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Fearless Hardcover – June 1, 2008

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About the Author

The prolific author of more than 100 books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A multi-New York Times bestselling author and one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I won't go," Glory Anne Barnes muttered.

Tall, elegant Detective Rick Marquez just stared at her, his dark eyes unyielding. "Hey, don't go. No problem. We've got a body bag just your size down at the medical examiner's office."

She threw a wadded up piece of paper across the desk at him.

He caught it with one lean hand and raised an eyebrow. "Assault on a peace officer…"

"Don't you quote the law to me," she shot back, rising. "I can cite legal precedents from memory."

She came around the desk slowly, thinner than she usually was, but still attractive in her beige suit. Her skirt f lowed to midcalf, above small feet in ankle-strapped high heels that f lattered what showed of her legs. She perched herself on the edge of the desk. Her high cheekbones were faintly f lushed from temper, and something more worrying. She had very long, light blond hair which she wore loose, so that it fell in a cascade down her back almost to her waist. She had pale green eyes and a wide forehead, with a perfect bow of a mouth under her straight nose. She never wore makeup and didn't need to. Her complexion was flawless, her lips a natural mauve. She wouldn't win any beauty contests, but she was attractive when she smiled. She didn't smile much these days.

"I won't be any safer in Jacobsville than I am here," she said, trotting out the same old tired argument she'd been using for the past ten minutes.

"You will," he insisted. "Cash Grier is chief of police. Eb Scott and his ex-mercenary cronies live there, as well. It's such a small town that any outsider will be noticed immediately."

She was frowning. Her eyes, behind the trendy frames of the glasses she occasionally wore in place of contact lenses for extreme nearsightedness, were thoughtful.

"Besides—" he played his trump card "—your doctor said…"

"That's not your business." She cut him off.

"It is if you drop dead on your desk!" he said, driven to indiscretion by her stubbornness."You're the only witness we've got to what Fuentes said! He could kill you to shut you up!"

Her lips made a thin line. "I've had death threats ever since I got out of college and took a job here as an assistant district attorney," she replied. "It goes with the work."

"Most people don't mean it literally when they threaten to kill you," he returned. "Fuentes does. Do I really have to remind you what happened to your co-worker Doug Lerner two months ago? Better yet, would you like to see the autopsy photos?"

"You don't have any autopsy photos that I haven't already seen, Detective Marquez," she said quietly, folding her arms across her firm, small breasts. "I'm not really shockable."

He actually groaned out loud. His hands moved into his pockets, allowing her a glimpse of the .45 automatic he carried on his belt. His black hair, almost as long as hers, was gathered in a ponytail at his nape. He had jet-black eyes and a f lawless olive complexion, not to mention a wide, sensuous mouth. He was very good-looking.

"Jason said he'd get me a bodyguard," she said when the silence grew noticeable.

"Your stepbrother has his own problems," he replied. "And your stepsister, Gracie, would be no help at all. She's so scatterbrained that she doesn't remember where she lives half the time!"

"The Pendletons have been good to me," she defended them. "They hated my mother, but they liked me."

Most people had hated her mother, a social-climbing antisocial personality who'd been physically abusive to Glory since her birth. Glory's father had taken her to the emergency room half a dozen times, mumbling about falls and other accidents that left suspicious bruises. But when one bout of explosive temper had left her with a broken hip, the authorities finally stepped in. Glory's mother was charged with child abuse and Glory testified against her.

By that time, Beverly Barnes was already having an affair with Myron Pendleton and he was a multimillionaire. He got her a team of lawyers who convinced a jury that Glory's father had caused the injury that her mother had given her, that Glory had lied out of fear of her father. The upshot was that the charges against Beverly were dropped. Glory's father, Todd Barnes, was arrested and tried for child abuse and convicted, despite Glory's tearful defense of him. But even though her mother was exonerated, the judge wasn't convinced that Glory would be safe with her. In a surprise move, Glory went into state custody, at the age of thirteen. Her mother didn't appeal the decision.

When Beverly subsequently married Myron Pendleton, at his urging, she tried to get custody of Glory again. But the same judge who'd heard the case against Glory's father denied custody to Beverly. It would keep the child safe, the judge said.

What the court didn't know was that Glory was in more danger at the foster home where she'd been placed, in the custody of a couple who did as little as possible for the six children they were responsible for. They only wanted the money. Two older boys in the same household were always trying to fondle Glory, whose tiny breasts had begun to grow. The harassment went on for several weeks and culminated in an assault that left her bruised and traumatized, and afraid of anything male. Glory had told her foster parents, but they said she was making it up. Furious, Glory dialed the emergency number and when the police came, she ran out past her foster mother and all but jumped into the arms of the policewoman who came to check out her situation.

Glory was taken to the emergency room, where a doctor, sickened by what he saw, gave the police enough evidence to have the foster parents charged with neglect, and the two teenage boys with assault and battery and attempted sodomy.

But the foster parents denied everything and pointed out that Glory had lied about her mother abusing her. So she went back to the same house, where her treatment became nightmarish. The two teenage boys wanted revenge as much as the spiteful foster parents did. But they were temporarily in juvenile detention, pending a bond hearing, fortunately. The foster parents weren't, and they were furious. So Glory stuck close to the two younger girls, both under five years old, whom she had been made responsible for. She was grateful that they required so much looking-after. It spared her retribution, at least for the first few days back at the house.

Jason Pendleton hated his stepmother, Beverly. But he was curious about her young daughter, especially after a friend in law enforcement in Jacobsville contacted him about what had happened to Glory. The same week she was sent back to the foster home, he sent a private investigator to check out her situation. What he discovered made him sick. He and his sister, Gracie, actually went themselves to the foster home after they'd read the investigator's covertly obtained police report on the incident—which was, of course, denied by the custodians. They pointed to Glory's attempt to blame her mother for the abuse that had sent her father to prison, where he was killed by another inmate within six months.

The day the Pendletons arrived, the two teenage boys who had victimized Glory were released to the custody of the foster parents, pending trial. Glory had been running away from the teenagers all day. They'd already torn her blouse and left bruises on her. She'd been afraid to call the police again. So Jason found Glory in the closet in the bedroom she shared with the two little girls, hiding under her pitiful handful of clothes on wire hangers, crying. Her arms were bruised all over, and there was a smear of blood on her mouth. When he reached in, she cowered and shook all over with fear.

Years later, she could still remember how gently he picked her up and carried her out of the room, out of the house. She was placed tenderly in the backseat of his Jaguar, with Gracie, while Jason went back into the foster home. His deeply tanned, lean face was stiff with bridled fury when he returned. He didn't say a word. He started the car and drove Glory away.

Despite her mother's barely contained rage at having Glory in the same house where she lived, Glory was given her own room between Gracie's and Jason's, and her mother was not allowed near her. In one of their more infamous battles, Jason had threatened to have his own legal team reopen the child abuse case. He had no doubt that Glory was telling the truth about who the real abuser was. Beverly had stormed out without a reply to Jason's threats. But she left Glory alone.

It became a magical time for the tragic young girl, belonging to a family which valued her. Even Myron found her delightful company.

After Beverly died unexpectedly of a stroke when her daughter was fifteen, Glory's life settled into something approaching normalcy. But the trauma of her youth had consequences that none of her adoptive family had anticipated.

Her broken hip, despite two surgeries and the insertion of a steel pin, was never the same. She had a pronounced limp that no physical therapy could erase. And there was something else; her family had a history of hypertension, which Glory inherited. No one actually said that the stress of her young life had added to the genetic predisposition toward it. But Glory thought it did. She was put on medication during her last year in high school. Severely overweight, shy, introverted and uncomfortable around boys, she was also the target of bullies. Other girls made fun of her. They went so far as to put false messages about her on the Internet and one girl formed a club devoted to ridiculing Glory.

Jason Pendleton found out about it. The girls were dealt with, one charged with harassment and another's parents threatened with lawsuits. The abuse stopped. Mostly. But it left Glory feeling alone and out of place wherever she went. Her health, never good, caused many absences during the time of turmoil. She lost weight. She was a good student and made excellent grades, despite it. She went on to college and then to law school with the support of her stepsiblings, and graduated magna cum laude. From there, she went to the San Antonio Distri...

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books; Library ed edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373773005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373773008
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,278,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in south Georgia(USA), graduated from high school in Atlanta, married my husband, James, in Habersham County, and graduated from Piedmont College(Demorest, GA) summa cum laude in history with minors in anthropology and Spanish in 1995.

I worked for over 16 years as a newspaper reporter on both weekly and daily papers. In between reporting jobs, I had a son, Blayne, my greatest creative achievement. I love iguanas and most other animals, and am the biggest geek on earth. If it's electronic, and non-lethal, I probably have one. I was always the kid who was out of step with the rest of the world, and I still am. My father was a college professor, so my sister and I grew up not quite understanding what prejudice was.

I traveled a lot when I was more mobile than I am now, and I never met a person I didn't like. Writing books is more than a job to me, it's my life, next to being a wife, mother and grandmother. I am a person of faith, but I respect all religions and all cultures.

I write romantic suspense for HQN books, mass market and series contemporary romance for Harlequin, and science fiction novels for Luna Books. In my spare time, I sleep. :)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By lawlady on July 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
** THIS REVIEW IS LONG AND CONTAINS LOTS OF SPOILERS**

I have been a Diana Palmer fan since way back in the 80s when Silhouette Romance and Silhouette Desire first started publishing her work. I have loved her Soldier of Fortune books and I even liked the way recurring Jacobsville characters appear in the subsequent books. I have seen her books getting tired and repetitive especially since the midpoint of the Long Tall Texans series and their identical storylines but this is the worst yet.

Thank God for the library because if I had paid my hard earned money then I would be really mad about this whole experience. My eyes actually hurt from rolling so much.

Also, I know this review is really long but this book was such a stinker and I wanted to explain why I labelled it as such.

THE STORY:

Glory is an Assistant DA from San Antonio who wears a wiretap and catches a major drug dealer discussing a murder among other crimes. She is the only witness (and the tape cannot be authenticated without her) so he puts a hit on her. She needs a place to hide out so she goes to her stepbrother's farm in Jacobsville where she meets Rodrigo, the new manager.

Rodrigo is actually a DEA agent who is working undercover to flush out a major drug dealer who coincidentally is the same guy after Glory. Neither one knows what the other one is actually doing at the farm and Glory actually thinks that he may be in with the drug smugglers.

THE GOOD:

The only thing that I liked about this book was that the heroine, Glory, was gutsy and she was not a whiny clingy person who needed a man to rescue her. She was small and at a disadvantage due to a disability but she was smart and resourceful.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on July 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book would be an improvement since Rodrigo seemed to be a nice guy in her other book. NOT! He is AN obnoxious, mean jerk like the author's other male characters, leaving one to wonder why in the world the female character would want a life with him. Palmer's books are all the same--mealy mouthed plain female character with small boobs whom the bitter male character demeans to no end. He wants her sexually but has no respect for her. And there is always some nice, good looking guy who wants her and would treat her like a princess but she does not want him. I have to wonder if the author thinks that mean and vindictive is a sexy trait in a man, I don't know. I am afraid her next "hero" may be a serial killer.

In the end I was hoping Rodrigo would meet his demise but he didn't. Too bad. This is the last Palmer book that I will read.

Another thing--in the form of a request to Amazon: PLEASE GIVE US A MINUS BUTTON TO USE FOR A BOOK LIKE THIS!
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Molly on June 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
ARE you as sick as I am of the same old "lame plots?"
DISABLED HEROINE AND ABUSIVE HERO~??? this is THE WORST DIANA PALMER BOOK EVER~ first of all too many side plots....confusing~

this CONTAINS * plot spoilers** so keep this in mind~

Glory the heroine is NOT just disabled she is very very ill~ bad hip and BAD heart~ she is also a DA~ her one rewarding character is she has a bit more "feist" than most of "Diana's Doormats"~ and is the only witness to a KILLERS confession... so she has to go undercover~ with endless plots to kill her~ ADD the hero ...Rodrigo~ undercover of course and HE/SHE are clueless who the other 'really is'~....like this could really occur? nah~
Rodrigo is attracted enough to Glory to get her pregnant after having mindboggling sex TWICE but is always complaining how "plain" and uneducated she is~like this stopped him from sex twice with her? NO~
HERO IS MEAN SPIRITED AND SERVES DIVORCE PAPERS TO HER WHEN SHE IS IN THE HOSPITAL HAVING A MISCARRIAGE AND A HEARTATTACK? ...LIKE THIS IS ANY ONES IDEAL HERO~??
DIANA what were you thinking??????

when he served the divorce papers to the deathly ill heroine ...I wanted you to KILL HIM OFF~ AND I wanted to do it "for" you~ ! disgusting~
THIS IS THE MEANEST AND NASTIEST hero I have read about in all of her books~ I WOULD GIVE THIS ONE A "ZERO" ONLY the lowest score allowed is a one~ SIMPLY BAD~ READ THE DUSTJACKET AT WALMART and that is the BEST part of this sorry book~

WORST PALMER BOOK EVER~ ! SUGGESTION: READ HER OLDER TITLES AND HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF A GOOD LIKELABLE DIANA PALMER "HERO" BECAUSE this one has NONE~
save $25.00 OR used amazon price today of $15.00 and PUT GAS IN YOUR CAR~ you will be happier~
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. King on August 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I used to love Ms. Palmer's novels but they are getting worse and worse and I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever read another! If you are an extremely educated person with handfuls of college degrees you may love this book, as for the rest of us, I was deeply offended that the macho jerk had no use for Glory when he thought she was an uneducated nobody! Honestly, Ms. Palmer doesn't realize people without college degrees still have feelings and are capable of carrying on conversations about poetry and surprise, surprise, can even be fluent in foreign languages. I was so disgusted how Ms.Palmer kept putting down the working class people and insinuated that only the most educated were capable of having a real chance of happiness with the hot FBI agents and mercenaries of the world. This is so laughable and in my opinion it is pure junk that should have never been published. The reader of a novel should go away feeling better about themselves or at least enjoy a well deserved escape from reality at times, not feeling worthless and think that there hopes of romance are now all but noexistant because they never finished college.
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