As an executive editor, I often talk to writers who say they haven’t finished a novel yet because they “don’t have the discipline.”
I hate hearing that, because often, it’s just not true.
They have the discipline. They just need the structure. While there’s plenty of advice about writing fast, it’s harder to find help about planning a novel with publication in mind…or help with taking a rough draft to a final version.
Even experienced authors sometimes struggle to fit writing into their hectic lives. Planning out a schedule to write a novel is a big task in and of itself! And when people are returning to writing after a long period away from it, they can use a little encouragement and help.
That’s why I wrote Blank Page to Final Draft.
Do one step a week for a polished novel in exactly one year from now. (Or go as fast as you like!)
Blank Page to Final Draft is specifically geared to writers who want a successful publishing career—through traditional publishing, self-publishing, or both. It’s appropriate for young and mature writers alike. Buy the book—or just learn more about it—at the links below! I wrote this book in hopes of helping writers get to a whole new level!
Three very different women. Only one thing in common. But when their family patriarch dies and they must share his estate, the truths they discover will test them—and everything they think they know about each other.
Beloved Georgia judge Joseph Donaldson was known for his unshakable fairness, his hard-won fortune—and a scandalous second marriage to his much-younger white secretary. Now he’s left a will with a stunning provision. In order to collect their inheritance, his lawyer daughter Maya, her stepmother Jeanie, and Jeanie’s teen daughter, Ryder, must live together at the family lake house. Maya and Jeanie don’t exactly get along, but they reluctantly agree to try an uneasy peace for as long as it takes . . .
But fragile ex-beauty queen Jeanie doesn’t know who she is beyond being a judge’s wife—and drinking away her insecurities has her in a dangerous downward spiral. Fed up with her mother’s humiliating behavior, Ryder tries to become popular at school in all the wrong ways. And when Maya attempts to help, she puts her successful career and her shaky love life at risk. Now with trouble they didn’t see coming—and secrets they can no longer hide—these women must somehow find the courage to admit their mistakes, see each other for who they really are—and slowly, perhaps even joyfully, discover everything they could be.
Pastor Davies strode toward the solid oak lectern, a thick, maroon-colored Bible in hand. Sunshine streaming through the stained glass cast red and green lights against his weathered face. “Let the church say amen.” “
Amen,” the congregation responded. I couldn’t. My throat felt like grains of sand in an hourglass. A hundred pairs of eyes were aimed at me, watching my every move even though they couldn’t see me through the black lace veil covering my face. I stroked a coin, Daddy’s lucky penny, between my forefinger and thumb. The cool from the copper soothed me.
“Oh, Lawd.” Aunt Lisa waved a black lace handkerchief in the air, her arms jiggling with the motion. “Not my baby, sweet Jesus. Not. My. Baby!” Aunt Lisa jumped from the seat and walk-hopped to the front of the church. She threw herself on the black and silver casket, moaning and groaning and body shaking.
That’s right, Aunt Lisa. Give them a show. Move the attention away from me.
“Take me instead, Lord!” Aunt Lisa patted her chest and looked toward Black Jesus in the mural above the baptism pool. My daddy’s other sister, Aunt Eloisa, wailed from the pew. She didn’t dare run up like Aunt Lisa. Aunt Eloisa had bad knees, bad ankles, bad joints—bad everything if you let her tell it. Daddy would hate this. He hated spectacles and pomp and circumstance. If he were here, he’d tell Aunt Lisa to sit down and tell Pastor Davies to get on with it. But if he were here, he’d be alive. And I wouldn’t be at his funeral. Exhausted from crying myself to sleep. Exhausted from heaving the two crackers I’d just managed to swallow before my stomach churned. Exhausted from taking care of my stepsister. Exhausted from making sure my stepmother hadn’t burned the house down.
Pastor Davies looked over his shoulder and nodded to the minister seated to the right of the pulpit. I couldn’t remember his name, but he’d always been nice the few times I’d attended service. He sighed and hefted his portly physique up. The chair squeaked and shifted, as the red velvet cushion on top of the chair rose like dough. “All right, Sister Lisa.” The minister’s soothing and patient voice could barely be heard over the wails. “Go on back to the pew, now. Sit down with your family.”
Aunt Clara Bell, my great-aunt who’d raised Daddy and his sisters after my grandmother died, waved Aunt Lisa back. “Come sit down, so we can pay our respects to Joe. It’s a funeral, not The Price Is Right.” Aunt Lisa wailed louder. Minister Simpson, who’d been seated toward the left side of the pulpit, gently grabbed her elbow and guided her away from the casket. She slumped from his grip like a toddler in the throes of a tantrum. Her black, mad-hatter hat fell to the ground, as she flopped onto the floor and howled. “Hush now,” the minister’s voice grew agitated. “Judge Joe’s in a better place.”
In a better place. What better place could there be than here with me? The tsunami was building, churning my insides, flooding my lungs. I couldn’t breathe. I was angry—so damn angry and hurt. I couldn’t move past the vow he’d made twenty-two years ago. He should be here. He promised. The penny heated between my fingers, but I couldn’t stop rubbing it. I couldn’t stop the memories from bowling me over.
“Swear it, Daddy. Swear on your lucky penny that you’ll never leave me.” Daddy, so big and so strong, was like the oak tree in our backyard that I’d loved to climb—solid and steadfast. But the day Mama died he’d fallen, and he’d crumbled. And at five years old I didn’t know what was scarier—Mama’s lifeless body or Daddy’s lifeless eyes. I don’t know if it was my small fists banging on his legs, or the tears that soaked his pants, but he suddenly dropped to his knees. His brown eyes glistened with a wetness that left me cold even though the sun warmed my skin. He looked at me, and he saw me. He choked on a breath as if he were coming back to life. He took the penny from my fingers and vowed, “I promise, Maya. I’m here to stay.” I believed him. But I’m not five years old anymore. Twenty-seven years old, mad at the world, mad at God. Mad at Daddy for saddling me with his second wife, Jeanie, who couldn’t bear to see his casket. So instead of sitting in the pew with his family, she’d run out of the sanctuary and locked herself in the bathroom. After everything Daddy endured for that woman: my family giving him crap for marrying a white woman fifteen years his junior, his so-called friends freezing him out because they didn’t think it was right. And how had she repaid him? With cowardice.
Sniffles cut through my fog of anger. Ryder. My shadow. The only good thing Jeanie had done with her life had been birthing a beautiful and brilliant daughter. The squeeze from Ryder’s hand gave me a sliver of comfort. Though, from the red that inflamed her baby blues, and from the puffy bags under her eyes, she needed comforting, too.
I tilted my head on her shoulder and pulled her into a side hug. “We’ll be okay,” I managed to whisper. Her arm squeezed my waist. “Promise?” Her voice shaky and desperate, much like my own when I’d asked Daddy the same request. I wanted to give her the world, but I couldn’t utter the lie. But I did stop rubbing the penny. It wasn’t lucky after all.
Enter to Win
copy of Judge’s Girls by Sharina Harris & $20 gift card
Sharina Harris earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia State University. After college, she pursued a career in digital marketing and public relations. Although her profession required writing, she decided to pursue a career in writing in 2012.
Sharina’s contemporary romance series under the pen name, Rina Gray, was named Book Riot’s 100 Must‑Read Romantic Comedies. When Sharina’s not writing, she can be found with her head stuck in a book, rooting for her favorite NBA teams, and spending time with friends and family.
He’sbreaking the rules for one woman, and coming dangerously close to falling in love…
Simon Nugent, Earl of Fielding, knows he’sflawed. He’sarrogant, possessive, and haunted by a terrible choice he made long ago. Sowhen a former friend’s daughter gives him the chance to do a good deed, he grabs it. Except he’dlike to grab her as well and teach her a thing or two about kissing. If only she weren’tso damn stubborn.
Ida Strong wants one thing – justice on behalf of her father. She has no room for anything else, in spite of her growing and (at times) inexplicable attraction toward a certain earl. But for a woman who knows what betrayal tastes like, placing her trust in others is hard. Risking her heart, would be downright foolish. Until it’s the only thing that seems to make sense.
WEARY OF TRYING TO FIND an acceptable bride, Simon Garrison Nugent, Earl of Fielding, had ceased all attempts at marriage and was currently avoiding debutantes much as he would a leper. By keeping his distance. Instead, he chose to pass his evenings with friends.
At his age of three and thirty, marriage was expected. He knew it had to happen soon if he was to maintain his dignity. After all, the longer he remained unattached, the more it looked like he’d not yet recovered from losing his fiancée to another man.
It had been three years since the incident yet it still rankled.
Gabriella, now the Duchess of Huntley, would have made the perfect countess. The very idea of her choosing an ill-bred ruffian, even if he did happen to have a prestigious title, was bad enough without Simon having to worry about what people would think of the next bride he picked. She would have to be at least as pretty, graceful, and accomplished as Gabriella. Preferably more so, which brought him back to the inadequacy of the women currently available for marriage.
Seated in a quiet corner of White’s together with Baron Hawthorne and the Earl of Yates, Simon sipped his brandy and tried to force his thoughts away from the past by focusing on what Yates was saying.
“It was never meant to get this out of hand,” Yates explained while looking precisely like the sort of man whose neck was being squeezed by a noose. He was a good fellow – one of the few who seemed to tolerate Simon’s company – though sadly too kind for his own good, seeing as he’d gotten tangled up with an untitled woman who lacked a dowry and connections. “All I meant to do was help the girl. She’s a friend of my sister’s after all.”
“If every man with a sister offered to step out with all her unremarkable friends, he’d have gotten himself engaged a dozen times over,” Baron Hawthorne muttered. He tossed back the remainder of his drink and poured himself another. “It’s your own damn fault for being too nice.”
“He’s right, you know,” Simon said.
Stretching out his legs, he crossed them at the ankles and cradled his snifter between his hands while pondering Yates’s dilemma. Apparently there had been a compromising situation which just happened to have been witnessed by a group of matrons hoping to find a reprieve from the stuffy ballroom.
Simon sighed. “The trouble is,” he said, deciding to meet Yates’s gaze dead on, “hell, the trouble has always been, that she’s not your equal.
Socially, I mean.”
“Well done, Fielding.” Hawthorne said with a smirk. “It’s always good to know you’ll remind us of what’s acceptable.”
Simon fought the urge to roll his eyes. “Tell me I’m wrong.” His demand was, as expected, met by silence. Not even Yates attempted to argue. “Miss Harlowe is not countess material. This doesn’t mean she cannot be perfectly lovely, but no matter how you turn it, she’ll always be born into the wrong family.”
There was a heavy moment of silence, and then Hawthorne asked, “Has your outlook on life always been this sunny?”
Simon snorted. “I’m just trying to be realistic. If Yates marries Miss Harlowe, he will no longer be welcome in certain circles, people will talk, and his life as he knows it will be forever changed, which I very much doubt is something he wants.”
“From determined wife hunter to cynical loner,” Yates murmured, his narrowed eyes fixed on Simon with interest. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten your eager pursuit of Gabriella Matthews.
Hell, you were even engaged to her for what, ten seconds or so, roughly four years ago?”
“The Duchess of Huntley?” Hawthorne inquired with wide eyes. “I don’t recall that at all.”
“Three,” Simon clipped. “It was three years ago.”
“You must not have been at the Coventry Ball that season,” Yates said to Hawthorne. “Fielding announced the betrothal – even kissed Gabriella before one and all – only to let the whole thing fizzle away into nothing. A short while later, Huntley and Gabriella were married and you,” Yates tilted his almost empty glass in Simon’s direction, “haven’t proposed to anyone since.”
“Perhaps because I haven’t met anyone else worth asking,” Simon said.
Yates leaned back, his expression suddenly distant and thoughtful.
“I think you need to fall in love,” Hawthorne told Simon with a grin.
“God forbid,” Simon muttered. Worrying over his future was difficult enough without throwing love into the mix.
“I don’t think he believes in love,” Yates said.
Simon gave his friend a deadpan look. “Of course I do. There have been so many blissful unions of late, I’m inclined to believe we live in a world full of rainbows where cupids lurk behind every bush. Hell, even Carlton Guthrie, the Scoundrel of St. Giles – a man I would have sworn had no heart – is smitten with his young wife.”
“Sounds like an epidemic.”
Simon snorted in response to Hawthorne’s comment and took another sip of his drink.
“By the by,” Yates murmured in a more discreet tone than earlier, “I’ve promised Celeste I’d try and find her a new protector, in case this thing with Miss Harlowe doesn’t blow over and I end up marrying her.”
“I don’t understand why you’d want to give up your mistress if you’re not in love,” Hawthorne said.
“Out of respect for my wife,” Yates said. He emitted a heavy sigh and looked at Simon. “I don’t suppose you would be interested?”
“I’m afraid not. In my experience mistresses are demanding and hard to get rid of.” His last one had even made a spectacle, chasing after him on Oxford Street when he’d tried to end things with her. It had been most embarrassing.
“Celeste isn’t like that. She’s quite agreeable and sweet.”
“Nevertheless,” Simon said.
“No wife or mistress,” Hawthorne said with a pitying look that put Simon on edge. “You must be in need of a good tup.”
“It’s not so bad,” Simon said.
Hawthorne raised an eyebrow. “Really? How long has it been since you last had a woman?”
Simon shrugged. He hated this – hated being made to feel lacking in some way. Attempting to show indifference, he busied himself with refilling his glass. “Three months or so.”
“Damnation,” Yates murmured.
“Hell, it’s no wonder you look so tense.” Hawthorne reached inside his jacket pocket, retrieved a card, and handed it to Simon. “If I may, I suggest you stop by Amourette’s on your way home tonight.”
“It’s a brothel, is it not?” Simon asked. When Hawthorne nodded Simon instinctively winced.
“I don’t think so.”
About the Author
Born in Denmark, USA TODAY bestselling author Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’slived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she’sbeen married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.
When she’snot busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.
Can a little girl’s wish for Santa to bring her mom a new husband come true?
In 1946, Sarah Delaney writes to Santa for a husband for her mom for Christmas. She’s never known her father, who went missing during WWII so five-year-old Sarah decides it’s the perfect gift for her mother—a husband, and a daddy for her. Her mother, Rose Delaney, has been working as a banking accountant—until Jack Campbell, the man who held the position first returns from the war and her boss gives him back his job. Rose, unhappy about losing her job begins looking for another position but can’t find one that pays well enough. Jack, feeling guilty since he’s a single guy with no child or wife responsibilities convinces his boss to hire Rose as his secretary. Rose takes up the offer as nothing else is available. Within weeks, Jack falls in love with Rose, even though she refuses to date men she works with. He has big plans in his life though and pursues her until she eventually accepts his offer of marriage. Rose can’t deny she’s in love with him also, until she learns the ‘real’ reason he’s looking for a wife.
St. Paul Minnesota
Captain Jack Campbell, a schooled architect and account, and a medic during the war, honorably discharged from the United States Army, sat on the doctor’s examination table, wondering if his leg would ever heal completely.
Dr. Richardson gave him an answer without Jack having to ask. “The leg’s better than I expected, Jack. But I’m afraid you’ll have a permanent limp for the rest of your life from the lodged shrapnel.”
Jack shrugged. “Guess dancing’s out for me.”
“You’ll be able to manage the ones that count…the slow ones. “He gave Jack a sly look. “Bet you can’t wait to hold a pretty girl in your arms for a night of dancing. You were gone nearly three years, weren’t you?”
Jack nodded. “Yes, it’s good to be back in familiar territory.
Dr. Richardson’s smile slipped. “Have you been home yet? Seen your father?”
“No. He doesn’t want to see me. I met my mother for lunch last week, though. She, at least, appreciates the fact I survived the war.”
“He’ll get over you enlisting, sooner or later. Don’t think badly of him. You are, after all, his only child. And now that you’ve returned you can take up the reins of the family business.”
“Father threatened to will the business to a distant cousin, if I enlisted. I’d never wanted to make a career out of the steel business anyway, so I gave him my blessing.”
“Think that’s a wise move?”
“It’s the smartest one I’ve ever made, Doc.”
“So, what are your plans?”
“I’m going to return to LaSalle National Bank as head accountant. Then I’m going to search for a woman willing to be my wife and bless me with children. I’ve seen friends die and know life can be too short.”
The doctor frowned. “I heard you’d made marriage plans before leaving for the war.”
“Things never worked out between Veronica and me.”
He heard bitterness in his voice when he thought about his ex-fiancée. Thought how he’d received letters from friends about how she’d been seen around the city with an old friend of his, Sedrick Hawthrone. She’d never even had the decency to write him a ‘Dear John’ letter while he was in the Army but had simply stopped replying to his own.
“Veronica Miller wasn’t your style, son. Bah! Society girls are nothing but spoiled debutantes with no brain inside their pretty little heads. You need a smart woman, one who’s independent and can think for herself; a woman who can be a helpmate, not a noose around your neck. Besides, there are plenty of ladies around who’d be proud to marry a war hero, who also happens to be a millionaire.”
Dryly, Jack said, “I won’t inherit that money until I marry. And if I don’t marry and get my millions, well, it’ll only mean I’ll have to work a while longer at the bank to save up enough money to launch my business. My grandmother and her will—it’s ridiculous.”
“Your granny sure knew how to rile things up when she was alive, but now she’s doing it from the grave, too.” The doctor chuckled. “She was a hell of a gal.”
“If it hadn’t been for my mother wanting me home in one piece, I probably would have stayed in the Army, and to hell with those millions. It’s tough being an only child.”
“Yeah, real tough,” the doctor said with a laugh, slapping Jack’s back.
Jack left the doctor’s office and limped down the street to his new model Studebaker, noticing dames of all shapes and sizes sending appreciate glances his way. He had gained twenty pounds of muscle while serving his country, so none of his pre-service clothes fit him. Home for nearly a month, he still hadn’t had a chance to have new clothes made so he still wore his Army uniform.
He started thinking about his long-range business goals and smiled, knowing he was on the right track. Soldiers were getting married every day with the ending of the war, and there was a definite housing shortage. The home-building industry was set to explode, even though his father still felt steel was the clear ticket to success.
Perhaps he was right, but Jack had never had the interest his father had in the steel mining business. He also recalled how his father would be gone for weeks at a time, running his business, traveling and selling, leaving Jack and his mother alone. Jack had long ago decided he’d work no more than nine to five at his business and spend the rest of his time surrounded by his lovely, loving wife and children.
At twenty-nine, he was ready to find the right woman to marry and settle down to a normal work schedule, unlike his father. A sweet, compliant, pretty woman with a sensible head on her shoulders would be a good companion for him; one who cared more for him more than society events. A woman who wouldn’t mind keeping a home and caring for children and having him be the provider; fulfilling his needs would be enough for his wife.
~ * ~
Rose Delaney sat in her boss’s office, fingers twisting the corner of her handkerchief, wet with her tears.
“Mrs. Delaney,” Mr. Jorgenson said carefully, “a woman’s place is in the home, unless there’s a war on. You were fully aware of the fact you’d lose your job once Jack Campbell returned from active duty.”
Disappointment settled deep inside Rose but somehow, she managed to keep her voice calm. “What am I supposed to do? I’ve a child at home to support, and no husband.”
“I’m so sorry,” he murmured.
Rose didn’t think he sounded a bit sorry though she saw color flood his cheeks. He continued, “LaSalle National Bank promised our men they’d be given their jobs back upon their return from the service, and you were informed about this when you took the job. Jack Campbell’s a decorated war hero and is ready to return to work now that his injuries have healed. His position’s the one you currently occupy.”
“Is he married?” she daringly asked.
The benign smile he’d given her he replaced with a scowl. “I don’t see why it’s any concern of yours,” he said, picking up a stack of papers from his desk and shuffling them.
“I do,” Rose said, leaning toward him. “You see, I could understand him needing this job if he were married and had a family to support. If he’s only responsible for himself, then I can’t see why he can’t find a job elsewhere and leave this one to me.”
He rose from his chair and came around to the front of his desk. Taking her elbow in a light grasp he pulled her gently from her seat and walked her to the door. “I’m sorry. Your last day is the sixteenth of the month. I’ve a meeting in a few minutes. Perhaps we can find another position for you. Let me think on it.”
In her office, she sank into the chair behind her desk. Her hand shook as she tried smoothing out her frizzy hair. What would she do now? How would she support herself and Sarah, her four-year old daughter? Then hope filled her. Perhaps Mr. Jorgenson could find another position for her, one that hopefully paid as well as her current job. She could only hope.
Her husband, Timothy, had been listed as missing in action, assumed to have died at Pearl Harbor, leaving her pregnant and jobless. Other than her neighborhood soda fountain waitress job she’d held as a teenager she hadn’t worked upon graduating from high school. She’d attended business college for two years and studied accounting. But then she and Timothy had married. They’d spent just one night together—their wedding night, before he left for active duty. Six weeks later Rose discovered she was expecting a baby. Timothy never knew about the pregnancy, nor ever saw his daughter.
Rose’s business college certificate was the reason she’d managed to secure a well-paying job at LaSalle National once America became involved in the war. The bank had been desperately seeking a head accountant and had been delighted to hire her—even if she’d been four months pregnant at the time. Now, with the return of a local war hero, they apparently had no qualms about letting her go.
Rose received a small widow’s pension but that was all. Her home was a modest one-story with a quaint, enclosed front porch, which required many repairs she couldn’t afford. Now she was faced with the dilemma of keeping up the mortgage without a decent paying job.
The next morning, after a neighbor with a child Sarah’s age picked her up in the family car to take Sarah to school as they did each school day, she dressed for work in one of three suits she’d purchased upon her hiring at LaSalle Bank. She felt extremely blessed that Sarah had been deemed with advanced intelligence and had been able to start kindergarten school a year earlier.
She pulled a navy serge suit from her closet. The jacket was double-breasted with well-padded shoulders, the skirt pencil-thin, emphasizing her trim figure. Her starched white blouse contrasted dramatically with the suit. She pinned a sapphire and diamond broach to one lapel, a wedding gift from Timothy, and stared at her reflection in the mirror positioned on the wall behind her dressing table.
Depression settled over her. She didn’t feel like venturing outdoors where it had been raining for two days but knew she must. She still had her job and two weeks of pay coming. Quickly, she pulled on her raincoat, grabbed her umbrella from its stand then locked the front door.
It rained often in the fall in the Midwest, and on this cool morning torrents of rain fell from the sky, pounding the sidewalk and streets. As Rose stood on the corner a few blocks from her house, waiting for the streetcar to take her to work downtown St. Paul, a shiny, deep blue Studebaker screamed past her. Rose caught her breath as ice-cold water splashed up into her face, soaked her feet and plastered her seamed silk stockings to her legs.
The force of the wind made her struggle to keep the umbrella over her head. Once she was certain the umbrella was stable, she dug inside her pocket, found a damp handkerchief and swiped the water from her cheeks, trying not to disturb her makeup; trying not to bawl like a baby.
She heard the shriek of a car’s wheels braking and looked up in time to see the Studebaker barreling toward her, in reverse. She jumped back from the curb, ready to flee when a man’s solicitous deep voice called out to her.
“Sorry about that, miss! I didn’t see you on the corner until the last minute. Can I give you a lift somewhere?”
Rose moved closer to the curb, bent down and peered at the man through the window he’d cranked open. His light brown hair was cut severely short on the sides, but long on top, his eyes deep blue and merry. His smile was wide, and flashing white teeth caught her attention. She was half-tempted to accept a ride but knew she couldn’t. He was a stranger—a stranger who’d drenched her from head to toe, her raincoat and umbrella having afforded her little protection.
She heard rumbling and looked up to see the streetcar arriving. Brakes screeched as the vehicle came to a grinding halt behind the Studebaker. The bus driver honked at the man to move but he didn’t budge.
“Come on! You’re soaking wet,” he shouted.
Rose’s eyes widened on the passenger door he’d swung open. She shook her head as a nervous feeling sent prickles up her spine. It was broad daylight so she shouldn’t be frightened. But there was something about the man’s confidence and tone of voice that made her uneasy. Just the little he’d said led her to believe he was the type who wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
“Yes, I’m wet, thanks to you!” she finally got the nerve to shout as she continued to back away. She ran for the streetcar, tore up the steps and found a seat right behind the driver.
“You okay, miss?” the driver asked as he peered at her in his mirror. “Was that guy pestering you?”
“I’m fine,” Rose replied, her cheeks heating up.
The man had bothered her. He’d just made her aware of the fact she was, indeed, still a woman. Nearly five years had passed since Timothy left, and she hadn’t had a single date since then. But then, other than young boys and elderly gentlemen, there hadn’t been many eligible men around during the war years, not that she’d gone looking. To her mind she was still married—until Timothy’s death could be proved.
She arrived at her destination, stepped off the streetcar and walked briskly up the street toward the bank building built of red brick and eight stories high. She took the stairs to the third floor, stopped in the ladies’ room to check her makeup and comb her hair, which was hopeless. Her honey-blonde colored hair, which she’d painstakingly pin-curled to make it smoother was now an unruly mass of frizz surrounding her face. Her makeup was streaky and some of it had bled onto the once pristine white collar of her blouse. She groaned when she turned, glanced down at one leg and saw the run in her stocking. Hopefully, she still had an extra pair in her desk drawer.
Rose did the best she could with her appearance, then headed for her office. “Hello, Marianne,” she said as she passed the receptionist.
The young woman’s eyes widened. “What happened to you, Mrs. Delaney?”
As Rose moved toward her office, she said, “Let’s just say I had an encounter with a Studebaker. Okay?”
“Uh, sure. Say, Mr. Jorgenson said you should come straight to his office.”
“Let him know I’ll be in shortly.”
Marianne protested, “Oh, but he doesn’t want you to go to your office until you’ve seen him first!”
Coming to an abrupt halt, Rose narrowed her eyes on Marianne. “Don’t tell me he’s cleared my things out already.”
“Um, no, not yet, but…”
“Good, then my extra stockings should still be in my desk. Ring him and tell him I’ll be there in five minutes.”
She ignored Marianne’s stammering, opened her door and came to an abrupt halt with a gasp. Her chair was turned to face the bank of windows overlooking the city. She saw a pair of chocolate brown pants legs crossed, oxford shoes on feet settled against the windowsill—shoes she guessed that likely cost more than a week’s salary; Then she heard a man’s deep, laughing voice as he talked with someone on the telephone.
He must have heard her enter as he pulled his legs down and swiveled around to face her. She stared in wide-eyed amazement into a pair of astonished, laughing blue eyes—familiar eyes.
About the Author
Nancy Schumacher is the owner-publisher of Melange Books, LLC, still writing under the pseudonyms, Nancy Pirri and Natasha Perry. She is a member of Romance Writers of America. She is also one of the founders of the RWA chapter, Northern Lights Writers (NLW) in Minnesota.
October 1985, Ash Misra leaves a blood-stained Delhi for Oxford University. Haunted by a terrible secret, he just wants to forget. Music and fresh violence bring him to fellow student and amateur violinist, Isabella Angus, but duty and the burden of history keep them apart. A quarter of a century later against the background of the global financial crisis, Sir Peter Roberts, former Master of Woodstock College, receives a letter from Ash for Isabella. They are no longer young, but they had made a tryst with destiny; old terrors and suppressed desires return.
Praise for The Dream That Held Us…
“Deeply imbued with a certain wistfulness and haunting sense of loss brought out by the end of a glorious summer… Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang’s latest novel is a sensitive and skillful exploration of love, longing, and whether life sometimes relents to give us second chances.” Osama Siddique – author of Snuffing Out the Moon
“This book carries a universal message about love and finding your way in the world. I loved it.”
“The Dream That Held Us took me on an exquisite exploration if a love that crosses boundaries of time and culture.”
Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House, and You’ve Got My Number
Another stunning Anglo-Indian love story from the author of The Last Vicereine – Penguin Random House 2017.
Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang is a British author whose work focuses on cultural and historical fault lines and has strong international themes. Rhiannon was born and grew up in Yorkshire and has studied, lived and worked in Europe and Asia. She read Oriental Studies (Chinese) at Oxford University and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese. Rhiannon lives in a former farmhouse in rural England with her family.