by Bobbie Shafer
Historical Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Dancing With Bear Publisher
Release Date: July 9, 2013
Heat Level: Sweet
Length: 243 pages
Virginia Cash is a young mother of two small children and lives in a small apartment above a New York diner where she works as a waitress on the midnight shift. Virginia has just been informed that her husband, Wylie, is missing in action during a medical rescue north of the 38th parallel line in Korea.
When Clayton Wilkens and his wife stop in for a burger during a traffic jam on their way to Puerto Rico where they plan to retire, they realize that Virginia is the perfect candidate to take over Eagle Creek Manor and raise her children.
Ginny, as she’s known to her friends, asks Edna Taylor, her best friend and babysitter, to move with her to the manor to help the relocation for her and the children, 6 year old Donny and 5 year old Anna Marie.
Once they arrive and are greeted by Peter Clark, the local banker and member of Eagle Creek Management, unusual events take place. Ginny is offered a job at the Chase Hotel by Michael Chase, great grandson of Aimee McKay, builder of Eagle Creek Manor. When someone breaks into Eagle Creek Manor, the family dog digs up a human bone and a young girl goes missing in Sycamore Grove, Ginny begins to wonder if the move to Eagle Creek was a smart one.
When Rosa, the housekeeper, informs Ginny and Edna that young girls have disappeared from the area for quite some time, the new occupants of Eagle Creek Manor, set out to solve the mystery and bring peace of mind to the residents of Sycamore Grove and Eagle Creek.
Ginny and her best friend discover there are several popular residents with shady and questionable pasts. When Edna and Ginny start putting the pieces of the puzzle together, they are shocked at the results.
A demanding and obsessive mother has warped her son’s mind and when his father commits suicide, the man tumbles over the edge of sanity. Now Ginny and Edna are in his sights. The fear of discovery snaps what’s left of his mind, and he sets out to remove those responsible for his concern -- Virginia and Edna.
Can a New York waitress and young mother, along with a middle-aged, retired librarian survive the madness of a warped mind, or will the move to Eagle Creek destroy Ginny’s world and take Edna’s life?
While Clay and Barb were sixteen hundred miles away, the New York dawn brightened the city sky with the promise of a new beginning. Virginia Cash didn’t recognize that promise as she stuck her timecard into the clock slot and heard the loud click denoting 8:05, end of shift. Reaching up, Ginny pulled off the stiff, red and white headpiece. She stuffed the cap in her pocket, grabbed her purse from the metal locker, and headed for the front door.
In her exhausted state, Virginia, or Ginny to her friends, had no plans for the day, nevertheless, Anna and Donny would surely want to go to the park. Being cramped up in the apartment all day brought out their wild side. The young mother wanted them to work out their cabin fever in the fresh air before she took them across the hall to Edna, the babysitter, so she could grab a nap before returning to work.
Her hand clamped on the chrome door bar, but before she could push it open, Tony hollered at her. She paused, looked wearily over her shoulder, and dropped her arm. Tony handed his spatula to Ernest, who was listening to Rocky’s chatter about his baby. The new father hadn’t stop talking about his amazing, newborn son since he came exploding in the front door at six a.m.
“Ginny,” Tony said loudly, “don’t forget the jar. Don’t want that money sittin’ out in plain sight all day. You never know how desperate some jokers are. It’s Friday, ain’t it? I’m surprised some jerk didn’t steal it last night when Vera stepped out back for a smoke. If I’m not mistaken, Edna told me today’s your birthday. Let me get the donations out and you kin go buy yourself somethin’ nice. Okay?”
“Sure, Tony, sure,” Ginny said wearily. Switching her purse to the opposite arm, she walked to the end of the checkout counter.
Tony ambled to the door and looked up and down the street, making sure no customers were coming before unscrewing the lid from the pickle jar and dumping the contents on the glass counter. His cousin, Vera, who worked the register during the night shift, grabbed the bills and began arranging them by denominations, facing the bills the same directions. Tony reached in his back pocket and removed a small brown take-out bag and slid the change into the sack. Vera folded the bills and slid them on top of the change. Picking up the large envelope, he turned it backward and forward before handing it to Ginny.
“Don’t know what this is, it might be a prank. Ya want me to check it out for ya?”
Ginny craned her neck to read the writing on the front of the envelope and reached for it. “It’s got my name on it. Who would play a joke on me? It’s probably a coupon or letter of sympathy. Give it to me.”
Tony handed it over to her along with the sack.
“Ya got twelve dollars and some change this week, kiddo,” Vera said as she popped her gum.
“It won’t buy me a new car, but it will buy milk, cereal, bread, and some ground meat,” Ginny said and stuffed the brown bag in her purse. “I’ll read this upstairs.” She waved the manila envelope and shouldered her way out the door.
Upstairs in her apartment, Ginny hurried to the bedroom, slipped her uniform over her head, and examined it for grease spots or stains. Finding none, she hung the dress on a wire hanger and tried to smooth out the deepest wrinkles. Untying her black and white oxfords, Ginny slid them off and carried them to the bathroom where she dampened a rag and scrubbed off any scuff marks and dirt from the white areas of the shoes. After she was satisfied they were as clean as she could get them, she went back into the bedroom, and placed them on a chair in the corner. Peeling off her girdle, Ginny wiggled into one of the only three dresses she owned, other than her two uniforms, and slipped her feet into a pair of worn brown penny loafers before heading across the hall to bring her two children home from Edna’s place.
Bobbie Shafer is the author of three adult novels and two YA novels, as well as having over 300 articles published in various magazines. She is a member of the East Texas Writers' Guild and The Writing Warriors critique group. Bobbie is also a valued member of the Dancing With Bear Publishing team, where she is the acquisitions editor, editor, and CEO.
Besides writing, Bobbie enjoys raising miniature horses, donkeys, goats, rabbits, and chickens, and all the while keeping her house and husband happy. She lives just outside of Troup, Texas, with her husband, Gordon. She has four children, Connie Congleton, Kim Fields, Cary Waterhouse, and Kelly Waterhouse. She also has three grandchildren, Kandice and Josh Fields, and Nellie Waterhouse; and one great-granddaughter, Falon.