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Mona Jean Reed
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Now that he’s ‘talked,’ Little Marty Stark must disappear or die. Jess Mason, a gambling addict with the world’s biggest habit, means to keep on feeding his obsession even if he has to torture or kill Marty to get his hidden wealth. Vi Kaplin the widowed mother of a pastor, wants adventure and she’s willing to defy her family to get it.
Vi nodded and continued digging. After she’d dug a circle around the peony bush she applied the shovel as a lever.
Marty stood to one side. He knew this woman pretty well by now. If she wanted his help, she’d ask. If he tried to help without her asking, she’d get mad. The last thing he wanted was to make her angry. He’d have to stay out of the way but be ready to help if he got a chance.
He might as well have been at a boxing match. He mirrored her movements, made the same motions she did. And silently, he cheered her on. Finally she wrestled the lump of wet muck and large green leaves out of the ground.
With a laugh, she belly-flopped onto the grass near the garden. “Thank you, I could see you out of the corner of my eye. You refused to give in and do this job for me.”
Marty shrugged. “You said that’s what you wanted. I just took you at your word.”
“You’re different, not like Fred at all.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I appreciate you. Obviously he did too.” He levered himself down on the grass at her side.
She didn’t look up. “Think so?”
“Of course he did.”
She trailed her fingers through the grass. “Tell me, if you really loved someone, how would you treat them?”
“I loved Pamela, but she let me ruin her life. Thanks to me, she died.” He turned his head away. He didn’t want to look at Vi; he couldn’t stand to see her walk away. His chin trembled; he didn’t want her to see that weakness either.
He faced the neighbor’s fence for many minutes. He couldn’t describe the disgust he felt for the life he’d lived.
Vi touched his shoulder and he jumped. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It hurts doesn’t it?”
He nodded, got up, took her hand and pulled her up. They walked to the garden bench nearby. “It was my fault, all of it. She always did what I told her, never questioned anything. She was so good, never knew what evil was.”
She patted his back. “The past is the past. We have to go on from here. Try to do better; it’s all we can do about the past.”
“Then all I can do is swear that any woman I get interested in has to have a backbone of steel and the spirit of an Amazon.” He tried to swallow down the bitterness and growled, “No other kind of woman is safe around me. Probably I’ll never love another woman.”
“You don’t trust yourself. You’re afraid of what might happen if you take on the responsibility of loving another person,” Vi said.
Marty looked at her as if she had a halo. “Never thought of it like that. Love is a responsibility, isn’t it?”
“A big responsibility for both people,” she said.
“I still don’t remember some parts of my life, but being responsible…” He paused for a long moment. “…I know I didn’t do well.”
She looked into his eyes as if searching for truth. “So you want the other person to be strong enough not to be hurt if you fail to love them well?”
With a frown Marty said, “I guess that’s what I’m saying.”
“Don’t you understand that part of love is being so vulnerable that the other person can’t keep from hurting you?”
Marty only frowned. She could be speaking Sanskrit for all the sense she made.
“If you really love someone, you’ll expose the most delicate parts of yourself and then the other person can’t help hurting you.”
He chuckled and thought about what she’d said. “Naw. Don’t think so.”
Jean Reed is a Christian, an optimist and a true romantic. She believes with all her heart that change and second chances are possible and that belief is the basis for Reclaiming Little Marty. She has written fiction, mostly for Christian magazines, for a number of years.
A typical weekday for Jean Reed has her at her computer by eight thirty. She first brings up her stock trading screens and on top of those, she overlays her latest writing project. They all fit neatly together on her monitor. She has the privilege of never being bored and she loves research, writing and other kinds as well.
On weekends She teaches an adult Bible study class. She is also the recording secretary in one writing group and the newsletter editor in another. Her latest endeavor is Toastmasters and she is halfway to the CTM Award. She is also the publicity chairman for the Capstone Ministry at her church, Council Road Baptist.
Her first novel, Accidental Billionaire, was published in 2000. Reclaiming Little Marty concerns the father of Sam Stark, the hero of that novel. Yes, she gets attached to her characters and hopes her readers will also get attached to them.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 322
Paper Weight (lb): 13.5
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