Title of Book: WEEKENDS
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Lindy S. Hudis
Publisher: LBF Books
Date of Release: January 28, 2006
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An innocent-sounding family reunion at an exclusive California beach resort turns into a weekend of murder, deceit, exposed secrets and unexpected intimate encounters. John Peterson has it all: he is a respected, successful Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer with a loving wife and grown son, the strikingly handsome young film director Joe Peterson. John also has a secret, and he decides to gather his disparate family members at the elegant Hotel Del Moor in picturesque Linda Bella, California for some luxurious fun, togetherness and re-connecting before revealing his secret. Unbeknownst to the family, a brutal serial killer is lurking in the midst of all the wondrous festivities.
The plane touched down at the Santa Barbara airport around ten a.m. During the short flight from LAX, John Peterson contemplated the weekend ahead. He had not seen his younger siblings in ten years, and was looking forward to seeing them and their families. He was also very concerned, because he had bad news to break to all of them. Very bad news, and everybody’s life would be affected. He was nervous as to what the family’s reaction would be. John was a fifty-year-old, extremely successful entertainment lawyer in Beverly Hills. His clients included rich and powerful movie stars, producers, and studio heads – they were the reason for his phenomenal success. He was the kind of man who silenced rooms when he entered them, and would tell another man’s children to be quiet.
Sitting next to John was Joyce Peterson, his wife, age forty-seven. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, and being the daughter of a prominent L.A. heart surgeon, was used to the good life. Her one and only dream was to marry a rich doctor or lawyer, have children, and be a good wife.
Then there was Joe. Joe was the twenty-three year old son of John and Joyce. To say that Joe was good-looking would be the understatement of the year. Joe was beautiful. He looked like a work of art, a Greek god. He had long, blond hair that hung just below his shoulders, and fantastic azure eyes, the color of the California sky itself. His body, although on the thin side, was cut and lean, with pronounced chest, biceps, and a washboard stomach. The facial structure, with its defined jaw and cheekbones, was captivating in its exquisite, masculine beauty. He could easily be a beautiful woman on testosterone.
He, like his mother, was born and raised into wealth in L.A., but his goal was not to become a doctor or a lawyer. He had just graduated from New York University Film School. Although his looks were better suited for being in front of the camera, his dream was to become a movie director. Having inherited his father’s magisterial personality, he simply answered, “Because I don’t like being told what to do.” whenever he was asked why he was not an actor. Through his father’s many industry connections, Joe was not at a loss for employment. He chose, however, to start at the bottom, doing Production Assistant work to get his foot in the door. His father told him it builds character, and advised him to “work for it” rather than have it handed to him. Because he was also very charming, he was meeting and networking with all the right people. The only direction Joe was going was up.
As the plane landed, the family unbuckled their seatbelts, even though the steward had instructed the passengers not to. When the plane came to a complete stop, the family was the first ones off. Joe passed by three flight attendants who gazed at him, with a look on their faces that Joe saw all the time. He smiled and bid them good-bye.
The three hiked through the jet-way into the busy airport, carrying their weekend luggage with them. They took the escalator to the lower level where the car rental stations were. While John was making arrangements for the family to rent at nice, slow sedan, Joe stepped outside. It was a hot Spring morning; a light, cool breeze offered relief from the sweltering heat.
The famous California sunshine shone brightly, reflecting off Joe’s equally golden hair. He squinted his sapphire eyes to look at it, and decided that he was determined to enjoy the insipid family reunion that his father was forcing him to attend. He did not have much in common with his simpleton cousins. Some of them he had not seen in ten years, although his father’s brother, Uncle Stephen, kept in touch with them by phone. It was, of course, just a weekend.
It was now Friday morning, they would be back home by Monday, and not much happens over weekends anyway. He decided that he would just smile and say hello to the many relatives that will be in attendance. At least, he had his own room, hopefully with cable television and an oceanview. Maybe getting away for the weekend on a mini-vacation would do him good, and he could relax a little. An older lady and a pretty, teenage girl walked by, both turning and smiling at him. He smiled back.
At only twenty-three, he was very aware of the amazing power he had over women, and as he got older, it would only get more intense. Females started throwing themselves at him when he was fifteen, and the feeling was more than mutual. He loved women, and would never use his power for cruel or destructive purposes, like many attractive, rich men do. That was not his style. Quite a few of his Beverly Hills buddies teased him for that. “Take the goods and run”, the guys said, and kidded him for being so sensitive.
Joe was not like the other guys, being a romantic, he honestly believed that there was the love of his life out there somewhere. He was determined to find her, but he wanted to win his Oscar first. The sliding glass doors of the airport flew open and John and Joyce hurried out. Joyce was carrying the keys to the Lincoln Continental that would take them to their final destination, the elegant Hotel Del Moor, overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean. The three climbed inside the automobile, secured their luggage, and took off, with John driving, Joyce up front, and Joe in the back.
The family cruised north along the Pacific Coast Highway, with it’s incredible, palm-tree lined vision of the long, sandy beach that stretched all along the length of the Golden State. While Joyce and John were heatedly discussing who would be there, what to do, and so on, Joe gazed out the window, lost in thought. The enormous ocean and the endless sky met over the horizon, both equally wondrous and awe inspiring. Joe rested his head against the plush back of the seat and just stared at the blueness of the sea, and the swaying palm trees.
He thought about his life and how lucky he was. Being the adored only child of a wealthy L.A. lawyer and a loving mother, not to mention his genetic good fortune, he was thankful the world was at his feet.
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