Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas

  To Jennifer Enderlin,

  with thanks for your insight, patience, and encouragement—you are a gift I never take for granted.

  Love always,



  As always, I owe endless gratitude to the many people who helped me in this process of getting words from my heart onto the printed page, especially my spectacular agent, Mel Berger, and my editor, Jennifer Enderlin, who deserves every flattering adjective in the dictionary. Huge thanks also to my much-adored friends at St. Martin’s Press, including Matthew Shear, Sally Richardson, Lisa Senz, John Murphy, Nancy Trypuc, Sarah Goldstein, Sara Goodman, John Karle, Olga Grlic, Jessica Preeg, Matt Baldacci, Anne Marie Tallberg, Brian Heller, and the entire sales force.

  I couldn’t make it without the friendship and fantastic work of Cindy Blewett at Truly Texan, Sheila Clover and Michael Miller at Circle of Seven Productions, and Kim Castillo of Author’s Best Friend—I am incredibly lucky to have the benefit of so much talent.

  Thanks to my lovely author friends Christina Dodd, Teresa Medeiros, Eloisa James, Connie Brockway, and Emily March, who help me spiritually, creatively, professionally, and every other possible “ly.”

  I am blessed to be friends with some of the nicest and smartest people on the planet: Cristi Swayze, Rich and Amy Kittinger, Tonia Boze, Sue Carlson, Ellyn Ginsburg, and Lynda Lehner.

  Thanks to Ireta and Harrell Ellis for their support, love, and great advice.

  And most of all, thanks to my husband, Greg (my constant hero and favorite personal photographer), and our two fabulous children, who make every day of my life joyful.


  Title Page



  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21


  Excerpt from Dream Lake

  Reading Group Guide

  Also by Lisa Kleypas

  Praise for Lisa Kleypas

  About the Author



  When Lucy Marinn was seven years old, three things happened: Her little sister Alice got sick, she was assigned her first science fair project, and she found out that magic existed. More specifically, that she had the power to create magic. And for the rest of her life, Lucy would be aware that the distance between ordinary and extraordinary was only a step, a breath, a heartbeat away.

  But this was not the kind of knowledge that made one bold and daring. At least not in Lucy’s case. It made her cautious. Secretive. Because the revelation of a magical ability, particularly one that you had no control over, meant you were different. And even a child of seven understood that you didn’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the dividing line between different and normal. You wanted to belong. The problem was, no matter how well you kept your secret, the very fact of having one was enough to separate you from everyone else.

  She was never certain why the magic came when it did, what succession of events had led to its first appearance, but she thought it had all started on the morning when Alice had woken with a stiff neck, a fever, and a bright red rash. As soon as Lucy’s mother saw Alice, she shouted for her father to call the doctor.

  Frightened by the turmoil in the house, Lucy sat on a kitchen chair in her nightgown, her heart pounding as she watched her father slam down the telephone receiver with such haste that it bounced off its plastic cradle.

  “Find your shoes, Lucy. Hurry.” Her father’s voice, always so calm, had splintered on the last word. His face was skull-white.

  “What’s happening?”

  “Your mother and I are taking Alice to the hospital.”

  “Am I going too?”

  “You’re going to spend the day with Mrs. Geiszler.”

  At the mention of their neighbor, who always shouted when Lucy rode her bike across her front lawn, she protested, “I don’t want to. She’s scary.”

  “Not now, Lucy.” He had given her a look that had caused the words to dry up in Lucy’s throat.

  They had gone to the car, and her mother had climbed into the backseat, holding Alice as if she were an infant. The sounds Alice had made were so startling that Lucy put her hands over her ears. She shrank herself into as little space as possible, the humid vinyl seat covers sticking to her legs. After her parents dropped her off at Mrs. Geiszler’s house, they drove away in such a hurry that the tires of the minivan bruised the driveway with black marks.

  Mrs. Geiszler’s face was creased like a shutter door as she told Lucy not to touch anything. The house was filled with antiques. The agreeable mustiness of old books and the lemon tang of furniture polish hung in the air. It was as quiet as church, no sounds of television in the background, no music, no voices or telephone ringing.

  Sitting very still on the brocade sofa, Lucy stared at a tea set that had been carefully arranged on the coffee table. The tea set was made of a kind of glass Lucy had never seen before. Every cup and saucer glowed with a multicolored luminescence, the glass adorned with thickly painted gold swirls and flowers. Mesmerized by the way the colors seemed to change at different angles, Lucy knelt on the floor, tilting her head from one side to the other.

  Mrs. Geiszler stood in the doorway, giving a small laugh that sounded like the crackle of ice cubes when you poured water over them. “That is art glass,” she said. “Made in Czechoslovakia. It’s been in my family for a hundred years.”

  “How did they put the rainbows in it?” Lucy asked in a hushed voice.

  “They dissolve metal and color into melted glass.”

  Lucy was astonished by the revelation. “How do you melt glass?”

  But Mrs. Geiszler was tired of talking. “Children ask too many questions,” she said, and went back to the kitchen.

  * * *

  Soon Lucy had learned the word for what was wrong with her five-year-old sister. Meningitis. It meant that Alice would come back very weak and tired, and Lucy must be a good girl and help take care of her, and not make messes. It also meant that Lucy must not argue with Alice or upset her in any way. “Not now” was the phrase Lucy’s parents told her most often.

  The long, quiet summer had been a grim departure from the usual routine of playdates and camps and ramshackle lemonade stands. Alice’s illness had turned her into the center of mass around which the rest of the family moved in anxious orbits, like unstable planets. In the weeks after her return from the hospital, piles of new toys and books accumulated in her room. She was allowed to run around the table at mealtimes, and she was never required to say “please” or “thank you.” Alice was never satisfied with eating the biggest piece of cake or staying up later than other children. There was no such thing as too much for a girl who already had too much.

  The Marinns lived in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, originally populated by Scandinavians who had worked in salmon fishing and canning industries. Although the proportion of Scandinavians had diminished as Ballard had grown and developed, abundant signs of the neighborhood’s heritage still lingered. Lucy’s mother cooked with recipes that had been passed down from her Scandinavian ancestors … gravlax, cold-cured salmon flavored with salt, sugar, and dill … pork roast rolled with gingered prunes in the center … or krumkake, cardamom co
okies rolled into perfect cones on the handles of wooden spoons. Lucy loved to help her mother in the kitchen, especially because Alice wasn’t interested in cooking and never intruded.

  As the summer thinned into a brisk autumn, and school started, the situation at home showed no signs of changing. Alice was well again, and yet the family still seemed to operate on the principles of Alice’s illness: Don’t upset her. Let her have whatever she wants. When Lucy complained, however, her mother snapped at her in a way she never had before.

  “Shame on you for being jealous. Your sister almost died. She was in terrible pain. You are very, very lucky not to have gone through what she did.”

  Guilt radiated through Lucy for days afterward, renewing itself in cycles like a persistent fever. Until her mother had spoken so sharply, Lucy had not been able to identify the nagging feeling that had drawn her insides as tight as violin strings. But it was jealousy. Although she didn’t know how to get rid of the feeling, she knew that she must never say a word about it.

  In the meantime, all Lucy could do was wait for things to go back to the way they had been. But they never did. And even though her mother said she loved both her daughters equally but in different ways, Lucy thought the way she loved Alice seemed like more.

  Lucy adored her mother, who always came up with interesting rainy-day activities, and never minded if Lucy wanted to play dress-up with the high-heeled shoes in her closet. Her mother’s playful affection, however, seemed folded around some mysterious sadness. Now and then Lucy would enter a room to find her staring vacantly at some fixed spot on the wall, a lost look on her face.

  Early some mornings Lucy would tiptoe to her parents’ room and climb into her mother’s side of the bed, and they would snuggle until the chill of Lucy’s bare feet had dissolved beneath the warm covers. It annoyed her father when he realized that Lucy was in bed with them, and he would grumble that she should go back to her own room. “In a little while,” her mother would murmur, her arms wrapped securely around Lucy. “I like to start the day this way.” And Lucy would burrow against her more tightly.

  There were repercussions, however, when Lucy failed to please her. If a note was sent home because Lucy had been caught talking in class, or gotten a low grade on a math test, or if she hadn’t practiced her piano lessons sufficiently, her mother would become cold and tight-lipped. Lucy never understood why it felt as if she had to earn something that was given freely to Alice. After the near-fatal illness, Alice was indulged and spoiled. She had terrible manners, interrupting conversations, playing with her food at dinner, grabbing things out of other people’s hands, and all of it was ignored.

  One evening when the Marinns had planned to go out and leave their daughters with a babysitter, Alice cried and screamed until they canceled their dinner reservation and stayed home to appease her. They had pizza delivered, and they ate it at the kitchen table, both of them still dressed in their nice clothes. Her mother’s jewelry sparkled and scattered glints of reflected light across the ceiling.

  Alice took a piece of pizza and wandered to the living room to watch cartoons on television. Lucy picked up her own plate and headed to the living room.

  “Lucy,” her mother said, “don’t leave the table until you’re finished eating.”

  “But Alice’s eating in the living room.”

  “She’s too little to know better.”

  Surprisingly, Lucy’s father joined the conversation. “She’s only two years younger than Lucy. And as I recall, Lucy was never allowed to wander around during dinner.”

  “Alice still hasn’t gained back the weight she lost from the meningitis,” her mother said sharply. “Lucy, come back to the table.”

  The unfairness of it clamped around Lucy’s throat like a vise. She carried her plate back to the table as slowly as possible, wondering if her father would intervene on her behalf. But he had given a shake of his head and had fallen silent again.

  “Delicious,” Lucy’s mother said brightly, biting into her pizza as if were a rare delicacy. “I was actually in the mood for this. I didn’t feel like going out. So nice to be cozy at home.”

  Lucy’s father didn’t reply. Methodically he finished his pizza, took his empty plate to the sink, and went in search of the phone.

  * * *

  “My teacher said to give this to you,” Lucy said, extending a piece of paper to her mother.

  “Not now, Lucy. I’m cooking.” Cherise Marinn chopped celery on the cutting board, the knife neatly dividing stalks into little U shapes. As Lucy waited patiently, her mother glanced at her and sighed. “Tell me what it is, sweetheart.”

  “Instructions for the second-grade science fair. We have three weeks to do it.”

  Reaching the end of the celery stalk, Lucy’s mother set the knife down and reached for the paper. Her fine brows knit together as she read it. “This looks like a time-consuming project. Are all the students required to participate?”

  Lucy nodded.

  Her mother shook her head. “I wish these teachers knew how much time they’re asking parents to spend on these activities.”

  “You don’t have to do anything, Mommy. I’m supposed to do the work.”

  “Someone’s going to have to take you to the crafts store to get the trifold board and the other supplies. Not to mention supervising your experiments and helping you practice for the oral presentation.”

  Lucy’s father entered the kitchen, looking weary, as usual, after a long day. Phillip Marinn was so busy teaching astronomy at the University of Washington and working as a NASA consultant on the side, that he often seemed to be visiting their home rather than actually living in it. On the evenings when he made it back in time for dinner, he ended up talking with colleagues on the phone while his wife and two daughters ate without him. The names of the girls’ friends and teachers and soccer coaches, the minutiae of their schedules, were foreign to him. Which was why Lucy was so surprised by her mother’s next words.

  “Lucy needs you to help with her science project. I just volunteered to be a room mother for Alice’s kindergarten class. I have too much to do.” She handed him the piece of paper, and went to scrape the chopped celery into a pot of soup on the stove.

  “Good God.” He scanned the information with a distracted frown. “I don’t have time for this.”

  “You’ll have to make time,” her mother said.

  “What if I ask one of my students to help her?” he suggested. “I could set it up as an extra-credit activity.”

  A frown pleated her mother’s face, her soft mouth tightening at the corners. “Phillip. The idea of pawning off your child on a college student—”

  “It was a joke,” he said hastily, although Lucy wasn’t entirely sure of that.

  “Then you’ll agree to do this with Lucy?”

  “I don’t appear to have a choice.”

  “It’ll be a bonding experience for you two.”

  He gave Lucy a resigned glance. “Do we need a bonding experience?”

  “Yes, Daddy.”

  “Very well. Have you decided what kind of experiment you want to do?”

  “It’s going to be a report,” Lucy said. “About glass.”

  “What about doing a space-themed project? We could make a model of the solar system, or describe how stars are formed—”

  “No, Daddy. It has to be about glass.”


  “It just does.” Lucy had become fascinated by glass. Every morning at breakfast she marveled at the light-gifted material that formed her juice cup. How perfectly it contained bright fluids, how easily it transmitted heat, coldness, vibration.

  Her father took her to the library and checked out grown-up books about glass and glasswork, because he said the children’s books on the subject weren’t detailed enough. Lucy learned that when a substance was made of molecules that were organized like bricks stacked together, you couldn’t see through it. But when a substance was made out of random disorganized mole
cules, like water or boiled sugar or glass, light found its way through the spaces between them.

  “Tell me, Lucy,” her father asked as they glued a diagram to the trifold board, “is glass a liquid or a solid?”

  “It’s a liquid that behaves like a solid.”

  “You’re a very smart girl. Do you think you’ll be a scientist like me when you grow up?”

  She shook her head.

  “What do you want to be?”

  “A glass artist.” Lately Lucy had started to dream about making things out of glass. In her sleep she watched light glimmer and refract through candy-colored windows … glass swirling and curving like exotic undersea creatures, birds, flowers.

  Her father looked perturbed. “Very few people can actually earn a living as an artist. Only the famous ones make any money.”

  “Then I’ll be a famous one,” she said cheerfully, coloring the letters on her trifold board.

  On the weekend, her father took her to visit a local glassblowing shop, where a red-bearded man showed her the basics of his craft. Mesmerized, Lucy stood as close as her father would allow. After the glassblower melted sand in a high-temperature furnace, he pushed a long metal rod into the furnace and gathered molten glass in a glowing red lump. The air was filled with the scents of hot metal, sweat, scorched ink, and ash from the wads of wet newspaper the studio used to hand-shape the glass.

  With each additional gather of glass, the glassblower enlarged the fiery orange mass, turning it constantly, reheating it frequently. He added an overlay of blue frit, or ceramic powder, onto the post and rolled it on a steel table to distribute the color evenly.

  Lucy watched with wide-eyed interest. She wanted to learn everything about this mysterious process, every possible way to cut, fuse, color, and shape glass. Nothing had ever seemed so important or necessary to know.

  Before they left the shop, her father bought her a blown-glass ornament that looked like a hot-air balloon, painted with shimmering rainbow stripes. It hung on its own little stand made of brass wire. Lucy would always remember it as the best day of her entire childhood.

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