Sweet Baby

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Overview

LITTLE GIRL LOST...

It all happened a long time ago, so long ago that Tory Lancaster no longer remembers being a little girl who came home to an empty house. Tory is a woman now, trying to leave behind a legacy of abandonment and sorrow, desperate to love but forever afraid to trust. Only in Brett Hooker's arms does she find peace, but there's something Brett doesn't know, something even she doesn't know.

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Overview

LITTLE GIRL LOST...

It all happened a long time ago, so long ago that Tory Lancaster no longer remembers being a little girl who came home to an empty house. Tory is a woman now, trying to leave behind a legacy of abandonment and sorrow, desperate to love but forever afraid to trust. Only in Brett Hooker's arms does she find peace, but there's something Brett doesn't know, something even she doesn't know.

A WOMAN FOUND...

Tory is about to come face-to-face with her past, a past haunted by a mysterious tattooed man and the doll that was her only friend. With Brett's help she can meet the past head-on--if it doesn't drive them apart. So many secrets, so little time, and all for the love of...Sweet Baby.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551669656
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 9/30/2003
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.14 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author



Adventure is more than a code word to USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Christina Skye. The globe-trotting China scholar has savored snake meat in Shanghai and tracked obscure folk art in Canton. She shoots firearms, treks off-road on her motorcycle and hikes mountains with equal passion. For her devoted readers she serves up a signature blend of action, high-tech adventure and romantic suspense with "snappy dialogue" and an unerring ability to keep "the narrative energy high and the pacing swift," according to Publishers Weekly.

Her twenty-two novels have earned impressive spots on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list, four weeks at number one on the Waldenbooks Romance Bestseller list, and repeated positions on USA Today's bestseller list. After Skye received her doctorate in classical Chinese literature, she wrote five internationally acclaimed art and cultural guides to China while also working as a consultant to the National Geographic Society and the American Museum of Natural History. In 1990 her first novel sold to a publisher in six days.

Skye's books always feature smart, stubborn women (yes, even in her historical romances!) and tough men. She has written nine contemporary works of romantic suspense with police/military themes, six historical romances and a series of seven wildly popular paranormal romances set at a haunted English abbey. Currently she is working on the sixth book in her acclaimed Code Name series, featuring tough, smart women teamed with white-hot Navy SEALs. Adventure, humor and sizzling passion are her trademarks. Two of her Code Name books have been chosen as Cosmopolitanmagazine Book Club Selections. Code Name: Princess was also a Borders Best Romance of 2004 and Readersread.com Best Book of 2004. Code Name: Blondie stayed on the USA Today list for three weeks. Her books have been translated into eight languages.

In addition to frequent standing-room-only appearances at writing conferences and workshops, Skye has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including Geraldo! ABC Worldwide News, Travel News Network, the Arthur Frommer Show, Voice of America, Looking East, Good Morning, Arizona and Good Morning, San Diego.

While researching her latest Navy SEAL adventure, Code Name: Bikini, during the Authors at Sea cruise organized by Levy Entertainment, Skye scored an exclusive interview with the head pastry chef aboard a Carnival Cruise ship. She went behind the scenes, spending several hours in the galley learning the ins and outs of shipboard life. In addition to finding four great ways to kill her villain, she came away amazed by the staff's skill and dedication in a fast-paced profession.

When this bestselling author isn't testing her Jeep's transmission off-road, you'll find her at work on her next Code Name Navy SEAL adventure for HQN books.
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Read an Excerpt

Sweet Baby


By Sharon Sala

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

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

ISBN: 1-55166-965-X


Chapter One

Rural Arkansas 1973

A rooster tail of dust billowed behind the bright yellow school bus as it rumbled down the Arkansas back roads, returning the children of Calico Rock to their homes.

It was dry for September. The narrow, two-lane road on which the bus was traveling was bordered on both sides with an abundance of dust-covered greens. Old trees, tall and angular, struggled for space among new growth in the constant act of taking root. On the ground beneath, bushes and scrub brush flourished, hanging on to their place in the mountains with fierce persistence.

The sky was pale, a blue so light it almost seemed white, and the sun beaming down on the roof of the bus sweltered the children inside like so many beans in a can. Sweat ran out of their hair and down their faces as they chattered away. They didn't care that it was hot, because it was Friday, and they were going home.

But though the noise level inside the bus was high, there was the occasional child, like six-year-old Victoria Lancaster, who sat alone in her seat, quietly contemplating the day's events and longing for the first sight of home.

Last night had been a first for young Tory in more ways than one. She and seven other little girls had spent the night at Mary Ellen Wiggins' slumber party. For Tory, it was the first time in her life that she'd slept somewhere other than beneath her mother's roof - and without her dolly, Sweet Baby. And she hadn't cried. Not even once.

As the bus began to brake, she looked up. The Broyles brothers were getting off. That meant she would be next. Her mouth pursed as she thought back to last night. She couldn't wait to tell her mommy about Mary Ellen's party. Roasting wieners and marshmallows and then telling ghost stories after the house was dark had been scary - but so much fun. Mommy would be so proud of her for not asking to go home.

The bus hit a bump, and Tory clutched at the brown paper sack in her lap. It held yesterday's dirty school clothes, as well as her nightgown. There was a ketchup stain on her dress and marshmallow on the front of her gown, but she wasn't too worried. Mommy never yelled at her for things like that. In fact, Mommy hardly ever yelled at all, and when she did, she was usually yelling at Ollie.

She sighed, remembering a time in their life when Ollie hadn't lived with them and wishing it could be that way again. Ollie was always teasing her about being a momma's baby. When she got home, she would show him. She'd spent the whole night away from home. Babies couldn't do that!

Right in the middle of planning what she would say to Ollie, a voice suddenly shrieked in her ear. "Tory's got a boyfriend. Tory's got a boyfriend."

Tory turned in her seat and stuck out her tongue, glaring angrily at the boy behind her. It was that stupid old Arthur Beckham. After less than six weeks of first grade, she'd already figured out that the older boys got, the dumber they became.

When he laughed in her face, she spun back in her seat, red-faced and a little bit shocked by her own temerity. When she got to be a fourth-grader, she wouldn't pick on little kids like Arthur did, of that she was certain.

Once more the bus began to slow. Tory glanced out the window as the brakes locked, then squeaked. When she saw the familiar rooftop of her home, she grabbed hold of the seat in front of her for balance, then stood. Arthur Beckham made a face at her as she passed down the aisle, but she was too anxious to get home to give him another thought. As she stepped off the bus, an errant wind lifted the hem of her dress, but she didn't care. The moment her feet hit the dirt, she began to run.

An orange-and-black butterfly fluttered just ahead of her, riding the wind current with delicate ease, and it almost seemed as if they were racing. The fantasy caught in her mind, and she shifted into an all-out stride. The afternoon sun caught and then held in the tangles of her long, blond hair. Had anyone been around to notice, they might have imagined they'd seen a halo above her head. But it was the end of the day, and had one been inclined to consider her an angel, she would have been a grubby one at best.

There was a skinned spot on her knee, a smudge from lunch on the front of her dress, and her shoes and anklets wore a light coating of dust as her little legs churned, making short work of the distance to the house. The brown paper bag she held clutched in one fist was torn at the top and about to give way, but it didn't matter now. She was almost there.

Just as Tory's feet hit the front steps, the butterfly darted off to the left. She laughed aloud, calling out to her mother as she grabbed the screen door and yanked.

"Mommy! Mommy! I'm home! You should have seen me! I was racing a butterfly and -"

She froze as the echo of her own voice moved from room to empty room, drifting like a bad memory that wouldn't go away. A draft of hot air came from somewhere before her, shifting the hem of her dress and pushing the fabric against her bare legs. Tory took a step farther, then another, and another, unaware when the brown paper bag she'd been holding fell from her fingers and onto the floor.

Everything was gone, from the faded blue curtains on the windows to the furniture that had been sitting on the floors. Her heart skipped a beat. Even though her eyes were seeing the truth, her heart would not accept it.

"Mommy?"

She cocked her head, listening for the familiar sound of her mother's voice, but all she heard was the faint grinding of gears as the school bus climbed the hill on the road beyond.

She called out again, her voice trembling. "Mommy? Mommy? I'm home."

The silence beyond the sound of her voice was insidious, amplifying the call of a bird in the tree outside the kitchen window. Somewhere within the house she heard a cricket chirp, and her heart leaped. Mommy hated crickets in the house. Any minute she would come racing into the room to get rid of it. She turned toward the doorway, her big blue eyes tear-filled and horror-stricken. But nothing moved, and no one came.

She called again. "Mommy ... where are you?"

All she could hear was the thunder of her heartbeat, drowning out the sound of her own voice.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Sweet Baby 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
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 4, 2012

    Highly recommended!

    This is one of my favorite titles. Sharon Sala does such a great job of taking a character through rediscovering her past. The interactions between the main characters are realistic and well laid out.

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

    Posted December 29, 2006

    Oh no, not another one!

    It seems lately when I send a review that I've read a different book than everyone else. I found the female lead in this book unsympathetic and the male lead a bit of a wimp. Torie has been with Brett for four years. The last three, they¿ve been living together in ¿his¿ apartment. In Torie¿s mind nothing is theirs or even hers. Everything is Brett¿s. Brett¿s bed, Brett¿s chair, Brett¿s bedroom. Speaks of a lack of commitment or permanence on her part. Torie keeps simply disappearing from Brett¿s life with no warning and rarely even leaves a note. She never bothers to tell him where she is and he has no way to get hold of her in an emergency. Jeez he could be dead and buried for all she knows. Occasionally, she might send a postcard, letter or leave a message on his answering machine. On very rare occasions he actually gets to speak to her! She`d be gone 6 or 8 weeks, stroll back in, and never tell him where she was, what she was doing or if she¿d been with someone else. Or not. Yet Torie makes Brett constantly promise he¿ll never leave her. She has a problem because of being left in her childhood. Why then would she constantly hurt the man she cares about by doing the same to him? Probably because she knows she can. Yes, she had horrible, horrible things happen to her in her childhood and they needed to be worked out. But Torie wasn't interested in getting help. If she¿d really cared about Brett she would have broken it off with him completely so he¿d have a chance for a life with someone who truly cared about him. She even leaves him shortly after he¿s been shot. She later admits ¿I come and go with no regard for your feelings. I act as if I¿m the only thing in the world that matters.¿ Ya think? But in all fairness Brett let her use him. He took whatever she wanted to give him and was her willing doormat. He spent half his time in fear that he¿ll wake up or come home from work and she¿ll be gone. Yes, he loved her. But after awhile he was just being a fool. There is a line between loving someone and remaining loyal to them and allowing a person to walk all over you. And as a twist on the usual ¿woman apologizing to man for what he¿s done wrong¿, Brett apologizes to Torie for what she does wrong. I just couldn¿t have much respect for either one of these people and by the end I didn¿t really care what happened to them.

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

    Posted May 13, 2003

    BEAUTIFUL!!!

    This book is one of my favorites. It is truly a great book that captured me from the beginning. It was so sad that she had to go through so much at such a young age, but it was beautiful that when she went through almost the same things when she was older, she had Brett to help her through everything. This is truly a romantic book that I couldn't put down for a second.

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

    Posted June 24, 2002

    SHARON SALA HAD ME HOOKED FROM THE FIRST WORD!

    This was the first of Sharon Sala's books that I read amdI absolutely loved it! SHe is a wonderful storyteller and has a unique way of really bringing the characters to life. Once I got to the end I didn't want it to end!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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