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The Obsession
Cover of The Obsession
The Obsession
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The riveting novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Liar.

"She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her."

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father's crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can't outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she's ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she's always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she's learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.
The riveting novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Liar.

"She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her."

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father's crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can't outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she's ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she's always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she's learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

    Copyright © 2016 Nora Roberts

    Chapter One

    August 29, 1998

    She didn't know what woke her, and no matter how many times she relived that night, no matter where the nightmare chased her, she never would.

    Summer turned the air into a wet, simmering stew, one smelling of sweat and drenching green. The humming fan on her dresser stirred it, but it was like sleeping in the steam pumping off the pot.

    Still, she was used to that, to lying on top of summer-moist sheets, with the windows open wide to the relentless chorus of cicadas—and the faint hope even a tiny breeze would slither through the sultry.

    The heat didn't wake her, nor did the soft rumble of thunder from a storm gathering in the distance. Naomi went from sleep to awake in an instant, as if someone had given her a good shake or shouted her name in her ear.

    She sat straight up in bed, blinking at the dark, hearing nothing but the hum of the fan, the high pitch of the cicadas, and the lazy, repetitive hoo of an owl. All country summer sounds she knew as well as her own voice, and nothing to put that odd little click in her throat.

    But now, awake, she felt that heat, like gauze soaked in hot water and wrapped around every inch of her. She wished it were morning so she could sneak out before anyone was up and cool off in the creek.

    Chores came first, that was the rule. But it was so hot it felt like she'd have to part the air like a curtain just to take a step. And it was Saturday (or would be in the morning) and sometimes Mama let the rules slide a little on Saturdays—if Daddy was in a good mood.

    Then she heard that rumble of thunder. Delighted, she scrambled out of bed to rush to her window. She loved storms, the way they whirled and swung through the trees, the way the sky went spooky, the way lightning slashed and flashed.

    And maybe this storm would bring rain and wind and cooler air. Maybe.

    She knelt on the floor, her arms folded on the windowsill, her eyes on the bit of moon hazed by heat and clouds.

    Maybe.

    She wished for it—a girl who'd turn twelve in just two days and still believed in wishes. A big storm, she thought, with lightning like pitchforks and thunder like cannon fire.

    And lots and lots of rain.

    She closed her eyes, tipped her face up, tried sniffing the air. Then, in her Sabrina the Teenage Witch T-shirt, she pillowed her head on her hands and studied the shadows.

    Again she wished for morning, and since wishes were free, wished it were the morning of her birthday. She wanted a new bike so bad, and she'd given out plenty of hints.

    She knelt, wanting morning, a girl tall and gawky, who—though she checked daily—was not yet growing breasts. The heat had her hair sticking to her neck. Annoyed with it, she pushed it up, off, let it hang over her shoulder. She wanted to cut it—really short, like a pixie in the fairy-tale book her grandparents had given her before they weren't allowed to see each other anymore.

    But Daddy said girls were supposed to have long hair, and boys short. So her little brother got a crew cut down at Vick's Barbershop in town, and all she could do was pull her sort-of-blonde hair back in a ponytail.

    But then Mason got spoiled silly, in her opinion, being the boy. He'd gotten a basketball hoop and a backboard, with an official Wilson basketball for his birthday. He got to play Little League baseball, too—something that by Daddy's rules was only for boys (something Mason never let her forget)—and being younger by twenty-three months (something she didn't let...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 7, 2016
    Romance queen Roberts entices readers with a winning tale in which a woman tries to embrace love even as horrific events of her past threaten her happiness. Naomi Bowes was just a young girl living in West Virginia when she discovered a cellar where her father was keeping his latest rape victim. After helping the victim escape and getting the police involved, Naomi and her mother and brother try to go on with their lives, though it’s a constant struggle. The past seems to constantly encroach on Naomi’s life, even though she changes her name and lives with her uncle and his husband. Years later, Naomi is a successful photographer who finds solace in the small town of Sunrise Cove, Wash., where she buys an old house and works on remodeling it. She also finds unexpected love with local mechanic Xander Keaton. As she lets him into her heart, her world is shattered by a series of gory murders. Roberts has an unparalleled ability to paint a picture with words—readers will easily picture Naomi’s photographic art and her rambling home with its beautiful view—and the story is expertly executed. Sizzling romance, affable characters, and enticing suspense make this a read to be savored. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2016
    Nearly 20 years after bringing her serial-killer father to justice, a photographer begins to settle into a new life only to discover that a murderous stalker is after her--and may have been collecting his own victims along the way. Just before her 12th birthday, Naomi Bowes followed her father into the woods and made the grim discovery that he was a serial killer, which sent him to jail for life. Naomi, her mother, and her brother, Mason, moved in with her uncle Seth and his partner, Harry, ultimately settling in New York City and changing their last name for anonymity. But her mother never quite recovered from her husband's horrid influence, and the tragic aftermath of that relationship will have a long-lasting impact Naomi won't recognize until she settles into a new home in Washington state and her past catches up with her in ominous ways. Thanks to new friends, a new lover, a rescue dog, and her FBI-agent brother, she might weather this dangerous situation, but discovering someone has been shadowing her formerly nomadic life gives her a new appreciation for her own strength, resilience, and many blessings. Naomi's unique past makes her wary of strangers, so when she falls in love with a house and buys it, then is quickly enfolded into a group of new friends and, through them, meets the man of her dreams, she feels both embraced and nervous, but when her past threatens her and her new community, she knows she's in the right place with the right people. Bestseller Roberts explores the experience of a serial killer's family and, more subtly, the true natures of trust, friendship, and loyalty. A little uneven and with an abundance of detail that occasionally slows the pace, this is still an appealing story from a romantic-suspense favorite.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    April 15, 2016

    Two days before she turns 12, Naomi Bowes rescues a woman from a cellar in the West Virginia woods near her home and discovers that her strict, Bible-thumping father is a sadistic serial killer. Stunned but determined to be strong, Naomi is taken in by her uncles and swept off to the East Coast (along with her mother and young brother) to begin a new life as Naomi Carson, eventually becoming a brilliant freelance photographer. Yet the taint of her father's crimes lingers, and for years her own nightmares keep her on the move. Now, 16 years later in a quiet seaside community on the other side of the country, Naomi has finally found a place that feels like home--and a man she's coming to love. Then the killings start, and the links to the past are impossible to ignore. A talented woman haunted by her father's insanity but determined to live life on her own terms and a solid renaissance man lay old ghosts to rest and help bring a scoundrel to justice. VERDICT This riveting tale benefits from an immensely likable supporting cast and its rewarding blend of suspense and romance. Brief glimpses into the killer's mind add a chilling touch to a story you won't be able to put down. Roberts (Stars of Fortune) lives in Keedysville, MD. [An April LibraryReads pick.]

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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