In The Collector—the latest from powerhouse author Nora Roberts—YA writer and professional house-sitter Lila Emerson enjoys the rootless quality of her life since it allows her to explore different places and observe different people. As a matter of fact, people-watching is her hobby of sorts.
One night, as Lila settles in à la Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock's Rear Window to watch the activity in a nearby New York City high-rise, she witnesses an assault that ends with a woman falling from her apartment to her death. Lila’s emergency call brings the police, but there are no clear-cut leads, since she didn't see the perpetrator. The next day, Lila visits the police station, where she runs into Ashton Archer, the half brother of a man found dead in the apartment from which the woman fell. An artist from a wealthy, complicated family, the grieving Ash turns to Lila. He’s convinced it wasn’t a murder-suicide and is hoping she might be able to aid the investigation. Ash is moved by Lila’s kindness and compassion, and a visit to the apartment where she’s staying—to see her vantage point of witnessing the crime—makes him even more aware of her charms.
It’s not long before Lila is drawn further into the mystery . . . and drawn to Ash. The talented and successful painter is used to getting what he wants—and while he wants to uncover the truth about the untimely deaths, he also wants to explore his feelings for the fascinating Lila. The two enjoy their simmering attraction, even though Lila fears it’s most likely just a byproduct of the intense situation. Ash has fewer qualms, despite the fact that his father accuses Lila of involvement in the crime and that the police seem suspicious of their quick connection. After another murder, Lila and Ash attempt to ferret out what’s going on around them. Ash worries about having dragged her into the dangerous situation, but Lila refuses to back away from him. Though it’s against her nature to hold onto things, Ash is proving too tempting to release.
Ash and Lila are determined to stop the killer before more blood is shed, but their ferreting has made them the target of the sociopathic assassin. Afraid that if they retreat the villain will only hide and wait, Ash and Lila come up with a scheme that even the authorities feel is worth the risk to end the killings.
Rich historical details of Russian treasure, a trip to vineyards of Tuscany and an independent woman who must learn to rely on the gorgeous man who wants her both on his canvases and in his life combine to make The Collector a juicy, suspenseful tale to snuggle in with and savor.