Marjorie Dunn is hiding in plain sight. The past can’t find her at the peaceful inn she owns in a quiet coastal town in Maine.

Until Sam Brewer walks through the door. He arrives in the dead of night, with a dark suit and storm-gray eyes.

Marjorie knows better than to trust this stranger, but she can’t resist his touch. Every kiss binds them together. Every night draws the danger close.

She risks her heart with him, but more than that, she risks her life.

The past has caught up with her. And it wants her dead.

Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

Series:

Rochester

Can be read as a standalone

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Excerpt: Behind Closed Doors
By Skye Warren

Excerpt: Behind Closed Doors

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Skye Warren comes the next installment in her Rochester series. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is out this week and you can read an excerpt now below!

Marjorie

The scent of warm leather fills me with a deep-rooted peace.

I place the stitched vellum into place between the marbled endpapers. My heartbeat is slow, my breathing steady. Bookbinding is a meditative work. It’s about ritual and care more than efficiency. It started as a way to fill the hours when the inn had no guests, a way to make money during Maine’s off season. It’s become so much more than that.

The last of my guests left two weeks ago. An adorable couple looking for shelter from the cold front. They live in a converted Airstream, going from city to city. National park to national park. They enjoy the nomadic lifestyle, but even they wanted central heating for a few nights.

Some inns close down during the winter months, but I don’t see the point. This is my home. I’m here anyway, so I may as well leave the door unlocked for someone who needs a room.

Lighthouse Inn is not only my personal safe haven. It’s a place where anyone can stop and rest for the night. I know how lonely life on the road can be. I offer them a warm bed and a smile before they continue on with their journey.

Shadows lurk in the corners of my mind. Memories from when I needed a safe place.

I couldn’t find a haven then, but I made it for myself.

The bone folder. A cutting blade. Archival quality glue. My tools line up beside me, clean and sharp. This, too, is part of my ritual. I enjoy the ritual of it.

And mostly, the sense that I’m building something permanent.

The bell rings.

It’s the bell over the front door, heralding the arrival of someone. A guest? No. There are no reservations on the books for weeks. And the weather has turned stormy. No one would be out at a time like this. I get deliveries, but not at this hour.

I put away the book and head into the lobby, already smiling in anticipation of greeting someone.

A man stands in the entryway, raindrops sliding down a black trench coat.

My smile fades.

The lobby is comfortably small, only big enough for guests to check in with their luggage in tow. It feels even smaller now with the dark, imposing figure looming. The air feels thick, as if he’s filling it with his presence. Dark eyes and black hair. He holds a utilitarian black duffel bag that feels incongruous against the homey backdrop walls.

Dangerous.

It’s the first word that springs to mind as I stare at him.

But also handsome.

I swallow around the knot in my throat. “Welcome to the Lighthouse Inn. Do you have a reservation?” I ask while I tap the keyboard to pull up the calendar. I know he doesn’t have one. I ask anyway because it sets the tone between us.

I’m the owner of the inn.

He’s a guest. Nothing more, nothing less.

“No reservation.” The low gravel of his voice runs over my spine.

Hesitation holds me in its grip. I have to force the words out around the knot of tension in my throat. “Would you like a room? We have an opening.”

He looks around, and I have the strange sense that he can see through the walls, that he knows we’re completely empty. “Something overlooking the ocean.”

“Absolutely. Most of our rooms have stunning views. Some with their own private balconies. There’s a corner suite available if that’s—”

“Any of them will work.” He growls the words. Everything about him is rough, textured, hard. It makes me feel like a cat. I want to rub myself against him, the way a bear pushes against a tree. Because his edges would feel good against me.

“I’ve booked your room. Are you traveling for business or pleasure?”

He offers a small, humorless smile. “Business. There’s no pleasure here.”

A shiver runs through me. The desolation in his tone strikes a chord inside me. A chord of remembrance. Of empathy. I know what hopelessness feels like. It makes me determined that he enjoy his stay here. “How long would you like the room?”

He hesitates, his brown eyes darkening. “Three days.”

There’s something strange about the way he says them. As if they’re a lie. Which is a strange thought to have. Why would he lie about that? I don’t know, but my gut feels certain he’s not telling me the whole truth. Well, that’s all right.

Guests are allowed their secrets.

Just as the innkeeper is allowed hers.

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