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My Pretty Lady
Marilyn A. Gardiner
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As a widow, Ellen is confronted with decisions that she feels inadequate to make. For the first time she must take charge of her own life and that of her three almost-grown daughters. Loneliness and fear of inadequacy sap her energy, the girls drain her emotionally and the first man he dates -- well, the dating scene has changed drastically from what she remembered.

When she meets Drew Yardley, a man with a wonderful sense of the ridiculous, the middle child violently rejects him, another tells her to “go for it, Mom,” and yet another rebels but gives in finally to his charm. The biggest obstacle of all, however, is the fact that Drew is already married, and there is no option of divorce. The timing and circumstance is incredibly wrong for Ellen and Drew. As they wrestle with the integrity of an impossible situation, the middle daughter slides deeper and deeper into a troubled world, complicating any decisions they make. Ellen realizes she will have to choose between one of her children and Drew.

That evening they came in too tired to do more than sprawl across the bed and talk.

"We’re becoming ‘foodies,’ you know."

"Is that good or bad?"

"San Francisco is known for foodies. Dining enthusiasts of the highest order. We seem to fit right in."

She nodded contentedly. "Will you still love me when I’m sized 26?"

"Have you heard the old song, ‘Huggin’ and ‘A Chalkin’?"

He easily deflected the pillow Ellen fired at him.

"You still have a smudge of chocolate ice cream on your chin."

"I don’t."

"You do. Lie still and I’ll get it off."

"Drew! That isn’t my chin, you idiot. I couldn’t possibly have ice cream there!"

There was a brief tussle, brief because neither of them had the energy to continue, and they stretched out again, side by side, on the bed.

They fell asleep that night tucked together like spoons in a drawer, fitting comfortably as if molded to exact dimensions. Ellen went to sleep with her arm drawn through his and folded across his chest. The back of his shoulder was warm against her cheek and the rise and fall of their breathing was in unison.

It was after one o’clock when the phone rang, jangling them out of sleep with an abrasiveness that set Ellen’s heart to hammering painfully. Drew answered groggily.

"Yes? Who do you wish to-- Just a minute."

He turned to Ellen, his mouth in a grim line. "It’s your friend Liz. There may be a problem from the sound of things, but whatever it is, remember we face it together. Okay?"

Ellen scrambled out of bed, tangling her feet in the sheets and feeling the blood drain from her face. Her brain was trying to compute the time in Maryland. It was what? Ten o’clock or thereabouts.

"Remember, I said together." Drew handed her the phone.

"Yes, Liz. What is it?" And before Liz said a word Ellen knew it was going to be bad. She could hear the sounds of hysteria in the background.

Always no nonsense, Liz went right to the point. "Allison has to talk to you. I agreed only on the condition that I dialed you and spoke first." Even with her heart pounding in her throat, Ellen realized Liz was trying to protect her. Liz went on. "There is apparently a problem with finances. An acute problem, I gather, which Allison will not tell me about. She called Brooke from school a couple of hours ago, in the hopes of talking to you, and when you weren’t there she panicked and hopped on a bus to come home. She’s… I’ve never seen her quite like this, Ellen, and I decided that calling you was the only thing to do. She has already called your mother and is threatening to notify the police."

Standing on the thick, creamy carpet in her bare feet, Ellen began to tremble. She was aware that Drew wrapped a robe around her and then enveloped her in his arms from behind.

"Is that Allison I hear crying?" she asked.

"No. That’s Casey. I can handle Casey." Liz’s voice lowered. "Allison has turned into block of solid oak. She looks as if she’d like to take a hatchet to me. I’m sorry to have to put you through this, but I didn’t know what else to do."

Ellen knew Allison when she got this way. Singleminded, seething in a towering anger like an avenging prophetess. Her sarcasm could curdle cream.

"It’s my problem, Liz, not yours. Put her on."

She could feel Drew’s breath on her neck and heard him whisper, "Remember. Together we can handle it," but her entire concentration was on Allison and what she was going to say. Without thinking, Ellen braced herself.

"Well," Allison’s voice was brittle. "Where are you? Shacking up with that man I suppose."

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 :: Contemporary Books

ISBN: 1590889576
ISBN(13-digit): 9781590889572
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 296
Paper Weight (lb): 12.6

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