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DANIELLE STEEL“STEEL IS ONE OF THE BEST!”—Los Angeles Times“THE PLOTS OF DANIELLE STEEL'S NOVELS TWIST AND WEAVE AS INCREDIBLE STORIES UNFOLD TO THE DELIGHT OF HER ENORMOUS READING PUBLIC!”—United Press International“Ms. Steel's fans won't be disappointed!”—The New York Times Book Review“Steel writes convincingly about universal human emotions.”—Publishers Weekly“One of the world's most popular authors.”—The Baton Rouge SunA LITERARY GUILD DUAL MAIN SELECTION
A DOUBLEDAY BOOK CLUB MAIN SELECTION“ENTIRELY PLAUSIBLE … VERY MUCH ABOUT 'REAL' PEOPLE … DADDY HAS MORE MALE TEARS THAN YOU FIND IN YOUR AVERAGE NOVEL—BUT THEN, OLIVER'S IS A FOUR-HANDKERCHIEF SITUATION.”—Daily News (New York)“A REFRESHING NEW TANGENT … A WELL-DONE, OFFBEAT STORY.”—Los Angeles Times“A BITTERSWEET STORY … IT'S DIFFICULT TO TURN THE PAGES FAST ENOUGH.”—US magazine“CAPTIVATING … A GREAT STORY, A REAL PAGE-TURNER, FULL OF INSIGHT AND COMPASSION AND CHARACTERS THAT WILL TUG AT YOUR HEART AS THEY STRUGGLE WITH THE CHANGES IN THEIR LIVES. YOU'LL WANT TO CHEER THEM ON AS THEY LEARN TO COPE… STEEL IS AT THE TOP OF HER BEST-SELLING FORM.”—Houston Chronicle“MAY EVEN BE THE BEST OF THE TWO DOZEN NOVELS STEEL HAS MINED IN 17 YEARS.”—Fort Worth Morning Star-Telegram“THERE AREN'T ANY SLOW MOMENTS, AND THE THREE GENERATIONS GIVE THE AUTHOR A LARGE CANVAS ON WHICH TO SKETCH IN DE TAILS OF SINGLE PARENTHOOD, ROMANCE, AND MODERN SEX IN AN EVER-CHANGING WORLD.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch“FAST-PACED PLOTTING.”—The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)“ONE COUNTS ON DANIELLE STEEL FOR A STORY THAT ENTERTAINS AND INFORMS … IT WOULD BE HARD TO FIND A BETTER BIT OF POPULAR FICTION FOR READING ON A COLD NIGHT.”—The Chattanooga Times“A PAGE-TURNER … [WE] GROW TO CARE ABOUT HER CHARACTERS … FRESH, NEW … HER MOST INTERESTING AND UNIQUE NOVEL IN MANY YEARS.”—Rave Reviews“STEEL CONTINUES TO DO WHAT SHE DOES VERY, VERY WELL.”—Kirkus Reviews
Books by Danielle Steel
DATING GAME JEWELS ANSWERED PRAYERS NO GREATER LOVE SUNSET IN ST. TROPEZ HEARTBEAT THE COTTAGE MESSAGE FROM NAM THE KISS DADDY LEAP OF FAITH STAR LONE EAGLE ZOYA JOURNEY KALEIDOSCOPE THE HOUSE ON HOPE STREET FINE THINGS THE WEDDING WANDERLUST IRRESISTIBLE FORCES SECRETS GRANNY DAN FAMILY ALBUM BITTERSWEET FULL CIRCLE MIRROR IMAGE CHANGES HIS BRIGHT LIGHT! THURSTON HOUSE THE STORY OF NICK TRAINA CROSSINGS THE KLONE AND I ONCE IN A LIFETIME THE LONG ROAD HOME A PERFECT STRANGER THE GHOST REMEMBRANCE SPECIAL DELIVERY PALOMINO THE RANCH LOVE: POEMS SILENT HONOR THE RING MALICE LOVING FIVE DAYS IN PARIS TO LOVE AGAIN LIGHTNING SUMMER'S END WINGS SEASON OF PASSION THE GIFT THE PROMISE ACCIDENT NOW AND FOREVER VANISHED PASSION'S PROMISE MIXED BLESSINGS GOING HOME
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He talked about things like living in the country, having Irish setters, wanting four kids, and a wife who didn't work, and she made fun of him for it. But he just grinned that incredible boyish grin that made her heart pound even then … even when she pretended to herself that what she really wanted was a man with hair longer than her own … an artist … a sculptor … a writer … someone “creative.” Oliver was creative, and he was smart. He had graduated magna from Harvard, and the trends of the sixties had never touched him. When she marched, he fished her out of jail, when she argued with him, even calling him names, he explained quietly and rationally what he believed in. And he was so damn decent, so good-hearted, he was her best friend, even when he made her angry. They would meet in the Village sometimes, or uptown for coffee, or drinks, or lunch, and he would tell her what he was doing and ask her about the latest piece she was writing. He knew she was good, too, but he didn't see why she couldn't be “creative” and married.
“… Marriage is for women who are looking for someone to support them. I want to take care of myself, Oliver Watson.” And she was capable of it, or she had been then, after a fashion. She had worked as a part-time gallery sitter in SoHo, and a free-lance writer. And she'd made money at it. Sometimes. But now, sometimes, she wondered if she would still be able to take care of herself, to support herself, to fill out her own tax forms, and make sure her health insurance hadn't lapsed. In the eighteen years they'd been married, she'd become so dependent on him. He took care of all the little problems in her life, and most of the big ones. It was like living in a hermetically sealed world, with Ollie always there to protect her.
She counted on him for everything, and more often than not, it scared her. What if something happened to him? Could she manage? Would she be able to keep the house, to support herself, or the kids? She tried to talk to him about it sometimes, and he only laughed, and told her she'd never have to worry. He hadn't made a fortune, but he had done well and he was responsible. He had lots of life insurance. Madison Avenue had been good to him, and at forty-four, he was the number three man at Hinkley, Burrows, and Dawson, one of the biggest ad agencies in the country. He had brought in their four biggest accounts himself and he was valuable to the firm, and respected among his peers. He had been one of the youngest vice-presidents in the business, and she was proud of him. But it still scared her. What was she doing out here, in pretty little Purchase, watching the snow fall, and waiting for the kids to come home, while she pretended to write a story … a story that would never be written, that would never end, that would never go anywhere, just like the others she had tried to write in the last two years. She had decided to go back to writing on the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday. It had been an important decision for her. Thirty-nine had actually been worse than turning forty. By forty, she was resigned to “impending doom,” as she woefully called it. Oliver took her to Europe alone for a month for her fortieth birthday. The kids were away at camp, two of them anyway, and her mother-in-law had kept Sam. He had only been seven then, and it was the first time she'd left him. It had been like opening the gates to heaven when she got to Paris … no car pools … no children … no pets … no PTA … no benefit dinners to run for the school or the local hospitals … no one … nothing … except the two of them, and four unforgettable weeks in Europe. Paris … Rome … driving through Tuscany, a brief stop on the Italian Riviera, and then a few days on a boat he rented, drifting between Cannes and St. Tropez … driving up to Eze and Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and dinner at the Colombe d'Or, and then a few final whirlwind days in London. She had scribbled constantly during the trip, and filled seven notebooks. But when she got home … nothing. None of it wanted to be woven into stories, or tales, or articles, or even poems. She just sat there, staring at her notebooks, and a blank page in her typewriter that she never seemed to fill. And she was still doing it a year and a half later. At forty-one, she felt as though her entire life were behind her. And Oliver always laughed at her when she said it.
“Christ, Sarrie … you haven't changed a bit since I met you.” And he meant it. It was almost true. But not quite. She, and those who wanted to be critical, could tell the difference. The shining dark red hair that used to hang down her back in sheets of coppery brilliance had faded to a reddish brown now. She wore it to her shoulders and there were more than a few threads of silver, which bothered the children more than they did Sarah. The bright blue eyes were the same, they were a dark, vibrant blue, and the creamy skin was still fine and for the most part unlined, but there were tiny traces of time here and there, but Oliver only said that they gave her face more expression. She was a pretty woman, and she had been a pretty girl, long and lean, with a good figure and graceful hands, and a sense of humor that danced in her eyes. It was that that he had loved about her from the first. Her laughter and her fire, and her courage, and her rabid determination to stick by what she believed in. There were those who thought her difficult when she was young, but not Ollie. Never Ollie. He liked the way she thought, and the things she said, and the way she said them. They had a relationship built on mutual respect and caring, and they had a very good time in bed. They always had, and they still did. Sometimes he even thought that after twenty years it was better. And it was, in some ways. They knew each other perfectly, like satin-smooth wood that had been touched and caressed and traveled a thousand times by loving hands and the tenderness of true belonging.
It had taken him exactly two years to convince her to marry him after her SoHo days, and at twenty-three she had become Mrs. Oliver Watson. Balking all the way, and in typical fashion, she had refused to have a traditional wedding. They had been married in the garden of his parents' Pound Ridge home, and her parents and her younger sister had come from Chicago. Sarah had worn a bright red dress and a big picture hat, and she looked more like a young girl in a painting than a bride, but they had both been happy. They had gone to Bermuda for their honeymoon, and the weather had been lousy, but they never noticed. They laughed and played, and stayed in bed until the late afternoon, emerging only for an early foray in the staid dining room of the hotel, and then they would hurry back to their room again, giggling and laughing, like two children.
It was three weeks after that that Sarah was less amused. They were living in a small apartment on Second Avenue, in a building filled with stewardesses and young executives, and “singles” who seemed to turn the entire building into a constant party.
He had come home from work to find her looking as though her best friend had died. But it was no friend, it was only “the rabbit.” She had been puzzled by the absence of her period once they got home, but she had been religious about using her diaphragm, and knew she couldn't be pregnant. She had worn it practically night and day from the altar till they got home from their honeymoon, but somehow, some way, something had gone wrong, and she was pregnant. And she wanted to have an abortion. Oliver was horrified that she would even think of it. But Sarah was even more so at the thought of having children so quickly.
“We don't want a family yet … I want to get a job again … to do something …”She'dbeen thinking of getting a job this time as an editor at a literary magazine, her stories hadn't been selling quite as well, and she had applied to Columbia Graduate School to do some work toward her master's. She had quit the gallery-sitting job as soon as she married Ollie, because commuting to SoHo every day wouldn't have been convenient.
“You can always get a job later!” He reasoned with her. He comforted, he cajoled, he did everything he could to try to make her feel better. But she was inconsolable, and every evening on the way home, he was suddenly overwhelmed by a wave of terror … what if she did it … if she went to someone while he was at work, and had an abortion. But she didn't. Somehow, she was too sick, and too exhausted, and too depressed to even attempt it, and the next thing she knew she was waddling around their apartment, wondering how she could have let it happen. But Oliver was thrilled. He wanted four kids, he had always said so, and even if it stretched their budget just then, he was willing to face it. He was doing well, advancing rapidly in the firm, and even if they had been starving, he wouldn't have let her get an abortion. He just wouldn't. It was their baby. Theirs. And long before the baby came, he loved it.
Benjamin Watson arrived with a shock of bright red hair, and a look of astonishment in his bright eyes, exactly nine months and three days after his parents' wedding. He looked anxious to discover the world, cried a lot, and looked almost exactly like his mother, much to Oliver's delight, who was thrilled to have a son, and particularly one who looked like Sarah. Benjamin grew like a weed, and had more than Sarah's looks. He had her determination, her stubbornness, and her fiery temper. And there were days when she thought she would strangle the child before Oliver got home to soothe them. Within minutes of his arrival on the scene, he had the baby cooing happily, laughing, playing peekaboo, and he walked around the house, carrying him in his arms, while Sarah collapsed in a chair with a sigh and a glass of wine, wondering how she was going to survive it. Motherhood was definitely not her strong suit, and the apartment was so small, it was driving her crazy. When the weather was bad, as it often was that year, they couldn't get out at all, and the baby's screams seemed to echo off the walls until she thought she would go crazy. Oliver wanted to move them out of town somewhere to a home of their own, but that dream was still a long way off, they couldn't afford it. Sarah offered to get a job, but whenever they tried to figure it out, it seemed pointless, whatever she might have earned would have gone to pay a sitter, leaving them with no more money than they had before. The only ourpose it would serve would be to get her out of the house, and although it appealed to Sarah, Oliver thought that it was important for her to be with the baby.