CRITICAL RAVES FOR DANIELLE STEEL“STEEL IS ONE OF THE BEST.”—Los Angeles Times“THE PLOTS OF DANIELLE STEEL'S NOVELS TWIST AND WEAVE AS INCREDIBLE STORIES UNFOLD TO THE THRILL AND DELIGHT OF HER ENORMOUS READING PUBLIC.”—United Press International“A LITERARY PHENOMENON … ambitious … prolific … and not to be pigeonholed as one who produces a predictable kind of book.”—The Detroit News“There is a smooth reading style to her writings which makes it easy to forget the time and to keep flipping the pages.”—The Pittsburgh Press“Ms. Steel excels at pacing her narrative, which races forward, mirroring the frenetic lives chronicled here; men and women swept up in bewildering change, seeking solutions to problems never before faced.”—Nashville Banner
a cognizant original v5 release october 14 2010
Books by Danielle Steel
SUNSET IN ST. TROPEZ NO GREATER LOVE THE COTTAGE HEARTBEAT THE KISS MESSAGE FROM NAM LONE EAGLE DADDY LEAP OF FAITH STAR JOURNEY ZOYA THE HOUSE ON KALEIDOSCOPE HOPE STREET FINE THINGS THE WEDDING WANDERLUST IRRESISTIBLE FORCES SECRETS GRANNY DAN FAMILY ALBUM BITTERSWEET FULL CIRCLE MIRROR IMAGE CHANGES HIS BRIGHT LIGHT: THE THURSTON HOUSE STORY OF NICK TRAINA CROSSINGS THE KLONE AND I ONCE IN A LIFETIME THE LONG ROAD HOME A PERFECT STRANGER THE GHOST REMEMBRANCE SPECIAL DELIVERY PALOMINO THE RANCH LOVE: POEMS SILENT HONOR THE RING MALICE LOVING FIVE DAYS IN PARIS TO LOVE AGAIN LIGHTNING SUMMER'S END WINGS SEASON OF PASSION THE GIFT THE PROMISE ACCIDENT NOW AND FOREVER VANISHED PASSION'S PROMISE MIXED BLESSINGS GOING HOME JEWELS Visit the Danielle Steel Web Site at:
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he house at 2129 Wyoming Avenue, NW, stood in all its substantial splendor, its gray stone facade handsomely carved and richly ornate, embellished with a large gold crest and adorned with the French flag, billowing softly in a breeze that had come up just that afternoon. It was perhaps the last breeze Washington, D.C., would feel for several months as the summer got under way. It was already June. June of 1939. And the last five years had gone all too quickly for Armand de Villiers, Ambassador of France.
He sat in his office, overlooking the elegant garden, absentmindedly staring at the fountain for a moment, and then dragged his attention back to the mountain of papers on his desk. Despite the rich scent of lilac in the air, there was work to do, too much of it. Especially now. He already knew that he would sit in his office until late that night, as he had for two months now, preparing to return to France. He had known the request to return was coming, and yet when he had been told in April, something inside him had ached for a moment. Even now, there were mixed emotions each time he thought of going home. He had felt the same way when he had left Vienna, London, and San Francisco before that, and other posts previously. But the bond was even stronger here. Armand had a way of establishing roots, of making friends, of falling in love with the places he was assigned to. That made it difficult to move on. And yet this time he wasn't moving on, he was going home.
Home. It had been so long since he had lived there, and they needed him so badly now. There was tension all over Europe, things were changing everywhere. He often felt that he lived for the daily reports from Paris, which gave him some sense of what was going on. Washington seemed light-years removed from the problems that besieged Europe, from the fears that trembled in the heart of France. They had nothing to fear in this sacred country. But in Europe now, no one felt quite as sure.
Only a year before, everyone in France had been certain war was imminent, although now from what Armand heard, there were many who had buried their fears. But there was no hiding from the truth forever. He had said as much to Liane. When the civil war ended in Spain four months before, it became clear that the Germans were approaching, and their airfield just below Irún brought them within only miles of France. But even with that realization, Armand was aware that there were those who didn't want to see what was going on. In the past six months Paris had been infinitely more relaxed than before, on the surface at least. He had been aware of it himself when he had gone home for Easter, for secret meetings with the Bureau Central, when they told him that his assignment in Washington was at an end.
He had been invited to a constant round of glittering parties, in sharp contrast to the previous summer, before the Munich Accord with Hitler. There had been unbearable tension before that. But then, suddenly it was gone, and in its place was a kind of frenzied animation, and Paris was in her finest form. There were parties, balls, operas, art shows, and galas, as though by keeping busy, and continuing their laughter and their dancing, war would never come for the French. Armand had been annoyed at the frivolous gaiety he had seen among his friends at Easter, and yet he understood that it was their way of hiding from their fears. When he had returned, he and Liane had spoken about it.
“It's as though they're so frightened that they don't want to stop laughing, for fear that if they do, they will cry in terror and run and hide.” But their laughter wouldn't stop the war from coming, wouldn't stop Hitler's slow, steady march across Europe. Armand sometimes feared that nothing would stop the man now. He saw Hitler as a terrifying demon, and although there were those in high places who agreed with him, there were others who thought that Armand had become too nervous in the long years of service to his country, and was becoming a frightened old man.
“Is that what living in the States has done to you, old boy?” his closest friend in Paris had teased him. He was from Bordeaux, where he and Armand had grown up together, and the director of three of the biggest banks in France. “Don't be foolish, Armand. Hitler would never touch us.”
“The English don't agree with you, Bernard.”
“They're all frightened old women too, and besides, they love to play at their war games. It excites them to think of getting into a row with Hitler. They have nothing else to do.”
“What nonsense!” Armand had had to control his temper as he listened, but Bernard's wasn't the only voice he heard raised in derision at the English, and he had left Paris almost in a fury at the end of his two-week stay. He expected the Americans to be blind to the threat facing Europe, but he had expected to hear something different in his own country, and he hadn't heard enough. He had his own views on the subject, views of just how serious the threat was becoming, how dangerous Hitler was, and how rapidly disaster could befall them. Or perhaps, he thought on the way home, perhaps Bernard and the others were right. Perhaps he was too frightened, too worried about his country. In a way, going home again might be a good thing. It would bring him closer to the pulse of France.
Liane had taken the news well that they were leaving. She was used to packing up and moving on. And she had listened to his descriptions of the mood in Paris with concern. She was a wise, intelligent woman and had learned much from Armand over the years about the workings of international politics. Indeed, she had learned much from him, anxious to teach her his views, from the very beginning of their marriage. She had been so young and so hungry to learn everything about his career, the countries he was assigned to, the political implications of his many dealings. He smiled to himself as he thought back over the past ten years. She had been a hungry little sponge, soaking up every drop of information, gobbling every morsel, and she had learned well.