Here’s the blurb from the back cover:
“How well can a wife ever know her husband?
Paula Arnett would swear she knows everything about hers, that is, until she gets the call that the love of her life was involved in a freak accident. She doesn’t think things could possibly get any worse. But, after his funeral, she’s blindsided when their lawyer informs her that, several months before, her husband liquidated their assets and purchased a run-down fishing resort in East Texas!
Worse yet, while searching for answers, Paula discovers a note from a mysterious woman whose name gives her reason to believe that her husband may have actually been married to this woman at the same time he was married to Paula! Determined to learn the truth, Paula enlists the help of her best friend, Cassie, and together they go undercover on the road trip of a lifetime.”
I grew up in a small Texas farming community very much like the one my main character, Paula Jean Purdy Arnett, resides in. Floydada, Texas, is one of those places where everybody knows your business, and where people pull together in times of need. I’m very lucky to have been raised there by two loving parents.
A second grade teacher in Floydada put the idea in my head that I should become a writer, and while it took me most of my life, I’ve finally accomplished that goal. In the meantime, I’ve been a secretary, a dental assistant, a teacher, and a research assistant. I married my high school sweetheart, who I affectionately call Studly Doright, many, many years ago, and we have two beautiful, brilliant, grown children, and five equally beautiful and brilliant grandchildren. My cup truly runneth over.
Now for a little snippet:
From Chapter Eight:
Paula turned off the radio mid-song. “Tell me the story of why Cal called me Goldilocks.”
Cassie’s eyes twinkled. “You know darned good and well why.”
“I know. I just need to hear it today.”
Cassie shifted in her seat. “The fishing guys came up with it. Cal, Delbert, Mel, and someone else, I can’t remember who, went fishing right after you two got married. Cal couldn’t stop talking about you. Everything you did was just right. Finally, Delbert or Mel, one of the two, said, “Sounds like you found yourself a Goldilocks. Everything is always just right.” Cal thought that was hilarious and started calling you that. The name stuck.”
Paula shook her head. “I still can’t imagine what it was he thought I was doing right.”
Cassie rolled her eyes. “C’mon now, Goldilocks, even you can’t be that innocent.”
A rosy blush covered Paula’s cheeks. “Oh my gosh! Surely Cal didn’t talk to the guys about—you know—sex!”
“Probably not, but then again, men will be men. I’m sure they ribbed him about it. And he really thought you could do no wrong. That never changed as far as I could tell.”
Paula hung her head. “I always thought that about him, too. Until yesterday. Yesterday kind of changed everything, even if I’m willing it to be otherwise.”
“It’s all going to be okay. It really is. Hey, could you pull over at the next rest stop? I need a potty break.”
A few minutes later, they came to the town of Gallo and Paula pointed to a Dairy Queen sign. “How about there? It’s a little early for an ice cream, but we could get a little snack.”
“Suits me, but who says it’s too early for ice cream?”
Paula parked and raised an eyebrow. “First burritos, now ice cream, and all before noon. None of my pants are going to fit.”
Cassie opened the door. “It wouldn’t hurt you to put on a few pounds, Goldilocks. I’ll bet you’ve lost five just since…Well, since Cal’s—Um, speaking of that, have you heard from the highway patrol?”
Paula pulled the Dairy Queen door open. “They’re still investigating, but the preliminary report is that he just went to sleep and drove off the road. Apparently, the way his car landed in that ditch, his airbag didn’t deploy.
They remained silent as they took their place in line. Paula gestured to a narrow corridor down the side of the dining area. “You go on to the ladies’ room. I’ll order your usual: Hot fudge sundae, extra fudge, a smidge of whipped cream and a cherry on top. No nuts. Right?”
Cassie smiled. “You know it.”
As Cassie headed to the restroom, Paula watched a table of coffee drinking men turn their heads in admiration. There was no doubt her friend was eye-catching. She was a couple of inches taller than Paula and curvier. Her gorgeous raven hair hung to her shoulders in soft waves, and the headband she wore added a touch of innocent sexiness.
Paula always joked that if she was Goldilocks, Cassie must be Snow White. She always thought it was a shame that Cassie had never married. She’d never even had a long-term boyfriend after high school, as far as Paula knew, and she knew Cassie better than anyone.
As the line moved along, she became caught up in her daydream….”There probably is a right man out there for her, but he’d have to be one perfect Prince Charming to match Cassie’s Snow White.”
Paula was seated with their food by the time Cassie returned. She nodded at the ogling men at the back and said, “Don’t look now, but those men are checking you out.”
Cassie rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I noticed, too. Tried not to. Obnoxious asshats.”
Paula stifled a grin as she pushed Cassie’s sundae across the table, and they ate in silence until George Strait started singing about all of his exes living Texas as the juke box lit up in neon colors.
Cassie pushed away her empty ice cream cup and wiped the corners of her mouth with a napkin. “You want me to drive awhile?”
“I’m good, but let’s plan on switching just before we get into too much Dallas traffic. I sure don’t want to deal with that mess.”
“No problem. We’ll need to stop again anyway for gas pretty soon. Maybe have a light lunch then you can nap while I navigate the jungle.”
“We’re eating hot fudge sundaes at 11 a.m. and you’re already planning lunch? I like the way you think.”
They turned their heads when a man from the coffee drinkers’ table approached them.
The man tipped his head and held his hat in his hand. “Mornin’, ladies. My name’s Derek Tuttle. I’d like to welcome you to the fine town of Gallo, and invite you to attend services at the First Baptist Church on Sunday morning. I’m the minister there.”
Cassie pursed her lips. “Thank you very much, Derek, but we’re just passing through. And we’re heathens.”
Paula’s hand covered her unexpected giggle.
Derek’s jaw dropped open and he steadied himself on the back of the booth. “Well, we welcome heathens. Everyone is welcome.”
Cassie collected her trash as she said, “Oh, we’re also communists. Heathen commies. And Wiccans, to boot.”
Paula’s eyes grew large and she blushed. “Uh, I think it’s time to go. You know, before they bring out the pitchforks.”
Cassie stood and batted her eyes at Derek then sashayed out the door.
Paula, unable to make her feet move, or even find her voice, looked back and forth between Derek’s look of shock and Cassie’s confident strut out the door. “Um, I’d better go chase after my heathen commie friend.” She jingled her keys. “It’s my car.”
I’m a terrible cook and baker, but this is one even I can’t mess up.
“Southern Pecan Balls”
1/2 cup margarine
3 T. Sugar
1 C. Flour, sifted
1 T. Vanilla
1 C. Chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. (148.889 C)
Cream the margarine and sugar together. Add vanilla, flour, and then the nuts and mix well. Roll into 35-40 small balls.