Authors: Danielle Steel
CRITICAL RAVES FOR
“STEEL IS ONE OF THE BEST.”
—Los Angeles Times
“THE PLOTS OF DANIELLE STEEL'S NOVELS TWIST AND WEAVE AS INCREDIBLE STORIES UNFOLD TO THE THRILL AND DELIGHT OF HER ENORMOUS READING PUBLIC.”
—United Press International
“A LITERARY PHENOMENON … ambitious … prolific … and not to be pigeonholed as one who produces a predictable kind of book.”
The Detroit News
“There is a smooth reading style to her writings which makes it easy to forget the time and to keep flipping the pages.”
The Pittsburgh Press
“Ms. Steel excels at pacing her narrative, which races forward, mirroring the frenetic lives chronicled here; men and women swept up in bewildering change, seeking solutions to problems never before faced.”
Also by Danielle Steel
LEAP OF FAITH
THE HOUSE ON HOPE STREET
HIS BRIGHT LIGHT:
THE KLONE AND I
THE LONG ROAD HOME
FIVE DAYS IN PARIS
NO GREATER LOVE
MESSAGE FROM NAM
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
A PERFECT STRANGER
TO LOVE AGAIN
SEASON OF PASSION
NOW AND FOREVER
a cognizant original v5 release november 11 2010
Visit the Danielle Steel website at:
To three very special little sisters: Samantha, Victoria, and Vanessa, precious little ladies,
and their very big sister, Beatrix, who is so lovely,
and their three big brothers,
Trevor, Todd, and Nicky,
and little brother Maxx,
who are very special too:
May each of you be blessed
with good lives, and good fortune,
good hearts, and good people to love you
and who you love well.
May you always be safe, and strong,
and happy … and together!
And may each turn of the kaleidoscope
bring you joy!
The first turn, which was our turn,
brought you to us, one by one,
special gifts, greatly loved, precious people.
And may your own turns bring you love,
and flowers … never demons …
Hold fast to each other, beloved ones,
bring each other strength, and laughter
and good times and love … just as once
we brought them to you.
With my love, for you and your Daddy,
and with ours, for each other,
With all my heart,
The rains were torrential northeast of Naples on the twenty-fourth of December 1943, and Sam Walker huddled in his foxhole with his rain gear pulled tightly around him. He was twenty-one years old and he had never been in Europe before the war. It was a hell of a way to see the world, and he had seen more than he'd ever wanted. He had been overseas since November of '42, fighting in North Africa, and taking part in Operation Torch until May of '43. He had thought Africa was bad with the deadly heat and desert winds and the sandstorms that left you half blind with red eyes that burned for days and tears constantly pouring down your cheeks, but this was worse. His hands were so numb he could hardly hold the cigarette butt his buddy had given him as a Christmas gift, let alone light it.
The wind from the mountains went right through your bones, it was the worst winter Italy had ever seen, or so they said, and he suddenly longed for the torrid heat of the desert. He had reached Sicily in July, with the 45th Infantry, attached to Clark's Fifth Army, and after Sicily they had been in the battle of Naples
in October. And the battle of Termoli after that, but for two months now they had crawled over rocks and through ditches toward Rome, hiding in barns when they found them, stealing what food they could, fighting the Germans every inch of the way, and bleeding over every inch they covered.
“Shit….” His last match was drenched, and by then so was the butt that had been his only Christmas present. He was twenty-one years old, and when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor he had been at Harvard. Harvard … the thought of it would have made him laugh if he hadn't been so bone tired.
Harvard … with its perfect life and its pristine Quad and its bright young faces so sure they would one day run the world. If they only knew … it was difficult to believe now that he had ever been a part of all that. He had worked so damn hard to get there. He was a “townie” from Somerville, and all his life he had dreamed of going to Harvard. His sister had laughed at him, all she had wanted was to marry one of the boys in her high school senior class, any of them would do, and she had certainly slept with enough of them to audition for the part. She was three years older than Sam and she had already been married and divorced by the time Sam finally got into Harvard, after working at every odd job he could for a year after finishing high school. Their parents had died when he was fifteen, in a car accident on a trip to Cape Cod, and he had wound up living with Eileen and her eighteen-year-old “husband.” Sam had walked out four months before Eileen's erstwhile spouse, and they had hardly seen each other after that. He had gone to see her once, to say good-bye, three days after he'd been drafted. She'd been working in a bar, had dyed her
hair blond, and he had hardly recognized her in the dim light when he'd first seen her. She'd looked embarrassed at first, and there was the same cunning light in her eyes he had remembered and always hated. Eileen looked out for number one, and her little brother had never meant much to her.