Lora Davies is beyond frustrated with the singles scene. After dating for years without success, she contacts her old college flame, Ken Howard, to confess that she still has feelings for him. With encouragement from her friends Katie, Sandra, and Keisha, Lora prepares to travel to Los Angeles in an attempt to capture his heart once again. A few days later, as she settles into her airplane seat, Lora knows she has just taken the first step in becoming closer to the man she has secretly admired for almost a decade. But what if he does not feel the same way?
Katie's life seems perfect from a distance, but she is harboring a horrible secret from her friends. Trapped in an abusive marriage, Katie keeps her troubles quiet for fear of scaring her friends into making commitments. Yet as the secrets of her marital woes are revealed, a tragedy strikes that causes all the women to carefully examine their own relationships and discover that fantasies can never resemble real life.
In this contemporary romance novel, four women determined not to part ways or live miles apart follow their hearts to a new territory where they hope to find solace, peace, joy, laughter, and, most of all, true love.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.34(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By MarieStella Obot
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 MarieStella Obot
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFrustrating intent
Katie stood chest out staring deep into her own eyes through a mirror nicely positioned over well arranged flowers reminiscing about her recent walk down the aisle with Bill. She remembered the first time they met, his broad chest, cute smile and the hello that melted her heart instantly. With her eyes still fixed on the mirror she rolled them over her body examining every part of her own anatomy as she wondered what part of her was most attractive to him.
Unable to answer the question which was born only out of curiosity she grabbed a robe from the hook and hastily slipped into it. She took one last look at herself in the mirror and murmured "I am beautiful no doubt; I have gorgeous eyes and well formed lips. These certainly must have been part of Bill's attractions."
She then stepped out into the living room where her friend Lora was waiting patiently for her to finish her bath routine. She approached Lora without apologizing for keeping her waiting; instead she beamed at her and started blabbing about her infatuation for the man she had just married. "Being in love is the most beautiful thing in the whole wide world," she said looking at Lora cynically and swaying her hip. "Fifty -fifty love according to Teddy Pendergrass is the most awesome thing ever," she continued without hesitating for a minute to make sure Lora was listening.
"Yes, that is true ... I don't want seventy -thirty, or sixty-forty, I want fifty-fifty love," she sang out loud while displaying some of the dance steps she learned at her last exercise class.
Suddenly just like she had started she stopped realizing for a split moment that her friend was watching patiently without uttering a word.
"Did I sing that right?" She asked with an attempt to connect with her friend whom up till that moment was just starring in wonderment.
"Stop being funny Katie," Lora finally uttered having watched her exhibit her joy through dance steps and a love song.
"I can see you are happy," she continued. "Finding the right person to be with must be a fun experience. Congratulations again on your marriage."
"Thanks Lora. I am only exhibiting my joy."
"I understand that perfectly well, I pray that it will last forever for both of you."
"That is my prayer for us too. I am trusting God for His mercies."
"How is he doing by the way? Has he found a job yet?" Lora asked remembering that the last time they spoke Katie had mentioned he was interviewing for a position.
"Not yet. He has been scheduled for a few interviews, had some already, we are expecting results."
"He will get one soon. He has some skills; how many people can work with their hands as much as he does? I thought he would be interested in mechanical jobs. That indeed would have been excellent."
"That may be true; but he is going back to college to study law. Although he is good with mechanical stuff, he likes to argue a lot so I think the area he has chosen is a good fit for him. He wants to be a business lawyer. I am completely behind him one hundred percent. I love- love- love the idea. Can you imagine owning a business and having my husband handle all the legal processes? This means we will not have to pay someone else to handle our legal matters. I am really excited about it."
"You have a good thing in your hand Katie, hold on to it and cherish it. I have tried dating so many times and yet, have not found someone compatible enough to want to share my life with. I am frustrated with the whole dating issue."
"Not to worry Lora, God is faithful. He will bring the right person at the right time. You just have to keep trusting. I remember a magazine I read when I was in the elementary school. I think it was the valentine's issue of the magazine."
"What about it?"
"It had this fairy tale that said; if you want someone to love, pluck a red rose the night before valentine. Keep it under your pillow for the night. On valentine's morning, walk into the church with the rose flower in your hand. The first person you see while holding the flower, will love you forever. I thought that was cute, but I never tried it. That probably was the valentine's version of Shakespeare's love portion. Remember William Shakespeare's novel we read way back at high school? Which one had that love portion story?"
"I am not ready to think about that. I have better things on my mind at the moment. You can live in your fantasy world. My world right now is how do I get the man of my dream beside me? Gosh, you will not believe the latest," she says changing the subject.
"And that is?" Katie asked.
"I called Ken today. I thought he liked me. I am beginning to be confused about my feelings for him."
"You are confused about your feelings for him? I had no idea you had feelings for Ken. However, what happened? May be I can help."
"You cannot claim ignorant of my feelings for Ken. I loved him while in College and I have loved him ever since. Yesterday I tried putting the cards on the table. I asked him what he thought of me and guess what he said?"
"He acted surprised and demanded to know why you would ask him that"
"Exactly," she responded staring at her friend with her eye brows raised and her mouth wide open. "How did you figure that? Tell me why would you think that?"
"I am your friend Lora and I had no idea you have been imagining yourself with Ken. You have never mentioned it so how do you think Ken would have known about this?" She asked laughing.
Seeing the look on Lora's face; Katie realized how deeply interesting the subject was about to become. She knew at that moment that she was in on a romance gimmick with Lora and responded to her every question very carefully.
"Based on the conversations we have been having," she continued "both of you have not come to any concrete terms about having a relationship. At first I thought you had both dated previously, but from what you've said, both of you have been admiring each other without anyone having the courage to approach the other. If I were you, I would come out straight and tell him how I feel."
"How do you mean? I should call him and say, hi Ken I have been admiring you for awhile now. I am wondering if you would date me."
"Not exactly that way. Do not make fun of the situation Lora. If you like him, tell him."
"Did you do that to Bill?"
"Don't be ridiculous. Our situation was different. He chased me around. I did not have to do any of that. Believe me; I would have if I had to. Why did you call him if you are not ready to make your feelings known? He is not a mind reader to know what is on your mind. Spill it out lady if you are serious about what you feel. The world has gone beyond women waiting on men to chase them, these days both sexes go out to get what they want before it is snatched out of their hands."
"What if he says no? I will completely lose him after that."
"You are yet to get him either way. Don't you think that telling him how you feel will make a great difference? He will like you more after that even if he says no. Everyone loves to be admired and wanted. It is a good feeling to know you have an admirer."
"I do not want to be an admirer; I want him to love me. I want to be his lover."
"You can achieve that. Watch the program 'Love Spring International'. I think it is shown on one of those cable channels, which one, I cannot remember. You have to find a way to make him know you care. Take a ride into town. Find out about his schedule before going, pretend you came into town on vacation. Bump into him as many times as possible. Get talking and then come back home and plan from there."
"You mean I should travel all the way to Los Angeles from Georgia just to bump into Ken?"
"If you want him, how far can that be?"
"It is far enough to cost a lot of money."
"Love can be expensive Lora," Katie said nodding her head in the affirmative as if what she said was nothing but the gospel truth.
"Take a stride young lady for what you want, go get him. That is all I can say."
After her conversation with Katie, Lora wondered if Katie's advice to travel to LA to bump into Ken was really worth it. She wondered if indeed that could bring her closer to the man she has been imagining herself with for almost a decade. "Love can be expensive," she soliloquized loudly remembering Katie's advice while staring absent mindedly down at the plates in her kitchen sink wondering if that really was true.
"How expensive can it get? I have to board a plane all the way to Los Angeles to bump into Ken. It is not just the cost alone but what will I say I am in town to achieve? Katie is right most of the time, but this time, I am not sure if she is;" she whined stunned by the suggestion and at herself for daring to rationalize the idea. I will have to think more seriously about this, she concluded. Right now I cannot fully comprehend the impact.
She pondered on the issue and wondered why she was unable to comprehend the full impact of the suggestion. While still reminiscing; she pictured Ken's face in her mind's eye and could see him during their graduation ceremony in his graduation gown. She remembered every statement he made during the graduation party.
"Oh how I loved him then," she cried. "And how I still do, why in the world did he not feel the way I did then and what guarantee do I have that he will notice me now? LA is filled with pretty free ladies, rich, famous and known for their ability to get the men they want. How will I ever stand a chance against such 'I know how to get men kind of ladies'?"
Frustrated and exhausted by her inability to keep a grasp on her emotions, she slammed the plate she had in her hand into the kitchen sink spilling food all over the place and breaking plates and glasses purchased with huge sums according to her tasteful styles without caring.
Why in the world should she care about expensive glasses and plates that can be replaced if the man she desired was miles away probably in the hands of a woman she assumed did not deserve him as much as she did.
With these thoughts ringing through her numb and momentarily frozen skull she walked straight into her bedroom. As she opened wide her wardrobe, she looked wearily into the many fashionable clothes she had purchased over the years. "I do not have a good sense of fashion. I have a wardrobe filled with stupid ragged clothes," she said throwing out clothes from her wardrobe over her head unto the floor.
She must have been insane beating herself over an issue of that sort, some people may say. But to Lora, being alone for so long had caused her pain, she was lonely and believed that Ken was all there was in the world for her.
How can he not know that? She asked herself all the time.
"Katie says he is not a mind reader," she recollected. I totally agree with that. But how can anyone as sensible and as intelligent as Ken miss all the vital signs I demonstrated to portray how I feel. Why couldn't he translate those stares and mumblings into some kind of admiration? I cannot understand him. What man will miss such signs from a woman? I gave him enough signs to say I care; I want to be the one. How could he not have known this? She wondered.
She sat on her pile of clothes sobbing. As she sobbed Ken's voice re-echoed into her ears making her heart thump and sing the sad song she thought she would never hear again.
"This is my dream come true," she could remember him say on the graduation night. "I have waited patiently for this day to come forth and here it is at last. LA here I come. The second phase of my dream is about to begin."
As she recollects this event she can also remember Slinzy. Slinzy was presumed to be her competitor while in college. It was Slinzy she assumed had Ken's heart. She remembered this conversation between Ken and Slinzy on graduation day.
"Ken Howard?" She recalled Slinzy calling.
"Yes." Ken had said turning around to see who called from behind during the graduation party. "Slinzy, hey girl, what's up with you?" He had echoed.
"Nothing much, just having fun. I heard you came out top of the class. Congratulations."
"Thank you Slinzy, I owe part of this success to you."
"And why is that, if I may ask?"
"You were always there when I needed a shoulder to cry on. You will never know how much strength your encouragement gave me. You saw me through the difficult times."
"I had no idea you had difficult times Kenny boy."
"Stop teasing Slinzy, I cried too many times on your shoulder for you to pretend not to remember. And hey from now on, I am not Kenny boy."
"Ken, I love you and always will. I am happy that I was able to be of help," Slinzy had said smiling as she grabbed him, hugged him and finally planted a kiss directly on his lips.
"That is to your future; think of me where ever you go," she had concluded.
Lora dwelt on this episode between Ken and Slinzy for a long while. After hours of oblivion she felt her heart pound so hard, she thought she would faint. That kiss, that statement, he must have had something with her.
With her palms sweating and her heart thumping badly, she gasped for need of air to nourish her dry nostrils. Then staggered through piles of clothes into the bathroom, and slumped against the bathroom sink. One look into the mirror, all she saw was nothing but despair and hopelessness. With her eye balls red and bulgy and her head as busy as the grocery store, she turned the faucet furiously making water gush out in full force. Another look into the mirror, she could see stress wrinkles and wicked acnes design her once beautiful and stress free face. She splashed cold water on her face with the hope of soothing the pain radiating from her heart. Again, she could hear Slinzy say "Think of me wherever you go."
"What chance do I stand even if I go to LA to bump into Ken?" She questioned herself. "Slinzy is probably already there with him. May be they had something special between them and they still do. Why was I so stupid not to have known that I was wasting my time?" She thought out loud, this time sobbing harder. "Why is my heart aching? Why do I hurt so much? There are too many guys all over the place, why do I spend time thinking about someone who is not thinking about me? He does not even know about my pain. Why am I punishing myself so?" She lamented while questioning her sanity.
After a long and tortuous night; she settled into bed with the hope of resting her weary eyes. Sleep would not come easy. She tossed endlessly under her bed covers but found it difficult to sleep and unable to get Ken out of her mind.
Not able to sleep through the night; she woke up feeling faint and incapable of staying focused during the day. "I wish I did not have to work today," she muttered to herself. "Work is important," she finalized. "I need money to go to Los Angeles. It will be impossible without money in my wallet."
Having given herself a perfect reason to go to work; she got out of bed reluctantly and stepped into the bathroom to freshen up. She had a quick shower after which she once again stood in front of the mirror looking at her frail body and imagining what Ken would think and say when he finally sets his eyes on her many years after graduation. Unable to fathom what he would say or do she sighed and again drifted into a world of thoughts that had become her constant companion.
She walked into the office still wishing she did not have to be there. "When will I be free from this routine of coming to work every day," she asked herself. "I am tired," she concluded as she settled down to complete the work Catherine her boss had asked her to do a couple of days prior to the day.
She struggled to stay focus flipping through pages aimlessly.
"Good morning Lora," she heard Catherine say as she walked into her office. Catherine's voice caused her ear drums to vibrate startling her a bit. Catherine was Lora's supervisor at work and both had attended the same college years prior and were roommates then too.
"Are you done with the project yet?" Catherine continued further interrupting her thoughts. "I found out that you did not import the entire data yesterday into the new file," she said this time irritating Lora. "I queried the process and this is what I got," she said handing over a set of documents to her.
"Oh my God," Lora screamed finally snapping out of her thoughts. "I am so sorry Catherine," she said flipping through the pages of the document she was given and realizing all the errors she had made.
Excerpted from T-Bone by MarieStella Obot Copyright © 2012 by MarieStella Obot. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. 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.