After being the backdrop for 1948’s critically acclaimed tragic romance, Cape Seduction, Northern California’s Dragon Rock Lighthouse was shuttered and abandoned for decades—and was the last place up-and-coming Hollywood starlet Darla Foster was seen alive. When photojournalist Rebecca Burke locks horns with Los Angeles attorney Matt Farralone while trying to gain access to the derelict off-shore beacon, she encounters the spirit of the sassy, once-promising Oscar-hopeful Foster, and uncovers a 60-year-old secret that sets her world on end. Told in time periods alternating between 1948 and 2008, CAPE SEDUCTION includes paranormal (ghostly) elements.
Rebecca Burke squinted at the road ahead, hoping to make out the taillights of the car in front of her.
Fog is nothing like soup. Not green, not hot, not tasting like some disgusting pureed legume.
The eerie silence unnerved her. She snapped on the radio, twisted the knob in search of something other than talk or rap. Settled on Garth Brooks.
Coast Highway was only two lanes in either direction, and Rebecca kept to the right, nervously alternating between gas pedal and brake. She wasn’t used to this thick, cottony mist; dense fog almost never occurred back in Phoenix. She focused her attention on the white abyss before her. Surely it would burn off soon.
Was anyone behind her? Quick glances into the rearview mirror revealed nothing but retreating gray. Perhaps I have entered the Twilight Zone, she thought, trying to conjure a chuckle.
As the roadway swept around the base of a steep cliff, Garth’s warble became noisy static. Rebecca reached for the tuner, began searching for a stronger signal. Out of nowhere, a car charged past her on the left, churning up a brief clearing before being swallowed by the whiteness ahead. Startled, Rebecca’s heart quickened and she took tighter control of the steering wheel. She considered pulling over, but since she could not see the roadway to the side, she hesitated, slowed her speed even more. But what if a faster motorist hit her from behind?
The radio static grew. Rebecca again attempted to tune in something more agreeable, pausing when she discerned traces of a female voice behind the noise. Just a word, here and there. “Time has come… find me…” Rebecca felt herself frowning in concentration as she listened.
Again she checked her mirror. Seeing nothing, she started to pull her eyes back to the road when something appeared. A face, a woman’s face, stared at her from the backseat.
A shockwave bolted through Rebecca’s body at the sight. Grasping the steering wheel, she hit the brake, pulled the Volkswagen off the highway and came to a skidding stop. She quickly twisted around, stared hard at the empty seat, the floor, the back window and the fog.
I must be losing it.
Fortunately, there was a wide, flat shoulder where she had left the highway. She looked to her left where cars rushed by, traveling south. To the right, the fog lay heavy over the Pacific Ocean. Garth had resumed his mournful musical tale of unrequited love.
Rebecca smacked the “off” button on the radio, leaned back in her seat, closed her eyes. Clearly, her anxiety had caused a hallucination. There was no one in the car with her.
In 1948 Darla Foster and Jordan Kent starred in Cape Seduction, directed by Harvey Bregman, Jordan’s father in law. As so often happens in this situation, Darla and Jordan have an affair. The consequences of this particular affair were highly unexpected and reach sixty years into the future.
Cape Seduction is equal parts tragedy, ghost story, and love story. The chapters alternate between 2008 and 1948-9. The alternating chapter/era maintains a high tension level throughout. The late Forties were some glamorous and scary times for Hollywood. During this era’s chapters we meet Darla, Jordan, Russell, Cecilia and Harvey. Darla, Jordan and Russell are actors. Harvey is a big time director and Cecilia, his daughter, is married to Jordan. Harvey sees in Darla that “something” that creates a star. He makes the movie Cape Seduction, in Northern California, starring Darla and Jordan. This is the beginning of the whole sordid tale. In 2008 we meet Rebecca and Matt. Everything they hold dear and hope to have is threatened by past events. It’s quite a conundrum and I relished every word. There were some excellent twists that kept this oft told story fresh. I will certainly be on the lookout for more books by Ms. Carter.
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