Love Songs: A Novel

Love Songs: A Novel

by Barbara Delinsky

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Overview

Love Songs

Barbara Delinsky

In these two classic novels from America's beloved storyteller, Barbara Delinsky captures those special romantic moments that make the heart sing…

UP ALL NIGHT

Alanna Evans is a busy young executive with a bad case of insomnia. Desperate for a good night's sleep, she decides to check out a renowned sleep clinic, the Knight Center. It's the last place she'd expect to meet the man of her dreams. But when Alexander Knight—the clinic's gorgeous benefactor—takes a very personal interest in her case, Alanna's afraid those sexy bedroom eyes of his might keep her up all night long…

SWEET SERENITY
Serena Strickland runs a candy shop in Minneapolis that's every bit as wonderful as its name: Sweet Serenity. Unfortunately, her serenity is all but shattered when Tom Reynolds waltzes back into her life. Years ago, the rising young journalist turned her father's trial into a front-page scandal, and Serena has never forgiven him. But when Tom turns on the charm, she's surprised to find that he's as sweet as candy—and just as hard to resist…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250025333
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/29/2013
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 488,497
File size: 888 KB

About the Author

BARBARA DELINSKY is the author of more than twenty New York Times bestselling books, including Before and Again, The Scent of Jasmine, and Love Songs. She has been published in twenty-eight languages worldwide. A lifelong New Englander, Delinsky earned a B.A. in psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in sociology at Boston College. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband.
BARBARA DELINSKY is the author of more than twenty New York Times bestselling books, including Before and Again, The Scent of Jasmine, and Love Songs. She has been published in twenty-eight languages worldwide. A lifelong New Englander, Delinsky earned a B.A. in psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in sociology at Boston College. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, more books than she'll ever be able to read, two tennis racquets, and enough electronic devices to keep in close touch with her children and their families.

Hometown:

Newton, Massachusetts

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

Love Songs


By Barbara Delinsky

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 1983 Barbara Delinsky
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-02533-3



CHAPTER 1

up all night


1


The fiery embers of sunset blazed their reflection across the glass-fronted structure, joining Alanna Evans' own slender reflection as she crossed the parking lot of the medical center's newest wing and entered its lobby. Her honeyed head held high with confidence, she approached the elevator, pushed the up button, and waited.

After a day of nonstop business, she welcomed the moment's pause and breathed deeply to savor it. All sound was subdued in the quiet lobby. A faint hum of conversation trickled from the lounge to her right, the intermittent beeping of the hospital paging system echoed from the reception desk to her left, and the muted rustle of a passing white-garbed practitioner served to emphasize the stark immobility of the shiny doors before her.

She dropped her gaze to look through the lighter bottom of her tinted glasses to the deep blue carpet, against which her gray pumps looked properly subtle. Absently, she straightened the soft pleats of her skirt, adjusted its matching jacket, then shifted her overnight bag to rest the strap more comfortably on her shoulder. As the purr of the elevator signaled its approach, a man joined her silently, standing perfectly still. Her peripheral vision absorbed no more than his remarkably tall, dark-suited form before a gentle chime heralded the elevator's arrival. Seconds later, the door slid open.

Moving simultaneously, both prospective passengers stepped forward. Then each paused to let the other pass. When a chivalrous hand gestured her forward, Alana smoothly entered, pressed the button for her floor, then turned to stand with her back to the wall. The man followed, glancing briefly at the single number already lit on the command panel before stationing himself opposite her in a stance both casual and alert.

With a soft thud the door closed and they were alone. Drawn by an enigmatic impulse, Alana looked across to meet his gaze head-on. His back rested lightly against the wall, his hands thrust in the pants pockets of his finely tailored suit. He seemed a study in contrasts — white shirt against dark gray wool, brown hair flecked with gleaming gold highlights, broad shoulders tapering to lean and narrow hips. And he continued to stare at her.

While Alanna was an unusually attractive woman, well used to the admiring glances sent her way by men and women alike, this particular glance was different. Even the subtly defiant tilt of her chin could not discourage it. Charcoal eyes, deep and intense, studied her closely, evaluating her much as she had done him and remaining uncomfortably persistent. With a cool determination born of practice she broke the contact, raising her eyes to the horizontal panel above the doors. Two. Three. Four.

The elevator glided to a gentle stop. As soon as the doors rolled open she straightened her shoulders and stepped forward. Again his movement paralleled her own. Again she halted, but this time it was Alanna who gestured, with an indulgent dip of her head, for the man to precede her. With an imperceptible nod, he stepped ahead, but not before she noted the distinct twitch of amusement at his lips. Her eye followed his broad back as he disembarked, turned and disappeared through a set of swinging doors to be swallowed up by the long hospital corridor beyond. Only then did she breathe deeply once more, bolstering her composure to approach the nearby nurses' station.

She stood patiently for a moment, respectful of the urgent nature of hospital business and slightly disconcerted by her own upcoming role here. The white-capped head before her was downcast, lost in the deciphering of scrawled doctor's orders. Finally, as if with the sudden realization of Alanna's presence, the nurse looked up.

"May I help you?"

"Yes, please. I'm Alanna Evans. I'll be participating in the IAT study. I believe Dr. Henderson is expecting me?"

Recognition lit up the nurse's face, her broad smile mirroring the white of her uniform as she stood and extended a warm hand, which Alanna clasped readily. "Ms. Evans, welcome! I'm Sylvia Frazier, the night nurse heading the unit. We weren't quite sure just when you would arrive."

Reassured by the woman's friendliness, Alanna relaxed. "I wasn't quite sure myself. It's been a hectic day. Fortunately, I was able to escape from the office at seven." She glanced at the clock and noticed that it was barely seven-thirty; she had made good time.

"Then you haven't eaten?"

Alanna smiled ruefully. "No. But that's nothing new. I'd half hoped to be able to grab something in the cafeteria here, either before or after I spoke with Dr. Henderson. Is she free now?"

"I don't think so, dear." The older woman shook her head, then frowned. "I believe she may be with one of the other participants. Let me check."

Alanna's inner tension was betrayed only by the white knuckles gripping the strap of her overnight bag. Determinedly, she relaxed her fingers. Looking slowly around, she shuddered, for a fleeting moment recalling her past hospital experience, the long, painful vigil at her mother's bedside so many years ago. Mercifully, she herself had never been sick, truly sick, a day in her life. Her present problem was an annoyance more than anything else. A grave annoyance. As a woman who prided herself on self-command, she was frustrated.

Her attention snapped back to the present as Sylvia Frazier returned. "It's as I suspected. She'll be tied up for a little while. It's slow going at the start. Why don't you go down and have a good supper?" Her eye skimmed the slim figure before her with kind, almost maternal concern. "You could use several pounds, I'll warrant. But," she shrugged with a guilty grin, "perhaps that's just the envy in me speaking. I've been at the other end of that 'ideal weight' chart for too long. Run along now. I've told the doctor where you'll be. You can leave your bag here. And enjoy your dinner." She emphasized the words, smiling knowingly.

Given the circumstances, and the fact that they would be seeing quite a bit of each other, it was nice to know that Sylvia Frazier had a sense of humor. Alanna laughed. "That bad, eh?"

"Oh, not too bad ... for institution fare. But it is institution fare."

"Any recommendations?" She arched a blond brow mischievously.

The nurse's choice was instant and from the heart. "Apple pie, à la mode." Then, catching herself, she feigned sternness. "After a healthy helping of chicken or fish, of course. Now, go!" Her gentle order was reinforced by the shooing motion of her hands. Alanna went.

Five minutes later, seated alone at a corner table in the sparsely filled cafeteria, she cast a plaintive glance at the junior sirloin before her. Had she really wanted it, or the fries and salad accompanying it? Or was she merely hoping for sustenance to help her through the night ahead?

Only after she took several perfunctory bites did she realize how hungry she was. When had lunch been? An eon ago. Or, to be precise, an executive board meeting, three separate conferences, two endless proposal forms and a dozen phone calls ago.

Slowly, as the meal before her disappeared, she began to unwind. It might have been a trying day, but it had been a good one. Hard work was an integral part of her approach to life. Alanna thrived on it. Her penetration into the elitist ranks of the male-dominated executive level at WallMar Enterprises had been — contrary to recent rumor — the result of long hours, persistence, innate ability and sheer hard work. Realism held taut rein over bitterness in her musings; despite all recent advances against sexism, a woman still had to work twice as hard to achieve a niche comparable to her male counterparts in the corporate structure. But, it was worth it. As Vice-President of Development her days were challenging and rewarding, petty aggravations and innuendo notwithstanding. Why, then, her present dilemma?

Insomnia. Millions of Americans suffered from it, yet that fact held small solace when, in the middle of the night, she awoke to find sleep an elusive quality. The pattern was always the same. For no apparent reason her sound sleep would be shattered at one, perhaps two, in the morning. Tossing in bed, she would think, wonder, brood, awaiting the imminent slumber that grew less imminent with each passing moment. For the longer the wakefulness persisted — and it frequently lasted for two or three hours — the more annoyed she became, keying herself up in a way that denied sleep even further.

It was a self-perpetuating nuisance. And Alanna Evans was not one to suffer nuisances willingly, particularly one that rendered her groggy and irritable at seven o'clock each morning, when her alarm rang. Granted, her good nature was usually in order by the time WallMar saw her at eight-thirty, but as the day wore on it became harder and harder to maintain. A steady year of tension and exhaustion was enough; she had finally taken the offensive. Hence the IAT study.

Recalling her immediate purpose, Alanna sat back in her seat, nibbling on a thick steak fry as her eye skimmed the room. There was a scattering of hospital personnel in small clusters here and there and a fair share of visitors. There was also — her teeth clamped down into the soft potato and held — a man walking directly toward her, his dark suit, exquisite physique and daring height identifying him instantly. Had they not, his charcoal eyes would certainly have done so, for they captured her gaze with the same glittering depth and intensity she had fallen victim to in the elevator, and they held unwaveringly as he moved with animal grace through the maze of tables to her corner.

Who was he? Alanna felt a twinge of familiarity, yet she couldn't quite make the identification. Nor did she have time to ponder it for, too soon, the man reached her side. In his hands he held two cups of a steaming brew she half suspected to be his own secret potion. Without even sipping it, she felt under an inexplicable spell.

"I see you haven't had coffee. Will you join me?" His voice was as smooth as the rest of him. Alanna was entranced by his aura of command, so much so that she hadn't moved a muscle since she'd first seen him approaching. Now, snapping back to life, she bit through the steak fry and chewed slowly, pensively, as she regained her poise. What was it about this man that was so compelling? Almost from instinct, with years of training behind her, she steeled herself against his charm.

"I'm sorry," she answered calmly, rising to his subtle challenge, "but I don't drink coffee in the evening. It disturbs my sleep." When she would have looked away in dismissal she found herself challenged anew. For the smugness of her refusal brought an equally cocky smile to the face across from her.

"Then I'm glad I ordered it decaffeinated. Cream? Sugar?" Her headshake was meant as a refusal of his company, but he chose to make a different interpretation and the black coffee was beside her plate before she could protest. Deftly, the man eased his long frame into the chair opposite hers. "It seems we share the problem. How was your dinner?"

With this stranger now firmly ensconced at her table it occurred to Alanna that she'd been given absolutely no say in the matter. "Not bad," she spoke evenly, eyeing the man through her tinted lenses. "I was enjoying the solitude. Time to oneself is a precious thing nowadays."

"And I've shattered it ...?" Silvery sparks of humor glittered in his eyes.

"Let's just say you ... intruded on it." This man needed no ego reinforcement; that he could easily shatter the peace of mind of many a woman was a given. "Are you always this aggressive?"

"Not usually. Actually, I surprised myself right now. I, too, usually enjoy being alone when I have the chance ... which isn't very often. Aggressive?" He frowned, seeming to consider the word. "Only when I want something badly enough."

"You want something?" she asked innocently. She looked around in a mocking search. "I don't see much that's available. Am I missing something?" Underlying her tone was a streak of amusement. Alanna relished good verbal sparring; this man had the potential to be a worthy opponent. Not to mention the fact that his voice was deep and resonant ... and very pleasing....

"I believe you are," he countered, "but it's not your fault. You had no reason to be on the lookout for it in as improbable a setting as this. In time you'll understand."

Alanna took refuge behind the rim of her coffee cup, sipping slowly as she studied the stranger. By all rights she should ask him to leave. In fact, it surprised her that she hadn't. She sensed something different in him — something she had felt in the elevator that was even more pronounced now. There was an arrogance about him — but a depth as well. He challenged her.

"What do you see?" he asked, surviving her scrutiny unscathed.

Alanna put down her cup, shifted in her seat, and cocked her head in contemplation. "I see a man, perhaps thirty-seven or thirty-eight —"

"Thirty-nine."

"Thank you. Thirty-nine." She stifled a grin. "Tall — oh, say six-three or so?"

"Close enough." He nodded, smiling faintly.

"Weight ... I won't even make a guess, since I'm no expert at that and since it's quite unimportant." She narrowed her gaze, fully involved in the game. "Athletic build, however. I'd guess you either work out regularly or play tennis —"

"Handball."

"That'll do." She smiled sweetly, feeling immune to his charm as long as she could describe him dispassionately. "Classic features — no, more rugged than classic. Brown hair with sandy highlights," she continued, glancing at the overhead light responsible for the last, "a nose that has been broken at least once, firm lips that express a distinct stubbornness," she grinned as the items in question twitched, "and eyes of charcoal gray that can be even more eloquent than that very glib tongue."

"No offense intended, of course?"

"Of course," she agreed drily, taking another sip of her coffee.

"Go on." Truly enjoying himself, he sat back in his chair, the fabric of his shirt stretching enticingly across his chest.

Alanna ignored the latter with a shrug. "What more is there to say?" She wasn't about to sum him up as perhaps the most handsome man she had seen in years, though it was the truth.

"Use your imagination," came his soft command. "I'm curious to see how the female mind sizes up its adversary."

"Adversary," she echoed. "Very good." So, he knew how she saw him, did he? Well then, she decided, she would let her imagination roam free. "All right." She cleared her throat. "I see a man used to giving orders without having them questioned."

"Would you question them?"

"You bet your life I would!" she flashed back with more vehemence than she had intended. Quickly she caught herself, steadying her voice. "I like giving an order or two myself on occasion. But that's beside the point," she added, reluctant to offer much about herself. "And speaking of that shirt, it and your suit are of very high quality — private tailor, perhaps?"

"Europe."

Alanna nodded, as though it were the most normal thing in the world. "Europe. I'm sorry I questioned that." A slender finger pushed her oversized glasses higher on the bridge of her nose. "Then, of course, you must be quite successful at what you do ... to be able to shop in Europe...."

He nodded, more modest than she would have expected. "I've been fortunate."

On the subconscious level, his vague familiarity got to her. Tilting her blond head, she frowned. "Do I know you from somewhere?"

"You're great!" he laughed softly, sparring still. "Isn't that supposed to be my line?"

"Tradition, my dear sir," she replied unfazed, "is irrelevant in this day and age. Well ...?"

"Well what?"

"Look." She sat forward with a sigh of impatience. "I really don't make a habit of talking to strange men."

Any discomfort she felt was totally her own. This strange man was quite pleased. "I'm glad to hear that. One less thing for us to argue about."

Alanna leaned down to retrieve her purse. She had begun to feel her control of the situation slipping and she was disquieted. "Please, either identify yourself or I'll be on my way." She paused. "Actually, I do have an appointment in another few minutes. Every game has to come to an end and this one is beginning to wear thin." She paused, her cocoa gaze narrowing. "You walk around as though you own this place and everyone in it. It's a very subtle air — but very much present. Well, you don't own me. And I think you owe me the courtesy of an introduction."

His deep, charcoal eyes grew suddenly more serious, remaining as intense as ever. Formally extending his hand across the table, he introduced himself. "I'm Alexander Knight. Alex."

Alanna hesitated, yet somehow her slim hand found its way into his larger, stronger one, warmth spreading through her. Only after several moments did his identity sink in. And with the realization came a heightened flush of pink to her cream-soft cheeks. Her smile crept out unbidden. "So you do own the place — or practically. I understand that the new wing — the Knight Center — was your doing." Her hand remained in his. She was aware of the strength he exuded and found it strangely comforting.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Love Songs by Barbara Delinsky. Copyright © 1983 Barbara Delinsky. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dear Reader,
Up All Night,
Sweet Serenity,
Teaser,
Back ad,
Also by BARBARA DELINSKY,
Praise for Barbara Delinsky,
About the Author,
Copyright,

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

PRAISE FOR BARBARA DELINSKY…

“Delinsky is a first-rate storyteller who creates believable, sympathetic characters who seem as familiar as your neighbors.”—The Boston Globe

“Delinsky combines her understanding of human nature with absorbing, unpredictable storytelling—a winning combination.”—Publishers Weekly

“Delinsky has a knack for exploring the battlefields of contemporary life.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Delinsky does a wonderful and realistic job portraying family dynamics.”—Library Journal

“A writer who continues to earn her bestseller status."—Bookreporter.com

“Delinsky never fails to entertain.”—RT Book Reviews

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Love Songs 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly love Barbara Delinsky books, but these earlier books are out dated and corny. I really forced myself to finish it because I hate walking away from a book once I start it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago