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Dancing Ladies
Marilyn Gardiner
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Max sat in bed, clutching his clown pillow, with tears sliding down his cheeks. His arms strained forward as she rounded the corner into his room. "Mommie…”

Backed into a corner, bristling as if confronting an attacking mastiff, teeth bared, Babe barked hysterically.

Kate folded herself on the bed beside Max and rocked him back and forth. "Sh-h-h. It’s all right. I’m here. Sh-h-h. Babe! Hush!”

Max buried his head in her neck and gripped her in a stranglehold. "I want my… light,” he sobbed. "Can I… please… have my light?”

Only then did Kate notice that Max’s little baseball player lamp, always plugged into the baseboard socket, no longer gleamed in the night. Light from the hall way filtered in the door, but the little ceramic and glass baseball guy lay on the floor.

Babe had never stopped barking. The ruff of hair down his spine stood on end and he was stiff-legged, staring fixedly at something she couldn’t see.

"Babe! Stop it! It’s okay.” Reluctantly, the dog grumbled and with a punctuating yip, sank back on his haunches.

Max had both arms wrapped tight around Kate’s neck, but with one hand she groped for the bedside lamp and flipped the switch. "There, is that better?”

He nodded weakly. "Can I sleep with you? I don’t want to stay in here.”

Max hadn’t slept with her in years. What in the world? True, she could hear a storm building in the west. Thunder rumbled distantly and lightning lit the windows, but it wasn’t yet overhead. And, anyway, Max had never been afraid of storms. Why now? What was different?

"Max, it was only a bad dream, and it’s over now. Everything is fine.” She tried to hold him away from her, but he clutched her even tighter.

"You smell better than…”

Kate went cold. "Better than what? Who?”


"Does she have a name?” And with fear tightening her insides, "What was that about a smell?”

"She smells like flowers, but I like the way you smell better.”

"Who, honey? Tell me who you’re talking about.” Flowers. He’d said flowers!

"I can’t.” The tears started all over again and he fumbled blindly for Lambie beside him on the bed. "It’s a secret. I can’t.”

Kate pulled him into her lap. "Max. This is important. There are times when it’s best not to keep a secret from someone who can help. I want you to tell me who you saw.”

No answer.

"Who did you smell?”

No answer.

Kate closed her eyes. The ground here was a bit boggy, so she spoke carefully. "It is somebody I know?”

A slow nod, his face still buried in her chest, Lambie hugged between them.

"Is it someone we see often?”

Max’s head shook an emphatic no.

"Is it a woman?” He had, after all, said "she.”

Max’s body didn’t move. He seemed to be holding his breath.

"Aunt Bree?” Of course, it wouldn’t be Bree, but…

Again, a negative shake.

"Ruby June or Pearly June?”

This time a small expulsion of breath before he said, "No.”

It’s time. All or nothing. "Aunt Leah?”

She felt him tense against her. No answer.

"Max, I think Aunt Leah has been visiting you. Am I right?”

"I didn’t tell you. I didn’t!”

"No, you didn’t tell me anything. I guessed.”

"She said it was a joke,” he sniffled, "but it isn’t funny any more.”

"I can see that. I don’t think it’s funny at all.”

Leah, you snake! If you have been terrorizing my child, I’ll… What? What could she do? If Leah weren’t already dead, she’d strangle her herself. Frightening babies. That was low!

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 :: Paranormal Books

ISBN: 1597058041
ISBN(13-digit): 9781597058049
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 308
Paper Weight (lb): 13.0

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