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Faith Frances Berlin
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Wildly in love, Bonnie Rose O'Dare, a spunky, young Dolly Parton look-alike, and her childhood sweetheart, a handsome singer/songwriter, head for Nashville.
She is positive he's destined for stardom, and she'll do anything… even if it means losing him… to see that he gets there.
Judge Garrison reached across the table to pat Bonnie’s hand, glancing sternly down at Darcy and Lyla who were giggling. “Go on, my dear. It’s lovely.” he encouraged.
“This is the ending,” Bonnie said, pink now with embarrassment.
“So here’s to Randoph Bradford, the name he’ll proudly bear,
I hope he’ll be the happiest of children anywhere.”
Bonnie crumpled her work in her sweaty palm, noting that Paul was white around the mouth and that his head was turned away. Only Judge Garrison applauded enthusiastically.
“Excuse me,” she said, near tears. “I... I... have to use the facilities.” She pushed back her chair and almost fell in her effort to leave the room as quickly as possible.
“Must she have included that part about... making a baby’?” Eunice gasped, breathlessly pressing her hands to her chest.
Paul was humiliated. Why, he fumed--trying not to display his ire--had she not read him the damn thing first? He could have told her it was inappropriate. He could have guided her. His wife was making a fool of them both. It was intolerable. He would speak to her sternly when they left. This was never going to happen again. Lyla…He glanced sheepishly across the table. Oh, God, what must she be thinking?
Darcy’s laugh bounced rather shrilly off the walls. “We’re all aware how children are produced,” he snorted, “but it is hardly an appropriate subject for the dinner table. Lyla, what did you think of Paul’s wife’s poem?”
“Trite. Pathetic. Sorry, Paul,” she said, gazing at him with sympathy. “Strange how a person’s literary background--or lack of it--becomes painfully obvious with poetry, isn’t it?” She glanced at Eunice, who seemed to nod agreement as she continued. “Well, what could you expect from a woman like Bonnie, anyway?” she asked no one in particular. “Taking advantage of Paul’s kind nature, marrying him in such a mad frenzy. And now, she’s so very pregnant. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it?”
“Wait a minute, Lyla,” Paul began. “Bonnie wasn’t... I mean; I have to say that she was...”
“Was what, Paul?” Bonnie asked from the entrance to the dining room. She had obviously overheard Lyla’s remarks.
“I’ll answer for him,” Lyla said, rising from her chair. “He’s too much of a gentleman to say what ought to be said. I think you should know what everyone’s saying about you, Mrs. Bradford,” she said sarcastically. “You married Paul because you were already pregnant with someone else’s child, didn’t you? Now you’re trying to pass it off as Paul’s baby! I say you are a cheat and a fraud.”
Judge Garrison cleared his throat as he stood up and his face was very red. “See here, young woman, that is outrageous!” he sputtered at Lyla. “You are recklessly impugning Mrs. Bradford’s reputation in front of witnesses. If you cannot prove those allegations, you should be sued for slander!” He fished a card from his vest and flung it down on the table in front of Bonnie’s vacant chair. “I would gladly represent Mrs. Bradford against...”
“Lyla!” Paul broke in and the older man regained his seat. “The Judge is right. You’re going too far. You can’t...”
“Oh, can’t I?” Lyla ignored the Judge’s warning and continued. “I think it’s time we got the facts straight; here and now.” She sent a scathing glance at Bonnie, and then back to Paul. “You come home to Dunnstown with this... this Nashville bimbo... this blonde backwoods nothing, and expect me to be silent? Palming herself off as such a young, innocent thing! Look at her! Is that what you want to live with for the rest of your life? Is it?” Lyla’s voice was shrill with anger and outrage as she leaned over the table toward Paul’s white face. “You’d pick her over me? With my background, my European education?”
A native San Diegan, springing from deeply-Southern roots, I began my writing career with light verse and radio commercials, moved on--after a 12-year stint as a real estate owner/broker in Huntington, L.I., New York--to award-winning lyricist/songwriter in Nashville, and eventually became a published novelist. A professional manuscript editor, I reside in San Diego with my husband of forty-two years and enjoy writing women's fiction, humorous short stories, light verse, and slightly skewed fiction with a Southern slant.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 396
Paper Weight (lb): 16.6
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