To Be the Best (Emma Harte Series #3)by Barbara Taylor Bradford
First there was A Woman of Substance, which began the enthralling story of Emma Harte and propelled Barbara Taylor Bradford straight to the top of bestseller lists across the country. It's sequel, Hold the Dream, proved every bit as compelling and successful. Now, completing this multimillion-copy trilogy is To Be the Best, the final chapter of a heartrending saga and the culmination of an outstanding literary achievement.
Paula McGill O'Neill learned her grandmother's lesson well. As the head of the thriving Harte department store chain, Emma Harte's favorite grandchild wields her power with a masterful and compassionate hand. yet even as she keeps Emma's visionary dream alive, Pauls dares to set out in a bold new direction...to create something she can truly call her own. But instead she finds herself faced with the ultimate challenge, a diabolical enemy who vows to wrest control away from her...an enemy she knows too well.
Sweeoing around the globe and touching on the powerful emotions that define our lives, this is barbara taylor Bradfor's grand farewell to characters both familiar and cherished - a triumphant conclusion that will live on in our hearts forever.
“A compulsive read.” The Daily Mail (London)
“Will keep you up till all hours reading just one more chapter before you can bear to turn out the bedside light.” Prima Magazine
Read an Excerpt
Paula walked into her private office at the London store with her usual briskness, and after removing several folders from her briefcase, she sat down at the antique partners' desk in the comer. It was precisely at this moment that she noticed the buff-colored envelope propped against the antique porcelain lamp.
Marked PERSONAL, it had apparently been hand-delivered, and she recognized the writing at once. She felt a small shiver of pleasure. Eagerly, she reached for the envelope, slit it open with the gold-and-jade paper knife, and took out the folded piece of paper.
The note was boldly penned.
Meet me in Paris. Tonight, it said. You're booked on Flight 902. British Airways. 6 p.m. I'll be waiting impatiently. Usual place. Don't disappoint me.
Paula frowned. The tone was peremptory, commanding, and implicit in his words was the assumption she would go. Mild irritation at his high-handedness flared and diluted the flush of pleasure she had experienced a second before. Of course she wouldn't go. She couldn't. She must spend the weekend with her children as planned, wanted to spend it with them, in fact.
Still clutching the note, she leaned back in the chair and gazed into space, thinking about him. Bossy ... conceited ... those were the adjectives which sprang into her head.
They were certainly appropriate. A trace of a smile surfaced, flickered on her mouth. She was suddenly amused by the invitation and sorely tempted to accept. Admit it, you'd love to spend the weekend in Paris with him. But then you'd love to do a lot of things you constantly pass up, a small voice at the back of her head reminded her. And shesmiled again, -though this time with wryness, a hint of regret even, knowing that she could never be indulgent with herself. Perish the thought! Duty had to come first. That little rule of Emma Harte's had been inculcated in her since childhood, although sometimes she wished her grandmother had not been so thorough. But Grandy had schooled her well, had taught her that wealth and privilege also meant responsibilities, and that they had to be shouldered without flinching, no matter what the cost to oneself. And since she was now thirty-six, almost thirty-seven, her character was hardly likely to change at this stage in her life.
Paula sat up, slipped the note back into its envelope, sighing under her breath as she did. A romantic interlude in her favorite city with that very special and exceptional man was infinitely appealing but decidedly not possible. No, she would not go to Paris for a weekend of love and intimacy and pleasure. Instead, she would go to her children and be a good mother. Her children needed her. After all, she had not seen them for two weeks. On the other hand, she had not seen him either ...
"Damn and blast," she muttered out loud, wishing he had not sent the note. It had thrown her off balance, made her feel unexpectedly restless, and at a moment in time when she could not afford to have distractions of any kind. The months ahead were going to be extremely complicated, and they would be crucial months.
And so she would phone him later, tell him she was not coming; she must also cancel the airline reservation he had made for her. On second thought, perhaps she ought to call British Airways immediately.
As she reached for the telephone it began to ring.
She picked up swiftly, said, "Hello?" and glanced at the door as her assistant, Jill, hurried in with a cup of coffee.
"Hello, Paula, it's me," her cousin Alexander was saying at the other end of the phone. "I came into the Leeds store looking for you, only to find that on the one day I'm up here, you're in London."
"Oh Sandy darling, I am sorry to have missed you," she exclaimed, then covered the mouthpiece, murmured her thanks to Jill, who placed the coffee in front of her, smiled, and disappeared.
Paula went on, "Were you in Yorkshire last night?"
"Yes. I got in around six-thirty."
"I was still at the store, Sandy. You should've called me. We could've had dinner."
"No, we couldn't. You see, I had to get out to Nutton Priory as early as possible. My estate manager's going off on holiday today and we had a lot to go over." Alexander paused, cleared his throat. "You were at Grandy's grave this morning ... those are your flowers, aren't they, Paula?"
"Yes," she said, her voice growing softer. "I went there very early, before driving to London."
"I was close on your heels." He laughed faintly. "I suppose we just weren't meant to meet up today. Well ... my loss."
Paula loved her cousin dearly and thus was sensitive to his moods. She had caught something odd in his voice, a nuance that disturbed her. "Sandy, do you have some sort of problem?" she asked quickly. "Do you want to talk to me about anything?"
There was only the slightest hesitation before he exclaimed with a certain firmness, "No, no, not at all! I merely thought it would be nice for us to lunch together, I haven't seen you for weeks. I realize you've been busy ... however, I do miss our tete-a-tetes, old thing."
Paula had been listening attentively, straining to catch that peculiar inflection she had noticed a moment ago, but now it was absent. His voice sounded perfectly normalwell-modulated and controlled, as it always was.
She said, "Yes, I miss them too, Sandy, and it has been a bit hectic for me this summer, what with all the flying to the south of France and back, and staying ahead of the game with the business. And look here, whilst I have you on theTo Be the Best. Copyright © by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Barbara Taylor Bradford is the author of 25 bestselling novels, including Playing the Game, Breaking the Rules, and The Ravenscar Dynasty. She was born in Leeds, England, and from an early age, she was a voracious reader: at age 12, she had already read all of Dickens and the Brontë sisters. By the age of twenty, she was an editor and columnist on Fleet Street. She published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, in 1979, and it has become an enduring bestseller.
Barbara Taylor Bradford's books are published in over 90 countries in 40 languages, with sales figures in excess of 82 million. Ten of her novels have been adapted into television mini-series starring actors including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Deborah Kerr and Elizabeth Hurley. She has been inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America, and in June of 2007, Barbara was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to Literature.
She lives in New York City with her husband, television producer Robert Bradford, to whom all her novels are dedicated, and their Bichon Frise dogs, who sit under her desk while she writes.
- New York, New York
- Place of Birth:
- Yorkshire, England
- Christ Church Elementary School and Northcote Private School for Girls in Yorkshire, England
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