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Heart Of Stone [Mass Market Paperback]

Diana Palmer

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2008 Harlequin Special Edition (Book 1921)
Boone Sinclair is a hallmark Diana Palmer hero: tall, strong and handsome. A businessman and a rancher, Boone had it all—except for Keely Welsh. The first time he spotted her on his property, he was determined not to let her get away from him. The lovely beauty would be his.…

Every Long, Tall Texan gets his woman, and this one would not be denied.


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Silhouette; Special edition (Sept. 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373249217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373249213
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 16.1 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #211,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted 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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Keely Welsh felt his presence before she looked up and saw him. It had been that way from the day she met Boone Sinclair, her best friend's eldest brother. The man wasn't movie-star handsome or gregarious. He was a recluse, a loner who hardly ever smiled, who intimidated people simply by walking into a room. For some unknown reason, Keely always knew when he was around, even if she didn't see him.

He was tall and slender, but he had powerful legs and big hands and feet. There were rumors about him that grew more exaggerated with the telling. He'd been in Special Forces overseas five years earlier. He'd saved his unit from certain destruction. He'd won medals. He'd had lunch with the president at the White House. He'd taken a cruise with a world-famous author. He'd almost married a European princess. And on and on and on.

Nobody knew the truth. Well, maybe Winona and Clark Sinclair did. Winnie and Clark and Boone were closer than brothers and sisters usually were. But Winnie didn't talk about her brother's private life, not even to Keely.

There hadn't been a day since she was thirteen when Keely hadn't loved Boone Sinclair. She watched him from a distance, her green eyes soft and covetous. Her hands would shake when she happened on him unexpectedly. They were shaking now. He was standing at the counter, signing in. He had an appointment for his dog's routine shots. He made one every year. He loved the old tan-and-black German shepherd, whose name was Bailey. People said it was the only thing on earth that he did love. Maybe he was fond of his siblings, but it didn't show. His affection for Bailey did.

One of the other vet techs came out with a pad and called in Bailey, with a grin at Boone. It wasn't returned. He led the old dog into one of the examination rooms. He walked right past Keely. He never looked at her. He didn't speak to her. As far as he was concerned, she was invisible.

She sighed as the door closed behind him and his dog. It was that way anyplace in town that he saw her. In fact, it was like that at his huge ranch near Comanche Wells, west of Jacobsville, Texas. He never told Winnie that she couldn't have Keely over for lunch or an occasional horseback ride. But he ignored her, just the same.

"It's funny, you know," Winnie had remarked one day when they were out riding. "I mean, Boone never makes any comment about you, but he does make a point of pretending he doesn't see you. I wonder why." She looked at Keely then, with her dark eyes mischievous in their frame of blond hair. "You wouldn't know, I guess?"

Keely only smiled. "I haven't got a clue," she said. It was the truth.

"It's only you, too," her friend continued thoughtfully. "He's very polite to our brother Clark's occasional date—even to that waitress that Clark brought home one night for dinner, and you know what a snob Boone can be. But he pretends you don't exist."

"I may remind him of somebody he doesn't like," Keely replied.

"There was that girl he was engaged to," Winnie said out of the blue.

Keely's heart jumped. "Yes, I remember when he was engaged," she replied. It had been when she was fourteen, almost fifteen years old, just before he came back from overseas. Keely's young heart had been broken.

"It was just before you came back here to live with your mom," Winnie continued as if she'd read Keely's mind. "In fact, it was just about the time she started drinking so much more…" She hesitated. Keely's mother was an alcoholic and it was a sensitive subject to her friend. "Anyway, Boone was mustering out of the Army at the time. His fiancée rushed to Germany where he'd been taken when he was airlifted out of combat, wounded, and then…poof. She was gone, Boone came home, and he never mentioned her name again. None of us could find out what happened."

"Somebody said she was European royalty," Keely ventured shyly.

"She was distantly related to some man who was knighted in England," came the sarcastic reply. "Anyway, she ran out on Boone and he was bitter for a long time. So three weeks ago the phone rings and he gets a call from her. She's been living with her father, who owns a private detective agency in SanAntonio. She told Boone she'd made a terrible mistake and wanted to make up."

Keely's heart fell. A rival who had a history with Boone. It made her miserable just to think about it, despite the fact that she would never get close enough to Boone to give the other woman any competition. "Boone doesn't forgive people," she said, thinking aloud.

"That's right," Winnie replied, smiling. "But he's mellowed a bit. He takes her out on dates occasionally now. In fact, they're going to a Desperado concert next week."

Keely frowned. "He likes hard rock?" she asked, surprised. He looked so staid and dignified that she couldn't picture him at a rock concert. She said so.

Winnie laughed. "I can," she said. "He's not the conservative, quiet man he seems to be. Especially when he loses his temper or gets in an argument."

"Boone doesn't argue," Keely mused aloud.

He didn't. If he was angry enough, he punched. Never women, of course, but his men knew not to push him, especially if he was broody. One horse handler had found out the hard way that nobody made jokes at the boss's expense. Boone had been kicked by a horse, which the handler thought was hilarious. Boone roped the man, tied him to a post and anointed him with a bucket of recycled hay. All without saying a word.

Keely laughed out loud.

"What?" Winnie asked.

"I was remembering that horse wrangler.…"

Winnie laughed, too. "He couldn't believe it, he said, even when it was happening. Boone really does look so straitlaced, as if he'd never stoop to dirty his hands. His cowboys used to underestimate him. Not anymore."

"The rattlesnake episode is noteworthy, as well," came the amused reply.

"That cook was so shocked!" Winnie blurted out. "He was a really rotten cook, but he threatened to sue Boone if he fired him, so it looked as if we were stuck with him. He'd threatened to cook Boone a rattler if he made any more remarks about the food. He added a few spicy comments about why Boone's fiancée took a powder. Then one morning he looks in his Dutch oven to see if it's clean enough to cook in, and a rattlesnake jumps up right into his face!"

"Lucky for the cook it didn't have any fangs."

"The cook didn't know that!" Winnie laughed. "He didn't know who did it, either. He resigned on the spot. The men actually cheered as he drove off. The next cook was talented, and the soul of politeness to my brother."

"I am not surprised."

She shook her head. "Boone does have these little quirks," his sister murmured. "Like never turning on the heat in his bedroom, even in icy weather, and always going around with his shirts buttoned to the neck."

"I've never seen him with his shirt off," Keely remarked. It was unusual, because most of the cowboys worked topless in summer heat when they were branding or doctoring cattle. But Boone never did.

"He used to be less prudish," Winnie said.

"Boone, prudish?" Keely sounded shocked.

Winnie glanced at her and chuckled. "Well, I guess that really doesn't fit at all."

"No, it doesn't."

Winnie pursed her lips. "Come to think of it, he's not the only prude around here. I've never even seen you in a T-shirt, Keely. You always wear long sleeves and high necklines."

Keely had a good reason for that, one she'd never shared with anyone. It was the reason she didn't date. It was a terrible secret. She would have died rather than tell Winnie, who might tell Boone.…

"I was raised very strictly," Keely said quietly. And she had been; for all their odd tendencies, both her parents had insisted that Keely go to Sunday School and church every single Sunday. "My father didn't approve of clothing that was too flashy or revealing."

Probably because Keely's mother propositioned any man she fancied when she drank. She'd even tried to seduce Boone. Keely didn't know that, and Winnie didn't know how to tell her. It was one reason for Boone's antagonism toward Keely.

Things would have been better if Keely knew where her father was. She'd told people she thought he was dead, because it was easier than admitting that he was an alcoholic, just like her mother, and linked up with a bunch of dangerous men. She'd missed her father at first. But she'd have been in more danger if she'd stayed with him.

She still loved him, in her way, despite what had happened to her.

"Come to think of it, Keely, you don't even date."

Keely shrugged. "I'm a vet tech. I have a busy life. I work on call, you know. If there's an emergency at midnight on a weekend, I still go to the office."

"That's a lot of hogwash," Winnie said gently as they paused to let the horses drink from one of the crystal-clear streams on the wooded property where they were riding. "I've even tried to set you up with nice men I know from work. You freeze when a man comes near you."

"That's because you work with the police, Winnie, and you bring cops home as prospective dates for me," Keely said mischievously. It was true. Winnie worked as a clerk in the Jacobsville Police Department's office during the day, and now she was doing a stint two nights a week as a dispatcher for the 911 center. In fact, she was hoping that job would work into something permanent, because being around Officer Kilraven all day when he was on the day shift was killing her.

"Policemen make me nervous," Keely was saying. "For all you know, I might have a criminal past."

Winnie wasn't smiling. She shook her head. "You're hiding something."

"Nothing major. Honest." What she suspected about her father, if true, would have shamed her. If Boone ever found out, she'd really die of shame. But she hadn't heard from her father since she was thirteen, so it wasn't likely that he'd just turn up someday with his new outlaw friends. She prayed that he wouldn't. Her mother's behavior was hard enough to live down as it was.

"There's this really handsome policeman who's been working with us for a few weeks. He's just your type."

"Kilraven,...


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Same Characters, Same Story, All Over Again Aug. 31 2008
By Jaz'elle Lynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am reluctant to give this book one star, but i feel as a die hard reader of Diana Palmer, i must. As a stand alone book, perhaps....perhaps it deserves two, but when taking into account the latest stream of carbon copy stories Ms Palmer has delivered I feel I have to give it a singular, lonely star.
I dont even know where to begin except to say that if you have read any of her books in the last few years...then you have read this one. Only perhaps before the story was a lot more interesting, and thats not saying much if you look at the reviews for "Winter Roses". On top of being formulaic, and contrived, the love story itself was boring.
Her last book "Fearless", I thought was a step in the right direction. A heroine with brains and a little personality. A story line that had a little bite, and a little sizzle, but this book....lacks even that.
>>>Heres the part were i would say warning...spoilers, but if you have read anything by her in recent years, then you have read this book! so theres nothing to SPOIL!!!!<<<
Ok so heres the rundown, and you decide for yourself if its familiar

Plain faced, emotionaly scarred, AND disfigured, green eyed, blond virgin who has loved the "hero" since for-eva, and yet scared of her own shadow..sound familiar?? it should, shes a recycled character from Fearless, Carrerras bride, Heartbreaker, Lawman,especially and Iron Cowboy. I mean really....are they all sisters are they clones...can we get a redhead or a brunette in here somewhere?
ok,., now to mix add Dark, rich, brooding, rude, hairy, alpha male, who never has anything nice to say to the heroine...yet were supposed to believe he desires her? that he holds her in high esteem when he berates her and demeans her? What the french toast????
Now stir in boring and stupid anticillary characters, a weak story line, and a frustrated reader ( thats me!) and you get the longest three hours of my life.
The heroine has an abusive mother, a cracked out father, no friends except the heros sister, and has been mauled by a mountain lion.
( yeah thats right..Pete Puma, one lump or two)
Shes, meek, a self admitted wimp, and coward...I mean really, what kind of man would be attracted to the kind of woman who cant even stand up for herself.?
Do all of her female characters have to be so....damaged, so fearful of men and of the world itself. I mean I get that Ms Palmer is not the biggest fan of the independant woman, but I just want to shake her and say "You can be smart, and beautiful, and work really hard..and still want a good man to love and cherish you"

There was nothing about this woman that I as a reader, or as a human found attractive. She likes animals....great. she slaves away for her alcholic mom and her nitwit friend...whopee? But who is she? Shes a 19 year old girl, with no life experience and who is to afraid of her own mother and would be boyfriend to even find her way into womanhood.

Just to be cute....I asked my boyfriend to read some of the book this morning, just to get a gage on what his reaction to the character would be. Do you know what he said after he made me promise to never make him read another romance novel again?....he said "Why would any man want to be with a woman who is so pitiful?" He told me in one word that he thought the character was, from what he read...pathetic. ----this from a man who thinks that watching Monday night football should be an olympic event!
Ill go a step further and ask, why would anyone want to be with either to them?

And...,while we're on the topic of men..Why are all the men so out of touch with their own emotions that they cant even manage a kind word until the heroine ends up in the hospital (As they almost always do, due to car crashes, miscarriages, and in this case a snake bite)

With all the time Ms palmer spends on adding characteristics to her characters she could have spent more time adding personality. I never saw, or understood what the connection was between the two main characters....they didnt communicate that much, or really, seem like they were that into each other. More attention was paid to the hero's "Va-jay-jay" whipped brother and his skank-muffin waitress girl friend whose milkshakes apparently brought all the boys to the yard...if you get my drift, and the heroines drunk for no reason mother, than the actual personalities of the characters. I feel like when I opened the book, i joined a show already in progress and I never understood what the heck I missed.
And after all this, you might ask...why does she do it to herself....why does she bother,
Answer: I remember the good old times, Once in paris, Desperado, After Midnight, Lord of the Desert, Lacy, Trilby...aka Diana Palmer at her best, when the characters had character and were interesting. not shallow carbon copies of stories past told.
I'm hoping she'll find whats shes clearly lost....her imagination.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Same old same old Sept. 4 2008
By P. Fowler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is my last Diana Palmer book. I am tired of the same old story line that she has done again and again. Always the brooding older man and the much younger girl who has loved him forever. Can't she come up with something different? Just change the names of the main characters and it could any of her many Long Tall Texan books. Enough is enough.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not reading. Sept. 1 2008
By Mirella Geanuracos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Do not bother to read this book. It is exactly like her other books. They are all with the same characters, the men; rought looking, emotionally cold and women haters and the women; timid, midly attractive, scarred with a crush on their best friend's brother. They all have the same personalities with the same ending. Can't she write something different. I have been reading her books for years hoping one will be different, I give up. Do not waste your money.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This must be the worst-read I've had---and why do we keep buying!!! Sept. 18 2008
By MSG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If there was a way to give it negative stars I would have. Just like what the previous reader said, why do we keep buying Diana Palmer's books? It is because her stories used to be so heartwrenching and funny, the heroines have spunk and the heroes portrayed are not some macho, self-centered person. If anyone has noticed, Ms. Palmer's last two books portrayed the women as barely 20. What has happened? To make the "virgin" persona more realistic? I think her stories lately have been more unrealistic. A woman can still be virtuous without having to be poor or plain---that was the reason I love the character from her previous book---Tippy Moore (Cash Grier).
I just hope that Ms. Palmer is not giving in to her editor's pressure to produce stories for her fans, because it just makes those of us who love her story-telling disappointed,but most of all CHEATED.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well, it's better than some of her recent work <Spoilers!!> Aug. 22 2008
By Avid reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Boone is jerk who hates his sister's best friend, Keely (in the same way that Stuart hated Ivy, and JB hated Tellie, and so forth). Keely is plain, blond, and has light eyes (I think, but she doesn't wear glasses), and a medical condition/secret scars. However,the heroine of this DP book has a real job! And parents (dysfunctional, but not dead)! And we finally find out who sold the Congressman who was beaten by Calhoun Ballenger in the election's daughter <Julie?> the drugs that killed the sheriff's brother. Or was it Ivy's (from Winter Roses) sister who did that? It doesn't matter, because recently DP hasn't cared about continuity either!
More drug dealers in Jacobsville, land of the ever-shifting geographical location. Evil-doers doing evil, no shades of grey, unless it is convenient to the "plot". The Pendletons from Fearless aren't blood siblings (I smell a new book storyline!)and a whole bunch of other stuff that gets in the way of what should have been the "romance" in this romance novel. The hero and heroine interact more with other people than with each other! But, again, it is significantly better than many of Diana Palmer's recent efforts. Of course, that isn't truly saying much.
*I ordered the book from eHarlequin, because I am a glutton for the trainwreck nature of DP writings.
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