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Butterfly

Butterfly

4.3 7
by Sharon Sala
     
 

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The Victim: Chaz Finelli, the celebrity photographer who snaps the juiciest photo of his career — only to be brutally murdered for the secrets his camera could expose.

The Witness: China Brown, a young woman whose luck had run out long before she found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time...long before she was shot in cold blood after witnessing a murder.

Overview

The Victim: Chaz Finelli, the celebrity photographer who snaps the juiciest photo of his career — only to be brutally murdered for the secrets his camera could expose.

The Witness: China Brown, a young woman whose luck had run out long before she found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time...long before she was shot in cold blood after witnessing a murder.

The Cop: Ben English, a tough-as-nails cop who's got a bizarre case on his hands — and a star witness who is making this case very personal. China Brown is alive, but barely. She doesn't want to live. She's lost the only thing that ever mattered: her unborn baby. Drawn to this lovely, fragile woman, Ben English must convince her to help him find a murderer in a scandalous case where the suspects reach into the upper echelons of Dallas society, politics and the media. And as a killer closes in, she must place her trust in one man, because her life — and her heart — depend on it.

Editorial Reviews

Debbie Richardson
In a truly riveting story, Ms. Sala draws you in from the very beginning. She delivers main characters who will touch your hearts and quirky secondary characters who will intrigue you as you try to figure out whodunit.
Romantic Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781552042410
Publisher:
Durkin Hayes Publishing, Ltd.
Publication date:
11/01/2000
Series:
Mira Books Series
Edition description:
Abridged, 2 Cassettes
Product dimensions:
4.80(w) x 7.06(h) x 0.79(d)

Read an Excerpt

Butterfly


By Sharon Sala

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-55166-968-4


Chapter One

Detroit, Michigan July 13, 1980

Sweat ran down the middle of six-year-old China Brown's forehead as she crouched in the cool, dry dirt beneath the porch of her mother's house. Inside, she could hear the murmur of voices and the occasional thud of footsteps as her mother and her stepfather, Clyde, moved from room to room. Every time she heard Clyde's voice she shuddered. It was only a matter of time before he realized his favorite coffee cup was broken. She hadn't mean to do it, but Clyde wouldn't care that it was an accident. He didn't like her any more than she liked him and seemed to look for reasons to reprimand her.

Time passed, and she had almost drifted off to sleep when she heard a loud, angry shout, then the sound of running footsteps coming toward the door.

"China Mae, you get in here right now!" Clyde yelled.

China flinched. He must have found the cup. She'd wanted to hide the pieces, but she'd heard her mother coming and had tossed them into the wastebasket before bolting out the door. Now it was too late. They'd been found.

"China ... so help me God, I'm gonna whip your ass if you don't answer me!" China held her breath. Answer Clyde? No way. He was gonna whip her ass no matter what. Why hurry up the inevitable?

She heard another pair of footsteps - lighter, quicker - then the anxious tone of her mother's voice.

"Clyde? What's wrong?"

Clyde Shubert pivoted angrily, jamming a knobby finger into the woman's face.

"I'll tell you what's wrong. That stupid kid of yours broke my favorite coffee cup."

China heard her mother's swift intake of breath and just for a moment thought about revealing herself. Sometimes Clyde took his anger out on her mother, too. But her fear was greater than her guilt, and she stayed immobile, closing her eyes and praying as she'd never prayed before.

"I'm sure it was an accident," Mae offered, and tried to placate Clyde with a pat on his arm.

But Clyde would have none of it. He shrugged off Mae's touch and cursed aloud before striding to the edge of the porch. China followed his path with a horrified gaze, watching the dirt sift down through loose wooden planks above her head, then blinking furiously when some of the dirt drifted into her eyes. Suddenly her nose began to tickle, and she pinched it between her thumb and forefinger, willing herself not to sneeze.

"China! You get yourself into the house this instant!" Clyde yelled.

China pinched her nose tighter as the urge to sneeze persisted.

"Please ... Clyde ... it's just a cup."

The sound of flesh hitting flesh was as abrupt as China's exit from the house had been, and she knew without doubt that her mother had just been slapped. The need to sneeze disappeared, replaced by an overwhelming urge to cry. She did neither, instead curling tighter into a ball and wishing she could disappear.

"Today a cup. Tomorrow something else. You're always excusing the little bitch. That's what's wrong with her!" he yelled.

Mae flinched, but held her head high. It wasn't the first time he'd hit her. Doubtless it wouldn't be the last. There were days when it shamed her that she'd let herself come to this, but she didn't have the guts to leave.

"Don't call my daughter names. There's nothing wrong with her! She's just a little girl."

Clyde snorted beneath his breath. "Yeah, and one of the skinniest, ugliest kids I've ever seen. You just keep her out of my face, you hear me?"

China bit her lip as she heard Clyde stomp back into the house. Ugly? She was ugly? Tears welled. She didn't want to be ugly. Her thoughts began to race. Was that why she didn't have any friends? Did the kids down the street think she was too ugly to play with?

"China ... where are you?"

Mae's voice startled her, and she almost answered. But a sense of self-preservation kept her quiet, and moments later she heard her mother go back inside.

As soon as she knew she was alone, she rolled over onto her stomach and buried her face in her arms. Ugly. She hadn't known she was ugly. Now it made sense why Clyde didn't like her.

Hot tears welled beneath her eyelids as she lay belly down in the dirt and buried her face in the curve of her arm, her thin little shoulders shaking with suppressed sobs.

The neighbor's yellow cat sauntered into their yard and started beneath the porch, then stopped short, hissing with displeasure as it saw China. Ordinarily she would have jumped and run away, but today she didn't care. Nothing mattered anymore, not even the chance that old Scruffy might scratch her.

The cat sniffed her bare feet, then the backs of her knees, then worked its way up to her face, sniffing and licking at the wash of wet, salty tears streaming down the side of China's cheek.

She gasped and jerked, raising her head too fast and bumping it on the underside of the porch. Scruffy hissed at the unexpected movement and scampered out the other side of the porch to disappear beneath a volunteer stand of Castor beans her mother let grow to keep the moles and gophers out of the yard.

China held her breath, certain that the thump of her head against the underside of the porch had given her away, but when no one came running, she began to relax.

Scruffy seemed to have forgiven her for frightening him and was already in the act of stalking a grasshopper that had landed on a nearby blade of grass. The big cat pounced, and she absently watched the demise of the grasshopper as it disappeared down Scruffy's throat. The cat soon moved on in search of bigger game, leaving China alone with a sense of growing dread. Sooner or later it was bound to get dark, and when it did, she would have to come out. It was a sad but true fact that she was more afraid of the dark than she was of Clyde.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Butterfly by Sharon Sala Copyright ©2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Sharon Sala is a long-time member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of Oklahoma RWA. In 2014, she published her one-hundredth novel. A fan favorite, Sala is an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, four-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, five-time winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, and five-time winner of the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, as well as Bookseller’s Best Award. In 2011 she was named RWA’s recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Her novels have been on the top of major bestseller lists including the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly. Sala also writes under the name Dinah McCall.

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Butterfly 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Excellrnt story...sad at times....poignant......very sweet. SharonSala is terrific and her main characters are hard to forget!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was really good. I didn't want the story to end, China seem like a great person to meet along with Mattie, and Ben. If you haven't read this book yet, read it soon!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Dallas, her landlord tosses the pregnant China Brown out of her apartment for not paying the rent. As been her history, even as a little girl in Michigan, China is a born victim. She gave the rent money to her boyfriend to hand over to the landlord. Homeless and hopeless, China warily heads to a mission to get inside from the bitter cold gripping the city.

On the way, China watches a blonde woman murder celebrity photographer Chaz Finelli and take his camera. The killer next fires shots at the only witness, China. Somehow, China survives, but her unborn child is dead. Detective Ben English heads the investigation with his only lead a near dead China who has no reason to live.

Romantic suspense fans know that best-selling author Sharon Sala always provides an exciting novel. Her latest tale, BUTTERFLY, although not quite up to her usual excellence level, is an entertaining story. The weakness to the tale lies in the cold blooded killer who murders like an Ennis developed professional hitman, protects her identity like an individual without a thought in their head and whose motives never come clean. The investigation is fun to follow because the cop and the life long victim make a charming couple, so much so that readers will want them to make it together.

Harriet Klausner