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Moonlight Scandals (de Vincent #3)
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It takes a fearless woman to love the most scandalous man alive in New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s breathtaking novel
Even a ghost hunter like Rosie Herpin couldn’t have foreseen the fateful meeting between two mourners that has brought her so intimately close to the notorious and seductive Devlin de Vincent. Everyone in New Orleans knows he’s heir to a dark family curse that both frightens and enthralls. To the locals, Devlin is the devil. To Rosie, he’s a man who’s stoking her wildest fantasies. When a brutal attack on her friend is linked to the de Vincents, he becomes a mystery she may be risking her life to solve.
Devlin knows what he wants from this sexy and adventurous woman. But what does Rosie want from him? It’s a question that becomes more pressing—and more dangerous—when he suspects her of prying into the shadows of his past.
Now, the legends surrounding the de Vincents may not be myths at all. But if she’s to discover the truth, she must follow them straight into the arms of the man she can’t resist—the handsome devil himself.
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Resting on her knees, Rosie Herpin drew in a deep, calming breath as she ignored the sharp pebbles digging into her skin. She leaned forward, flattening her palm against the warm, sun-bleached stone. Kneeling wasn’t exactly comfortable in a wrap dress, but she wasn’t going to wear jeans or leggings today.
She closed her eyes, sliding her hand down and to the right, tracing the shallow indentations painstakingly carved into the worn stone. She didn’t need to see to know she’d reached the name—his name.
Ian Samuel Herpin.
Dragging her fingers over each letter, she mouthed them silently, and when she finished, reaching the N on the last name, she stopped. Rosie didn’t need to keep going to know what the dates read underneath. Ian had been twenty-three. And she didn’t need to open her eyes to read the single line etched into the stone, because that line had been carved into her brain.
May he find the peace that had evaded him in life.
Rosie jerked her fingers off the stone, but she didn’t open her eyes as she brought her hand to her chest, to right above her heart. She hated those words. His parents, bless them, had chosen that, and she hadn’t the heart or the mind at the time to disagree. Now she wished she had.
Peace hadn’t evaded Ian. Peace had been right there, waiting for him, surrounding him. Peace just . . . it just couldn’t reach him.
That was different.
At least to Rosie it was.
Ten years had passed since their plans for the future—plans that had included college degrees, the house with a beautiful courtyard, babies, and maybe, God willing, grandbabies they could spend their days in retirement spoiling—ended with a gun Rosie hadn’t even known her husband owned.
Ten years of replaying the time they did have together, over and over, looking for the signs that everything they had been and everything they were supposed to have become was a facade, because they were living two different lives. Rosie had believed that things were perfect. Yeah, they had problems like everyone had problems, but there was nothing major going on. But for Ian? His life hadn’t been perfect at all. Things had been a struggle. Not a constant one. Not something he’d faced every day. What had preyed on his thoughts and emotions had been well hidden. His depression had been a silent killer. There hadn’t been a single person, not his family or his friends or even Rosie, who had seen it coming.
Not until many, many years later, after a hell of a lot of soul-searching, did Rosie come to the shaky realization that their life hadn’t been a total lie. She’d struggled through all the stages of grief before getting to that point. Some of it had been truth. Ian had loved her. She knew that was true. He’d loved her with everything inside him.
High school sweethearts.
That’s what they’d been.
They’d married the summer after they’d graduated and both of them worked hard to make a life, maybe a little too hard, and that had added to what had troubled him. He’d spent long days at the sugar refinery while Rosie attended Tulane, working toward a degree in education. They talked about those plans—a future, one that she now knew Ian had desperately wanted more than anything.
She was twenty-three, almost done with her degree, and they’d been looking for their first home when Rosie got the call from the police while at her parents’ bakery in the city and was told not to go home.
She’d been a month shy of graduation when Ian called the police and told them what he was about to do. They were just beginning the stressful process of applying for a mortgage when she learned that her husband of almost five years hadn’t wanted her to be the one to come home and discover him. It had been a week before his birthday when their walking, living, and breathing all-American dream turned into an all-American tragedy.
For so many years, she never understood why he did what he did. So many years of being so damn angry and so damn guilty, feeling like she should’ve seen something, could’ve done something. It wasn’t until she went to the University of Alabama and enrolled in the psychology program that she began to accept there’d been warning signs—red flags that most people would never have picked up on.
She learned through classes and her own experience that depression looked nothing like what people thought—like what she had thought.
Ian smiled and lived, but he’d done that for Rosie. He’d done that for his family and friends. He smiled, laughed, and got up each day and went to work, made plans and had lazy Sundays with her so she wouldn’t worry about him or feel bad. He didn’t want her to feel the same way he felt.