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A Trivial Pursuit
Marilyn Gardiner
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Jeremy Blake is committed to non-committed relationships. Lauren Chambers will settle for nothing less than the whole thing: bells and whistles, romance and marriage vows. Jeremy’s young son, Michael, and Lauren share an addiction to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club and delight in stumping each other with trivia questions about the team. The two of them know that she and Jeremy belong together, but are despairing of how to convince Jeremy of that. However, a sticky issue arises when Lauren begins to question Jeremy’s business ethics. Is he truly about to commit fraud? Lauren knows that falling in love with Jeremy could only lead to heartbreak--they don’t seem to share the same values--yet she is powerless to stop the headlong rush of her heart.

With two fingers he tipped her head back and kissed her long and hard before answering. “Not early by a schedule normal people keep. At any rate, this is our last evening here, and you are through working.” He pulled her to her feet and turned her to face him.

“But, I still have--”

He put a finger on her lips. “Shhh. Sally can finish whatever is left when we get back to the States. I’ve ordered cocktails to be served here on the verandah in half an hour, which will give us both time to shower if we hurry. We’re going to enjoy the sunset like other, sane, people do and then I’m going to take you to dinner at the Plantation Inn. There will be dancing, if you like, so wear something smashing. Those are the orders, my love, and no back talk.” He smiled fondly, holding her loosely in the circle of his arms.

She smiled back. “What makes you think I’d argue with dinner and dancing? It sounds heavenly. But none of this,” and she waved a vague hand, “sounds to me much like ‘strictly business’.”

“On hold. Temporary suspension of all rules. Now go do whatever mysterious things women do to get ready for something special.”

Grateful to Annie for insisting she bring something dressy, Lauren put on the delphinium-blue long skirt and matching halter top, secured her hair on top of her head with Jeremy’s combs and joined him on the verandah.

Fresh from the shower himself, Jeremy was dressed in white slacks and a short-sleeved bush jacket. A tailored gray cotton coat was draped over the back of a chair. He was conversing with the Jamaican waiter. Apparently, they’d talked before because the waiter was smiling broadly and, speaking in familiar patois, telling Jeremy about his small son.

“Him one damn-fine pickney,” the man said proudly. “Him real jinnal. Las’ week I lick him ply with de trap.”

“The strap! Oh well...” Jeremy said.

The man’s smile faded and he frowned. “Him disobey Mama and go off in de bush. Tumble in de pahn (pond), brash.” The smile returned broader than ever, his teeth startlingly white. “Now him swim good. T’ree summers old las’ week and him swim in de water, swi, swi, like speckled congor eel.” His hand made a curving arc through the air imitating the fish.

“Our sons have birthdays in the same month then. Michael’s is in another few weeks.”

Catching sight of Lauren standing in the doorway, the waiter backed away and bowed formally. “Pleasant evening, Mistress,” he said, and disappeared down the oleander-lined path.

“What, for heaven’s sake, is a jinnal?” Lauren asked, coming to sit beside Jeremy on the three-cushioned wicker sofa.

“It’s a patois term meaning a trickster or one who plays pranks.” Jeremy laughed. “Sounds like his three-year-old fits the image.”

“But Jeremy, the strap!”

Jeremy shook his head. “Just a phrase. Jamaicans don’t spank their children. He’d never lay a hand on that kid. He’s so proud of him he could burst. He also has four girls.”

“That young man?” Lauren was incredulous. “But, he can’t be as old as you are!”

“Just about,” Jeremy agreed. “But this is Jamaica. They start young and stop late.”

“Does his family live near here?”

“Nope. Their home is up in Cockpit Country. In the mountains. He commutes. I wanted to take you up there one day, but time is running out. He has several brothers who are fishermen. Like those out there.” He pointed down the beach to two Jamaicans pulling a boat, heavily loaded with the evening catch, up on the sand.

The sound of their singing drifted on the wind, a low-key chanting that was somehow sad and yet comforting. The song had an ever-after quality that Lauren could only identify as being akin to the hymns she’d sung all her life in church. The fishermen were singing a song of faith. She settled deeper in the sofa and watched the ocean change from a brilliant, light-filled blue to an iridescent turquoise and finally the deeper indigo of night as the sun drained color from the waves and set behind the cottage.

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 :: General Books
Religion Books :: Inspirational Books

ISBN: 1597059102
ISBN(13-digit): 9781597059107
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 238
Paper Weight (lb): 10.1

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