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The Hollow (Sign of Seven Series #2)

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Overview

For Fox, Caleb, Gage and the other residents of Hawkins Hollow, the number seven portends doom—ever since, as boys, they freed a demon trapped for centuries when their blood spilled upon The Pagan Stone...

Their innocent bonding ritual led to seven days of madness, every seven years. And now, as the dreaded seventh month looms before them, the men can feel the storm brewing. Already they are plagued by visions of death and destruction. But this year, they are better prepared, ...

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The Hollow (Sign of Seven Series #2)

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Overview

For Fox, Caleb, Gage and the other residents of Hawkins Hollow, the number seven portends doom—ever since, as boys, they freed a demon trapped for centuries when their blood spilled upon The Pagan Stone...

Their innocent bonding ritual led to seven days of madness, every seven years. And now, as the dreaded seventh month looms before them, the men can feel the storm brewing. Already they are plagued by visions of death and destruction. But this year, they are better prepared, joined in their battle by three women who have come to The Hollow. Layla, Quinn, and Cybil are somehow connected to the demon, just as the men are connected to the force that trapped it.

Since that day at The Pagan Stone, town lawyer Fox has been able to see into others’ minds, a talent he shares with Layla. He must earn her trust, because their link will help fight the darkness that threatens to engulf the town. But Layla is having trouble coming to terms with her newfound ability—and this intimate connection to Fox. She knows that once she opens her mind, she’ll have no defenses against the desire that threatens to consume them both...

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515144598
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/6/2008
  • Series: Sign of Seven Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 87,612
  • Product dimensions: 6.74 (w) x 4.34 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora Roberts is the number-one New York Times-bestselling author of more than 190 novels, including The Search, Black Hills, Tribute, High Noon, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. Roberts has more than 400 million copies of her books in print.

Biography

Not only has Nora Roberts written more bestsellers than anyone else in the world (according to Publishers Weekly), she’s also created a hybrid genre of her own: the futuristic detective romance. And that’s on top of mastering every subgenre in the romance pie: the family saga, the historical, the suspense novel. But this most prolific and versatile of authors might never have tapped into her native talent if it hadn't been for one fateful snowstorm.

As her fans well know, in 1979 a blizzard trapped Roberts at home for a week with two bored little kids and a dwindling supply of chocolate. To maintain her sanity, Roberts started scribbling a story -- a romance novel like the Harlequin paperbacks she'd recently begun reading. The resulting manuscript was rejected by Harlequin, but that didn't matter to Roberts. She was hooked on writing. Several rejected manuscripts later, her first book was accepted for publication by Silhouette.

For several years, Roberts wrote category romances for Silhouette -- short books written to the publisher's specifications for length, subject matter and style, and marketed as part of a series of similar books. Roberts has said she never found the form restrictive. "If you write in category, you write knowing there's a framework, there are reader expectations," she explained. "If this doesn't suit you, you shouldn't write it. I don't believe for one moment you can write well what you wouldn't read for pleasure."

Roberts never violated the reader's expectations, but she did show a gift for bringing something fresh to the romance formula. Her first book, Irish Thoroughbred (1981), had as its heroine a strong-willed horse groom, in contrast to the fluttering young nurses and secretaries who populated most romances at the time. But Roberts's books didn't make significant waves until 1985, when she published Playing the Odds, which introduced the MacGregor clan. It was the first bestseller of many.

Roberts soon made a name for herself as a writer of spellbinding multigenerational sagas, creating families like the Scottish MacGregors, the Irish Donovans and the Ukrainian Stanislaskis. She also began working on romantic suspense novels, in which the love story unfolds beneath a looming threat of violence or disaster. She grew so prolific that she outstripped her publishers' ability to print and market Nora Roberts books, so she created an alter ego, J.D. Robb. Under the pseudonym, she began writing romantic detective novels set in the future. By then, millions of readers had discovered what Publishers Weekly called her "immeasurable diversity and talent."

Although the style and substance of her books has grown, Roberts remains loyal to the genre that launched her career. As she says, "The romance novel at its core celebrates that rush of emotions you have when you are falling in love, and it's a lovely thing to relive those feelings through a book."

Good To Know

Roberts still lives in the same Maryland house she occupied when she first started writing -- though her carpenter husband has built on some additions. She and her husband also own Turn the Page Bookstore Café in Boonsboro, Maryland. When Roberts isn't busy writing, she likes to drop by the store, which specializes in Civil War titles as well as autographed copies of her own books.

Roberts sued fellow writer Janet Dailey in 1997, accusing her of plagiarizing numerous passages of her work over a period of years. Dailey paid a settlement and publicly apologized, blaming stress and a psychological disorder for her misconduct.

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    1. Also Known As:
      J. D. Robb; Sarah Hardesty; Jill March; Eleanor Marie Robertson (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Keedysville, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Silver Spring, Maryland

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Hawkins Hollow

June, 1994

On a bright summer morning, a teacup poodle drowned in the Bestlers’ backyard swimming pool. At first Lynne Bestler, who'd gone out to sneak in a solitary swim before her kids woke, thought it was a dead squirrel. Which would've been bad enough. But when she steeled herself to scoop out the tangle of fur with the net, she recognized her neighbor’s beloved Marcell.

Squirrels generally didn’t wear rhinestone collars.

Her shouts, and the splash as Lynne tossed the hapless dog, net and all, back into the pool, brought Lynne’s husband rushing out in his boxers. Their mother’s sobs, and their father’s curses as he jumped in to grab the pole and tow the body to the side, woke the Bestler twins, who stood screaming in their matching My Little Pony nightgowns. Within moments, the backyard hysteria had neighbors hurrying to fences just as Bestler dragged himself and his burden out of the water. As, like many men, Bestler had developed an attachment to ancient underwear, the weight of the water was too much for the worn elastic.

So Bestler came out of his pool with a dead dog, and no boxers. The bright summer morning in the little town of Hawkins Hollow began with shock, grief, farce, and drama.

Fox learned of Marcell’s untimely death minutes after he stepped into Ma’s Pantry to pick up a sixteen-ounce bottle of Coke and a couple of Slim Jims.

He’d copped a quick break from working with his father on a kitchen remodel down Main Street. Mrs. Larson wanted new countertops, cabinet doors, new floors, new paint. She called it freshening things up, and Fox called it a way to earn enough money to take Allyson Brendon out for pizza and the movies on Saturday night. He hoped to use that gateway to talk her into the backseat of his ancient VW bug.

He didn’t mind working with his dad. He hoped to hell he wouldn’t spend the rest of his life swinging a hammer or running a power saw, but he didn’t mind it. His father’s company was always easy, and the job got Fox out of gardening and animal duty on their little farm. It also provided easy access to Cokes and Slim Jims—two items that would never, never be found in the O’Dell-Barry household.

His mother ruled there.

So he heard about the dog from Susan Keefaffer, who rang up his purchases while a few people with nothing better to do on a June afternoon sat at the counter over coffee and gossip.

He didn’t know Marcell, but Fox had a soft spot for animals, so he suffered a twist of grief for the unfortunate poodle. That was leavened somewhat by the idea of Mr. Bestler, whom he did know, standing “naked as a jaybird,” in Susan Keefaffer’s words, beside his backyard pool.

While it made Fox sad to imagine some poor dog drowning in a swimming pool, he didn’t connect it—not then—to the nightmare he and his two closest friends had lived through seven years before.

He’d had a dream the night before, a dream of blood and fire, of voices chanting in a language he didn’t understand. But then he’d watched a double feature of videos—Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—with his friends Cal and Gage. He didn’t connect a dead French poodle with the dream, or with what had burned through Hawkins Hollow for a week after his tenth birthday. After the night he and Cal and Gage had spent at the Pagan Stone in Hawkins Wood—and everything had changed for them, and for the Hollow.

In a few weeks he and Cal and Gage would all turn seventeen, and that was on his mind. Baltimore had a damn good chance at a pennant this year, so that was on his mind. He’d be going back to high school as a senior, which meant top of the food chain at last, and planning for college.

What occupied a sixteen-year-old boy was considerably different than what occupied a ten-year-old. Including rounding third and heading for home with Allyson Brendon. So when he walked back down the street, a lean boy not quite beyond the gangly stage of adolescence, his dense brown hair tied back in a stubby tail, golden brown eyes shaded with Oakleys, it was, for him, just another ordinary day.

The town looked as it always did. Tidy, a little old-timey, with the old stone townhouses or shops, the painted porches, the high curbs. He glanced back over his shoulder toward the Bowl-a-Rama on the Square. It was the biggest building in town, and where Cal and Gage were both working.

When he and his father knocked off for the day, he thought he’d head on up, see what was happening.

He crossed over to the Larson place, walked into the unlocked house where Bonnie Raitt’s smooth Delta Blues slid smoothly out of the kitchen. His father sang along with her in his clear and easy voice as he checked the level on the shelves Mrs. Larson wanted in her utility closet. Though the windows and back door were open to their screens, the room smelled of sawdust, sweat, and the glue they’d used that morning to install the new Formica.

His father worked in old Levi’s and his Give Peace a Chance T-shirt. His hair was six inches longer than Fox’s, worn in a tail under a blue bandanna. He’d shaved off the beard and moustache he’d had as long as Fox remembered. Fox still wasn’t quite used to seeing so much of his father’s face—or so much of himself in it.

“A dog drowned in the Bestler’s swimming pool over on Laurel Lane,” Fox told him, and Brian stopped working to turn.

“That’s a damn shame. Anybody know how it happened?”

“Not really. It was one of those little poodles, so think it must’ve fallen in, then it couldn’t get out again.”

“You’d think somebody would’ve heard it barking. That’s a lousy way to go.” Brian set down his tools, smiled at his boy. “Gimme one of those Slim Jims.”

“What Slim Jims?”

“The ones you’ve got in your back pocket. You’re not carrying a bag, and you weren’t gone long enough to scarf down Hostess Pies or Twinkies. I’m betting you’re packing the Jims. I get one, and your mom never has to know we ate chemicals and meat by-products. It’s called blackmail, kid of mine.”

Fox snorted, pulled them out. He’d bought two for just this purpose. Father and son unwrapped, bit off, chewed in perfect harmony. “The counter looks good, Dad.”

“Yeah, it does.” Brian ran a hand over the smooth, eggshell surface. “Mrs. Larson’s not much for color, but it’s good work. I don’t know who I’m going to get to be my lapdog when you head off to college.”

“Ridge is next in line,” Fox said, thinking of his younger brother.

“Ridge wouldn’t keep measurements in his head for two minutes running, and he’d probably cut off a finger dreaming while he was using a band saw. No.” Brian smiled, shrugged. “This kind of work isn’t for Ridge, or for you, for that matter. Or either of your sisters. I guess I’m going to have to rent a kid to get one who wants to work with wood.”

“I never said I didn’t want to.” Not out loud.

His father looked at him the way he sometimes did, as if he saw more than what was there. “You’ve got a good eye, you’ve got good hands. You’ll be handy around your own house once you get one. But you won’t be strapping on a tool belt to make a living. Until you figure out just what it is you want, you can haul these scraps on out to the Dumpster.”

“Sure.” Fox gathered up scraps, trash, began to cart them out the back, across the narrow yard to the Dumpster the Larsons had rented for the duration of the remodel.

He glanced toward the adjoining yard and the sound of kids playing. And the armload he carried thumped and bounced on the ground as his body went numb.

The little boys played with trucks and shovels and pails in a bright blue sandbox. But it wasn’t filled with sand. Blood covered their bare arms as they pushed their Tonka trucks through the muck inside the box. He stumbled back as the boys made engine sounds, as red lapped over the bright blue sides and dripped onto the green grass.

On the fence between the yards, where hydrangeas headed up toward bloom, crouched a boy that wasn’t a boy. It bared its teeth in a grin as Fox backed toward the house.

“Dad! Dad!”

The tone, the breathless fear had Brian rushing outside. “What? What is it?” “Don’t you—can't you see?” But even as he said it, as he pointed, something inside Fox knew. It wasn’t real. “What?” Firmly now, Brian took his son’s shoulders. “What do you see?” The boy that wasn’t a boy danced along the top of the chain-link fence while flames spurted up below and burned the hydrangeas to cinders. “I have to go. I have to go see Cal and Gage. Right now, Dad. I have to—” “Go.” Brian released his hold on Fox, stepped back. He didn’t question. “Go.”

He all but flew through the house and out again, up the sidewalk to the Square. The town no longer looked as it usually did to him. In his mind’s eye Fox could see it as it had been that horrible week in July seven years before.

Fire and blood, he remembered, thinking of the dream.

He burst into the Bowl-a-Rama where the summer afternoon leagues were in full swing. The thunder of balls, the crash of pins pounded in his head as he ran straight to the front desk where Cal worked.

“Where’s Gage?” Fox demanded.

“Jesus, what’s up with you?”

“Where’s Gage?” Fox repeated, and Cal’s amused gray eyes sobered. “Working the arcade. He’s . . . he’s coming out now.”

At Cal’s quick signal, Gage sauntered over. “Hello, ladies. What . . .” The smirk died after one look at Fox’s face. “What happened?”

“It’s back,” Fox said. “It’s come back.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 274 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(164)

4 Star

(64)

3 Star

(33)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 275 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Hollow is a phenomenal read.

    The Hollow by Nora Roberts is a fantastic read. Following Blood Brothers as the second book in the trilogy, it lives up to the expectations the first one created. The battle between the group (Cal, Fox, Gage, Quinn, Cybil, and Layla) and the demon continues with more attacks and truths revealed. As the demon grows stronger as it nears the seven, attacks grow more frequent making it harder to keep up with their everyday lives. Cal and Quinn¿s relationship stays strong, while Fox and Layla¿s grows. The tension increases as the story goes on to find out what will happen next leaving the reader curious to the end and what the next book will bring. <BR/>Nora Roberts did an amazing job writing this trilogy so far. The Hollow captures attention and pulls the reader into the story and doesn¿t let go. The writing is phenomenal and there are hardly any dull breaks in the story. Any one can get interested in this book if they give it a chance. You won¿t regret reading it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 17, 2013

    Sigen of seven trilogy

    I love the books

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 2, 2013

    Awesome!!!

    If you liked Dark Witch, you'll love this trilogy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 1, 2014

    Pikachu

    Vs team rocket

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

    Posted December 8, 2013

    To the eltie

    E...mail me at jacobsroxy60@g.m.a.i.l.c.o.m (not so many dots) if i have a place among the eltie. Thanks -stormflash

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

    Posted December 7, 2013

    V

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 7, 2013

    Stealth and Striking

    Got it. And its actually Stealthshadow, not Stealth.

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

    Posted August 22, 2013

    You better miss me as much as I miss you, Twin, or I will person

    You better miss me as much as I miss you, Twin, or I will personally gut you. &gt;:D

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

    Posted July 13, 2013

    Great read! Could not put these books down!

    Couldn't pit these books down. The great thing about discovering a trilogy after they have all been wrtten... no waiting! You just go from the 1sr through the 3rd and then regret when you've read them all. I just wanted the story to go on and on...

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

    Posted June 27, 2013

    Luna

    You said "I know what made you happy".

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

    Posted April 10, 2013

    BOOK TWO

    Book one was the appeterizer,book two is the main course.The gang all here.

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

    Posted July 2, 2013

    Luna

    Yup.

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

    Posted July 2, 2013

    Storm

    Lllllllllluuuuuuuunnnnnnna.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 30, 2012

    Attention - run don't walk to purchase

    This is the 2nd book that takes you further into the lives of the 6 chosen for this task. Again, Nora has transported you into their world - and what a world it is.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2012

    Great para-normal read.

    I have read the 1st and the second of a trilogy. I have enjoyed these 2 and am on to the third book in the series. A good book for those that like a little scary reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    A MUST READ!!!!!!!

    Nora roberts is one of my favorite authors and she doesnt disappoint in this book!!!! Filled with supernatural and suspense a great read tht is one of my favorites.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Good read!

    I enjoyed this series. It was the right amount of romance and action.

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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good story

    Interested to see how this turns out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Diary of a wimpy kid

    It was an awesomz
    Book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Continued excitement in the quest...

    I enjoyed THE HOLLOW by Nora Roberts. It is the 2nd book in the Sign of Seven series. It focuses a lot on the relationship building of Fox and Layla. But the demon hunt continues and the quest to the Pagan Stone erupts into a dramatic pause.

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