Sanctuary: The Stud / T.L.C.

Overview

The Stud

Jenna McCue wants a baby, and Spencer Smith is just the man for the job. Jenna assures the avowed bachelor she doesn't expect anything from him—except his genes. But she hasn't counted on falling for a man she's known forever, or that having a baby means he'll be out of her life for good. Lucky for her, Spencer has other plans….

TLC

With a burning fever and a broken-down car, Karen Drew knows she ...

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Overview

The Stud

Jenna McCue wants a baby, and Spencer Smith is just the man for the job. Jenna assures the avowed bachelor she doesn't expect anything from him—except his genes. But she hasn't counted on falling for a man she's known forever, or that having a baby means he'll be out of her life for good. Lucky for her, Spencer has other plans….

TLC

With a burning fever and a broken-down car, Karen Drew knows she should be grateful that Brice Carlin pulled her from the snowdrifts in the nick of time and brought her to his home to recover. As a doctor, his healing instincts take over. But being snowbound with the man who once tried to have her put in jail is dangerous territory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Delinsky combines her understanding of human nature with absorbing, unpredictable storytelling – a winning combination."
-Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373776184
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/22/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 761,705
  • Product dimensions: 6.62 (w) x 4.28 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Delinsky
Barbara Delinsky has written more than twenty New York Times bestselling novels, with over thirty million copies in print. Her books are highly emotional, character-driven studies of marriage, parenthood, sibling rivalry and friendship. She is also the author of a breast cancer handbook. A breast cancer survivor herself, Barbara donates her author proceeds from the book to fund a research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hostipal. Visit her at www.barbaradelinsky.com.

Biography

Born Ruth Greenberg, and raised in suburban Boston, Barbara Delinsky worked as a sociology researcher in children's services and was a newspaper photographer and reporter before turning to fiction writing full-time. In point of fact, she never intended to pursue a literary career. But, in the early 1980s, a newspaper article profiling three women who successfully balanced home, family, and romance writing caught her attention. Intrigued, she spent months researching and writing her first novel. It sold -- and Delinsky was off and running.

Praised by critics and fans alike for her character driven studies of marriage, parenthood, and friendship, Delinsky is one of a small cadre of successful women writers (including Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown) who started out writing pseudonymous paperbacks for the category romance genre and muscled their way onto the bestseller lists with hardcover escapist fiction. Yet she is candid about the hard work involved and insists there's no tried-and-true formula that converts automatically to easy money. As if to prove her own point, Delinsky works from eight in the morning to about seven at night, writing in the office above the garage in her Newton, Massachusetts home; doing research; handling interviews; or -- her least favorite part of the job -- touring the country making author appearances.

Over the decades Delinsky has written dozens of novels that have landed on The New York Times bestseller list, including Twilight Whispers (1988), For My Daughters (1994), Three Wishes (1997), Flirting with Pete (2003), and Family Tree (2007). In 2001, she published her first nonfiction title, Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors. A cancer survivor herself, she has earmarked all the profits from the sale of this book to benefit breast cancer research.

Good To Know

When she isn't writing, one of Delinsky's favorite pastimes is kayaking.

She gets some of her best ideas in the shower. "It's a little harder to write ideas down there," she wrote to fans on her web site, "but I've been known to yell something out to my husband, who does it for me!"

The family cat, Chelsea, is named after her 1992 novel The Passions of Chelsea Kane.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Billie Douglass, Bonnie Drake; born Ruth Greenberg
    2. Hometown:
      Newton, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 9, 1945
    2. Place of Birth:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Psychology, Tufts University, 1967; M.A. in Sociology, Boston College, 1969

Read an Excerpt

It was the scar that scraped along his jaw that was so compelling.

No, it was his hair. Dark and windblown, it lent him a look that held more than a hint of the rogue.

Then again, it had to be his eyes. They radiated from the photograph, silver-blue and electric, which was startling since the photograph was black and white. But Jenna McCue had seen those eyes in person, and once seen, they were never forgotten.

Feeling oddly as though they'd touched her even then, she flipped the book over to bury the back-cover photograph in the seat of the car, which left the front cover staring up at her. Green Gold was the title of the book. The story inside dealt with the search for emeralds in the mines of South Africa, and it was a true story. Spencer Smith had lived through the adventure and written about it just as he had written about his search for treasure in the shadow of the pyramids in Egypt, in the Peruvian Andes, in pirate coves of the South Seas. His books weren't bestsellers. They lacked the requisite elements for commercial success, namely melodrama and sex. Rather, they were well-written documentaries, sure to fascinate the adventurer-at-heart.

Jenna wasn't quite that, since her life was ruled by routine, but Spencer Smith was the brother of her oldest and dearest friend. She would have bought his books out of loyalty to Caroline and her family, even if she hadn't found them intriguing. But she loved each one. Over the years, she had become the unofficial, if biased, reviewer of his books on her visits with the Smiths.

This visit had a different purpose, though. True, she had read and loved Green Gold, and true, she wouldn't have missed the senior Smiths' fiftieth wedding anniversary party for the world, but she had more on her agenda than drinking champagne, eating lobster and waltzing across the dance floor with whoever chose to ask her to dance.

She had something to ask of Spencer Smith. A favor of sorts. A proposition of sorts. A personal, very personal request. An unusual one, for sure.

He might be incredulous or mocking, intrigued or repulsed. Caroline had suggested all those things by way of preparing Jenna for the worst, but she had agreed with Jenna's idea, and rightfully so. It was a good one. From the moment she'd thought of it, Jenna had known that it made perfect sense. It would satisfy a number of people on a number of different scores. All she had to do was to convince Spencer of that.

Turning onto the private lane that led to the Smiths' Newport home, she pulled up behind the last car in line, climbed out and set off toward the house. Her heels were pale yellow and high, not ideal for walking over a dirt road, but they went with her dress, which was silk with a short skirt and matching jacket, and the entire look went with her hair, which was loosely curled and feminine. Normally she dressed more sleekly and knotted her hair back, as befitted a top-level executive. But even aside from the occasion of the Smiths' party, she was feeling softer.

It had to do with where she was in life and what she wanted in her future, which was where Spencer came in.

Ignoring the gentle curling in the pit of her stomach, she walked on.

The closer she came to the house, the more people she saw. She recognized several and offered warm hellos, then was quickly introduced to others, and while those others might not have known her on sight, by reputation they did. McCue's was a venerable name in New England retailing. The McCue chain of department stores, falling somewhere in style between Bergdorf Goodman and Jordan Marsh, had survived good times and bad to become the stalwart outlet to which New Englanders went for everything from polo shirts and jeans to suede suits, sterling-silver picture frames and designer bed coverings. Jenna, as the last living McCue, was president and chairman of the board. At thirty-five, she was an effective and insightful leader. As her father and her grandfather before him had done, she kept the store apace with the times, which was why McCue's thrived while others felt the economy's pinch. She anticipated problems and dealt with them before they became debilitating in any way, shape or form.

She did the same with her personal life, which was why she had to talk with Spencer.

He wasn't in the foyer when she entered the house, or in the living room when she passed through on her way to the patio, where Joe and Abby Smith were accepting congratulations from their guests. Jenna gave them both affectionate hugs and chatted for several minutes before moving on to allow other guests access. She had barely taken a glass of wine from a passing tray, when Caroline materialized beside her.

"You look spectacular," she said, giving Jenna a prolonged once-over before adding a dubious, "did I see that dress at the store?"

Jenna glanced around casually to make sure no one was within earshot. There were perks to her profession, but she wasn't one to broadcast them. Sotto voce she admitted, "We ordered a few at the Paris show, then decided they'd be too pricey to carry in quantity. I took one of the few. Like it?"

"You know I do, but whether I'm more envious of the dress or your figure, I'm not sure. You're so slim. Lord, what I'd give to be a size six."

Jenna sent her a meaningful look. "Lord, what I'd give to have three kids." Her eyes searched the crowd. "Where are they?"

"Somewhere out there. I told Annie to watch Wes and Wes to watch Nathan, so the three should be running after one another all afternoon. I'm assuming someone else will notice if one of them falls into the pool."

"They're super kids," Jenna said, and meant it, though her eyes weren't at kid level as they continued to roam the crowd.

"He's not here yet," Caroline told her. "He called a while ago to say he'd run into thunderstorms over D.C. and had to detour to Pittsburgh for fuel. He says he's flying into Newport State. I wouldn't put it past him to land on our beach."

"He wouldn't."

The look Caroline sent her said that he very well would, and, giving it a second thought, Jenna didn't argue. For anyone other than Spencer Smith, landing on the rocky beach rimming Rhode Island Sound would be suicidal. But Spencer had a way of courting danger and emerging alive. Jenna supposed he could successfully land his Cessna on that narrow strip of sand, taxi up to the dock and step out of the cabin totally unruffled.

He was a strong man. He was an able man. He was a man with a natural curiosity, who wasn't afraid to ask questions or tackle the unknown. There were some who, in moments of sheer envy, called him a fool for taking the chances he did. But Jenna had read his books and knew that the opposite was true. As hare-brained as some of his escapades might appear on the surface, he never did anything without weighing the odds and ensuring that they were tipped in his favor. In that sense, he was extraordinarily intelligent.

Intelligent. Competent. Strong. Curious. Courageous. All were fine qualities, ones that Jenna admired, ones that a child of hers would have, if she had any say in the matter.

"He'll get here," Caroline said with a reassuring squeeze.

"But will he stay long enough for us to talk? I need privacy for this. It isn't the kind of question one pops with a zillion people listening in."

"He says he's staying through the weekend."

"He's said that before and then taken off. He has trouble sitting still."

"Only with his family. Set him up on the shores of Loch Ness, and he'll sit motionless for days waiting for the monster to surface. Newport makes him nervous. We make him nervous. He's convinced that the one thing we want most in life is to break him to a saddle." Caroline laughed. "As if we could." A second laugh turned into a groan. "What was that?"

Jenna had seen it, too, the streaking of a three-year-old child through the gathering of guests. "Looked like Nathan."

"Looked like wedding cake," Caroline muttered. "I'll kill him." With a murderous look, she was off.

Jenna watched her go, feeling both affection and envy. Then she took a deep breath and released it. Spencer wasn't there. He wouldn't arrive for a while. She could relax.

For the next two hours, she did just that. She liked the Smiths' friends, many of whom were her own, and socializing was second nature to her. Like Caroline, she had been raised in the lap of luxury. Her parents had had money to spare, and though they had loved traveling and eating out and donating hospital wings in their name, more than anything they had loved parties. From the earliest Jenna could remember, they were either throwing one or attending one. Out of sheer survival, Jenna had learned to mix, and though she had never developed the love for loud festivities that her parents had, she had come to be perfectly at ease. The key, she knew, was to smile, to indulge in amiable small talk, to read other people's needs and listen or respond accordingly—without taking any of it seriously. Gossip never touched her. One part of her remained removed from it all and therefore protected.

She munched on the food that was first passed on silver trays, then offered in a lavish sit-down buffet. She chatted and laughed. She raised her glass when Caroline's husband, a state representative with a golden tongue, proposed a toast to his in-laws, and she couldn't help but think that Spencer should have been the one to do that. But he wouldn't have. Not even if he'd come on time. As adventurous as the man was, he wasn't a showman. As compelling as he was, he shunned the limelight. While another man in his shoes would have brought a film crew along on his trips, Spencer refused. He was determined to enjoy adventure for adventure's sake. If a book came later, fine. If the book was spiced up and made into a movie, that was fine, too. He would serve as a technical consultant, but that was all.

Spencer's toast wasn't missed. There were plenty of others, offered by various and sundry of the Smiths' friends and relatives, to the extent that the guests ceased to sit between toasts. Even then, when Spencer appeared on the outskirts of the crowd, Jenna saw him at once. He was that kind of man. Standing six foot four, he was taller than most others in the room, but that wasn't what did it, as much as his aura. Complemented by his roguishly dark good looks and the confidence of his stance, he exuded independence, self-containment and, while not quite disdain, a disinclination to play games by any rules other than his own.

Jenna hadn't seen Spencer for six years, yet she felt his force at once. It was far stronger than anything she'd encountered on the back of a book jacket and it gave her a moment's pause. She wasn't sure she could approach him. He was so…much. And she'd never been terribly good with men in anything but business.

But this was business, she reminded herself, and with that thought stilled her wildly beating heart. She couldn't take her eyes from him, though, but watched him take in the situation and back off. He would wait, she knew, until the toasts were done. In the flurry of movement when people returned to their seats, he would slip into his own at his parents' table.

That was what he did. Slowly word spread that he was there, and though no one dared raise a glass to the success of Green Gold, those closest to the family made a point of going over to greet the author. The rest kept their distance, and wisely so. Spencer had never been the kiss-kiss type. His silver-blue eyes were legendary in their ability to cut phonies down with a glance.

Jenna, too, kept her distance, though not from fear of being cut down. As Caroline's friend, she had immunity. Spencer had always been kind to her, even gentle, just as he was to his sister. For whatever differences he had with his parents, Caroline was special to him. He never failed to call her on her birthday or to send a gift to one of her children on theirs. Jenna respected him for that. She also took it as a clue to his character, a part of him few people saw. She was counting on the clue being apt.

No, it wasn't fear of Spencer that kept Jenna from rushing up to him, as much as a desire to carefully control her approach. Her mission was a delicate one. She wanted to maximize her chance of success. Or so she told herself. But long after the band started playing and people had moved onto the dance floor, she hung back. She immersed herself in conversation with people who stood at the greatest distance from Spencer. She walked Annie, Wes and Nathan down to the beach when she was sure Spencer was with followers in the gazebo. She finally agreed to Charleston with an old family friend, but quickly moved off into the crowd and oblivion the instant the dance was done. When coffee was served and a tiered wedding cake rolled onto the lawn, minus several frosting roses that small fingers had filched, she clung to the fringes.

Her time would come, she knew. When the guests had left and things had quieted, Spencer would be feeling mellow. A mellow Spencer would be more approachable than one whose defenses were in place. A mellow Spencer would be more disposed to consider her proposal. A mellow Spencer would be more likely to accept.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2012

    Great Book

    I can definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys Barbara Delinsky. She is such a wonderful writer and her plots and characters take you through such wonderful scenarios. You will not be disappointed.

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