Wednesday, January 30, 2008

February FIRST

It is February FIRST, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature is:

Rebeca Seitz

and her book:


B&H Books (February 1, 2008)


Rebeca Seitz is Founder and President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, PRINTS CHARMING being her first novel.

Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian worldview.

Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.


Tandy’s purple stiletto heel tapped in perfect rhythm to the pulse that threatened to leap out of her neck. She stared at the phone, willing it to ring and someone on the other end to declare this a joke. Her boss did not just call her into his office. Now.

The smooth tones from her CD player of Ole Blue Eyes crooning I Did it My Way mocked rather than soothed. She had to calm down, but Meg’s idea of music soothing the savage soul was not working. Fingers shaking, Tandy snatched up the receiver and dialed her sister. Calm, stoic Meg always knew what to do in a crisis. From falling off the swing set to supplying Oreos and caffeine the night before Tandy’s bar exam, Meg was a pro at handling crises and keeping her three sisters’ lives humming.

A busy signal sounded, and Tandy slammed the phone back down. Of course Meg would be on the phone right now. Why on earth couldn’t that woman understand the helpfulness of call-waiting? Tandy could hear Meg’s soft, persuasive response now: Why would I stop talking to one person before our conversation ended, T? It’s rude and I just won’t have it in my house.

Grabbing the receiver again, Tandy punched in Kendra’s numbers, jumping when yet another hawk flew into her window. Why did Orlando have to have a courthouse with the perfect nooks and crannies to build a nest? Ever since the completion of this new structure, hawks circled attorneys in the Bellsouth building across the on a daily basis.

Kendra’s melodic voice floated over the line, its harmonious tones the same as in childhood: "You have reached the voicemail of Kendra Sinclair…"

Tandy slammed the receiver down again and glared at the circling hawks. Of course Mr. Beasley was angry. He had every right to be, really. That fat deposit in her checking account every other week meant the continuation of her dedication to keeping their clients out of jail. Certainly it meant she wouldn’t hand the prosecution the very evidence they needed to obtain a conviction. She fiddled with the purple and black silk scarf tied around her neck.

Would Joy be any help at all in this situation? Joy might be the baby sister, but her quiet strength could come in handy right now. Except that Joy loved to talk and Christopher Beasley was waiting. The thought of him in his office high above the hawks, tapping his long fingers on the glass top of a heavy mahogany desk, didn’t allow for long phone conversations.

Tandy’s office phone rang and she jumped. "Tandy Sinclair."

"Tandy, it’s Anna." Tandy smiled, thinking of the gentle lady seated a few floors above her. "Mr. Beasley’s on his third cup of coffee."

Her smile vanished. "Oh, no, Anna. Couldn’t you have dawdled a bit? You know how he gets with caffeine overload."

"And you know how he gets when I dawdle. You’ve got maybe three minutes before he asks me to get cup number four."

"I’m on my way." Tandy pushed back from her desk and stood up. "Thanks, Anna."

"No problem, sweetie."

Tandy dropped the phone in its cradle, her gaze darting around the room for something, anything that would prevent the next ten minutes.

If that idiot Harry Simons had been one iota less smarmy, this predicament could have been avoided. His outright ogling of her figure had been bad enough, but certainly not the first time Tandy had been forced to ignore a man’s unwanted attentions. They all seemed to believe her red, wavy hair was a sign she’d fulfill their wildest dreams. Heck, Mr. Beasley had probably even made that assumption at some point, as evidenced by his swift promotions landing her in a cushy corner office of Meyers, Briggs, and Stratton.

Tandy swigged caffeine and paced the office. It wasn’t even Harry’s condescension. His superiority, rooted in maleness, made no effort to hide the belief that a brain resting between the pierced ears of a thirty-year-old female graduate of Yale School of Law somehow negated its existence. That idiocy didn’t even raise her blood pressure. She fingered her pearl earrings and grimaced as a hawk glided to rest on the ledge outside.

No, she would have been fine, and Christopher Beasley would not at this very moment be preparing to fire her, except for one innocent little lunch with small-minded Harry. Why, oh why, had she agreed to go to lunch with the lizard? (Honestly, his head rivaled the shape of geckos that ran in and out of every flower bed in Central Florida.) Come to think of it, his eyes were shifty like a gecko, too. Was the single life getting to her so much that she’d date a lizard? She stopped and tapped the window ledge. Meg and Kendra were on her case to date more. But who had time to meet people after spending sixty-five hours a week at the office? She sighed. The sisters just didn’t understand life in the city.

"You guys have got it easy," she said to the hawks. "Circle, eat, rest, repeat. With the occasional head bang into a window to keep us lawyers on our toes." She shook her head.

Well, it didn’t matter now. Mr. Beasley awaited her presence and it would only get worse the longer she stood here. Her heels sank into the plush pearl-colored carpet as she crossed the office, ignoring the latest sacrifice to her black thumb—a nearly dead African violet. She opened her office door and cast one last glance at what, in about ten minutes, probably would not be her office. Oh well. Maybe she could take the plant to Anna.

She picked up the violet. At least the charade of defending a slimeball, who made fun of an old homeless man to make himself seem big, would come to an end. And the day was still young; she could hit the beach before the lunch rush hit I-4.

Shoulders thrown back, chin up, Tandy made her way down the hallway and entered an elevator lined in the obligatory mahogany, brass, and mirrors, testimony to Christopher’s desire to never rock a boat even in the decoration of his law firm’s offices. She eyed her reflection and saw steel in the brown eyes staring back. Cutting Harry off at the knees in public wasn’t the best financial move to make. How would she buy food for Cooper? Pay his vet bills? Keeping an old basset hound with arthritic knees and hips in comfort was a pricey endeavor. Still, it had been worth it to see the shock on Harry’s face when she announced in her loud voice the impending completion of his career. From a 9x9 prison cell, that cardboard box would look like heaven.

She checked her chignon, tucking in a stray curl and smoothing the rest down. Picturing Harry’s smug, pudgy face behind bars did way more to calm her pulse rate than Sinatra’s croon. The elevator dinged, announcing her arrival to Christopher Beasley’s penthouse lair.

Tandy took a deep breath, tightened her grip on the sagging violet, sent up a prayer of thanks that she’d picked the Ann Taylor suit today—must look sharp when being fired--and stepped across the threshold.

"He’s waiting for you." Sympathy shimmered in Anna’s blue eyes. The Orlando sun shining through the window made Anna’s hair glow like a fresh pearl.

Tandy set the violet down on Anna’s desk. "Thanks, Anna. It’s been good knowing you. I wonder if you might coax this little guy back to life?"

Anna raised her eyebrows. "Tandy, how many times do I have to tell you? You’re a danger to plants." She smiled and wagged her finger. "You taking them in isn’t an act of kindness. You leave the greenery to us old chicks."

Tandy laughed. "Yes ma’am." She took another breath. "I guess I should go in now."

Anna sobered. "Guess so."

"Still on cup number three?"

"I just took in cup four. I doubt he’s taken a sip yet, though. He’s slowing down."

"Thanks for everything, Anna."

"You’re welcome, honey. Take care of yourself. And you call me if you need anything, hear?"

Tandy nodded, only now realizing that losing her job also meant losing Anna’s kind wisdom. She blinked hard. Crying at work would not do. She stepped to Christopher’s door and knocked.

"Come." His deep voice bellowed through the door and Tandy’s pulse kicked up again. This was it. For the first time ever, Tandy Sinclair was about to be fired from a job. When she’d moved to Orlando to take this job and declare war on the city that took her childhood, Tandy never would have guessed she’d become an actual beach bum.

"Tandy, sit down, sit down." Christopher stood, gesturing to a chair and patting the telltale stripes of his Ben Silver tie. "Seems we have a little situation on our hands." The hawks circled one story below his window, the tops of their feathered backs lit by the sun.

Tandy sat down and nodded.

Christopher’s padded leather chair creaked with his weight. He settled back, propped his elbows on the arms, and templed his fingers. "Harry tells me he’s headed for a prison cell."

She nodded again.

"He also tells me that would be your fault."

Another nod. This must be what bobbleheads felt like.

"And he says he’s ready to sue this firm for inadequate representation unless I do something about it."

She quirked an eyebrow. Score one for Harry.

"I’ve assured Harry that there must be some misunderstanding since you’re one of the most capable attorneys this firm has seen in quite some time. So, please, Tandy, explain to me how one of our biggest clients, someone for whom you serve as lead counsel, suddenly finds himself facing jail."

Tandy tilted her head. He was giving her an out, bless him. Leave it to Christopher Beasley, King of Calm and Proper Appearances, to smooth the choppy waters and restore her professional boat to proper order. An image of Harry’s sneer popped into her mind, though, and the thought of backtracking fled like money from her wallet during a trunk sale.

She smiled and adopted her lawyer voice. "Well, Mr. Beasley, I appreciate your belief in my professional abilities, but it seems Mr. Simons has some rather extreme positions regarding personal values that led me to determine he is, in fact, guilty of the crime for which he has been accused. When I asked him directly, he admitted as much to me."

It was Christopher’s turn to raise a brow. "He told you he embezzled funds from Hope House?"

Tandy nodded. "Yes, sir. I advised him I could not put him on the stand, since I would be suborning perjury, but he refused to listen. It was either let him lie to the court or remove myself from his case. I chose the latter."

Christopher swiveled his chair and stared out at the courthouse. What she wouldn’t give for a hawk to barrel into the glass. Anything to break the tension. Losing this job wouldn’t be the end of the world…just of her bank account, for the time being. She really didn’t want to lose the paycheck, but Harry gave her no choice.

The man wouldn’t listen to reason if someone etched it in a brick and threw it at his head.

She thought about their lunch again, seeing the hump-backed old man picking through a dumpster across the street. His coat had been threadbare, but Tandy knew too well the value of a coat, threadbare or not, on the streets. The priceless nature of every layer between skin and street. How the three bites of cheeseburger he found wrapped in its foil was enough to fill his belly for an entire day.

Harry’s voice had faded into the background of restaurant chatter as Tandy’s mind flew back to the seven years she spent living in a box with her mother. Before she met Marian and Jack Sinclair. Hearing the trains rumble past where they camped. Begging people for money, searching for a dry place when it rained, for a piece of food that hadn’t already been discovered by bugs. Watching her mom bob and weave as she walked, that scary light in her eyes that was both mesmerizing and terrifying because it meant mom wouldn’t make sense.

Tandy knew now her childhood had been stolen the first day her mother lit a match beneath the bowl of a pipe.

"Stupid junkie. Probably lost his job because of some drug habit." Harry’s voice joined a thousand other voices that still kept her awake on too many nights. "Bet he chooses to live like that. Easier than getting a job and working for his money like the rest of us."

Tandy looked at Harry sitting there in his three-thousand-dollar pin-striped suit, black crocodile shoes, and platinum cuff links with the Brooks Brothers insignia. Thought about reminding him his money came from his father’s hard work and planning, but decided against it. Harry was, after all, a huge client.

"Oh, probably not, Harry. You’d be amazed what some of the people living on the streets have been through." She sipped her water and willed her blood not to boil at the stupidity of the man before her.

He sneered and pointed a stubby finger at her. "Don’t be naïve, Tandy. That man could get a job flipping burgers at McDonald’s just as easy as sit out there with a cup in his hand, begging me to part with my cold hard cash that I worked very hard to get."

Silence was about as possible as finding a pair of Ferragamo’s in a size ten. On sale. Never gonna happen.

"Harry, how would he get a job? I doubt he owns any clothing other than what’s on his back. What would he wear to a job interview? Where would he get enough sleep in one sitting to be awake for an entire shift? What address would he even put on his job application?"

"Why, Tandy, I didn’t know you cared so much about our fair city’s homeless degenerates." His voice, so patronizing and smooth, grated. It fought with the pockmarks on his face to portray a polished image. "I’d think, with such convictions, you would have a hard time taking my case."

"Why is that, Harry? You didn’t embezzle from Hope House. Which means you didn’t take money from the mouths of homeless people. Which means my awareness of the plight of the homeless works in your favor." She took a sip of her water and tried to relax.

He wagged his finger at her. "Tsk, tsk, tsk, Tandy. There goes your naiveté again."

It took her a second to catch on. "Excuse me?"

He grinned and, for the first time, Tandy knew what jowls meant. "I think we both know what I’m saying."

"I certainly hope not. Because if you’re confessing to taking money from a homeless shelter, I can’t put you on the stand. I’d be suborning perjury."

Christopher cleared his throat, snapping Tandy back into the present. He swiveled around to face her. "I’m in a predicament, Tandy. Harry Simons brings a lot of money to this firm, been with us for years. That must count for something. Yet I find myself struggling with the thought of firing you since I understand the ethical dilemma you faced."

A tiny smidgen of hope blossomed in her heart.

Christopher placed his palms down on his glass-topped desk, an act of finality. "And yet, I see no course of action but to terminate your employment with Meyers, Briggs, and Stratton. Anything less would cause serious repercussions in our relationship with Harry Simons."

She fought to breathe normally. Blinked to hold back tears. Her savings account was basically nonexistent, which meant she and Cooper better start looking for a big refrigerator box to call home. Or maybe finding Cooper another family to live with would be a better idea. One of the sisters could take him. Meg, or maybe Joy. Kendra would be a last resort. She was as good with pets as Tandy was with plants. Well, except for Kitty, but cats were self-sufficient.

A hawk slammed into the window, making Christopher jump and spill the coffee sitting on his desk. "Dadgum it! Anna!"

Anna came rushing in, saw the mess, and snagged a roll of paper towels from the cabinet by the door without a word.

"You’ve got to call somebody about these hawks, Anna. They’re ruining my concentration!"

"Yes, Mr. Beasley. I’ll make the call today." Anna shot Tandy a sideways glance. Tandy grinned. Seeing the unflappable Christopher Beasley in a snit was worth getting fired--almost. Anna sopped up the mess and left the room.

"Now, where were we?" He pushed paper around the desk, checking to ensure all the coffee was gone.

Tandy cleared her throat. "I think you were firing me."

Christopher stopped arranging paper and looked up at her. "Right, right. Well, I don’t think we have to be that drastic. How about a leave of absence?"

Thank heaven for hawks.

"A leave of absence, sir?" Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but, hey, it had to be asked.

"Yes. I think that will mollify our good friend Harry." Christopher nodded and patted the desktop, warming to his idea. "I’ll let him know you’ve taken some time to think through your behavior and will come back to the firm when you’ve gotten some perspective. Say, two months?"

Two months? She calculated the amount in her checking account and began deducting bills. With no extracurricular spending at all, it might work. Two months to find something else or learn how to eat crow. Okay, maybe this was a good thing. There was no immediate need to take another boring job in a legal firm. Two months was a ton of time. Figuring out her professional passion should be a snap. She could almost see Meg’s eyes roll at that thought.

"Thank you for that, sir."

Christopher smiled. "It’s the least we can do. You’ve been a good employee. I just wish this mess hadn’t occurred."

Poor Christopher. Conflict between an employee and a major client. He must have been up all night figuring out ways to smooth ruffled feathers.

She shrugged. "These things happen for a reason, I think." She stood up and held out her hand. Christopher took it with his own limp one and made a motion that might optimistically be called a handshake.

"Good luck, Tandy. We’ll see you back here in two months."

"Thank you." She turned on one Ferragamo heel and walked out of Christopher Beasley’s office. Eight weeks of nothingness spread out before her like a gift. There had to be a way to make money off of this.

She tapped her chin and watched the lights over the elevator. Maybe some tourist would want her apartment for a couple of weeks. Tourists would pay just about anything for somewhere to stay during season. A couple thousand bucks, easy.

But if someone were to stay in her apartment, where could she go? The whisper of her heart tickled Tandy’s brain. Stars Hill, Tennessee’s rolling countryside, Daddy’s smile, Momma’s painted roses, the sisters’ scrapbooks…

The ding of the elevator dispelled her mind’s image, but not the idea. Stars Hill. Well, it had been a while since she’d been back. Three years, if memory served. And, with Daddy and the sisters around, there wouldn’t be any need to spend money on restaurants. Though what she’d save might be spent on scrapbook stuff. It was one thing to scrap alone and quite another to sit around Momma’s old scrapping table with the girls.

Tandy exited the elevator and smiled. If she left right now, she’d be home in Stars Hill by morning.

She walked into her office, snagged her briefcase, and whipped out a tiny cell phone on the way back to the elevator.



"Hey, T, what’s up in the big city?"

Tandy laughed. "Well, not me. I’ve got eight weeks of a sudden vacation."

"What? What happened?"

"I’ll tell you all about it when I get there."

Meg’s squeal pierced Tandy’s ears and she jerked the phone away from her head. "You’re coming home? To Stars Hill? Yes!! When will you be here? Wait, what happened? Did you get fired? Did something happen at work?" Tandy could hear Meg’s three kids squealing now in the background. They must have caught on to their mom’s excitement.

"Seriously, I’ll tell you when I get there. Call Kendra and Joy. Breakfast at Joy’s, 9 a.m."

"You’ve got it, sister. James, get down off that table!" Tandy could just picture Meg’s eldest. He must have grown a foot by now. "I’m telling you that child will climb on anything," Meg said.

"Go keep your kids from tearing down the house. I’ve got to get home, get all my scrapping stuff packed, call the rental company to let some crazy tourist in my place for a couple of weeks, and get on the highway."

"On the road again…" Meg’s voice blared through the phone.

"Sheesh, Sis, are you ever going to stop with the songs?"

"Not as long as there’s a breath in me." Tandy heard scuffling. "James, put your sister down! I am not kidding with you, mister!"

Tandy chuckled. "See you in the morning."

"Okay. Be careful and buckle up."

"You’ve got it."

Tandy snapped the phone closed and walked through the parking deck toward her new little silver BMW 323. Man was this car going to stand out in sleepy little Stars Hill.

Dynamic Uno here--I must admit, I wasn't sure what to think when I first received Sisters, Ink in the mail. Sisters? The picture was of women from all races and sizes--what are they talking about with sisters? Then, to find out it was about scrapbooking (one of my favorite hobbies), well, that baffled me even more. How do you write about scrapbooking for people who may not be familiar with the field?

Well, after reading the first couple of chapters, all of my questions were answered and my concerns relieved because Rebeca Seitz did a fabulous job of combining a hobby with intriguing and interesting characters. (And she managed to drop a few scrapbooking name brands in as well. I wonder if you can get a commission by doing that? Hmmm....I could blog about scrapbooking products. Maybe I should put out a sign--Will blog for scrapbooking products... Any takers?) All kidding aside, I thought it was great that part of the story was set in Orlando ('s a few hours away--closer if you drive fast) mainly because I can definitely relate to the city and the setting. The story of how the sisters are related was fascinating and I can't wait to read more of their stories.

The only problems I found with the book are:

The Asian character (Joy, I think was her name) was supposed to have blue eyes and the picture on the front does not depict that characteristic.

Also, Tandy is supposed to have a two month "vacation" from her job, which is why she decided to rent out her place. I know she was going to spend some time with her family in Stars Hill, but the book keeps mentioning that her "vacation" was for two weeks before she has to get back to Orlando.

I know my concerns are mainly petty and they're probably because I didn't read very carefully and missed something, so please don't let these two issues of mine to keep you from reading Rebeca Seitz's fabulous book, Sisters, Ink. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I ordered her first book-Prints Charming and can't wait to start reading it! Let me know what you think of the book--maybe we can read the second one in the series together. Happy Reading!

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, January 28, 2008

NKOTB is Making a Come Back?????

Seriously? I'll be so excited!!!

Yes, I'm a closet-groupie no more! My fav New Kid was/is Jonathan Knight. Hmmmm...I wonder if he's married yet? (My parents keep telling me that I need to broaden my age range of prospective dates. Maybe I'll start with him!)

All kidding aside, I really do like this group. Maybe it's because they're SO 80's, or maybe it's because they were the forerunners of the boy bands...I don't know. I do know that the New Kids on the Block have got "the Right Stuff!"

Okay everyone..."Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh...Hangin' Tough..."

Enough fun for one night...'cause "I'll Be Lovin' You Forever..."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is the 1st Birthday of Misadventures of the Dynamic Uno! It's hard to believe that it's really been a year since I've started blogging, but yesterday was the infamous Gasparilla parade, and I blogged a bit about that after finding my pirate name last year. Thank you to everyone who has checked in every now and then to see what "misadventures" I've been up to lately. I've looked at the stats for the blog and found readers from all over the world--which is completely surprising to me. After all, I'd love to travel the world, and to see that people from those various areas are actually "reading in" is pretty cool. I hope this next year is even better for you--especially with all of the changes that are happening in my life at the moment. (More to come on those in later posts.)
As I'm sure I've mentioned before...I LOVE my new job location! The people are SO nice and wonderful to work with--even the grouchy ones. I HATE the drive though and can't wait until I move closer to work. Right now my routine is to get up at 4 am and I have to leave the house a little before 6 am so that I can be at work (hopefully) by 7 am. Then, I leave work around 3:30 pm or 4 pm and get home around 5:30 pm or 6 pm. Needless to say--I'm a walking zombie right now. I keep telling my self that I only have to deal with this horrible drive for another4 weeks or so until I move, but I think I'm going to have to figure out something else before I keel over, 'cause we ALL know that I am NOT a morning person! Thank goodness for Vanilla Coke being put back into the 20 oz. bottles again! (Not so good for my hips, but great for the caffeine factor!)

Friday I actually had a Girls' Night Out with my neighbor Maggie, and my friend Dawn and her sister Robyn. We went to the local Mom and Pop pizza joint and stuffed our faces. (Okay, so I'm the one that actually stuffed my face--hence the 2 pounds I gained this weekend--but it was SO good!) I had been craving gooey cheese foe the entire week, so I convinced them to come with me. I ate so much I was sick to my stomach, but it was completely worth it! It was fun to get out with the girls and laugh our heads off over "stupid stuff" and oogle the cute (single) guys around us! We ALL still think our mailman is HOTT and I'm trying REALLY hard to get a picture of him before I move! Maybe then I'll even get a phone number....hmmmm..I could be on to something here! Anyway, there's a bet going on to see who will get to him first. I think Maggie's going to win because she's home during the day, and well, I order a lot of stuff online, so she can just open the door and accept the package for me, as she has so graciously volunteered to do. Oh boy, is all I can say! :)

Today I attended church via online broadcast (I LOVE technology!) and now I have to get ready to meet my family at Outback (gee, what a horrible thing to have to do) so that we can celebrate my grandparents' birthdays which happened earlier this month. Getting together with family is always interesting, so this should be really fun. :)
My aunt called me yesterday and said that she upgraded her cell phone and now has bluetooth technology. Hello? My aunt?! My grandmother also has a beautiful lavender phone which is so much better than mine. I am SO jealous! How come I can never come across these deals when it's time for me to upgrade? I always end up paying through the nose and end up with a jerk of a salesman. The killer is that we're with the same company. Grrrrr.... Oh well, at least they'll be able to keep in touch more and won't have an excuse otherwise. Hee hee!

Have a wonderful week! I know I will...once I get over my driving lag.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday, Monday...

Yep--only this week, I'm off of work! (Yippee!) Okay, so I'm supposed to be paying homage to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., however, I spent the day goofing off, just because. :) It's also my grandma's birthday--although we'll probably celebrate this coming weekend since this month has just flown by. That way we can celebrate my grandpa's birthday (which was at the beginning of the month) too. Happy Birthday Nanny!!!

I have only spent two days at my new work location and I LOVE my job again! It's like sunshine and roses--which is quite a difference from the other place. I feel bad for the two women I'm working with because I'm more like a deer caught in headlights right now rather than an actual contributing member of our team. However, I'm giving my self another week to acclimate before I buckle down and get some things truly accomplished. After all, this school is double the size of my other school, AND I actually get to be a librarian rather than a secretary because..we actually have a secretary!!!! As I said, sunshine and roses....

Congratulations to TK and Rachel--this season's winners of The Amazing Race. I must admit, I was liked all three teams in the top three, so I would have been happy either way. (Although Don's grandson is a JERK.) I kind of wished the father/daughter team (Ron and Christina) would have won because they were so close, but TK and Rachel didn't lose their cool during the entire race and it paid off in the end--literally! I just wish I could get a video done to send in for an audition, but I have a sneakin' suspicion that the show may stop relatively soon--mainly because the audience is dwindling. That would be a bummer, because I really don't want to audition for Survivor.

Okay--you HAVE TO see the movie The Bucket List!!!! I went with my friend Maggie this morning and the movie is awesome! (The language leaves a lot to be desired, but it's typical Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.) I wish I had brought my quote notebook along with me because there were so many poignant lines that I would have loved to write them down. Definitely take some tissues though--there wasn't a dry eye in the house--and that includes the men! Wonderful movie!!! I may even have to add to my bucket list--especially after watching the movie. The main point the movie was trying to make is that you should live every day to the fullest because you never know when it's going to be your last. Don't sit on the sidelines of life--jump in with both feet and have an adventure every day rather than waiting for the special moments.

In other news, I'm moving...yes, again. I have about a month to get things ready, which is tons of time! Hopefully I'll be able to move things a little bit at a time rather than all at once--less stress that way--but, we'll see.

I have to get things ready to go for tomorrow--I'm driving a lot farther now (until I move) so I have to make sure I have everything ready to go because 6 am is when I head out for work, and we all know I am NOT a morning person! :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's Official....

I'm old. Our school district is in the process of re-fingerprinting everyone whose fingerprints were done the "old-fashioned" way with ink, and they were set up at our school last week.

Friday afternoon, I receive a phone call from a school close by and they said that one of their teachers got lost, could I please ask the fingerprinting lady if she would wait for her to show up. So, I told them not to worry, I'd let her know.

Meanwhile, I'm helping teachers scan their exam make-ups since grades are due Monday, and in walks the teacher who ended up getting lost. So, I just happen to look-up to point her in the right direction, when I realize that this "teacher" was one of my former eighth grade students. Can you believe it?!

I understand that my high schoolers are working, and that's okay. I mean, they're the ones who bag my groceries and dish up my fries. But to actually know that one of my students has completed high school AND college and is now teaching has really thrown me for a loop.

ACK! Are those really gray hairs and wrinkles?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Say It Isn't So!

I'm looking at the calendar and hoping that the date is absolutely WRONG! It has to be!!! (Right?) Vacation can't possibly be coming to a close?! I'm just getting in the swing of this whole relaxation thing and starting to plan a few projects that I want to undertake, but this whole work thing is most definitely going to get in the way of those plans.

Normally I don't think I'd be quite so sad (Yeah, who am I kidding...) but I have to tough it out a week and a half before I can go to my new school. Tomorrow wouldn't be so bad, but the kids don't come back until Tuesday, so I have to deal with my co-worker who has decided that I am an "evil being" and "can't be trusted." (Talk about a hostile work environment.) I'm hoping that I'll be able to catch up on my work email and then get the questions written for the two books I was assigned for our little "battle." Then, I'll be able to spend my remaining time helping the kids and the teachers until it's time for me to say a final farewell. (I can't wait!!! I'm so excited about going to this new POSITIVE environment that I almost can't stand it.) Hmmm....I wonder if I would get into trouble for reading on the job?

On to "funner" things...

I had a wonderful time at Disney with my aunt! We spent our first two days at Animal Kingdom and MGM Studios--unfortunately, I somehow erased our 280 pictures from the digital camera. (AACKK! If you know how to pull "ghost images" off of a digital card--please let me know!) So, those two days will not really be represented in our scrapbooks. :( We were both sad about this because we actually rode the Tower of Terror and documented our ride so we could prove to people that we actually went on it! We also ate at this really cool Sci-Fi Diner which looked like you were at a drive-in!

Then, we went to the Magic Kingdom and watched the castle light up--quite cool if you haven't seen it--and then hightailed it out of there because the crazies were coming out (ok, so they were really crying babies, but it was close).

For New Year's we went to Epcot. They were expecting so many people that we ended up parking on a grassy area 100 feet from the entrance! It was a marvelous day--despite the mass of people and the rain. (Which was actually quite funny.) My aunt and I wore our tiaras (which you can only get at MGM) and drew the attention of one camera guy (our paparazzi) so we have lots of pictures around France and England. Thankfully we went to France and bought an umbrella, so when the bottom of the sky fell out, all of the people ran to find cover under the buildings, etc. and we bopped along the paths on our merry ways. (Before the rain it was shoulder to shoulder people.)

Since the rain was so hard, the workers weren't sure if they were going to have to fireworks that evening, so we decided to leave and order pizza in the hotel room. Our running joke was..we traveled all around the world to meet a guy and we find the pizza guy at "home." (I don't think he thought it was funny, but he didn't mind the extra big tip we gave him.)

Well, I guess I should get things ready for tomorrow--after all, I DO have to get up early. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Resolutions-My Bucket List

I know--everyone is REALLY tired of reading about everyone else's resolutions for the new year. (Especially since most of us do not keep them after the first couple of days anyway.)

Last year I decided that I was going to put an end to resolutions and create a "To Do" List for my life. In fact, after watching the previews for a new movie coming out, I decided to title this list "My Bucket List"--things to do before I "kick the bucket" as the characters put it.

So, here are the basic details of my "Bucket List":

  • Get married (why do I have the "someday my prince will come" theme song in my head?)

Travel to: (and I don't mean by way of Epcot)
  • Hawaii
  • Australia
  • England
  • France
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Holland
  • St. Lucia
  • Savannah, GA
  • Egypt
  • California

  • To Hula
  • To Belly Dance (I have the hips for it)
  • Gemology (Since I can't afford them, I'd like to work with them)
  • Code Cracking (how cool would that be?!)
  • Foreign Languages (French, Italian, Greek, Chinese)
  • To cook in France or Italy (or to cook in general)
  • To write well

  • Go shopping on Rodeo Drive without using credit cards and having to take out a loan
  • Stay at the Library Hotel in New York
  • See a Broadway Play on Broadway in New York (Phantom is my favorite!)
  • Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade from the front stands of Macy's
  • Watch Mickey's Very Merry Christmas parade while being there on Christmas Day
  • Meet the President of the United States and get a real tour of the White House
  • Tour underground Disney
  • Write a book (ha! I guess I have to have ideas first)
  • Get paid for writing reviews of books (hey! I read enough--why not?)
  • Stay at the Biltmore Inn
  • Attend High Tea at Harrods
  • Drink a bottle of Dom Perignon (It's probably nasty stuff, but a glass of it would be good)
  • Go to Carnivale in Italy (I think it's in February)
  • Ride in a gondola in Italy (preferably with my husband--see the first bullet)
  • Work with archaeologists on a dig-possibly cataloguing their finds
  • Help set up exhibits in a museum (curator)
  • Finish Interior Design School and work with Extreme Home Makeover or help Habitat for Humanity with their homes
  • Go snow and water skiing (preferably at different times)
  • Have a personal shopper (or a really good friend) help me dress "more my age" as my mom puts it (She says I dress like a grandma--I think my clothes are comfy--so what if polyester hasn't made its comeback yet! At least my pants have elastic waistbands and I don't have to worry when I gain weight.)
  • Go skydiving or bungee jumping
  • Be on the Amazing Race as a contestant
  • Get paid for scrapbooking or being creative with crafts

Okay--so reality says that I won't be able to accomplish most of this list--mainly because of finances or lack of contacts, but I think it's good to dream. So, this is my list for now. I'm sure I'll add more and (hopefully) cross things off as we go along. Happy New Year!

Books Read in 2007

Yes, I know I've had this list along the sidelines for the past year, but now that it's 2008, I figured I should probably change it. I tried to do the whole blogroll thing, but it didn't exactly work, so I figured this would be better than nothing.

Among the Free-Margaret Peterson Haddix
Gossip Girl-Cecily von Ziegesar
The Secret Life of Becky Miller-Sharon Hinck
Queen Esther and the 2nd Graders of Doom-Alie Pleiter
Mistaken for the Mob-Ginny Aiken
Mixed Up with the Mob-Ginny Aiken
Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy and Other Misadventures-Lindsay Moran
Eyes of Elisha-Brandilyn Collins

Scoop-Rene Gutteridge
The Cubicle Next Door-Siri L. Mitchell
Bound with Love-a group of authors
Impulse-Ellen Hopkins

GG: You Know You Love Me-Cecily von Ziegesar
GG: All I Want Is Everything- " "
GG: Because I'm Worth It- " "
GG: I Like It Like That- " "
GG: You're the One that I Want- " "
GG: Nobody Does It Better- " "
GG: Nothing Can Keep Us Together- " "
Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers- Louise Rennison
Doing It- Melvin Burgess
Startled By His Furry Shorts-Louise Rennison

Sleeping with Beauty-Donna Kauffman
Seaside-Terri Blackstock
The Glass Cafe or, The Stripper and the State; How My Mother Started a War with the System that Kind of Made Us Rich and a Little Bit Famous-Gary Paulsen
GG: Only in Your Dreams-Cecily von Ziegesar
GG: Would I Lie To You- " "
Missing Abby-Lee Weatherly
The Haunting-Hope Tarr
Queen of Babble-Meg Cabot
Welcome to Wahoo-Dennis and Elise Carr
A Woman with Secrets-Inglath Cooper
Bamboo and Lace-Lori Wick
Pretense-Lori Wick

SAHM I Am-Meredith Efken
@ Home for the Holidays-Meredith Efken
Married to the Mob-Ginny Aiken
Last Part First-Angela Johnson
If the Shoe Fits-Marilynn Griffith
Enemy Mine-Kay Hooper
Shooter (audio book)-Walter Dean Myers
The NaNny Diaries- Emma Laughlin and Nicola Kraus

Less Than Frank-Lynn Bulock
Maximum Ride 3: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports-James Patterson
Freefall-Kristen Heitzmann
The Sisterhood of the Queen Mamas-Annie Jones
The Crystal Cavern-Hannah Alexander
Wicked-Shannon Drake
Spanish Disco-Erica Orloff
Apocalipstick-Sue Margolis
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress-Tina Ferraro
Anatomy of a Boyfriend-Daria Snadowsky
Tantalize-Cynthia Leitich Smith

The Price-Kathi Mills Macias
Blue Bloods-Melissa De La Cruz
Blue Bloods: Masquerade-Melissa De La Cruz
100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed-Melissa P.
Midnight Sea-Colleen Coble
Fair Game-Elizabeth White
Bang!-Sharon G. Flake
Demon Angel-Meljean Brook
Demon Moon-Meljean Brook
The 6th Target-James Patterson
The Copper Scroll-Joel C. Rosenberg
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-J.K. Rowling
Love Is A Many Trousered Thing-Louise Rennison

Alaska Twilight-Collen Coble
Kingdom Come-Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
Eclipse-Stephenie Meyer
The Bachelor Club-Rhonda Gibson, Bev Huston, Janet Spaeth, and Kathleen Y'Barbo
Sushi for One?-Camy Tang
Bad Idea-Todd and Jedd Hafer
Prom Nights from Hell-Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Stehpenie Meyer, and Lauren Myracle
Perfecting Kate-Tamara Leigh

Murder by Mushroom-Virginia Smith
GG: Don't You Forget About Me-Cecily von Ziegesar
C.J.'s Fate-Kay Hooper
A Stitch In Time-Allison Bottke
Dear Baby Girl-Jane Orcutt
Violet Dawn-Brandilyn Collins
Coral Moon-Brandilyn Collins

Just Listen-Sarah Dessen
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie-David Lubar
To Love Again-Bonnie K. Winn
Sold-Patricia McCormick
Crossing the Wire-Will Hobbs
The Trophy Wives Club-Kirstin Billerbeck
Black and White-Paul Volponi
Hollywood Nobody-Lisa Samson
Demon: A Memoir-Tosca Lee
The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch-Joseph Delaney

Hit the Road-Caroline B. Cooney
Runner-Carl Deuker
13 Little Blue Envelopes-Maureen Johnson
Rash-Pete Hautman
Becoming Chloe-Catherine Ryan Hyde
The Glass Castle-Jeannette Walls
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?-Melissa Kantor

Copper Sun-Sharon Drake
Uglies-Scott Westerfeld
Abandoned Identity-Tamara Tilley

Looking back at my list, I fund some interesting habits and patterns in my reading. For instance, you can tell when I have a lot of things happening in my life because I didn't read as much as I normally would. Also, I tend to lean more towards mystery and chic lit with some romance thrown in. The young adult books that I read are mainly for work rather than for my own enjoyment, which is pretty sad since I used to enjoy them more. Does this mean I'm growing up?

Records for the year:
Read: 100 books
Listened: 1 audio book
Watched: 57 movies
Lost: 10 pounds (although I probably gained them all back over the last few weeks)
Blogged: 87 times

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy January 1st!

Happy New Year! It is January 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

and her book:

Abandoned Identity
Evergreen Press (AL) (August 1, 2007)


Hooray! Tamara is one of our very own FIRST members!

She resides with her husband, Walter, and their children, John, Christopher, and Jennifer, at Hume Lake Christian Camps in the Sequoia National Forest. They have served on full-time staff and ministered at Hume for 13 years.

Tamara manages one of the retail stores at Hume Lake, which serves thousands of kids visiting the conference center on a daily basis.

Not only does she write, she is also an avid reader and enjoys other hobbies such as scrapbooking, designing greeting cards and invitations, and enjoying God's creation from her from porch.


The young, blond woman stepped off the elevator, rushed past the receptionist, and quickly headed down the hallway.

“Jennifer, Mr. Lynch is looking for you,” Doris called after her.

Jennifer didn’t stop to acknowledge the message. She didn’t have time. She could hear the warning in Doris’ tone. Mr. Lynch was looking for her, knowing she was late returning from lunch. This could very well be her last day at Weissler and Schuler.

She glanced at her watch as she threaded her way through the multitude of workstations. She moved as quickly as she could, even though she knew her efforts were probably for nothing—after all, late was late. He would assume she had done it on purpose and would make good on his threat from the previous week. Lynch had given her two weeks to change her attitude or she would be fired.

She hurried past his office door, hoping against hope that she would be able to slip by without being noticed. A sideways glance told her otherwise. She continued towards her own office, knowing he would be quick on her heels. She had struggled all morning, trying to do her work, trying to keep it together, but with the way she was feeling, her resolve was beginning to crumble. She’d only had enough time to slip off her jacket before she heard his booming voice in the hallway.

“Ms. Patterson, you of all people should not be abusing time restrictions. A one-hour lunch is a one-hour lunch, not an hour and 25 minutes,” he scolded her loud enough so everyone could hear him as he made his way down the hall toward her office.

Jennifer hung up her coat and purse on the rack behind her door and slumped in the overstuffed sofa that filled her office. She braced herself for the inevitable.

“You knew we needed to get started on the Yomahama account first thing after lunch,” he said as he entered her office and firmly shut the door. “Obviously you don’t care about this account as much as you say you do.” He was poised for her counterattack but was surprised instead to hear her soft apology.

“I’m sorry. I thought I could make it home and back again. But with the snow, and the traffic, and the way I’m . . .”

What’s the use explaining, she thought to herself. He doesn’t care. She had just given him the excuse he was looking for. She figured she would be packing up her personal items in less than an hour. She took a deep breath, her eyes focused downward. “I’m sorry. It wasn’t intentional.”

Harrison was taken aback. In the short time he’d known Jennifer, she had never apologized for her actions. Everything she did was intentionally antagonistic toward him. But somehow he sensed a difference in her mood.

“What’s wrong?” he bristled, not really wanting to hear her excuse.

She glanced up at his imposing figure but lowered her eyes to the floor as she spoke. “I tried to kick something all weekend. I guess I’m just not feeling up to par.”

He said nothing, waiting for her to make eye contact with him. She stiffened her back, sighed and said, “It won’t happen again.”

Had she brushed a tear from her cheek? Not possible, he thought to himself. Jennifer Patterson was tough as nails. She would never lower herself to tears in the workplace . . . that was unless she really was ill.

He waited again for her to look up at him, and when she did, he was met with vacant eyes, pallid skin, and beads of sweat that were starting to form on her brow. Just then, the intercom system went off. “Mr. Lynch, Mr. Yomahama is on the line. Shall I put him through to Miss Patterson’s office or your own?”

Obviously Doris knew where to find him because of the scene he had just made. He walked around to the front of Jennifer’s desk and cleared his voice before pushing the intercom button. “I’ll take it in my office, Doris. Give me a minute to get there.”

Lynch gave Jennifer one last stern look and then marched from her office, shutting her door with a little more force than necessary.

She collapsed against the cushions, her strong exterior completely dissolving. She had done everything she could to hold back her tears in his presence, but his quick exit allowed her to unleash the torrent she had been suppressing.

She had never felt this horrible before in her life. She would’ve called in sick if it weren’t for the fact that she knew her job was in jeopardy. It isn’t fair, she thought to herself. I should have Lynch’s job. For the hundredth time Jennifer went over in her mind the scenario that had taken her completely by surprise.

She had been groomed for the director’s position by Meg, long before Meg left to start a family. Jennifer had put in countless hours on different accounts to make sure her and Meg’s statistics had been well researched and presented in a polished manner. She had done the bulk of Meg’s work, along with her own, as Meg progressed into her third trimester. It simply wasn’t fair!

The day corporate brought in Harrison Lynch and announced he would be the new director, instead of her, she was livid. She felt demeaned and unappreciated. Everyone in the office knew she had worked hard for the job and had deserved it. But corporate behaved in their typical chauvinistic manner and took the opportunity to replace Meg with a man instead of another woman. Testosterone was the only asset that Harrison Lynch had that she did not.

While the other women in the office were quick to overlook the injustice of the situation because of Harrison’s availability, good looks, and charismatic personality, she only saw him as a thorn in her side.

She would only be fooling herself if she said she didn’t see his appeal. He was older than she was—the classic tall, dark, and handsome type. His sparkling brown eyes and wavy brown hair gave him a boyish charm, but his stature and muscular body proved him to be anything but boyish. His enigmatic character made him the kind of man that breezed through life with ease, putting the Midas touch on everything he encountered. But the way he clashed with her, rubbing her the wrong way and always trying to put her in her place, made his good looks less appealing.

Jennifer had butt heads with Harrison ever since he had shown up. She was not afraid to speak out against his proposals or the way in which he supplied information to a client. She had caused him more than one embarrassing moment in important meetings with prospective accounts. She upstaged him with what she called “a more efficient way to gather and record information.” She didn’t think it beneath her to use her feminine mystique with a client in order to work on a case that Lynch would’ve preferred to handle by himself. Lynch had put her on the spot on more than one occasion, but somehow she always came out looking professional in front of the clients.

When she had worked with Meg, Jennifer’s desk was out front with everyone else’s. She liked it that way. She enjoyed working in an environment that buzzed with activity. But Lynch changed all that. He made it very clear that Jennifer was his assistant, and he needed her at his personal disposal. And so he had her move her things into the smaller of the two conference rooms.

Giving Jennifer her own office was not a reward but a sentence. She felt he had isolated her on purpose to break her spirit. It had taken the wind out of her sails for a short period, but she decided two could play at that game. She promptly ordered custom office furniture and personalized the space. What he had intended on being a lonely, sterile environment, she had turned into a showplace of warmth and femininity.

She had one-upped him again and gloated in the fact that he could do nothing about it. After all, he was the one that gave her her own office and the freedom to decorate it the way she wanted. The fact that she did it with pastels in a style she knew he disliked (even though she disliked it too) was icing on the cake. Harrison had declared that an office should reflect professionalism not personality and initially insisted she get rid of everything. His request was denied when Mrs. Weissler came in and admired what she had done with the old conference room. With Mrs. Weissler on her side, Jennifer had once again thwarted Lynch’s authority.

Lynch had finally had enough. He called her into his office a week earlier and lowered the boom. “I’m giving you two weeks notice.”

“You’re firing me?” Jennifer was floored. Though she knew that he disliked her as much as she disliked him, he would have to explain to corporate why he was letting such a valuable employee go.

“No, I’m not firing you . . . yet.” He was cool and calm as he sat behind his solid oak desk. “I’m giving you two weeks to change your attitude. I’m tired of the mind games, the flirting with clients, and the way you insist on making proposals before discussing them with me. Weissler and Schuler should present a united front to all our clients, not a sense of division and indecisiveness. You have two weeks to get on board, assume your position as my assistant, and change your ‘I can top that’ attitude. If you choose not to, you will give me no alternative than to let you go.”

Now, it was just a week later, and Jennifer had given Lynch the perfect opportunity to show corporate that she was not the team player that they had assumed her to be. Corporate was breathing down everyone’s neck about the Yomahama account. It meant millions to them if they could seal the deal. If they felt she hadn’t given it her all, they would allow Lynch to have his way, no questions asked.

Jennifer sobbed into the arm of the floral couch that she despised. She thought about all the ways she had tried to make work uncomfortable for Harrison Lynch but knew she had failed. On occasion, he had tried joking with her and having innocuous conversations, but she would have none of it. She wouldn’t accept the olive branch that he tried to extend to her. Now he would have the last laugh, and it would be her own fault.

The door swung open once again. Harrison was poised and ready to battle with her, only to find her hunched over, her head in her hands and tears falling onto her charcoal colored slacks.

He felt uncomfortable finding her in such a vulnerable position. The all-business exterior he had resolved to use with her now took a back seat to the compassionate Harrison that others had seen. He stood for a moment before taking a seat on the couch alongside her and waited for her to gather her composure. It took several minutes before she could speak.

“I know what you’re going to say, so I’ll save you the energy.” She rubbed at her aching brows and sniffled. “You’ll have the files for the Yomahama account on your desk by the end of the day, and I’ll clean out my things. You can do what you want with the furniture. I don’t want it.” She held her head like she was afraid it was going to snap off her neck.

Harrison just sat there, not saying a thing. Jennifer wished he would just leave. She felt defeated and humiliated. He’d gotten his way; he’d won. With the experience she’d gained at Weissler and Schuler, she’d have no problem getting a job elsewhere, so she resolved to give up without a fight. Her only desire right then was to get home before her head exploded.

It seemed like an eternity before he spoke again. “What have you taken for it?”

“What?” She was confused. There was no smugness to his tone. In fact, if she wasn’t mistaken, he actually sounded concerned. She didn’t dare look at him. Just lifting her head would hurt too much.

“Is it a cold or the flu?”

“A cold,” she answered, wondering why he was being so nice. It was a trait she didn’t think he was capable of, at least not with her. He got up and left the room without saying another word.

She glanced at his receding steps, totally confused. She grabbed a tissue from her purse and tried to wipe away the salty tears and runny nose that was moistening her lips. She gently rolled her head back against the couch and sighed heavily, thankful for the solitude. It didn’t last long; within minutes, Harrison was back.

He sat down alongside her, causing her head to sway and a small moan to escape her lips. He handed her a glass that was fizzing, along with several pills. “Here’s something for your headache, a decongestant, and a bi-carbonate. They should do the trick.”

“No thanks,” she said through closed eyes. “I can’t take pills. They knock me out and make my head swim. Besides, I still have too much work to do. I don’t have time to pass out.”

“The way I see it, you’re already wasted. You’re no good to me like this. Take these, and in an hour you’ll feel a lot better. I guarantee it. We’ll work on the Yomahama account then.”

“I should have known you wouldn’t let me die quietly,” Jennifer retorted, looking at the pills he was still holding. “And if I don’t take your concoction?”

“Then I’ll have to assume the Yomahama account isn’t as important to you as I gave you credit for, and I’ll get Jerry to work on it with me instead.”

“Jerry!” She sat up, her head throbbing with disapproval. She slowly lowered herself back to the comfort of the couch, covering her eyes with the palms of her hands. “There’s no way I’m going to let Jerry take all my research and screw it up.”

“Okay, then. I guess you’ll have to do it my way,” he said. “Take these, dim the lights, and allow yourself some sleep. Don’t worry about watching the clock. I’ll come and get you in about an hour.”

Jennifer realized it was no longer a suggestion. Harrison put the pills in her hand and waited for her to drink them down with the bi-carbonate.

She tossed them to the back of her throat and held her breath as she drank the fizzy water. She knew she had to do it in one swig, or it would never stay down. Her shoulders shuddered in protest, and she thought she saw the hint of a smile form on Harrison’s lips. He pressed the button for the automatic shades to cover her office windows and dimmed the lights. “I’ll check on you in an hour.” With that, he closed the door and left her with her thoughts.

What just happened? she thought to herself. He had the perfect opportunity to fire me, and instead he helped me. Jennifer couldn’t concentrate on figuring out the answer to that one. Her head was throbbing so hard, it was making it impossible for her to reason.

She pulled her feet up under her and allowed her head to rest on the padded arm of the couch. An hour’s sleep, then I’ll be able to push through the rest of the day. She drifted off quickly. She was a lightweight when it came to tolerating medicine, and with the mixture she had just taken, she knew that she would finally get some rest.

Harrison walked back to his office and closed the door. He stood before the expansive window and watched the falling snow blanket the Chicago streets. Jumbled emotions crowded his mind. He was afraid that he’d allowed Jennifer’s weakened state to play on his sympathy, but it wasn’t unlike him. He really was a nice guy. It’s just that since he’d arrived at Weissler and Schuler, he and Jennifer had clashed . . . no, more like collided.

He found out soon enough that she had thought she was a lock for his job because of the work she had done with the previous director. He tried to talk to her about it and let her know he understood her disappointment. When he told her he was excited to be working with such a talented analyst, she only stiffened at his attempt at civility. Her spitefulness and malice made her look so unattractive—nothing like the vulnerable woman he had just left in the darkened office. He finally saw in her what some of the men in the office already had seen. She was a lot more appealing when she wasn’t being conniving or manipulative. With her defenses down, he actually found himself drawn to her, but he was wary that would change as soon as she had her strength back.

HARRISON HAD BEEN WORKING TIRELESSLY at his computer when he glanced at his watch. He realized it had been more than an hour since he had left Jennifer in her office. He quietly opened her door and leaned in to see how she was doing. She was curled up on the couch, her face flushed and moist. He moved to her side, leaned down, and carefully placed the back of his hand to her forehead. She was feverish. She stirred under his touch, but her eyes had a difficult time focusing. She looked at Harrison and tried to figure out why she was lying down and why he was hovering over her. She closed her eyes and vaguely remembered being late to work and taking a handful of medicine.

“What time is it?” Her voice was barely above a whisper.

“Almost 3:00 p.m.”

“Oh, my gosh.” She tried sitting up as her head spun out of control. “I’ve got to get working. We have the Yomahama meeting tomorrow. We can’t waste any more time.”

Harrison pressed his hands against her shoulders and gently pushed her back against the couch cushions. “You need to rest. Your body is obviously trying to fight something. You have a fever.”

“We don’t have time for this, Mr. Lynch.”

She again moved to a sitting position. She wiped at the perspiration on her forehead and scooped her long blonde hair up into a handful on top of her head. She started pulling at the pink cashmere sweater she was wearing, bellowing it to get some cool air up against her skin. “I feel like I’m suffocating.”

“That’s the fever.”

Before Harrison realized what she was doing, Jennifer reached for the hem of her sweater and began to pull it over her head.

He turned away and sputtered, “What are you doing?”

“If you have a fever, you’re supposed to keep at least one foot and one shoulder exposed to cool air.”

“Where did you hear that?”

“I’m not sure, but it’s worked before.”

She continued to remove her sweater. Harrison was relieved to see that she was wearing a silky, pink shell underneath the soft sweater. She pulled her black, high heeled boots from her feet and curled up into a fetal position once again.

“You look miserable; you need to go home. This is ridiculous. There’s no way you’re going to be able to get any work done under these conditions,” Harrison added as she tried to get comfortable.

“I’d be fine if my head would just stop pounding, and I wasn’t so hot.”

“Let me call you a cab. You need to go home.”

“No! I can beat this. Let me just rest a little bit longer. If I could just get rid of this headache, I know I could finish our proposal. Please give me another hour.” She was determined to finish what she had started, especially since it could quite possibly be her last account. Harrison was being uncharacteristically nice to her at the moment, but if the Yomahama meeting didn’t go well, she knew she would be the proverbial scapegoat.

Harrison stood with his arms firmly crossed against his chest and doubt in his eyes. He knew from past experience there was no sense arguing with her. Of course, there was nothing that said he was obligated to wake her up either.

“Fine, I’ll see you in about an hour.” He left her office with no intention of disturbing her again. If she had the strength to wake up, she would have to do it on her own.

Although Harrison knew he needed to spend every minute on the Yomahama proposal, he found himself thinking about Jennifer. Why hadn’t he noticed her crystal blue eyes or the delicate curve of her jaw before? Maybe because whenever he talked to her, her eyes were glaring and her jaw was set.

He wandered back into Jennifer’s office around 4:30 p.m. He watched her as she slept. Her breathing was even and her complexion no longer looked flush. His eyes followed the tip of her chin to where it rested near her exposed shoulder. He felt his thoughts wandering in a direction that was far from work related. He had always been cautious to keep his professional life separate from his personal life, but somehow seeing Jennifer in such a vulnerable state also exposed a side of her that was quite beautiful.

He left her office and drifted down the hall. People were beginning to shut down their computers and straighten up their workstations. The talk was all about the snow that had continued to fall throughout the day. The weather report was predicting another foot before morning. Harrison waved goodnight to them as they left and headed back to his office.

Doris followed him down the hall, worry etched on her kind face.

“Mr. Lynch, I’m concerned about Miss Patterson. I know she was awfully sick this morning when she came in, and she didn’t look any better when she returned from lunch. I haven’t seen her since you . . . well, since you spoke with her this afternoon.”

Harrison knew what Doris was alluding to. The way he had barked at Jennifer when she returned from lunch had obviously been heard throughout the office.

“I gave her some medicine earlier today, and it made her pretty sleepy. That’s why you haven’t seen her.”

“Will she be okay to drive herself home? The road conditions have gotten pretty bad.”

“Don’t worry, Doris, I’ll make sure she’s okay before she leaves.”

“Okay, I was just concerned. She really is a sweet girl; she just comes off a bit harsh sometimes.”

“Harsh? That’s an understatement!”

Doris just smiled. “Well, good night, Mr. Lynch.”

“Good night, Doris, and thank you for your concern.”

Dynamic Uno here: Tamara Tilley's book is wonderful! I must admit, when I first started reading, the story seemed a bit predictable and slow, but the characterization and the plot-line dragged me in and I'm glad I stuck with the book. As I said, it's wonderful and I think you'll enjoy it too! Let me know what you think when you finish reading it.