Until the Gull Returns


On the outside, Rebecca Cunningham appears to have everything a Boston Brahmin needs-beauty, intelligence, wealth, an MBA, and now a law degree. But on the inside, Becky is in turmoil. She has finally accepted that her knight in shining armor is never going to appear and reluctantly agrees to marry Derek Sanderson, a handsome, upper-crust suitor. Their wedding is to be the social event of the year, if not the entire decade. But there is only one problem: Becky's heart belongs to...
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Until The Gull Returns

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On the outside, Rebecca Cunningham appears to have everything a Boston Brahmin needs-beauty, intelligence, wealth, an MBA, and now a law degree. But on the inside, Becky is in turmoil. She has finally accepted that her knight in shining armor is never going to appear and reluctantly agrees to marry Derek Sanderson, a handsome, upper-crust suitor. Their wedding is to be the social event of the year, if not the entire decade. But there is only one problem: Becky's heart belongs to another man, one who scarcely knows she exists.

For years, the man of her dreams, whom Becky only sees occasionally in real life, has had a starring role in her erotic fantasies. Torn between maintaining her reputation of always doing the right thing and wanting to follow her heart, Becky seeks counsel from her friends, who beg her to delay the wedding. Finally convinced, Becky tells Derek the news, setting off a chain of events that lead her down an unexpected path where she discovers secrets lurking within Derek's family-secrets with the potential to ruin all of them.

In this compelling tale, a Boston Brahmin must do all she can to survive with her heart intact as intrigue, heartache, and betrayal invade her life and change it forever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781491715550
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/22/2013
  • Pages: 346
  • Sales rank: 969,929
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Until The Gull Returns

By Norm Minor

iUniverse LLC

Copyright © 2013 Norm Minor
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4917-1555-0


"Becky, you simply cannot go through with this marriage!"

Hearing this from her doctor – who, far more importantly, was also her dear friend, trusted advisor, and quite often her mother in loco parentis – Rebecca Peabody Cunningham just sat there with mouth agape, as the good doctor stated unwaveringly this nonmedical conclusion. What had been scheduled as just a physical examination had obviously become something far more significant, important enough to rain on her sunny summer day.

Becky had spent the last few years waiting for her knight in shining armor to come forward and sweep her off of her feet, but finally she was forced to acknowledge that her fantasy was not going to materialize. Thus she had, however reluctantly, accepted the fact that being the daughter of a prominent Boston Brahmin family came with its responsibilities, and so she was finally, but sadly, preparing to assume the social role she had been born into.

Not inconsistent with this, she had accepted a proposal of marriage from a handsome man with both social and professional standing, and her upcoming marriage was to be the social event of the season, if not the whole decade. Most of her friends, with one notable exception, thought that the marriage would be perfect. And, truth be told, she did love the young man, even if he was not her dream come true.

But now she was hearing her beloved mentor express the opinion that she shouldn't allow social propriety to control her whole life, causing her to – again – question what she had accepted for the past twenty-some years.

Becky had arrived earlier, and was sitting in the waiting room reading antique magazines when Doctor Morgan arrived.

Sarah McKinley Morgan had been the doctor in town from the time that Becky could only manage Docca Sawa. She had started out as assistant to her father, a first generation Scotsman, practicing in a wing of their large house outside of Boston. After her father died, Sarah had expanded the medical practice, hired several medical associates, and converted the house into a professional building.

After Becky's parents had divorced and moved away, and shipped her off to boarding school, Becky had become part of Sarah's world. Indeed, for almost twenty years, Doctor Morgan had become a substitute mother for Becky's usually absent one.

When Sarah came out to the waiting room to greet Rebecca with a warm hug and kisses on both cheeks, Becky was about to share the news of her impending marriage with the good doctor; but the doctor spoke first.

"Rebecca, my darling, I'm so happy to see you; come on in and take off all of your clothes so I can look at you. When I noticed that you were scheduled I had the receptionist clear the rest of my morning; it's been way too long since our last chat."

As Becky clutched her clothes and gave her best oh no I'm far too modest to undress look, Sarah chuckled and continued, "Just funning you, lass, but here, let me take your jacket; we'll get the rest of your clothes later. Let's just chat for a while, shall we? There isn't anything wrong, is there? I mean, you know I'm always glad to see you, but I understand that this is a professional visit."

"No, nothing's wrong," Becky said, stifling a smile, "I just thought it was time for a check-up. I'm finally gonna get married this fall, and the honeymoon is in Tahiti, so I thought you might update my shots and whatever."

"Married! Oh my God! To whom? Oh my God, when? Where? Why haven't you told me? Why hasn't your mother told me? Why haven't I been invited? I thought I knew everything about you! What have you been doing behind my back, you young wench? You either tell me everything right now, lassie, or I swear I'll use rusty instruments on you!"

"Aha! I thought that would get your attention, Docca Sawa," Becky laughed. "Yes, married. Let's see if I can get this in the right order now – to Derek Cabot Sanderson – on Saturday, October twenty-sixth – at ten o'clock in the morning – in the church on the Common – because I just dropped off the save-the-date notes at the post office. I think that responds fully to today's Scottish inquisition," she said with a satisfied smile, "so there's no need to use your garrote today.

"Actually, the main purpose of my visit today, other than your checking out the body, is to deliver your save-the-date note personally, so here – and yes, I know I'm a little late with these, but Mother was a real stickler with the wording of the prenuptial agreement!" she said, thrusting the note out.

"That sounds like Victoria," Sarah said, smiling. "How is your mother? I haven't seen or even spoken with her in eons."

"Oh, she's fine, I guess – still unmarried, still maintaining her youthful look and girlish figure, still wandering around the world with toy boys, still searching – I'm not sure for what," Becky said with a small grimace. "I love her dearly, Sarah, but she sure does frustrate me at times."

"Well, I hope she finds what she's looking for, and I hope that you have too," Sarah said, with a penetrating look. As Becky started to smile again, she continued.

"Oh Becky, I'm so happy for you!" as she took the note and put it on her desk without opening it, then hugged Becky again. "I don't believe that I know this Dirk fellow, do I? The only Sandersons I'm aware of are the Sanderson Electronics ones, although I don't know any of them personally."

"One and the same, and it's Derek, not Dirk. Derek's father runs the company; Derek works there, too – as some sort of crown prince or heir-apparent. I've mentioned him to you before, and you've seen us together a couple of times, but obviously it didn't imprint on your memory bank."

Wrinkling her brow Sarah said, "Oh, sorry, I suppose I do sort of remember him, now that you mention it, although not in the context of a potential husband; I guess I thought he was just a friend and good-looking escort. Well, I surely hope he knows that he's getting himself a fine bonnie lass – and, as my Ben would have put it, the pick of the litter.

"Let's see now, October twenty-sixth, let me jot that down on my calendar. Oh no, I'm out of town at – oh, never mind, I'll get rid of that. What time did you say? Where did you say? Come on, lass, give me those details again!"

When she had finished writing, she looked up and smiled. "Oh, Becky, I'm so thrilled and excited for you! We should do something to celebrate, although this probably means I'll lose my favorite traveling companion; let's talk this evening and check our calendars. All right, let's chat some more while we do the exam thing, shall we. Now, young lady, I will take the rest of those clothes; come on back to the exam room and strip down."

The half hour exam, coupled with their catching-up chat, took the better part of the morning, after which Sarah said, "You get dressed now, and come on back to my room." Sarah's reference to my room reflected the fact that it was her bedroom when she was living at home with her parents. Even though the house had long since been converted into a professional building, her own office still had the ambiance of a proper Scottish lady's comfortable sitting room.

Becky was back in just a few minutes, still buttoning the last buttons on her blouse.

"Well, Docca Sawa, how'd I check out?" she asked, grinning at Sarah and receiving a warm smile in return.

"Everything looks just fine to me, lass. Of course the blood work will take a couple of days, but I don't think you have anything to worry about. I should tell you though, as your faithful doctor lady, to put on a few pounds, but I know you never do anything I say anyway."

"Well, as Mother says, you can never be too rich or too skinny," replied Becky, admiring how Sarah had retained her youthful face and figure, despite being in her middle fifties.

"Personally," Sarah retorted, "I think you look fantastic, despite what those actuarial charts show. By the way, I do believe that you could be my only female patient who seems to have paid some attention to my old-fashioned views on premarital sex – not that it surprises me, though; you've always been a stickler for what's right and proper. I guess all those long talks you and I have had paid off."

"Oh, I suppose I should say yes, thank you, I do remember. And of course I always do everything you say, Doctor Morgan, which is why you just might have before you one of the last pristine twenty-seven-year-old virgins in captivity; I think most have been lured into virtual extinction. Or is that virginal extinction? But, as you well know, Sarah," Becky said, wrinkling her brow, "my relationships over the years haven't been exactly libido-challenging."

"Yes, you've always done what you thought was right, Becky, no matter how much I tried to ease you out of that 'perfect child' mode," said Sarah.

Smiling, Becky said, "Anyway, so far it's been easy to keep Derek at bay – well, at least for the most part."

"Uh oh," said Sarah, wrinkling her brow and looking over her glasses at Becky. "What am I hearing, or should I say, what am I not hearing? You should be chafing at the bit to get to your marital bed, Becca, even if just due to hereditary hormones. Contrary to what you'd probably like to believe, biology dictated that you do have at least some of your mother's genes."

Seeing Becky wrinkle her nose once again at the mention of her mother, she continued, "I know, I know, you've had your whole life planned out ever since you were ten, when your parents divorced – what a fiasco that was. I seem to recall your tearful face when you swore to me that you'd never do that to your children. But no matter what Victoria's family said, your parents were madly in love, and, I suspect, they still are. So, exactly why has it been easy to keep Derek at bay? Not that I'm suggesting you should not have, mind you!"

"Sarah, I told Derek I'd marry him, and, logically, it's the right and proper thing to do. Most of our mutual friends think I should marry him, and his father and mother are already treating me like a daughter – although probably just because it'll be linking the Cabot and Peabody names. Derek's mother is a Cabot, and his father tries to act like he thinks a Brahmin should act just because he married a Cabot. Hell, they've already decided where we'll live and where our kids will go to college; it seems like the perfect match-up. So now I'm going to get married, and since there's no knight in shining armor coming after me, I need to get on with my life. I can be content with Derek, Sarah, and I'll make him a good wife."

"My dear girl," Sarah said, going to her and putting her arm around her, "you've spent your life doing what's right and proper; don't let that control how you pick a life partner. I thought you said you wanted a relationship like Ben and I had. I know that deep down you've always wanted a knight like Ben to sweep you off your feet. Would I be right in thinking that Derek is not that knight?"

When Becky's expression changed, Sarah smiled a smug and self-satisfied smile; "Just as I suspected, there's another man in the picture – some lucky man who's stolen my Becky's heart!"

"No, Doctor, my heart has been stolen, as you put it, but not by a real person, only by a fantasy," sighed Becky, smiling a sad smile as she settled back in the chair.

"Sarah, there is another man, sort of, but only in my dreams; and I've finally conceded that it's just a ridiculously long-lasting infatuation, because we've never been together in any sort of romantic way. I mean, like, well, he knows me, and he even seems to like and admire me, but he doesn't know how I feel about him.

"We've run into each other over the past few years at various charitable and social events, and he's seen me with Derek. But if he'd been at all interested, he would have stepped in and snatched me away by now, or at least made some sort of overture. I have, therefore, given up on him ever thinking of me as a wife, or even a mistress – which, by the way, I'd agree to in a second if he were to ask"

She smiled at the doctor's frowning disapproval of her last remark and continued. "While I don't actually see him all that often, this man shows up regularly in these wonderfully erotic fantasies of mine; I fall asleep dreaming of him more often than I care to admit, so I guess it's true my mother's genes are lurking somewhere in my DNA. But that's all behind me now; I've set the date with Derek, and that's that."

"Oh, my poor dear," Sarah said, "let me see if I understand this. You've met that one man of your dreams – who doesn't know he's the man of your dreams – and you're going to marry whatshisname, without telling the man of your dreams that he's the man of your dreams – all the while letting whatshisname think that he's the man of your dreams. Now you tell me, Rebecca Peabody Cunningham, what's wrong with this picture!"

Sarah paused, then spoke the words that had so shocked Becky. "You simply cannot go through with this marriage!"

As Becky just sat there, still stunned, the doctor continued, "What's stopping you from telling this fantasy man how you feel, or at least delivering a wee hint to the gentleman?"

"Oh, Sarah, I've thought about that so often – a couple of times I almost convinced myself to do exactly that. The last time I saw Chandler, he hugged me politely and I was tempted to just hold on and tell him how I feel about him – but I didn't. Let's see, what stopped me? How about – he's never given me the slightest opening to talk personally with him. He'd be horrified if I told him he has the leading role in every single one of my erotic fantasies, and I don't want to chance losing whatever relationship we do seem to have, as pitifully unsatisfying as it is. And, Sarah, for all I know he probably has some sort of committed female relationship already.

"Imagine me grabbing onto him and saying something like, Oh, by the way, Chandler, I'm madly in love with you. He'd think I was crazy, or drunk, or on drugs, and it could destroy the casual friendship we do have – or at least make it unbearably awkward. So since my foolish dreams can never be fulfilled, I need to get on with what can work, which I've now logically concluded is marriage to Derek Cabot Sanderson!"

"Poppycock," said the doctor, "I've never heard of such gibberish! You're talking about men and relationships, so that make sold Widow Morgan the authority! Believe me, women do talk to men about things like that; why, just the other night, I ..., and as Becky smiled and raised her eyebrows she said, "oh, never mind, stop being so damned nosy; now you're really getting to be like your mother!" As Becky wrinkled her nose again, Sarah just sighed and continued.

"I say, lassie, if you won't tell him, why don't you just tell me who he is, and then I'll go tell him? On the other hand, if he's as fantastic as you say he is, maybe I'll just speak for myself. Men do like older women, you know, they say that

we're much more giving – whoever the hell they are." Sarah smiled, got up, and came around the desk to sit on the arm of Becky's chair, putting her arm around her and giving her a squeeze. "I'm just kidding, of course – well, maybe I'm just kidding. Who did you say the gentleman is? Oh, you didn't, did you. And is Chandler his first name or his last?" At Becky's shrug, Sarah continued, "Not going to tell me, eh. Never mind, I'll just call Jane Potter and get it out of her."

"Won't do you any good," Becky smirked, "I haven't told Jane who he is either; it drives her batty not knowing; it's probably the only thing about me she doesn't know. She has known about my having a fantasy man for some time now, and sorta thinks I should just throw myself at him; but that's Jane, not me. I could never do anything like that; I am certainly not going to embarrass the family like my mother continues to do."

Ever since the divorce, Becky's mother had openly scorned both her family and Brahmin society, seemingly doing everything possible to embarrass everyone with her pattern of global wanderings with young gigolos.


Excerpted from Until The Gull Returns by Norm Minor. Copyright © 2013 Norm Minor. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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