The husky voice of country radio DJ Jared Snow arouses scores of women listeners, each with a fantasy of her own.
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About the Author
BARBARA DELINSKY lives in Needham, Massachusetts. With thirty million copies of her novels in print, in 25 different languages, Delinsky is one of the world's most beloved and revered storytellers. A lifelong New Englander, she uses the area as settings in most of her stories. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys kayaking, aerobics, and needlepoint; in addition to spending time with family and friends. She is also a breast cancer survivor, and strives to be a positive role model for other women facing the disease.
Date of Birth:August 9, 1945
Place of Birth:Boston, Massachusetts
Education:B.A. in Psychology, Tufts University, 1967; M.A. in Sociology, Boston College, 1969
Read an Excerpt
Heart of the Night
Chapter OneHIS VOICE WAS HEAVENLY. It flowed through her like a gentle wave, warming, and stroking her into serenity. When she was under its spell, she had a friend, a lover in the night.
She had no idea what he looked like. He was reputed to be a reclusive man, but she supposed that since he worked the graveyard shift, such seclusion was perhaps his survival. He had to sleep sometime. But not now.
"It's twelve fifty-four," he told her in the deep, faintly husky drawl she had come to know so well, "six minutes before one and a chilly twenty-eight degrees outside my door on the kind of night made for a hot fire, a snifter of brandy, and love. You're tuned to 95.3 FM, WCIC Providence, for a little country in the city. We're comin' up on a string of six, kickin' off with the latest from Alabama." His voice grew more resonant, and much huskier. "This is Jared Snow in the heart of the night. Stay with me...."
With a low half-moan, Savannah Smith closed her eyes. Propping her forehead on the eraser end of her pencil, she took a slow, measured breath. She liked Alabama's music, but Jared Snow was better. She could listen to his soft, tomcat drawl all night, and she wasn't the only one. She had heard enough wistful sighs in the ladies' room of the courthouse whenever his name was mentioned to know that most females within the sound of his voice were similarly entranced. Women of all ages were seduced by his voice, yet during the intermittent moments when he stopped talking, each felt she was the only woman on his earth.
Scowling, Savannah opened her eyes and lowered the pencil. Somehow his ability to so affect women seemed like a crime even though his victims were willing. No one forced them to listen to him night after night. Certainly no one was forcing her, yet listen she did. Night after night.
It was not the smartest thing to do, she realized as she looked at the blank sheet of paper on which her pencil lay. She had work to do. She should have prepared this pretrial motion that afternoon, but Paul had asked her to cover for him at the press conference on the Tabor murder, and when Paul asked, Savannah answered. Not only was Paul DeBarr the state's duly elected attorney general and her boss, but he was her friend. She knew the pressures he lived with. Whenever she could help him out, she did.
Unfortunately, by the time she'd returned to her office after the press conference, there had been a stack of telephone messages on her desk. She had farmed out some of them, but she had needed to answer most herself. When she finally pushed away the phone at six o'clock, she had developed a dreadful crick in her neck.
She was glad that the phone rarely rang at one in the morning. In fact, she realized, it had not rung once since she arrived home, which was something of a relief. Her sister, Susan, hadn't called. More importantly, her father hadn't called, which meant that Susan was, so far this night, behaving herself.
Of course, Savannah had no way of knowing if one of them had called earlier. After work she had gone to her aerobics class at the club for an hour, then returned to the office for a file she'd forgotten, and then she had been shanghaied by a contingent of the fourth estate to Payne's Pub for drinks. It was ten o'clock when she got home. Her father and Susan would both have been well into their respective evening plans by then. Life in Newport was never dull.
Pushing away the blank pad of paper, Savannah rose from her chair and wandered idly across the den to the window. Her hand skimmed the graceful arc of the swags, but her attention was trained on the night. Benefit Street was dark, lit but faintly by the gaslights that flanked its curbs. There was no traffic. There wasn't even a dog-walker in sight. Providence was asleep.
She should be, too, she told herself. But sleep did not come easily. Too many thoughts preoccupied her mind long after her body had wearied. She wondered if self-doubt came with age. She certainly had never lacked confidence before. From the time she had reached fifteen and realized that some women had careers, Savannah had known what she wanted to do. And she'd done it. She had attended college and law school, and then she had won an appointment to the attorney general's office. She had been there for the past five years.
She was not tired of the job. One couldn't possibly tire of a job where armed robberies, murders, and rapes were weekly cases. Savannah had her pick of the most challenging work. She couldn't complain.
Still, something about her life bothered her, she decided as Alabama segued comfortably to Michael Martin Murphey. Something about her life? Who was she kidding? She knew exactly what was wrong.
She was turning thirty-one in five days. With a slight shiver, she left the window and returned to the desk. Her fingertips grazed its beveled edge, lightly brushing the smooth pine surface. It was a beautiful desk, an antique that had been stripped and restained in the light shade that so appealed to her. She found strength in the basic lines of the piece; it was a breath of antiquity made modern.
Taking the weight of her long, chestnut-colored hair into her hands, she held it off her neck for a minute. Then, twisting it forward over one shoulder, she slipped into the chair, took up her pencil and began to write on the legal pad. Thirty-one.
She slanted the numbers into a top corner of the sheet and stared at them. On paper, they were innocuous. Not so in real life. Savannah hadn't been bothered by turning thirty; all the ballyhoo had prepared her for the worst, mitigating the reality. Thirty had been a novelty, a milestone to defy. Thirty-one was something else.
Then again, maybe her restlessness had nothing to do with her birthday. Periods of evaluation were common in life. When a person was as busy as she was, self-evaluation was inevitably put aside for sometimes long stretches of time. Just as inevitably, one had to periodically stop, take a breath, step out of oneself, and look back.
Professionally, Savannah liked what she saw. She was a good lawyer with a reputation for honesty and diligence. No one could fault her style. She had grown into her role well.
Personally, she was not sure she liked what she saw, but then, she was uncertain as to what she ultimately wanted to achieve personally.
She wasn't a wife or a mother. She was a daughter, a sister, and a friend many times over. Friendships meant a lot to her. She only wished they could fill the void that engulfed her in the dark of the night.
"You're cruisin' along in cool country," came the deep, lyrically raspy voice from the speakers that flanked the bookshelves to her left, "on 95.3 FM, WCIC Providence. It's the top of the hour, one on the nose, and a quiet Monday night in Rhode Island," he drawled. "Make yourself comfortable, put your feet up and your head back. I've got the Eagles comin' up, and Rosanne Cash, but first let's hear the latest on love from Gary Morris. Leave your dial where it is at 95.3 FM, WCIC Providence, kickin' up a little country in the city. I'm Jared Snow, stayin' with you in the heart of the night...."
It was not what he said that affected her so deeply. He rarely said much more than the time or the weather or the names of the artists whose music he was playing. Occasionally he injected a note of civic interest between songs, but he was not a political creature who used the airwaves as a forum for himself. He didn't take calls on the air. He didn't hold interviews. He simply identified the station and himself.
It was the way he spoke that touched her like a wet soul kiss. The deep husky tone of his voice was so quintessentially male and extraordinarily intimate that it would make even a traffic report sound erotic. The sound of Jared Snow's voice made Savannah's juices flow.
Acutely aware of the tripping of her pulse, she gathered every bit of self-discipline she possessed to grip her pencil and focus on her work. Experience told her that she would do enough work to avoid a calamity in court the next morning. Then she would set her briefcase aside and turn up the radio.
Jared Snow would be waiting for her. He was a saint, the most patient of men, her ideal. He was always there when she finished playing out her role as prosecutor, as daughter and sister and friend. He was there, talking softly, waiting until she took off her clothes, slipped into bed, and turned off the light.
Then he was her dream lover, the body that warmed her mind and soul. In the heart of the night he was the end to her loneliness.
"Kickin' in at one thirty-six, you're listening to cool country, 95.3 FM, WCIC Providence. The CIC forecast calls for clear skies till dawn, with low temps in the twenties. By morning, warmer air will be moving into the area, bringing clouds and a chance of rain." His voice grew more husky. "Right now it's a frosty twenty-seven degrees outside our studios, but there's no frost in here with me, and there's certainly none on Kenny Rogers, who's heatin' the crowds with his latest tour. He's been one of the superstars of country music since '77 and 'Lucille,' singin' up a steady stream of hits. I've got 'I Prefer the Moonlight,' comin' up next on WCIC Providence, 95.3 FM, the home of a little country in the city." He positively purred. "Jared Snow here, in the heart of the night. Listen up...."
Susan Smith Gardner raised her glass in a toast to the man and his voice, then downed what remained of her scotch in a single swallow. It was a minute before the liquor settled, another before she breathed a slightly fiery, "I'm listening," yet another before she pushed herself up from the chintz lounge chair and headed for what had once been her husband's armoire. It was now her bar.
Dirk had been gone for a year, taking with him a colorful array of Polo jerseys, starched Armani shirts, and Perry Ellis sweaters, along with everything else he had personally brought into the marriage. Filling the closet hadn't been a problem; Susan had transferred all the clothes she'd previously stashed in the attic so that Dirk wouldn't know just how much she had. The armoire, though, was a monstrosity. Although she kept its doors closed, Susan had known what was behind them, and that nothingness had bothered her. Using the piece to house liquor had been a brainstorm. Not only did it give her the convenience of a bar in the bedroom, where she needed it most, but it meant that the prying eyes that monitored the bar in the den saw little change in the liquor levels from one week to the next.
She told herself that she didn't have a real problem; she just enjoyed a drink now and again. She believed it was her right to get drunk once in a while. She was convinced that whoever meted out the good times in life had robbed her blind.
Slipping a lone ice cube into her glass, she added a finger of water and three of scotch. Satisfied after a sample swallow, she closed the armoire doors, then began to wander around the room. Kenny Rogers was singing about his woman, but it wasn't Kenny Rogers she wanted to hear, and she certainly didn't want to hear about his woman. It seemed to Susan that the whole world was paired off. She was the only one alone. She, and Jared Snow.
He was alone, sitting in that studio of his. She could close her eyes and picture him there in the heart of the night, talking to her. She loved listening to him, often waited through the music just to hear his voice again. Whether she was totally alert, or tired, dazed or groggy, if Jared Snow told her to climb the steeple of Trinity Church and jump, she'd do it in a minute. His voice was that seductive.
With one arm wrapped around her middle and the other propping the glass to her lips, Susan sluggishly stepped around the perimeter of the huge bed she had all to herself. Stopping at the nightstand where her sleekly housed radio stood, she lightly caressed the buttons on top.
Jared Snow exuded confidence. She had never met him; not many people had, it seemed, yet that split second's worth of silence that always followed the mention of his name said something to her. She was sure that Rhode Islanders stood a little in awe of him, because he was a mystery, a blank sheet of paper in an area where anyone who was anybody was a full dossier.
Rumor had it that he was from the West Coast, that he was wealthy, that he owned both this station and others. Susan couldn't understand why in the world, if he owned the station, he would be working the night shift. For that matter, she couldn't understand why he would be working at all. For that matter, she couldn't understand why, if he owned other stations, he'd chosen to work in Providence.
Not that she would have it any other way. She didn't know what she would do if he were no longer a voice in her night. She relied on his being there. On weekends, when he was off, she was depressed. When substitutes filled in for him, she felt let down.
She wasn't wild about his music. He played too many ballads about things that were too true, and the truth could be brutal at times. When he played songs about love, she felt jealous. When he played songs about love gone wrong, she despaired. But he was good, damn, he was good. So confident, so smooth, so able. She needed a man like that.
But what would a man like that, one who was rich and well known and totally together, want with a woman like her? Susan wondered. What was she, anyway?
With a disgusted grunt, she tipped the glass to her lips and let its potent contents sear a path to her stomach. Emboldened then and momentarily angry, she whirled to face the mirrored closet wall. She was beautiful. If nothing else, she knew she was that. She was taller than Savannah, more shapely than Savannah, and the curls-which Savannah didn't have-of the huge, auburn mass that cascaded around her shoulders had taken more than one man's breath away. Even Savannah admitted that her sister was beautiful. But beyond being beautiful, what was she?
Savannah was something. She was a career woman, a professional. She had made it in a man's world. As Paul DeBarr's golden girl, she'd become a visible presence on the Providence political scene. Her name was often in the morning papers connected with one or another of the most spectacular cases. She was known and respected. She was in an enviably prestigious position.
Although she was not beautiful the way Susan was, men looked, really looked at her. Susan had spent years trying to figure out her sister's appeal. For lack of any better explanation, she'd decided that Savannah had some kind of aura. Even when they had been kids, Savannah had been popular. She hadn't been the loudest or the most gregarious in their crowd, but friends flocked to her. Nothing had changed since then. Although Savannah didn't have much free time, the moments she had were filled. Savannah had everything. Even her name was better than Susan's.
Excerpted from Heart of the Night by Barbara Delinsky Copyright © 1989 by Barbara Delinsky. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE THIS AN E-BOOK FOR THE NOOK!!!!!! THIS IS A TIMELESS STORY ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE WILL DO FOR LOVE
The Heart of the night : this book still brings me a smile and a passion for men everytime I pick it up to place it somewhere on the shelf. Don't as, just read it...
Loved Jared in this book. Laid back and quiet and caring. Great story, made you care about the characters
Poorly written and boring.
IT WAS A REALLY GOOD BOOK. I LIKE BARBARA DELINSKY'S WRITING. i WOULD LIKE TO READ MORE OF HER. THAMKS
I've read this book a thousand times and never get bored of it. It is an absolute joy, great summer read, winter read any read. The characters developed in a wonderful way and the plot was wonderful. A definate page turner. Has you guessing until the very end. When you think you know what's going to happen, it doesn't.
Again the author Barbara Delinsky grabbed my full attention with this book, Heart of the Night. Between tne competiveness of two twin sisters and a close friend there is never a dull moment. When one of the three women are kidnapped, things heat up in every way! I think most importantly is how these friends join together to solve the kidnapping putting their differences aside. During this difficult time the sisters are reminded they have feelings as well and soon fall in love but both are unsure as to let the other aware of this. I found this book difficult to put down and I loved it!
This is one of my favorite books - whenever I need a good book, this is the one I pull out. Romantic, sizzling and hard to put down.
I enjoyed this book very much. I think I read it in 6 hours. It was very different and that was refreshing. I will read Delinsky again.
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