9780385340281

Southern Lights

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780385340281

  • ISBN10:

    0385340281

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 10/20/2009
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press

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Summary

Danielle Steel sweeps us from a Manhattan courtroom to the Deep South in her powerful new novel-at once a behind-closed-doors look into the heart of a family and a tale of crime and punishment. Eleven years have passed since Alexa Hamilton left the South behind, fleeing the pain of her ex-husband#x19;s betrayal and the cruelty of his prominent Charleston family. Now an assistant D.A. in Manhattan, Alexa has finally put her demons to rest, making a name for herself as a top prosecutor, handling the city#x19;s toughest cases while juggling her role as devoted single mom to a teenage daughter. But everything changes when Alexa is handed her latest case: the trial of accused serial killer Luke Quentin. Sifting through mountains of forensic evidence, Alexa prepares for a high-stakes trial&until threatening letters throw her private life into turmoil. The letters are addressed to her beautiful seventeen-year-old daughter, Savannah, whom Alexa has been raising alone since her divorce. Alexa is certain that Quentin is behind the letters-and that they are too dangerous to ignore. Suddenly she must make the toughest choice of all-and send her daughter back to the very place she swore she would never return to: the place where her marriage ended in heartbreak&her ex-husband#x19;s world of southern tradition, memories of betrayal, and the antebellum charm of Charleston. Now, while Alexa#x19;s trial builds to a climax in New York, her daughter is settling into southern life, discovering a part of her family history and a father she barely knows--from the ice-cold stepmother who stole him away to a fascinating ancestry and a half-sister and half-brothers she comes to love. As secrets are exposed and old wounds are healed, Alexa and Savannah, after a season in different worlds, will come together again-strengthened by the challenges they have faced, changed by the mysteries they have unraveled, and with Savannah now at home in the southern world her mother fled. In this masterfully told tale, Danielle Steel creates a stunning array of contrasts: from the gritty chaos of Manhattan#x19; s criminal court system to the seductive gentility of the South, from the rage of a hardened criminal to the tender bond between a mother and daughter-and a loving father who has welcomed Savannah home at last. A novel that will catch you off guard at every turn, Southern Lightsis Danielle Steel at her electrifying best.

Author Biography

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 580 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Matters of the Heart, One Day at a Time, A Good Woman, Rogue, Honor Thyself, Amazing Grace, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death.

Excerpts

Chapter One


The man sitting in the threadbare chair with the stuffing pouring out of it appeared to be dozing, his chin drifting slowly toward his chest. He was tall and powerfully built with a tattoo of a snake peering out of his shirt on the back of his neck as his head shifted down. His long arms seemed lifeless on the arms of his chair in the small dark room. There was an evil cooking odor coming from the hallway and the television was on. A narrow unmade bed stood in the corner of the room, covering most of the filthy, stained shag carpet. The drawers of a chest were pulled open and the few clothes he had brought with him were on the floor. He was wearing a T-shirt, heavy boots, and jeans, and the mud encrusted on his soles had dried and was flaking into the carpet. As peacefully as he had been sleeping, suddenly he was wide awake. He jerked his head up with a snort, and his ice-blue eyes flew open, as the hair stood up on his arms. He had an uncanny sense of hearing. He closed his eyes again as he listened, and then stood up and grabbed his jacket with a single stride across the narrow room. With his head erect, the snake tattoo disappeared back into his shirt.

Luke Quentin slipped quietly over the windowsill and made his way down the fire escape after closing the window behind him. It was freezing cold. January in New York. He had been in town for two weeks. Before that, he had been in Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky. He had visited a friend in Texas. He had been traveling for months. He got work where he could find it. He didn't need much to live on. He moved with the stealth of a panther, and was walking down the street on the Lower East Side, before the men he had heard coming reached his room. He didn't know who they were, but he was smarter than to take a chance. They were cops more than likely. He had been in prison twice, for credit card fraud and robbery, and he was well aware that ex-cons never got a fair shake, from anyone. His friends from prison called him Q.

He stopped to buy a paper and a sandwich, shivered in the cold, and went for a walk. In another world, he would have been considered handsome. He had huge powerful shoulders, and a chiseled face. He was thirty-four years old and, with both sentences, had done a total of ten years. He had served his full time and hadn't been released on parole. Now he was free as the wind. He had been back on the streets for two years, and hadn't gotten into trouble so far. Despite his size, he could disappear in any crowd. He had sandy nondescript blond hair, pale blue eyes, and from time to time he grew a beard.

Quentin walked north, and west when he got to Forty-second Street. He slipped into a movie house just off Times Square, sat in the dark, and fell asleep. It was midnight when he got out, and he hopped on a bus and went back downtown. He assumed that by now, whoever had come to visit earlier would be long gone. He wondered if someone at the hotel had tipped the cops off that he was a con. The tattoos on his hands were a dead giveaway to those who knew. He just hadn't wanted to be around when they walked in, and hoped they'd lose interest when they found nothing in the room. It was twelve-thirty when he got back to the dreary hotel.

He always took the stairs. Elevators were a trap--he liked to be free to move around. The desk clerk nodded at him, and Luke headed upstairs. He was on the landing just below his floor when he heard a sound. It wasn't a footstep or a door, it was a click. Just that. He knew it instantly, it was a gun being cocked, and moving like the speed of sound, he headed back down the stairs on silent feet, and slowed briefly only when he got to the desk. Something was off, very off. He realized they were behind him then, halfway down the stairs. There were three of them, and Luke wasn't going to wait and find out who they were. It occurred to him to try and talk his

Excerpted from Southern Lights by Danielle Steel
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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