At forty-five, striking Carol Blake has it all: a Chicago corporation she built from the ground up on the verge of international success with a complicated merger, and Brian Cross, who at thirty is the youngest Board member of her company. Against her better judgement she and Brian fall in love and secretly marry. Marriage is not without its ups and downs, but as the merger grows closer to fruition, Carol’s Board of Directors, including Brian, undercut her to wrest control of her company from her. Betrayed and enraged, Carol, must regain control…but is it too late?
“There’s no room for sissies in a merger.” Carol Blake smoothed back her dark hair and stacked all the papers spread across the large oval table in front her. “In or out, kiddies, I need to know right now.” She considered the dozen startled faces around the conference table with her sparkling green eyes. Each head nodded in turn. “Good.” She stuffed the papers into her briefcase. “Go home. Eat a good dinner and get a full night’s sleep. It’ll be the last of both for a while. We’re going to do this in under a year.” Carol slung the leather strap of the briefcase over her shoulder and pushed open the double glass doors of the conference room to stride into the hall.
James cleared his throat. “I expect they’ll name the third hurricane in this season after her?” The dozen heads nodded one more time, and each began the task of loading briefcases with all the color-coded folders she had spread on the table in front of each.
She smiled at the thought of Hurricane Carol, then frowned at the storm analogy as she continued down the hall toward the bank of elevators. Carol reached for the door handle of her new Jaguar and looked around at a familiar voice.
“Home for that meal and sleep?” Brian asked.
“I had mine last night,” Carol replied, flipping her keys. “Never forget, little boy, I’m always way ahead of everyone around me.” She slid in behind the wheel and started the engine. She smiled up at the tall man and put the car in gear.
The limousine pulled into the hotel driveway and up to the front door. Brian and Carol were halfway across the lobby to the bank of elevators, when he stopped short and gently pulled her around to face him.
“I have to do this now, before we go upstairs,” Brian said, his expression somber. He reached into his inside jacket pocket to retrieve something, and he dropped to one knee on the marble floor. Carol gasped and stumbled back half a step, but Brian caught her hand and pulled her to him, then released her hand to open the small black velvet box, revealing a flawless canary yellow three-carat pear cut diamond flanked by two one-carat rectangular bright whites in an antique gold filigree setting.
“I love you, angel,” he said earnestly, “more than I ever thought possible. Marry me, Carol, marry me tonight.”
Carol stared in stunned silence. She was aware that they were attracting attention from hotel and other guests in the lobby. She tried to speak but couldn’t make a sound.
An elegant silver-haired woman stepped up. “I think he’s quite serious, my dear,” she said to Carol with a pleasant smile. “You’re a lovely couple. I think you should say yes.” She gave Carol a matronly pat on the arm and walked away.
A murmur of agreement rippled through the gathering crowd. Carol looked down at Brian’s handsome face. She reached out and touched his face.
“Let me make you happy, Carol, marry me,” he repeated.
“Yes.” Her voice was so quiet that she wasn’t certain she’d said the word aloud.
My Process/What Makes Me Tick: I can never recall a time I didn’t make up stories. My grandpa was one of those ‘salt of the Earth types’, very practical and down to Earth, but he did like tales. We would sit by the creek out back of the ranchhouse, our bare feet and fishing lines in the water hoping for some trout for whatever meal was next, and he’d say, “Tell me a story, girl.” I would draw from people I knew, our surroundings, or sometimes pure flights of fancy. I’d make up stories about my horse, Buddy, half Morgan and half Kentucky Walker which made a big brute of a horse with an amazing gait. I’d spin tales about the mountain lion I named Roma who would sit just outside the fence when my pop didn’t notice, and she’d purr at me! Pop would’ve shot her on sight, and I knew better, so I’d whisper to her and she’d purr back from the deep grass. My teachers often accused me of far too many flights from reality, until one day I did manage to snap a shot of Roma in the grass, using my trusty old Brownie camera. I’d take gramps into Middle Earth with me, calling Buddy ‘Roheryn’ (Tolkien canon, not ‘Brego’ as in the movie), as Buddy was dark and powerful and fiercely loyal. Only my grandpa and his son Unca Walt and my randy Auntie Pearl gave my writing any credence, and I’m sorry to say they were gone by the time I was first published. They are the literary angels whose names I know.
I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo or any scheduled writing forums. I’ve never been able to write to that kind of deadline. I have no problem setting timeframes and getting things in to wherever on time, but that kind of pressure is counter-productive to my way of writing. Not to sound too esoteric, but I have to let things flow in order for my creative process to really work. The most fun I have is when a story suddenly develops wings and simply takes me along for the ride, and what a ride that can be.
An e-book of Board Games will be offered as a prize to one chosen winner from the registrants, using a randomizing site for selection. ***This Blogfest is not responsible for the selection of the winner or the prize.***
To qualify to win, you MUST have a Kindle e-mail address.
About the Author:
Piken Sander lives among sprawling oak and aspen in Northern California to where she escaped from colder climes many years hence. Her randy Auntie asked her to ‘tell her a story’, demanding that there be strong women and steamy passion, and this began the writings of Piken as she crafted stories of girl meets boy, girl and boy go through the torture of life and beyond, with at the very least hopeful endings. When her Auntie passed, she left her niece a one sentence note in her will: “Now publish the damn things.” Piken’s day consists of writing and social media, and such difficult decisions as which of her dizzying array of wildly colorful pajamas she should wear on a given day. She loves a perfectly steeped cup of good tea. She has few she calls friends, but those in this cadre are cherished and fostered. A political liberal since preteens, she tolerates no racism or bigotry or inequality of any kind, especially in her stories.