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Abby Mulgrew is counting on two things to breathe life back into her marriage: the Alaskan cruise she and her husband, Wil, have planned, and the see-through negligee she has purchased for the trip. Within the first twenty-fours hours of the cruise to celebrate her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, however, Abby receives the one gift she least expects.
Abby slid her hand between the layers of silky fabric, observing the outline of her fingers. Yep, this one should do it. She carried her selection to the checkout, feeling deliciously wicked.
“This is lovely.” The cashier scanned the price tag.
“It’s for my anniversary.” Why did she feel as though she had to explain the purchase?
The younger woman smiled and nodded.
Heat crept up Abby’s neck, and she couldn’t meet the cashier’s eyes as she handed her a credit card. Perhaps I’ve already exceeded the age limit for see-through lingerie. I’m a little beyond the ‘secrets’ stage, at least with Wil.
“Well, congratulations. What anniversary are you celebrating?” the cashier asked, presenting the receipt to Abby for her signature.
“It’s our twenty-fifth. We’re going on a cruise. I wanted to purchase something special...to surprise my husband.” Now she was babbling and realized there was no need to explain. The next waiting customer shifted and exhaled. Abby signed the charge slip, grabbed the package and hurried from the store. I wonder what might have happened if I’d given in to the temptation to purchase a pair of crotchless panties. She smiled at the thought as she made her way down the block to Anthony’s to meet her friend Meg for lunch.
Meg dropped into the booth where Abby had settled. “Hi. Good thing you got here early. This place is crazy today.”
“I think the weather’s brought everyone out. It’s a beautiful day. Do you have to go back to the office? It would be nice to walk and window shop. I don’t have to rush home. Wil’s working late tonight.”
“I do have to go back, but not right away. What’s up with Wil, anyway? He’s been putting in a lot of eighteen-hour days lately.”
“You know how obsessive he is about the bank—it can’t run without him. He’s just worried about being away for ten days for the cruise. Speaking of the cruise, let me show you what I bought.” She removed the tissue-wrapped negligee from the bag and discreetly passed it across the table to Meg. “Don’t unfold it. Not in here,” Abby said in a panic as Meg lifted the negligee by the straps. “Just slip your hand inside.”
“Why Abby Mulgrew, you little vixen. Why even bother getting dressed?”
“I want to surprise Wil. He’s been working so hard and, well, we’ve kind of drifted away from one another lately.”
“Things a little quiet in the bedroom?” Meg asked, passing the negligee back across the table.
Abby waited until the waitress had placed glasses of water and menus on the table and was once again out of earshot before responding. “Quiet—now there’s a good word. If it gets any quieter, Wil and I could be sleeping in the public library. Sometimes I wonder if he’s having an affair.”
Meg gasped. “You think...?”
Abby shook her head. “Not really. Ever since Caitlin graduated and moved to California, it seems Wil and I have little in common. He has the bank and all his work involves. I have the house, the Garden Club, and... well, that’s about it. Sometimes I feel as though he and I are two strangers inhabiting the same space.”
The waitress reappeared and waited impatiently while Abby and Meg perused their menus one more time before ordering.
When they were alone again, Meg narrowed her eyes. “Is this serious?”
“No. At least I don’t think so. Wil’s late four or five nights a week. He’s had to go out of town for business twice in the last month. And I wasn’t invited to go along. I feel as if I don’t exist half the time. I know I’m not as young and attractive as I used to be, but neither is he.”
Meg rolled her eyes. “Yeah, you’re a real dog.”
“I think this cruise is just what we need. It’ll be the two of us—no work to rush off to and no phone interruptions. I already checked, and we won’t have cell service in some of the areas we’ll be cruising. I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity while I have Wil alone and try to spice things up a little.”
Linda Rettstatt is a multi-published author of women’s fiction. She began her storytelling career early in life, swapping bedtime stories with her grandfather, rather than sleeping. As a clerk with her small hometown newspaper, Linda got her first byline reviewing community theater productions. Though her heart remains in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania (especially in October), Linda currently resides in Southaven, Mississippi. The Restoration of Abby Walker is her seventh published 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, ‘Who am I… really?’ 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 don’t add up. Something is missing. This is a real page turner. The suspense is so grippng, I promise you, you’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 couldn’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. Don’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 Rettstatt’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 author’s skillfully crafted story, the reader will experience Claire’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 Claire’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. Don’t miss it. -- Mallary Mitchell, www.mallarymitchell.us
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 427
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