Deceptive Hearts

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Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and with it comes a new cast of intriguing characters to Pleasant Creek, Indiana. Guests flock to the Olde Mansion Inn owned by Liz Eckardt, who is eager to offer the cozy and welcoming atmosphere of her newfound home to the winter holidaymakers. One in particular, the handsome and enigmatic Shane O'Rourke, charms Liz and her guests with his kind acts and dashing good looks.

Liz's heart flies to her throat when Shane's lifeless body is discovered on the banks of Jaynes Lake. Who was this mystery man, and what was his purpose for coming to Pleasant Creek? The local authorities try to make sense of the ghastly murder, but one piece of the puzzle just won't fit: on the body of the victim, they find a photograph of one of Pleasant Creek's most beloved citizens . . . and one of Liz's dearest friends!

Meanwhile, Naomi Mason, the owner of the local bakery, is distraught. Her elderly mother has grown distant and forgetful in her upscale nursing home, and Naomi's past loves and losses are now coming home to roost. Liz is determined to get to the bottom of the trouble in Pleasant Creek and to absolve her friend. But does Naomi know more about the goings-on than she is willing to admit?

On a wing and a prayer, Liz and the rest of the Material Girls, along with Mayor Jackson Cross, pull together to solve the mystery in time for the Valentine's Day party and auction. But will they manage to learn the truth before anyone else runs afoul of the killer's deceptive heart?

The Characters

Liz always loved and admired her mother, Abigail. She was an amazing, hard-working woman and role model. It is no surprise Liz inherited Abigail's determination and strong work ethic, earning Liz a successful career as one of Boston's most prominent attorneys. But even so, at 40 and with Abigail's recent death, Liz is running on empty.

When she inherits an old diary from Abigail's childhood after her mother's passing, Liz is stunned to read about the life Abigail had growing up in an Amish community. She'd never mentioned any of it to Liz. Ever. Why would her mother keep such a big secret?

Determined to find out what caused Abigail to abandon her Amish life at the age of seventeen, Liz leaves Boston and moves to her mother's hometown of Pleasant Creek, Ind. While she settles into the quaint and friendly community as the new owner of the Olde Mansion Inn, Liz is careful to keep her connection to the Amish a secret ... at least for now.

Will Liz's journey bring her the answers she longs for about her mysterious heritage ... or send her straight into harm's way?

Liz didn't realize when she bought the inn that she was also "inheriting" the resident lazy-yet-lovable English bulldog, Beans. She doesn't have the heart to give him away, so she adopts him into her new life. Although he spends most of his time sleeping by the front door, Beans still manages to get mixed up in the mysteries of Pleasant Creek.

Known for her delicious home-baked apple pies and impressive quilting skills, Mary Ann is one of Pleasant Creek's most loved citizens. She is also the proud co-owner of Sew Welcome, the fabric shop located on the first floor of the Olde Mansion Inn. Having lived in Pleasant Creek all her life, can Mary Ann help Liz learn more about their Amish neighbors and track down the true identity of her mysterious family?

An accomplished and sometimes wildly creative quilter, Sadie co-owns Sew Welcome with Mary Ann. Shrewd, and salty-tongued, 70-year-old Sadie says exactly what she thinks, which sometimes lands her in hot water. Sadie takes a liking to Liz right away, often treating Liz like one of her own children. With a bit of a reputation for being a busybody, Sadie always seems to know everything going on in Pleasant Creek. It's nearly impossible to keep a secret around her, but Liz must be careful not to reveal her real reason for coming to Pleasant Creek until the time is right.

Jackson is the handsome mayor of Pleasant Creek who also owns Cross Furniture Co., a local business that employs many of the Amish men in the area to help handcraft high-end wood furniture. Jackson is well-liked in the community and stays very involved in everything that goes on in town. From the moment they meet, he is attracted to Liz, but senses there is more to her than meets the eye.