front door. There he was, just as she'd expected.
She placed her hands on her hips and shook her head. "What are you doing here? I told you I wanted to work today."
"I'll just be fifteen minutes, I promise."
"You know I hate interruptions when I'm composing."
"Don't sulk, Simone." He pulled gently on her chin. "It's your fault I had to come. How can I help wanting to see a woman who's so beautiful, and charming, and talented?"
She tipped her head to one side, enjoying the flattery despite herself. "Fine. We'll have one cup of coffee and then you have to go."
"Coffee? Why not a drink?"
"I told you, I'm working. I need to stay awake." Lately she'd been feeling so lethargic. She knew it was the sleeping pills she was taking at night. She'd started double dosing, trying to get the deep, uninterrupted sleep that she craved.
He followed her to the kitchen, then settled onto a stool, resting his arms on the counter. "So how's the new song coming?"
"Fine." She avoided looking at him as she measured coffee grounds, added water.
"Can I see what you have so far?"
She'd shown him her works-in-progress before. But not this time. "It's still too early," she lied.
"Surely you've got something."
Just the best song of my life...
"No, really, I can't."
His expression turned sympathetic. "Are you still in a slump?"
She lied, again, with a nod.
"It's all the stress. It's killing your creativity. Your career and your daughter are more than most women could deal with. Harrison's work and travel schedule on top of all that is insane. If you would only--"
"Please." She held up a hand. "I told you I didn't want to speak about this again."
"You haven't changed your mind? It's not too late."
"I'm not going to change my mind."
Her friend, her dear, wonderful, dependable friend, tilted his head to one side. "You don't have to live this way. You have choices."
He had no idea, she thought. Absolutely no idea.
She made a face at him instead of answering. "Get the mugs, will you? Coffee's ready."
While he crossed the kitchen to the appropriate cupboard, she pulled out the carton of flavored cream from the fridge. He filled the mugs and carried them to the table.
They sat and he talked about his work for a while. She pretended to listen, drinking her coffee quickly, trying to keep her excitement about the new song alive.
But he insisted on dawdling, even warming up his coffee with another half-a-cup. She asked for more coffee, too, hoping the caffeine would perk her up.
"You have to leave," she finally insisted, fighting a yawn. If he didn't go soon, she wouldn't have the energy to finish what she'd started. The coffee hadn't helped at all.
"Fine. I'll go. But first I have to tell you something."
She resisted the urge to lay her head on the table. "Yes?"
"I love you."
Was that all? "I know, sweetie. I love you too. But you have to go. Okay?"
"I will," he promised.
Finally he got up from his chair and headed for the door. She felt too tired to see him out, but he paused in the doorway to look back at her.
"I love you, Simone. You made me love you."
Those words were the last she ever heard anyone say.
End of Excerpt
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