When the Storm Breaks

When the Storm Breaks

by Heather Lowell

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A serial killer has one obsession . . .

Claire Lambert walked into a nightmare on a rainy night in Washington, D.C. Stumbling upon a killer in the midst of his latest bloody crime, she ran for her life -- but not before a head injury caused her to lose her memory, along with her purse and ID. Now a monster knows who Claire is . . . and where she lives.

Waking up in a hospital room the day after being attacked -- her mind stripped of all memory of what happened to her -- Claire can only listen with horror to the scenario Detective Sean Richter unfolds before her. A law officer fiercely dedicated to ending the wave of brutal killings that has struck the city, Sean knows that this brave and beautiful woman holds the key to stopping the murderer before he can strike again. Claire is the only victim who has seen the killer's face and lived -- which is why Sean needs her help and will risk everything to protect her . . .

And why a depraved, relentless animal is determined that Claire Lambert must die.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061755996
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 113,684
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Heather Lowell was born and raised in Southern California. She attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where she began her love affair with foreign languages, international politics, and off-the-beaten-path travel. She's journeyed by bus, train, and boat throughout the developing world, meeting local people and practicing her language skills -- the occasional face-to-face encounter with livestock was an added bonus. While her "list of things to do before settling down" is still quite long, Heather has already crossed off hiking the Andes, going up the Amazon River, backpacking through Australia and New Zealand, SCUBA diving, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, caving, and jumping out of an airplane.

In the 1990s, Heather studied in Brazil, volunteered as an English teacher in Hungary, and earned a Master's degree in International Development. She briefly considered becoming a professional traveler before deciding that defaulting on her student loans wasn't a lofty career goal. Instead, she served her time in a cubicle as a project manager in Information Technology, where her life closely paralleled that of the comic strip Dilbert. When the tech bubble burst and the stock market plummeted, Heather took it as a sign that she should get out of the corporate world and follow her dream of writing. She hasn't looked back since that day.

Despite an adventurous past, Heather Lowell now considers herself to be a dedicated homebody -- with a car, mortgage, and dog to prove it. She currently lives in Arizona, where she is working on her next book.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Washington, D.C.
Friday evening

"Southern Belle, thirty, seeks prince to carry her off to his castle and take care of her forever."

"What do you think, dear?" Peggy Gallagher looked over the table at her new client.

Claire Lambert shifted in her chair, struggling for a response that wouldn't offend Peggy. She turned to her friend Afton for assistance, since she had been the one to talk her into joining a dating service in the first place.

"Doesn't that caption sound like something to grab a man's attention, Marie Claire?" Peggy pressed.

Deciding Afton wasn't going to help, Claire thought about her options. She might have been tired after a long day -- a long week, really -- but not tired enough to let that gem get by her untouched. Joining the Gallaghers' dating service was humiliating enough, but having a blurb like the one Peggy had suggested appear next to her picture would be pathetic.

Besides, she hated being called Marie Claire.

Claire worked hard to look serious. "I was thinking more along the lines of 'Businesswoman, thirty, has castle, seeks prince to help with upkeep and provide occasional foot massage.'"

Claire's deadpan expression was angelic. She had spent her formative years tormenting the nuns at Our Heavenly Savior Catholic Girls School in New Orleans, so getting Peggy's back up was easy.

Peggy drew herself up straight in her chair, inhaling through her flared nostrils, while across the table, her daughter and business partner covered laughter with a cough. Afton Gallagher truly enjoyed seeing someone make her mother pucker up -- it happened so rarely.

"Mom, why don't you make sure the computer is set up for Claire to view the eligible candidates. She and I can work on her bio later," Afton said, careful to not meet Claire's gaze.

Peggy surveyed them both for a long moment. "All right. But really, Marie Claire, you should put more thought into developing the caption to go with your picture in the catalogue. It's the first impression the male candidates will have of you, and you certainly don't want to come across as too flip. Or assertive. Men don't care for that in a young lady."

Peggy pushed back from the table, straightened her skirt with a practiced move, and went out the door of the conference room. Claire looked closely at her departing figure, trying to see if Peggy was, indeed, wearing nylons and a slip in the sweltering heat of a Washington, D.C. summer.

Claire looked up and caught Afton rolling her eyes. They shared a moment of silent humor over Peggy's stodgy approach to both fashion and romance in the twenty-first century.

Then Claire straightened in her chair, turning dancing black eyes to Afton. "Hey, I left out the part about 'providing foot massages in exchange for the occasional blow job.'"

Afton laughed out loud. It was just like Claire to say something outrageous and make her forget that it was after nine on a Friday evening, and she had been working without a break for the last seven days. She'd had to stay late tonight to accommodate Claire's busy schedule, but she didn't mind doing her friend this favor. Besides, it had been Afton's nagging that had convinced Claire to give the dating service a try in the first place. The least she could do was offer moral support.

"I'm suddenly not sure about signing up for a dating service," Claire said once she'd stopped laughing. "It seems so, I don't know, sad. Needy." That was one word she would never use to describe herself. She hated being in a situation where that particular shoe might fit.

"Don't be ridiculous," Afton said quickly, not wanting Claire to back out now that she had finally dragged her in. "We went over this before. You're paying for a service -- special friend's price, I might add -- just like getting your carpets cleaned or your car washed. We're providing you with something you don't have time to do yourself. It's as simple as that."

"Maybe, but I never had to fill out my preferences for eyes, hair, and build on the carpet cleaner or car wash guy before." Claire's eyes were serious, yet she gave a half smile. Afton had become a very close friend in the past six months because Claire admired intelligence, guts, and determination. She didn't want to wimp out and waste everyone's time. "Oh, never mind. Let's go look at our selection of eligible studs in the catalogue before I lose my nerve completely."

When the Storm Breaks. Copyright © by Heather Lowell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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When the Storm Breaks 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book it had me from start to finish!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cap5 More than 1 year ago
The BEST romance/thriller novel! You will love this I promise you!!
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The-Book-Addict More than 1 year ago
This is the first book that I've read by this author. My heart was truly pounding at the end! I highly recommend this book and will be looking for more books by this author.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time that I read her book, I was blown away with its action, and romance. It could be one of the best books that I have read in years! I would recomend this book in a heartbeat!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book held me in its grasp from the very first chapter. The supsense, mixed with the banter of two of the main character makes for an enjoyable read. The emotionally sexual tension between Claire and Sean is believeable and crackles. A wonderful book in every aspect
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story has suspense from the first word. I could not put it down. The romance is good but the story is GREAT. I enjoyed this and her other book and cannot wait until her next one. She definitely has her mother's flair for romantic suspense. I will buy her books just because her name is on it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book caught me and held me from the first page to the last. From the investigation of the killer to the developing romance of Sean and Claire. The tension between the two characters was so incredible and each scene was written so well that I could picure it in my mind This book would make a really great movie. A good read for a rainy day or a weekend at home. I can't wait for her next book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was suspenseful and sexy. Loved Sean and Claire. This book has both suspense and romance. Heather, you did quite well for a first book. Can't wait for 'No Escape' coming out in August.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book (contrary to the comments from the 'actual' critic). The characters were well written, the suspense was good, the sex scenes were great, the relationships between the characters was good, and it had humor too. I am anxiously awaiting her next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The cover art first drew me to this book. This is a great murder/mystery which keeps you on the edge of your seat. I really enjoyed reading things from the killer's perspective as well. Loved the electrifying relationship between Claire and Sean as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿When The Storm Breaks¿ is a very well-written book that keeps you reading for hours. I don¿t like reading books, but I was assigned to read any book that was at least 400 pages. Something about this one jumped out at me. Like I said, I don¿t really like reading very much, but this book kept me reading for hours on end. The main character, Claire Lambert interrupts a murder and wishes she had not because of the things she encounters afterwards. The other main character in the story is detective Sean Richter. The bad thing about these two working together to catch the killer is that they are attracted to each other. This does not work well in this type of situation. The story takes place in present-day Washington, D.C. One of the major conflicts is that when Claire witnesses the murder, the killer sees her and chases after her. She gets away, but in the process she drops her purse. Now the killer has her name, address, and just about anything he needs to haunt her forever. The majority of this story is told in the third-person perspective. Because it is written in third person, we know things about the killer that the characters in the story do not. This adds dramatic irony to the story. I think that the message of this story is to have people realize that anything can happen and that it is weird how some things work out. The author uses some very good imagery that makes me see exactly what is going on. It is almost like watching a movie, but just in your head. The characters in this story are very believable and realistic. The title of the book ¿When the Storm Breaks¿ is relevant to the story because when Claire witnesses the murder, a storm was just starting. This book falls into the `Romantic Suspense¿ category and rightfully so. It is very suspenseful at times and at times I caught my eyes watering from the suspense. In conclusion, I would recommend this book to everyone that likes suspense, or just romantic books because it has some love scenes in it also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! Great suspense and interesting characters. I will definitely read her next novel!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not enjoyed a thriller in a long time as much as I enjoyed this book. I could not put it down. I can hardly wait for Ms. Lowell next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Claire Lambert decides to give her friend Afton¿s dating service Camelot a try. On her way to the bus stop late at night after providing Camelot with her bio, she cuts through a schoolyard and witnesses a brutal murder. She flees the scene, only to be chased by the killer. She manages to escape his evil clutches, but slips and falls, banging her head on the way down, only to wake up in the hospital with very few memories of what happened the night before ¿ and Washington, D.C. detective Sean Richter, along with partner/cousin Aidan Burke waiting for answers regarding the murder. The two detectives work the Cold Case Unit, and fear this is the work of a serial killer from the past that has struck again. With Claire¿s memory in shreds, they focus their attentions on the dating service, believing this is the link to the killer. When Claire fled the murder scene, she dropped her purse, along with her ID, which the killer has. Sean and Aidan walk a fine line, trying to protect Claire from the killer, while using her as bait to reel him in. And, in the process, Sean and Claire develop more than a working relationship, which could put the entire case in jeopardy. This is an awesome debut novel from Heather Lowell. The amnesia angle has been used over and over again in suspense stories, but this author gives it a whole new believable spin. The characters are well developed and likeable, with a heroine to be admired. The hunky detectives speak for themselves, with a story line that is loaded with suspense and passion. Kudos, Ms. Lowell, for a presenting a captivating and sexy debut novel. I certainly hope the saga continues, with Aidan¿s story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Afton Gallagher, assisted by her mom Peggy, persuades her friend Claire Lambert to try the computer dating service that they own. It is after midnight by the time they are through providing ¿Marie Claire¿ with a bio. Claire heads home to Georgetown taking a short cut to catch her bus. However, she sees a man with a knife killing a woman and the murderer notices her too. Claire flees in terror, but falls down a set of stairs before banging her head. Though the killer lost the gazelle he has found her purse that she dropped when she ran the hundred-yard dash in record time.

DC Police Detectives Sean Richter and Aidan Burke believe one of their cold cases has just got hot with the apparent return of a dormant serial killer. He learns of Claire witnessing the homicide, but her memory remains faulty from the concussion she suffered. Sean works with Claire to help her recall that horrifying night, but also to keep her safe from a killer who knows who she is and where she lives.

Though amnesia has served as a device in many a thriller, fans will believe that Heather Lowell introduced the technique with this tale because it feels as fresh as the air following WHEN THE STORM BREAKS. The key to the invigorating plot is the key cast members especially the heroine. Sean is a caring hunk who risks his life not for duty, but more to keep the woman he loves safe. Profanity fits within the plot. Fans will appreciate this second-generation novelist¿s captivating and suspenseful serial killer romance.

Harriet Klausner