Geologist, Crystal Penney loses her job and has to turn her inherited half of an Arizona ghost town into a money-making venture. She envisions a unique and refined tourist destination, but as soon as she finds itinerant prospector, miner and old flame, Cody Blye and his sullen mutt, Jackson already in residence, she knows her efforts to turn lemons into lemonade will sour faster than a gallon of milk left out in the noon day sun.
Crystal thought she’d never have to face Cody again after he took off into the Superstition Mountains and left her heartbroken. But thanks to the terms of their deceased uncles’ wills, he owns the other half of Cactus Station, and Crystal has to call him her partner, regardless of how she feels. She rebuffs Cody’s attempts to rekindle a friendship and keeps him at arm’s length while she tries to convince herself that she’s not going to fall in love with him all over again.
Cody has been involved in get-rich-quick schemes before, and Crystal suspects him of using his own nuggets to start a gold rush that brings droves of newcomers to Cactus Station. Suddenly, the old town is humming with activity while Cody and Crystal try to house and feed an army of people searching for the Mother Lode.
Jackson takes time out from terrorizing the guests to unearth a skeleton from the hotel’s attic closet. The find brings tourists, the press and the local sheriff, Reed Dalton. Reed might spend most of his time searching for lost hikers in the barren desert, but he throws himself energetically into a murder investigation after the coroner declares a hole in the skeleton’s head was the result of foul play.
And then Jackson digs up a gold doubloon. The Lost Dutchman Mine may be lost no more, and the good news spreads quickly, turning the gold rush into a near-riot. Cody’s doing what he does best--orchestrating the three ring circus with all the aplomb of P. T. Barnham. He’s selling tickets to see the skeleton, running tours and spinning yarns, all while trying to win back Crystal’s heart.
But his tall tales suddenly turn from fabrication to reality. Guests see apparitions; buildings collapse and fires threaten to burn down what’s left of the town. Someone wants the doubloons at any cost and isn’t worried about who gets hurt or even killed during the treasure hunt.
The sheriff’s investigation leads him to look again at a mine collapse that killed both Cody and Crystal’s uncles. Suddenly, Cody’s under suspicion for murder, and the guests, prospectors and tourists are all running back to civilization before they become the next victims.
Crystal believes in Cody’s innocence, but can she help him prove it? Even more importantly for both of them, can she learn to trust and love him again?
An Awe-Struck Release
Heather Ames has lived a nomadic life in 5 countries and 6 states. Aspects of her experiences are woven into the backdrops for her novels as well as her characters, but thankfully, when it comes to romantic suspense, are not autobiographical. Heather writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and mysteries. An avid reader, she also maintains a blog with a fellow writer and enjoys hiking, gardening, music and of course, travel.
"Ms. Ames has a special talent for painting the setting in this book...the story is pretty much unputdown-able. Oh, and did I mention that Cody, a tall, slender cowboy with a sense of humor, is a hero to drool over? I enjoyed All That Glitters and would definitely recommend it to any romance lover who wants to spend a few hours lost in a good book." Reviewed by Heliotrope of Long and Short Reviews, 4 BOOKS
"This is a fascinating tale of lost treasure and lost love. It's a beautiful mesh of a love story and a mystery/suspense novel. I found myself unable to stop reading. The suspense was driving me on and I couldn't believe all the things that happened in the end. You'll want to read every word. It's a bang up ending to a great book."
“This was a lovely story, well worth the read - witty, intriguing, a big comedy of errors with two people who you just know should be together, and finally do come together despite an endless barrage of circumstances. Cody and Crystal have strong personalities, they have their own personal hang-ups and fears, yet Heather Ames delightfully brings them together in the end, and you know their life together will be happy. This is one of those stories that would make a terrific movie, if the plot stayed true and wasn’t completely rewritten by Hollywood, a movie. I would definitely go see and it is a book I will read again.”Desiree -- Enchanting Reviews
"All That Glitters contains a great cast of characters who keep the pace moving through a lively story loaded with romance and mystery. Numerous newcomers trying to find their place in Cactus Junction bring a richness and believability to the tale. An old mangy mutt who understands conversations adds humor to the mix. Heather Ames paints vivid descriptions of the old ghost town that will have the reader believing they are standing in the street breathing the dust and feeling the heat of a town trying to come back to life. As buildings begin to collapse and fire threatens to destroy their efforts to save the historical site, Cody and Crystal scramble to find answers to the allusive mysterious incidents plaguing the town and driving residents away. When Sheriff Reed Davis arrives to arrest Cody for the murder of the uncles and the theft of the missing doubloons, Crystal sets aside her anger at Cody and springs into action. All That Glitters belongs on the list of superb suspense stories. It's oh so refreshing when characters come to life with all their faults and foibles. I am looking forward to reading more from Heather Ames."Gail -- Night Owl Romance Reviews
4 1/2 LIPS
“Heather Ames has penned a suspenseful story that kept me on the edge of my seat. Although this was a slap and tickle romance, I was much too busy reading to care. The All That Glitters mayhem included Jackson, Cody's cranky dog; a skeleton in a closet; a mad gold rush; and a casket in the parlor. This was a very well written book that I fell in love with. I do hope there is a sequel!”Alisha -- 2 Lips Reviews
"I really enjoyed this story, it is billed as a contemporary romance, but has the added bonus of a good suspense plotline. Cody and Crystal are very real characters, both are too stubborn at times for their own good, but the biker couple Jolie and Harold become the voice of common sense. The subplot of the dog and his doubloons adds quite a bit of interest. I loved reading about Cody's get rich quick schemes and Crystal's slower more orthodox ways of becoming successful...the author's characterizations and dialogue...and love scenes are excellent."Maura -- Coffee Time Romance
“A hot, dusty town replete with buildings in danger of falling down, fun characters wandering the area searching for gold, romantic squabbling between two people who should know better--all add to the flavor of the story…well drawn characters will greet you in every chapter and keep you reading. A well told tale will make you a satisfied reader and feel this book was well worth the time.”Anne K. -- Edwards of Mystery Fiction Reviews
“All That Glitters by Heather Ames is an entertaining read that keeps you guessing at the outcome as each page turns. The relationship between Crystal and Cody is rife with conflict, misunderstanding, and ultimately, deep emotion. Ms. Ames paints a vivid picture for her readers with her descriptions of the small town of Cactus Junction and those who inhabit it. You can practically feel the hot air circulating around the reception desk as the book opens, and by the end of chapter one you are ready to dust the dirt off of your jeans. Cody Blye is an unconventional hero that I found refreshing. Ms. Ames has broken out of the typical mold of what we expect to see in a male lead with great success. He is a character you will root for, and in the end, be thrilled when he is seen for the man he truly is.”Devon -- Fallen Angel Reviews
He paused on the landing while he tried to decide which of the many closed doors to kick open first. She must have put her foot through a rotten floor board and fallen, he thought, his heart racing. Or had the ceiling fallen in on her?
"Crystal, for God's sake answer me!"
"Up here." Weak and shaky, her voice came from the attic.
Cody charged up the steps. What the devil was claustrophobic Crystal doing up there? Something must be really wrong.
"Are you okay?" He glanced around the dimly lit space. His flashlight lay beside the freezer, two floors below. He blinked in an effort to adjust his vision.
"I-I'm okay, I guess."
She sounded close to tears. Cody cursed under his breath. He couldn't handle Crystal if she was crying. He'd lose his detachment and make a complete fool of himself.
"Where are you?"
"Over here. In the corner."
He found her crouching beside a large object on the floor. Relief flooded him, along with anger. She should never have gone up there alone. She could have endangered herself and him, too.
"What are you doin'?" He grabbed her arm and hauled her to her feet. "You screamed so loud, I thought you were hurt."
For once, she didn't try to shake him off. In fact, she collapsed against him, her shoulders quivering under the thin cotton blouse.
"I-I opened the closet and something fell on top of me. I don't know what it was, but it...it felt...hideous."
Against his better judgment, Cody held her. He didn't care about unidentified objects falling out of closets. In fact, he was absurdly grateful to whatever had frightened Crystal. She'd kept her distance until now, suddenly and miraculously, she was in his arms.
He was treading on very dangerous ground, but he couldn't help himself. The clean, fresh scent of her dazzled his senses. The warmth of her body next to his stirred a familiar ache. He buried his face in her hair and allowed his memories to seep out of their hiding place deep inside him. He'd held her in just such a way all those years before. He remembered the sweetness and closed his eyes, resting his cheek against the top of her head.
"It'll be okay." His hands soothed her, stilling her tremors with their touch.
Crystal burrowed against his chest and sighed. "I was so scared," she whispered. "I heard a crash and came up here looking for Jackson."
"You should have called me."
"I know. I thought he'd gone into one of the guest's rooms and broken something. Then I heard him barking up here." She pulled away, sniffling. "Pretty stupid, huh?"
"We all make mistakes. I'm just glad you're okay."
He hated the way she'd broken contact. His arms felt empty. The old gnawing filled his gut. He thought he'd conquered that feeling, only to find it resurrected the moment he touched her again.
"Thanks for coming to save me." She patted his arm awkwardly.
Cody felt a glimmer of hope at her touch, but he forced himself not to push his advantage. Step by small step, he reminded himself. Win back her trust first.
"I think we'd better find out what fell on me," Crystal said.
"Then we need some more light. There's a flashlight in my tool kit."
"You'd better get it, then."
Did he imagine it, or was her voice husky? He thought again of her claustrophobia. "You want to come with me?"
"No thanks. I'm okay now."
Still he hesitated, unwilling to leave her alone in the darkness, the dust and the cobwebs.
"Really," she said. "I'll wait here."
Cody used the time he was gone to compose himself, and figured Crystal stayed in the attic to do the same thing. When he returned, they discovered the object was a rolled up maroon blanket.
"Is that all?" He breathed a sigh of relief.
"There's something in it." Crystal grabbed the flashlight from him. She sounded indignant. "It felt really heavy, and it knocked me over."
"A good gust of wind would knock you down," Cody said. "You're just as skinny now as you used to be."
"Don't be ridiculous. And don't be so rude, either, calling me skinny."
"It's easy to let your imagination run away with you when you're frightened," he reasoned.
"I'm not going to get thrown to the floor by a rolled up blanket," she snapped, their moment of shared intimacy suddenly no more than a memory. "Open it up." She kicked the blanket with her foot, but then stepped back. "Go ahead." She waved the flashlight at him. "You do it. You're the man around here, as you keep reminding me. Just be careful there aren't any scorpions or snakes in there."
Cody felt like shaking her until her teeth rattled. There she went again--ordering him around like he was the hired help instead of her partner. "Fine." He squatted down. "Leave all the dirty jobs for me." He shook his head at her. "You're startin' to believe all those ghost stories and tall tales, Miss Crystal. What do you think's in there...a body?