It has been explained to me, over and over, by people who are admittedly brighter bulbs than I am, that this is the thing to do. So, here we are.
Go to Amazon today through March 8, to this link http://www.amazon.com/The-Girls-Tonsil-Lake-Flaherty-ebook/dp/B00HJESTYO and download The Girls of Tonsil Lake. It is my latest book, my first women's fiction title, a book of my heart.
I hope, in addition to downloading it, that you read it. That you love it. That, if you feel like it, you leave reviews all over the place. Or not. Mostly, I hope you enjoy it. Oh, and below here is the cover and a blurb and an excerpt.
See you next week. Have a great one.
Four women whose differences only deepen the friendship forged in a needy childhood…
They were four little girls living in ramshackle trailers beside a lake in rural Indiana. They shared everything from dreams to measles to boyfriends to more dreams. As they grew up, everything in their lives changed—except their friendship. Through weddings and divorces, births and deaths, one terrible secret has kept them close despite all the anger, betrayal, and pain.
Now, forty years later, facing illness, divorce, career challenges, and even addiction, the women come together once again for a bittersweet month on an island in Maine. Staring down their fifties, they must consider the choices life is offering them now and face the pain of what happened long ago.
Secrets are revealed and truths uncovered, but will their time together cement their lifelong friendship—or drive them apart forever?
I felt pretty proud of myself this morning. In the first place, I got dressed. Not in sweats but in a pair of khaki shorts and an aqua tee shirt Miranda bought me for my birthday. I’m a size smaller since my illness and not too many clothes fit well, but these did.
I washed my hair and ran a pick through it while it was still wet so that it lay in waves instead of kinking up. I was getting used to the white, and I kind of looked forward to not having it colored every five weeks.
I even put on makeup, something Jean and I do well only because Suzanne’s drummed it into us when she gives us our free samples. All of her practice on us is the reason, we tell her, that she does the best makeovers in the Midwest.
I gave myself a critical look in the mirror. As long as I was wearing a bra, you couldn’t really tell that my boobs didn’t match. The discovery made me ridiculously happy, and I turned away from my reflection quickly. There was coffee in the kitchen calling my name.
Jake called, as he’s done every few days since I got sick, and we talked while I drank my first cup. He said he’d seen Suzanne the night before.
“It was fun,” he said. “You should come up here for a weekend sometime, Andie. It would be good for you. Things don’t have to interfere.”
“Maybe sometime.” I frowned. “But, Jake, have you told Suzanne?”
The smile left his voice, and I was sorry I’d asked. “No,” he said, “but I will. Nothing’s going to happen there. Trust me, okay?”
We’d just hung up and I’d poured my second cup when there was a knock at the back door. Expecting Miranda, I hollered, “Come on in,” and set about making a fresh pot.
My children are as addicted to coffee as I am. Only young Jake says my coffee is too good for him. He’s a cop and considers himself a specialist in sludge.
But it wasn’t Miranda at the door; it was Paul Lindquist. He was holding a green Mason jar with a ribbon tied around its neck and eight tulips inside it. He had on long denim shorts and a polo shirt in a peculiar faded green that turned his eyes the exact same color.
He looked, as my kids would say and frequently do, fine. Very fine. Tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth fine.
I was really glad I’d gotten dressed and put on my makeup and that he couldn’t tell by looking at me that my breasts didn’t match.
He thrust the flowers at me and pulled something out of his pocket, holding them up in front of me. When he spoke, it was all in a rush as though he’d practiced it on the way to my house.
“I’ve got two tickets to the Indianapolis Indians game this afternoon. I’d like you to go with me and have dinner afterward. If we leave right now, we can have lunch before the game. You look really beautiful with those flowers up around your face.”
I’m not going to go into the subject of breast cancer, because I covered it all in that book, but I’ll say right here and now that if you’ve only got one thing to say to one of its victims, “You look really beautiful,” is an excellent choice.
I said, “Do I need to change?”
He shook his head, smiling. All of a sudden I could feel myself blushing like a kid on her first date. God, he had beautiful teeth. “Do you want some coffee before we go?” I moved to the table to push aside the salt and pepper shakers and the sugar bowl and set the flowers in the middle of it.
“No, thanks, but we can take some along.”
I poured the coffee into two commuter cups the convenience store out on the highway had given away, and snagged my purse off the back of one of the ladder-back chairs. “Okay,” I said, cursing my wobbly voice. “I guess I’m ready.”
He took the cups from me and set them on the counter, lifted my purse from my shoulder and put it beside them, and said, “There’s something I need to do first, that I’ve been wanting to do for more years than either of us wants to think about.”
Without further ado, (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase) he took me in his arms, leaned me back against the counter, and kissed me till I was breathless. It didn’t take long, I might add. He gave me time to get my wind back and then kissed me again.
My tongue wasn’t sticking to the roof of my mouth anymore. Along about the middle of the second kiss, it became otherwise engaged.
Jake and I have been divorced for over twenty years, and, no, I have not been celibate all that time. Not that it’s anyone’s business. But I have been very careful about things. I never had anyone spend the night at my house while my kids still lived here, I’ve never had unprotected sex, and I’ve never entered into a relationship that had the remotest possibility of having strings attached.
However, after two kisses and one bouquet of flowers, I was ready to ask Paul Lindquist to have sex with me on the kitchen table—after I set the tulips aside—and then move in with me. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I’d been spending too much time with Suzanne, who falls in love at the drop of a zipper.
“Ready?” Paul asked, releasing me slowly and taking both the commuter cups in one hand.
I nodded, though I wasn’t at all sure my knees would hold me up if I stopped leaning against the counter. “Where’s my purse?” I asked.
He looked around, and I saw that his eyes weren’t as clear as they had been. “Uh...”
I wondered if his knees were weak, too.
“Oh.” It was on the counter behind me, one corner of it digging into my ribs, so I pushed off and slung it over my shoulder once more. “Let’s go.”
The trip to Indianapolis had never gone so fast. We spent the time driving and, while we ate lunch at a diner complete with waitresses in pink uniforms, catching up on each other’s lives. We didn’t even have our kids out of high school yet when he drove into the parking lot at Victory Field.
After the game, we ate dinner at Rosie Peabody’s, the restaurant I used to own, which got us up to the year of Miranda’s college graduation and her wedding and the birth of Paul’s first grandchild. We kissed in the parking lot, and while we were waiting on a red light going out of town, and when he stopped at a filling station so I could go to the bathroom.
As we neared Lewis Point, we both grew quiet, though he held my hand on the console between the seats. What would I do, I wondered, if he wanted to make love? I’m not ready for that, unless we can do it in the dark with my bra and tee shirt still on.
There was no doubt I wanted him; the wanting had grown with each kiss. But wanting and having are sometimes two different things.
There was no hurry, I told myself, but I knew this day had been seventeen years in coming, ever since that night we’d met in the pharmacy. That’s not much of a hurry.
He took my keys from my hand and unlocked the door and pushed it open, but didn’t offer to go inside. I looked up at him, and he framed my face with his hands.
“I had a great time,” he said.
Just as I was stiffening my knees for another kiss, the phone inside the house began to ring. Paul followed me in, closing the door behind him as I picked up the cordless across the room.
“Andie?” Vin’s voice sounded tense. “You need to go to Suzanne’s right away. Something’s wrong.”