Take it away, Janet!
Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your blog! I’m very excited to be a part of the SWEET, but SEXY Boxed Set, published through Turquoise Morning Press.
It is always thrilling to work with other authors on a project, so I am so delighted to team up with Maddie James, Jennifer Johnson, Constance Phillips, Jennifer Anderson, Amie Denman, Magdalena Scott, and Jan Scarbrough to be a part of his sweet collection of romance novels.
My contribution, CROSSROADS, (a Ladies of Legend series novella) is about a young woman who faced many trials and tribulations in her young life. Raised by the town whore, Sharon Clark made some pretty bad choices of her own, but, by example, a mentor gave her hope for a better life outside of the quaint little town of Legend, Tennessee.
Unfortunately, Sharon went from the frying pan into the fire by quickly marrying a man who had his own agenda in taking her and her unborn child in. Even after giving it her best, she now finds herself once again in need of a change. Destitute and at a crossroads, Sharon reluctantly accepts the inheritance gift of a home from the now deceased mentor, and returns to Legend to search for a job to sustain her and her son until she can figure out what to do next. But once there, she must once again face the realities of her past, and decide if the wonderful man who hired her, is worth risking her heart… all over again.
“A single mother returns to a small Tennessee town in this Ladies of Legend novella. Despite the length constraints, Eaves crafts believable settings and characters. Not only is this a quick read, but it works successfully as a stand-alone story.” Karen Sweeny-Justice, RT Book Reviews (September 2014 edition)
8:00 a.m. Courtroom 204, Memphis Municipal Court
“As to the matter of spousal support, the petitioner’s request is denied. Ms. Gilbert, given your statement that you have been the one to maintain the family income without expectation of support from Mr. Gilbert during the course of the marriage, it is the determination of this court that spousal support is unwarranted.
“As to the matter of child support, the petitioner’s request is warranted and therefore granted. Even though you state, Mr. Gilbert, that the minor, Kyle Gilbert, is not your biological child, he was born while you and Mrs. Gilbert were legally married and you have represented yourself as his father since. Therefore it is the determination of this court that you will pay child support at the standard percentage rate until midnight the date before the child turns eighteen years of age. Have proof of your income to my clerk this afternoon at the latest.”
The judge turned to his bailiff. ”Who’s next?”
10:30 a.m. The Cock and Crow Sports Bar and Grill
“I’m sorry, Sharon, you’ve been great, and dependable, and I’ll be happy to write you a letter of recommendation, but I have no choice. We aren’t making enough to stay open. I’m really sorry but you’re out of a job just like the rest of us.”
2:10 p.m. 2120 Pricilla Street, Apartment 310
“Look, I’m sorry, but your husband signed the letter of Intent to Vacate a month ago. I’ve already rented the apartment. You have to be out by the end of the month. I know that’s only a couple of days away and I’m sorry about that too, but it’s done. I assumed you knew Mr. Gilbert released the apartment.”
Sharon looked at the envelope she still held out in front of her and shrugged. "I'm not sure. It's from a lady I knew a long time ago."
For the first time since entering the apartment he actually looked at her. "Are you going to open it?"
Sharon stared at him helplessly before she nodded and quickly slid her finger under the sealed flap then winced when it sliced her fingertip. She stuck it between her lips for only a second before opening the flap.
"It's a letter," she said, shaking out the single page with one hand while returning the burning finger to her mouth.
Sharon silently counted to ten then focused on the letter with the staple in the upper left hand corner that held a business card against the letter’s back. Ms. Addie's large script had always made her think the woman sang songs in her head while writing.
"What's it say?"
Sharon glanced up without moving her head. Given his attitude she wanted to tell him it wasn't addressed to him, but since he rarely if ever expressed interest in anything she decided to read it out loud.
“My Dearest Sharon,
It has been such a long time since I last laid eyes on you, but I am sure you are as beautiful now as you were all those years ago. I, on the other hand, have dwindled with age and heart illness these last few years."
Sharon's eyes filled, remembering how robust and healthy Ms. Addie was the last time she'd seen her. She cleared her throat and continued, "But God has blessed me with a very long and fruitful life and blessed me with more than I deserved by the people He brought into my life. You were most definitely one of His greatest blessings, as well as mine."
Warmth surrounded Sharon as if Ms. Addie's arms were encircling her. Hugs were something Ms. Addie had always had in abundance, and she was the only person in Sharon's young life who ever bothered to make her feel worthy.
She sniffed and continued reading. "I'm writing you this letter today because I may not be able to tomorrow. I grow weaker by the day and know the Good Lord is about to call me home. I'm ready. Although many of the children who came to live with me for a period of time thought I lived in a mansion, I know the one waiting for me will make this place look like a shack in comparison.
My poor grand-nephew will inherit this monstrosity as long as he's willing to take care of my cats, (He'll be so mad to learn that! Ha!) but I have other properties to disperse as well, and I have a special one just for you."
Sharon was torn between amusement at Ms. Addie's wicked sense of humor and the heart thumping anticipation of what was to come. She glanced up at Kyle, seeing he too was intrigued with the missive. She cleared her throat again, more loudly this time.
"There is a little cabin up on the mountain overlooking Legend Lake my husband took me to the night we were married. At the time it was owned by someone else, and we just rented it for that one night. But years later my love bought it for me as an anniversary present, and though it has stood empty all these many years, I made sure it was well tended and properly maintained. The appliances are old but functional. The plumbing recently updated. But it is yours, dear. Free and clear. To do with as you will.
I know you couldn't get away from Legend fast enough all those years ago, and understandably so, but I also know the heart sometimes leads us back home. If you don't want it, sell it. But if you do, you know you will always have a home to come back to. You can contact my lawyer at your convenience. His card is attached.
I know you are going to wonder why so many years have passed between my getting to meet my Maker and you receiving this gift. That, my dear, is because I know you. And I know you are not yet ready to consider coming back to Legend.
I'm tired now, and my hand grows weak, but I want to tell you one more thing. Whatever life brings, grab the good stuff and let the other stuff go. Even as many years as I have been given, it really was all over in just a blink of the eye.
Be well, my lovely. Be well.
Sharon didn't realize she was crying until Kyle's arms were suddenly around her. She inhaled the scent of him and, for the first time in a very long time, remembered she was loved.
Amazon Best Selling Author of the Ladies of Legend series and Unforgettable Heroes boxed set, Janet Eaves is a wife of more than three and a half decades, a mother of two, a grandmother of one (unless you count her grand-pup – then two). She lives in the beautiful Tennessee countryside where she watches deer, rabbits, and other wildlife from her gazebo office while spinning tales. Currently, Janet has seven Ladies of Legend stories out, and is sure more will come in the future, as well as other books she’s written off and on over the years. CROSSROADS is her newest release, and she was happy to include it in this boxed set.