Out of the Dark [NOOK Book]


Street artist Jade remembers little of her childhood except for the time she spent under the ruthless control of a cult leader, a time marked by terrible abuse and suffering. For the fifteen years since she escaped his grasp, she has survived by living on the streets and never putting down roots.

Ex-cop Luke Kelly knows his friend Sam Cochrane wants nothing more than to find his daughter, Jade, who was taken from him as a child. So Luke uses all his connections to make that ...

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Out of the Dark

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Street artist Jade remembers little of her childhood except for the time she spent under the ruthless control of a cult leader, a time marked by terrible abuse and suffering. For the fifteen years since she escaped his grasp, she has survived by living on the streets and never putting down roots.

Ex-cop Luke Kelly knows his friend Sam Cochrane wants nothing more than to find his daughter, Jade, who was taken from him as a child. So Luke uses all his connections to make that happen, not knowing that by reuniting Jade with her father he is exposing her to a deadly peril.

In the healing embrace of her father's home, Jade—with Luke's loving help—begins to put fear behind her. But somewhere in the darkness, a man is prepared to kill rather than let Jade reveal the secrets of her childhood. And when her story makes the national news, that someone finally knows where to find her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers who have come to appreciate Sala's predilection for controversial topics and her ability to skillfully convey their emotional impact will relish this but moving romantic suspense novel. Kidnapped by her upper-middle-class mother, who'd inexplicably "turned into some mushroom-smoking hippie named Ivy," six-year-old Jade Cochrane was prostituted to pedophiles following her mom's death and knew little of childhood besides life in a cult called The People of Joy. Now a gorgeous, albeit troubled, street painter in her late 20s, Jade unwittingly sets in motion a reunion with her long-lost father when she sells a painting to one of his vacationing friends. After Jade's tumultuous, highly publicized return to her loving father's arms, former cult members get wind of her whereabouts and threaten the seeming safety and happiness she's finally found with her father and kind-hearted security expert Luke Kelly. The use of flashbacks lends credibility to Jade's past and helps flesh out her character. Although Sala (Dark Water, etc.) has the tendency to overstate her points, which is evidenced by the book's de trop epilogue, she handles the sensitive issue of Jade's past with skill, never allowing her story to descend into melodrama. In short, this is the perfect entertainment for those looking for a suspense novel with emotional intensity. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460308394
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/15/2012
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 63,770
  • File size: 691 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

Out Of The Dark

By Sharon Sala

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

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

ISBN: 1-55166-740-1

Chapter One

St. Louis, Missouri - 1977

It was just after midnight when Margaret Cochrane opened her eyes to look at the face of her sleeping husband. She'd been Sam Cochrane's wife for seven years and Jade's mother for four, and once she'd loved Sam Cochrane more than life. But during the past year, she'd struggled unsuccessfully to hide her unhappiness with herself and with life. Times were changing. The country had been at war for years in a land she could barely pronounce. Young men had abdicated their military duty by escaping to countries outside of the U.S. to keep from being drafted. People Margaret's age had staged sit-ins in protest, burned flags and marched on Washington, D.C. She felt as if life had passed her by. She had so wanted to be a part of it - to make a change in the world. But her responsibilities as a wife and mother had precluded those options. To satisfy her emotional drought, she had decided to enroll in a self-realization course at a local community college.

Then one day, less than two weeks into the course, she had taken a shortcut across the campus greens to the bus stop and found the path blocked by a large gathering of people. She'd seen their kind before, but never up close. Both men and women wore their hair long and hanging loose about their faces. Some had flowers woven into their hair; others carried bouquets and handed out a flower to anyone who wandered by. They dressed like gypsies from some Hollywood movie, in bright, colorful fabrics - the women in dresses that brushed against their ankles, the men in tight pants and long psychedelic print shirts that hung halfway to their knees. They referred to themselves as the People of Joy and were led by a man who called himself Solomon.

Margaret stopped out of curiosity, listening halfheartedly to their talk of free love and making peace, not war, until the man who called himself Solomon stepped off the low wall on which he'd been standing and started toward her.

One look from the dark-eyed, charismatic leader and she'd been hooked. He'd smiled at her, touched her face, then her hair, with the back of his hand. She felt the warmth of his breath as he bent down and placed a flower in her hair above her ear. As he did, the crowd around them had laughed then applauded, and something within Margaret had soared. One day ran into the next, and then the next, until she was at the campus almost daily. Seven days after her first encounter with Solomon, she'd gone again, only this time with Jade.

The People treated her child as if she was a princess, exclaiming over Jade's stunning beauty, even weaving flowers into her curly black hair and painting a tiny butterfly on the baby doll curve of her cheek. They praised Margaret until she felt as if she'd given birth to a holy child. Within the short space of that week, the emptiness in her heart had been replaced with a false sense of family. And so the brainwashing of Margaret Cochrane had begun.

Six months later, she was about to break her marriage vows to the man she'd sworn to love, honor and cherish. If that wasn't daunting enough, she was also about to steal away his only child. More than once she'd thought about telling him, but she knew he would never understand.

She slipped out of bed, careful not to wake Sam, then stood within the darkness of the room, looking down at his face. He was so good-looking, and he did love her. But he was always busy, and he didn't understand her. It seemed to Margaret as if everything mattered more to him than she did. There was a brief moment of hesitation before her eyes narrowed purposefully. Quickly she slipped off her nightgown and dressed, choosing a long, ankle-length dress made of a blue, flowered fabric that she'd purchased yesterday. She picked up her shoes, waiting to put them on until she had stepped into the hall. With a quick backward glance over her shoulder, she hurried next door to Jade's room and slipped inside.

The baby was sleeping like the angel she was. Margaret thought of what she was about to do and hesitated again. Sam was going to be devastated. He doted on Jade, and it would be easier if she left Jade behind. Margaret knew it wouldn't be difficult for him to find a nanny. But then she thought of how the People had praised her for giving birth to such a perfect child and was afraid to leave her behind. Jade had become part of her identity with the People.

Having settled that in her mind, she bent down, and as she did, her long blond hair fell forward, hiding her face like a veil. She brushed the dark tangles from her baby's cheek then whispered softly in her ear.

"Jade ... wake up, honey. We're going for a ride."

Four-year-old Jade Cochrane rolled over onto her side, subconsciously pulling away from her mother's grasp.

"No, Mommy," she muttered, her voice thick with sleep.

"Don't wanna go."

Margaret glanced nervously over her shoulder, then grabbed the pink blanket that was Jade's sleeping companion and wrapped her up in a larger blanket before lifting her out of the bed.

"Sure you do," Margaret whispered. "You're Mommy's girl, and Mommy can't go without you."

Unaware that the pink blanket had fallen onto the floor, Margaret carried Jade out of the room, then hurried down the stairs of the old family mansion. Within seconds, she was out the door and running down the long drive toward an old blue Volkswagen van parked at the curb. As she approached, the side door slid open. Two bearded men wearing soft flowing robes and ponytails met her with open arms, took Jade out of her arms, then followed her into the van. Within seconds, the door slid shut. There was a moment when Margaret looked up at the two men in the darkness and started to panic. Then one of the men took a hand-rolled joint out of his mouth and offered it to her.

"Here, pretty lady ... have a toke."

Margaret shivered as she put the marijuana cigarette into her mouth. She inhaled sharply, held her breath for a moment to let the drug cycle through her brain, then exhaled through her nose. The kick of the drug silenced her conscience as competently as if she'd put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Two more pulls from the joint and she knew that she was right where she wanted to be.

Jade whimpered. One of the men pulled the covers up over her shoulder, then shifted her to the back of the van as the other man reached for the joint dangling between Margaret's fingers. He took a long drag, then put the vehicle in gear and sped away.

Inside the house, Sam Cochrane rolled over in bed, felt the empty pillow beside his head and sat upright with a jerk. His wife's absence wasn't unusual. She often got up in the night to check on Jade. But there was something about the silence of the house that felt different. There was a vacuum in the space where love was supposed to be.


No one answered.

He got up out of bed and hurried next door to their daughter's room. The room was dark, the door ajar. He shoved it aside and walked in, only to find the bed empty and his daughter gone. When he saw the pink blanket lying on the floor next to the bed and Jade nowhere in sight, his heart skipped a beat. Jade never slept without it. This time, when he called his wife's name, he was yelling.


Still no answer.

He turned on lights as he ran through the house, running up to the third floor, then back through the second, before going down the stairs to the main floor. It wasn't until he got to the foyer and found the door standing open that reality hit. They were gone, and while the possibility of foul play couldn't be ruled out, in his heart, he knew what she'd done. The signs had been right in front of him for weeks, but he'd ignored them, refusing to believe Maggie was that unhappy, unwilling to admit that any part of it was his fault. He'd seen the love beads lying on her dresser, noticed the changes she'd made in her hairstyle and clothes. Last week he'd come home early and seen what society called a "hippie" van pulling out of the driveway. When he'd questioned Maggie about it, she'd shrugged it off by saying it was only people asking for directions. He hadn't believed her, but he'd been unwilling to broach the subject. And now it was too late.

He ran out onto the lawn and then down the driveway just in time to see a pair of taillights disappearing down the street.

"Maggie! Come back! Come back! For God's sake ... come back!"

His screams shattered the silence of the night as he raced down the street chasing the taillights, but it was no use. The vehicle disappeared. She was gone, and she'd taken their baby with her.


Excerpted from Out Of The Dark 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of Sharon Sala's best novel!!! she will never dissapoint you of her work :)

    everything about this story makes me sad, specialy knowing what happen to Jade's and Raphael's childhood, it makes me mad also and wondered how deviled they're to do such things to a child. but then here's Raphael's character perfect image of MichaelAngelo's statue, how perfectly he was inside and out.he's always there for Jade. i admit that i admired him not only because Sharon Sala described him as handsome as one of MichaelAngelo's statue because he's a good person inside out. he's a perfect Guardian Angel. i can't accept what happened to him, he dont deserved it. but then there's a reason why it all happened. Sharon Sala prove it again!!! she's the best! you'll never get tired reading this and the suspence will make you still awake! and you'll never forget the romance between Luke and Jade,and how Jade became strong and healed and how they're lifes get through and when Amy Ann came to their lives. Good to know that Raphael never left. This book is so great,love the ending touches my heart makes me cry. it will make you sad,mad,laugh,smile,and fall inlove. and before i end my review just wanna tell you guys that it make me smile when i pictured what will happen to Johnny Newton and Frank Lawson. sure you'll do too after reading this novel!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2005

    an avid reader

    My first book by Ms. Sala, and boy did I choose right! Take my word for it, her insight into the adult mind of a victim of child abuse was dead on. Even the male characters rang true to me. A quick read. I had only one criticism, that of the speed at which the character, Jade, overcomes her inner demons. In reality, it takes much longer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    One of the best books ever!

    Ms. Sala out did herself with this one! Sweet,humble, sad and thoughtfulness with an abiding love. BEAUTIFUL!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013


    I have never written a review before but felt so compelled.to do so now. This book was an emotional rollercoaster. It has been a while.since I loved a book this much. The healing process was a bit rushed but understandable for the length of.the book. It is a must read.

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  • Posted February 27, 2013

    As always Sharon Sala¿ never disappoints me=) I don't know how I

    As always Sharon Sala¿ never disappoints me=) I don't know how I've not already read this one...

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  • Posted August 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I loved this book.

    I loved this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012


    A very realistic book. It should be recomended for teen to adult that have been abused. She worked through her issues and 0ther people can too.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011


    I read this book years ago and absolutely loved it! I cried like a baby and everytime i read it again, i still cry like a baby! This was the first sharon sala book i read and have since read several others. Im never disappointed!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2009

    Must Read!!

    i absolutely lovee this book! i couldn't put it down. i ended up reading it until around 4 in the morning, and i was seriously crying almost the whole time. you will be able to connect with the characters. this is a book that truly touches the soul. =] sharon sala's books never disappoint!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2009


    Safe this book until you are ready for a good cry. I balled my way through this book. Although it was a very good read and turned out to be quite motivating and triumphant, the story of Jade and Raphael is extremely sad and really very terrifying.

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    Right to the heart

    You do not need to be a parent in order to feel this book. While reading this book there were times when I didn't want to turn the page. Sharon Sala makes the reader connect with the characters. When reading you get a true sense of what the characters are going through. You don't want to turn the page, knowing that something else will happen. You really have to take yourself places where no man/women/child should go. It took me one day and 4 boxes of tissues to get to the end of this book. I am not one to suggest books ... but this is a must read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    One of Sala's Best!

    I have read many of her books and this one in particular is a great one. When you read this story you end up right in the book and finding yourself sympathizing with Jade and what she has been through yet admiring her for her courage and strenght to survive. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read Sala's work or for those who have yet to read her work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2008


    Sharon Sala isn't normally my favorite author, but this book really touched me. I didn't really like Jade all that much, but I LOVED Raphael for some reason. I just connected with him more than any other character in the book. This book left me absolutely devastated. I would reccommend this book to anyone.Just one piece of advice: BRING TISSUES. LOTS AND LOTS OF TISSUES. I cried. Three times. Especially yat the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2005

    Don't give it away!

    I really liked this book but it is very disappointing when I check out the reviews on a book and someone has given the whole story away! Save some mystery for the readers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2005

    Gripping and overwhelmingly sad

    This was my first Sharon Sala book and it was a spectacular read. I was a young women myself during the 70's and was very aware of the turmoil that surrounded everyone. Many took that road and now this book has given me insight as to what could possibly have gone on in those groups. Jade and Rafie were two lonely kids trying to survive and rise above their turmoil

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2005

    Grabs You From Page One!

    This is my first time reading Sharon Sala and was I glad the cover intrigued me! Sala grabs the reader from the very beginning and doesn¿t let go! Jade Cochrane is a street artist on the run. When she was 6 years old, her upper-middle-class mother kidnapped her. Her mother was looking for love in all the wrong places and joined a commune, The People of Joy. Yes, commune complete with pot smoking hippies and orgies! After her mother dies unexpectedly, Jade is prostituted to pedophiles, as are the other children in the commune. When an over-zealous man almost kills Jade, her friend, Raphael comes to her rescue and they begin life on the run. If The People of Joy catch them, they will surely die. Fifteen years later, Jade unknowingly sells one of her paintings to a friend of her father¿s who has never lost hope in finding his daughter. Sam Cochrane hires Luke Kelly, a security expert, to find Jade when he sees the painting. This is almost too easily accomplished to make it believable and left me wondering how anyone could believe finding a lost one was that easy. Hey, maybe we should all employ Luke Kelly and there would not be anyone missing. But the real fun begins when Luke brings Jade back to her father. It¿s a highly publicized reunion leaving the People of Joy and former customers beginning to worry that Jade will tell of their crimes and they will go to prison. It seems like a storyline that has been used many times before, and it is. But Sala puts a few new sub-plots into the mix and makes for a very enjoyable story. Raphael¿s death and subsequent ¿appearances¿ to Jade are pleasant even though far-fetched. And the irony of the ¿john¿s¿ true identity will leave the reader wondering who else in public office has skeletons like these in their closets! Character development is done with memory flashbacks of Jade¿s childhood and a few of her teenage years. We¿re given a glimpse of how horrible her life was in the commune, and although free as a street painter, she must always look over her shoulder to keep from being recaptured. Raphael is also developed this way but not in such detail. Luke Kelly is developed in the present and yes, the reader can predict the attraction between Kelly and Jade. This is a suspense book yet has all the makings of a romance, but also has a moral message. It¿s a feel good book at the end, but definitely not in the beginning when the abuse is described in vivid detail. It keeps the reader guessing as to what will come next for Jade. My suggestion is to have another Sharon Sala book handy. When you finish this one, you¿ll want to read another right away!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2004

    A Gut wrenching, sad and wonderful book

    Frequently, we tend to hide from the ugliness of a world that is cruel with the weakest and powerless such are our children. We tried to deny the pain and sorrow that evil adults can inflict to children, with no remorse and no regret, for the destruction of their lives. This book tends to bring the pain of abuse children in a very subtly way and it also, makes us aware of the enormous strength of the survivors. But, just as easily can show us the miracle that an unselfish, powerful, unyielding love of a father and a man can accomplish in their recovery. A must book to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2004

    Beautiful book

    I usually never write reviews for books but this book made me want to write one. I never read a book that made me want to cry. There were times I had to put the book down and take a deep breath because it was so touching. You have to read this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2004

    Suspenseful and sweet...

    Disillusioned by life, Margaret Cochrane finds an illusion of joy with the People of Love. Drawn in by their snake charming leader, Solomon, she steals her baby and leaves her husband, Sam, behind, never dreaming that instead of Heaven, she was consigning herself and her little girl, Jade, to Hell. ........................ Twenty five years later, Jade and her friend, Raphael, have escaped the People and been on the run for longer than they can remember. The art that sustains them will be their salvation. One of Margaret's acquaintances sees a portrait Jade did of her mother, and that is enough for Sam's detective friend, Luke, to find Jade. The years have left scars on Jade's soul. After her mother died, she became a commodity, sold to the pedophile who would pay the most. Only when maturity made her unappealing to that brand of pervert could she and Rafe escape. Yet, unknown to Jade, Rafe is dying because of what was done to him. Being found by Luke and Sam is an answer to his own prayers; now he knows he can leave Earth with Jade cared for, he just doesn't know how soon. Those who hurt them the most have seen the pictures as well, and want to silence the two runaways. When they kill Rafe, Luke becomes determined they won't do the same to the woman he's come to love. ................................. ***** Light and dark contrast in this complex novel. Jade and Rafe will wrench your heart with the beauty of their souls. Somehow, both retain an innocence despite the hardness of their lives. A round of applause must go to Ms Sala for avoiding the overused angst that might be used in characterizing Jade and Luke's relationship. Overall, this novel is suspenseful, sweet, and hopeful all at once. *****

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2004

    Suspense, Heartache, Tragedy, Love -

    A book that can't be put down. The story tells a side of life that is UNBELIEVABLE but unfortunately does exist - somewhere. It should be required reading!

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