Hello! A Modern Love Story
Heartache and the specter of revenge follow when sparring partners spend the night together two days before he weds someone else.
A deliciously romantic romp with a good dose of realism and a twist of mystery.
A clash of wits, more than of wills, drives the love story in this modern-day pastiche of 19th-century romance novels by Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South) and Jane Austen. The main protagonists deal with messy feelings and events that could happen to any of us: The heroine, a bright young lawyer, confronts choices about career, abortion, and reactions of parents, friends, and men; while he, an alpha male haunted by past relationships, reveals a sensitive, caring side that emerges as he woos the heroine.
Writing was her first love and she wanted to be a journalist but her parents balked at that. She was 15, malleable, and dependent on them for support, so she went into the social sciences, actually a compromise and preferable to chemistry, her parents’ choice.
E. Journey's first novel, Margaret of the North, is illustrated with digital "paintings" done on an iPad.
You can visit her book website for articles on books and writing, some reviews, and interviews. For her take on art, travel (mostly Paris where she has stayed for months), eating, and state of being as well as some of her paintings, her website is Journey on a Limb.
Elise heard the woman saying, “Do I look like I have a gun or a knife on me?”
She opened her bag and showed its contents to Bob. “There’s nothing in it but make-up, perfume and my wallet.”
“Miss Williams, I didn’t say you had a gun or anything like that. Elise is resting and recovering. She can’t see anyone right now. Maybe, you should come back when Greg is here.”
“I don’t want to talk to Greg. I want to see Miss Halverson.”
“Not possible, Miss Williams.”
Lori Williams. What could she want? Elise was about to close the window but she hesitated for an instant, reconsidered, and stuck her head out the window a little.
“It’s all right, Bob. I will see Ms. Williams, but it’ll take me a few minutes to come down. Show her to the living room, please.”
Elise hobbled towards where Lori waited. She was more than uncomfortable. She was in pain and irritated, and conscious of Lori’s intent, even insolent, stare as she approached on her crutches. She sat on a chair opposite the couch Lori dominated, with her curvaceous figure stretched diagonally across it, one arm perched on the back. Face-to-face, the two women assessed each other.
At first glance, Lori seemed the more striking of the two—dressed in red jersey, with jet black hair cascading down her shoulders, and narrow hazel eyes she gave an upward lift to with eyeliner, shadow, and mascara. She had on four-inch heels that added to whatever advantage in height she had over Elise. They made the legs she extended towards Elise seem longer.
Lori presented a dramatic picture against the couch and Elise could not help admiring her. “Wow, she’s all-woman,” she thought.
She felt juvenile, ordinary, and colorless next to Lori. She, herself, did not have any make-up on, not even the bit of lipstick and eyeliner she put on before Greg came home. And how could she be elegant with those crutches and the ugly gash on her leg?
“What can I do for you, Ms. Williams?”
Lori had not blinked in her frank scrutiny of Elise. She said, “You are as beautiful as an angel. But so young. Nothing like the women he had escorted and courted before. I would never have thought you were Greg’s type. He’s always gone for dark-haired, statuesque and sexy women.”
“You mean, like you, Ms. Williams? Anyway, I’m not a type and my relationship with Greg is none of your concern. You came all the way here to see me, so I thought I owed you the courtesy of hearing you out. I will admit I’m also curious.”
“Miss Halverson, I had nothing to do with your accident. That driver is lying.”
“It’s your word against his. And you already lied once about your acquaintance with him.”
“I’m sorry I did. That was a mistake. But Greg must have told you why I did that.
“He said you didn’t want your fiancé to find out about it.”
“He knows, now, thanks to Greg. Now, David says he needs time to decide if he wants to go on with the marriage.”
“That is none of my concern.”
Lori uncrossed her legs and leaned forward. “You’re right, it isn’t. But I am pleading with you, as one woman to another. Greg fell in love with you and I’m sure that’s why I lost him. I might lose David; too. He’s beginning to wonder if I had something to do with your accident. But I don’t. I honestly don’t. I bear you no grudge. You’re the only one who can help me convince David.”
Elise was dumbfounded and could not believe what she just heard. What nerve this woman had.
“Let’s say I believe you—I’m not saying I do—your trouble with your fiancé is between you and him. And I definitely wouldn’t want to get involved in it.”
“Yes, but I’m begging you. If you tell the press that you think I was not responsible, David will believe you and he’ll trust me again.”
“Ms. Williams, I can’t tell, from where I sit, who’s lying—you or the driver. And you did make threatening statements.”
“The angry words of a jilted woman. Can you blame me? The day before my wedding, he dumps me! For you.”
“You’re guessing. How can you be sure Greg broke your engagement for another woman? And if he did, how would you know who she was? Anyway, that was more than two years ago.”
“Well, the rumor is Greg has a son more than a year old. He would have been conceived about that time.”
Elise did not answer. She stared at Lori, her defiant eyes daring her to say more.
“It’s your child, isn’t it? Yours and Greg. I smelled you on him the day he dumped me.”
“Ms. Williams, this conversation is over. I’d like you to please leave now. I will make this clear: I will not issue any such statements to the press.” Elise grabbed her crutches and started to rise from her chair.
“Miss Halverson—Elise—please hear me out a little longer. Please,” Lori cried. Her eyes were pleading and she gripped the arms of her chair, as if she would have to be pried from it for her to let go of it.
Elise looked down at Lori from where she stood. She did not answer but she stayed.
“All I want is to be happy, like you. I’ve already had my heart and my hopes broken once. Now, I have another chance at it. Couldn’t you find it in your heart to help me?”
“Don’t you see Ms. Williams? If I were to make the statement you’re asking me to, then I will be biasing the police investigation. I can’t do that.”
“But I had nothing to do with it. Don’t you think the police would have arrested me by now, if they have evidence that I did?”
“True. Evidence is not there in a case based on one person’s word against another’s; and we may never get at the truth. But I’m sorry. I can’t help you. I have to remain neutral.”
Lori burst out crying. “Please, I beg you.”
“Ms. Williams, I am very tired and I do have to go now.” Elise limped away on her crutches and up the stairs.
When she reached the second floor, she called Bob. “Bob, Ms. Williams is still in the living room. Could you please make sure she’s all right? She might need help to her car.”
Bob replied jokingly, “You didn’t hit her with your crutches, did you? She has that effect on people.” She laughed. “No, she’s a formidable woman whether you like her or not. I’m sure she would have yanked the crutches out of my hand, before I could move a muscle.”