When Lacy Jarrett and Cole Whitehall are unwittingly compromised into marriage, her dreams of a passionate forever are met with hard, cold resentment. For the boy whom she teased and flirted with not so long ago has been changed by the horrors of war. But Lacy vows to reignite the sensual fire dormant in their souls and unlock the secrets of Cole's stormy heart . . .
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The prolific author of more than 100 books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A multi-New York Times bestselling author and one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :
The party was getting noisier by the minute.
Lacy Jarrett Whitehall watched it with an air of total withdrawal. All that wild jazz, the kicky dancing, the bathtub gin flowing like water as it was passed from sloshing glass to teacup. She wasn't really as much a participant as she was an onlooker. It made her feel alive to watch other people enjoying themselves. Lacy hadn't felt alive in a long time.
Many of the neighbors were elderly people, and she suffered a pang of conscience at what, to them, must have seemed like licentious behavior.The Charleston was considered a vulgar dance by the older generation. Jazz, they said, was decadent. Ladies smoked in public and swore--and some actually wore their stockings rolled to just below the kneecap.They wore galoshes, unfastened, so that they flapped when they walked--hence the name given to the new generation: flappers. Shocking behavior to a society that had only since the war come out of the Victorian Age.The war had changed everything. Even now, four years after the armistice, people were still recovering from the horror of it. Some had never recovered. Some never would.
In the other room, laughing couples were dancing merrily to "Yes,We Have No Bananas" blaring from Lacy's new radio. It was like having an orchestra right in the room, and she marveled a little at the modern devices that were becoming so commonplace. Not that any of these gay souls were contemplating the scientific advances of the early twenties.They were too busy drinking Lacy's stealthily obtained, prohibition-special gin and eating the catered food. Money could almost buy absolution, she mused.The only thing it couldn't get her was the man she wanted most.
She fingered her teacup of gin with a long, slender finger, its pink nail perfectly rounded.The color matched the dropped-waist frock she was wearing with its skirt at her knees. It would have shocked Marion Whitehall and the local ladies around Spanish Flats, she thought. Like her friends, she wore her hair in the current bobbed fashion. It was thick and dark and straight, and it curved toward her delicate facial features like leaves lifting to the sun. Under impossibly thick lashes, her pale, bluish gray eyes had a restlessness that was echoed in the soft, shifting movements of her tall, perfectly proportioned body. She was twenty-four, and looked twenty-one. Perhaps being away from Coleman had taken some of the age off her. She laughed bitterly as she coped with the thought. Her eyes closed on a wave of pain so sweeping that it counteracted the stiff taste of the gin. Coleman! Would she ever forget?
It had all been a joke, the whole thing. One of brother-in-law Ben's practical jokes had compromised Lacy, after she'd been locked in a line cabin all night with Cole. Nothing had happened, except that Cole had given her hell, blaming her for it. But it was what people thought happened that counted. In big cities, the new morals and wild living that had followed World War I were all the rage. But down in Spanish Flats, Texas, a two-hour drive from San Antonio, things were still very straitlaced.And the Whitehalls, while not wealthy, were well known and much respected in the community. Marion Whitehall had been in hysterics about the potential disgrace, so Cole had spared his mother's tender feelings by marrying Lacy. But not willingly.
Lacy had been taken in by Marion Whitehall eight years ago, after Lacy's own parents died on the Lusitania when it was torpedoed by the Germans. Lacy's mother and Cole's had been best friends. Lacy's one remaining relative, a wealthy great-aunt, had declared herself too elderly and set in her ways to take on a teenager.The Whitehalls' invitation had been a godsend. Lacy had agreed, but mostly because it allowed her to be near Cole. She'd worshipped him since her wealthy family had moved to Spanish Flats from Georgia when Lacy had been just thirteen to be near her great-aunt Lucy and great-uncle Horace Jacobsen, who had retired from business after making a fortune in the railroad industry. Great-uncle Horace had, in fact, founded the town of Spanish Flats and named it for the Whitehall ranch, which had sheltered him in a time of desperate need. He and Lacy's great-aunt had been a social force in San Antonio in those days, but it was Spanish Flats Ranch, not Great-uncle Horace's towering Victorian mansion that had fascinated Lacy from the beginning--as did the tall cattleman on the ranch property. It had been love on first impact, even though Cole's first words to her had been scathing when she'd ridden too close to one of his prize bulls and had almost gotten gored.That hadn't put her off, though. If anything, his cold, quiet, authoritative manner had attracted her, challenged her, long before she knew who he was.
ColemanWhitehall was an enigma in so many ways.A loner, like his old Comanche grandfather who'd taken him over in his youth and showed him a vanished way of life and thought. But he'd been kind to Lacy for all that, and there were times when she'd glimpsed a different man, watching him with the cowboys. The somber, serious Cole she thought she knew was missing in the lean rancher who got up very early one morning, caught a rattlesnake, defanged it and put it in bed with a cowboy who'd played a nasty practical joke on him.The resulting pandemonium had left him almost collapsed with laughter,along with the other witnesses.It had shown her a side of Cole that she remembered now for its very elusiveness.
Despite his responsibilities at home, the lure of airplanes and battle had gotten to Cole. He'd learned to fly at a local barnstorming show, and had become fascinated with this new mode of transportation. The sinking of the Lusitania had brought his fighting blood up, and convinced him that America would inevitably be pulled into war. He'd kept up his practice at the airfield, even though his father's death had stopped him from joining the group of pilots in the French Escadrille Americaine, which became the exclusive Lafayette Escadrille.
When America did enter the war in 1917, a neighboring rancher had taken responsibility for the ranch and womenfolk in his absence, keeping the land grabbers away with financial expertise. Meanwhile Lacy and Katy and Ben and Marion had watched the newspapers with mounting horror, reading the posted casualty lists with stopped breath, with sinking fear. But Coleman seemed invincible. It wasn't until the year after the armistice, when he'd turned up back at the ranch after a few sparsely worded letters, an old flying buddy in tow, that they'd learned he'd been shot down by the Germans. He'd only written that he'd been wounded, not how. But apparently it hadn't done him any lasting damage. He was the same taciturn, hard man he'd been before he'd gone to France.
Well, not quite the same. Lacy treasured the precious few memories she had of Cole's tenderness, his warmth. He hadn't always been cold--especially not the day he'd left to go to war. There had been times when he was so human, so caring. Now, there was a coldness that was alien, a toughness that perhaps the war had created. Not that the family had any real idea of what the war had been like for him on a personal basis; he never spoke of it.
Ben had been too young to fight. With Cole's return, he'd followed after his big brother with wide, dark eyes, all questions and pleas to hear about it. But Coleman wouldn't tell him a thing. So Ben hounded Jude Sheridan. Jude, whom Coleman called Turk, had been an ace pilot with twelve credited kills. He was an easygoing, too-handsome man with a quick temper and a physique that kept young Katy awake nights sighing over him. Turk had filled Ben's ear with bloodcurdling tales--until Coleman had gotten tired of it and stopped Turk from encouraging his young brother.
That was about the same time that he'd had to stop Katy from tagging along after the tall, blond flyer who'd become his ranch foreman.Turk was good with horses, and he had a shocking reputation with women. But that was something Katy wasn't going to find out, Cole had informed her coldly.Turk was his friend, not a potential conquest, and Katy had better remember it. Even now, Lacy could see the heartbreak on the slender,green-eyed girl's face as Cole blasted her dreams away.He'd even gone so far as to threaten her with firingTurk altogether. So Katy had withdrawn--from her brother, from her family--and had gone wild with the new morality. She'd bought outrageous clothes; she began to use makeup. She went to parties in San Antonio and drank outlawed bathtub gin. And the more Coleman threatened her, the wilder she got.
About that time, Ben had turned his attention to Lacy. It had been embarrassing, because she was twenty-three and Ben only eighteen. Coleman teased him about it when he got wind of it, which only added to the frustration. One night, Ben lured Cole and Lacy to a line cabin and locked them in. He went home to bed, and by the time they were discovered the next morning, they were hopelessly compromised. So Coleman did the expected thing and married her. But he resented her, ignored her, put a wall between them that all her efforts hadn't dented. He refused to let her close enough to give their marriage a chance.
There had been an attraction between them for a long time-- a purely physical one on his part--that had found its first expression the day he'd left for the war. Despite the promise of that long-ago embrace, he hadn't touched Lacy since he'd been home again, not until after the wedding.The tension between them had reached flash point after an argument in the barn. Cole had backed her up against the wall that rainy morning in the barn and had kissed her until her mouth was swollen and her body raging with unexpected passion.That night, he'd come to her room and, in the darkness, had taken her. But it had been quick, and painful, and she remembered the strength in his lean hands as he'd held her wrists beside her head, not even allowing her to touch him through the brief intimacy while his hard mouth smothered her cries of pain. He'd...
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Description du livre Ivy Books, Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A., 1993. Soft Cover. État : New. 4th Printing. hard to find historical romance, paperback, 4th printing, 1/93. Condition is new, unread condition, only slight shelf wear on cover. A beautiful book. WRAPPED IN A PLASTIC BAG TO PROTECT CONDITION OF BOOK.We have other titles in this genre in stock and give discounts in shipping on additional books sent in the same package, please contact us for more info .Summary -When Lacy Jarrett and Cole Whitehall are unwittingly compromised into marriage, her dreams of passionate forever are met with nard, cold resentment. For the boy whom she teased and flirted with not so long ago has been changed by the horrors of war. Their uneasy union bridles with torment-made worse by the blantant desire that remains unquenched and unchallanged. But Lacy's undying love for the hansome Texan is her destiny, and she vows to reignite the sensual fire dormant in their souls and unlock the secrets of Cole's stormy heart. N° de réf. du libraire 070305003
Description du livre Ivy Books, 1991. Mass Market Paperback. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire M0804107904