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Banjo Eyes
Marilyn Gardiner
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Coming home for a high school reunion is not the sentimental, happy time Lily anticipated. Meeting Adam—the man she never forgot, the man who inexplicably disappeared from her life ten years ago—is painful and then, to her bewilderment, someone is terrorizing her. The line between love and distrust blurs as she contemplates a possible future with Adam.

She wondered what Adam did for fun these days. No, she didn’t. She didn’t give a damn what he did or who he did it with. He’d abandoned her, after all. Left her to cope with her father, the end of the marriage, and the decision of what to do with the rest of her life. She wanted nothing of Adam now, and hoped with all her heart he would not come to either the mixer tonight or the banquet tomorrow night. He had, after all, proven faithless and a coward, and not to be depended upon. Her father had been right, after all. Adam had deserted her when she needed him most.

She’d been in town exactly three days, begun an inventory of the contents of the house, scheduled appointments for the lawyer, the bank, and the ranch foreman. She hadn’t even started her father’s Buick and taken a ride through town to see what had changed. God only knew why she’d agreed to come to the reunion. Some perverse need to reach back, she guessed, to put a finger on the pulsing difference between reality and what might have been. Stupid!

The last bronze rays of the dying sun slanted through the front door and across the glass cabinet as she watched, gilding the central trophy with her name and Adam’s etched on the front.

The voice came from over her right shoulder. "Seven seconds, four,” he said. "And it still stands as the high school state record.”

Lily stiffened and stared straight ahead. She would have known that voice in the bowels of a submarine below the Arctic ice cap. He was here. And, in some nameless place, deep inside, she realized that this was the reason she had come. She had to know. Had to see. Touch. Adam. Her tongue lay lifeless in her mouth.

"How you doing, Banjo Eyes?” he asked softly. The deep, slow drawl stopped the breath in her throat. She’d always likened his voice to Sam Elliot of cowboy-movie fame. Deep and smooth as chocolate ice cream. "Roped many calves lately?”

Her pride came to her rescue then, and loosened her tongue.

"They don’t rope too many calves from English saddles,” she said, turning but not quite meeting his eyes. "How are you, Adam?”

"Making it,” he said, his eyes skimming over her. He still wore his dark hair fairly short, but he’d added a crisp mustache and a few pounds of muscle since graduation. The fact slammed home that she was not looking at a boy. This was a man. Very little remained of the fun-loving, easy-going, eighteen year old she’d loved so desperately those many years ago.

Coolly, she extended her hand. "It’s nice to see you.”

A bitter smile pulled at the corners of his mouth, but he slowly took her small hand in one of his huge ones.

"Still carrying all your pride in a basket up front, aren’t you? Is that all that’s the same? You’ve even cut your hair.”

She jerked her hand free and didn’t answer. The color drained from her face--she could feel it go. He had loved her long, strawberry-blonde hair. Draped it across his bare chest as they’d lain in the soft grass of the meadow and whispered sweet words of love in her ear.

Her stomach clenched. It had been a mistake to come. She couldn’t do this. The room seemed to revolve slowly around her and she blinked rapidly.

"Hey.” He turned his back to the crowd in the room, shielding her from their eyes and, stuffed both hands into his back pockets. "Loosen up. We don’t want the gaping masses to get the wrong idea, do we?”

Of course, everyone would be watching, interested in the meeting between the two whose perfect high school love had gone wrong. She fastened her eyes on his like a mired calf on a rider with a rope. And then, with visible effort, Lily pulled herself together. The room stopped going around. She stretched her mouth into a smile. It was a brave and brilliant showing of teeth and they both knew that’s all it was.

She closed her eyes for the space of a heartbeat and then said clearly, "The only thing I recognize about you are your boots. They have to be the same scruffy old pair!” She had yet to loo

My byline has appeared on everything from children’s literature to senior citizen fiction; from news writing to poetry, fiction and non-fiction. I have taught a successful creative writing course and been involved in a program teaching adults to read. Credits include Wings ePress, Inc. as well as a multitude of newspapers and magazines. I have placed in the top three in national contests and treasure a Writing Excellence Award from my college.

I have a loving and supportive husband and two grown daughters, who have given me a total of eight perfect, handsome and intelligent grandchildren--so says this prejudiced grandmother.

Since my first memory, music and books have been my passion. Music continues to feed my soul. I have sung in choral groups all across the eastern half of the U.S., done solo and ensemble work and am currently a member of a large chorale.

Today I have books in every room in my house, and never go out the door without reading material under my arm. With equal passion, I avoid cooking and cleaning house.

Marilyn Gardiner has done well in capturing the essence of the times, and the courage of people to find a new place to start new lives. As depicted by the title, the plot, suspense and romance, flow, not always steadily, but sometimes with a fierceness that dares readers to leave the story. Like A River, My Love, the tale's depth will hold you fast until you reach the end of the journey. -- Brenda, The Rite Lifestyle

There are good writers and there are great writers. Wings author Marilyn Gardiner definitely leads the pack in the second category. I've just finished WHEN THE WIND BLOWS and was "blown away" by this author's talent! You won't find tired clichés and hackneyed metaphors in this suspenseful, child-in-jeopardy tale about a frantic mother's heart-stopping search for her young son.

The romance is subtle and the focus is on Molly's internal struggle to unravel what is and what only seems to be, all the while trying not to fall in love with her fellow sleuth. The scenes are vivid and visual, and this reader found herself racing toward the end along with the heroine. That search being done, the next one will be for Marilyn Gardiner's next book. WHEN THE WIND BLOWS is a fabulous work! A must read for all romantic suspense fans. -- Highly recommended, Anne Carter, Beacon Street Books

Dancing Ladies: "Marilyn Gardiner has written a spellbinding story, guaranteed to keep you turning pages to see what happens next. Prepare to stay up late with this one. And don’t read it during an intense rainstorm or in a house that creaks at night.” -- J D Webb, Author of Shepherd’s Pie

"Dancing ladies is a great tale that grabs hold of the reader. I couldn't stop (reading) until the ending which left me with spine-tingling sensations. The romantic suspense in this story is stunning. Gardiner weaves a great paranormal with just the right touch of mystery. Her style of writing really kept me spellbound." - Linda L., The Romance Studio, 5 hearts.

Banjo Eyes by Marilyn Gardiner is a suspenseful tale of true love, betrayal, rejection and deception. When Lily goes back home to settle her late father’s affairs, weird things begin happening, and she doesn’t know who she can trust. This is a real page turner, right up to the shocking conclusion. -- JoEllen Conger, Conger Books Reviews

Fiction Books :: Romance Books :: Suspense Books

ISBN: 9781597056786
ISBN(13-digit): 9781597056786
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 324

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