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Janet DeMarco is having one of those days. She feels underappreciated, underestimated, and misunderstood. She accidentally resigns from her job and, when her husband finds it amusing, she hands in her resignation to her family, as well. Janet becomes a blonde, changes her name to Hope, and meets two people who help her realize the blessings in her life: Ricki, a young single mother, and Joy, a homeless woman close to Janetâ€™s age.
I held up my left hand to the construction crew boss approaching my desk while I shouted into the phone. "Teddy? Can you hear me? Where are you?â€
"Iâ€™m right here. Talk fast, Iâ€™m busy. Jan?â€
"Donâ€™t pull that â€˜youâ€™re breaking up and I canâ€™t hear youâ€™ stuff, Teddy. Youâ€™ve had three calls from Mr. Dunbar about the permits for the work on his guest house. You have contracts waiting to be signed and two that have to be delivered. Where are you?â€
"Yeah, Jan. Uh, can you deliver those two contracts and call Dunbar back? Tell him Iâ€™m in a meeting, and Iâ€™ll call him first thing in the morning. Leave the other stuff with the mail on my desk. Iâ€™ll pick it up on my way home.â€
"Look, I was hired as the bookkeeper, and I have the payroll to get ready. Iâ€™m not your secretary or your gofer.â€
In the background and before he could respond, I heard, "And theyâ€™re off!â€
"Oh, forâ€¦ Youâ€™re at the track? Iâ€™m going nuts here running your business, and youâ€™re at the track? For the love ofâ€¦â€
"Relax, Jan. Youâ€™re starting to sound like my wife. Iâ€™ll come in later and sign whatever needs signing. Just leave it all on my desk. I gotta go.â€
The dial tone hummed. I slammed down the receiver and narrowed my eyes on the crew boss leaning over the counter. "What do you need?â€
"Iâ€™m goinâ€™ home. Been feelinâ€™ lousy all day. I think itâ€™s the flu.â€
"Great. Whoâ€™s running the crew on the Phillips job?â€
"I left Mack in charge.â€ He turned and sneezed loudly, then looked back at me through glazed eyes. "I probably wonâ€™t be in for a few days. Iâ€™ll have my wife come by to get my check on Friday.â€
He grabbed tissues from the box on my desk and left the office. I glanced at the clock--two-thirty. I still hadnâ€™t had lunch, and I had a bank deposit to make. I found the signed contracts and looked at the addresses. One stop was on the way to the bank, the other across town. I got the deposit ready and set it aside with both contracts. I fielded two more complaint calls, tempted to forward them to Teddyâ€™s cell phone at the track.
Iâ€™ve worked for DeMarco Construction for the past ten years. Teodoro â€˜Teddyâ€™ DeMarco is my husband Anthonyâ€™s cousin. With an associate degree in business, I agreed to work for Teddy three days a week as a bookkeeper. Somehow this grew into full-time and then some, as I became secretary, receptionist, file clerk, delivery person and barista. If I choose to use the bathroom, Iâ€™m also the cleaning lady. Iâ€™d like to say this day was unusual, but itâ€™s pretty much this way all the time.
I pulled up the contracts on my computer and filled in the blanks. The door opened and our delivery driver walked in. He stood over my desk, slack-jawed, his dull gray eyes fixed on my chest. If I werenâ€™t sadly flattered by this attention, Iâ€™d have been pissed.
"What can I do for you, Bobby?â€
"I canâ€™t work tomorrow. Court date,â€ he said matter-of-factly.
I remembered. He was arrested during a domestic dispute. A chill slithered down my back. "Did you tell Teddy so he can get a replacement?â€
"Iâ€™m telling you so you can tell him.â€ His nubby fingers toyed with the name plate on the counter that defined this space as belonging to me, Janet DeMarco. The monogrammed gold on dark wood had been a conciliatory gift from Teddy for one of the many things heâ€™d done to piss me off. I made a mental note to disinfect it later. "Iâ€™ll be back on Friday. Ainâ€™t no way theyâ€™re gonna bust me. Just a slap on the fingers.â€
I fixed my gaze on the computer monitor. "Fine. Iâ€™ll let Teddy know.â€
He continued to leer down at me.
Linda Rettstatt grew up in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. She has worked as a social worker and therapist for twenty-five years and is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, Pennsylvania. A nature photographer and musician, Linda has worked in community theatre and once wrote play reviews for the newspaper in her hometown of Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Her writing has garnered recognition from Writerâ€™s Digest and Pennwriters, Inc. Lindaâ€™s first novel, And The Truth Will Set You Free, finaled in the 2008 EPPIE Awards. She currently resides in Memphis, TN. The Year I Lost My Mind is her third novel.
Pieces: Ms. Rettstatt creates a fast-paced mystery as Claire works to find the truth about her past. The hero is both strong and gentle, the kind of man you want in your life even if you are afraid to draw him into your nightmare. Rarely does a mystery have this depth of feeling. Pieces is an invitation to compassion and understanding. This book will enrich you as well as entertain you. Pieces by Linda Rettstatt found its way to my keeper shelf. This book rates a five on the lipstick scale --A. Dee Carey, The Fox Lady, www.foxladycarey.com
Pieces: Have you ever wondered, â€˜Who am Iâ€¦ really?â€™ Claire Hutchings asks herself this question when a recurring nightmare gives her the feeling she must have been adopted. The more she tries to explain the dream, the more she discovers the puzzle pieces donâ€™t add up. Something is missing. This is a real page turner. The suspense is so grippng, I promise you, youâ€™ll not be able to set this book down. This superbly complex suspense will keep you turning pages as Claire puts the pieces of the puzzle together to discover her true identity. -- JoEllen Conger
Pieces by Linda Rettstatt is absolutely riveting--a real page turner. I was hooked from page one, and couldnâ€™t put it down. The book begins with Claire Hutchings awakening from a recurring nightmare, and the race is on to get to the bottom of what it means. She connects with a wonderful, insightful counselor, Genevieve Headlee, who becomes her guide and mentor. In Pieces, the reader joins Claire as she travels along a journey of self discovery that spans from South Africa to Pennsylvania. You will laugh with Claire, cry with her, and be deeply moved by this beautiful story. You will also meet a cast of characters who will warm your heart as you cheer Claire on to find out the truth. Her shocking discovery which uncovers years of lies, the pain it causes and its resolution will have you reaching for the Kleenex box. Linda Rettstatt is a master at creating a beautiful, warm inspirational story filled with rich well-developed characters, intricate, exciting plot lines, and romance that will leave you sighing with happiness, along with a dash of humor that will have you laughing out loud. Donâ€™t miss out on reading this book--your heart will never be the same. -- Suzanne M. Hurley, www.suzannemhurley.com
Pieces: When Claire Vanderfelt's sleep is disrupted by repeated nightmares, she seeks help from therapist, Genevieve Headlee. As Claire probes her past, the nightmare becomes a reality. Nothing is as it seems. Slowly, but surely, the missing pieces are put together. As the story unfolds, the reader is taken on a remarkable journey which explores the psychological affect of trauma and misplaced love. The characters are well-drawn. This intriguing story will hold interest right to the end. Pieces is a very readable novel which I am sure will keep readers awake till late into the night. --Olivia Winter, http://www.geocities.com/olivia_winter
Pieces: Linda Rettstattâ€™s heroines personify strength, love, humor, and hope. In her novel, Pieces, Claire Vanderfelt displays each of these traits as she searches for the pieces to the puzzle that has shaped her life. Because of this authorâ€™s skillfully crafted story, the reader will experience Claireâ€™s heartache and longing, her joy and her triumph. -- Carol McPhee, http://www.geocities.com/carolmcphee2003
Pieces: Ms. Rettstatt has crafted a wonderful, poignant tale in Pieces. I felt Claireâ€™s emotions as she delved into the past. Each chapter is filled with suspense and well-kept secrets as Claire uncovers bits of the mystery of who she is, both literally and figuratively. Pieces engages the reader with suspenseful narration and graphic storytelling. This is an amazing, beautifully written novel. Donâ€™t miss it. -- Mallary Mitchell, www.mallarymitchell.us
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 312
Paper Weight (lb): 11.8
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