Blood Stains (Searchers Series) [NOOK Book]


At the reading of her father's will, Maria Slade receives shocking news—as a four-year-old, she'd witnessed her prostitute mother's murder and been taken into hiding by the well-meaning preacher who'd raised her as his own.

Maria remembers none of that. But now she's determined to flush her mother's killer out of hiding and discover the identity of her birth father. She heads to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she meets Detective Bodie Scott.


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Blood Stains (Searchers Series)

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At the reading of her father's will, Maria Slade receives shocking news—as a four-year-old, she'd witnessed her prostitute mother's murder and been taken into hiding by the well-meaning preacher who'd raised her as his own.

Maria remembers none of that. But now she's determined to flush her mother's killer out of hiding and discover the identity of her birth father. She heads to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she meets Detective Bodie Scott.

Empathizing with this beautiful woman looking to find out who she really is, he opens the decades-old case file. Their investigation leads them down a dangerous path, where no one is what they seem. Where a father does not want to be found. And a murderer has "like mother, like daughter" in mind for Maria.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Sala (Blown Away) gives three sisters their quests in this strong romantic suspense trilogy opener. Maria, Savannah, and Holly Slade have just buried their father, Andrew Slade, a successful Montana rancher. His attorney instructs them to watch a video, where Andrew tells them they are not his biological daughters or even blood sisters. He adopted four-year-old Maria after she witnessed the murder of her prostitute mother. While her sisters seek their pasts, Maria flies to Tulsa, Okla., to find her mother's killer. There she meets handsome cowboy detective Bodie Scott, who says he'll help her solve the 20-year-old cold case. But the man they seek has seen Maria, and he's ready to kill again. Powerful plotting and strong characters overcome Sala's fondness for repetitive and padded prose. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426884306
  • Publisher: MIRA
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Series: Searchers Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 106,930
  • File size: 546 KB

Meet the Author

Sharon Sala is a native of Oklahoma and a member of Romance Writers of America. She is a NYT, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, WaldenBooks mass market, Bestselling author of 85 plus books written as Sharon Sala and Dinah McCall. She's a 7 time RITA finalist, Janet Dailey Award winner, 5 time National Reader's Choice Award winner, 4 time Career Achievement Award from RT Magazine, 4 time winner of Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence.
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Read an Excerpt

The dark mound of dirt in the Slade family cemetery marked the final resting place of family patriarch Andrew Slade. Flowers that had been placed on the grave three days earlier were already shriveled from the chill Montana spring. He had been buried beside his loving wife, Hannah, on the Montana ranch that had been his solace, and no amount of weeping or praying could change the fact that he was dead. Although, if that had been possible, he would already have been resurrected.

His three daughters had been blindsided by his passing and were still dealing with the devastation.

The doctor called it an aneurysm.

His daughters called it a tragedy.

But they'd been raised to endure, and even though their hearts were broken, they were tending to business, just as they'd been taught.

At the age of twenty-four years, Maria Slade was not the oldest, but she'd always been the leader, and today she was doing her best to keep her sisters' emotions intact.

All three still lived on the property. Maria was the one who thrived outdoors, who had ridden the ranch with her father and their foreman, Bud, and was also her father's best friend. She came alive outdoors, could rope and ride as well as any hired hand, and had recently taken up training horses as her chosen profession.

Savannah was the youngest, but a whiz with math. She kept the books, both for the ranch and its horse and cattle breeding program, without a hitch.

Holly was the homemaker. When Hannah died, she'd stepped into the breach and kept the cupboards full and the house spotless, and had hosted their annual barbeque as if she'd been born to the job.

Within the hour, they would be going to Missoula for the reading of the will. It marked the finality of their father's passing, and for that reason alone, Andrew's daughters were dragging their heels.

Because Maria had always taken the lead, she was rushing to get ready, knowing it would be her responsibility to get everyone and everything in place so they could leave.

She glanced at herself in the mirror, giving her appearance one last appraisal. Dark hair brushed. Brown slacks, jade-colored blouse and suede jacket—subdued enough for the occasion but still comfortable for the chill of the day. Chocolate-brown boots in case of rain.

She squinted, testing to see if that would hide the fact that her eyes were still red from a morning bout of weeping, and then sighed. Why hide the fact that she was grieving? Everyone knew it. Taking a deep breath, she pivoted sharply on one heel and stalked out of the room.

As she was going down the hall, she heard the front door open, then close with a thud. That would be Bud coming to tell them he'd brought the car around. Bud's diligence over the past few days had helped them through many rough patches. She knew he was grieving for their father as deeply as they were. He and Andrew had been good friends long before Bud had come to work at the ranch, and working together all these years had only deepened the tie.

As she reached Savannah's door, she knocked sharply and called out, "Bud's here. We need to go."

"Coming," Savannah answered.

Maria moved down the hall to the last door and repeated the process.

"Holly! Bud's here."

The door opened immediately.

"I'm ready," Holly said, and fell into step beside her sister. A moment later, a door opened behind them and Savannah ran to catch up.

They entered the living room in tandem, their shoulders stiff, their chins raised as if bracing for another blow.

Bud was waiting for them. "The wind is sharp and it looks like rain. You might want to get some rain gear."

"We aren't made of sugar. We won't melt," Maria muttered.

Savannah stifled a sob and reached for Maria's hand.

Holly's chin quivered. "That's what Dad always said."

"Don't say I didn't warn you," Bud muttered, then spun on his heel and opened the door for them.

As the women grabbed their coats from the hall closet, they cast guilty glances at the firm set of his jaw. Maria reminded herself again that Bud was grieving, too.

"Sorry," she said, and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek as she walked past.

He hugged her back as an apology for his gruffness. "No need to apologize, sugar. We're all pretty raw."

Savannah laid her hand briefly on his forearm and gave it a squeeze.

Holly's gaze locked on his as she passed, then she blinked and turned away.

No one spoke as they got settled, and Bud put the car in gear and drove away from the ranch. It was too reminiscent of the feelings they'd had on the way to Andrew Slade's funeral. To add credence to Bud's warning, it began to rain before they got to the cattle guard at the end of the driveway.

Cattle stood in bunches with their heads down, their hindquarters turned toward the blowing rain. Andrew's quarter horse, Red, was tossing his head and neighing sharply as he circled the corral in a trot. He'd been acting up ever since Andrew's death. They had all been around animals long enough to know that the horse knew its master was gone and was as lost as the rest of them were.

Despite the rain that had begun to fall, the ranch hands who were fixing a break in the fence took off their hats as the car passed by them…honoring the family and the man who had been their boss. They were concerned, too, but for different reasons. They didn't know what would be happening to the Triple S. Would they still have jobs when this day was over?

A lone buzzard had perched on the crossbar over the entrance gate, waiting for a lull between gusts of the sharp north wind before taking flight. The intermittent sprinkle of accompanying moisture was more sleet than rain, a fitting reflection of the mood of the people inside the car as it passed beneath the buzzard's perch. The rattling sound of the car passing over the cattle guard sent the bird into the air, and as the car disappeared from sight, so did the ungainly scavenger.

Coleman Rice kept glancing at the clock and then back at the stack of paperwork on his desk as he paced his office. The Slade family was due to arrive at any moment, and he was dreading what was to come. In all his years as an attorney, Andrew Slade's will was certainly the most shocking he'd ever encountered. The information was so volatile that he had no idea how the women were going to react. He smoothed the hair down on both sides of his head and straightened his jacket just as he heard a commotion in the outer office. They were here.

He took a deep breath and unconsciously threw back his shoulders, as if bracing for what was to come. The door opened.

His secretary, Milly, announced unnecessarily, "The Slade family is here."

Coleman walked toward them, his hand extended.

"Ladies…Bud…I'm sorry to be seeing you under these circumstance. Please come in."

He had chairs arranged in a semicircle around the front of his desk, with a small, flat-screen TV on the bookshelf behind his chair.

"Take a seat," he said, gesturing toward the setting he'd arranged.

Bud seated the women, then took the last chair for himself. Once they had settled, Coleman got down to business.

"As you know…we're here today to read the last will and testament of Andrew Slade. It's brief and to the point, so I'll read it first. And then there's a video Andrew recorded for the four of you to see."

"Oh, no," Savannah muttered.

Maria took her hand. Holly took the other. The sisters sat quietly, bound by love and circumstance, while Bud looked as if he were wishing for this morning to be over.

"The dispersal of the property is straightforward," Coleman said, and proceeded to read through the where-ases and wherefores.

Maria began losing focus. Then she heard the lawyer clear his throat and tuned back in.

"The ranch will be left in equal parts to my daughters, Holly, Maria and Savannah, and to my treasured friend and foreman, Robert Tate."

Bud gasped. "No. That's not right. I didn't expect… he shouldn't have…it belongs to the—"

"Hush, Bud," Maria said sharply. "It is right. He did the exact right thing. We're family. All four of us—and we can't run the place without you."

Bud sat back, clearly stunned by the news.

Coleman held up his hand. "Let me finish."

The room got quiet.

"Besides the property and monies…there's the message Andrew left. Ladies, I will preface it by saying. it has nothing to do with what you've inherited—but it has everything to do with the rest of your lives."

The sisters glanced at each other, then at Bud.

He shrugged, as if to say he knew nothing about this. "Should I leave?" he asked.

Once again, Maria took charge. "No. You stay." Then she softened her voice as she added, "Please."

Bud nodded, then settled back in his seat, and they all watched as the lawyer slipped a disc into the player, hit a button, then left the room.

Andrew Slade's face appeared on the screen at the same time the door closed.

Breaths caught in unison, then they all exhaled softly as they braced themselves for whatever he had to say.

"Hello, my daughters. Obviously, if you're seeing this, I have passed on. Know that, while I am sorry to be leaving you behind, my faith in God and the knowledge that I will be with my beloved Hannah again is, for me, a cause to rejoice. However, what I have to say to you is something I've dreaded your entire lives, and I'm ashamed to say I chose the easy way out and left it for you to hear after my passing."

Unconsciously, the sisters leaned into each other. Maria noticed as Bud almost unconsciously slid an arm behind Holly's chair, as if bracing her against what was clearly going to be bad news. There was a muscle jerking at the side of Andrew's jaw as he faced the camera, which told her that her father had been under stress when he recorded his message. But she could not have imagined, in her wildest dreams, the words that came out of his mouth.

"My darling need to know that I am not really your father. Hannah was not really your mother, nor were any of you ever legally adopted."

Shock spread across all three women's faces.

"What the hell?" Bud muttered, unable to believe what he was hearing.

"There is more," Andrew added. "You are not sisters."

Maria gasped. Holly moaned. Savannah began to weep.

Bud's arm tightened around Holly's shoulders.

The sisters looked at each other in mute disbelief, then Maria gently squeezed one of Savannah's hands as Holly did the same to the other.

"We are sisters—in every way that counts," Maria said sharply.

Andrew's voice drew their focus back to the screen.

"By now, I suspect your grief at my passing has turned to shock…even anger. I understand. But what you three need to understand is.I believed with every fiber of my being that, as I was following my calling as an evangelical preacher, God led me to each of you at a time when you needed me most. There are journals that I've left with Coleman, one for each of you. Everything I know about your past is in there, along with why your mothers put you in my care.

"Maria, you were the first one. You were born Mary Blake, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Your mother had a hard life. She was, for lack of a better word, an escort at the time of her death. You were four years old when you witnessed her murder. As she lay dying, she begged me to take you and hide you. The details as to how it all happened are in your journal. To my knowledge, her murder was never solved.

"Savannah, you are actually Sarah Stewart from Miami, Florida, and the second child to be given to me. Your mother was dying of cancer and had come to my tent meetings to pray for healing. By then, Maria had been with me for nearly six months. You were barely two. You and Maria hit it off immediately when your mother came to hear me preach, and she saw the bond between you two. On the last night of the revival, she came to me in a panic. She and your father were not married, but he had never denied you, and he played an important role in your life. According to her, he was also a member of a very rich, powerful local family. When she learned she had inoperable cancer, he had stepped up and promised he would take you into the family, and he had informed them of his plans. The night she came to me, she was sobbing uncontrollably. Your father had been killed in a car accident early that morning, and already she had received a threat on your life. Aware that she had only weeks to live and no one else to whom she could turn, she begged me to take you and raise you with Maria. So I did. It was then that I began to understand I was being led down this path by a power greater than my own.

"Holly, you are my oldest, but you came to me last. You were born Harriet Mackey and were five when you and your mother showed up at a revival I was holding in St. Louis, Missouri. She seemed troubled, but I thought nothing of it. At one time or another, we are all troubled by something or someone. On the fourth and last night of the revival, I thought everyone was gone from the church. Maria and Savannah had gone to sleep in the pastor's office, and I was going to get them when your mother showed up at the door with you and a suitcase.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 62 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    Good read.

    If you are looking for something good - Blood Stains is one to reach for. It is a great start to the Searchers series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2011

    really good writing!

    I enjoyed the way it developed. Not to mention it was free..Keep up the good work. Could not stop reading the book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I've been a fan of Sharon Sala for years, including her alter eg

    I've been a fan of Sharon Sala for years, including her alter ego, Dinah McCall. This def wasn't my favorite of hers, but she's an autobuy for me and it was still a great book.

    The suspense angle of the book wasn't an edge-of-your-seat kind, but more a light, cozy mystery. The romance was sweet versus hot. Not a bad thing on either account. The concept was quite interesting. Three sisters find out after their dad's death that they are not biological, and that they all had violent pasts. They then set out to learn about their true history. The other books in the trilogy sound good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    Mantis & Kat's bios

    Mantis's bio <br> Name: Mantis. Age: 16. Gender: Male. Looks: Often wears a black hooded cloak that covers most of his face, save some of his wild black hair, one blue eye, and a wolfish smile. He wears all black otherwise. His wolf form has a black coat and is very large with the same eyes. Personality: In human form, he is very quiet and unsettling. He perferres to let Kat, with whom hes inseperrable, do the talking. He always has a creepy smile. As a wolf, he is cruel and heartless. He does not kill for fun. However, he always protects Kat at all costs. Crush: None. Heritage: unknown. Other: in wolf form, he will eat human flesh.<br>Kat's bio. <br> Name: Katrina. Age:10 Gender: girl. Looks: She has green eyes. She is very petite for her age. She always wears a pair of false wolf ears on her head. Her hair is long and white. It nearly touches the ground. She wears a purple light jacket with black furry mufflers on each arm and leg. She wears black capris and black ballet shoes. Her wolf form has a white pelt and is also very petite. Personality: She acts cute and innocent as much as possible. She is very talkative, unlike her partner Mantis. She is very friendly. However, once the full moon lights the sky, she change dramatically. She is cold and ruthless and likes nothing more than fresh human flesh underpaw. Crush: -_- shes ten. You pedo. Heritage: had a human mother and father, but killed them and ate their flesh. Other: will eat human flesh whenever the oppertunity is given, but detests eating other werewolves.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Jason's basic bio

    Name:Uh... wait I know this one! <br> Gender:male. <br> Age:18. <br> Siblings:idntical twin brother named Anthony (rps at vamp). <br> Parents:Had quite a few. Basic story at vamp res three. <br> Looks:Human-tall. Black jb styled hair. Brown eyes. Wolf-black shadowy. Red eyes. <p> That's it for now. Migjt update.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    Haven's Bio

    Name: Haven Sterling Jackson.
    <p>Appearance: White hair that falls down to her waist with straight bangs that stop just at her brows. Her skin is naturally tanned. She has big eyes that are a calm, ice blue with grey flecks around the pupil. She is 5"0. Her clothing choice consists of a pink baby tee, grey leggings and white fluffy booties. In wolf form she is of course small in stature, white fluffy fur and calm blue, grey eyes.
    <p>Personality: Very calm, gentle, kind, soft spoken, eager to help, always puts others first, generous, fun-loving, and happy.
    <p>Mate/Boyfriend: No, she has never had one but isn't put off by the idea.
    <p>Pups/Children: Yes. 7. :D I'm kiddin' 'course not.
    <p>Likes: Marshmellows, chocolate, babies, games, fall wheather, Christmas, pie, animals, gingerbread houses, movies, friends, annnnnnd all thinks cute. ^~^

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2013


    Name: luna. Age: 20 Gender: female looks: brown hair and eyes wolf form: chocolate briwn fur and brown eyes. Mate: looking. Ask about anything

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Taylor Burns Bio Updated

    Name-Phil Age-21 Gender-I will beat you... Looks-5"5' Tan,brown hair,blue eyes,and a tatoo of a rose on her shoulder blade. Wears-Hoodies,ripped skinny jeans,and hightops. Status-Single Crush-Sure. Why not. Likes-Stuff,friends,skittles,talking,and lighter fluid. ;) Dislikes-Polotics,mean people,violence,and tables. Fear-Tables. Dont ask... Rank-Beta Hobbies-Stuff,singing,swimming Fav.Color-Pink and blue Fav.Flower-White Rose Fav.Movie-Lone Ranger Fav.Band-Imagine Dragons Fav.Song-Radioactive and Jar of Hearts Fav.Actors-Brad Pitt,Johnny Depp,and Adam Sandler.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Wolf Form-Brown wolf with deep blue eyes. Others-Doesnt like being a wolf. Other Other-Dont scare me••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ASK!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    Sala is an amazing writer i am so addicted and i am a hard person to please when it comes to my books

    You will be drawned in from the first chapter there are twist and turns to keep you reading sala is an amazing writer

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The second Raines of Wind Canyon is a terrific entry

    Against The Fire
    Kat Martin
    Mira, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
    ISBN: 9780778329305

    In Texas Gabriel Raines is a successful businessman who knows he has made enemies. However, he is unsure what has triggered a serial arsonist targeting his new real estate development firm. He feels relief when he and his friend separately pick out seventeen year old Angel Ramirez from a line-up as being near the arson scene; the teen has a record for setting a fire. The police arrest Ramirez for the crime while Gabe assumes his life will go back to normal.

    He will quickly learn how wrong he was when it comes to normal. Architect Mattie Baker knows Angel from her volunteer work at the Family Recovery Center for abuse victims. She rejects the notion the teen is the arsonist. Instead she challenges Gabe who reluctantly agrees to investigate the fires with her. As they begin to fall in love, which she ignores as she wants no man in her life, evidence begins to mount that Angel is innocent but the unknown guilty person remains elusive as does the motive.

    The second Raines of Wind Canyon (see Against the Wind) is a terrific entry as another of the no account siblings proves his worth. Dedicated Mattie is Gabe's equal as she lights his fire. Together they make a dynamic team inside a fast-paced thriller; as Kat Martin is two for two with her no account Raines boys' trilogy.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 26, 2013

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    Posted June 16, 2011

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    Posted March 10, 2011

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    Posted November 25, 2011

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