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Straight from the Hip(CD)(Unabr.) [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Susan Mallery


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Book Description

Sept. 30 2010 Lone Star Sisters Series (Book 3)
Izzy has always been the fearless Titan sister. But when an oil rig blows up, leaving her barely able to see, her sisters find themselves as concerned by her emotional withdrawal as by the possibility that the explosion was no accident. Are the mind games their long-lost brother Garth has been playing turning physical? Or is someone else out to get them? When her sisters enroll her in a survivor training camp, Izzy is not happy. Nick, her instructor, is determined that she won’t be left in the dark. In more ways than one. But if he tells her the terrible truth behind why he’s helping her, he’ll never see her again. Unless they’re both willing to take the biggest risk of all.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (Sept. 30 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441870873
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441870872
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 13 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g

Product Description

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for emotionally complex stories told with charm and wit. Susan has lived all over the United States, including a childhood in the suburbs of Los Angeles, graduate school in the hills of Pennsylvania and several years in Texas. These days, she makes her home in Seattle, Washington. She's there for the coffee, not the weather.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

In the movies there was always a warning before something bad happened. Music swelled, the good guy promised everything would be fine now or the camera suddenly went into slow motion.

Life wasn't so tidy.

Izzy Titan sat in the window seat, as she had every day for the past month, staring out at a blurry world and feeling sorry for herself. While it wasn't a career choice everyone would make, it filled the day. She ignored her sisters' pleas that she join them for lunch or shopping or even come downstairs to dinner. Like a regular person. When it got too annoying, she pointed out she wasn't regular anymore—she was handicapped. If that didn't work, she slammed the door and locked it until they went away. She'd always given everything she had, so she was ready to become the self-pity queen, if necessary.

Finally her sisters stopped bugging her. Which should have been a really big clue.

There wasn't any warning. One minute she was sitting in her usual spot, the next, someone grabbed her around the waist, pulled her to her feet, then tossed her over a very broad, very hard shoulder.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" she yelled as blood rushed to her head, making her a little dizzy.

"My job. Go ahead and fight me all you want. You can't hurt me."

It was a challenge she couldn't ignore. But when she tried to kick her attacker, he wrapped one arm around her legs, holding her still. Wiggling didn't help either. The man had muscles like rock and a month of immobilizing self-pity had left her girlishly weak.

"I swear," she began, as the guy turned and started walking. "Do you know who I am?"

"Izzy Titan. Hey, Skye."

Hey, Skye?

Izzy raised her head and tried to make the room focus. Unfortunately it was dark and blurry and she couldn't see any details.

"Skye?" she yelled. "Are you there?"

"Oh, Izzy." Her sister sounded concerned, but not worried. Not afraid. "We didn't know what else to do."

"We?"

"I'm here, too," Lexi, her other sister, said. "This is for your own good."

"Having me kidnapped?"

"Nick comes very highly recommended. You told us that your doctors wanted to put you on an antidepressant, which you wouldn't agree to. This is better."

"What?"

"You wouldn't leave your room or talk to us. It's been a month, Izzy."

"You're having me kidnapped because I wouldn't go shopping with you? Are you insane?"

They moved into the hallway. She could tell because the room got darker and her fingers brushed against the walls. Then they were going down, down, down into more darkness.

Each step jarred her entire body. If she'd had that lunch her sisters were so hysterical about she would be throwing it up, right about now.

"I'm not kidding," she yelled. "Stop this right now. All of you. Nick, I don't care what my sisters said, I didn't agree to this. Put me down or I swear I'll throw your ass in jail for so long, you'll actually learn to enjoy being Bubba's love slave."

"You signed a release," rock-guy said calmly, still moving through the house.

"What?"

"You signed a release. I've got it here in my pocket."

Izzy wanted to scream in frustration as she remembered Skye asking her to sign a few checks so her sister could pay Izzy's bills. "She tricked me. I'm blind! I didn't know what I was signing."

They went outside. She saw the blurry outline of trees and the welcome light and heat of the sun.

"You shouldn't sign what you can't read," Nick told her.

She could hear the humor in his voice and that really pissed her off. Seconds later, he opened a car door and dumped her onto a smooth leather seat. Before he could close the door, she pushed past him and bolted for freedom. She made it all of three steps before he grabbed her around the waist and pulled her against him.

It was like pressing against the side of a mountain. She kicked and tried to pull her arm free. Irritation turned to fury and betrayal. She turned toward the house—at least she could see something that big—and assumed her sisters were on the porch.

"How could you do this to me?" she demanded. "You're my family."

"Izzy, we love you." There were tears in Skye's voice.

Good, Izzy thought furiously. She hoped Skye felt guilty for the rest of her life.

"We didn't know what else to do," Lexi called, sounding less than sure.

"I would never do this to you," Izzy screamed. "Don't think I'll ever forgive you. Ever!"

The last word was cut short as she was tossed back into the rear of a car or SUV. She couldn't tell which. The door slammed shut before she could run again. She lunged for the door handle, only there wasn't one. Nor could she open the windows.

Seconds later she discovered a thick, mesh screening behind the seat and between her and the front of the vehicle. She was trapped.

She heard the door open and vaguely saw Nick slide behind the wheel. Then they were driving away. Her sisters had hired a stranger to take her from her home and do God-knows-what to her. They'd abandoned her. No. This was worse—this was actual action on their part. The two people she'd counted on her entire life had discovered she was too much trouble and had tossed her out like the trash.

For the next three hours, Nick Hollister drove ten miles above the speed limit. He wanted to go faster, but knew he couldn't outrun the inevitable. His pretty, dark-haired passenger was staring out the window with a determination that told him she was about ten seconds from losing it.

"You can cry if you want to," he said. "It won't bother me." He'd seen a lot worse than tears.

Izzy didn't turn toward him. "I won't give you the satisfaction."

"You think I win if you cry?"

"Don't bullies always enjoy knowing they've hurt someone? You didn't win. You can't break me."

She raised her chin as she spoke, instinctively defying him. Good, he thought grimly. She was going to need every ounce of strength she had if she wanted to find her way back. Which was his job—to make sure she did.

"Break you?" he asked, ignoring that she'd called him a bully. He'd stormed into her life and taken her away from everything she knew. Hardly comfortable circumstances. He understood the fear of the unknown, although her unknown was a whole lot more controlled than his had been. "Dramatic much?"

"Hey, you're the one who tossed me into the back of a car."

"SUV."

"Whatever. This is kidnapping. I get to be however I want."

"Your sisters know where you are and what will happen when you get there."

"And I should find that comforting why?" She swallowed. "Don't even talk to me."

He heard the fear in her voice. He could see it in the way she kept herself stiff. Behind fear was terror and while he wanted her attention, he didn't need it that bad.

"My name is Nick Hollister," he said, using the same tone that calmed unbroken horses. "I run a school that teaches corporate survival training. That pays the bills. I also take in kids who have suffered a traumatic loss or been victims of a violent crime. I teach them how to survive in my world. That helps them cope with their own."

Izzy stared out the window, obviously ignoring him. He wondered how much she could actually see.

"Your sisters asked me to take you on for a few weeks, to help you adjust to being blind."

"I'm not blind," she snapped. "I have thirty percent of my sight."

"You're acting like you're blind," he told her. "You've been hiding in your room for a month."

"It's not like I can do anything else."

"Your life is over? Because of one little challenge? That's impressive."

"Shut up," she yelled. "You don't know what you're talking about. You can see fine."

"Wouldn't it be interesting if I couldn't?" He swerved slightly as he spoke. The SUV swayed. Izzy didn't bother looking up.

"Very funny."

"I thought it was," he said. "Look. They care about you. Your sisters," he added, in case she wasn't following.

This time she did glance at him, only to roll her eyes. The hazel irises were unmarred by her injury. "I'm more than capable of carrying on a conversation. I'm probably smarter than you."

"I doubt that."

"Oh, please."

"How smart is sitting on your ass, feeling sorry for yourself?"

She straightened and glared at him. "I was in an explosion," she said, speaking slowly, as if to make sure he would understand. "I could have been killed."

"But you weren't."

"I was seriously injured and I lost most of my eyesight."

"Which you could get back tomorrow if you weren't such a girl about the surgery."

He glanced in the rearview mirror in time to see her narrow her gaze.

"A girl?" she asked softly.

"Yeah. You know. Chicken. Lacking in bravery."

"That's it!" she yelled. "Let me out, right here. Let me out or I swear, I'll kill you myself. I'll rip you apart with my bare hands and feed your body to the snakes."

"Snakes wouldn't eat human flesh."

"Shut up!"

"Skye didn't say anything about you being hysterical."

"Let me out!"

"No."

She grabbed the mesh screening and rattled it, but it had withstood a lot more than a scrawny woman without much muscle on her.

"She did warn me you would be difficult," he said. "I charge extra for that."

Izzy sank back in the seat and resumed staring out the back window.

"If you won't have the surgery, then you have to survive with what you have," he told her. "That's where I come in. I teach you how to make it. You're staying with me until you can be on your own."

"What if I don't want to be on my own?"

"You think your sisters want you hanging around all the time? They have lives. You're what? Twenty-five? Twenty-six? You ready to give up so fast?"

"Go to hell."

"I've already been there."

He turned onto the familiar paved, private road and drove toward the two-story main house. He'd bought the run-down ranch nearly eight years before. Neighboring ranchers leased his pasture for their cattle, while he used the twenty acres of wilderness for his retreats. He kept a dozen horses in the big barn and had built several guesthouses where clients stayed. There were meeting facilities, a restaurant-grade kitchen that could serve up to fifty at a time and a big media room that... --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Cast of Characters July 7 2009
By Marilyn Shoemaker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
An amazing cast of characters and an extremely powerful and potent love story as only Susan Mallery can write! This is the youngest sister's Izzy's story where in Lip Service we learn Izzy has been involved in an explosion which has caused her severe vision problems. On top of that, her new found step brother is thought to be the cause as he wants not only to take down her father but the three Titan sisters as well.

I can't say enough positive things about this series, The Lone Star Sisters. Once you begin to read them you'll certainly understand and each book keeps one wanting more which surely is a sign of how talented Susan Mallery is and what's made her loved by this particular reader and reviewer and put her on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Izzy of all the Titan sisters seems the most spirited so when she's kidnapped by the strong, sexy Nick and taken to his ranch, she feels "like she's been tossed out in the trash". How could her sisters do this to her? She can't see, has no home or inheritance like her sisters and now a stranger is taking her, trying to talk her into having surgery which could leave her blind and on top of everything else wants her to work on his ranch taking care of his horses.

The cast of characters from Nick, to his gay PA Aaron, his cook and Rita who is in charge of the stables, are quite the group. Then add to the mix her horrible father Jed Titan, her out for revenge brother Garth who has a friendship with Nick, her beautiful sisters, Lexi and Skye and friend Dana, its fabulous is all I can say.

Life has dealt Izzy lemons in the form of a father who only wants to use her, a dead mother whom when alive never gave her the time of day and now she could possibly live in darkness for the rest of her life even if she has the surgery. However, she turns everything into lemonade and on top of it all falls in love with Nick who has secrets and is tormented by his past.

It's more than a love story; it's a story about why love is important. As Mallery says "love is the only thing that makes us strong. It's all that matters in the end. Who we love and who loves us."

When Nick and Garth's past are revealed it makes one understand why it's hard for Nick to love but only casts more mystery on Garth and why he's out to hurt his sisters even though it's not hard to understand why he wants to take Jed Titan down. However, in the end one gets a glimpse of what the fourth book in the series, Hot on Her Heels is going to be about and I can't wait!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best in the series July 2 2009
By C. Bull - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was excellent. Susan Mallery did it again. Very poignant and beautiful story. It made me want to cry, laugh, get mad, get happy...Hurry up and get your copy. It keeps you wanting for more, hopefully we'll keep hearing from the sisters and their husbands in Dana's story. And I really want to know what happens to crazy Garth.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strong entry July 1 2009
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The oil platform explosion left Izzy Titan with only 30% sight and mentally shattered; she had been the daredevil of the three Titan sisters and now she lives in shadowy fear. Making her even more frightened is the fact that she believes her half-brother Garth deliberately caused the incident and he will return to finish the job. Still she has to decide on a risky surgery that could restore her sight or leave her permanently blind.

Izzy's concerned sisters Skye and Lexi hire survivor training specialist Nick Hollister to abduct their sibling; he takes her to his ranch. Irate by his cavalier attitude, Izzy lets Nick know what she thinks of him although she quietly tells herself she is attracted to the hunk. Nick feels the same way about Izzy especially as he watches her working with his horses; however regretfully he has ties to Garth.

The third Titan romantic suspense thriller (see Skye in LIP SERVICE and Lexi in UNDER HER SKIN) stars the traumatized Izzy and a man who admires her courage. Their relationship is heat and biting as they are attracted to one another, but she amusingly rips his skin for being part of her sisters' plot. When he insists he loves her; she calmly claims he is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. With Garth still causing trouble, fans will relish this fine entry as Nick must explain himself to the siblings and the woman he loves; none will listen to him.

Harriet Klausner
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Straight From The Hip July 3 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I thought the story was ok, I had real high hopes for this book because I loved Izzy's personality in the previous two books. Izzy and Nick were great characters don't get me wrong but after reading Lip Service it didn't meet the expectations I had. I thought they (Izzy and Nick) would have discussed more of Izzy's mother issues but didn't. I loved Aaron, I wish we all could have a friend like him. lol. But I don't think Izzy had a real character arc. All in all, it had its ok parts but for me, it wasn't that great as Skye's story or even Lexie's.

The ending isn't what I thought it was gonna be. Apparently, Garth is going to make an appearance in the next book called Hot on Her Heels, so now we have to think of him as a romantic lead?! I don't know about this one, because we spent all our time in the first three books not liking him and now he gets his own happy ending? (I don't know obviously, if that's the way its gonna go but, it's still gonna be hard for me, atleast, to come around to his "good" side.)

So I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. Lip Service I think did a better job of conveying an emotional journey of the characters where this book tends to loose me in some of the "fluff" of it all.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Straight from the Hip Oct. 26 2009
By M. Nix - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Izzy has always felt as if she didn't belong. She is the one Titan sister who seems to live life outside of normal boundaries, and is seen as the family daredevil. Well her latest job, underwater welder on an oilrig, leaves her partially blinded when the rig she is on blows up. Now her sisters are fearful that she is giving up on her life. She has an opportunity to have vision saving surgery but not only will she not even consider it, she has taken to sitting in her temporary room and not moving.

The sisters do the only thing they can think of, hire Nick to help her learn to live with her vision, or decide to have the surgery. Nick is a no nonsense ranch owner who harbors his own secrets. One of which could tear apart his and Izzy's budding romance. When he keeps the secret and the two fall in love, in spite of their stubbornness not to, will his secret tear them apart?

I was anxious to read Izzy's story, Straight From The Hip, but was a bit disappointed by it. I personally found Izzy to be a bit of a spoiled brat, which I didn't get from the earlier books and Nick to be a jerk. But once I got past that I thoroughly enjoyed the story and devoured it rather quickly. As usual Ms. Mallery writes a story that pulls you in and won't let you go, and makes you want the next book in the series "yesterday". I look forward to the release of "Hot On Her Heels", with the honorary "Titan Sister".

Note: Straight From The Hip is the third in the "Lone Star Sisters" stories but could easily be read as a standalone story.

Tanya
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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