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Silhouettes, Shadows, and Sunsets - Summer Lake Silver Book 5 (ebook)

Silhouettes, Shadows, and Sunsets - Summer Lake Silver Book 5 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 456+ 5-Star Reviews

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Manny dedicated his life to his work for more than thirty years. He’s not sure what retirement will hold for him—not sure he’ll be able to slow down that much. But he doesn’t need to figure it out all at once.

He’s given himself a month to ease into the transition. He’s rented a house in the lakeside town where some of his friends live. The house isn’t much, but he plans to take good care of it for the widow he’s renting from.

Whenever he’s imagined how his new life might look, the picture has never included a woman. He’s always thought of retirement as riding off into the sunset … alone.

Nina thought the sun had set on her life a couple of years ago when her husband died, leaving her with a pile of debt and a broken heart.

She moved away from the lake for a chance at a fresh start. She even went on a date for the first time. But what she’d hoped might be a bright new beginning is overshadowed when both her safety and her job are threatened.

It’s time for her to go home to Summer Lake—the only trouble is, she just rented out her house.

Manny thinks he’s renting from some old lady. Nina thinks her tenant is some old guy who’s retiring. Neither of them expects to find an intruder in the kitchen in the middle of the night, but when they do …

You’ll have to pick up your copy of this heartwarming romance today to see if these two can overcome what lurks in the shadows and ride off into the sunset together.

Available to Read on Kindle, Nook, iThings, Kobo, Phone, Computer, Tablet, Etc! Your eBook will be delivered to your provided email address by BookFunnel. 

Silhouettes, Shadows, and Sunsets is the fifth book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit Summer Lake Silver series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 

Readers say:

"This story will just make you happy!! I would recommend this book to everyone!"

" I gave this book 5 stars because once I started reading i couldn't stop. Manny is every woman's dream come true; thoughtful, loving, selfless 💕"

"Oh my word- these two are absolutely perfect for one another. I have tears streaming down my face, what a beautiful ending." 

"It captivated me from the beginning and left me with a smile. I anxiously await the next book."

"This is a must read! Favorite book of the Silver Series!"

" Another fantastic sweet and steamy romance to add to the Summer Lake Silver series. Highly recommended."

" SJ McCoy knows how to make you feel part of the Summer Lake crowd. 💞💞💞"

" One of my favorite things about McCoy’s books is that she always brings back previous characters that make you feel like you’re a part of the town."

"Does the perfect man exist? Manny is pretty much it! Wow, just wow..."

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One

    “Hey, Nina. See that guy looking through the window? Is that Brian?”

    Nina’s heart sank. She knew before she spotted him. An icy finger of dread slid down her back when she saw him, and his gaze locked with hers. She turned away quickly. “Yep.”

    Janet shuddered. “I am so sorry that I ever set you up with him.”

    “It’s hardly your fault, is it?”

    “It’s all my fault. You told me you didn’t want to go. And I thought I knew better. Thought it’d do you good. Instead of brightening your days with some fun, I landed you with your very own stalker.”

    Nina glanced at the storefront again, but if Brian was still out there, she could no longer see him. “He’s hardly a stalker.” She didn’t like to think of it that way; that sounded far too sinister. He was just a guy she’d gone on a couple of dates with who was still hoping for another—even though she’d told him no.

    Janet blew out a sigh. “Well, next time I see him I’m going to tell him that I don’t want him hanging around the store. And I’ll remind him that you don’t want to see him.”

    “Thanks. Hopefully, he’ll get the message soon and give up.”

    “I hope so, but if he keeps it up, I’m going to make a complaint about him, report him.”

    “Who would you even report him to?”

    “The police, of course! We need to have it on record in case …”

    Nina’s heart pounded in her chest. “In case what? In case I turn up as a corpse in the woods?”

    Janet laughed. “No! That’s not what I meant.”

    “Good.” Nina let out a shaky laugh. “It just sounded like … I don’t know. Let’s forget about him, can we? He’s gone.”

    “Let’s hope that’s the last we’ll see of him.”

    Nina nodded. “We can hope. Anyway, what are you doing after we close up?”

    “I don’t have any plans. Do you want to get dinner at the café?”

    “Sure. They’ll only be doing the Christmas menu for another week; we might as well get it while we can.”

    They didn’t close up until a quarter after six. It amazed Nina that the Christmas in July sale brought so many people into town. The store had been crazy busy all month. Even though it had died down a little over the last few days, Janet said it had been the best month of the year already.

    They managed to get a table outside at the café; it had cooled down enough that the evening air was pleasant.

    “How’s Abbie doing?” asked Janet after they’d ordered.

    “She’s doing great. She’s loving her job at the medical center, and Ivan’s the best thing that ever happened to her. I’m grateful every day that he came into her life.”

    Janet smiled. “He sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to meet him.”

    “Well, if we could ever take a day off together, you could come back to the lake with me.”

    “I know, but you’ve made yourself indispensable in the store. Whenever I take a day off, I like to have you in there.”

    Nina smiled. She’d only worked at the store since just before Christmas last year, but she felt at home there. She knew she did a good job and was proud that Janet considered her to be her second-in-command.

    “Are you going back there at the weekend?”

    “Yes. I want to surprise Abbie. I need to make one more check to be sure that the house is ready. I want to get a few more things out, too. From what Austin said, the guy wants to rent it for the month of August for sure, but then he wants to play it by ear after that. If he decides he wants to stay on another month, I won’t be able to go back in for more of my things. So, I need to get everything I want out now.”

    Janet made a face. “If I were renting my house out, I wouldn’t leave any of my belongings there.”

    “I’m not thrilled about it. But I’ve brought all my personal stuff up here with me, and everything I wouldn’t want a renter using is locked in the big hall closet. It beats having to pay for a storage unit. And with this first renter, in particular, I’m not worried.”

    “Why’s that?”

    “He’s some old man who’s retiring from the FBI.”

    “Aww. I wonder what he’s doing spending a month at the lake by himself?”

    “It sounds like he has friends in town. But whatever his reasons, he sounds like the perfect tenant to me.”

    “Yeah, he’s hardly likely to make a nuisance of himself, is he? Are you going to leave here after work on Saturday?”

    “I’m not sure yet. I could probably get home before dark if I did, but I might wait and go early on Sunday morning. Don’t worry, though. No matter when I go, I’ll be back in time to open up on Tuesday.”

    “I’m not worried about you being here. I’m more concerned about there being enough business to keep us all busy.”

    Nina laughed. “You’re kidding? We’ve been rushed off our feet for weeks.”

    “Yeah, but once July is over, that’s it. August is the quietest month of the year.”

    “Of course.” It’d been easy to get caught up in the madness of the sale, but it was hardly realistic to expect brisk business year-round in a Christmas store. Nina met her friend’s gaze. “Will there be enough work for all three of us?”

    “All we can do is hope so.”

    She’d been hoping for a more reassuring answer than that. “What happens if not?”

    Janet shook her head. “I don’t want to think about it.”

    “Let’s hope we don’t have to, then.”

    “I’m glad you’ve managed to rent your house out. At least you’ll have some money coming in from that.”

    Nina frowned. It was true that the rent would help out a little, but it sounded as though Janet was saying she might not have a wage to depend on. She hadn’t been expecting that. “What do you normally do in August?”

    “Jess used to take August and September off.”

    Nina’s heart sank. “So, you’re not used to having to pay two salaries through the quiet months?”

    Janet shook her head. “Don’t worry. We’ll work something out.”

    “I don’t suppose Kerry needs any time off, does she?”

    “No. And you know she’s been with me for years.”

    Nina was starting to feel uncomfortable now. “Are you trying to tell me that you might not need me?”

    “I don’t want to tell you that. I hope it’s not the case.”

    “But it’s possible?”

    Janet nodded slowly. “I’m sorry. I should have warned you sooner, shouldn’t I? I just kept thinking that it’d all work out okay—and it might.”

    “Perhaps so, but you know I’m not exactly in a position where I can just not work for a couple of months.”

    “I know. I’m sorry.”

    Nina blew out a sigh. “We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed.”

    As she walked back to the apartment above the store after dinner, Nina had to wonder whether keeping her fingers crossed was going to be enough. She was disappointed and a little angry that Janet hadn’t mentioned this to her before. There were only a few days of July left. If she wasn’t going to get enough hours working in the store in August, she’d need to find something else. Her best hope of doing that would be back at Summer Lake—it was the height of the tourist season there. She’d no doubt be able to pick up some hours cleaning at the resort, but since she hadn’t known she might need to be there, she’d rented her house out for the month. She shook her head as she dug her keys out of her purse.

    As soon as she stepped into the alleyway at the side of the store, she could feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. There was someone there. She started to back away.

    “Nina!” He stepped out of the shadows and caught her wrist. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

    “Brian. What are you doing here?” She pulled back, but his grip tightened.

    “I told you. I’ve been waiting for you.”

    “Why?” She hated that her voice sounded shaky.

    “Because I want to see you.” He sounded reasonable enough; his smile was friendly, but there was something in his eyes as he let his gaze travel over her that made her stomach churn.

    She backed away as far as she could, just a few more steps would take her out of the alley and back into the street where there was at least some hope of someone seeing her and coming to help.

    He started to pull her toward him. “Come here.”

    “Brian, no!”

    He turned her and backed her against the wall, pushing her against it so hard that the air rushed out of her lungs.

    “But Nina, yes.” He looked like a wolf as he smiled down at her.

    Her heart was pounding in her chest, and it shuddered to a halt when his hand slid between her legs. What the …? This couldn’t be happening! But it was. A surge of adrenaline gave her a strength she didn’t know she possessed. She put both hands in the middle of his chest and shoved as hard as she could. Then she sprinted out of the alley and barreled straight into someone walking down the sidewalk.

    A strong hand caught her arm, making her finally find her voice and scream as she pulled away.

    “Hey, calm down. Are you okay?” The guy let go of her and held both hands up in the air. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

    “He is!” She pointed back at the alleyway. The guy’s companion ran to it and then disappeared.

    “Are you okay? What happened?”

    Her breath was coming in short, sharp gasps now. She was safe. She nodded. “I’m okay. He … He …” She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know what to think. What had happened? Brian had pushed her up against the wall; he’d put his hand between her legs … what would have happened if she hadn’t managed to get out of there? She shuddered.

    The guy was watching her. “Do you need the police?”

    She nodded slowly, remembering what Janet had said earlier about needing to make a report, in case … She shivered. She wasn’t going to give him the chance to do anything worse than he already had.

    ~ ~ ~

    Manny let himself into his apartment and threw his keys and wallet down on the counter. He probably didn’t need another drink, but he poured himself a whisky anyway and took it out onto the balcony. It’d been a pleasant evening. He’d attended plenty of parties like that over the years—retirement parties. Up until a few months ago, though, he hadn’t thought about having one of his own. He didn’t feel old enough to retire; he wasn’t old enough, not really. He was fifty-seven. Most people didn’t think of that as retiring age. But then, most people weren’t special agents.

    He took a sip of his whisky. He was no longer Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office. He pursed his lips. He hadn’t yet figured out how he felt about that. A part of him had been looking forward to this day, looking forward to being his own person—to being just plain Manny Alvarado, or at least to figuring out who Manny Alvarado might be. Another part of him had been dreading this. What was he going to do with himself?

    He knew what he was going to do with the first month of his retirement. And when he managed to relax about it, he was looking forward to it. He was going to spend the month at Summer Lake. It was a quiet little town up in the hills. He had some friends up there. He was hoping to make more, hoping that perhaps he’d find that he fit in there and wanted to stay. He blew out a sigh. If not … well, if not, he’d have to reassess and make a new plan.

    He pulled his phone out of his pocket when it rang and smiled when he checked the display.


    “Manny! Congratulations!” He laughed. “Is that the right thing to say? Congratulations on your retirement?”

    Manny laughed with him. “Thanks. I think. I’m not sure if congratulations or commiserations are in order, but either way, it’s done. I’m retired.”

    “Well, I say congratulations. You should celebrate. What are you doing this weekend?”

    “Not much. Tying up some loose ends. Getting ready to come up there.”

    “Why wait? Why don’t you come now? Be here for the weekend, have some fun.”

    Manny frowned as he thought about it.

    “What’s the problem?”

    “No problem. The only reason I didn’t plan to come until Tuesday is because that’s the first of the month, and that’s when I took the rental.”

    Diego laughed. “I never thought I’d see the day that you let the calendar dictate what you do. Call Austin. Tell him you want the place a few days earlier. It’s only standing empty. Get your ass up here and start having some fun.”

    Manny smiled. “I think I’ll do that.”

    “You should. Call me back and let me know when you’re arriving. You should try to get here Friday afternoon; that way, you can come out with everyone on Friday night.”

    “I’ll see what I can do, see what Austin says.”

    “Well, let me know. And you might as well get used to the idea that you’re going to be living here. Tell Austin that you don’t plan to leave when September rolls around.”

    “I don’t know for sure yet.”

    “You keep saying that, but I’m telling you, once we get you here, we’re not going to let you leave—and you won’t want to. Life is good at the lake. You’ll see.”

    After they hung up, Manny smiled to himself. Diego was right, of course. There was no reason he should wait. No reason at all, and the more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea of packing what he planned to take with him and hitting the road.

    ~ ~ ~

    “You’re staying here tonight,” Janet nodded emphatically as she spoke. They were sitting in her living room. The two police officers had left a little while ago after taking Nina’s statement.

    She didn’t argue. She had no desire to go back to the apartment. The only way to get to it was through the alley, and she didn’t ever want to set foot in there again.

    “Are you sure you’re okay?”

    “I am. Honestly. I think I might be in shock. I just didn’t expect …” She shuddered. “I thought you were being overly dramatic this afternoon when you called him a stalker. I didn’t for one moment think that he’d … that he’d … do anything.”

    “Neither did I. I feel terrible. It’s all my fault.”

    “It isn’t. It’s his fault. I don’t know what he was thinking. Up until tonight I thought he was harmless; albeit a bit creepy. I even felt a little sorry for him. There’s no way you could have known.”

    “I know, but I was the one who insisted that you were ready to start dating. I set you up on that app and encouraged you to go to dinner with him. Even after that first time you weren’t sure, and I nagged you into agreeing to a second date.”

    Nina shrugged. “You couldn’t have known.”

    “But still … I hope the police find him soon.”

    “So do I. I won’t feel safe until they do.”

    Janet pursed her lips.


    “Do you want to go home?”

    “Yeah. I think I do.”

    “Then go. Go first thing in the morning. And if you want to stay there, I’ll understand.”

    Nina held her gaze for a moment. She couldn’t help wondering if Janet was looking for an easy out.

    “Don’t look at me like that.”

    “Sorry, but is this your way of getting rid of me?”

    “You have to admit that it might be best all around.”

    Nina blew out a sigh. “I suppose so.”

    “It will. If you go home … give it some time, it’ll be best for everyone. It’ll give the police time to find him and charge him or whatever happens with something like this. If nothing else, it’ll give him time to forget about you. You won’t have to stay in the apartment, won’t have to walk through the alley until, I don’t know … October?”

    Nina’s head snapped up. “Are you saying that you want me to take the next couple of months off?”

    Janet nodded. “I think that’d be best. Don’t you?”

    It made sense, or at least it would if Nina hadn’t rented her house out. At least, she had a few days to figure out what to do. She’d go home in the morning. She wanted to be in her own home; once she was there and she felt safe, she’d figure out what to do next.

    “Do you want to call Abbie?”

    “No!” Nina didn’t plan to tell her daughter what had happened tonight—or that she wouldn’t have a job for the next couple of months. She’d only worry and want to help. Nina didn’t want to be a burden to her. She’d get herself home and figure out what she was going to do before she told Abbie anything.

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