When a part-time college student’s friend disappears, she does everything in her power to find him.
Rose Strickland works as a waitress at Ma’s Diner to help finance her part-time college expenses. Her father is a wealthy, weak-willed doctor totally dominated by her snobbish mother, who kicked her out of her upscale household when Rose refused to accede to their plans for her life. Fortunately, she’s had in Axton Graystone, whose family is equally wealthy, a friend since grade school. Now a laidback, pot-smoking computer nerd, he shows up at the diner with a backpack he begs her to hide before disappearing himself. A stranger who approaches Rose while she plays with her nephew tells her he wants his property back. Rose soon learns that the hard drive she’s found in the backpack contains a list of names and unexplained numbers of some of the area’s best-known citizens, including Axton’s brother Packard. The mysterious stranger, who on closer inspection is a drop-dead gorgeous guy, seems to know everything about her life. When he visits her apartment and threatens Axton’s life, Rose attacks him, kindling sexual sparks. With help from her fellow waitress Roxy, Ma, the diner owner, and Packard’s wife, Sheila, Rose digs around until she discovers the identity of the stranger and the reason he’s so eager to regain his property. Her life now in danger, Rose realizes that the enemy she thinks she knows may be the least of her troubles.
Austin’s debut kicks off her planned series by introducing a quirky, feisty heroine and a great supporting cast of characters and putting them through quite a number of interesting twists.