Illusionsby Janet Dailey
Delaney Westcott is a beautiful career woman in a man's world. Owner and chief asset of a personal security business -- where she guards the rich and famous from the unwanted attention of friends and enemies -- she can take care of herself. Except for the one time she didn't: when she fell headlong for handsome cowboy Jared McCallister, a man she couldn't have./p>
Delaney Westcott is a beautiful career woman in a man's world. Owner and chief asset of a personal security business -- where she guards the rich and famous from the unwanted attention of friends and enemies -- she can take care of herself. Except for the one time she didn't: when she fell headlong for handsome cowboy Jared McCallister, a man she couldn't have.
After it ended suddenly, Delaney threw herself into her work with a fury and intensity calculated to erase every other thought from her mind. And she promised that she'd never let any man touch her so deeply again. Ever.
But when Delaney finds herself in Jared's hometown of Aspen, Colorado, on a dangerous job, she begins to wonder if she is strong enough to refuse him a second time...
Security expert Delaney is a woman in a man's worldneedless to say, she attracts a lot of attention, from the men she works with to the men she is hired to protect. When rock/movie star stud- about-town Lucas Wayne is shot by his ex, Madonna-clone (though this one's career is on a downward spiral) Rina Cole, he hires Delaney, and quickly develops more than a professional interest in her. Rina blames Lucas for her career woes, and she's hot on his tail; to get as far away from her as possible, Delaney, Lucas, and entourage head west, to Lucas's Aspen hideaway, but Rina is soon in pursuit. Once in the mountains, Delaney is confronted not just with Lucas's affections but also with the increasing attentions of her partner, Riley, and the reappearance of her own ex, Jared McCallister, who broke Delaney's heart years before when she found that he had been duplicitous and unfaithful. Jared's other ex-wife, Aspen native and snide art dealer Susan St. Jacque, complicates the situation by getting herself shot and killedby Delaney, no less, who's under the impression at the time that she's shooting Rina, thus saving Lucas's life and doing her job. Subplots (as if they're needed) include Jared's missing little sister, Delaney's dad's peculiar hijinks, and the problems surrounding Lucas's brain- damaged brother Toby, but the real question comes across loud and clear: Who's going home with Delaney?
A lot of plot threads and themes, but too little resonance. Fans will be satisfied, but hardly satiated.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt
The RINGING OF THE TELEPHONE jarred Delaney Wescott from a sound sleep. She rolled onto her side, dragging the top sheet with her and pulling it loose from the bottom of the bed in the process. Lifting her head, she looked around the darkened bedroom of her six-room bungalow, tucked away in one of the many canyons in the Santa Monica mountains above Malibu.
A breeze spiced with sagey aromas stirred the white eyelet curtains at the window. Beyond, a full moon, silvery and bright, spilled its light through the glass panes onto the bed and the tangle of sleep-ravaged coversnot that Delaney considered herself a restless sleeper, merely an aggressive one.
The phone rang again, its shrill sound in the night's silence like an electric shock to her nerves. As she grabbed for the receiver, the ninety-pound German shepherd sleeping beside her in the queensize bed growled a warning.
"Shut up, Ollie. I'm not even close to rolling on you," she muttered, then collapsed back against the pillow with phone in hand and scraped her long, tousled hair away from an ear. "Hello."
"Delaney? This is Arthur," came the clipped reply.
"Arthur." She instantly recognized the resonant baritone voice of former colleague and contract lawyer Arthur Golden. Like her, he had left the firm of Jennings, Wade & Minski several years earlier, forming his own management company that catered to the needs of the entertainment business. Delaney peered sideways at the digital clock on the nightstand. "Arthur, it's three in the morning."
"It's Six A.M. in New Yorkwhich isn't exactly my favorite hour either, but crises seldom come at convenient times. All hell has broken loose outhere, Delaney. I need you in New York as fast as you can get here."
Arthur Golden had long been known for being as dramatic as some of the actors he represented. He could turn mismatched socks into a crisis. But there was an edge to his voice, an underlying agitation that prompted Delaney to take him seriously. "What happened, Arthur?"
"What happened?!! I'll tell you what happened-that crazy, washed-up she-cat tried to kill my star client!"
To Delaney's knowledge, there was only one person in the roster of entertainers Arthur Golden represented who could currently be labeled a star and that was sexthrobas Robin Leach loved to call himLucas Wayne. Five short years ago, rock singer Lucas Wayne had burst onto the music scene with a megahit called "Darlin', Do Me." Two platinum albums had followed in quick succession. Then, three years ago, the sexy, dark-haired, dark-eyed Lucas had made the rare transition from the music scene to the silver screen when he co-starred in a major theatrical release with fading pop singer and actress Rina Cole, with whom he was reputedly having an affair. His second major release had been another smash this past Christmas, putting to rest any doubts that the first had been a fluke. Delaney vaguely remembered reading in the trades that Lucas Wayne was currently in New York wrapping up filming on his third movie.
"Am I right to assume you're referring to Lucas Wayne?" she asked.
"Tell me what happened, Arthur." Fully awake now, Delaney sat up, automatically hauling the top sheet with her and tucking it under her arms. She slept in the buff. Not for any sybaritic reason. The habit had simpler originsshe went to bed to sleep, not to wrestle with a nightgown that bunched around her middle, or a pair of Pajamas that twisted and cut off her circulation. " Who tried to kill him? When? Where?"
"It was Rina Cole." He spoke the name slowly, with venom. "She tricked her way into his suite at the Carlyle tonight and caught Lucas in bed with a blonde-an actress named Tory or Victoria something." He paused a split second. "Dear God, Delaney, every time I think what might have happened if Lucas hadn't seen the gun before she started blasting away" He stopped again, a faint, incredulous laugh filling the void. "He threw a pillow at her, Delaney. A pillow!
"Arthur, was anyone hurt?"
"Fortunately, no. Lucas has some scratches on his arm where Rina clawed him when he wrestled he gun away from her, but that's all."
"I assume the police were called in?"
"The hotel security phoned them. There wasn't any choice. She was berserkscreaming, kicking, clawing when the police took her away. In my opinion, they should have hauled her off to Bellevue in a straitjacket, but they took her to the station and booked her instead. She's charged with disturbing the peace, assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of attempted murder, and resisting arrest. But we both know that one phone call and she's out on bond. There is no way they will keep Rina Cole locked up."Delaney silently agreed with him. "Where is Lucas now?"
"With me, at my place on Park Avenue. Both he and the blonde actress. I thought it was wiser than leaving them at the Carlyle. "
"True." She rubbed the base of her left temple, feeling the tension start to build. "What's the security setup in your building, Arthur?
"Two guards on duty at the desk downstairs. After midnight, the elevators are key-operated. There's a cop outside the apartment door, but they won't keep one there indefinitely. You know how the police are."
"I know." She nodded. "That's why I'm in business."
"And that's why I called you," he retorted. "Get out here fast!"
"I'll be on the next plane." She made a mental list of the things she would have to do between the time she hung up the phone and the time she stepped onto the planeand tried not to think of the night's sleep lost.
"I'm counting on that."
"In the meantime, get an injunction filed against Rina Cole and have a restraining order issued," she said. In itself, that wouldn't be much protection, but it would provide a legal basis for keeping her away from Lucas. After Arthur agreed with the plan, she told him goodbye and pushed the receiver back onto its cradle.
Meet the Author
Janet Dailey's first book -- a Harlequin romance -- was published in 1976. In the twenty years since, she has written 89 more novels and become the third largest selling female author in the world, with 300 million copies of her books sold in 19 languages in 98 countries. Her most recent bestsellers, Masquerade, Rivals, and Heiress, have all sold more than one million copies each. She is known for her strong, decisive characters, her extraordinary ability to re-create a time and place, and her unerring courage to confront important, controversial issues, like alcoholism and sexual abuse, in her stories.
All of her novels are meticulously researched, an endeavor she shares with her husband, Bill Dailey. The couple met in 1963, when Janet worked as a secretary for the construction company Bill owned. The two travel extensively to scout story locations, and have visited all 50 states; these days, they are likely to fly, but miss the time when they drove cross country, a trailer attached to their car. Janet Dailey also reads voraciously about every aspect of any subject she writes about; as she remarks, "Accuracy is important in genre fiction; you have to get it right, zero in on the real details. That's the way to make writing come alive and not irritate the readers with carelessness."
When they are not traveling, the couple spend time at their home on the shore of Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri. It is the part of the country Dailey loves best, partly because, she says, "The people around me are more interested in their problems and their lives, and that sort of keeps me in touch with reality. They think it's nice that I write, but they really couldn't care less."
Allison Janney has been featured on Broadway (Present Laughter), in films (Big Night and First Wives Club) and on television shows on all four networks.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I liked the story. It did have a couple of unexpected twists.
The story was good and the characters were highly likable. The audio book reader did a good job. This version is just too short to do the book justice. Too much was left out.
Children shouldn't read this book
I like the strong women that Janet Dailey writes about and the one in this story is interesting and different. I also very much like the plot twist in this book