Sandra Brown has won over fans and critics throughout
the world with more than fifty New York Times
bestselling novels. Her early works were hailed by
Rendezvous magazine as stories with "larger than life
heroes and heroines [who] make you believe all the
warm, wonderful, wild things in life." Here is
the unforgettable story of a woman who returns to
her small hometown in the South--and finds
that the sins of her past are right where she left them.
Never. Sunny Chandler always said she'd never go
back to the tiny town where she grew up. It was just
three years ago that she was at the center of a notorious
scandal--and the good folks of Latham Green,
Louisiana, made it clear they'd never let her forget it.
So Sunny packed up and headed for New Orleans, and
now she wouldn't give up city life for the world. But
when she's invited to her best friend's wedding, Sunny
has no choice but to go home. And with her return
come the whispers...the looks...the rumors she tried
to escape. It doesn't take Sunny long to see that
Latham Green has nothing new to offer. Except
maybe Ty Beaumont.
The moment Ty and Sunny first meet at a party, he can
see she's no ordinary woman. With her dazzling hair,
and eyes the color of gold, she's a flesh-and-blood
fantasy--and Ty vows he'll have her in his bed before
the week is out. Yet even when he turns on his southern
charm, Sunny makes it clear she's not interested.
Sure, a night with Ty would be wilder than Bourbon
Street at Mardi Gras. But Sunny's not in town to
become some good ol' boy's latest conquest, no matter
how sexy he is. Little does she know that Ty
isn't used to taking no for an answer--and he isn't
about to start now.
Soon what began as an innocent flirtation becomes
a tantalizingly slow, skillfully deliberate, and
overwhelmingly seductive pursuit that even Sunny
finds hard to resist. But resist him she will. For
Sunny is harboring an agonizing secret--the painful
truth of why she left Latham Green the way she did.
What she really needs now is a friend--and that's when
she discovers there may be more to Ty Beaumont
than meets the eye. Despite his roguish facade, Sunny
comes to see he has a heart of gold. Still, she doesn't
know if she can trust another person with her secret
heartbreak--not even the one man who may
be able to heal it.
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November 22, 2004
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Excerpt from Sunny Chandler's Return by Sandra Brown
"Who is she?"
"Her name is Sunny Chandler."
"You know her?"
"Since third grade."
"Might have been second grade."
"So she grew up here?"
"Where's she been?"
"All your life?"
The first man frowned as he looked down at the second. "Where's she been?" he repeated sternly.
The second man was properly cowed. "New Orleans." His syrupy Southern accent made the pronunciation "Nawlins." "Moved there a few years back. She's a seamstress."
"A seamstress?" He never would have guessed that by looking at her.
"Something like that. Wanda could tell you more about what she's been doing."
He had every intention of asking the other man's wife later all about this Sunny Chandler. She had aroused his curiosity. And his curiosity, like all his other appetites, never went unappeased for long.
However, for the moment, he was content just to watch Sunny Chandler as she circulated among the other party guests. No longer a small-town girl, she stuck out like a sore thumb.
Bad comparison, he thought. Sore thumbs were unsightly. He had yet to find a single unsightly thing about this woman.
"Why did she leave town?" he asked.
His companion chuckled. "You'd never believe it."
"Well, it was like this." In a low voice, the man began to share the juiciest piece of gossip ever to come out of Latham Green.
The subject of the not-to-be-believed tale that was being recounted across the room stifled a bored yawn. The sudden burst of laughter startled her, as it did everyone else nearby. Turning, Sunny saw two men standing by the wall of windows, which overlooked the golf course. The tall blond one was wiping tears of laughter from his eyes.
Probably telling each other dirty jokes, Sunny thought with distaste. These yokels didn't know how to behave in polite company. The back room at the pool hall and this formal parlor of the country club were one and the same to them. They had no sense of decorum.
The bridegroom's family had gone all out for this bash they were hosting in honor of the wedding couple. Since no expense had been spared, the chef had put his best efforts into the buffet. The decorator had depleted the stock of wholesale florists for miles around; the large salon was festooned with bouquets of colorful flowers. While the country club's budget was usually stretched to hire a local sextet for their dances, tonight's music was being provided by a jazzy dance band imported from Memphis.
They weren't bad, either, Sunny thought. She caught the bandleader's roving eye and smiled up at him when they began playing a Kenny Rogers ballad. He winked at her. She winked back, then quickly turned her attention to the buffet. Keeping her head down, she concentrated on filling her plate.
Groaning inwardly, Sunny painted on a fake smile and turned around. "Why, hello, Mrs. Morris."
"Long time no see, girlie."
Eloquent ol' biddy. "Yes, it's been a while."
"Three years." Three years, two months, six days. Obviously not long enough for people to forget.
"Are you still in New Orleans?"
"Still there." And loving it. Loving any place that isn't Latham Green.
"You're looking good."
The observation was intended as a dig. Sunny considered it a supreme compliment. Mrs. Morris crammed a mushroom stuffed with deviled crab into her mouth and chewed vigorously. Then, as though afraid Sunny might run off before she could ply her with more nosy questions, she asked quickly, "And your folks? How are they?"
"Fine, just fine." Sunny turned her back on the woman and picked up a raw oyster on the half shell--something she wouldn't have eaten in a million years even though she was now a resident of New Orleans--and set it on her plate.
Mrs. Morris, however, wasn't attuned to nuances and had never heard of body language. She went on, undaunted.
"They're still in Jackson?"
"They don't come back very often. But then after . . . well, you know what I mean. It's still difficult for them, I'm sure."
Sunny wanted to set down her plate, leave the room, leave the town, leave the parish, just as she had three years ago. The only thing that kept her planted now in front of the melon bowl was the determination not to give anybody the satisfaction of having scared her off.
"Do y'all still own that cabin out on the lake?"
Before Sunny could fashion a response, the honoree of the party came up to her. "Sunny, could I impose on you to help me with my hair? I feel a strategic pin slipping. Please? Excuse us, Mrs. Morris."
Sunny deserted her half-filled plate of food. She hadn't wanted to eat, she'd merely wanted to keep her hands busy. "Thanks," she said under her breath as her friend linked arms with her and led her out of the formal salon and down the hall toward the powder room.
Fran was laughing. "You looked as if you needed rescuing. Or maybe Mrs. Morris was the one in peril. I was afraid you were going to eat that Swedish meatball and then skewer her with the toothpick."