Souls to Keep

Souls to Keep

by David L. Robbins

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Souls to Keep by David L. Robbins

With his first novel, David L. Robbins brings us an illuminating story of longing and redemption, masterfully depicting the deepest human desires for wholeness, fulfillment and love.

Despite a tragic past, Virgil thought he'd found contentment being married and running a successful business in Key West with his wife, Ellen. But after four years together, things aren't as blissful as he'd dreamed. Both the loving, spontanteous woman he'd married and the man Virgil had once hoped he'd become through her love have grown distant and cold. Without fault or effort, he and Ellen have become virtual strangers.

Then a twist of cosmic fate offers Virgil a second chance at happiness. The soul of Beatrice, a recently murdered exotic dancer, professional escort and expert chef, mysteriously enters Ellen's body. A woman alone at the end of the world, Beatrice refuses to go into the light until she experiences one day of true love on earth. Heaven accomodates, and she begins to take part-time possession of Ellen's body.

With each stay inside Ellen, Beatrice draws Virgil closer to her, for her spirit seems to embody the very warmth and energy that his marriage is missing. Beatrice,too, grows closer to Virgil and, to make up for the love she'd been denied during her lifetime, sets her sights on winning him for her own.

But if Beatrice wins, Ellen loses her body.

At first, Ellen thinks she's merely losing her mind, until she discovers the impossible truth about Beatrice.

As stubborn and possessive as her counterpart, Ellen is determined to do whatever she needs to keep her body and soul together and win back her husband. But this battle of wills takes an unexpected turn when Ellenand Beatrice begin to learn some hidden truths about themselves and each other -- insights that will heal and complete them both, and gradually transform their initial animosity into a grudging mutual respect.

But what about Virgil? What does he want? Though he still loves Ellen, he is beginning to fall for Beatrice. Soon Virgil finds himself cheating on his wife... with his wife.

Delightfully charming, written in an engaging, pointedly insightful style, Souls to Keep� is rich with memorable characters and poignant truths about the bonds of love and the secrets of the human heart. A wonderfully enchanting first novel, it is a luminous story of life, longing, marriage and miracles.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061097911
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/1999
Pages: 385
Product dimensions: 4.22(w) x 6.77(h) x 1.14(d)

Read an Excerpt

"Hello. Top Hat Escort Service."
"Yes. I'd like to make an appointment."
"Alright. That's what we're here for. What can I do for you?"
"I . . . uh . . . could you . . . "
"Could you tell me what it is you . . . I mean, I . . . "
"Let's do it this way."
"How about I run down our list of services for you. Then you pick somethingyou'd like. That's the way we usually do it."
"That's better."
"Yes it is. Let me ask you a few questions first. That okay? Nothingpersonal, just some preferences."
"Okay. This is the Top Hat Escort Service. We have several items fordiscriminating adults to choose from. First, are you calling just for youor for a party?"
"A party? What do you mean?"
"You know, like a bachelor thing."
"No. Just for me."
"Alright. You want a dancer or an escort?"
"I don't know. What's the difference?"
"Simple. An escort will go out on the town with you—dinner, a play,whatever. You pick up the tab. A dancer will come to your home or officeor wherever you say within reason and give you a private dance. If you wantit in a motel, you arrange for the room."
"I see."
"Which one sounds good?"
"A private dancer's a bit much. That's not . . . it's not what I waslooking for. You know?"
"You don't have to explain, sir. Just pick."
"Could I get maybe an escort I could go out dancing with? Up in Marathonor Miami?"
"Yeah, of course. All our escorts are dancers too."
"Now let me tell you what we got for you. Our signature service iscalled The Top Hat. This is first-class all the way. Evening gown, stilettos,zircons, the whole nine yards. Very classy, very chic.Only our best girls."
"You can take 'em anywhere. People's eyes are buggin' out. You understand."
"I get it."
"You wanna go dancing, go. No extra charge."
"Next is our most commonly requested service, what we call The Fedora.This is a little less formal than The Top Hat. More like the tailored business-suitlook. Executive kind of thing, if that's your taste."
"Then there's The Panama, where we send you a Hispanic lady. Lovely.Latin. Great dancers. The best. Or maybe you want what we call The Ten Gallon,in case you don't feel like friggin' around with all the dresses and jewelry,you just want a gal in a pair of jeans and boots, you know, just knock around.And finally, in case maybe you'd like something else, you know, somethingout of the mainstream. What I'm saying is maybe you want us to send youover a male escort, there's our Brown Derby."
"No. No. Jesus."
"Just asking."
"I understand. No. The, uh, The Fedora."
"How much is that? Is a Fedora?"
"One fifty."
"Will she be, you know, pretty? I'd like it if she was attractive.For one fifty."
"Sir, I'll have her waiting for you to pick up in the lobby at theRamada on North Roosevelt. You don't like what you see, just get back inyour car and keep driving."
"What night?"
"Is tonight too soon?"
"Right now is not too soon. You want tonight, we'll go seven o'clock.The Ramada. Have one red rose in your hands. She'll be in the lobby."
"Who do I ask for?"
"No names. You don't ask for nobody. She'll approach you. Otherwiseyou could walk up to the wrong woman and catch yourself a smack. It happens.Seven o'clock. If you pick her up, you pay her."
"Pleasure doing business with you. I'm sure we'll talk again."
"What time do I have to have her back?"
"You never done this before."
"No. I'm married."
"Yeah, well, don't feel bad. Lot of guys step out once in a while,it helps their marriages. Don't worry about what time. She ain't a pumpkin.Have fun."

Beatrice had stripped down to her fishnets, pumps, G-string and tasselswhen her four o'clock tried to touch her.
He reached out a big mushy white mitt. She slapped it away.
"Hey!" he bellowed.
"Shut up," she said. "You paid to watch. Watch."
"Come on. What is this?"
"This," she swiveled her hands down herself as if showing offa new refrigerator on a game show, "is a dance. This," she executeda quick pirouette on one spike, "is what you ordered."
He sat back in the motel room chair. "Is that all I get?"
Hands on hips. Pelvis in a circle rotating to the music from the portableplayer on the dresser.
"From me it is."
"Naw. Jesus." His eyes were glommed on her belly button. "Naw,Bea. You're killin' me."
He spread apart his knees and held out his arms. Beatrice thought of HumptyDumpty. The rod behind his zipper was plain; the creases in his baggy, fatman's suit pants were like arrows pointing at his crotch.
"Christ, I can't put up with this."
Beatrice stepped left and stepped right, the imagination leaching out ofher movements.
"Baby, please." He pointed with both hands at his bulge. "Comeon. At least give me a blow job."
Beatrice stomped one heel. She whirled to the boom box and snapped it off.Her brown hair curtained her face; she swept the strands away with an angrywrist.

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