One Valentine's Day I woke up to find that my husband had laid a trail of red hearts from the bed and halfway around the house to my present. The gift was small because we didn't have much money but I was touched to the heart by the effort he had made to surprise and please me.
The Time Around Scars:
A girl whom I've not spoken to
or shared coffee with for several years
writes of an old scar.
On her wrist it sleeps, smooth and white,
the size of a leech.
I gave it to her
brandishing a new Italian penknife.
Look, I said turning,
and blood spat onto her shirt.
My wife has scars like spread raindrops
on knees and ankles,
she talks of broken greenhouse panes
and yet, apart from imagining red feet,
(a nymph out of Chagall)
I bring little to that scene.
We remember the time around scars,
they freeze irrelevant emotions
and divide us from present friends.
I remember this girl's face,
the widening rise of surprise.
And would she
moving with lover or husband
conceal or flaunt it,
or keep it at her wrist
a mysterious watch.
And this scar I then remember
is a medallion of no emotion.
I would meet you now
and I would wish this scar
to have been given with
all the love
that never occurred between us.
To Tiffany's surprise, Nanny Ogg was weeping gently. Nanny took another swig from her flagon and wiped her eyes. 'Cryin' helps sometimes,' she said. 'No shame in tears for them as you've loved. Sometimes I remember one of my husbands and shed a tear or two. The memories're there to be treasured, and it's no good to get morbid-like about it.
The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art. To women he is half vivisector, half vampire. He gets into intimate relations with them to study them, to strip the mask of convention from them, to surprise their inmost secrets, knowing that they have the power to rouse his deepest creative energies, to rescue him from his cold reason, to make him see visions and dream dreams, to inspire him, as he calls it. He persuades women that they may do this for their own purpose whilst he really means them to do it for his. He steals the mother’s milk and blackens it to make printer’s ink to scoff at her and glorify ideal women with. He pretends to spare her the pangs of child-bearing so that he may have for himself the tenderness and fostering that belong of right to her children. Since marriage began, the great artist has been known as a bad husband. But he is worse: he is a child-robber, a blood-sucker, a hypocrite, and a cheat. Perish the race and wither a thousand women if only the sacrifice of them enable him to act Hamlet better, to paint a finer picture, to write a deeper poem, a greater play, a profounder philosophy! For mark you, Tavy, the artist’s work is to shew us ourselves as we really are. Our minds are nothing but this knowledge of ourselves; and he who adds a jot to such knowledge creates new mind as surely as any woman creates new men. In the rage of that creation he is as ruthless as the woman, as dangerous to her as she to him, and as horribly fascinating. Of all human struggles there is none so treacherous and remorseless as the struggle between the artist man and the mother woman. Which shall use up the other? that is the issue between them. And it is all the deadlier because, in your romanticist cant, they love one another.
George Bernard Shaw (Man and Superman)
Eloise,” Penelope said, somewhat breathless from trying to shake off
“Penelope.” But Eloise’s voice sounded curious. Which did not
surprise Penelope; Eloise was no fool, and she was well aware that her
brother’s normal modes of behavior did not include beatific smiles in her
“Eloise,” Hyacinth said, for no reason Penelope could deduce.
Penelope turned to her husband. “Colin.”
He looked amused. “Penelope. Hyacinth.”
Hyacinth grinned. “Colin.” And then: “Sir Phillip.”
“Ladies.” Sir Phillip, it seemed, favored brevity.
“Stop!” Eloise burst out. “What is going on?”
“A recitation of our Christian names, apparently,” Hyacinth said.
Julia Quinn (Romancing Mister Bridgerton: The 2nd Epilogue (Bridgertons, #4.5))
....The wife is the heartbeat of the home. She serves as the thermometer--if she's warm, so is the rest of the family; if she's cold, so is the rest of the family. And if she's an extreme temp--boiling or frigid--the family will follow suit. Calm or chaos comes from her.
I've resisted this responsibility often. It's much easier to point to my husband, the biblically appointed leader of the household, and to examine what I perceive are his flaws, his failures, his lack of whatever. But ultimately, I'm just denying what I really know--that I have a great role to honor and live up to in my marriage and in our home. The questions is, do I embrace it? Or do I run from it? My fear is that I've run from it for a while now. But I'm not running any more.
Sara Horn (My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife: A One-Year Experiment...and Its Surprising Results)
Now there are days when she is content, and days when she’s restless. But there is never a day when she doesn’t see Peter everywhere. Things hurt, and don’t hurt, and hurt again. Eighty years later, and she can still feel surprised that he’s gone. And then so much of the time, she’s glad. But just as she looks for Tik Tok in everything around her, she looks for Peter in the woods, out gathering, in the lagoon, in the burrow that is now abandoned. She goes up on the cliffs from time to time and stands there for hours, continuing her long good-bye. It’s not for lack of loyalty to her husband. It is just that she was fifteen once for the first time, and Peter walked across her heart, and left his footprints there.
Jodi Lynn Anderson
We're all creatures of complex needs
and desires. The only certain thing in a romantic relationship is that you will both change, and one morning you will wake up, go the mirror, and see a stranger. You
will have what you wanted, and discover
you want something different. You think
you know who you are, and then you'll
surprise yourself. In all the choices in front of you, Restless, one thing is clear: love is not
something to be thrown away lightly.
There was something about this man, beyond
coincidences of timing and opportunity,
that drew you to him. Before you give
up on the marriage . . . give him a chance.
Be honest with him about the needs that
aren't being met, the dreams you want to
pursue. Let him find out who you really
are. Let him help you in the work of opening
that door, so the two of you can finally
meet after all these years.
How do you know he can't satisfy your
emotional needs? How can you be sure he
doesn't long for magic and passion just as
you do? Can you state with absolute certainty
that you know everything there is to
know about him?
There are rewards to be gained from the
effort, even if it fails. And it will take courage
as well as patience, Restless. Try
everything you can . . . fight to stay with a
man who loves you. Just for now, put
aside the question of what you might have
had with someone else, and focus on what
you can have, what you do have, at this
very moment. I hope you'll find new questions,
and that your husband might be the
She woke from dreamless rest to find her lap filled with wildflowers-blue and gold violets, white starworts with bright yellow centers, wild geraniums, purple heather, pale lavender bellflowers, creamy butterworts...a treasure trove of nature's jewels.
"Where did these come from?" she asked her warrior husband.
He leaned back on his elbows and studied the sea. "Some trolls came by and left them."
"Trolls picking flowers?"
"More believable, surely, than me doing it?"
She laughed and surprised him by competently weaving the summer's late blossoms into a garland for her hair.
"How is it you know how to do that," he asked, "when you are so thoroughly undomestic?"
She threw a purple aster at him and laughed again. "I thought I was managing to conceal that."
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
WILL PUSHED HIS EMPTY PLATE AWAY AND LEANED BACK IN HIS chair, feeling that delightfully uncomfortable sensation that comes when you eat just a little too much of something really delicious. Lady Pauline smiled fondly at the young man. “Would you like extras, Will? There’s plenty left.” He patted his stomach, surprised to find that it seemed to actually feel tighter than normal, as if it were straining at his clothes from the inside. “Thank you, no, Pauline,” he said. “I’ve already had seconds.” “You’ve already had fourths,” Halt commented. Will frowned at him, then turned back to Pauline, smiling at her. At least she didn’t make disparaging comments the way her husband did.
John Flanagan (The Lost Stories (Ranger's Apprentice, #11))
Touching the copper of the ankh reminded me of another necklace, a necklace long since lost under the dust of time. That necklace had been simpler: only a string of beads etched with tiny ankhs. But my husband had brought it to me the morning of our wedding, sneaking up to our house just after dawn in a gesture uncharacteristically bold for him.
I had chastised him for the indiscretion. "What are you doing? You're going to see me this afternoon... and then every day after that!"
"I had to give you these before the wedding." He held up the string of beads. "They were my mother's. I want you to have them, to wear them today.”
He leaned forward, placing the beads around my neck. As his fingers brushed my skin, I felt something warm and tingly run through my body. At the tender age of fifteen, I hadn't exactly understood such sensations, though I was eager to explore them. My wiser self today recognized them as the early stirrings of lust, and . . . well, there had been something else there too. Something else that I still didn't quite comprehend. An electric connection, a feeling that we were bound into something bigger than ourselves. That our being together was inevitable.
"There," he'd said, once the beads were secure and my hair brushed back into place. "Perfect.” He said nothing else after that. He didn't need to. His eyes told me all I needed to know, and I shivered. Until Kyriakos, no man had ever given me a second glance. I was Marthanes' too-tall daughter after all, the one with the sharp tongue who didn't think before speaking. (Shape-shifting would eventually take care of one of those problems but not the other.) But Kyriakos had always listened to me and watched me like I was someone more, someone tempting and desirable, like the beautiful priestesses of Aphrodite who still carried on their rituals away from the Christian priests.
I wanted him to touch me then, not realizing just how much until I caught his hand suddenly and unexpectedly. Taking it, I placed it around my waist and pulled him to me. His eyes widened in surprise, but he didn't pull back. We were almost the same height, making it easy for his mouth to seek mine out in a crushing kiss. I leaned against the warm stone wall behind me so that I was pressed between it and him. I could feel every part of his body against mine, but we still weren't close enough. Not nearly enough.
Our kissing grew more ardent, as though our lips alone might close whatever aching distance lay between us. I moved his hand again, this time to push up my skirt along the side of one leg. His hand stroked the smooth flesh there and, without further urging, slid over to my inner thigh. I arched my lower body toward his, nearly writhing against him now, needing him to touch me everywhere.
"Letha? Where are you at?”
My sister's voice carried over the wind; she wasn't nearby but was close enough to be here soon.
Kyriakos and I broke apart, both gasping, pulses racing. He was looking at me like he'd never seen me before. Heat burned in his gaze.
"Have you ever been with anyone before?" he asked wonderingly.
I shook my head.
"How did you ... I never imagined you doing that...”
"I learn fast.”
He grinned and pressed my hand to his lips. "Tonight," he breathed. "Tonight we ...”
"Tonight," I agreed.
He backed away then, eyes still smoldering. "I love you. You are my life.”
"I love you too." I smiled and watched him go.
Richelle Mead (Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, #1))
NEGLECT AND YOU WILL BE NEGLECTED
There are three people you will be judged heavily on how you treat them in this lifetime. For the man, it is his mother for giving him life, his wife for showing him life, and his daughter for teaching her all that he has learned from life. For the woman, it is her father for giving her the seed of life, her husband for showing her life, and her son for teaching him all that she has learned from life. How a person treats their parents is how they show their gratefulness to the Creator for life. How a husband and wife treat each other, is how they show the Creator how well they do with this gift of life, how well they value and honor the sacred oath they made before him, and how well they understand the Lord and his religion, LOVE. A father must be good to his wife and daughter, because from watching this treatment — the son will learn how to treat all women, and his daughter will know what a good man is supposed to act like. And a mother must always remain morally good and faithful to her husband, be attentive to all her children, and be filled with patience, forgiveness, kind words, compassion and love — so her children are raised to respect all mothers, and know what a good woman is supposed to act like. If you neglect your fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives, then don't be surprised when the Creator is forced to neglect you. Neglect, and you will be neglected. Protect, and you will be protected. Reject, and you will be rejected. Love all, and all that love will be mirrored by the Creator — and reflected back onto YOU.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Ram, taken by surprise at what was happening, rushed to stop his wife, hold her hand and pull her out, but the earth had closed before he could reach her. All that he could clutch were the ends of her hair that turned into blades of grass. Would the pain have been less had she chastised him before she left? Would the pain have been less had they at least spoken before she left? Would the pain have been less had she at least looked at him before she left? But then she was under no obligation. He had liberated her long ago from the burden of being Ram’s wife. But he would always be Sita’s husband.
Devdutt Pattanaik (Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana)
Oh, it's you," Sebastian said in a tone of mild surprise, seeming to ponder how he had ended up kneeling on a bathroom rug with his wife in his arms. "I was prepared to debauch a resisting servant girl, but you're a more difficult case."
"You can debauch me," Evie offered cheerfully.
Her husband smiled, his glowing gaze moving gently over her face. He smoothed back a few escaping curls that had lightened from ruby to soft apricot. "My love, I've tried for thirty years. But despite my dedicated efforts..." A sweetly erotic kiss grazed her lips. "...you still have the innocent eyes of that shy wallflower I eloped with. Can't you try to look at least a little bit jaded? Disillusioned?" He laughed quietly at her efforts and kissed her again, this time with a teasing, sensuous pressure that caused her pulse to quicken.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
For you, a thousand times over."
"Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors."
"...attention shifted to him like sunflowers turning to the sun."
"But even when he wasn't around, he was."
"When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal a wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing."
"...she had a voice that made me think of warm milk and honey."
"My heart stuttered at the thought of her."
"...and I would walk by, pretending not to know her, but dying to."
"It turned out that, like satan, cancer had many names."
"Every woman needed a husband, even if he did silence the song in her."
"The first time I saw the Pacific, I almost cried."
"Proud. His eyes gleamed when he said that and I liked being on the receiving end of that look."
"Make morning into a key and throw it into the well,
Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.
Let the morning sun forget to rise in the East,
Go slowly, lovely moon, go slowly."
"Men are easy,... a man's plumbing is like his mind: simple, very few surprises. You ladies, on the other hand... well, God put a lot of thought into making you."
"All my life, I'd been around men. That night, I discovered the tenderness of a woman."
"And I could almost feel the emptiness in [her] womb, like it was a living, breathing thing. It had seeped into our marriage, that emptiness, into our laughs, and our lovemaking. And late at night, in the darkness of our room, I'd feel it rising from [her] and settling between us. Sleeping between us. Like a newborn child."
"America was a river, roaring along unmindful of the past. I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far. Someplace with no ghosts, no memories, and no sins. If for nothing else, for that I embraced America."
"...and every day I thank [God] that I am alive, not because I fear death, but because my wife has a husband and my son is not an orphan."
"...lifting him from the certainty of turmoil and dropping him in a turmoil of uncertainty."
"...sometimes the dead are luckier."
"He walked like he was afraid to leave behind footprints. He moved as if not to stir the air around him."
"...and when she locked her arms around my neck, when I smelled apples in her hair, I realized how much I had missed her. 'You're still the morning sun to me...' I whispered."
"...there is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eys of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him... there is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He will forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need. I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.
Khalid Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
His mother informed us that she had assumed his wife would be buying his advent calendars for him, now he was married, which came as something of a surprise to me, as I did not remember anything in our wedding vows about ‘To Be Your Bloody Mother From This Day Forth …’ I bought him a calendar the next year as a joke, but he didn’t seem to realise the joke part, going so far as to tell me that for future reference, he actually preferred a Thornton’s calendar to a Dairy Milk one, but he appreciated the thought. And so I continue to buy my forty-year-old husband an advent calendar every year, because apparently I am his mum now, and he is a spoilt child.
Gill Sims (Why Mummy Drinks)
One of the most beautifully disturbing questions we can ask, is whether a given story we tell about our lives is actually true, and whether the opinions we go over every day have any foundation or are things we repeat to ourselves simply so that we will continue to play the game. It can be quite disorienting to find that a story we have relied on is not only not true - it actually never was true. Not now not ever. There is another form of obsolescence that can fray at the cocoon we have spun about ourselves, that is, the story was true at one time, and for an extended period; the story was even true and good to us, but now it is no longer true and no longer of any benefit, in fact our continued retelling of it simply imprisons us. We are used to the prison however, we have indeed fitted cushions and armchairs and made it comfortable and we have locked the door from the inside.
The imprisoning story I identified by the time the entree was served was one I had told myself for a long time. “In order to write I need peace and quiet and an undisturbed place far from others or the possibility of being disturbed. I knew however, that if I wanted to enter the next creative stage, something had to change; I simply did not have enough free space between traveling, speaking and being a good father and husband to write what I wanted to write. The key in the lock turned surprisingly easy, I simply said to myself, “What if I acted as if it wasn’t true any more, what if it had been true at one time, but now at this stage in the apprenticeship I didn’t need that kind of insulation anymore, what if I could write anywhere and at any time?” One of the interesting mercies of this kind of questioning is that it is hard to lose by asking: if the story is still true, we will soon find out and can go back to telling it. If it is not we have turned the key, worked the hinges and walked out into the clear air again with a simple swing of the door.
Your wedding ring, Dallas.” With that quiet smile, Isis lifted Eve’s left hand. “It’s carved with an old Celtic design for protection.” Baffled, Eve studied the pretty etching in the slim gold ring. “It’s just a design.” “It’s a very specific and powerful one, to give the wearer protection from harm.” Amused, she raised her brows. “I see you didn’t know. Is it so surprising, really? Your husband has the blood of the Celts, and you lead a very precarious life. Roarke loves you very much, and you wear the symbol of it.
J.D. Robb (Ceremony In Death (In Death, #5))
Shall the dire day break when life
finds us merely husband and wife
with passion not so much denied
as neatly laundered and put aside
and the old joyous insistence
trimmed to placid coexistence?
Shall we sometime arise from bed
with not a carnal thought in our head
look at each other without surprise
out of wide awake uncandid eyes
touch and know no immediate urge
where all mysteries converge?
Speak for the sake of something to say
and now and then put on a display
of elaborate mimicry of the past to prove
that ritual reigns where once ruled love
and calmly observe those bleak rites
that once made splendour of our nights?
Dear, when we stop being outrageous
and no longer find contagious
the innumerable ecstasies we find
in rise of hand or leap of mind -
not now or then, love, need we fear thus;
those two sad people will not be us.
Christy Brown (Of Snails and Skylarks)
Some day the marriageable age for women will be advanced from twenty to thirty, and the old maid line will be changed from thirty to forty. When that time comes there will be surprisingly few divorces. The husband of whom we dream at twenty is not at all the type of man who attracts us at thirty.
Edna Ferber (Dawn O'Hara, the Girl Who Laughed)
Twas the night before Christmas, and all
through the base
Only sentries were stirring--they guarded the place.
At the foot of each bunk sat a helmet and boot
For the Santa of Soldiers to fill up with loot.
The soldiers were sleeping and snoring away
As they dreamed of “back home” on
good Christmas Day.
One snoozed with his rifle--he seemed so content.
I slept with the letters my family had sent.
When outside the tent there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from my rack to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Poked out my head, and yelled, “What was that crash?”
When what to my thrill and relief should appear,
But one of our Blackhawks to give the all clear.
More rattles and rumbles! I heard a deep whine!
Then up drove eight Humvees, a jeep close behind…
Each vehicle painted a bright Christmas green.
With more lights and gold tinsel than I’d ever seen.
The convoy commander leaped down and he paused.
I knew then and there it was Sergeant McClaus!
More rapid than rockets, his drivers they came
When he whistled, and shouted, and called
them by name:
“Now, Cohen! Mendoza! Woslowski! McCord!
Now, Li! Watts! Donetti! And Specialist Ford!”
“Go fill up my sea bags with gifts large and small!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away, all!”
In the blink of an eye, to their trucks the troops darted.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Through the tent flap the sergeant came in with a bound.
He was dressed all in camo and looked quite a sight
With a Santa had added for this special night.
His eyes--sharp as lasers! He stood six feet six.
His nose was quite crooked, his jaw hard as bricks!
A stub of cigar he held clamped in his teeth.
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.
A young driver walked in with a seabag in tow.
McClaus took the bag, told the driver to go.
Then the sarge went to work. And his mission today?
Bring Christmas from home to the troops far away!
Tasty gifts from old friends in the helmets he laid.
There were candies, and cookies, and cakes, all homemade.
Many parents sent phone cards so soldiers could hear
Treasured voices and laughter of those they held dear.
Loving husbands and wives had mailed photos galore
Of weddings and birthdays and first steps and more.
And for each soldier’s boot, like a warm, happy hug,
There was art from the children at home sweet and snug.
As he finished the job--did I see a twinkle?
Was that a small smile or instead just a wrinkle?
To the top of his brow he raised up his hand
And gave a salute that made me feel grand.
I gasped in surprise when, his face all aglow,
He gave a huge grin and a big HO! HO! HO!
HO! HO! HO! from the barracks and then from the base.
HO! HO! HO! as the convoy sped up into space.
As the camp radar lost him, I heard this faint call:
“HAPPY CHRISTMAS, BRAVE SOLDIERS!
MAY PEACE COME TO ALL!
Trish Holland (The Soldiers' Night Before Christmas)
You don’t want to do this, Miss Sheffield,” he warned.
“Oh,” she said with great feeling, “I do. I really, really do.” And then, with quite the most evil grin her lips had ever formed, she drew back her mallet and smacked her ball with every ounce of every single emotion within her. It knocked into his with stunning force, sending it hurtling even farther down the hill.
Farther . . .
Farther . . .
Right into the lake.
Openmouthed with delight, Kate just stared for a moment as the pink ball sank into the lake. Then something rose up within her, some strange and primitive emotion, and before she knew what she was about, she was jumping about like a crazy woman, yelling, “Yes! Yes! I win!”
“You don’t win,” Anthony snapped.
“Oh, it feels like I’ve won,” she reveled.
Colin and Daphne, who had come dashing down the hill, skidded to a halt before them. “Well done, Miss Sheffield!” Colin exclaimed. “I knew you were worthy of the mallet of death.”
“Brilliant,” Daphne agreed. “Absolutely brilliant.”
Anthony, of course, had no choice but to cross his arms and scowl mightily.
Colin gave her a congenial pat on the back. “Are you certain you’re not a Bridgerton in disguise? You have truly lived up to the spirit of the game.”
“I couldn’t have done it without you,” Kate said graciously. “If you hadn’t hit his ball down the hill . . .”
“I had been hoping you would pick up the reins of his destruction,” Colin said.
The duke finally approached, Edwina at his side. “A rather stunning conclusion to the game,” he commented.
“It’s not over yet,” Daphne said.
Her husband gave her a faintly amused glance. “To continue the play now seems rather anticlimactic, don’t you think?”
Surprisingly, even Colin agreed. “I certainly can’t imagine anything topping it.”
The duke glanced up at the sky. “Furthermore, it’s starting to cloud over. I want to get Daphne in before it starts to rain. Delicate condition and all, you know.”
Kate looked in surprise at Daphne, who had started to blush. She didn’t look the least bit pregnant.
“Very well,” Colin said. “I move we end the game and declare Miss Sheffield the winner.”
“I was two wickets behind the rest of you,” Kate demurred.
“Nevertheless,” Colin said, “any true aficionado of Bridgerton Pall Mall understands that sending Anthony into the lake is far more important than actually sending one’s ball through all the wickets. Which makes you our winner, Miss Sheffield.” He looked about, then straight at Anthony. “Does anyone disagree?”
No one did, although Anthony looked close to violence.
“Excellent,” Colin said. “In that case, Miss Sheffield is our winner, and Anthony, you are our loser.”
A strange, muffled sound burst from Kate’s mouth, half laugh and half choke.
“Well, someone has to lose,” Colin said with a grin. “It’s tradition.”
“It’s true,” Daphne agreed. “We’re a bloodthirsty lot, but we do like to follow tradition.
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
The sudden and uncalled for coldness with which you treated me just before I left last night, both surprised and deeply hurt me - surprised because I could not have believed that such sullen and inflexible obstinacy could exist in the breast of any girl in whose heart love had found place; and hurt me, because I feel for you more than I have ever professed and feel a slight from you more than I care to tell.
My object in writing to you is this: if hasty temper produces this strange behaviour, acknowledge it when I give you the opportunity - not once or twice, but again and again. If a feeling of you know not what - a capricious restlessness of you can't tell what, and a desire to tease, you don't know why, give rise to it - overcome it; it will never make you more amiable, I more fond or either of us, more happy. Depend upon it, whatever be the cause of your unkindness - whatever gives rise to these wayward fancies - that what you do not take the trouble to conceal from a Lover's eyes, will be frequently acted before those of a husband's.
I know as well, as if I were by your side at this moment, that your present impulse on reading this letter is one of anger - pride perhaps, or to use a word more current with your sex - 'spirit'. My dear girl, I have not the most remote intention of awakening any such feeling, and I implore you, not to entertain it for an instant.... I have written these few lines in haste, but not anger.... If you knew but half the anxiety with which I watched your recent illness, the joy with which I hailed your recovery, and the eagerness with which I would promote your happiness, you could more readily understand the extent of the pain so easily inflicted, but so difficult to be forgotten.
- Excerpts from a letter by Charles Dickens to his fiancee of three weeks, 1835
He shook his head. “Most men have never attempted to look past your exterior show, let alone actually seen past it. And to their detriment, for to know you, even as little as you allow me, is a gift. You are intelligent, focused and as strong as any man I’ve ever known. Those things did not happen from some magical wave of a wand. They must have been built from a foundation of some kind.” She stared at him, surprised that her eyes filled briefly with tears. He loved her, truly loved her. With the kind of depth of feeling she had scoffed at in books or pretended only existed for others as she watched her best friends find love and true happiness with their husbands. It made the fact they could not truly be together all the more unfair.
Jess Michaels (Her Perfect Match (Mistress Matchmaker, #3))
Nothing she says or does would surprise me.” Gideon faced the helm once more, putting his back to Barnaby. He wasn’t about to go anywhere near Sara again, not the way he was feeling now. Let Barnaby deal with her today.
“Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean it’s nothing to worry about. You’ve got more schooling than I have, but isn’t Lysistrata the play where the women refuse to have relations with their husbands until the men agree to stop going to war?”
With a groan, Gideon clenched the wheel. Lysistrata was among the many words of literature his father had forced down his throat once he was old enough to read. “Yes. But don’t try to tell me she’s teaching them that. It’s Greek, for god’s sake. They wouldn’t understand a word, even if she knew it well enough to recite it.”
“She knows it well enough to give them a free translation, I assure you. When I left her she was telling them the story with great enthusiasm.”
Barnaby reached for the helm when Gideon swung away from it with an oath. “I should never have taken her aboard,” he grumbled as he strode for the ladder. “I should have sent her back to England gagged and bound!
Sabrina Jeffries (The Pirate Lord)
When Cliff has gotten sick in the past, I have not been the best of nursemaids. Especially if there's a lot going on.I want him to be like the paraplegic and just get up and walk. But I am not Jesus and Cliff is only human. And right now he's sick. If I am learning anything from the Proverbs 31 wife, I'm going to guess that being kind and loving to my husband when he's not feeling well is a lesson I need to learn.
So I resist the urge the freak out and moan and complain about all we have to do and that he just needs to suck it up and be a man and push past the fever and phlegm and pack some boxes. Instead, I push him gently into bed, pull the comforter up to his chin, and bring him cold medicine...and tell him I hope he feels better better before I quietly shut the door behind me. And resist running around the house waving my arms in despair.
Six hours later, as I'm packing up the kitchen, I see Cliff walk out of the bedroom with boxes in his hands, heading toward the office. And I breathe a silent prayer of thanks that I have indeed married a man's man. And that Tylenol works really, really well. And that honey gets a lot better results than gasoline.
Sara Horn (My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife: A One-Year Experiment...and Its Surprising Results)
Cixi’s lack of formal education was more than made up for by her intuitive intelligence, which she liked to use from her earliest years. In 1843, when she was seven, the empire had just finished its first war with the West, the Opium War, which had been started by Britain in reaction to Beijing clamping down on the illegal opium trade conducted by British merchants. China was defeated and had to pay a hefty indemnity.
Desperate for funds, Emperor Daoguang (father of Cixi’s future husband) held back the traditional presents for his sons’ brides – gold necklaces with corals and pearls – and vetoed elaborate banquets for their weddings. New Year and birthday celebrations were scaled down, even cancelled, and minor royal concubines had to subsidise their reduced allowances by selling their embroidery on the market through eunuchs. The emperor himself even went on surprise raids of his concubines’ wardrobes, to check whether they were hiding extravagant clothes against his orders. As part of a determined drive to stamp out theft by officials, an investigation was conducted of the state coffer, which revealed that more “than nine million taels of silver had gone missing.
Furious, the emperor ordered all the senior keepers and inspectors of the silver reserve for the previous forty-four years to pay fines to make up the loss – whether or not they were guilty.
Cixi’s great-grandfather had served as one of the keepers and his share of the fine amounted to 43,200 taels – a colossal sum, next to which his official salary had been a pittance. As he had died a long time ago, his son, Cixi’s grandfather, was obliged to pay half the sum, even though he worked in the Ministry of Punishments and had nothing to do with the state coffer. After three years of futile struggle to raise money, he only managed to hand over 1,800 taels, and an edict signed by the emperor confined him to prison, only to be released if and when his son, Cixi’s father, delivered the balance.
The life of the family was turned upside down. Cixi, then eleven years old, had to take in sewing jobs to earn extra money – which she would remember all her life and would later talk about to her ladies-in-waiting in the court. “As she was the eldest of two daughters and three sons, her father discussed the matter with her, and she rose to the occasion. Her ideas were carefully considered and practical: what possessions to sell, what valuables to pawn, whom to turn to for loans and how to approach them. Finally, the family raised 60 per cent of the sum, enough to get her grandfather out of prison. The young Cixi’s contribution to solving the crisis became a family legend, and her father paid her the ultimate compliment: ‘This daughter of mine is really more like a son!’
Treated like a son, Cixi was able to talk to her father about things that were normally closed areas for women. Inevitably their conversations touched on official business and state affairs, which helped form Cixi’s lifelong interest. Being consulted and having her views acted on, she acquired self-confidence and never accepted the com“common assumption that women’s brains were inferior to men’s. The crisis also helped shape her future method of rule. Having tasted the bitterness of arbitrary punishment, she would make an effort to be fair to her officials.
Jung Chang (Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China)
When a woman had to seek work because her husband lost his job, this threatened the “modern” ideas of masculinity and marriage that most men had come to embrace over the previous two decades. Unemployed men often lost their sense of identity and became demoralized. Many turned to drink. Tempers flared at home. It is not surprising, then, that the experience of the Depression undercut the societal support for working women that had emerged in the early years of the twentieth century.
Stephanie Coontz (Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy)
ON THE A TRAIN
There were no seats to be had on the A train last night, but I had a good grip on the pole at the end of one of the seats and I was reading the beauty column of the Journal-American, which the man next to me was holding up in front of him. All of a sudden I felt a tap on my arm, and I looked down and there was a man beginning to stand up from the seat where he was sitting. "Would you like to sit down?" he said. Well, I said the first thing that came into my head, I was so surprised and pleased to be offered a seat in the subway. "Oh, thank you very much," I said, "but I am getting out at the next station." He sat back and that was that, but I felt all set up and I thought what a nice man he must be and I wondered what his wife was like and I thought how lucky she was to have such a polite husband, and then all of a sudden I realized that I wasn't getting out at the next station at all but the one after that, and I felt perfectly terrible. I decided to get out at the next station anyway, but then I thought, If I get out at the next station and wait around for the next train I'll miss my bus and they only go every hour and that will be silly. So I decided to brazen it out as best I could, and when the train was slowing up at the next station I stared at the man until I caught his eye and then I said, "I just remembered this isn't my station after all." Then I thought he would think I was asking him to stand up and give me his seat, so I said, "But I still don't want to sit down, because I'm getting off at the next station." I showed him by my expression that I thought it was all rather funny, and he smiled, more or less, and nodded, and lifted his hat and put it back on his head again and looked away. He was one of those small, rather glum or sad men who always look off into the distance after they have finished what they are saying, when they speak. I felt quite proud of my strong-mindedness at not getting off the train and missing my bus simply because of the fear of a little embarrassment, but just as the train was shutting its doors I peered out and there it was, 168th Street. "Oh dear!" I said. "That was my station and now I have missed the bus!" I was fit to be fled, and I had spoken quite loudly, and I felt extremely foolish, and I looked down, and the man who had offered me his seat was partly looking at me, and I said, "Now, isn't that silly? That was my station. A Hundred and Sixty-eighth Street is where I'm supposed to get off." I couldn't help laughing, it was all so awful, and he looked away, and the train fidgeted along to the next station, and I got off as quickly as I possibly could and tore over to the downtown platform and got a local to 168th, but of course I had missed my bus by a minute, or maybe two minutes. I felt very much at a loose end wandering around 168th Street, and I finally went into a rudely appointed but friendly bar and had a martini, warm but very soothing, which cost me only fifty cents. While I was sipping it, trying to make it last to exactly the moment that would get me a good place in the bus queue without having to stand too long in the cold, I wondered what I should have done about that man in the subway. After all, if I had taken his seat I probably would have got out at 168th Street, which would have meant that I would hardly have been sitting down before I would have been getting up again, and that would have seemed odd. And rather grasping of me. And he wouldn't have got his seat back, because some other grasping person would have slipped into it ahead of him when I got up. He seemed a retiring sort of man, not pushy at all. I hesitate to think of how he must have regretted offering me his seat. Sometimes it is very hard to know the right thing to do.
His teeth flashed white as he smiled. “Let us strike a bargain, wife.”
“What sort of bargain?” She made no attempt to hide her suspicion.
“I will do as I please with no resistance from you, and when I am satisfied, you may do as you wish.”
For just one moment, his evenhandedness surprised her. Just a moment . . .
“Do you remember what I said about ignorance and innocence, my lord?”
“Very clearly, my lady.”
“I have shucked off both. You toy with me. When you are satisfied, you will go to sleep and leave me to fume at having entered into so poor a pact.”
“You wound me, all the worse for wounding yourself. Do you not know you are a temptress no man could resist?” He frowned at the sudden thought. “Although they had damn well better lest they be fodder for my sword.” His big hand caught her hair, drawing her head back, baring her throat to his caress. “Be advised, wife, I am a possessive man.”
She took a breath, wrapped her arms around his shoulders, and parted her legs, drawing him into the cradle of her hips. “Be advised, husband,” she murmured close beside his ear just before she bit it lightly, “I am a possessive woman.
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
I’ve told you, I had nothing to do with it,” Michael snapped. “But I hope to hell that he’s found soon—facedown in the Thames.” “Enough,” Poppy cried in outrage. Both men glanced at her in surprise. “That is beneath you, Michael! Harry wronged both of us, it’s true, but he has apologized and tried to make reparations.” “Not to me, by God!” Poppy gave him an incredulous glance. “You want an apology from him?” “No.” He glared at her, and then a hoarse note of pleading entered his voice. “I want you.” She flushed with fury. “That will never be possible. And it never was. Your father wouldn’t have consented to have me as his daughter-in-law, because he considered me beneath him. And the truth is that you did, too, or you would have managed everything far differently than you did.” “I’m not a snob, Poppy. I’m conventional. There’s a difference.” She shook her head impatiently—it was an argument she didn’t want to waste precious time on. “It doesn’t matter. I’ve come to love my husband. I will never leave him. So for your sake as well as mine, stop making a spectacle and a nuisance of yourself, and go on with your life. You were meant for better things than this.
Lisa Kleypas (Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3))
The large thumb, now”—she did lean forward then and touch it lightly—“that wouldn’t change much. Means you’re strong-minded, and have a will not easily crossed.” She twinkled at me. “Reckon your husband could have told ye that. Likewise about that one.” She pointed to the fleshy mound at the base of the thumb. “What is it?” “The Mount of Venus, it’s called.” She pursed her thin lips primly together, though the corners turned irrepressibly up. “In a man, ye’d say it means he likes the lasses. For a woman, ’tis a bit different. To be polite about it, I’ll make a bit of a prediction for you, and say your husband isna like to stray far from your bed.” She gave a surprisingly deep and bawdy chuckle, and I blushed slightly. The
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
What d’you reckon happened to the Cattermoles?”
“With any luck, they’ll have got away,” said Hermione, clutching her hot mug for comfort. “As long as Mr. Cattermole had his wits about him, he’ll have transported Mrs. Cattermole by Side-Along-Apparition and they’ll be fleeing the country right now with their children. That’s what Harry told her to do.”
“Blimey, I hope they escaped,” said Ron, leaning back on his pillows. The tea seemed to be doing him good; a little of his color had returned. “I didn’t get the feeling Reg Cattermole was all that quick-witted, though, the way everyone was talking to me when I was him. God, I hope they made it…If they both end up in Azkaban because of us…”
Harry looked over at Hermione and the question he had been about to ask--about whether Mrs. Cattermole’s lack of a wand would prevent her Apparating alongside her husband--died in his throat. Hermione was watching Ron fret over the fate of the Cattermoles, and there was such tenderness in her expression that Harry felt almost as if he had surprised her in the act of kissing him.
“So, have you got it?” Harry asked her, partly to remind her that he was there.
“Got--got what?” she said with a little start.
“What did we just go through all that for? The locket! Where’s the locket?”
“You got it?” shouted Ron, raising himself a little higher on his pillows. “No one tells me anything! Blimey, you could have mentioned it!”
“Well, we were running for our lives from the Death Eaters, weren’t we?” said Hermione.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
God wants people in his city: he tears down the walls to let everyone inside. But God’s very presence is a fire that protects the city. Like a father protecting his children from the bullies on the prowl. Like a chief protecting his village from hostile invasion. Like a husband protecting his wife from a would-be rapist. God protects his kingdom from the tyrannous onslaught that wants inside. God fights “fire with fire.” He does not need cannons or jets or armies to protect his city: it is protected by the very strength of his presence, indwelling in glory with all who would receive him. God’s holy love is experienced inside the city as redemptive glory. But to those ill-intentioned powers that want to invade, God’s holy love is experienced as protective fire.
Joshua Ryan Butler (The Skeletons in God's Closet: The Mercy of Hell, the Surprise of Judgment, the Hope of Holy War)
This act of whistleblowing was not like other acts of whistleblowing. Historically, whistleblowers reveal abuse of power that is surprising and shocking to the public. The Trump-Ukraine story was shocking but in no way surprising: it was in character, and in keeping with a pattern of actions. The incident that the whistleblower chose to report was not the worst thing that Trump had done. Installing his daughter and her husband in the White House was worse. Inciting violence was worse. Unleashing war on immigrants was worse. Enabling murderous dictators the world over was worse. The two realities of Trump’s America—democratic and autocratic—collided daily in the impeachment hearings. In one reality, Congress was following due process to investigate and potentially remove from office a president who had abused power. In the other reality, the proceedings were a challenge to Trump’s legitimate autocratic power. The realities clashed but still did not overlap: to any participant or viewer on one side of the divide, anything the other side said only reaffirmed their reality. The realities were also asymmetrical: an autocratic attempt is a crisis, but the logic and language of impeachment proceedings is the logic and language of normal politics, of vote counting and procedure. If it had succeeded in removing Trump from office, it would have constituted a triumph of institutions over the autocratic attempt. It did not. The impeachment proceedings became merely a part of the historical record, a record of only a small part of the abuse that is Trumpism.
Masha Gessen (Surviving Autocracy)
Mom?” Then again, louder. “Mom?”
She turned around so quickly, she knocked the pan off the stove and nearly dropped the gray paper into the open flame there. I saw her reach back and slap her hand against the knobs, twisting a dial until the smell of gas disappeared.
“I don’t feel good. Can I stay home today?”
No response, not even a blink. Her jaw was working, grinding, but it took me walking over to the table and sitting down for her to find her voice. “How—how did you get in here?”
“I have a bad headache and my stomach hurts,” I told her, putting my elbows up on the table. I knew she hated when I whined, but I didn’t think she hated it enough to come over and grab me by the arm again.
“I asked you how you got in here, young lady. What’s your name?” Her voice sounded strange. “Where do you live?”
Her grip on my skin only tightened the longer I waited to answer. It had to have been a joke, right? Was she sick, too? Sometimes cold medicine did funny things to her.
Funny things, though. Not scary things.
“Can you tell me your name?” she repeated.
“Ouch!” I yelped, trying to pull my arm away. “Mom, what’s wrong?”
She yanked me up from the table, forcing me onto my feet. “Where are your parents? How did you get in this house?”
Something tightened in my chest to the point of snapping.
“Mom, Mommy, why—”
“Stop it,” she hissed, “stop calling me that!”
“What are you—?” I think I must have tried to say something else, but she dragged me over to the door that led out into the garage. My feet slid against the wood, skin burning. “Wh-what’s wrong with you?” I cried. I tried twisting out of her grasp, but she wouldn’t even look at me. Not until we were at the door to the garage and she pushed my back up against it.
“We can do this the easy way or the hard way. I know you’re confused, but I promise that I’m not your mother. I don’t know how you got into this house, and, frankly, I’m not sure I want to know—”
“I live here!” I told her. “I live here! I’m Ruby!”
When she looked at me again, I saw none of the things that made Mom my mother. The lines that formed around her eyes when she smiled were smoothed out, and her jaw was clenched around whatever she wanted to say next. When she looked at me, she didn’t see me. I wasn’t invisible, but I wasn’t Ruby.
“Mom.” I started to cry. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be bad. I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry! Please, I promise I’ll be good—I’ll go to school today and won’t be sick, and I’ll pick up my room. I’m sorry. Please remember. Please!”
She put one hand on my shoulder and the other on the door handle. “My husband is a police officer. He’ll be able to help you get home. Wait in here—and don’t touch anything.”
The door opened and I was pushed into a wall of freezing January air. I stumbled down onto the dirty, oil-stained concrete, just managing to catch myself before I slammed into the side of her car. I heard the door shut behind me, and the lock click into place; heard her call Dad’s name as clearly as I heard the birds in the bushes outside the dark garage.
She hadn’t even turned on the light for me.
I pushed myself up onto my hands and knees, ignoring the bite of the frosty air on my bare skin. I launched myself in the direction of the door, fumbling around until I found it. I tried shaking the handle, jiggling it, still thinking, hoping, praying that this was some big birthday surprise, and that by the time I got back inside, there would be a plate of pancakes at the table and Dad would bring in the presents, and we could—we could—we could pretend like the night before had never happened, even with the evidence in the next room over.
The door was locked.
“I’m sorry!” I was screaming. Pounding my fists against it. “Mommy, I’m sorry! Please!”
Dad appeared a moment later, his stocky shape outlined by the light from inside of the house. I saw Mom’s bright-red face over his shoulder; he turned to wave her off and then reached over to flip on the overhead lights.
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
And I grabbed Celia’s hand and held it. She looked down, surprised. I could feel Harry’s gaze on our hands, too. I pulled my hand away, and just as I corrected myself, I saw a woman down the row from us stare at me. She looked to be in her midthirties, with a patrician face, small blue eyes, and perfectly applied crimson lipstick. Her lips turned down as she looked at me. She had seen me. She had seen me hold Celia’s hand. And she had seen me pull it back. She knew both what I had done and that I had not meant for her to have seen it. Her small eyes got smaller as she stared at me. And any hope I had that she did not realize who I was went right out the window when she turned to the man next to her, probably her husband, and whispered in his ear. I watched as his gaze moved from Mick Riva to me.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
What’s the point?” “Who can know?” answered Merrin. “Who can really hope to know? And yet I think the demon’s target is not the possessed; it is us … the observers … every person in this house. And I think—I think the point is to make us despair; to reject our own humanity, Damien: to see ourselves as ultimately bestial, vile and putrescent; without dignity; ugly; unworthy. And there lies the heart of it, perhaps: in unworthiness. For I think belief in God is not a matter of reason at all; I think it finally is a matter of love: of accepting the possibility that God could ever love us.” Merrin paused, then continued more slowly and with an air of introspection: “Again, who really knows. But it is clear—at least to me—that the demon knows where to strike. Oh, yes, he knows. Long ago I despaired of ever loving my neighbor. Certain people … repelled me. And so how could I love them? I thought. It tormented me, Damien; it led me to despair of myself and from that, very soon, to despair of my God. My faith was shattered.” Surprised, Karras turned and looked at Merrin with interest. “And what happened?” he asked. “Ah, well … at last I realized that God would never ask of me that which I know to be psychologically impossible; that the love which He asked was in my will and not meant to be felt as emotion. No. Not at all. He was asking that I act with love; that I do unto others; and that I should do it unto those who repelled me, I believe, was a greater act of love than any other.” Merrin lowered his head and spoke even more softly. “I know that all of this must seem very obvious to you, Damien. I know. But at the time I could not see it. Strange blindness. How many husbands and wives,” Merrin uttered sadly, “must believe they have fallen out of love because their hearts no longer race at the sight of their beloveds. Ah, dear God!” He shook his head. And then he nodded. “There it lies, I think, Damien … possession; not in wars, as some tend to believe; not so much; and very rarely in extraordinary interventions such as here … this girl … this poor child. No, I tend to see possession most often in the little things, Damien: in the senseless, petty spites and misunderstandings; the cruel and cutting word that leaps unbidden to the tongue between friends. Between lovers. Between husbands and wives. Enough of these and we have no need of Satan to manage our wars; these we manage for ourselves … for ourselves.
William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist)
A father must be good to his wife and daughter, because from watching this treatment — the son will learn how to treat all women, and his daughter will know what a good man is supposed to act like. And a mother must always remain morally good and faithful to her husband, be attentive to all her children, and be filled with patience, forgiveness, kind words, compassion and love — so her children are raised to respect all mothers, and know what a good woman is supposed to act like. If you neglect your fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives, then don't be surprised when the Creator is forced to neglect you. Neglect, and you will be neglected. Protect, and you will be protected. Reject, and you will be rejected. Love all, and all that love will be mirrored by the Creator — and reflected back onto YOU.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
After the dedication, Eleanor saw Bernard privately, probably at her own request. He came prepared to offer more spiritual comfort, thinking that she too might be suffering qualms of conscience over Vitry, but he was surprised to learn that she was not. Nevertheless, several matters were indeed troubling her, not the least the problems of her sister. She asked him to use his influence with the Pope to have the excommunication on Raoul and Petronilla lifted and their marriage recognised by the Church. In return, she would persuade Louis to make peace with Theobald of Champagne and recognise Pierre de la Chatre as Archbishop of Bourges.
Bernard was appalled at her brazen candour. In his opinion, these affairs were no business of a twenty-two-year-old woman. He was, in fact, terrified of women and their possible effects on him. An adolescent, first experiencing physical desire for a young girl, he had been so filled with self-disgust that he had jumped into a freezing cold pond & remained there until his erection subsided. He strongly disapproved of his sister, who had married a rich man; because she enjoyed her wealth, he thought of her as a whore, spawned by Satan to lure her husband from the paths of righteousness, and refused to have anything to do with her. Nor would he allow his monks any contact with their female relatives.
Now there stood before him the young, worldly, and disturbingly beautiful Queen of France, intent upon meddling in matters that were not her concern. Bernard's worst suspicions were confirmed: here, beyond doubt, was the source of that "Counsel of the Devil" that had urged the King on to disaster and plunged him into sin and guilt. His immediate reaction was to admonish Eleanor severely.
Alison Weir (Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life (World Leaders Past & Present))
This is the last word. Jesus always has the last word, and it is always a good last word. It is always about him and it always takes you by surprise with his love and acceptance. What is your response? John’s message is clear: worship him. What does worship him mean? It means everything. It means you turn away from the stagnant pools where you once drank. For the Samaritan woman, it meant she would align her lifestyle with his kingdom. In technical terms, she would repent. She would turn away from acts of death to receive living water, and she would love it. For the young man struggling with thoughts of same-sex attraction, it means that he says to Jesus, “You are not like anyone I have ever known. I trust you.” For the anorectic woman, it means that she no longer puts all her trust in her husband’s love but trusts in Jesus alone, who is the only one capable of bearing the weight of her tremendous emptiness and need.
Edward T. Welch (Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection)
Come on,” I hooked my arm through Aphrodite’s and started to pull her to the Street Cats tent. “You haven’t been good enough to watch.” Before Aphrodite could argue, we were at the Street Cats booth, facing a beaming Sister Mary Angela. “Oh, good, Zoey and Aphrodite. I need the both of you.” The nun made a gracious gesture to the young family standing beside one of the kitten cages. “This is the Cronley family. They have decided to adopt both of the calico kittens. It’s so lovely that the two of them have found their forever homes together—they are unusually close, even for littermates.” “That’s great,” I said. “I’ll start on their paperwork.” “I’ll help you. Two cats—two sets of paperwork,” Aphrodite said. “We came with a note from our veterinarian,” the mom said. “I just knew we’d find our kitten tonight.” “Even though we didn’t expect to find two of them,” her husband added. He squeezed his wife’s shoulder and smiled down at her with obvious affection. “Well, we didn’t expect the twins, either,” his wife said, glancing over at the two girls who were still looking in the kitten cage and giggling at the fluffy calicos that would be joining their family. “That surprise turned out great, which is why I think the two kittens will be perfect as well,” said the dad. Like seeing Lenobia and Travis together—this family made my heart feel good. I had started to move to the makeshift desk with Aphrodite when one of the little girls asked, “Hey mommy, what are those black things?” Something in the child’s voice had me pausing, changing direction, and heading to the kitten cage. When I got there I instantly knew why. Within the cage the two calico kittens were hissing and batting at several large, black spiders. “Oh, yuck!” the mom said. “Looks like your school might have a spider problem.” “I know a good exterminator if you need a recommendation,” the dad said. “We’re gonna need a shit ton more than a good exterminator,” Aphrodite whispered as we stared into the kitten cage. “Yeah, uh, well, we don’t usually have bug issues here,” I babbled as disgust shivered up my back. “Eesh, Daddy! There are lots more of them.” The little blond girl was pointing at the back of the cage. It was so completely covered with spiders that it seemed to be alive with their seething movements. “Oh, my goodness!” Sister Mary Angela looked pale as she stared at the spiders that appeared to be multiplying. “Those things weren’t there moments ago.” “Sister, why don’t you take this nice family into the tent and get their paperwork started,” I said quickly, meeting the nun’s sharp gaze with my own steady one. “And send Damien out here to me. I can use his help to take care of this silly spider problem.” “Yes, yes, of course.” The nun didn’t hesitate. “Get Shaunee, Shaylin, and Stevie Rae,” I told Aphrodite, keeping my voice low. “You’re going to cast a circle in front of all of these
P.C. Cast (Revealed (House of Night #11))
The day wore on.While yet Rycca slept, Dragon did all the things she had said he would do-paced back and forth, contemplated mayhem,and even honed his blade on the whetstone from the stable.All except being oblivious to her,for that he could never manage.
But when she awoke,sitting up heavy-lidded, her mouth so full and soft it was all he could do not to crawl back into bed with her,he put aside such pursuits and controlled himself admirably well,so he thought.
Yet in the midst of preparing a meal for them from the provisions in the pantry of the lodge,he was stopped by Rycca's hand settling upon his.
"Dragon," she said softly, "if you add any more salt to that stew, we will need a barrel of water and more to drink with it."
He looked down, saw that she was right, and cursed under his breath. Dumping out the spoiled stew, he started over. They ate late but they did eat.He was quite determined she would do so,and for once she seemed to have a decent appetite.
"I'm glad to see your stomach is better," he said as she was finishing.
She looked up,startled. "What makes you say that?"
"You haven't seemed able to eat regularly of late."
"Oh,well,you know...so many changes...travel...all that."
He nodded,reached for his goblet, and damn near knocked it over as a sudden thought roared through him.
She rose quickly,gathering up the dishes. His hand lashed out, closing on her wrist. Gently but inexorably, he returned her to her seat. Without taking his eyes from her,he asked, "Is there something you should tell me?"
"I ask myself what sort of changes may cause a woman to be afflicted with an uneasy stomach and it occurs to me I've been a damned idiot."
"Not so! You could never be that."
"Oh,really? How otherwise would I fail to notice that your courses have not come of late? Or is that also due to travel,wife?"
"Some women are not all that regular."
"Some women do not concern me.You do,Rycca. I swear,if you are with child and have not told me, I will-"
She squared her shoulders,lifted her head,and met his eyes hard on. "Will what?"
"What? Will what? Does that mean-"
"I'm sorry,Dragon." Truly repentant, Rycca sighed deeply. "I was going to tell you.I was just waiting for a calmer time.I didn't want you to worry more."
Still grappling with what she had just revealed,he stared at her in astonishment. "You mean worry that my wife and our child are bait for a murderous traitor?"
"I know you're angry and you have a right to be.But if I had told you, we wouldn't be here now."
"Damn right we wouldn't be!" He got up from the table so abruptly that his chair toppled over and crashed to the floor.Ignoring it,Dragon paced back and forth,glaring at her.
Rycca waited,trusting the storm to pass. As she did,she counted silently, curious to see just how long it would take her husband to grasp fully what he had discovered.
"We're going to have a baby."
Not long at all.
She nodded happily. "Yes,we are, and you're going to be a wonderful father."
He walked back to the table,picked her up out of her chair,held her high against his chest,and stared at her.
Rycca laughed. "You can't possibly be surprised.It's not as though we haven't been doing our best to make this happen."
"True,but still it's absolutely incredible."
Very gently,she touched his face. "Perhaps we think of miracles wrongly. They're supposed to be extraordinarily rare but in fact they're as commonplace as a bouquet of wildflowers plucked by a warrior...or a woman having a baby."
Dragon sat down with her still in his arms and held her very close.He swallowed several times and said nothing.
Both could have remained contentedly like that for a long while, but only a few minutes passed before they were interrupted. The raven lit on the sill of the open window just long enough to catch their attention,then she was gone into the bloodred glare of the dying day.
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
Lord Langford," she acknowledged, looking right down her nose at the man.
"Penelope," the older man said, unable to keep the surprise from his gaze.
"It's Lady Bourne to you." The words were cool and cutting, and Michael was sure she'd never been more beautiful. "Come to think of it, it was always lady to you. And you never referred to me as such."
The older man's gaze narrowed in irritation, and Michael had an intense urge to put a fist into the viscount's face for the look.
It was not necessary. His wife was more than able to care for herself. "You don't like that, I see. Well, let me tell what I don't like. I don't like insolence. And I don't like cruelty. And I most definitely don't like you. It is time you and I have it out, Langford, because while you might have stolen my husband's lands and funds and reputation, and you might have been a truly horrendous father to my friend, I absolutely refuse to have you take another thing from me, you despicable old man.
Sarah MacLean (A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, #1))
You want to control me.” She spoke dispassionately as though observing the plight of another woman far distant from herself.
Dragon looked up, surprised. “You are my wife.”
“Say rather possession for so do you think, do you not?”
He shrugged, wondering why she stated the obvious. “All wives belong to their husbands.”
“I wanted to be free.”
His eyes darkened. There was greater challenge here than even he had thought. “You wanted to be safe from Wolscroft and the rest of them, even from me when you though misguidedly. That is why you fled.”
She shook her head. “Oh, no, safety was a convent from which not even my father could have forced me. But it was not to one such that I fled, was it? I wanted freedom, and having tasted it, however briefly, I want it still.”
His hands tightened on her, driven by the sudden, piercing pain her words brought. Did she think to leave him again? To flee as she had done and leave him once more bereft. No, by heaven, she would not! “No one is free,” he said fiercely. “We are all enmeshed in duty and responsibility.”
“Your duty is of your own choosing, for you did not return here after many years away and willingly take up your inheritance. Your destiny is of your own making and you the master of it as much as any man can claim to be. I want the same myself, no more, less.”
“But you are a woman . . .” His bewilderment was genuine. Such yearnings as she described belonged to the realm of men. Women were for hearth and home, the nurturing of children, such ordered security of days as could be wrested from uncertain fate. A man in the thick of battle, in the fury of adventure, in the depths of night had to be able to count on that, for without it, of what purpose was anything?
“You are a woman,” he repeated firmly. “And my wife. You have been too long apart from womanly ways with no proper influence to guide you. I applaud your strength and your courage; both will breed true in my sons, but—”
“Your sons? Your sons? They will be my sons, Lord Vanity, and my daughters as well, mayhap only daughters, for by heaven it would suit me to thwart you so!
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
The Brits call this sort of thing Functional Neurological Symptoms, or FNS, the psychiatrists call it conversion disorder, and almost everyone else just calls it hysteria. There are three generally acknowledged, albeit uncodified, strategies for dealing with it. The Irish strategy is the most emphatic, and is epitomized by Matt O’Keefe, with whom I rounded a few years back on a stint in Ireland. “What are you going to do?” I asked him about a young woman with pseudoseizures. “What am I going to do?” he said. “I’ll tell you what I’m goin’ to do. I’m going to get her, and her family, and her husband, and the children, and even the feckin’ dog in a room, and tell ’em that they’re wasting my feckin’ time. I want ’em all to hear it so that there is enough feckin’ shame and guilt there that it’ll keep her the feck away from me. It might not cure her, but so what? As long as I get rid of them.” This approach has its adherents even on these shores. It is an approach that Elliott aspires to, as he often tells me, but can never quite marshal the umbrage, the nerve, or a sufficiently convincing accent, to pull off. The English strategy is less caustic, and can best be summarized by a popular slogan of World War II vintage currently enjoying a revival: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” It is dry, not overly explanatory, not psychological, and does not blame the patient: “Yes, you have something,” it says. “This is what it is [insert technical term here], but we will not be expending our time or a psychiatrist’s time on it. You will have to deal with it.” Predictably, the American strategy holds no one accountable, involves a brain-centered euphemistic explanation coupled with some touchy-feely stuff, and ends with a recommendation for a therapeutic program that, very often, the patient will ignore. In its abdication of responsibility, motivated by the fear of a lawsuit, it closely mirrors the beginning of the end of a doomed relationship: “It’s not you, it’s … no wait, it’s not me, either. It just is what it is.” Not surprisingly, estimates of recurrence of symptoms range from a half to two-thirds of all cases, making this one of the most common conditions that a neurologist will face, again and again.
Allan H. Ropper
I'm quite certain that Theo plans to wear her cape for at least part of the evening." There was a note of amusement in his voice.
"If you're quite sure that you won't grow overwarm," Claribel said uncertainly, eyeing the cape. It sprang out from Lady Islay's shoulders and then swirled to the ground, managing to look surprisingly light. The inside was lined with a gorgeous rosy silk, and the outside...
"What on earth is that made of?" Claribel couldn't help asking as she reached out to touch it.
"I can guess," Cecil put in, the thread of amusement in his voice even stronger.
"Oh, can you?" Theo remarked. "Then tell me this: am I being altogether too obvious?"
Claribel hadn't the faintest idea what she meant. But Cecil, clever Cecil, obviously did, because he bellowed with laughter.
"Swansdown," he said. "Gorgeous swansdown, and every man and woman in this room has taken note of your swanlike triumph."
"I could not resist," Theo said, with that smile that was all the more attractive for being so rarely seen. "How lucky you are in your husband," she said to Claribel. "It's a rare man who knows his fairy tales.
Eloisa James (The Ugly Duchess (Fairy Tales, #4))
That accounts for his crying so. Poor creature!”
”Well--you must do the sticking--there's no help for it. I'll showyou how. Or I'll do it myself--I think I could. Though as it issuch a big pig I had rather Challow had done it. However, his basketo' knives and things have been already sent on here, and we can use'em.”
”Of course you shan't do it,” said Jude. ”I'll do it, since it mustbe done.”
He went out to the sty, shovelled away the snow for the space of acouple of yards or more, and placed the stool in front, with theknives and ropes at hand. A robin peered down at the preparationsfrom the nearest tree, and, not liking the sinister look of thescene, flew away, though hungry. By this time Arabella had joinedher husband, and Jude, rope in hand, got into the sty, and noosed theaffrighted animal, who, beginning with a squeak of surprise, rose torepeated cries of rage. Arabella opened the sty-door, and togetherthey hoisted the victim on to the stool, legs upward, and while Judeheld him Arabella bound him down, looping the cord over his legs tokeep him from struggling.
The animal's note changed its quality. It was not now rage, but thecry of despair; long-drawn, slow and hopeless.
”Upon my soul I would sooner have gone without the pig than have hadthis to do!” said Jude. ”A creature I have fed with my own hands.”
”Don't be such a tender-hearted fool! There's the sticking-knife--the one with the point. Now whatever you do, don't stick un toodeep.”
”I'll stick him effectually, so as to make short work of it. That'sthe chief thing.”
”You must not!” she cried. ”The meat must be well bled, and to dothat he must die slow. We shall lose a shilling a score if the meatis red and bloody! Just touch the vein, that's all. I was broughtup to it, and I know. Every good butcher keeps un bleeding long.He ought to be eight or ten minutes dying, at least.”
”He shall not be half a minute if I can help it, however the meat maylook,” said Jude determinedly. Scraping the bristles from the pig'supturned throat, as he had seen the butchers do, he slit the fat;then plunged in the knife with all his might.
”'Od damn it all!” she cried, ”that ever I should say it! You'veover-stuck un! And I telling you all the time--”
”Do be quiet, Arabella, and have a little pity on the creature!
Thomas Hardy (Jude the Obscure)
He picked up a glass of Prosecco and handed it to me. “So you’re visiting here?” “I’m here for a year, studying at the accademia,” I said. “I got a bursary to take leave from my teaching job.” “Jolly nice. I’d make the most of it, if I were you. Venice is still one of the few civilized cities in the world. The racial laws created last year by Il Duce were supposed to exclude Jews from education and teaching and then to strip them of property. None of that has happened here. The Venetians still live quite happily and do business in the ghetto and turn a blind eye to those of Jewish origin, like our dear contessa here.” I looked at him with surprise and then turned my gaze to Contessa Fiorito. I remembered now that she had mentioned her parents were Jewish émigrés. “But her husband was an Italian count,” I said. “Indeed he was, but that has nothing to do with her racial origin. Born of a poor Jewish family in Paris, so I understand. Of course she is well respected here and does a lot in the way of philanthropy for the city. Most people don’t even know her heritage.” He drew closer to me. “I have advised her to have an escape plan ready, just in case.
Rhys Bowen (The Venice Sketchbook)
Mesmerized by the gilt ghastliness of it all, Elizabeth slowly turned in a full circle. Above the fireplace there was a gilt-framed painting of a lady attired in nothing whatsoever but a scrap of nearly-transparent red silk that had been draped across her hips. Elizabeth jerked her eyes away from that shocking display of nudity and found herself confronted by a veritable army of cavorting cupids. They reposed in chubby, gilt splendor atop the mantel and the bed tables; a cluster of them formed the tall candelabra beside the bed, which held twelve candles-one of which the footman had lit-and more cupids surrounded an enormous mirror.
“It’s…” Berta uttered as she gazed through eyes the size of saucers, “it’s…I can’t find words,” she breathed, but Elizabeth had passed through her own state of shock and was perilously close to hilarity.
“Unspeakable?” Elizabeth suggested helpfully, and a giggle bubbled up from her throat. “U-Unbelievable?” she volunteered, her shoulders beginning to shake with mirth.
Berta made a nervous, strangled sound, and suddenly it was too much for both of them. Days of relentless tension erupted into gales of hilarity, and they gave in to it with shared abandon. Great gusty shouts of laughter erupted from them, sending tears trickling down their cheeks. Berta snatched for her missing apron, then remembered her new, elevated station in life and instead withdrew a handkerchief from her sleeve, dabbing at the corners of her eyes; Elizabeth simply clutched the forgotten bust to her chest, perched her chin upon its smooth head, and laughed until she ached. So complete was their absorption that neither of them realized their host was entering the bedchamber until Sir Francis boomed enthusiastically, “Lady Elizabeth and Lady Berta!”
Berta let out a muffled scream of surprised alarm and quickly shifted her handkerchief from the corners of her eyes to her mouth.
Elizabeth took one look at the satin-clad figure who rather resembled the cupids he obviously admired, and the dire reality of her predicament hit her like a bucket of icy water, banishing all thoughts of laughter. She dropped her gaze to the floor, trying wildly to remember her plan and to believe she could make it work. She had to make it work, for if she failed, this aging roué with the penchant for gilded cupids could very likely become her husband.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
The bonds of family can be wonderful but there is a time to know when to stand apart." She held out a hand to Rycca on the nearby bench. "Besides, we are your family now, all of us, and we know your worth."
Deeply touched, Rycca had to blink several times before she could respond. She knew both women spoke pure truth and loved them for it.After a lifetime of emotional solitude unbroken but for Thurlow, it was still difficult for her to comprehend that she was no longer alone. Yet was she beginning to understand it.
Softly,she said, "I worry over Dragon. He refuses to talk of my father or of what will happen now that we are here, but I fear he is planning to take matters into his own hands."
Cymbra and Krysta exchanged a glance. Quietly,Cymbra said, "Your instinct is not wrong. Dragon simmers with rage at the harm attempted to you. In Landsende I caught a mere glimpse of it,and it was like peering into one of those mountains that belch fire."
Despite the heat of the sauna, Rycca shivered. "He came close to losing his life once because of me.I cannot bear for it to happen again."
There was silence for a moment,broken only by the crackling of the fire and the hiss of steam.Finally, Cymbra said, "We are each of us married to an extraordinary man. There is something about them...even now I don't really know how to explain it." She looked at Krysta. "Have you told Rycca about Thorgold and Raven?"
Krysta shook her head. "There was no time before." She turned on her side on the bench,facing the other two. "Thorgold and Raven are my...friends. They are somewhat unusual."
Cymbra laughed at that,prompting a chiding look from Krysta,who went on to say, "I'm not sure how but I think somehow I called them to me when I was a child and needed them very much."
"Krysta has the gift of calling," Cymbra said, "as I do of feeling and you do of truthsaying. Doesn't it strike you as odd that three very unusual women, all bearing special gifts, ccame to be married to three extraordinary men who are united by a common purpose,to bring peace to their peoples?"
"I had not really thought about it," said Rycca, who also had not known of Krysta's gift and was looking at her with some surprise. All three of them? That was odd.
"I believe," said Cymbra, who clearly had been thinking about it, "that there is a reason for it beyond mere coincidence. I think we are meant to be at their sides, to help them as best we can, the better to transform peace from dream to reality."
"It is a good thought," Krysta said.
Rycca nodded. Very quietly, she said, "Blessed are the peacemakers."
Cymbra grinned. "And poor things, we appear to be their blessings. So worry not for Dragon, Rycca. He will prevail. We will all see to it."
They laughed then,the trio of them, ancient and feminine laughter hidden in a chamber held in the palm of the earth. The steam rose around them, half obscuringm half revealing them. In time,when the heat had become too intense,they rose, wrapped themselves in billowing cloths,and ran through the gathering darkness to the river, where they frolicked in cool water and laughed again beneath the stars.
The torches had been lit by the time they returned to the stronghold high on the hill. They dressed and hastened to the hall,where they greeted their husbands, who stood as one when they entered,silent and watchful men before beauty and strength, and took their seats at table. Wine was poured, food brought,music played. They lingered over the evening,taking it into night.
The moon was high when they found the sweet,languid sanctuary of their beds. Day came too swiftly.
Josie Litton (Come Back to Me (Viking & Saxon, #3))
Tell me about your children," he said.
"What would you like to know?"
"Anything. How did you decide on their names?"
"Justin was named after my husband's favorite uncle- a dear old bachelor who always brought him books when he was ill. My younger son, Stephen, was named after a character in an adventure novel Lord Clare and I read when we were children."
"What was the title?"
"I can't tell you; you'll think it's silly. It is silly. But we both loved it. We read it dozens of times. I had to send Henry my copy, after-"
After you stole his.
In Henry's view, the worst of West Ravenel's offenses had been stealing his copy of Stephen Armstrong: Treasure Hunter from a box of possessions beneath his bed at school. Although there had never been proof of the thief's identity, Henry had remembered that Ravenel had previously mocked him when he'd seen him reading it. "I know he's the one," Henry had written. "He's probably done something awful with it. Dropped it down the privy. I'd be surprised if the nincompoop can even read."
"Someday when we're big," Phoebe had written in response, full of righteous vengeance, "we'll go thrash him together and take it back from him."
But now she was sitting next to him at dinner.
"-after he lost his copy," she finished awkwardly.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5))
She sat and watched the dockhand when it was sunny and she sat and watched him when it rained. Or when it was foggy, which is what it was nearly every morning at eight o’clock. This morning was none of the above. This morning was cold. The pier smelled of fresh water and of fish. The seagulls screeched overhead, a man’s voice shouted. Where is my brother to help me, my sister, my mother? Pasha, help me, hide in the woods where I know I can find you. Dasha, look what’s happened. Do you even see? Mama, Mama. I want my mother. Where is my family to ask things of me, to weigh on me, to intrude on me, to never let me be silent or alone, where are they to help me through this? Deda, what do I do? I don’t know what to do. This morning the dockhand did not go over to see his friend at the next pier for a smoke and a coffee. Instead, he walked across the road and sat next to her on the bench. This surprised her. But she said nothing, she just wrapped her white nurse’s coat tighter around herself, and fixed the kerchief covering her hair. In Swedish he said to her, “My name is Sven. What’s your name?” After a longish pause, she replied. “Tatiana. I don’t speak Swedish.” In English he said to her, “Do you want a cigarette?” “No,” she replied, also in English. She thought of telling him she spoke little English. She was sure he didn’t speak Russian. He asked her if he could get her a coffee, or something warm to throw over her shoulders. No and no. She did not look at him. Sven was silent a moment. “You want to get on my barge, don’t you?” he asked. “Come. I will take you.” He took her by her arm. Tatiana didn’t move. “I can see you have left something behind,” he said, pulling on her gently. “Go and retrieve it.” Tatiana did not move. “Take my cigarette, take my coffee, or get on my barge. I won’t even turn away. You don’t have to sneak past me. I would have let you on the first time you came. All you had to do was ask. You want to go to Helsinki? Fine. I know you’re not Finnish.” Sven paused. “But you are very pregnant. Two months ago it would have been easier for you. But you need to go back or go forward. How long do you plan to sit here and watch my back?” Tatiana stared into the Baltic Sea. “If I knew, would I be sitting here?” “Don’t sit here anymore. Come,” said the longshoreman. She shook her head. “Where is your husband? Where is the father of your baby?” “Dead in the Soviet Union,” Tatiana breathed out. “Ah, you’re from the Soviet Union.” He nodded. “You’ve escaped somehow? Well, you’re here, so stay. Stay in Sweden. Go to the consulate, get yourself refugee protection. We have hundreds of people getting through from Denmark. Go to the consulate.” Tatiana shook her head. “You’re going to have that baby soon,” Sven said. “Go back, or move forward.” Tatiana’s hands went around her belly. Her eyes glazed over. The dockhand patted her gently and stood up. “What will it be? You want to go back to the Soviet Union? Why?” Tatiana did not reply. How to tell him her soul had been left there? “If you go back, what happens to you?” “I die most likely,” she barely whispered. “If you go forward, what happens to you?” “I live most likely.” He clapped his hands. “What kind of a choice is that? You must go forward.” “Yes,” said Tatiana, “but how do I live like this? Look at me. You think, if I could, I wouldn’t?” “So you’re here in the Stockholm purgatory, watching me move my paper day in and day out, watching me smoke, watching me. What are you going to do? Sit with your baby on the bench? Is that what you want?” Tatiana was silent. The first time she laid eyes on him she was sitting on a bench, eating ice cream. “Go forward.” “I don’t have it in me.” He nodded. “You have it. It’s just covered up. For you it’s winter.” He smiled. “Don’t worry. Summer’s here. The ice will melt.” Tatiana struggled up from the bench. Walking away, she said in Russian, “It’s not the ice anymore, my seagoing philosopher. It’s the pyre.
Paullina Simons (Tatiana and Alexander (The Bronze Horseman, #2))
Why did you cry off?”
She stiffened in surprise; then, trying to match his light, mocking tone, she said, “Viscount Mondevale proved to be a trifle high in the instep about things like his fiancé cavorting about in cottages and greenhouses with you.” She fired and missed.
“How many contenders are there this Season?” he asked conversationally as he turned to the target, pausing to wipe the gun.
She knew he meant contenders for her hand, and pride absolutely would not allow her to say there were none, nor had there been for a long time. “Well…” she said, suppressing a grimace as she thought of her stout suitor with a houseful of cherubs. Counting on the fact that he didn’t move in the inner circles of the ton, she assumed he wouldn’t know much about either suitor. He raised the gun as she said, “There’s Sir Francis Belhaven, for one.”
Instead of firing immediately as he had before, he seemed to require a long moment to adjust his aim. “Belhaven’s an old man,” he said. The gun exploded, and the twig snapped off.
When he looked at her his eyes had chilled, almost as if he thought less of her. Elizabeth told herself she was imagining that and determined to maintain their mood of light conviviality. Since it was her turn, she picked up a gun and lifted it.
“Who’s the other one?”
Relieved that he couldn’t possibly find fault with the age of her reclusive sportsman, she gave him a mildly haughty smile. “Lord John Marchman,” she said, and she fired.
Ian’s shout of laughter almost drowned out the report from the gun. “Marchman!” he said when she scowled at him and thrust the butt of the gun in his stomach. “You must be joking!”
“You spoiled my shot,” she countered.
“Take it again,” he said, looking at her with a mixture of derision, disbelief, and amusement.
“No, I can’t shoot with you laughing. And I’ll thank you to wipe that smirk off your face. Lord Marchman is a very nice man.”
“He is indeed,” said Ian with an irritating grin. “And it’s a damned good thing you like to shoot, because he sleeps with his guns and fishing poles. You’ll spend the rest of your life slogging through streams and trudging through the woods.”
“I happen to like to fish,” she informed him, striving unsuccessfully not to lose her composure. “And Sir Francis may be a trifle older than I, but an elderly husband might be more kind and tolerant than a younger one.”
“He’ll have to be tolerant,” Ian said a little shortly, turning his attention back to the guns, “or else a damned good shot.”
It angered Elizabeth that he was suddenly attacking her when she had just worked it out in her mind that they were supposed to be dealing with what had happened in a light, sophisticated fashion. “I must say, you aren’t being very mature or very consistent!
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Onions! Fresh, hot, sweet onions,” Sam called as Mary Lou pulled the cart down Main Street. “Eight cents a dozen.” It was a beautiful spring morning. The sky was painted pale blue and pink—the same color as the lake and the peach trees along its shore. Mrs. Gladys Tennyson was wearing just her nightgown and robe as she came running down the street after Sam. Mrs. Tennyson was normally a very proper woman who never went out in public without dressing up in fine clothes and a hat. So it was quite surprising to the people of Green Lake to see her running past them. “Sam!” she shouted. “Whoa, Mary Lou,” said Sam, stopping his mule and cart. “G’morning, Mrs. Tennyson,” he said. “How’s little Becca doing?” Gladys Tennyson was all smiles. “I think she’s going to be all right. The fever broke about an hour ago. Thanks to you.” “I’m sure the good Lord and Doc Hawthorn deserve most of the credit.” “The Good Lord, yes,” agreed Mrs. Tennyson, “but not Dr. Hawthorn. That quack wanted to put leeches on her stomach! Leeches! My word! He said they would suck out the bad blood. Now you tell me. How would a leech know good blood from bad blood?” “I wouldn’t know,” said Sam. “It was your onion tonic,” said Mrs. Tennyson. “That’s what saved her.” Other townspeople made their way to the cart. “Good morning, Gladys,” said Hattie Parker. “Don’t you look lovely this morning.” Several people snickered. “Good morning, Hattie,” Mrs. Tennyson replied. “Does your husband know you’re parading about in your bed clothes?” Hattie asked. There were more snickers. “My husband knows exactly where I am and how I am dressed, thank you,” said Mrs. Tennyson. “We have both been up all night and half the morning with Rebecca. She almost died from stomach sickness. It seems she ate some bad meat.” Hattie’s face flushed. Her husband, Jim Parker, was the butcher. “It made my husband and me sick as well,” said Mrs. Tennyson, “but it nearly killed Becca, what with her being so young. Sam saved her life.” “It wasn’t me,” said Sam. “It was the onions.” “I’m glad Becca’s all right,” Hattie said contritely. “I keep telling Jim he needs to wash his knives,” said Mr. Pike, who owned the general store. Hattie Parker excused herself, then turned and quickly walked away. “Tell Becca that when she feels up to it to come by the store for a piece of candy,” said Mr. Pike. “Thank you, I’ll do that.” Before returning home, Mrs. Tennyson bought a dozen onions from Sam. She gave him a dime and told him to keep the change. “I don’t take charity,” Sam told her. “But if you want to buy a few extra onions for Mary Lou, I’m sure she’d appreciate it.” “All right then,” said Mrs. Tennyson, “give me my change in onions.” Sam gave Mrs. Tennyson an additional three onions, and she fed them one at a time to Mary Lou. She laughed as the old donkey ate them out of her hand.
Louis Sachar (Holes)
Through the buzzing in her ears, she heard new sounds from outside, shouting and cursing. All of a sudden the carriage door was wrenched open and someone vaulted inside. Evie squirmed to see who it was. Her remaining breath was expelled in a faint sob as she saw a familiar glitter of dark golden hair.
It was Sebastian as she had never seen him before, no longer detached and self-possessed, but in the grip of bone-shaking rage. His eyes were pale and reptilian as his murderous gaze fastened on Eustace, whose breath began to rattle nervously behind the pudgy ladder of his chin.
“Give her to me,” Sebastian said, his voice hoarse with fury. “Now, you pile of gutter sludge, or I’ll rip your throat out.”
Seeming to realize that Sebastian was eager to carry out the threat, Eustace released his chokehold on Evie. She scrambled toward Sebastian and took in desperate pulls of air. He caught her with a low murmur, his hold gentle but secure. “Easy, love. You’re safe now.” She felt the tremors of rage that ran in continuous thrills through his body.
Sebastian sent a lethal glance to Eustace, who was trying to gather his jellylike mass into the far end of the seat. “The next time I see you,” Sebastian said viciously, “no matter what the circumstances, I’m going to kill you. No law, nor weapon, nor God Himself will be able to stop it from happening. So if you value your life, don’t let your path cross mine again.”
Leaving Eustace in a quivering heap of speechless fear, Sebastian hauled Evie from the vehicle. She clung to him, still trying to regain her breath as she glanced apprehensively around the scene. It appeared that Cam had been alerted to the fracas, and was keeping her two uncles at bay. Brook was on the ground, while Peregrine was staggering backward from some kind of assault, his beefy countenance turning ruddy from enraged surprise.
Swaying as her feet touched the ground, Evie turned her face into her husband’s shoulder. Sebastian was literally steaming, the chilly air striking off his flushed skin and turning his breath into puffs of white. He subjected her to a brief but thorough inspection, his hands running lightly over her, his gaze searching her pale face. His voice was astonishingly tender. “Are you hurt, Evie? Look up at me, love. Yes. Sweetheart… did they do you any injury?”
“N-no.” Evie stared at him dazedly. “My uncle Peregrine,” she whispered, “he’s very p-powerful—”
“I’ll handle him,” he assured her, and called out to Cam. “Rohan! Come fetch her.”
The young man obeyed instantly, approaching Evie with long, fluid strides. He spoke to her with a few foreign-sounding words, his voice soothing her overwrought nerves.
She hesitated before going with him, casting a worried glance at Sebastian.
“It’s all right,” he said without looking at her, his icy gaze locked on Peregrine’s bullish form. “Go.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
There are three people you will be judged heavily on how you treat them in this lifetime. For the man, it is his mother for giving him life, his wife for showing him life, and his daughter for teaching her all that he learned from life. For the woman, it her father for giving her the seed of life, her husband for showing her life, and her son for teaching him all that he has learned from life. How a person treats their parents is how they show their gratefulness to the Creator for life. How a husband and wife treat each other, is how they show the Creator how well they do with this gift of life, and how they value LOVE. And what each parent must teach their kids, are the valuable lessons they gained in life. A father must be good to his wife and daughter, because from watching this treatment -- the son will learn how to treat all women, and his daughter will know what a good man is supposed to act like. And a mother must always remain morally good and faithful to her husband, be attentive to all her children, and be filled with patience, forgiveness, kind words, compassion and love -- so her children are raised to respect all mothers, and know what a good woman is supposed to act like. If you neglect your fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives, then don't be surprised when the Creator is forced to neglect you. Neglect, and you will be neglected. Protect, and you will be protected. Reject, and you will be rejected. Love all, and all that love will be mirrored by the Creator and reflected back onto YOU.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Hillary rode her husband’s success to become first lady of Arkansas, then first lady of the United States. Then she won an easy race in liberal New York to become its junior senator. As a senator she accomplished, well, nothing. Then she ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, losing to Barack Obama, who appointed her secretary of state. Despite extensive travels, Hillary’s achievements as secretary of state are essentially nil. As with Benghazi, most of her notable actions are screwups. In an apparent confirmation of the Peter Principle, however, Hillary is now back as the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. Hillary is fortunate, not merely in her career path, but also in being the surprise recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars that have been rained on her and her husband both directly and through the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Foundation has raised more than $2 billion in contributions. A substantial portion of that came from foreign governments. Some sixteen nations together have given $130 million. In addition, through speeches and consulting fees, more than $100 million has ended up in the pockets of the Clintons themselves. The foundation, although ostensibly a charitable enterprise, gives only one dollar out of ten to charity. It has also been disclosed that the Clintons have developed a penchant for traveling in high style, and use a substantial amount of donation money on private planes and penthouse suites. The rest of the loot seems to have been accumulated into a war chest that is at the behest of the Clintons and the Hillary presidential campaign.
Dinesh D'Souza (Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me about Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party)
But if her idiot suitors were staying at Halstead Hall with her, then by thunder, he'd be here, too. They wouldn't take advantage of her on his watch. "We're agreed that you won't do any of that foolish nonsense you mentioned, like spying on them, right?"
"Of course not. That's what I have you for."
Her private lackey to jump at her commands. He was already regretting this.
"Surely the gentlemen will accept the invitation," she went on, blithely ignoring his disgruntlement. "It's hunting season, and the estate has some excellent coveys."
"I wouldn't know."
She cast him an easy smile. "Because you generally hunt men, not grouse. And apparently you do it very well."
A compliment? From her "No need to flatter me, my lady," he said dryly. "I've already agreed to your scheme."
Her smile vanished. "Really, Mr. Pinter, sometimes you can be so..."
"Honest?" he prodded.
"Irritating." She tipped up her chin. "It will be easier to work together if you're not always so prickly."
He felt more than prickly, and for the most foolish reasons imaginable. Because he didn't like her trawling for suitors. Or using him to do it. And because he hated her "lady of the manor" role. It reminded him too forcibly of the difference in their stations.
"I am who I am, madam," he bit out, as much a reminder for himself as for her. "You knew what you were purchasing when you set out to do this."
She frowned. "Must you make it sound so sordid?"
He stepped as close as he dared. "You want me to gather information you can use in playing a false role to catch s husband. I am not the one making it sordid."
"Tell me, sir, will I have to endure your moralizing at every turn?" she said in a voice dripping with sugar. "Because I'd happily pay extra to have you keep your opinions to yourself."
"There isn't enough money in all the world for that."
Her eyes blazed up at him. Good. He much preferred her in a temper. At least then she was herself, not putting on some show.
She seemed to catch herself, pasting an utterly false smile to her lips. "I see. Well then, can you manage to be civil for the house party? It does me no good to bring suitors here if you'll be skulking about, making them uncomfortable."
He tamped down the urge to provoke her further. If he did she'd strike off on her own, and that would be disastrous. "I shall try to keep my 'skulking' to a minimum."
"Thank you." She thrust out her hand. "Shall we shake on it?"
The minute his fingers closed about hers, he wished he'd refused. Because having her soft hand in his roused everything he'd been trying to suppress during this interview.
He couldn't seem to let go. For such a small-boned female, she had a surprisingly firm grip. Her hand was like her-fragility and strength all wrapped in beauty. He had a mad impulse to lift it to his lips and press a kiss to her creamy skin.
But he was no Lancelot to her Guinevere. Only in legend did lowly knights dare to court queens.
Releasing her hand before he could do something stupid, he sketched a bow. "Good day, my lady. I'll begin my investigation at once and report to you as soon as I learn something."
He left her standing there, a goddess surrounded by the aging glories of an aristocrat's mansion. God save him-this had to be the worst mission he'd ever undertaken, one he was sure to regret.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
when she saw Emmanuel walking towards us. ‘What is it?’ I asked, reaching out to stop her from leaving. She looked at me, then blinked. ‘He’s not the kind of man you want to get involved with, is all I need to say – I just—’ She broke off, shook her head and hurried away, and I was left staring after her retreating back and wondering what she meant. As we drove home, there was none of the easy silence we’d shared on the way to the market. Though this time it was me who was being reticent. I couldn’t help thinking about what that woman had said to me. The warning she had given me. Of course, I wasn’t at all ready or willing to enter into any kind of relationship so soon after my husband’s death, but it got me worried nonetheless. Who was this man that I had welcomed into my home? Shared my meals with? Had I been wrong to put my trust in him? Was I so in need of a friend that I had looked for one in the wrong place? Was Emmanuel, with his quiet, sombre ways and his irreverent humour, someone I needed to worry about? Because in a way that’s what I had been hoping – that we’d be friends. That’s what today had felt like. Besides, he was the first person I’d met here who seemed to really understand the kind of pain I was in. He turned to me as we were driving. ‘Is everything okay, Charlotte?’ It was always a surprise when he said my name, and I startled. Shook my head. The women’s warning racing through my head. He’s not the kind of man you want to get involved with. What had she meant by that? Had she meant that he was some kind of adulterer? Or was it something else? There had been something in the woman’s eyes that had seemed to imply that the warning ran deeper than that.
Lily Graham (The Island Villa)
The Woman at Jacob’s Well
Jesus traveled from Judea to Samaria. About noontime, Jesus rested by Jacob’s well, and His followers went to buy food.
A woman came to the well to draw water. “Give me a drink,” Jesus said.
“You’re a Jew,” she said. “I’m a Samaritan. Jews don’t share with Samaritans.”
“You don’t know who’s asking you for a drink. If you did, you’d ask me for a drink. Then I’d give you living water.”
“You don’t have a bucket, sir. How will you get that living water?”
“Whoever drinks water from this well,” Jesus said, “will get thirsty again. But when I give you water the well is inside of you. It bubbles up to give you eternal life.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “please give me this water. Then I’ll never thirst again. I won’t have to come to this well.”
“Go get your husband, and come back.”
The Samaritan woman said, “I see you’re a prophet. Tell me, which is right, to worship at this mountain or at Jerusalem?”
“Believe me,” Jesus answered. “The time has come when you won’t worship the Father in either place. The real worshipers worship the Father in spirit and in truth. God is seeking people who will worship him this way. You see, God is Spirit. So the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Then the woman said, “I know Christ is coming. When he does he’ll teach us everything.”
“I’m speaking to you. I’m Christ.”
Just then Jesus’ followers came back with the food. They were surprised that Jesus was talking with this Samaritan woman. She left her water jug at the well and hurried back to town. “Come and see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done! Could he be Christ?”
Many people in that town believed in Jesus because of the woman. Jesus stayed there two days. Many more believed because they heard his words.
Daniel Partner (365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories)
What is that?” “Oh, it's… well, something personal to Lady Holly, and… sir, she wouldn't like it if ye—” Maude spluttered with dismayed protests as Zachary reached over and plucked the frame case from the pile. “A miniature?” he asked, deftly shaking the object from its leather casing. “Yes, sir, but… you shouldn't, really… oh, dear.” Maude's pudgy cheeks reddened, and she sighed in patent discomfort as he stared at the little portrait. “George,” Zachary said quietly. He had never seen a likeness of the man, had never wanted to before. It was only to be expected that Holly should carry a portrait of her late husband, for Rose's benefit as well as her own. However, Zachary had never asked to view a likeness of George Taylor, and Holly had certainly never volunteered to show him. Perhaps Zachary had expected that he would feel a pang of animosity at the sight of Taylor's face, but as he stared at the miniature, he was conscious only of a surprising feeling of pity. He had always thought of George as a contemporary, but this face was impossibly young, adorned with sideburns that amounted to a bit of peach fuzz on either side of his cheeks. Zachary was startled by the realization that Taylor couldn't have been more than twenty-four when he died, almost a full ten years younger than Zachary was now. Holly had been wooed and loved by this handsome boy, with his golden blond hair and untroubled blue eyes, and a smile that hinted of mischief. George had died before he'd barely tasted of life, widowing a girl who had been even more innocent than he. Try as he might, Zachary couldn't blame George Taylor for trying to protect Holly, arrange things for her, ensure that his infant daughter was taken care of. No doubt George would have been anguished at the thought of his wife being seduced and made miserable by the Zachary Bronsons of the world.
Lisa Kleypas (Where Dreams Begin)
He strode forward, heedless of the murmuring that began among the women when they saw him. Then Sara turned, and her gaze met his. Instantly a guilty blush spread over her cheeks that told him all he needed to know about her intent.
“Good afternoon, ladies,” he said in steely tones. “Class is over for today. Why don’t you all go up on deck and get a little fresh air?”
When the women looked at Sara, she folded her hands primly in front of her and stared at him. “You have no right to dismiss my class, Captain Horn. Besides, we aren’t finished yet. I was telling them a story—”
“I know. You were recounting Lysistrata.”
Surprise flickered briefly in her eyes, but then turned smug and looked down her aristocratic little nose at him. “Yes, Lysistrata,” she said in a sweet voice that didn’t fool him for one minute. “Surely you have no objection to my educating the women on the great works of literature, Captain Horn.”
“None at all.” He set his hands on his hips. “But I question your choice of material. Don’t you think Aristophanes is a bit beyond the abilities of your pupils?”
He took great pleasure in the shock that passed over Sara’s face before she caught herself. Ignoring the rustle of whispers among the women, she stood a little straighter. “As if you know anything at all about Aristophanes.”
“I don’t have to be an English lordling to know literature, Sara. I know all the blasted writers you English make so much of. Any one of them would have been a better choice for your charges than Aristophanes.”
As she continued to glower at him unconvinced, he scoured his memory, searching through the hundreds of verse passages his English father had literally pounded into him. “You might have chosen Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, for example—‘fie, fie! Unknit that threatening unkind brow. / And dart not scornful glances from those eyes / to wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor.’”
It had been a long time since he’d recited his father’s favorite passages of Shakespeare, but the words were as fresh as if he’d learned them only yesterday. And if anyone knew how to use literature as a weapon, he did. His father had delighted in tormenting him with quotes about unrepentant children.
Sara gaped at him as the other women looked from him to her in confusion. “How . . . I mean . . . when could you possibly—”
“Never mind that. The point us, you’re telling them the tale of Lysistrata when what you should be telling them is ‘thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper. /thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee / and for thy maintenance commits his body / to painful labour by both sea and land.’”
Her surprise at this knowledge of Shakespeare seemed to vanish as she recognized the passage he was quoting—the scene where Katherine accepts Petruchio as her lord and master before all her father’s guests.
Sara’s eyes glittered as she stepped from among the women and came nearer to him. “We are not your wives yet. And Shakespeare also said ‘sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more / men were deceivers ever / one foot on sea and one on shore / to one thing constant never.’”
“Ah, yes. Much Ado About Nothing. But even Beatrice changes her tune in the end, doesn’t she? I believe it’s Beatrice who says, ‘contempt, farewell! And maiden pride, adieu! / no glory lives behind the back of such./ and Benedick, love on, I will requite thee, / taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.’”
“She was tricked into saying that! She was forced to acknowledge him as surely as you are forcing us!”
“Forcing you?” he shouted. “You don’t know the meaning of force! I swear, if you—”
He broke off when he realized that the women were staring at him with eyes round and fearful. Sara was twisting his words to make him sound like a monster. And succeeding, too, confound her.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Pirate Lord)
This is from Elizabeth,” it said. “She has sold Havenhurst.” A pang of guilt and shock sent Ian to his feet as he read the rest of the note: “I am to tell you that this is payment in full, plus appropriate interest, for the emeralds she sold, which, she feels, rightfully belonged to you.”
Swallowing audibly, Ian picked up the bank draft and the small scrap of paper with it. On it Elizabeth herself had shown her calculation of the interest due him for the exact number of days since she’d sold the gems, until the date of her bank draft a week ago.
His eyes ached with unshed tears while his shoulders began to rock with silent laughter-Elizabeth had paid him half a percent less than the usual interest rate.
Thirty minutes later Ian presented himself to Jordan’s butler and asked to see Alexandra. She walked into the room with accusation and ire shooting from her blue eyes as she said scornfully, “I wondered if that note would bring you here. Do you have any notion how much Havenhurst means-meant-to her?”
“I’ll get it back for her,” he promised with a somber smile. “Where is she?”
Alexandra’s mouth fell open at the tenderness in his eyes and voice.
“Where is she?” he repeated with calm determination.
“I cannot tell you,” Alex said with a twinge of regret.
“You know I cannot. I gave my word.”
“Would it have the slightest effect,” Ian countered smoothly, “if I were to ask Jordan to exert his husbandly influence to persuade you to tell me anyway?”
“I’m afraid not,” Alexandra assured him. She expected him to challenge that; instead a reluctant smile drifted across his handsome face. When he spoke, his voice was gentle. “You’re very like Elizabeth. You remind me of her.”
Still slightly mistrustful of his apparent change of heart, Alex said primly, “I deem that a great compliment, my lord.”
To her utter disbelief, Ian Thornton reached out and chucked her under the chin. “I meant it as one,” he informed her with a grin.
Turning, Ian started for the door, then stopped at the sight of Jordan, who was lounging in the doorway, an amused, knowing smile on his face. “If you’d keep track of your own wife, Ian, you would not have to search for similarities in mine.” When their unexpected guest had left, Jordan asked Alex, “Are you going to send Elizabeth a message to let her know he’s coming for her?”
Alex started to nod, then she hesitated. “I-I don’t think so. I’ll tell her that he asked where she is, which is all he really did.”
“He’ll go to her as soon as he figures it out.”
“You still don’t trust him, do you?” Jordan said with a surprised smile.
“I do after this last visit-to a certain extent-but not with Elizabeth’s heart. He’s hurt her terribly, and I won’t give her false hopes and, in doing so, help him hurt her again.”
Reaching out, Jordan chucked her under the chin as his cousin had done, then he pulled her into his arms. “She’s hurt him, too, you know.”
“Perhaps,” Alex admitted reluctantly.
Jordan smiled against her hair. “You were more forgiving when I trampled your heart, my love,” he teased.
“That’s because I loved you,” she replied as she laid her cheek against his chest, her arms stealing around his waist.
“And will you love my cousin just a little if he makes amends to Elizabeth?”
“I might find it in my heart,” she admitted, “if he gets Havenhurst back for her.”
“It’ll cost him a fortune if he tries,” Jordan chuckled. “Do you know who bought it?”
“No, do you?”
He nodded. “Philip Demarcus.”
She giggled against his chest. “Isn’t he that dreadful man who told the prince he’d have to pay to ride in his new yacht up the Thames?”
“The very same.”
“Do you suppose Mr. Demarcus cheated Elizabeth?”
“Not our Elizabeth,” Jordan laughed. “But I wouldn’t like to be in Ian’s place if Demarcus realizes the place has sentimental value to Ian. The price will soar.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
The war was lost
The treaty signed
I was not caught
I crossed the line
I was not caught
Though many tried
I live among you
I had to leave
My life behind
I dug some graves
You'll never find
The story's told
With facts and lies
I had a name
But never mind
The war was lost
The treaty signed
There's Truth that lives
And Truth that dies
I don't know which
So never mind
(...السلام و السلام)
Was so complete
Some among you
Thought to keep
A record of
Our little lives
The clothes we wore
Our spoons our knives
The games of luck
Our soldiers played
The stones we cut
The songs we made
Our law of peace
A husband leads
A wife commands
And all of these
Expressions of the
Some called love
The high indifference
Some call fate
But we had names
Names so deep
And names so true
They're blood to me
They're dust to you
There is no need
And this survives
There's Truth that lives
And Truth that dies
I leave the life
I left behind
There's Truth that lives
And Truth that dies
I don't know which
So never mind
(...السلام و السلام)
I could not kill
The way you kill
I could not hate
I tried, I failed
You turned me in
At least you tried
You side with them whom
This was your heart
This swarm of flies
This was once your mouth
This bowl of lies
You serve them well
I'm not surprised
You're of their kin
You're of their kind
I had to leave my
The story's told
With facts and lies
You own the world
So never mind
I live the life
I left behind
I live it full
I live it wide
Through layers of time
You can't divide
My woman's here
My children too
Their graves are safe
From ghosts like you
In places deep
With roots entwined
I live the life
I left behind
The war was lost
The treaty signed
I was not caught
Across the line
I was not caught
Though many tried
I live among you
1. Each husband’s section opens with an illustrative moniker (for example, “Poor Ernie Diaz,” “Goddamn Don Adler,” “Agreeable Robert Jamison”). Discuss the meaning and significance of some of these descriptions. How do they set the tone for the section that follows? Did you read these characterizations as coming from Evelyn, Monique, an omniscient narrator, or someone else?
2. Of the seven husbands, who was your favorite, and why? Who surprised you the most?
3. Monique notes that hearing Evelyn Hugo’s life story has inspired her to carry herself differently than she would have before. In what ways does Monique grow over the course of the novel? Discuss whether Evelyn also changes by the end of her time with Monique, and if so, what spurs this evolution.
4. On page 147, Monique says, "I have to 'Evelyn Hugo' Evelyn Hugo." What does it mean to "Evelyn Hugo"? Can you think of a time when you might be tempted to "Evelyn Hugo"?
5. Did you trust Evelyn to be a reliable narrator as you were reading? Why, or why not? Did your opinion on this change at all by the conclusion, and if so, why?
6. What role do the news, tabloid, and blog articles interspersed throughout the book serve in the narrative? What, if anything, do we learn about Evelyn’s relationship to the outside world from them?
7. At several points in the novel, such as pages 82–83 and 175–82, Evelyn tells her story through the second person, “you.” How does this kind of narration affect the reading experience? Why do you think she chooses these memories to recount in this way?
8. How do you think Evelyn’s understanding and awareness of sexuality were shaped by her relationship with Billy—the boy who works at the five-and-dime store? How does her sensibility evolve from this initial encounter? As she grows older, to what extent is Evelyn’s attitude toward sex is influenced by those around her?
9. On page 54, Evelyn uses the saying “all’s well that ends well” as part of her explanation for not regretting her actions. Do you think Evelyn truly believes this? Using examples from later in her life, discuss why or why not. How do you think this idea relates to the similar but more negatively associated phrase “the ends justify the means”?
Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
She thinks no one would ever marry ‘a reckless society miss’ and a ‘troublemaker.’”
He winced to hear his own words thrown back at him. Celia was all that…and so much more. Not that he dared tell her. Bad enough that he’d revealed too much of how he felt yesterday. For now, she could chalk it up to mere desire. If he started paying her compliments, she might guess how far his feelings went, and that wouldn’t do.
So he tempered his remarks. “Your grandmother is merely worried that you will waste yourself on some man who doesn’t deserve you.” Like a bastard Bow Street Runner. “I suspect that if you tell her you’re going to marry the duke, she won’t be a bit surprised. And she certainly won’t agree to rescind the ultimatum, now that she’s finally achieved what she wanted.”
“Yes, I’ve come to that conclusion myself. And besides…well…it wouldn’t be fair to involve him in such a plot behind his back when he’s a genuinely nice man offering marriage. If word got out that he had offered and I’d accepted, only to turn him down, people would assume I’d done it because of the madness in his family. That would just be cruel.”
Now that Jackson knew she wasn’t actually going to marry the duke, he could be open-minded. “It certainly wouldn’t be kind,” he agreed. “But I’d be more worried that if word got out, you’d be painted as the worst sort of jilt.”
She shrugged that off. “I wouldn’t care, as long as it freed me from Gran’s ultimatum.”
It took him a moment to digest that. “So you lied when you said at our first discussion of your suitors that you had an interest in marriage?”
“Of course I didn’t lie.” Her cheeks pinkened again. “But I want to marry for love, and not because Gran has decided I’m taking too long at it. I want my husband to genuinely care for me.” Her voice shook a little. “And not just my fortune.” She cut him a sidelong glance. “Or my connections.”
He stiffened in the saddle. “I understand.” Oh yes, he understood all right. Any overtures he made would be construed as mercenary. Her grandmother had made sure of that by telling her of his aspirations.
Not that it mattered. If he married her, he risked watching her lose everything. A Chief Magistrate made quite a lofty sum for someone of Jackson’s station, but for someone of hers?
It was nothing. Less than nothing.
“So what do you plan to do?” he asked. “About your grandmother’s ultimatum, I mean.”
She shook her head. “If presenting her with an offer and begging her forbearance didn’t work, my original plan was just to marry whichever of the three gentlemen had offered.”
“I can’t bring myself to do it.”
He stopped clenching the reins. “Well, that’s something then.”
“So I find myself back where I started. I suppose I shall have to drum up some more suitors.” She slanted a glance at him. “Any ideas?
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
Of course, no china--however intricate and inviting--was as seductive as my fiancé, my future husband, who continued to eat me alive with one glance from his icy-blue eyes. Who greeted me not at the door of his house when I arrived almost every night of the week, but at my car. Who welcomed me not with a pat on the arm or even a hug but with an all-enveloping, all-encompassing embrace. Whose good-night kisses began the moment I arrived, not hours later when it was time to go home.
We were already playing house, what with my almost daily trips to the ranch and our five o’clock suppers and our lazy movie nights on his thirty-year-old leather couch, the same one his parents had bought when they were a newly married couple. We’d already watched enough movies together to last a lifetime. Giant with James Dean, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Reservoir Dogs, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Graduate, All Quiet on the Western Front, and, more than a handful of times, Gone With the Wind. I was continually surprised by the assortment of movies Marlboro Man loved to watch--his taste was surprisingly eclectic--and I loved discovering more and more about him through the VHS collection in his living room. He actually owned The Philadelphia Story. With Marlboro Man, surprises lurked around every corner.
We were already a married couple--well, except for the whole “sleepover thing” and the fact that we hadn’t actually gotten hitched yet. We stayed in, like any married couple over the age of sixty, and continued to get to know everything about each other completely outside the realm of parties, dates, and gatherings. All of that was way too far away, anyway--a minimum hour-and-a-half drive to the nearest big city--and besides that, Marlboro Man was a fish out of water in a busy, crowded bar. As for me, I’d been there, done that--a thousand and one times. Going out and panting the town red was unnecessary and completely out of context for the kind of life we’d be building together.
This was what we brought each other, I realized. He showed me a slower pace, and permission to be comfortable in the absence of exciting plans on the horizon. I gave him, I realized, something different. Different from the girls he’d dated before--girls who actually knew a thing or two about country life. Different from his mom, who’d also grown up on a ranch. Different from all of his female cousins, who knew how to saddle and ride and who were born with their boots on. As the youngest son in a family of three boys, maybe he looked forward to experiencing life with someone who’d see the country with fresh eyes. Someone who’d appreciate how miraculously countercultural, how strange and set apart it all really is. Someone who couldn’t ride to save her life. Who didn’t know north from south, or east from west.
If that defined his criteria for a life partner, I was definitely the woman for the job.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
I'm investigating Lady Celia's potential suitors."
"Oh," she said in a small voice.
He glanced at her, surprised to find her looking stricken. "What's wrong?"
"I didn't know she had suitors."
"Of course she has suitors." Not any he could approve of, but he wasn't about to mention that to his aunt. "I'm sure you read about her grandmother's ultimatum in those reports you transcribed. She has to marry, and soon, too."
"I know. But I was rather hoping...I mean, with you there so often and her being an unconventional sort..." When he cast her a quizzical look, she went on more forcefully, "There's no reason you couldn't offer for her."
He nearly choked on his bread. "Are you out of your mind?"
"She needs a husband. You need a wife. Why not her?"
"Because marquess's daughters don't marry bastards, for one thing."
The coarse word made her flinch. "You're still from a perfectly respectable family, no matter the circumstances of your birth." She eyed him with a sudden gleam in her eye. "And I notice you didn't say you weren't interested."
Hell. He stopped up from gravy with his bread. "I'm not interested."
"I'm not saying you have to be in love with her. That would perhaps be asking too much at this point, but if you courted her, in time-"
"I would fall in love? With Lady Celia? That isn't possible."
Because what he felt for Celia Sharpe was lust, pure and simple. He didn't even know if he wanted to fall in love. It was all fine and well for the Sharpes, who could love where they pleased, but for people like him and his mother, love was an impossible luxury...or a tragedy in the making.
That's why he couldn't let his desire for Lady Celia overcome his reason. His hunger for her might be more powerful than he cared to admit, but he'd controlled it until now, and he would get the best of it in time. He had to. She was determined to marry someone else.
His aunt was watching him with a hooded gaze. "I hear she's somewhat pretty."
Hell and blazes, she wouldn't let this go. "You hear? From whom?"
"Your clerk. He saw her when the family came in to the office one time. He's told me about all the Sharpes, how they depend on you and admire you."
He snorted. "I see my clerk has been doing it up brown."
"So she's not pretty?"
"She's the most beautiful woman I've ever-" At her raised eyebrow, he scowled. "Too beautiful for the likes of me. And of far too high a consequence."
"Her grandmother is a brewer. Her family has been covered in scandal for years. And they're grateful to you for all you've done so far. They might be grateful enough to countenance your suit."
"You don't know the Sharpes."
"Oh, so they're too high and mighty? Treat you like a servant?"
"No," he bit out. "But..."
"By my calculations, there's two months left before she has to marry. If she's had no offers, she might be getting desperate enough to-"
"Settle for a bastard?"
"Ignore the difference in your stations." She seized his arm. "Don't you see, my boy? Here's your chance. You're on the verge of becoming Chief Magistrate. That would hold some weight with her.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
I have an-odd ability-to read very quickly.”
“Oh,” Elizabeth replied, “how lucky you are. I never heard of a talent like that.”
A lazy glamorous smile swept across his face, and he squeezed her hand. “It’s not nearly as uncommon as your eyes,” he said.
Elizabeth thought it must be a great deal more uncommon, but she wasn’t completely certain and she let it pass. The following day, that discovery was completely eclipsed by another one. At Ian’s insistence, she’d spread the books from Havenhurst across his desk in order to go over the quarter’s accounts, and as the morning wore on, the long columns of figures she’d been adding and multiplying began to blur together and transpose themselves in her mind-due in part, she thought with a weary smile, to the fact that her husband had kept her awake half the night making love to her. For the third time, she added the same long columns of expenditures, and for the third time, she came up with a different sum. So frustrated was she that she didn’t realize Ian had come into the room, until he leaned over her from behind and put his hands on the desk on either side of her own. “Problems?” he asked, kissing the top of her head.
“Yes,” she said, glancing at the clock and realizing that the business acquaintances he was expecting would be there momentarily. As she explained her problem to him, she started shoving loose papers into the books, hurriedly trying to reassemble everything and clear his desk. “For the last forty-five minutes, I’ve been adding the same four columns, so that I could divide them by eighteen servants, multiply that by forty servants which we now have there, times four quarters. Once I know that, I can forecast the real cost of food and supplies with the increased staff. I’ve gotten three different answers to those miserable columns, and I haven’t even tried the rest of the calculations. Tomorrow I’ll have to start all over again,” she finished irritably, “and it takes forever just to get all this laid out and organized.” She reached out to close the book and shove her calculations into it, but Ian stopped her.
“Which columns are they?” he asked calmly, his surprised gaze studying the genuine ire on her face.
“Those long ones down the left-hand side. It doesn’t matter, I’ll fight it out tomorrow,” she said. She shoved the chair back, dropped two sheets of paper, and bent over to pick them up. They’d slid beneath the kneehole of the desk, and in growing disgust Elizabeth crawled underneath to get them. Above her, Ian said, “$364.”
“Pardon?” she asked when she reemerged, clutching the errant sheets of paper.
He was writing it down on a scrap of paper. “$364.”
“Do not make light of my wanting to know the figures,” she warned him with an exasperated smile. “Besides,” she continued, leaning up and pressing an apologetic kiss on his cheek, loving the tangy scent of his cologne, “I usually enjoy the bookwork. I’m simply a little short of sleep today, because,” she whispered, “my husband kept me awake half the night.”
“Elizabeth,” he began hesitantly, “there’s something I-“ Then he shook his head and changed his mind, and since Shipley was already standing in the doorway to announce the arrival of his business acquaintances, Elizabeth thought no more of it.
Until the next morning.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
to look at Louisa, stroked her cheek, and was rewarded by a dazzling smile. She had been surprised by how light-skinned the child was. Her features were much more like Eva’s than Bill’s. A small turned-up nose, big hazel eyes, and long dark eyelashes. Her golden-brown hair protruded from under the deep peak of her bonnet in a cascade of ringlets. “Do you think she’d come to me?” Cathy asked. “You can try.” Eva handed her over. “She’s got so heavy, she’s making my arms ache!” She gave a nervous laugh as she took the parcel from Cathy and peered at the postmark. “What’s that, Mam?” David craned his neck and gave a short rasping cough. “Is it sweets?” “No, my love.” Eva and Cathy exchanged glances. “It’s just something Auntie Cathy’s brought from the old house. Are you going to show Mikey your flags?” The boy dug eagerly in his pocket, and before long he and Michael were walking ahead, deep in conversation about the paper flags Eva had bought for them to decorate sand castles. Louisa didn’t cry when Eva handed her over. She seemed fascinated by Cathy’s hair, and as they walked along, Cathy amused her by singing “Old MacDonald.” The beach was only a short walk from the station, and it wasn’t long before the boys were filling their buckets with sand. “I hardly dare open it,” Eva said, fingering the string on the parcel. “I know. I was desperate to open it myself.” Cathy looked at her. “I hope you haven’t built up your hopes, too much, Eva. I’m so worried it might be . . . you know.” Eva nodded quickly. “I thought of that too.” She untied the string, her fingers trembling. The paper fell away to reveal a box with the words “Benson’s Baby Wear” written across it in gold italic script. Eva lifted the lid. Inside was an exquisite pink lace dress with matching bootees and a hat. The label said, “Age 2–3 Years.” Beneath it was a handwritten note: Dear Eva, This is a little something for our baby girl from her daddy. I don’t know the exact date of her birthday, but I wanted you to know that I haven’t forgotten. I hope things are going well for you and your husband. Please thank him from me for what he’s doing for our daughter: he’s a fine man and I don’t blame you for wanting to start over with him. I’m back in the army now, traveling around. I’m due to be posted overseas soon, but I don’t know where yet. I’ll write and let you know when I get my new address. It would be terrific if I could have a photograph of her in this little dress, if your husband doesn’t mind. Best wishes to you all, Bill For several seconds they sat staring at the piece of paper. When Eva spoke, her voice was tight with emotion. “Cathy, he thinks I chose to stay with Eddie!” Cathy nodded, her mind reeling. “Eddie showed me the letter he sent. Bill wouldn’t have known you were in Wales, would he? He would have assumed you and Eddie had already been reunited—that he’d written with your consent on behalf of you both.” She was afraid to look at Eva. “What are you going to do?” Eva’s face had gone very pale. “I don’t know.” She glanced at David, who was jabbing a Welsh flag into a sand castle. “He said he was going to be posted overseas. Suppose they send him to Britain?” Cathy bit her lip. “It could be anywhere, couldn’t it? It could be the other side of the world.” She could see what was going through Eva’s mind. “You think if he came here, you and he could be together without . . .” Her eyes went to the boys. Eva gave a quick, almost imperceptible nod, as if she was afraid someone might see her. “What about Eddie?” “I don’t know!” The tone of her voice made David look up. She put on a smile, which disappeared the
Lindsay Ashford (The Color of Secrets)
At least tell me the truth about Blakeborough,” he said hoarsely. “Do you love him?”
“Why does it matter?”
His eyes ate her up. “If you do, I’ll keep my distance. I’ll stay out of your life from now on.”
“You’ve been doing that easily enough for the past twelve years,” she snapped. “I don’t see why my feelings for Edwin should change anything.”
“Easily? It was never easy, I assure you.” His expression was stony. “And you’re avoiding the question. Are you in love with Blakeborough?”
How she wished she could lie about it. Dom would take himself off, and she wouldn’t be tempted by him anymore. Unfortunately, he could always tell when she was lying. “And if I say I’m not?”
“Then I won’t rest until you’re mine again.”
The determination in his voice shocked her. Unsettled her.
No! “I don’t want that.”
His fingers dug into her arm. “Because you love Blakeborough?”
“Because love is a lie designed to make a woman desire what is only a figure of smoke in the wind. Love is too dangerous.”
He released a heavy breath. “So you don’t love him.”
His persistence sparked her temper, and she pushed free of him. “Oh, for pity’s sake, if you must know, I don’t.” She faced him down. “Not that it matters one whit. I don’t need love to have a good marriage, an amiable marriage. I don’t even want love.”
It hurt too much when her heart was trampled upon. Dom had done that once before. How could she be sure he wouldn’t do it again?
Eyes gleaming in the firelight, he said in a low voice, “You used to want love.”
“I was practically a child. I didn’t know any better. But I do now.”
“Do you? I wonder.” He circled her like a wolf assessing its prey’s weaknesses. “Very well, let’s forget about love for the moment. What about passion?”
“What about it?” she asked unsteadily as he slipped behind her. Nervous, she edged nearer the impressively massive pianoforte that sat in the center of the room.
“What part does passion play in your plan for a safe and loveless marriage?”
She pivoted to face him, startled to find that he’d stepped to within a breath of her. “None at all.”
He chuckled. “Does Blakeborough know that?”
“Not that it’s any of your concern, but Edwin and I have an arrangement. He’ll give me children; I’ll help him make sure Yvette finds a good husband. We both agree that passion is…unimportant to our plans.”
“Really?” He raised an eyebrow. “It certainly aids in the production of those children you’re hoping for. To quote a certain lady, ‘You can set a plan in motion, but as soon as it involves people, it will rarely commence exactly as you wish.’ You may not want passion to be important, sweeting, but it always is.”
“Not to us,” she said, though with him standing so close her legs felt like rubber and her blood raced wildly through her veins. “Not to me.”
With his gaze darkening, he lifted his hand to run his thumb over the pounding pulse at her throat. “Yes, I can tell how unimportant it is to you.”
“That doesn’t mean…anything.”
“Doesn’t it?” He backed her against the pianoforte. “So the way you trembled in my arms this morning means nothing.”
It meant far too much. It meant her body was susceptible to him, even when her mind had the good sense to resist.
And curse him to the devil, he knew it. He slipped his hand about her waist to pull her against him. “It means nothing that every time we’re together, we ignite.”
“People do not…ignite,” she said shakily, though her entire body was on fire. “What an absurd idea.”
She held her breath and waited for his attempt to kiss her, determined to refuse it this time.
But he didn’t kiss her. Instead he fondled her breast through her gown, catching her so by surprise that she gasped, then moaned as the feel of his hand caressing her made liquid heat swirl in her belly.
Devil take the man.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
If you’d convinced Nancy to marry you, you might not have had to go off to be a Bow Street runner. You could have had an easier life, a better life in high society than you could have had with me if you’d married me. Without being able to access my fortune, I could only have dragged you down.”
“You don’t really believe that I wanted to marry her for her money,” he gritted out.
“It’s either that or assume that you fell madly in love with her in the few weeks we were apart.” They were nearly to the inn now, so she added a plaintive note to her voice. “Or perhaps it was her you wanted all along. You knew my uncle would never accept a second son as a husband for his rich heiress of a daughter, so you courted me to get close to her. Nancy was always so beautiful, so--”
Without warning, he dragged her into one of the many alleyways that crisscrossed York. This one was deeply shadowed, the houses leaning into each other overhead, and as he pulled her around to face him, the brilliance of his eyes shone starkly in the dim light.
“I never cared one whit about Nancy.”
She tamped down her triumph--he hadn’t admitted the whole truth yet. “It certainly didn’t look that way to me. It looked like you had already forgotten me, forgotten what we meant to each--”
“The hell I had.” He shoved his face close to hers. “I never forgot you for one day, one hour, one moment. It was you--always you. Everything I did was for you, damn it. No one else.”
The passionate profession threw her off course. Dom had never been the sort to say such sweet things. But the fervent look in his eyes roused memories of how he used to look at her. And his hands gripping her arms, his body angling in closer, were so painfully familiar...
“I don’t…believe you,” she lied, her blood running wild through her veins.
His gleaming gaze impaled her. “Then believe this.” And suddenly his mouth was on hers.
This was not what she’d set out to get from him.
But oh, the joy of it. The heat of it. His mouth covered hers, seeking, coaxing. Without breaking the kiss, he pushed her back against the wall, and she grabbed for his shoulders, his surprisingly broad and muscular shoulders. As he sent her plummeting into unfamiliar territory, she held on for dear life.
Time rewound to when they were in her uncle’s garden, sneaking a moment alone. But this time there was no hesitation, no fear of being caught.
Glorying in that, she slid her hands about his neck to bring him closer. He groaned, and his kiss turned intimate. He used lips and tongue, delving inside her mouth in a tender exploration that stunned her. Enchanted her. Confused her.
Something both sweet and alien pooled in her belly, a kind of yearning she’d never felt with Edwin. With any man but Dom.
As if he sensed it, he pulled back to look at her, his eyes searching hers, full of surprise. “My God, Jane,” he said hoarsely, turning her name into a prayer.
Or a curse? She had no time to figure out which before he clasped her head to hold her for another darkly ravishing kiss. Only this one was greedier, needier. His mouth consumed hers with all the boldness of Viking raiders of yore. His tongue drove repeatedly inside in a rhythm that made her feel all trembly and hot, and his thumbs caressed her throat, rousing the pulse there.
Thank heaven there was a wall to hold her up, or she was quite sure she would dissolve into a puddle at his feet. Because after all these years apart, he was riding roughshod over her life again. And she was letting him.
How could she not? His scent of leather and bergamot engulfed her, made her dizzy with the pleasure of it. He roused urges she’d never known she had, sparked fires in places she’d thought were frozen. Then his hands swept down her possessively as if to memorize her body…or mark it as belonging to him.
Belonging to him.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
Speaking of shooting, my lady,” Mr. Pinter said as he came around the table, “I looked over your pistol as you requested. Everything seems to be in order.”
Removing it from his coat pocket, he handed it to her, a hint of humor in his gaze. As several pair of male eyes fixed on her, she colored. To hide her embarrassment, she made a great show of examining her gun. He’d cleaned it thoroughly, which she grudgingly admitted was rather nice of him.
“What a cunning little weapon,” the viscount said and reached for it. “May I?”
She handed him the pistol.
“How tiny it is,” he exclaimed.
“It’s a lady’s pocket pistol,” she told him as he examined it.
Oliver frowned at her. “When did you acquire a pocket pistol, Celia?”
“A little while ago,” she said blithely.
Gabe grinned. “You may not know this, Basto, but my sister is something of a sharpshooter. I daresay she has a bigger collection of guns than Oliver.”
“Not bigger,” she said. “Finer perhaps, but I’m choosy about my firearms.”
“She has beaten us all at some time or another at target shooting,” the duke said dryly. “The lady could probably hit a fly at fifty paces.”
“Don’t be silly,” she said with a grin. “A beetle perhaps, but not a fly.” The minute the words were out of her mouth, she could have kicked herself. Females did not boast of their shooting-not if they wanted to snag husbands.
“You should come shooting with us,” Oliver said. “Why not?”
The last thing she needed was to beat her suitors at shooting. The viscount in particular would take it very ill. She suspected that Portuguese men preferred their women to be wilting flowers.
“No thank you,” she said. “Target shooting is one thing, but I don’t like hunting birds.”
“Suit yourself,” Gabe said, clearly happy to make it a gentlemen-only outing, though he knew perfectly well that hunting birds didn’t bother her.
“Come now, Lady Celia,” Lord Devonmont said. “You were eating partridges at supper last night. How can you quibble about shooting birds?”
“If she doesn’t want to go, let her stay,” Gabe put in.
“It’s not shooting birds she has an objection to,” Mr. Pinter said in a taunting voice. “Her ladyship just can’t hit a moving target.”
She bit back a hot retort. Don’t scare off the suitors.
“That’s ridiculous, Pinter,” Gabe said. “I’ve seen Celia-ow! What the devil, Oliver? You stepped on my foot!”
“Sorry, old chap, you were in the way,” Oliver said as he went to the table. “I think Pinter’s right, though. Celia can’t hit a moving target.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” she protested, “I most certainly can hit a moving target! Just because I choose not to for the sake of the poor, helpless birds-“
“Convenient, isn’t it, her sudden dislike of shooting ‘poor, helpless birds’?” Mr. Pinter said with a smug glance at Lord Devonmont.
“Convenient, indeed,” Lord Devonmont agreed. “But not surprising. Women don’t have the same ability to follow a bird in flight that a man-“
“That’s nonsense, and you know it!” Celia jumped to her feet. “I can shoot a pigeon or a grouse on the wing as well as any man here.”
“Sounds like a challenge to me,” Oliver said. “What do you think, Pinter?”
“A definite challenge, sir.” Mr. Pinter was staring at her with what looked like satisfaction.
Blast it all, had that been his purpose-to goad her into it?
Oh, what did it matter? She couldn’t let a claim like this or Lord Devonmont’s stand. “Fine. I’ll join you gentlemen for the shooting.”
“Then I propose that whoever bags the most birds gets to kiss the lady,” Lord Devonmont said with a gleam in his eye.
“That’s not much of a prize for me,” Gabe grumbled.
She planted her hands on her hips. “And what if I bag the most birds?”
“Then you get to shoot whomever you wish,” Mr. Pinter drawled.
As the others laughed, Celia glared at him. He was certainly enjoying himself, the wretch. “I’d be careful if I were you, Mr. Pinter. That person would most likely be you.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
Anna Chapman was born Anna Vasil’yevna Kushchyenko, in Volgograd, formally Stalingrad, Russia, an important Russian industrial city. During the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II, the city became famous for its resistance against the German Army. As a matter of personal history, I had an uncle, by marriage that was killed in this battle. Many historians consider the battle of Stalingrad the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare.
Anna earned her master's degree in economics in Moscow. Her father at the time was employed by the Soviet embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, where he allegedly was a senior KGB agent. After her marriage to Alex Chapman, Anna became a British subject and held a British passport. For a time Alex and Anna lived in London where among other places, she worked for Barclays Bank. In 2009 Anna Chapman left her husband and London, and moved to New York City, living at 20 Exchange Place, in the Wall Street area of downtown Manhattan. In 2009, after a slow start, she enlarged her real-estate business, having as many as 50 employees. Chapman, using her real name worked in the Russian “Illegals Program,” a group of sleeper agents, when an undercover FBI agent, in a New York coffee shop, offered to get her a fake passport, which she accepted. On her father’s advice she handed the passport over to the NYPD, however it still led to her arrest.
Ten Russian agents including Anna Chapman were arrested, after having been observed for years, on charges which included money laundering and suspicion of spying for Russia. This led to the largest prisoner swap between the United States and Russia since 1986. On July 8, 2010 the swap was completed at the Vienna International Airport. Five days later the British Home Office revoked Anna’s citizenship preventing her return to England. In December of 2010 Anna Chapman reappeared when she was appointed to the public council of the Young Guard of United Russia, where she was involved in the education of young people. The following month Chapman began hosting a weekly TV show in Russia called Secrets of the World and in June of 2011 she was appointed as editor of Venture Business News magazine.
In 2012, the FBI released information that Anna Chapman attempted to snare a senior member of President Barack Obama's cabinet, in what was termed a “Honey Trap.” After the 2008 financial meltdown, sources suggest that Anna may have targeted the dapper Peter Orzag, who was divorced in 2006 and served as Special Assistant to the President, for Economic Policy. Between 2007 and 2010 he was involved in the drafting of the federal budget for the Obama Administration and may have been an appealing target to the FSB, the Russian Intelligence Agency. During Orzag’s time as a federal employee, he frequently came to New York City, where associating with Anna could have been a natural fit, considering her financial and economics background. Coincidently, Orzag resigned from his federal position the same month that Chapman was arrested. Following this, Orzag took a job at Citigroup as Vice President of Global Banking. In 2009, he fathered a child with his former girlfriend, Claire Milonas, the daughter of Greek shipping executive, Spiros Milonas, chairman and President of Ionian Management Inc. In September of 2010, Orzag married Bianna Golodryga, the popular news and finance anchor at Yahoo and a contributor to MSNBC's Morning Joe. She also had co-anchored the weekend edition of ABC's Good Morning America. Not surprisingly Bianna was born in in Moldova, Soviet Union, and in 1980, her family moved to Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, with a degree in Russian/East European & Eurasian studies and has a minor in economics. They have two children. Yes, she is fluent in Russian! Presently Orszag is a banker and economist, and a Vice Chairman of investment banking and Managing Director at Lazard.
Why this café instead of another? Because of the owner, Madame Chadly, who never seemed surprised by anything and demonstrated a certain indulgence toward her customers. Many years later, the streets of the neighborhood no longer offering anything but the windows of luxury boutiques, the site of the Condé since replaced by a leather shop, I ran into Madame Chadly on the other bank of the Seine, on the way up rue Blanche. She didn’t recognize me right away. We walked a while, side by side, talking about the Condé. Her husband, an Algerian, had purchased the business after the war. She remembered all of our names. She often wondered what had become of us, although she had no illusions. She had known right from the outset that things would turn out badly for us. Stray dogs, she told me.
Patrick Modiano (In the Café of Lost Youth (New York Review Books Classics))
While I was in the partisan unit, I received a letter from my husband by some miracle. This was such a joy, so unexpected, because for two years I had heard nothing from him. And then a plane dropped some food, ammunition…And the mail…And in the mail, in this canvas bag, there was a letter—for me. Then I wrote a letter to the Central Committee. I wrote that I would do anything so long as my husband and I were together.
We waited for the plane, it was nighttime and pitch-dark. And some sort of plane was circling over us, and then it dumped bombs on us. It was a Messerschmitt. The German had spotted our camp and circled back again. And at the same time our plane, a U-2, arrived and landed just by the fir tree where I was standing. The pilot barely landed and immediately began to take off again, because he saw that the German was circling back and would start shooting again. I took hold of the wing and shouted, “I must go to Moscow, I have permission.” He even swore: “Get in!” And we flew together, just the two of us.
I figured out from the postal code where my husband was fighting...
They said, “You know, it’s very dangerous where your husband is…” I sat there and wept, so he took pity on me and gave me the pass. “Go out to the highway,” he said. “There’ll be a traffic controller, he’ll tell you how to go.”
I arrive at the unit, everybody’s surprised, “Who are you?” they ask. I couldn’t say I was a wife.
I tell them—his sister. “Wait,” they tell me, “it’s a four-mile walk to the trenches.”
They told him that his sister had arrived. What sister? They say, “The redhead.” His sister had black hair. So he figured out at once what sister. I don’t know how he managed to crawl out of there, but he came soon, and he and I met. What joy…
Suddenly I see the superiors coming to the dugout: the major, the colonel. Everybody shakes my hand. Then we sat down and drank, and each of them said something about a wife finding her husband in the trenches. That’s a real wife!
The next day my husband was wounded, badly wounded. We ran together, we waded together through some swamp, we crawled together. The machine guns kept rattling, and we kept crawling, and he got wounded in the hip. With an exploding bullet, and try bandaging that—it was in the buttock. It was all torn open, and mud and dirt all over. We were encircled and tried to break out. There was nowhere to take the wounded, and there were no medications. When we did break through, I took my husband to the hospital.
I buried him on January 1, and thirty-eight days later I gave birth to a son.
Svetlana Alexievich (War's Unwomanly Face)
Emma cocked her head, a little surprised. Are you two thinking about getting back together?
Not sure yet. I'm still trying to decide if his shitty behavior last spring qualifies as a go or a gone.
She looks at him quizzically.
Oh it's just something kind of silly an influencer said in one of our relationship surveys. A go, she said is something someone does that you should let go of and not worry about. A gone, though, is a big deal and it should have you gone from the picture immediately.
Kate White (The Second Husband)
they pushed back from the table and Thomas joined Gamache, who was looking at the other paintings in the room. “That’s a Brigite Normandin, isn’t it?” Thomas asked. “It is. Fantastic. Very bold, very modern. Compliments the Molinari and the Riopelle. And yet they all work with the traditional Krieghoff.” “You know your art,” said Thomas, slightly surprised. “I love Quebec history,” said Gamache, nodding to the old scene. “But that doesn’t explain the others, does it?” “Are you testing me, monsieur?” Gamache decided to push a little. “Perhaps,” Thomas admitted. “It’s rare to find an autodidact.” “In captivity, anyway,” said Gamache and Thomas laughed. The painting they were staring at was muted, with lines of delicately shaded beiges. “Feels like a desert,” said Gamache. “Desolate.” “Ah, but that’s a misconception,” said Thomas. “Here he goes,” said Marianna. “Not that plant story,” said Julia, turning to Sandra. “Is he still telling that?” “Once a day, like Old Faithful. Stand back.” “Well, time for bed,” said Madame Finney. Her husband unfolded himself from the sofa and the elderly couple left. “Things aren’t as they seem,” said Thomas, and Gamache looked at him, surprised. “In the desert, I mean. It looks desolate but it’s actually teeming with life. You just don’t see it. It hides, for fear of being eaten. There’s one plant in the South African desert called a stone plant. Can you guess how it survives?” “Let’s
Louise Penny (A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4))
Rhys cleared his throat and tugged on his cravat. “I wanted to ask you something.”
“Yes?” St. Clare livened up immediately as he took a sip of whisky.
“Do you treat your wife like your mistress?”
St. Clare raised a brow. Any other man would be sputtering his drink out of his mouth in surprise at the question. Not St. Clare. “No, I treat my wife a lot better than I have ever treated any of my mistresses.”
“That’s not exactly what I mean….” Rhys cleared his throat again.
“Then what do you mean?”
Rhys scratched his temple. “I mean in bed.”
“Oh…” Gabriel scowled. “I do not think I follow.”
“Well, I mean… All the depraved things you did with your mistresses, do you do them to your wife?”
Gabriel raised his brow. “If by depraved, you mean whether I pleasure my wife in every way I have learned how then yes. And she does the same for me.”
“You let her—”
“I let her do anything she wants to do to me and then teach her to do even more,” he added with a wink.
Rhys tugged on his cravat again in agitation. “What I mean is… I’ve heard time and time again that ladies are delicate creatures who cannot withstand arduous pursuits… There are things that are indecent—”
“Let me stop you right there, my dear, virtuous friend. What you think is indecent, I do to my wife every morning before breakfast. And what you call degrading or embarrassing, I call Tuesday.” He finished his drink and slammed the glass onto the desk. “There is no such thing as indecent between a husband and a wife. The only thing indecent is a cold marriage bed. Take it from a former rake.
Sadie Bosque (An Offer from the Marquess (Necessary Arrangements Book 4))
Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise. —Albert Camus, The Plague
Steffanie Strathdee (The Perfect Predator: A Scientist's Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir)
She had no desire to see Conall dead. She loved him.
That was a thought that caught her by surprise. Claray had liked Conall from the start, admired his sense of honor and determination to look after his people. She also appreciated all he had done for her, rescuing her from Kerr, carrying her before him on his mount while she slept, no matter that he was exhausted. He'd also been most patient with her rescuing animals at every turn on the way home to MacFarlane when she'd known he hadn't wanted her to. He was a good man----he worked day and night here to build a home for them all, and he'd tended to her when she was injured and ill with such gentleness and kindness. And then there was his loving.
Aye, at first Claray had worried that her soul might be in peril because of the pleasure he gave her, but she'd come to terms with that. It was just too beautiful and intimate to be something God would begrudge them. Surely, if He hadn't wanted them to enjoy each other like that, He wouldn't have made it possible for people to enjoy it as they did. At least that was her reasoning. Perhaps it was just a justification to allow her to continue to enjoy her marital bed without guilt, but since she found it impossible not to, she was happy to accept that justification.
Whatever the case, with all that she admired, respected and enjoyed about her husband, Claray supposed it would be surprising if she did not love him. Conall was a man worth loving, and she simply could not bear the thought of this man ending his life.
Lynsay Sands (Highland Wolf (Highland Brides, #10))
In the early eighties, Maureen started to bargain with God to try and turn her marriage around. She went with a neighbor girlfriend to get baptized and then asked God to heal her marriage. Surprisingly, her husband came home early from a trip that night. They talked for hours, and she told herself that God had helped them turn a corner. It did not last a month.
Scott M. Rose (We Danced: Our Story of Love and Dementia)
Jazz had stayed with her for three hours. Three, long luxurious hours where he'd pleasured her---to use an old-fashioned word---time after time. And what she'd paid for was good old-fashioned romancing. That had taken her by surprise. All of Jazz's attention had been entirely focused on her body, her desires. He'd managed to push buttons that she didn't even know she had. How many women could say that they got the same service from their husbands? He'd been the ultimate professional, the perfect gentleman. It was hard to see this arrangement as a fairly sleazy business contract. Jazz had seemed to enjoy himself too; either that or the man was a damn fine actor. She closed her eyes and a stream of sexy images washed over her. His attaché case had contained a range of potions, lotions and toys to set the scene for a very naughty evening. He'd drizzled chilled champagne all over her body and had lapped it up with his hot tongue. The thought of it made her shiver with delight.
Carole Matthews (The Chocolate Lovers' Club)
There are three people you will be judged heavily on how you treat them in this lifetime. For the man, it is his mother for giving him life. His wife for showing him life, and his daughter for teaching her all that he learned from life. For the woman, it her father for giving her the seed of life, her husband for showing her life, and her son for teaching him all that he has learned from life.
How a person treats their parents is how they show their gratefulness to the Creator for life. How a husband and wife treat each other, is how they show the Creator how well they do with this gift of life, and how they value LOVE. And what each parent must teach their kids, are the valuable lessons they gained in life. A father must be good to his wife and daughter, because from watching this treatment, his son will learn how to treat all women, and his daughter will know what a good man is supposed to act like. And a mother must always remain morally good and faithful to her husband, be attentive to all her children, and be filled with patience, forgiveness, kind words, compassion and love, so her children are raised to respect all mothers and know what a good woman is supposed to act like. If you neglect your fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives, then do not be surprised when the Creator is forced to neglect you. Neglect, and you will be neglected. Protect, and you will be protected. Reject, and you will be rejected. Love all, and all that love will be mirrored and reflected back onto you.
When I told my first husband I was leaving, he didn’t believe me. He could hardly be blamed. Neither one of us had acknowledged that his violence was a betrayal of our marriage. He wanted to believe that things could stay the same, and we had made a silent agreement to pretend they were. He looked at me in all sincerity and said, “You can’t leave. We’re married. You’re my wife.”
And I said, “Watch me.”
Leaving, breaking my promise, betraying his trust that no matter what happened I would not leave – this cost me. Something inside of me was damaged, as I broke faith with our believe in unconditional commitment. Rationally, I can argue as well as anyone that has violence nullified our agreement, and that I would never advocate that a man or a woman stay where their body or soul is at risk. I have never been sorry I left. But none of this changes the fact that when we break an agreement we are deeply affected, wounding ourselves even as we wound another./
Years ago, counselling a woman whose husband had begun a relationship with another woman during the marriage and consequently left, I heard, beneath her understandable rage, the story of a man unable to face his own need to change past agreements. When he finally left, he told her that for two years before the breakup, each night returning home from work, he had driven around the block for ten to fifteen minutes before he had been able to pull into their driveway. In this same period, much to her surprise, he had insisted on cooking all the dinners when he arrived home. It was only as he left that he told her he had done this because he literally couldn’t swallow the food that she prepared.
If we cannot live with our need to renew agreements we have made, we break the only promise we really owe each other - to be truthful. This means finding both the courage to be truthful with ourselves and a way to live with how our actions affect others, even when there is no ill intent and no one to blame.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
I am going to kill you.” These six words may have triggered more high-stakes predictions than any other sentence ever spoken. They have certainly caused a great deal of fear and anxiety. But why? Perhaps we believe only a deranged and dangerous person would even think of harming us, but that just isn’t so. Plenty of people have thought of harming you: the driver of the car behind you who felt you were going too slowly, the person waiting to use the pay-phone you were chatting on, the person you fired, the person you walked out on—they have all hosted a fleeting violent idea. Though thoughts of harming you may be terrible, they are also inevitable. The thought is not the problem; the expression of the thought is what causes us anxiety, and most of the time that’s the whole idea. Understanding this will help reduce unwarranted fear. That someone would intrude on our peace of mind, that they would speak words so difficult to take back, that they would exploit our fear, that they would care so little about us, that they would raise the stakes so high, that they would stoop so low—all of this alarms us, and by design. Threatening words are dispatched like soldiers under strict orders: Cause anxiety that cannot be ignored. Surprisingly, their deployment isn’t entirely bad news. It’s bad, of course, that someone threatens violence, but the threat means that at least for now, he has considered violence and decided against doing it. The threat means that at least for now (and usually forever), he favors words that alarm over actions that harm. For an instrument of communication used so frequently, the threat is little understood, until you think about it. The parent who threatens punishment, the lawyer who threatens unspecified “further action,” the head of state who threatens war, the ex-husband who threatens murder, the child who threatens to make a scene—all are using words with the exact same intent: to cause uncertainty. Our social world relies on our investing some threats with credibility while discounting others. Our belief that they really will tow the car if we leave it here encourages us to look for a parking space unencumbered by that particular threat. The disbelief that our joking spouse will really kill us if we are late to dinner allows us to stay in the marriage. Threats, you see, are not the issue—context is the issue.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
There are people who make a hobby of "alternative history," imagining how history would be different if small, chance events had gone another way One of my favorite examples is a story I first heard from the physicist Murray Gell-Mann. In the late 1800s, "Buffalo Bill" Cody created a show called Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, which toured the United States, putting on exhibitions of gun fighting, horsemanship, and other cowboy skills. One of the show's most popular acts was a woman named Phoebe Moses, nicknamed Annie Oakley. Annie was reputed to have been able to shoot the head off of a running quail by age twelve, and in Buffalo Bill's show, she put on a demonstration of marksmanship that included shooting flames off candles, and corks out of bottles. For her grand finale, Annie would announce that she would shoot the end off a lit cigarette held in a man's mouth, and ask for a brave volunteer from the audience. Since no one was ever courageous enough to come forward, Annie hid her husband, Frank, in the audience. He would "volunteer," and they would complete the trick together. In 1890, when the Wild West Show was touring Europe, a young crown prince (and later, kaiser), Wilhelm, was in the audience. When the grand finale came, much to Annie's surprise, the macho crown prince stood up and volunteered. The future German kaiser strode into the ring, placed the cigarette in his mouth, and stood ready. Annie, who had been up late the night before in the local beer garden, was unnerved by this unexpected development. She lined the cigarette up in her sights, squeezed...and hit it right on target.
Many people have speculated that if at that moment, there had been a slight tremor in Annie's hand, then World War I might never have happened. If World War I had not happened, 8.5 million soldiers and 13 million civilian lives would have been saved. Furthermore, if Annie's hand had trembled and World War I had not happened, Hitler would not have risen from the ashes of a defeated Germany, and Lenin would not have overthrown a demoralized Russian government. The entire course of twentieth-century history might have been changed by the merest quiver of a hand at a critical moment. Yet, at the time, there was no way anyone could have known the momentous nature of the event.
Eric D. Beinhocker (The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics)
Inspired by the traditions of Piedmont comes a handcrafted, milk chocolate gianduiotto truffle speckled with roasted hazelnuts. This is to honor my late husband's family, the Savoias."
When Sara and Carmine sampled the truffles and nodded their approval, Celina breathed a sigh of relief.
"Next, we'll sample the sweet lemon flavor of sfusato amalfitano, formed in the shape of lemons and dusted with sea salt to enhance the flavor." After explaining her inspiration for this local favorite and receiving approval, she gestured to Karin and moved on to the next one.
"This one is a twist on basil, mint, and limoncello. These flavors are enrobed in rich, dark Venezuelan chocolate. I import the cacao beans and roast them downstairs in my kitchen."
Surprise crossed a few faces, followed with growing delight.
Celina continued. "Next, you'll sample a truffle infused with blood orange and topped with roasted pistachios from Sicily, and sweetened with Madagascar vanilla.
Jan Moran (The Chocolatier)
What she was doing was watching TCM and eating tiny slivers of metal. If her health plan paid for more or better imaging, maybe the jig would have been up, and it all could have been an accident, bad luck, one failing kitchen appliance trying to kill her, her husband unwittingly involved. As it was, she just kept getting chewed up from the inside. And nobody suspected anything, least of all Sheila. Her mom was the right age for her body to be failing in unexpected ways, wasn’t she? It was a tragedy, it was sad, but it wasn’t any kind of real surprise. It’s what we all have waiting for us, surely. Only, it didn’t have to be. Not for my mother-in-law. Did she know right at the end, too? Did she finally see a glittering shard in her corn or peas and look up to her husband, watching her spoon this in? At that point, coughing up blood, blood in the toilet, her stomach and intestines in revolt, all failing, did she just guide that next bite in anyway and turn back to her classic movie? I don’t know. She was from that long-suffering generation, though. The one that would rather hide a thing like this than involve her own daughter. The one that would rather her daughter keep a father she could believe in.
Ellen Datlow (Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles)
It should come as no surprise that women need to work doubly hard to prove their right to power. They have to look to their menfolk around them who can support their claim, rather than detract from it--to their fathers and patriarchs, not to their husbands and lovers. They must clarify to a suspicious public that they are not greedy and conniving, power-hungry for their own sakes, but concerned for the success of a broad swath of society. How does one do that except by somehow downplaying their own ambition, or subsuming her power to that of a male associate, or allowing herself to be interrupted in important meetings, or apologizing more than her male counterparts, or appearing more tentative in her decision-making, or not applying for positions and promotions she might think she isn't qualified for? A woman is rarely congratulated for grasping for more, for reaching higher. Women know exactly how their ambition is perceived by the public, and they must veil their power grabs in a warm and cuddly swath of nonaggression and nonthreatening verbiage, dazzling smiles, colored hair, and a calm and steady gaze, maternal even, without holding their head too high, but not too low either. Is it any surprise that today's women don't even apply for political position of authority if they have to walk through a gauntlet of abuse dissecting their appearance, demeanor, age, weight, and sexual past white simultaneously walking a tightrope of unspoken demands for masculinization?
Kara Cooney (When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt)
Always,’ said Evie and Max together. Points for harmony. In truth, in the six years she’d known him, Max had barely mentioned his mother other than to say she’d never been the maternal type and that she set exceptionally high standards for everything; be it a manicure or the behaviour of her husbands or her sons. ‘No engagement ring?’ queried Caroline with the lift of an elegant eyebrow. ‘Ah, no,’ said Evie. ‘Not yet. There was so much choice I, ah...couldn’t decide.’ ‘Indeed,’ said Caroline, before turning to Max. ‘I can, of course, make an appointment for you with my jeweller this afternoon. I’m sure he’ll have something more than suitable. That way Evie will have a ring on her finger when she attends the cocktail party I’m hosting for the pair of you tonight.’ ‘You didn’t have to fuss,’ said Max as he set their overnight cases just inside the door beside a wide staircase. ‘Introducing my soon-to-be daughter-in-law to family and friends is not fuss,’ said Max’s mother reprovingly. ‘It’s expected, and so is a ring. Your brother’s here, by the way.’ ‘You summoned him home as well?’ ‘He came of his own accord,’ she said dryly. ‘No one makes your brother do anything.’ ‘He’s my role model,’ whispered Max as they followed the doyenne of the house down the hall. ‘I need a cocktail dress,’ Evie whispered back. ‘Get it when I go ring hunting. What kind of stone do you want?’ ‘Diamond.’ ‘Colour?’ ‘White.’ ‘An excellent choice,’ said Caroline from up ahead and Max grinned ruefully. ‘Ears like a bat,’ he said in his normal deep baritone. ‘Whisper like a foghorn,’ his mother cut back, and surprised Evie by following up with a deliciously warm chuckle. The house was a beauty. Twenty-foot ceilings and a modern renovation that complemented the building’s Victorian bones. The wood glowed with beeswax shine and the air carried the scent of old-English roses. ‘Did you do the renovation?’ asked Evie and her dutiful fiancé nodded. ‘My first project after graduating.’ ‘Nice work,’ she said as Caroline ushered them into a large sitting room that fed seamlessly through to a wide, paved garden patio.
Mira Lyn Kelly (Waking Up Married (Waking Up, #1))
My Name is Pansy Roger from Toronto, Canada. I am sharing this testimony because someone out there may have similar problem. My Husband doesn’t think polygamy is wrong. He has been seeing another woman for about three months now. I told him that it’s a sin and he needs to stop, but he says he is in love with her. They’ve talked about being together “FOREVER” and eventually her moving in with us. My husband still loves me, he regrets getting into this in the first place, but is not willing to break up with her. I contacted Dr. Dele because I couldn’t handle him again because she was getting much into him.
Dr.dele cast a love spell for me and within 48 hour my husband surprisingly came home on his knees begging me to forgive him that he has broken up with her because he just realized that it’s a big sin unto man and God.
All thanks to Dr.dele, I pray that God will continue to use you to help people. Friends don’t die in silent because someone like Dr. Dele has a solution to your relationship problem. Contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Sweet notes from my husband make me feel good. A I love my husband’s hugs. E 2 I like to be alone with my husband. B I feel loved when my husband washes my car. D 3 Receiving special gifts from my husband makes me happy. C I enjoy long trips with my husband. B 4 I feel loved when my husband helps with the laundry. D I like it when my husband touches me. E 5 I feel loved when my husband puts his arm around me. E I know my husband loves me because he surprises me with gifts. C 6 I like going most anywhere with my husband. B I like to hold my husband’s hand. E 7 I value the gifts my husband gives to me. C I love to hear my husband say he loves me. A 8 I like for my husband to sit close to me. E My husband tells me I look good, and I like that. A 9 Spending time with my husband makes me happy. B Even the smallest gift from my husband is important to me. C 10 I feel loved when my husband tells me he is proud of me. A When my husband helps clean up after a meal, I know that he loves me. D 11 No matter what we do, I love doing things with my husband. B Supportive comments from my husband make me feel good. A 12 Little things my husband does for me mean more to me than things he says. D I love to hug my husband. E 13 My husband’s praise means a lot to me. A It means a lot to me that my husband gives me gifts I really like. C 14 Just being around my husband makes me feel good. B I love it when my husband gives me a massage. E 15 My husband’s reactions to my accomplishments are so encouraging. A It means a lot to me when my husband helps with something I know he hates. D 16 I never get tired of my husband’s kisses. E I love that my husband shows real interest in things I like to do. B 17 I can count on my husband to help me with projects. D I still get excited when opening a gift from my husband. C 18 I love for my husband to compliment my appearance. A I love that my husband listens to me and respects my ideas. B 19 I can’t help but touch my husband when he’s close by. E My husband sometimes runs errands for me, and I appreciate that. D 20 My husband deserves an award for all the things he does to help me. D I’m sometimes amazed at how thoughtful my husband’s gifts to me are. C 21 I love having my husband’s undivided attention. B I love that my husband helps clean the house. D 22 I look forward to seeing what my husband gives me for my birthday. C I never get tired of hearing my husband tell me that I am important to him. A 23 My husband lets me know he loves me by giving me gifts. C My husband shows his love by helping me without me having to ask. D 24 My husband doesn’t interrupt me when I am talking, and I like that. B I never get tired of receiving gifts from my husband. C 25 My husband is good about asking how he can help when I’m tired. D It doesn’t matter where we go, I just like going places with my husband. B 26 I love cuddling with my husband. E I love surprise gifts from my husband. C 27 My husband’s encouraging words give me confidence. A I love to watch movies with my husband. B 28 I couldn’t ask for any better gifts than the ones my husband gives me. C I love it that my husband can’t keep his hands off me. E 29 It means a lot to me when my husband helps me despite being busy. D It makes me feel really good when my husband tells me he appreciates me. A 30 I love hugging and kissing my husband after we’ve been apart for a while. E I love hearing my husband tell me that he missed me. A A:_____ B:_____ C:_____ D:_____ E:_____ A=Words of Affirmation B=Quality Time C=Receiving Gifts D=Acts of Service E=Physical Touch Interpreting and Using Your Profile Score
Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate)
Third places remain upbeat because of the limited way in which the participants are related. Most of the regulars in a third place have a unique and special status with regard to one another. It is special in that such people have neither the blandness of strangers nor that other kind of blandness, which takes zest out of relationships between even the most favorably matched people when too much time is spent together, when too much is known, too many problems are shared, and too much is taken for granted. Many among the regulars of a third place are like Emerson's "commended stranger" who represents humanity anew, who offers a new mirror in which to view ourselves, and who thus breathes life into our conversation. In the presence of the commended stranger, wrote Emerson, "We talk better than we are wont. We have the nimblest fancy, a richer memory, our dumb devil has taken leave for a time. For long hours, we can continue a series of sincere, graceful, rich communications, drawn from the oldest, secretest experience, so that those who sit by, of our kinsfolk, and acquaintance, shall feel a lively surprise at our unusual power.:
The magic of commended strangers fades as one comes to know them better. They are fallible. They have problems and weaknesses like everyone else and, as their luster fades, so does their ability to inspire our wit, memory, and imagination. The third place, however, retards that fading process, and it does so by keeping the lives of most of its regulars disentangled. One individual may enjoy the company of others at a mutual haunt for years without ever having seen their spouses; never having visited their homes or the places where they work; never having seen them against the duller backdrop of their existence on the "outside." Many a third place regular represents conversationally and socially what the mistress represents sexually. Much of the lure and continuing allure of the mistress rests in the fact that only pleasure is involved. There is no rising from bed to face the myriad problems that husband and wife must share and that contaminates their lives and their regard for one another. Third places surely contain many of these "mistresses of conversation," people who meet one another only to share good times and scintillating activities and with whom good times and scintillation thus come to be associated. Out of tacit agreement not to share too much, the excitement attaching the commended stranger is preserved among third place regulars. What, after all, are such incidentals as home and family and job when the nature of life itself, the course of the world in modern times, or the booted ball that cost a victory in last night's game are on the agenda?
Ray Oldenburg (The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community)
What happened to the troubled young reporter who almost brought this magazine down The last time I talked to Stephen Glass, he was pleading with me on the phone to protect him from Charles Lane. Chuck, as we called him, was the editor of The New Republic and Steve was my colleague and very good friend, maybe something like a little brother, though we are only two years apart in age. Steve had a way of inspiring loyalty, not jealousy, in his fellow young writers, which was remarkable given how spectacularly successful he’d been in such a short time. While the rest of us were still scratching our way out of the intern pit, he was becoming a franchise, turning out bizarre and amazing stories week after week for The New Republic, Harper’s, and Rolling Stone— each one a home run. I didn’t know when he called me that he’d made up nearly all of the bizarre and amazing stories, that he was the perpetrator of probably the most elaborate fraud in journalistic history, that he would soon become famous on a whole new scale. I didn’t even know he had a dark side. It was the spring of 1998 and he was still just my hapless friend Steve, who padded into my office ten times a day in white socks and was more interested in alphabetizing beer than drinking it. When he called, I was in New York and I said I would come back to D.C. right away. I probably said something about Chuck like: “Fuck him. He can’t fire you. He can’t possibly think you would do that.” I was wrong, and Chuck, ever-resistant to Steve’s charms, was as right as he’d been in his life. The story was front-page news all over the world. The staff (me included) spent several weeks re-reporting all of Steve’s articles. It turned out that Steve had been making up characters, scenes, events, whole stories from first word to last. He made up some funny stuff—a convention of Monica Lewinsky memorabilia—and also some really awful stuff: racist cab drivers, sexist Republicans, desperate poor people calling in to a psychic hotline, career-damaging quotes about politicians. In fact, we eventually figured out that very few of his stories were completely true. Not only that, but he went to extreme lengths to hide his fabrications, filling notebooks with fake interview notes and creating fake business cards and fake voicemails. (Remember, this was before most people used Google. Plus, Steve had been the head of The New Republic ’s fact-checking department.) Once we knew what he’d done, I tried to call Steve, but he never called back. He just went missing, like the kids on the milk cartons. It was weird. People often ask me if I felt “betrayed,” but really I was deeply unsettled, like I’d woken up in the wrong room. I wondered whether Steve had lied to me about personal things, too. I wondered how, even after he’d been caught, he could bring himself to recruit me to defend him, knowing I’d be risking my job to do so. I wondered how I could spend more time with a person during the week than I spent with my husband and not suspect a thing. (And I didn’t. It came as a total surprise). And I wondered what else I didn’t know about people. Could my brother be a drug addict? Did my best friend actually hate me? Jon Chait, now a political writer for New York and back then the smart young wonk in our trio, was in Paris when the scandal broke. Overnight, Steve went from “being one of my best friends to someone I read about in The International Herald Tribune, ” Chait recalled. The transition was so abrupt that, for months, Jon dreamed that he’d run into him or that Steve wanted to talk to him. Then, after a while, the dreams stopped. The Monica Lewinsky scandal petered out, George W. Bush became president, we all got cell phones, laptops, spouses, children. Over the years, Steve Glass got mixed up in our minds with the fictionalized Stephen Glass from his own 2003 roman à clef, The Fabulist, or Steve Glass as played by Hayden Christiansen in the 2003
If there’s anything you want to know about me, Molly Whitcomb, all you have to do is ask.” He’d guessed the statement might catch her by surprise, maybe even encourage a giggle. But he’d guessed wrong. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. He was tempted to offer an apology, but something within him held back the words. Watching her, he sensed a hurt he wished he could do something about. Heal, in some way. Or at least help shoulder. If she’d only trust him enough to tell him what it was. She laughed softly and sniffed. “Always so direct.” “Not always,” he whispered, wishing she would offer him the same invitation he’d given her—to ask her anything he wanted. He would ask about her husband, how he’d died, when they’d gotten married, what kind of life they’d had together, and if the pain he sensed from her now was from a past hurt, or a present one.
Tamera Alexander (Beyond This Moment (Timber Ridge Reflections))
The most famous child survivor of the Holocaust in the 1950s was not Anne Frank—after all, she didn’t survive—but a young woman named Hannah Bloch Kohner. NBC television’s This Is Your Life was one of television’s first reality shows, in which host Ralph Edwards surprised a guest, often a celebrity, by reuniting him or her with friends and family members the guest hadn’t heard from in years. The program didn’t shy away from either political controversy or questionable sentimentality, as when guest Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto, who had survived the atomic bombing of Hirsohima in 1945, was introduced to the copilot of the Enola Gay. On May 27, 1953, This Is Your Life ambushed a beautiful young woman in the audience, escorted her to the stage, and proceeded, in a matter of minutes, to package, sanitize, and trivialize the Holocaust for a national television audience. Hannah Bloch Kohner’s claim to fame was that she had survived Auschwitz before emigrating, marrying, and settling in Los Angeles. She was the first Holocaust survivor to appear on a national television entertainment program. “Looking at you, it’s hard to believe that during seven short years of a still short life, you lived a lifetime of fear, terror, and tragedy,” host Edwards said to Kohner in his singsong baritone. “You look like a young American girl just out of college, not at all like a survivor of Hitler’s cruel purge of German Jews.” He then reunited a stunned Kohner with Eva, a girl with whom she’d spent eight months in Auschwitz, intoning, “You were each given a cake of soap and a towel, weren’t you, Hannah? You were sent to the so-called showers, and even this was a doubtful procedure, because some of the showers had regular water and some had liquid gas, and you never knew which one you were being sent to. You and Eva were fortunate. Others were not so fortunate, including your father and mother, your husband Carl Benjamin. They all lost their lives in Auschwitz.” It was an extraordinary lapse of sympathy, good taste, and historical accuracy—history that, if not common knowledge, had at least been documented on film. It would be hard to explain how Kohner ever made it on This Is Your Life to be the Holocaust’s beautiful poster girl if you didn’t happen to know that her husband—a childhood sweetheart who had emigrated to the United States in 1938—was host Ralph Edwards’s agent. Hannah Bloch’s appearance was a small, if crass, oasis of public recognition for Holocaust survivors—and child survivors especially—in a vast desert of indifference. It would be decades before the media showed them this much interest again.
R.D. Rosen (Such Good Girls: The Journey of the Hidden Child Survivors of the Holocaust)
Sorry,” Brodie said with a grin as he covered the last ten yards at the end of the pier, a small mutt racing down the docks behind him. “Didn’t mean to startle.”
“So, an Irishman and an Aussie walk into a bar,” Kerry said, recovering quickly and teasing Grace’s husband as he stopped a few feet away. She bent down and clapped her hands as the scruffy mutt came skidding to a stop in front of her. “Hello, Mr. Whomper, and how are you today?” She gave him a good ear scratch, then laughed when he immediately wriggled over to his back in hopes of a belly rub to go with it. Laughing she obliged, then straightened, leaving the dog to sniff out Cooper’s feet, hoping for more of the same from the newcomer.
“Heck of a watchdog you have there, Monaghan,” Cooper said, squatting down to give the dog a good once-over.
“You realize,” Brodie said, “you’ve just made a shameless love slave out of him for life.”
“Well, he has good hands,” Kerry said, then lifted her own in mock surrender when both men looked at her. Cooper was certain his surprised expression mirrored Brodie’s. “What?”
Brodie chuckled, and his grin had the same cheek Cooper had been told his did.
Donna Kauffman (Starfish Moon (Brides of Blueberry Cove, #3))
Consider, for instance, Jill Hubbard Bowman, an intellectual property (IP) attorney in Austin, Texas, who publishes a legal blog, IP Law for Startups, iplawforstartups.com, and an inspiring career website for young women, lookilulu.com. Jill Hubbard Bowman: Unexpected Twists and Turns I had a dream to be a trial attorney who would fight big legal battles and win. And then my dream was derailed by a twin pregnancy that almost killed me. Literally. It was a shock and awe pregnancy. It caused the death, destruction, and rebirth of my identity and legal career. I was working as an intellectual property litigation attorney for a large law firm in Chicago when a pregnancy with twins caused my heart to fail. After fifteen years of infertility, the twin pregnancy was an unexpected surprise. Heart failure because of the pregnancy was an even bigger shock. The toll on my legal career was even more unexpected. Although I was fortunate to survive without a heart transplant, I eventually realized that I needed a career transplant. As my heart function recovered, I valiantly tried to cling to my career dream and do the hard work I loved. But the long hours and travel necessary for trial work were too much for my physical self. I was exhausted with chronic chest pain, two clinging toddlers, and a disgruntled husband. I was tired of being tired. My law firm was exceptionally supportive but I didn’t have the stamina to keep all of the pieces of my life together. Overwhelmed, I let go of my original dream. I backed down, retrenched, and regrouped. I took a year off from legal work to rest, recover, spend time with my toddlers, and open myself to new possibilities.
Whitney Johnson (Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream)
When he was three years old Jackie ran into the house crying. I asked, "What's happened? What's wrong?"
He showed me his bleeding hand - the palm of his hand had been scraped.
"How did you do that? It isn't bad! Did you hurt it on something dirty?" I patted the blood away with a tissue. He stopped crying; he pressed against me with his wet face.
My husband said, coming into the kitchen, "Let's see what happened -"
He took Jackie's hand and stared down at it. Jackie's hand was very small in his; his own hand was not clean. He had been working on the lawn mower. "Should this be washed out or what?" he said, looking at me. "You think there's some germs in it?"
"I'd better wash it out."
I turned on the hot water.
"Maybe it should be sterilised. It should be washed out good," my husband said slowly. He stared down at Jackie's hand and for a few seconds he was silent. He loved Jackie very much; he was always afraid of Jackie getting hit by a car. Now Jackie tried to get away from him, uneasy. My husband looked strange, as if the sight of blood frightened him.
"I can wash it out. I'll put a bandage on it," I said.
He paid no attention to me. Instead, he turned on one of the electric burners of the stove, still holding Jackie's hand. "If it was something rusty... if it was some dirt, some filth, he could get very sick," my husband said. "The germs should be all killed."
"What? What are you going to do?"
"I know what to do," he said irritably, vaguely.
"All it needs is a bandage...."
Jackie began to cry, afraid of his father. He tried to get away. "Goddam it, hold still! You want to get lockjaw or something? Why is this kid always crying?" He pulled Jackie to the stove and before I could stop him he pressed his palm down onto the burner - Jackie screamed, kicked, broke away - it was all over in a second.
"You're crazy! You burned him!" I cried.
My husband stared at me. Jackie was screaming, gasping for breath, he had backed away against the kitchen table. His screams rose higher and higher. My husband stared at him and at me, very pale.
"You're crazy!" I shouted at him.
I ran cold water for Jackie to stick his hand under. The burn was not bad - the stove hadn't been hot enough.
"I didn't mean to hurt him," my husband said slowly, "I... I don't know what...."
"Putting his hand on the stove! God, you must be crazy!"
There was something pulsating in me, a bright, thrilling nerve - I wanted to laugh in my husband's face, I wanted to claw at him, I wanted to gather Jackie up in my arms and run out of the house with him! I hated my husband and I was glad that he had made such a stupid mistake. I was glad he had burned Jackie and that Jackie was crying in my arms, pressing against me, terrified of his father.
"I don't know what I was thinking off," he said. His voice was vague and slow and surprised. "I didn't mean...I'm sorry...."
"Don't scare him anymore!"
"I'm sorry. I must be going crazy...."
"Where did you ever get such an idea?"
He rubbed his hands violently across his face, across his eyes.
"Jesus, I must be going crazy," he said.
"You're just lucky the stove wasn't hot."
Jackie kept crying, frightened. I took him into the bathroom and put a bandage on the cut - only a small scratch - no real burn at all.
Joyce Carol Oates (Marriages and Infidelities)
We were happy and powerful. But the Europeans came to our country; it was from them that I learned the accomplishments which you appeared to be surprised at my possessing. Our principal acquaintance among the Europeans was a Spanish captain; he promised my father territories far greater than those he now ruled over, treasure, and white women. My father believed him, and gathering his family together, followed him. Brother, he sold us as slaves!” The breast of the negro rose and fell, as he strove to restrain himself; his eyes shot forth sparks of fire; and without seeming to know what he did, he broke in his powerful grasp a fancy medlar-tree that stood beside him. “The master of Kakongo in his turn had a master, and his son toiled as a slave in the furrows of St. Domingo. They tore the young lion from his father that they might the more easily tame him; they separated the wife from the husband, and the little children from the mother who nursed them, and from the father who used to bathe them in the torrents of their native land. In their place they found cruel masters and a sleeping place shared with the dogs!
Victor Hugo (Complete Works of Victor Hugo)
How a person treats their parents is how they show their gratefulness to the Creator for life. How a husband and wife treat each other, is how they show the Creator how well they do with this gift of life, and how they value LOVE. And what each parent must teach their kids, are the valuable lessons they gained in life. A father must be good to his wife and daughter, because from watching this treatment -- the son will learn how to treat all women, and his daughter will know what a good man is supposed to act like. And a mother must always remain morally good and faithful to her husband, be attentive to all her children, and be filled with patience, forgiveness, kind words, compassion and love -- so her children are raised to respect all mothers, and know what a good woman is supposed to act like. If you neglect your fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives, then don't be surprised when the Creator is forced to neglect you. Neglect, and you will be neglected. Protect, and you will be protected. Reject, and you will be rejected. Love all, and all that love will be mirrored by the Creator...and reflected back onto YOU.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
What is your schedule like the rest of the week?” “Light. Why?” “Any animals in your clinic that need special care?” “Not special care. Lori is a great vet tech, and she handles most everything. Why?” “I want you to clear your calendar. We’re going to deal with this, put the awkwardness to bed once and for all.” Her eyes rounded with wariness and surprise, then she whipped her head around to frown at him. “The awkwardness,” he explained. “Not you and me. We’ll have separate rooms.” “Separate rooms? What are you talking about?” He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “Listen, Nic. For better or for worse, we got married today. We’re husband and wife, and now we need to find our way back to being friends. Do you agree with that assessment?” She pursed her lips and thought a moment. “Yes.” “Then let’s make an effort to do just that, and let’s do it away from everyday pressure and prying eyes.” “How? We live in Eternity Springs. It’s the definition of prying eyes.” “Then we get away from Eternity Springs. Look, Nic, just because we’re not having sex doesn’t mean we can’t have a honeymoon, does it?” “A honeymoon?” she repeated, her eyes round with shock and maybe a glimmer—just a tiny little spark—of anticipation. He stopped the car in her driveway and pulled out his phone. “Go pack a bag, Nic. I’ll stay here and make the arrangements. We’ll leave from Eagle’s Way.” “Leave for where?” “Pack your sneakers, Nic. We’re going to Disney World.
Emily March (Angel's Rest (Eternity Springs, #1))
So . . . you’re already married, then?” The thought seemed impossible, especially given the way he had been staring at her. “Not yet. But if you’re offering, a chara, I’d be glad to accept.” He sent her a teasing smile, and it seemed that his mood had shifted from the earlier melancholy. She sent him a wry look. “I was hardly proposing marriage, Mr. Donovan.” She wasn’t so desperate as that. “Besides, I already have a gentleman suitor.” “Have you?” His face brightened. “I cannot say I’m surprised to hear it. Any man would be honored to wed a cailín as fair as you.” Although his words were kind, she wasn’t interested in idle flirting. “Yes, well. You can turn your interests somewhere else.” “Is he here, then? Your betrothed husband?” “No, he’s in London.” “I can’t believe that’s wise. Leaving a beautiful woman such as yourself at the mercy of the local swains. You might change your mind about marrying him.” She
Michelle Willingham (Good Earls Don't Lie)
Hillary is fortunate, not merely in her career path, but also in being the surprise recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars that have been rained on her and her husband both directly and through the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Foundation has raised more than $2 billion in contributions. A substantial portion of that came from foreign governments. Some sixteen nations together have given $130 million. In addition, through speeches and consulting fees, more than $100 million has ended up in the pockets of the Clintons themselves. The foundation, although ostensibly a charitable enterprise, gives only one dollar out of ten to charity. It has also been disclosed that the Clintons have developed a penchant for traveling in high style, and use a substantial amount of donation money on private planes and penthouse suites. The rest of the loot seems to have been accumulated into a war chest that is at the behest of the Clintons and the Hillary presidential campaign. How
Dinesh D'Souza (Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me about Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party)
In a section titled “Performance Factors,” Clint had been asked to indicate areas in which I’d exhibited significant strengths, as well as any areas needing development. There were only two areas in which he felt I needed development—organization (probably because he’d ridden in my car) and working more closely with third parties—but he had indicated six major strengths. The first three were creativity, achievement of objectives, and quality of work. No surprises there. The next three strengths—adaptability, communication, and autonomy—seemed a bit ironic. I scrolled down and saw my overall score: Very Good. By definition, this score meant that I had “exceeded objectives in several areas and required only occasional supervision.” I didn’t appreciate the real irony of Clint’s assessment until I looked at my stakeholder map and considered how I might have scored had Kristen conducted a similar evaluation at home. What score would I have received for adaptability? The review form defined this as “being open to change with new circumstances.” Going with the flow. We had just begun to work on my openness to change at home, and I was still learning how to adjust to this new mind-set. Meanwhile, at work, I presented myself as nothing if not adaptable. “Sure, I’ll take a new position on the marketing team.” “Of course I can stay until midnight tonight. Whatever it takes.” “Certainly, Clint, I’ll travel to customers every week. Anything else?” At home, Kristen asked me to help fold laundry and my head almost exploded. I guessed that I would receive Needs Development for that one. How about autonomy and initiative? Clint seemed to think that I was bursting with it, but Kristen would have offered a different opinion. “Initiative? Please. How is me having to remind you to turn off the television and play with the kids initiative? I’ll put you down for a Needs Development,” I imagined her saying. Achievement of objectives would have gotten me a high mark with Kristen, until I scrolled down farther and read the definition, which included the phrase “gets things done efficiently and in a timely manner.” I thought of the Christmas decorations drooping from our eaves. I thought of the countless times Kristen and I had been late for an engagement and she’d found me standing in my boxers in front of the mirror making faces.
David Finch (The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband)
Easy does it, Mel. You’re in good health, you had a very successful delivery and at one time you would have said this was the answer to your prayers. Try not to make Jack feel like shit.” That night, lying in her husband’s arms, she asked, “Did I make you feel like shit?” “Only a little bit. It’s not like I tricked you. As I recall, you were an incredibly willing accomplice.” He sighed. “Incredibly.” “I’m just in shock. Stunned. Not quite ready.” “I know. Do you have any idea how gorgeous you are pregnant? You shine. There’s light around you. Your eyes are brighter, your cheeks rosy, you smile and feel your belly all the time—” “You smile and feel my belly all the time….” “I can’t believe I’m getting all this,” he said wistfully. “You and a couple of kids. A few years ago I thought I’d be alone the rest of my life.” “Do you know how old you’re going to be when David graduates from college?” “What’s the difference? Does Sam look old to you? I think I can hang in there.” “Snip, snip,” she said. He rolled onto his back and looked at the ceiling. “Everyone around me is in a mood,” he said. “Is that so?” “Well, there’s Preacher—he’s pretty prickly when it’s not ovulation day, which you might have warned me about….” “That would have been confidential.” “Well, not anymore. I think Paige might be a little put out that he told all the boys he was staying home to have sex.” “You think?” she asked, laughing in spite of herself. “And Mike is past moody. I think that’s because my sister isn’t here—and believe me, I don’t know how to take that. I want Brie to be happy. It would be nice to have Mike happy, but not if he’s getting happy on Brie, if you get my drift. I’m celebrating, I’m celebrating,” he said before she could scold him. “And this little surprise has had an effect on your mood, if you don’t mind me saying so.” “I mind,” she informed him. “I just wish things would get back to normal,” he said. And
Robyn Carr (Whispering Rock (Virgin River, #3))
They have a piano in town," Cade said. He'd stood outside Clark's barn any number of times, listening to the intertwining of notes, contemplating making such a joyful noise. The player hadn't been expert, but he'd never heard anything like it before. Apparently this was news to Lily. She looked up at Cade with something akin to excitement burning in the pale blue of her eyes. "Really? Why didn't anyone tell me?" Then she shut up and her gaze drifted to the pasture beyond the trees. Her husband had known. He could see that suspicion forming on her face. "I suppose that's what they do in town on Saturday nights," she murmured. "Jim told me it was too rowdy to stay after dark." "The other women stay," Cade said without inflection. Lily had never been close to her sisters, but she had grown up in a household of females and missed the feminine discussions and laughter and shared secrets. Juanita couldn't fill that need entirely; she had been too damaged by her past. Lily didn't know much about the town ladies, but there was no reason she couldn't meet them somehow, if she put her mind to it. "I wish I could hear the piano," Lily said. Actually, she wished she had a right to play the piano, but that was beyond her ability to speak. "I'll take you in if you wish to go." Lily surprised herself by saying, "I would like that, thank you. I don't think Juanita would mind watching Serena, and my father can look after Roy. Do they have other instruments besides the piano?" Cade stroked the flute as he gazed on the woman sitting boldly in the grass before him. He had never met anyone quite like her before. She was white and female, which should put her completely out of bounds for any conversation at all. But she was his boss, and as such, there had to be a certain amount of communication. She wore trousers like a man, and to a certain extent she spoke like a man, but he couldn't treat her with the same deference as Ralph Langton or with the scorn he felt for the ignorant farmhands he worked with. If she had been a whore, he could have had certain expectations, but she was a lady. How the hell should he treat a lady who wore pants? "Fiddles, sometimes," he responded while he struggled with the problem. "Is there dancing?" she asked anxiously. It was then that Cade realized that this woman didn't see categories as other people did. She saw people through the eyes of a child, as they related to her. It was rather amusing to realize that he had been avoiding her to keep from offending her ladylike sensibilities, when she was more likely offended by his avoidance than his presence. That's what he got for assuming all white women were alike. "They dance," he agreed. Cade
Patricia Rice (Texas Lily (Too Hard to Handle, #1))
Jack was frowning darkly. A couple of the brothers-in-law, Dan and Ryan, came forward and said, “Need a hand unloading, Jack?” “Yeah,” he said, his brows drawn together. “What’s the problem?” Ryan asked. “I said exactly those two words to her—huge and waddle—and she was very pissed about it.” The men laughed. Bob clamped a hand on his shoulder. “Come, my brother. Let’s get you unloaded, get you a beer and teach you the facts of life. Out back, where men will be men and the women won’t hear us.” Outside on the patio, now too cold for picnicking, there were a couple of large space heaters thoughtfully provided by Sam, who knew the men of the family would want their beer and cigars without interference. And where Sam also wanted to be, while his daughters overran his house and bossed people around. With Mel and Joey, there were six, not to mention granddaughters—a formidable and intimidating group of women. It was there that Jack learned from the experience of four brothers-in-law and the occasional comment from Sam, that if having children was a partners’ project, pregnancy was definitely a team sport. The women were the ones who knew the rules. What a man said and what girlfriends or sisters said were viewed from entirely different perspectives. If your sister said you were huge, it was a badge of honor. If your husband said that, he thought you were fat. If your best friend said you waddled, it was adorable. If your husband said that, he thought you walked funny and he no longer found you attractive. “And look out,” said Joey’s husband, Bill, father of three, “if you try to make love to her, she thinks you’re a pervert, and if you don’t, she’ll accuse you of no longer finding her desirable as she sacrifices herself to bear your child.” “The last time we had sex, instead of crying out ‘Oh, God, Oh, God,’ she said ‘Ugh.’” Ryan spewed out a mouthful of beer and fell into a fit laughter. “Been there, brother,” he finally choked out. “You wanna know what’s coming, or you wanna be surprised?” Bob asked. “Oh, please, I can’t take any more surprises,” Jack said. “Okay, you’re coming up on where you love the baby more than her. Everything is about the baby—you consider her your brood mare.” “What do you do about that?” “Well, for starters, never talk about breeding.” “Grovel,” said someone else. “Beg for forgiveness.” “But don’t trip yourself up and claim she’s way more important than the baby, which brings you a whole new set of problems.” “Aw, Jesus.” “And since you don’t have the big belly and the backache, it would be advisable not to mention that this is all completely natural. She might deck you.” “You’d think a frickin’ midwife could rise above these ridiculous notions.” “Oh, it’s not her fault. There was an estrogen explosion in there—it’s beyond her control.” “You want to be especially careful about admiring her breasts,” Jeannie’s husband, Dan, said. He took a pull on his cigar. “Especially since they’re, you know, only temporary.” “God, that’s gonna be so hard. Because—” “I know.” Someone else laughed. “Aren’t they great?” “Pretty soon there’s going to be labor and delivery,” Bill said. “And the love of your life, whose back you’re trying to rub and whom you’re doing everything in your power to encourage, to keep comfortable, is going to tell you to shut up and get your fucking hands off her.” Everyone laughed so hard at that, even Sam, that it appeared to be a universal fact. “Dad,” Jack said, stunned. “Did Mom ever say fuck?” Sam drew leisurely on his cigar. “I think about five times,” he replied, throwing the men into a new fit of laughter. “Why doesn’t anyone tell you these things before?” Jack asked. “What difference would it have made, Jack? You didn’t know you were about to score a pregnancy, anyway. I know, I know—you thought you knew everything there was to know about women. Turns out you’re just as stupid as the rest of us.” A
Robyn Carr (Shelter Mountain (Virgin River, #2))
What is it ye hope to gain from sharing my bed?” His voice stopped her. “You already have a bairn.” The creak of a stall door followed his question. Footsteps whispered on the packed-dirt floor. With her eyes adjusted to the dark, she saw him as a towering shadow emerging into the broad aisle of the barn. He must have been checking on Rand. She frowned at his question. He made it sound like she had some ulterior motive besides being attracted to him. “I’m not sure what you mean,” she hedged. “You want to couple with me. Why?” She rolled her eyes; she’d understood that much of the question. It was the part where he seemed to have a problem with “sharing a bed” with her she didn’t get. Tamping down her offense was getting old. If he was going to be bold, she would be, too. “You’re easy on the eyes,” she clipped. “I’m attracted to you, and we’re married, so why not, right? Am I missing something here? Shouldn’t I be the one asking you why you don’t want to ‘couple’? Oh, wait, I did. And you wouldn’t give me a straight answer.” He moved closer, stopping a foot away, which meant his voice now came from high above her. “Are you a wanton woman?” The question had been dark. Dangerous. And it kicked her offense into full-on anger. “I’m knocked up and I want sex with my husband. If that makes a girl wanton, then I suppose I am. What of it?” She lifted her chin in challenge. “I’ll ask again. What is it ye hope to gain? The truth, Melanie.” Her heart sank to hear him call her by her given name, and this sudden edge of hostility confused her. It felt like he was accusing her of something, but what? She was also insanely aroused. Not only had her eyes adjusted to the dark well enough to see his serious and seriously handsome face, but his looming presence filled her with an irrational sense of security. Add to that his scent of leather and man, and her lips trembled for another kiss. She didn’t want to lash out any more. Anger released itself to the night like steam from a mug of cocoa. “Pleasure,” she whispered, her breasts reaching for him with her quickening breath. “That’s the truth. I want to feel your body under my hands. I want to feel you inside me as you make me your wife in more than just name. And I want pleasure for you, too. Especially for you. You’ve given up almost everything for me. Giving you pleasure is the only way I can think of to thank you.” He blinked with surprise. “I dinna expect your thanks. ’Tis not why I stole ye away from Steafan.” She rolled her eyes, but this time with affection instead of annoyance. “Duh, I know that. You’re so darned honorable you’d never do anything for something as paltry as my thanks. It’s not just about thanks. I love you, you stubborn Highlander.” She cupped her hand over her mouth. The ornery thing had just blurted that which she had yet to fully admit to herself. Considering how much it hurt to have Darcy reject her physical advances, she was in no mood to bear his inevitable rejection of her heart. Mortified, she turned to run away. But his arms went around her. He hadn’t lied when he’d claimed to be quicker. “Do ye mean that, lass?” he asked, bending over her back, holding her. “No,” she lied, trying to pry his arms away. “I’m out of my mind. Don’t listen to a thing I say. Let me go.” “No. I willna. And I think a confession spoken in ire is more trustworthy than one spoken in calm.” He turned her around and lifted her face to his. “I love you, too, lass.” He kissed her.
Jessi Gage (Wishing for a Highlander (Highland Wishes Book 1))
That doesn’t surprise me, Paul. She take you up on it?” “Nah. Like I said, she’s a decent person. I’m sorry she’s going through this. Glad Vanni isn’t going to have to put up with it, but sorry—” But Jack wasn’t listening anymore. His narrowed eyes were on Mel. It was like he sensed it; smelled it. She got up from the table and was heading toward the bathroom back off the kitchen. She paused when she got to the end of the bar, gripped it to stabilize herself, made a noise that only her husband heard, bent slightly over her huge belly and let go with a gush of amniotic fluid that splashed to the floor. “I knew it,” Jack said, going to her at once. Silence fell over the dinner crowd. Paul edged back to the table, sat down beside Vanessa and said, “Jack said she’s been nesting all day.” “Is it happening?” Vanessa asked. “Oh, yeah,” Paul said. Jack braced Mel from behind, his hands on her upper arms and asked, “Contraction?” “Boy howdy,” she said, a little breathless. “By the time you got to cleaning the bathroom this afternoon, you had completely given yourself away,” he told her. “Yeah, I suspected this would happen today. But I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I don’t think we have a whole lot of time to screw around. She’s here, Jack.” He turned her around to face him. “Have you been having contractions all day?” “Not really. A couple. A few.” She inhaled deeply. “Yeah.” He lifted her immediately into his arms and started barking orders. “Someone bring Davie to the truck and ride home with us. Preach—call John Stone and tell him it’s now and it’s gonna be quick.
Robyn Carr (Second Chance Pass)
I’m afraid I’m going to move too fast for you. You were with Chase and planning a future and family with him up until the accident. All I’ve been able to think about is you, I knew there wouldn’t ever be anyone else. Over the last couple months, I tried to only be your friend, and I would have stayed that way if you asked me to. That didn’t stop me from thinking of everything I would do if I ever got you back though. But now that I have you again, the only thing the time away from you did, was make me want you more. So now I’m right back to where I was before we broke up, wanting nothing more than to buy a house with you and marry you. But I don’t know when it would be okay to do any of that because of what happened. And I know what you said about raising him with you, but I don’t know if that’s all you actually want me to do when it comes to him, just be the guy that helps you raise him. I want to be the dad that raises him, his dad. I just don’t know if that’s okay with you or if you think I’ll be trying to take Chase’s place.” “Brandon,” I frowned a little, with what we’d been talking about earlier, I thought we were on the same page. Apparently not. “okay let’s clear this all up, so there’s no more confusion. Considering everything we had before, I think we are way beyond worrying about moving too fast. I want to marry you, more than anything. But I don’t care when that happens, it can happen tomorrow or it can happen two years from now. I had tried to explain it to Chase, but I don’t think he actually understood that I didn’t need to be married just because I was having a baby. With Chase though, I hadn’t been planning a future with him until after he found out about the baby, I had already known way before that, that I wanted to marry you. “I’ll admit I was worried just being with you would be moving too fast after the accident for other people, but with the way I feel, and after talking to Mom, Bree and Konrad, I don’t think we are. Mom was right, our situation is completely different, and it doesn’t matter what other people think. This is our life together, not theirs.” I laid down on my back, and put a hand over my eyes to shield the sun, “Answer me something before I continue. Being his dad, you really want that?” He turned onto his side, his face hovering over mine, “I do.” “Good.” I smiled and wrapped a hand around his neck, “I don’t want you to just be the guy that raises him. What you said this morning, was more than perfect. I want you to be his dad, I want him to be your son. I want you to be my husband and if we have more kids later on in life, I don’t want them to be our kids, and him” I pointed to my stomach, “be my kid. I agree he needs to know about Chase, but you’re going to be Dad to him, and he’s going to be ours. Just like any other child we have. “I want you to be at the rest of the appointments if you want to, and don’t worry, Dr. Lowdry already knows about you. She pulled me aside during my second appointment and asked about the father, I ended up breaking down and telling her the whole story. I swear those Doctors are trained to be therapists too. She knows that Chase died, and she knows you’ve been there for me. Honestly, she’s like Bree and Mom, I doubt she’ll be surprised to see you there. So if you want to be there, then I would love for you to come with me. I want you to help me name him, and if it’s okay, I want you in the room with me when I deliver. I’m telling you, I’m not going to pick and choose what you can and can’t do, I want you there for everything. I’ve wanted you there for everything, but I’ve been denying myself of what I want and pushing my emotions away. Now that we’re done pretending, I’m ready for it all, but you need to tell me if you’re uncomfortable with any of this.” “If you were any other girl, I would be. But you’re my world Harper, no matter how strange our situation may be, being with you and starting a family with you feels right.” “I
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
I’m leaving the army,” he said. Lily felt hope leap within her breast. Maybe Caleb had changed his mind; maybe he wanted to be a farmer after all. She held her breath, waiting for him to go on. “I want to go back to Pennsylvania.” Lily’s hopes plummeted. She could only stare at Caleb in misery. “I see,” she said finally, with dignity. Caleb reached into the pocket of his uniform coat and brought out a small box. “I want you to go with me, Lily,” he told her, setting the box in front of her. She opened it, hands trembling, to find an exquisite diamond ring inside. The larger center stone glittered and winked at her from amid the surrounding smaller gems. Her finger fairly burned, waiting to wear that ring. “I can’t,” she said resolutely, snapping the box closed and shoving it back toward Caleb. He leaned forward in his chair and lowered his voice. “Don’t sit there and tell me you don’t care for me, Lily, because I know you do. Yesterday you gave yourself to me in a woodshed, remember?” Lily colored to recall the wanton way she’d behaved, and she lowered her eyes. “I do care,” she answered, “but I don’t want to leave my land, and I don’t want a husband.” “You’d marry me if I agreed to stay and farm that damnable land with you?” Again hope stirred in Lily’s heart. “Yes.” “You just said you didn’t want a husband.” Lily bit her lower lip. “If we were going to live in the same house, we’d have to be married, wouldn’t we?” Caleb pushed the ring box back across the table. “Has it ever occurred to you that I could promise to live on the farm, marry you, and then take you anywhere I damn well please, whether you want to go or not?” “You’re not making a very good case for marriage,” Lily answered, ignoring the ring box and taking a steadying sip of her coffee. The truth was, she had never once considered the possibility Caleb had suggested; she knew he was honest to a fault. “Damn it,” he whispered, “I should have done it. I should have told you I’d homestead with you and then married you!” “I would never have forgiven you, and you know it. It would have soured everything between us.” “Not everything,” Caleb argued, making Lily blush again. “Must every conversation we have come back to that?” Caleb took the ring from the box, and then he lifted Lily’s left hand and shoved the diamond unceremoniously onto her finger. “I think the fact that you would probably let me make love to you damn near anywhere has some bearing on what we’re talking about, yes!” Lily looked around furtively to see if anyone was listening. Fortunately, the restaurant was nearly empty, and the few other diners were sitting some distance away. “There is absolutely no need for you to be so arrogant,” she fretted, trying to pull the ring off. It was just a tiny bit too small and wouldn’t come over her knuckle. Caleb’s amber eyes were glittering with triumph when she looked up at him. “Perfect fit,” he said. Lily pushed back her chair. “I’ll get it off if I have to have my finger amputated,” she replied, preparing to leave. “Get out of that chair and there will be a scene you’ll remember until the day you die,” Caleb promised. Lily sat down again. “I don’t want to marry you, and I don’t want to go to Pennsylvania, so why can’t you just leave me alone?” “Because I love you,” Caleb answered, and he looked as surprised to find himself saying the words as Lily was to hear them. “I beg your pardon?” “You heard me, Lily.” “You said you loved me. Did you mean it?” Caleb drove one hand through his hair. “Yes.” Lily stared at him and stopped trying to get the ring off her finger. “You’re just saying that. It’s a trick of some kind.” Caleb laughed, but there was no humor in the sound. “Believe me, it’s no trick—it’s a fact I’m going to have to live with for the next fifty years.” In
Linda Lael Miller (Lily and the Major (Orphan Train, #1))
But really, my lord, ’tis a nerve-wracking situation and I would . . . well . . . If we could get it over?” Connall stared at her blankly, clearly taken completely by surprise at this outburst, then he frowned and echoed, “Get it over?” “Aye . . . well . . .” She forced a smile and began wringing her hands together as she explained, “Tis rather like knowing that someday soon, though you are not sure when exactly, you will have to approach the blacksmith about knocking a rotten tooth out.” “Knockin’ a rotten tooth . . .” Connall was staring at her with disbelief, though she didn’t understand why. Nor did she understand why, when he finally spoke, he sounded somewhat upset. “Me lady wife, I realize ye havenae—What on earth makes ye think—‘Knockin ’ out a rotten tooth’?” Eva bit her lip, unsure what she should say to improve the situation. He seemed rather offended by the comparison. “Well, I have never—I mean, from what I have been told, it does not sound like something to look forward to, my lord.” “What ha’e ye been told?” He sounded as if he were forcing patience. Eva considered whether she had the courage to repeat Mavis’s description and was quite sure she didn’t. It was one thing to be told that by another woman, it was quite another to repeat it to the man with the boiled sausage he intended to use on you. She shook her head helplessly, but Connall apparently wasn’t in the mood to humor her. “What’d that useless brother o’ yers tell ye?” “Oh, it was not Jonathan,” she assured him quickly. “It was my maid, Mavis . . . Well, she was not truly my maid. She worked in the kitchens, but did occasionally act as lady’s maid to me . . . Well, once or twice. She traveled to court with us because Jonathan said I needed a lady’s maid there,” Eva explained lamely, then fell silent, aware she’d been babbling. “I see, and what did this Mavis tell ye aboot what goes on between a husband and wife?” Connall was sounding a little less angry now, she noted with relief. Still, it was difficult to imagine telling him so she said instead, “Well she was describing what went on between the servants, not necessarily between husband and wife, if you see what I mean?” “Stop stalling,” he said quietly. “A wife shouldnae fear telling her husband ought.” Eva sighed at these words, it was becoming obvious that he wasn’t going to let this pass and she was going to have to repeat what Mavis had said. She was beginning to wish that she had never opened her mouth, but had simply awaited his pleasure in silent suspense. Unfortunately, she hadn’t done so. Deciding that there was nothing for it, she gathered her courage and blurted, “She said it appeared that the man and woman wrestled a bit and then he stuck his boiled sausage up between her legs.” Connall made an odd sound, somewhere between a cough and snort, then turned his head abruptly away so that she could not see his expression. Eva was not certain at first if he were angry or shocked, but then she noted the way his shoulders were shaking and suspected the man was actually laughing at her. Indignation quickly rose up in her, but before she could say anything, there was a knock at the door. Eva glared at her husband as he glanced around, then stood and headed for the door. “Yer flouncin’!” Connall crowed with amusement. “Damn me, I’d ha’e sworn ye were no a flouncer, but yer flouncin’!” Realizing
Hannah Howell (The Eternal Highlander (McNachton Vampires, #1))
Let’s find out, shall we?” Then, louder and with a rakish grin, “Shall we find the exit to the garden, my lady? I daresay we both could use some…air.” “I don’t think that will be at all necessary, Stanhope.” The statement cut through the air like a knife, and Alex felt her stomach drop with the realization that Blackmoor was standing immediately behind her. She looked up at Freddie, wide-eyed, not quite knowing what to do. He spoke with an air of bored dismissal. “Blackmoor, what a surprise. What is it you want?” Blackmoor’s tone brooked no refusal, but was surprisingly hushed, only loud enough for the three of them to hear. “I want you to stay away from Lady Alexandra, Stanhope. She is most definitely not in need of a walk in the gardens with the likes of you.” “I suppose you would be a better companion?” Freddie drawled. Alex could sense that this conversation was not going to end well but had a nagging suspicion that Freddie was quite enjoying himself. “Most certainly. I’m practically her brother.” Freddie gave a short laugh at this, which made Blackmoor even more angry. “More importantly,” he continued, “I’m her escort this evening, and I say where she goes and who she goes with. And she is most certainly not going anywhere with you.” “I beg your pardon?” Alex spoke, keeping her voice hushed, but pulling herself up to her full height and stepping between the two men. Her face flushed with indignation as she leveled Blackmoor with a dark look. “What did you just say?” He looked down at her mutely as she pressed on. “I’m almost certain that you implied…nay…dictated…that you have some kind of control over my behavior.” He opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off. “I think it best you say no more, my lord, lest you embarrass yourself further. Let me be clear. Last I was aware, you were neither my husband nor my father nor my king. Therefore, any control you may imagine you hold over me is just that—imaginary.” She continued, her anger making her voice waver, “If I want to take a walk in the gardens with Stanhope, or with anyone else for that matter, that is entirely my business. I will thank you to stay out of my affairs. Or need I remind you that it is not Stanhope whom I’ve had to be wary of on balconies recently?” Her
Sarah MacLean (The Season)
thought he saw a brief glance down at Ellie. Everyone else took their wine glasses in hand, and murmured a second to Randall’s toast before taking a sip. David saw that Ellie hesitated before taking a sip. “I’m not usually a fan of red wine,” she whispered to him. “Linda, this is an excellent wine,” she said a bit too loud across the table to her friend. David wondered what had happened to her in her life that made her worry so much about outward appearances. He thought that the small digs that had been taken at her expense in the library may be weighing on her, and it surprised him to feel a twitch of anger. Ellie seemed so strong at times, but so frail at others. “Thank you, but I can’t take credit. Randall picked it out,” Linda said as she raised her own glass. “Of course he did,” Melanie Wilson uttered in a low undertone. “What, dear?” Linda glanced down the table at Melanie. “Nothing, nothing, Linda. I was also complimenting Randall on his fine wine selection,” Melanie said into her wine glass. From what David could tell from his short acquaintance with Melanie Wilson, it seemed almost impossible for her to keep a rein on her tongue. He saw a look on her husband’s face that
Cege Smith (Edge of Shadows)
Kristen had dreamed of having children since she was herself a child and had always thought that she would love motherhood as much as she would love her babies. “I know that being a mom will be demanding,” she told me once. “But I don’t think it will change me much. I’ll still have my life, and our baby will be part of it.” She envisioned long walks through the neighborhood with Emily. She envisioned herself mastering the endlessly repeating three-hour cycle of playing, feeding, sleeping, and diaper changing. Most of all, she envisioned a full parenting partnership, in which I’d help whenever I was home—morning, nighttime, and weekends. Of course, I didn’t know any of this until she told me, which she did after Emily was born. At first, the newness of parenthood made it seem as though everything was going according to our expectations. We’ll be up all day and all night for a few weeks, but then we’ll hit our stride and our lives will go back to normal, plus one baby. Kristen took a few months off from work to focus all of her attention on Emily, knowing that it would be hard to juggle the contradicting demands of an infant and a career. She was determined to own motherhood. “We’re still in that tough transition,” Kristen would tell me, trying to console Emily at four A.M. “Pretty soon, we’ll find our routine. I hope.” But things didn’t go as we had planned. There were complications with breast-feeding. Emily wasn’t gaining weight; she wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep, wouldn’t play. She was born in December, when it was far too cold to go for walks outdoors. While I was at work, Kristen would sit on the floor with Emily in the dark—all the lights off, all the shades closed—and cry. She’d think about her friends, all of whom had made motherhood look so easy with their own babies. “Mary had no problem breast-feeding,” she’d tell me. “Jenny said that these first few months had been her favorite. Why can’t I get the hang of this?” I didn’t have any answers, but still I offered solutions, none of which she wanted to hear: “Talk to a lactation consultant about the feeding issues.” “Establish a routine and stick to it.” Eventually, she stopped talking altogether. While Kristen struggled, I watched from the sidelines, unaware that she needed help. I excused myself from the nighttime and morning responsibilities, as the interruptions to my daily schedule became too much for me to handle. We didn’t know this was because of a developmental disorder; I just looked incredibly selfish. I contributed, but not fully. I’d return from work, and Kristen would go upstairs to sleep for a few hours while I’d carry Emily from room to room, gently bouncing her as I walked, trying to keep her from crying. But eventually eleven o’clock would roll around and I’d go to bed, and Kristen would be awake the rest of the night with her. The next morning, I would wake up and leave for work, while Kristen stared down the barrel of another day alone. To my surprise, I grew increasingly disappointed in her: She wanted to have children. Why is she miserable all the time? What’s her problem? I also resented what I had come to recognize as our failing marriage. I’d expected our marriage to be happy, fulfilling, overflowing with constant affection. My wife was supposed to be able to handle things like motherhood with aplomb. Kristen loved me, and she loved Emily, but that wasn’t enough for me. In my version of a happy marriage, my wife would also love the difficulties of being my wife and being a mom. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d have to earn the happiness, the fulfillment, the affection. Nor had it occurred to me that she might have her own perspective on marriage and motherhood.
David Finch (The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband)
You were a physician before you became a vampire, so I will allow this…distraction to run its course.” Alex inclined his head. “Thank you.” “I am surprised I must remind you after all this time of your obligation to me. You would be long in your human grave if not for me. I am your maker. You swore your fealty to me in return for your making.” “I have not forgotten.” The words fell stiffly from his lips. The facts of his making and the duties required of him were emblazoned in his mind in fiery emphasis. “But I would remind you that in this human world we live you are my wife and should honor me as a good woman would. I provide you with the leverage you need to fulfill your ambitions. Before you met me, you were a hunted witch living in the most desperate circumstances. As your husband, I give you a cloak of legitimacy and respectability. It would do you well not to forget that.” This time, Anna’s surprise held her speechless. She stared at him, a frown marring the flesh between her thick brows. “I
Tracy Cooper-Posey (Time Kissed Moments (Kiss Across Time #2.5))
McKenna knelt in front of her husband, loving the way he looked at her. “So it was no surprise to me this morning when they asked you. I believe it was an answer to my prayers, Wyatt.” He shook his head, a faint smile seeping through his seriousness. “I’ve got to stop you from praying that prayer for me, woman.” He traced the curve of her cheek, then wove a path down her neck. She loved the way he touched her in intimate moments like this, when they were alone. But even more, she loved the way she felt inside when he did.
Tamera Alexander (The Inheritance)
The better part of the tour was the gossip offered up by the tour guide. It seems a certain Genoese sailor used to frequent a married woman here in Burgos. Being a highly skilled navigator, this seaman was particularly well-versed in seasonal rhythms. His mistress’ husband was in the shipping business, and gone six months a year, allowing the swashbuckling Genoan to swoop in to fill the seasonal vacuum. Like most Genoese, this sailor—Christopher Columbus—was attracted to the cosmopolitan flair that Burgos offered. The guide went on to point out that this same Captain Columbus would later delay his departure for the New World from the Galapagos Islands for over a month, when he fell into the arms of an especially delectable, but married, island woman. I guess I am just naïve. After all, how much of a surprise is it that the world’s greatest explorer of all time was also a bit peripatetic when it came to sleeping arrangements.
Bill Walker (The Best Way: El Camino de Santiago)
Ashima feels lonely suddenly, horribly, permanently alone, and briefly, turned away from the mirror, she sobs for her husband. She feels overwhelmed by the thought of the move she is about to make, to the city that was once home and is now in its own way foreign. She feels both impatience and indifference for all the days she still must live, for something tells her she will not go quickly as her husband did. For thirty-three years she missed her life in India. Now she will miss her job at the library, the women with whom she's worked. She will miss throwing parties. She will miss living with her daughter, the surprising companionship they have formed, going into Cambridge together to see old movies at the Brattle, teaching her to cook the food Sonia had complained of eating as a child. She will miss the opportunity to drive, as she sometimes does on her way home from the library, to the university, past the engineering building where her husband once worked. She will miss the country in which she had grown to know and love her husband. Though his ashes have been scattered into the Ganges, it is here, in this house and in this town, that he will continue to dwell in her mind.
Based on the findings of a recent qualitative survey carried out in Switzerland, in fact, most of us have up to ten discreet interdependent social identities—identities, the study concludes, which are often in conflict.16 Let’s imagine a middle-aged bank teller living in Pensacola, Florida. He is a father, a son and a husband. He is a Floridian. He is a bank employee. He is also a bicyclist and a recreational runner, and at night, drinking with his friends, he is “the funny one.” He is also a vegetarian, an amateur guitarist, and on weekends he helps coach soccer at his daughter’s high school. Then there are his online identities, including his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram selves. Most surprising is that the man’s ethical mind-set, honesty, sociability and even level of social engagement changes from personality to personality. Imagine that in his professional role, for example, he may be primed to dissembling, or outright deceit, while simultaneously, as a dad, he finds dishonesty repellent.
Martin Lindstrom (Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends)
Raven stood in the comparative shelter of the porch, her face turned up toward the sky, eyes closed. Tiny beads of perspiration dotted her forehead, and her fingers twisted together compulsively over her stomach. She was not with the others, rather somewhere out of her body and concentrating on attempting to find Byron’s location. Beside her stood her dark, intimidating husband, his mind obviously locked with hers. Mikhail was so like Jacques that Shea could not tear her gaze from him. As she moved onto the porch a step behind Jacques, she could clearly see that Mikhail was furious. He was seething with anger, violence swirling very close to the surface, yet his posture was purely protective. He had placed himself between Raven and the ferocity of the storm.
Gregori was as still as a statue, his face a blank mask, his silvery eyes as empty as death, yet Shea gave him a wide berth. There was something dangerous in his utter stillness. Shea felt she had no way to sorting out the complexity of the Carpathian male’s nature. Gregori was watching Raven through narrowed, restless eyes, eyes that saw far too much. Suddenly he cursed, low and vicious, startling from someone of his stature and power. “She should not put herself at risk. She is with child.”
His eyes met Jacques’, silver lightning and black ice. Total understanding between the two men. Shea merged her mind with Jacques’ quickly to try to understand the hidden currents. Raven’s pregnancy, if she was pregnant, changed everything as far as the men were concerned. Shea could see no evidence of a child--Raven appeared as slim as ever--but she couldn’t believe the healer would be wrong. He seemed so infallible, so completely invincible. The child was everything, all-important to the men. It surprised, even shocked her, the way they regarded the pregnancy. It was a miracle to both of them. The baby was more important than any of their lives. Shea was confused. Despite Jacques’ fractured memories, his protective streak was extremely strong.
“He’s aware of his surroundings, but he can’t move. Even his mind is locked and still. He is paralyzed somehow.” Raven’s voice startled Shea, brought her back to the stormy weather and their rescue mission. Raven was clearly speaking of Byron. “He can’t move or call out, not even mentally. It is dark and damp, and he knows he will suffer greatly before they are done with him.” Raven swayed, her hands protectively covering her stomach.
The healer moved, a blur of speed, catching her arm and wrenching her out into the driving rain. Gregori snagged Mikhail’s shirt, too, and yanked him into the fury of the storm. “Break off now, Raven,” Gregori commanded. He shook her, shook Mikhail. “Let go of him now!
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
Eleanor plucked his sleeve. “But you know society just as I do. Blanche Harrington is one of the few genuinely nice women in town. There are so many vultures out there! I hated society when I was forced to come out. I can’t begin to tell you how many English ladies looked down on me because I am Irish. Worse, even though I am an earl’s daughter, the rakes in the ton were conscienceless.” She made sure not to grin, although she thought her eyes probably danced.
He scowled. “I will protect Amanda from any rogue who dares give her a single glance,” he said tersely. “No one will dare pursue her with any intention other than an honorable one.”
Eleanor tried not to laugh. “You do take this guardianship very seriously,” she said, maintaining an innocent expression.
“Of course I do,” he snapped, appearing vastly annoyed. Then he nodded at the document in her hand. “Is that for me?”
Eleanor simply could not prevent a grin. “It is the list of suitors.”
Cliff looked at her as if she had spoken Chinese.
“Don’t you want to see who is on it?”
He snatched the sheet from her hand and she tried not to chuckle as his brows lifted. “There are only four names here!”
“It is only the first four names I have thought of,” she said. “Besides, although you are providing her with a dowry, you are not making her a great heiress. We can claim an ancient Saxon family tree, but we have no proof. I am trying to find Amanda the perfect husband. You do want her to be very happy and to live in marital bliss, don’t you?”
He gave her a dark look. “John Cunningham? Who is this?”
She became eager, smiling. “He is a widower with a title, a baronet. He has a small estate in Dorset, of little value, but he is young and handsome and apparently virile, as his first wife had two sons. He—”
She feigned surprise, raising both brows. “I beg your pardon?”
“Who is next?”
“What is wrong with Cunningham? Truthfully, he is openly looking for a wife!”
“He is impoverished,” Cliff spat. “And he only wants a mother for his sons. Next?”
“Fine,” she said, huffing. “William de Brett. Ah, you will like him! De Brett has a modest income of twelve hundred a year. He comes from a very fine family—they are of Norman descent, as well, but he has no title. However—”
“No. Absolutely not.”
Eleanor stared, forcing herself to maintain a straight face. “Amanda can live modestly but well on twelve hundred a year and I know de Brett. The women swoon when he walks into a salon.”
His gaze hardened. “The income is barely acceptable, and he has no title. She will marry blue blood.”
His smile was dangerous. “Really. Who is Lionel Camden?
Brenda Joyce (A Lady At Last (deWarenne Dynasty, #7))
Father,’ he said, ’I would like to see you privately for a few minutes.’ Old Paisios waved at him and said, ’Go on my son. Go with the others. It is late and I am very tired.’ ’But Father, please!’ the man implored him. ’I have something very serious to tell you.’ ’Go my son, go. There is nothing to worry about.’ The man insisted and old Paisios seemed impatient. ’For God’s sake, go before the monastery closes its doors.’ ’But Father, my wife is very ill. She is dying from cancer.’ Father Paisios paused, placed his arm around the man, and gently reassured him, ’Go, my dear and have no fears. Your wife is fine.’ “That fellow looked very despondent,” Father Maximos went on to say while we walked towards old Paisios’s hermitage. “With a heavy heart he walked back to the monastery with the others, feeling that he had accomplished nothing. That his journey, coming all the way from Athens to remote Mount Athos, hundreds of miles away, was a waste of time. He had heard that elder Paisios was a holy man whose prayers and intercessions often cured people from serious illnesses. Now his last hope had evaporated. “You can imagine his amazement and great delight when upon entering his home he found his wife walking about and looking surprisingly well,” Father Maximos continued as we approached the hermitage. “His wife claimed that while she was bedridden, a cold sweat took over her body and, after perspiring profusely, she felt completely healed. Her doctor later confirmed that her cancer had mysteriously and literally gotten washed away. Her husband asked about the time the perspiration and the changes in her condition began to happen and she replied that it was on Friday at about four in the afternoon. When her husband heard that he felt a chill. That was the time when elder Paisios had reassured him that his wife was fine.
Kyriacos C. Markides (The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality)
On the other hand, Clairaut reported that Lepaute exhibited an “ardor” that was “surprising”—perhaps surprising to him because Lepaute was a woman; he later removed the acknowledgment of Lepaute’s considerable contribution from the published text. (Much of her later work was published without attribution by other people, including her husband, France’s royal clockmaker.)
David Weinberger (Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We’re Thriving in a New World of Possibility)
Delilah discretely checked her watch, wondering how long she needed to stay in order to politely tap out and call it a night. At least another half hour. No, make that twenty minutes. She wouldn’t survive another half hour.
She was so focused on appearing focused on Jeff, that she felt the harsh shove at her hip before she saw anything.
Jostled to the side, she looked up, startled, already having figured out that someone had slid into the booth next to her, mercilessly bumping her out of the way.
She could not have been more surprised to see Brandon or the sweet smile that spread across his face at the sight of her.
Blinking a few times, she rapidly took in the scene, once again regretting that she hadn’t finished that second forget spell on him. She also saw that Jeff was just mortified by the intrusion. At least it shut him up for a moment.
Before she could think of anything to say, Brandon gave her a sad pitying look and odd words started tumbling from his lips. “Lilah, baby, come home.”
“Huh?” What the hell was he talking about?
Jeff’s spine got straighter, if that was possible. He huffed and crossed his arms.
Brandon gazed deeply into her eyes and kept talking. “We miss you.”
“Delilah,” Jeff’s tone demanded attention and both she and Brandon turned to face the other man. “Do you know this . . . gentleman?”
Clearly ‘gentleman’ was not what he thought Brandon was. Delilah thought maybe ‘insane asylum inmate’ was a better option. What did Brandon mean, ‘we’?
She took a sip of her drink to cover for her confusion.
Brandon put his right hand out across the table as though to introduce himself, his left arm snaked possessively around Delilah’s shoulders, but she was too confused to react. “I’m Brandon Stewart. Delilah’s husband.”
Immediately she choked. Husband?
Her wide eyes swung to his face, only to find that he looked perfectly serious. He gave her a sad smile as Jeff voiced her concerns. “Husband?”
Brandon didn’t take his eyes off hers. Even as she sat there choking on her drink. Not that he volunteered to hit her on the back or ask if she was going to survive. He just looked sad. “Baby, have you been dating again? You know the doctors think that’s a bad idea.” Then, he turned his sympathetic face to Jeff, “She isn’t well.”
That was it! Her anger poured out in her voice, which she barely managed to keep from screeching above the noise level and broadcasting to the entire bar. “Brandon!”
Jeff looked taken aback. “You know him? Are you married?”
“No!” She shook her head violently. What was Brandon doing?
He made his next play before she could form words.
“She’s not only married, we have a family.”
He shifted his weight, pressing intimately along her from shoulder to thigh, as he fished in his pants pocket for his wallet. He drew out the leaning and fishing a little longer than necessary. Especially considering she was boiling mad. She was married? To him?
He deftly plucked a studio portrait of two small children, clearly his own. Delilah had to hand it to him, the little blonde-haired, blue-eyed cuties could easily have been hers. One boy and one girl smiled at the camera, sweet and perfect for all the world, heads pressed together.
Brandon made sure she saw the photo before he handed it over to Jeff. “That’s our Tiger and Muffin there. Well,” He smiled like he was all chagrined, “Tyler and Madison.”
Then he turned to her, still sweet and sad. “You can’t do this again, baby. Come home.”
She simmered, but didn’t speak.
story, preferably an exclusive, and preferably something that crosses into news. “You can pull over on the next corner,” she says, suddenly, spotting a restaurant/bar on Kingly Street she has always quite liked. It’s a bar she wrote about when it first opened, the chef letting her spend the day in the kitchen to get a true feel. She hasn’t been here for a while and the chef has long since moved on, but it is the perfect bar to have a couple of glasses of wine in a quiet corner while she gets out her notepad and jots down ideas. She needs ideas because time is running out. She needs to find a big story, and fast. Cat perches at the bar itself for the first glass of wine, surprised it disappears so quickly, taking a little longer over the second, before taking the third over to a corner table. She drapes her jacket over the back of the chair, pulls a stack of tabloids out from her bag, and starts to flick through them looking for ideas. There is the actress who keeps showing up with very heavy makeup that appears to be covering a black eye, who has a husband prone to temper tantrums and who has done time for drugs. Seedy stuff. And it seems that it is surely only a matter of time before the actress breaks down to reveal she is a victim of domestic abuse. Perhaps Cat can get to her? Cat scribbles the name down in her note pad. She’ll ring the BBC PR tomorrow and request an interview, but not about the black eye, obviously. She’ll say it’s about something innocuous, like her favorite
Jane Green (Cat and Jemima J: A Short Story)
Once Roosevelt and Stalin became more closely aligned—an inevitability that I’d worried about for months—the balance of power tipped in their favor, away from Winston, and my husband sensed Stalin and Roosevelt had already decided on this mass invasion of Normandy. This development did not surprise me, because I’d seen Roosevelt for the tactical game player and inveterate politician he is instead of the steadfastly loyal friend Winston believed him to be for too long.
Marie Benedict (Lady Clementine)
Daisy has a unique spirit,” Westcliff said. “A warm and romantic nature. If she is forced into a loveless marriage, she will be devastated. She deserves a husband who will cherish her for everything she is, and who will protect her from the harsher realities of the world. A husband who will allow her to dream.” It was surprising to hear such sentiment from Westcliff, who was universally known as a pragmatic and level-headed man.
“What is your question, my lord?” Matthew asked.
“Will you give me your word that you will not marry my sister-in-law?”
Matthew held the earl’s cold black gaze. It would not be wise to cross a man like Westcliff, who was not accustomed to being denied. But Matthew had endured years of Thomas Bowman’s thunder and bluster, standing up to him when other men would flee in fear of his wrath. Although Bowman could be a ruthless, sarcastic bully there was nothing he respected more than a man who was willing to go toe-to-toe with him. And so it had quickly become Matthew’s lot in the company to be the bearer of bad tidings and deliver the hard truths that everyone else was afraid to give him.
That had been Matthew’s training, which was why Westcliff’s attempt at domination had no effect on him.
“I’m afraid not, my lord,” Matthew said politely.
Simon Hunt dropped his cigar.
“You won’t give me your word?” Westcliff asked in disbelief.
“No.” Matthew bent swiftly to retrieve the fallen cigar and returned it to Hunt, who regarded him with a glint of warning in his eyes as if he were silently trying to prevent him from jumping off a cliff.
“Why not?” Westcliff demanded. “Because you don’t want to lose your position with Bowman?”
“No, he can’t afford to lose me right now.” Matthew smiled slightly in an attempt to rob the words of arrogance. “I know more about production, administration, and marketing than anyone else at Bowman’s…and I’ve earned the old man’s trust. So I won’t be dismissed even if I refuse to marry his daughter.”
“Then it will be quite simple for you to put the entire matter to rest,” the earl said. “I want your word, Swift. Now.”
A lesser man would have been intimidated by Westcliff’s authoritative demand.
“I might consider it,” Matthew countered coolly, “if you offered the right incentive. For example, if you promise to endorse me as the head of the entire division and guarantee the position for at least, say…three years.”
Westcliff gave him an incredulous glance.
The tense silence was broken as Simon Hunt roared with laughter. “By God, he has brass ballocks,” he exclaimed. “Mark my words, Westcliff, I’m going to hire him for Consolidated.”
“I’m not cheap,” Matthew said, which caused Hunt to laugh so hard that he nearly dropped his cigar again.
Even Westcliff smiled, albeit reluctantly. “Damn it,” he muttered. “I’m not going to endorse you so readily—not with so much at stake. Not until I am convinced you’re the right man for the position.”
“Then it seems we’re at an impasse.” Matthew made his expression friendly. “For now.
Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))
A husband comes home from satsang and greets his wife, lifts her up and carries her around the house. His wife is surprised and asks, ‘Did the Swami ji preach about being romantic today?’ Her husband replies, ‘No, he said we must carry our burdens and sorrows with a smile.
Khushwant Singh (Khushwant Singh's Joke Book 9)
So while she wasn’t worried about mobs with pitchforks, not just yet anyway, she wasn’t exactly shouting from the rooftops that her husband was a werewolf. She didn’t want any nasty surprises either. Besides, she figured it was nobody’s business but their own. Well, theirs and their therapist’s.
Rosabel Darke (The Doctor Will See You Now (Bearapy Book 1))
Julia's fears of coming forward with the violence were based on anticipated as well as actual responses from friends and acquaintances. I also recognized Julia's introverted and moody side, but I knew she wasn't capable of inciting her husband to kick, choke, and lock her in her home like an animal. Besides, considering how she was being treated, it was not surprising that she seemed moody, sensitive, even depressed. More important, nothing any woman could do could justify such behavior.
Susan Weitzman (Not To People Like Us: Hidden Abuse In Upscale Marriages)
as in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where large numbers of women turned out during the June 2009 post-election demonstrations. Clearly, these women’s grievances went far beyond a single rigged election. One explained, “I see lots of girls and women in these demonstrations. They are all angry, ready to explode, scream out and let the world hear their voice. I want the world to know that as a woman in this country, I have no freedom.” This was not surprising, since Iranian law was formulated in scrupulous adherence to the Koran and Islamic tradition and law. Even the Ayatollah Khomeini’s granddaughter, Zahra Eshraghi, declared that under Islamic law, “a woman is there to fill her husband’s stomach and raise children.” And just weeks after President Barack Obama defended the right of women in non-Muslim countries to cover their heads, brave Iranian women were throwing off their head coverings as a sign of protest against the Islamic regime—with no peep of support from Obama. Journalist Azadeh Moaveni, author of the feminist book Lipstick Jihad, noted that “while it’s not at the top of women’s grievances, the hijab is symbolic. Taking it off is like waving a red flag. Women are saying they are a force to be reckoned with.”10
Robert Spencer (The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran)
Maybe tangled will be a spectacular rump. maybe i will adore it: it could happen. But one thing is for sure: tangled will not be rapunzel. And thats too bad , because rapunzel is an specially layered and relevant fairytale, less about the love between a man and a woman than the misguided attempts of a mother trying to protect her daughter from (what she perceives ) as the worlds evils. The tale, you may recall, begins with a mother-to-bes yearning for the taste of rapunzel, a salad green she spies growing in the garden of the sorceress who happens to live next door. The womans craving becomes so intense , she tells her husband that if he doesn't fetch her some, she and their unborn baby will die.
So he steals into the baby's yard, wraps his hands around a plant, and, just as he pulls... she appears in a fury. The two eventually strike a bargain: the mans wife can have as much of the plant as she wants- if she turns over her baby to the witch upon its birth. `i will take care for it like a mother,` the sorceress croons (as if that makes it all right).
Then again , who would you rather have as a mom: the woman who would do anything for you or the one who would swap you in a New York minute for a bowl of lettuce?
Rapunzel grows up, her hair grows down, and when she is twelve-note that age-Old Mother Gothel , as she calls the witch. leads her into the woods, locking her in a high tower which offers no escape and no entry except by scaling the girls flowing tresses. One day, a prince passes by and , on overhearing Rapunzel singing, falls immediately in love (that makes Rapunzel the inverse of Ariel- she is loved sight unseen because of her voice) . He shinnies up her hair to say hello and , depending on the version you read, they have a chaste little chat or get busy conceiving twins.
Either way, when their tryst is discovered, Old Mother Gothel cries, `you wicked child! i thought i had separated you from the world, and yet you deceived me!` There you have it : the Grimm`s warning to parents , centuries before psychologists would come along with their studies and measurements, against undue restriction . Interestingly the prince cant save Rapuzel from her foster mothers wrath. When he sees the witch at the top of the now-severed braids, he jumps back in surprise and is blinded by the bramble that breaks his fall.
He wanders the countryside for an unspecified time, living on roots and berries, until he accidentally stumbles upon his love. She weeps into his sightless eyes, restoring his vision , and - voila!- they rescue each other . `Rapunzel` then, wins the prize for the most egalitarian romance, but that its not its only distinction: it is the only well-known tale in which the villain is neither maimed nor killed. No red-hot shoes are welded to the witch`s feet . Her eyes are not pecked out. Her limbs are not lashed to four horses who speed off in different directions. She is not burned at the stake. Why such leniency? perhaps because she is not, in the end, really evil- she simply loves too much. What mother has not, from time to time, felt the urge to protect her daughter by locking her in a tower? Who among us doesn't have a tiny bit of trouble letting our children go? if the hazel branch is the mother i aspire to be, then Old Mother Gothel is my cautionary tale: she reminds us that our role is not to keep the world at bay but to prepare our daughters so they can thrive within it.
That involves staying close but not crowding them, standing firm in one`s values while remaining flexible. The path to womanhood is strewn with enchantment , but it also rifle with thickets and thorns and a big bad culture that threatens to consume them even as they consume it. The good news is the choices we make for our toodles can influence how they navigate it as teens. I`m not saying that we can, or will, do everything `right,` only that there is power-magic-in awareness.
Peggy Orenstein (Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture)
George, please sit down,” Luke said. “Visit a while.” “Thanks, don’t mind if I do.” George pulled a chair over from an empty table and sat right beside Maureen so that she was sandwiched between himself and Art. “What brings you back to town so soon?” he asked her. “I’m, ah, visiting.” “Fantastic,” he said. “A long visit, I hope.” Luke took his seat, chuckling as he did so. “I have a brother here right now—Sean. You might remember him as my best man. He just discovered he has a young daughter in the area. Mom is visiting us and getting to know her first granddaughter, Rosie, three and a half and smart as a whip.” “How wonderful!” George said enthusiastically. “You must be having the time of your life!” Maureen lifted a thin brow, wary of his reaction. “I am enjoying her, yes.” “First one? I suppose before too much longer the other boys will be adding to the flock.” “Only the married ones, I hope,” Maureen said. “Do you have grandchildren, Mr. Davenport?” “Oh, let’s not be so formal—I’m George. Only step-grandchildren. I had no children of my own, in fact. Noah’s the closest thing to a son I’ve ever had, but I started out as his teacher. I’m a professor at Seattle Pacific University. I’ve known him quite a few years now. I’m here to be his best man on Friday night. I hope you’re all coming to the wedding.” “Wouldn’t miss it,” Luke said, grabbing Shelby’s hand. “And…Maureen?” George asked pointedly. “I’m not sure,” she said evasively. “Well, try to come,” he said. “These Virgin River people know how to have a good time. In fact, I have an idea. Once I have my best-man duties out of the way, I suggest we go to dinner. I’ll take you someplace nice in one of the coast towns, though it’ll be hard to improve on Preacher’s cooking. But we deserve some time away from all these young people, don’t you think?” “Excuse me, George?” she asked. “I assume you were married?” “Twice, as a matter of fact. Divorced a long time ago and, more recently, widowed. My wife died a few years ago. Maybe we should pick an evening and exchange phone numbers,” he suggested. “That’s very nice of you, but no. I don’t go out with men.” “Really?” he asked, surprised by her immediate refusal. “And why is that?” “I’m a widow,” she said. “A single woman.” “What a coincidence. And I’m a single man. I’m all for free thinking, but I wouldn’t ask you to dinner were I married. Are you recently widowed?” Out of the corner of his eye, George saw Luke snicker and look away. “Yes,” Maureen said. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “I was under the impression it had been years. When did you lose your husband, Maureen?” She looked a bit shocked to be put on the spot like that. It was apparent she was trying to gather her wits. She put out her hand. “It was so nice to see you again, Mr….George. I’m glad you sat and visited awhile. Maybe I’ll see you at the wedding this weekend if I’m not needed for anything else. I should probably get on the road—I have to drive to Eureka.” She stood and George did, as well. “Eureka? You’re not staying here in Virgin River with your son?” “I’m staying with a friend just down the street from my granddaughter so I’m free to pick her up after preschool. We spend most afternoons together. Really, nice seeing you.” She turned to Luke. “I’m going to head back to Viv’s, Luke. Good night, Shelby. ’Night, Art. Thanks for dinner, it was great as usual.” “Wonderful seeing you, too,” George said. “Try to come to Noah’s wedding. I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself.” Luke
Robyn Carr (Angel's Peak (Virgin River #10))
By the time Beatrix had finished the letter, she was aware of a peculiar feeling, a sense of surprised compassion pressing against the walls of her heart.
It didn’t seem possible that such a letter could have come from the arrogant Christopher Phelan. It wasn’t at all what she had expected. There was a vulnerability, a quiet need, that had touched her.
“You must write to him, Pru,” she said, closing the letter with far more care than she had previously handled it.
“I’ll do no such thing. That would only encourage more complaining. I’ll be silent, and perhaps that will spur him to write something more cheerful next time.”
Beatrix frowned. “As you know, I have no great liking for Captain Phelan, but this letter…he deserves your sympathy, Pru. Just write him a few lines. A few words of comfort. It would take no time at all. And about the dog, I have some advice--”
“I am not writing anything about the dratted dog.” Prudence gave an impatient sigh. “You write to him.”
“Me? He doesn’t want to hear from me. He thinks I’m peculiar.”
“I can’t imagine why. Just because you brought Medusa to the picnic…”
“She’s a very well behaved hedgehog,” Beatrix said defensively.
“The gentleman whose hand was pierced didn’t seem to think so.”
“That was only because he tried to handle her incorrectly. When you pick up a hedgehog--”
“No, there’s no use telling me, since I’m never going to handle one. As for Captain Phelan…if you feel that strongly about it, write a response and sign my name.”
“Won’t he recognize that the handwriting is different?”
“No, because I haven’t written to him yet.”
“But he’s not my suitor,” Beatrix protested. “I don’t know anything about him.”
“You know as much as I do, actually. You’re acquainted with his family, and you’re very close to his sister-in-law. And I wouldn’t say that Captain Phelan is my suitor, either. At least not my only one. I certainly won’t promise to marry him until he comes back from the war with all his limbs intact. I don’t want a husband I would have to push around in an invalid’s chair for the rest of my life.”
“Pru, you have the depth of a puddle.”
Prudence grinned. “At least I’m honest.”
Beatrix gave her a dubious glance. “You’re actually delegating the writing of a love letter to one of your friends?”
Prudence waved her hand in a dismissive gesture. “Not a love letter. There was nothing of love in his letter to me. Just write something cheerful and encouraging.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
One of my favorite examples of how souls retain their personality quirks and charms happened when I did a group reading for a bunch of sisters and their mom after their father had died. His soul came through and said that when Mom goes on her cruise, he’ll be with her. He described how amazing it would be--the whole family would be on a large boat, and because it was a Disney cruise, Mickey Mouse and Cinderella would be there too. The woman was very confused, since she hadn’t planned a vacation for herself recently, much less such an indulgent one. “I don’t know what my husband’s talking about,” she said. “I can’t afford to go on a trip like that.” But her husband’s soul kept at it. He was insistent! After lots of sideways glances, the kids burst out laughing. “Okay, Dad, we’ll tell her!” they said. The girls had planned a surprise birthday cruise for the family for their mom’s seventieth birthday. “This is so typical,” the mom said. “He could never keep anything to himself!” Clearly, he’s still into blowing secrets from the Other Side.
Theresa Caputo (There's More to Life Than This: Healing Messages, Remarkable Stories, and Insight About the Other Side from the Long Island Medium)
And when the fair Louisa takes you into disfavor, Kesmore, do you go charging forth into the bedroom, saber at the ready, risking all, only to have her freeze you with a look or a word?” Kesmore pretended to fuss the pillow under his arse rather than smile openly at Deene’s misery. “It might surprise you to know, young Deene, that the fair Louisa, particularly on those rare and mistaken occasions when she has taken me into disfavor, generally wants me to come charging in with my saber at the ready. She is not a woman who finds a propensity for pretty talk a winning quality in her swain, and I am not a swain to disappoint my lady.” “If I do ask Evie what she wants of me,” Deene said, glowering at the fire, “she will say, if I have to ask her, then I don’t understand what the problem is, or some such rot. Women speak in riddles when you most need them to be clear and direct.” “Why do you need to be anything? Many a considerate husband goes for a week without pestering his wife, Deene. The ladies become indisposed, they get preoccupied, they… need their rest.” Deene blinked. “I’m thinking of entering William in the June meet at Epsom.” “Ah. A show of preoccupation. Brilliant strategy, one heartily endorsed by the most proud and unsatisfied husbands the world over. Why don’t you instead find a cozy, private moment between the sheets and ask your wife not about lawsuits or scandals, but if she’d like you to make love to her? Tell her you miss her more than you’d miss the beating heart torn from your chest, and nothing would bring you as much gratification as seeing to her pleasure.” “What if she says no?” “I didn’t say you should necessarily ask her with words—or expect her to see to your pleasure while you’re about it.” Deene’s brows shot up. He was off the couch in the next moment and heading for the door. “Thanks for the libation. My regards to Lady Louisa.” ***
Grace Burrowes (Lady Eve's Indiscretion (The Duke's Daughters, #4; Windham, #7))
I must be honest with you too, Husband.” “I would prefer it.” “I am not in a position to consummate our vows tonight.” He felt surprise and disappointment, and for an instant considered that for all her affection and pragmatism, all her passion on his hearth rug several nights past, Louisa was consigning them to a white marriage. Except… her passion had been honest. Her rejoicing in his coming through the duel unscathed had been honest. The smiles she’d sent him across the hordes of wedding guests in the Moreland ballroom had been blazingly honest. “Why can’t you consummate our vows, Louisa?” Now she withdrew her hands from his leg, his no-longer-throbbing leg. The horses slowed to a walk. “Louisa?” She mashed her face against his throat, and against his skin, her cheek felt unnaturally hot. “…Dratted… Blighted… female… Next week.” Joseph blinked in the darkness. He had been married before. For several long, unhappy years, in fact, but in that odd moment with Louisa tucked close to him in the darkness, those years of marriage enabled him to decipher her meaning and her problem. He gathered her close and kissed her cheek, when what he wanted to do was laugh—at fate, at his worst imaginings, even a little at his wife’s muttered indignation over nature’s timing. “Next week is not so very far away, Louisa Carrington, and I promise to make the wait worth your while.” She lifted her head, a challenge glinting in her green eyes. “And yours too, Sir Joseph. I promise you that.” And then they did laugh—together. ***
Grace Burrowes (Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight (The Duke's Daughters, #3; Windham, #6))
They were married though they needn’t have married, and though both had sworn they never would be. It is hard to explain—in that game of musical chairs—why they should have stopped, finally, at each other. Kindness, as a quality, had something to do with it. Many things were easy to find on those dance floors, but kindness was rare. Her husband was kinder than any man Leah Hanwell had ever known, aside from her father. And then of course they had been surprised by their own conventionality.
Zadie Smith (NW)
I booked hotel rooms in the city, I lit candles, I planned surprise weekend getaways, I bought porn! My Google search history is probably still full of all the porn I bought, and tomorrow I might get hit by a bus and people will see my Google porn history and it won’t be pretty!” I sob. “For three years I tried everything I could to get my husband to have sex with me, and nothing worked. Now I’m going to die, sexless and alone, with student/teacher pornography stuck in my cookies!”
Ariel quickly drops down next to me, grabs the Clone-a-Willy from my hand and chucks it across the room.
“You are NOT going to die sexless and alone with anything stuck in your cookie, aside from another much larger, much more enjoyable frickle,” Ariel reassures me.
“He really didn’t have a very satisfying frickle. God, I miss sex,” I say with a sigh.
“His frickle was fucked, and he wouldn’t know how to use it if he had a road map and a tour guide.”
“See? It’s fun saying frickle!” Belle exclaims.
Tara Sivec (At the Stroke of Midnight (The Naughty Princess Club, #1))
He glanced at the woman in purple, who was smirking fondly at Jack’s father in a way that filled Jack with darkest foreboding. “We wanted to surprise you.”
Jack looked from his father to the woman in purple. He thought he knew what was coming and he didn’t like it. “We?”
His father slid his arm through that of the woman in purple. He cleared his throat. “Jack, may I present my wife, your new—”
“Felicitations.” If his father thought he was going to call this woman mother, he had to be mad. But then, that was his father, wasn’t it? He always saw the world as he wished it to be. It was stupid, at Jack’s age, to feel disappointment. Jack nodded crisply to his new stepmother. “Congratulations, madam. Had I been informed, I would have sent a gift.”
“That didn’t sound terribly celebratory,” whispered Lady Henrietta to her husband.
Lauren Willig (The Lure of the Moonflower (Pink Carnation, #12))
Do you really think you can get him to switch to guarding the border between Tarva and Fisa without making you go through a whole new challenge?” I ask. Lycheron will only bargain male Alpha to male Alpha. The first challenge involved riddles, forfeits, and Artemis—all of which I could do without.
“I can try.” Griffin’s gray eyes glitter from beneath his dark lashes as he turns to me, the mix of humor and determination in them making my breath catch. Man. Warlord. Husband. King. I love every part of him.
“I’m going to stitch that onto a banner for you,” I tell him. “I’ll turn it into your official motto.”
The corners of his mouth kick up, and his expression brightens with surprise. “You can sew?”
“Nope.” I grin. “But I can try.
Amanda Bouchet (Heart on Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #3))
March 3 Vexation … Her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.—1 Samuel 1:6b We don’t use the word rival much in referring to relationships in the office, neighborhood or family. It’s a word used in game-playing or competitive sports. Yet, there is probably one person who loves to push your buttons, who manipulates the conversation, who drinks the last cup of coffee and never makes another pot—you know who I’m talking about. Why, just thinking about the last little trick they pulled makes your face blush a bit with anger or embarrassment. Their daily digs or sick sarcasm is a constant wear on your attempts to be at peace while you do your job. At times you’ve thought of strangling them, but more often you simply try to avoid them. If you are a Christian, you are going to be targeted by the enemy of peace. Satan will send a few darts your way: a bossy co-worker, a meddling aunt, a gossipy neighbor and your most-of-the-time adoring husband to name a few. Don’t be surprised when it happens, because it will happen. Your peace is too good to be true in the world’s eyes. The world doesn’t understand it, the world can’t have it, and therefore the world doesn’t want you to have it either. Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel is an example of the woman who faces daily vexation from someone who is bent on robbing her of her peace and joy in the Lord. When she could take the ridicule no longer, she turned to the Lord. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:10). She called to God for release of the heaviness in her soul. Is your soul heavy because of conflict in relationships? I encourage you to pray for the person who is casting the darts. Forgive their trespasses against you, and ask for strength from the Lord. Ask boldly; He will hear your request. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses His people with peace (Psalm 29:11).
The writers of Encouraging.com (God Moments: A Year in the Word)
In the year 2000, to my great surprise I received a call from Fürth, Germany, with news of an intriguing project. The caller explained that his wife, an actress, had read the poetry of Selma Meerbaum - a small volume of her writings published in Germany. The actress, Jutta Czurda, and a group of friends - a composer, a writer, and his actress wife-decided to create a play about Selma and put some of her poems to music. However, they knew very little about her, other than that she had died of typhoid fever n Ukraine in December, 1941. Mr. Minasian, the husband of the actress, decided to turn to the Internet for information. As soon as he entered Selma's name, there appeared the chapter from my memoirs, Before Memories Fade. He found my address and telephone number and the connection was established.
Pearl Fichman (Before Memories Fade)
February 5 On the Thin Ice When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.—Proverbs 14:32 My husband had an harrowing experience a few weeks ago. As he was driving over a low overpass, a patch of “black ice” caught him by surprise. His truck spun around and headed for the concrete guardrail. All he could do was wait for the impact. As he told me about the incident, I thought about how often it seems that situations in our lives are just as far out of our control as a truck sliding around on ice. One moment things seem to be going smoothly; then all of a sudden there is a death, a diagnosis, a crisis, or something else that knocks the wind out of us. There is very rarely anything we can do to prevent these sorts of catastrophes; they seem to fall out of the sky. However, mental and spiritual preparation can keep us from being crushed. Remembering that nothing is impossible with God, and meditating on his faithfulness to me in the past, reminds me that there is good reason to trust him with the future (Luke 1:37; Psalm. 89:8). With this in mind, our first reaction to calamity can be to turn toward God, knowing that He will give us His peace (Philippians 4:6-7). We can calmly steer into the skid that life has thrown us, knowing that He is always there (Joshua 1:9). We may be bowed low by trouble and heartache but, by the grace of God, we will not be defeated (2 Corinthians 4:8)! By the way, I am thrilled to say that my husband arrived home without a scratch on him or his truck, thanks to the mighty hand of God that delivered him! Truly, nothing is too hard for the Lord (Jeremiah 32:27). Thank You, Lord, that You are my refuge in times of trouble (Psalm. 9:9). What a comfort to know that Your strong arms are there when the very ground I’m standing on seems to crumble beneath my feet!
The writers of Encouraging.com (God Moments: A Year in the Word)
That never happened to you with your husband,” he whispered. It was a statement, not a question. Holly nodded in perplexed wonder. It was hard to believe they could have a conversation this way, with the heat of him still lodged deep within her. But the storm was still beating outside, surrounding them in dark rain-swept privacy, and she heard herself reply in a drugged voice, “I liked making love with George… it was always pleasant. But there were things he never… and I wouldn't… because it isn't right, you see…” “What isn't right?” Zachary pulled a few pins from her hair and unraveled the warm coil of shining brown locks, spreading them in a curtain over her naked back. She spoke slowly, searching for the right words. “A woman should tame a man's bestial nature, not encourage it. I told you once before what lovemaking should be—” “An elevated expression of love,” he said, playing with her hair. “A communion of souls.” Holly was surprised that he had remembered. “Yes, exactly. It should not descend into lewdness.” She felt him smile against the side of her head. “I see nothing wrong with a little lewdness now and then.” “Of course you wouldn't,” she said, hiding a smile in the thick carpet of curls on his chest.
Lisa Kleypas (Where Dreams Begin)
Belated understanding softened his life-hardened face. “Who was it of yours who took their own life?” She was surprised that she told him. “My husband.” For a moment, Barney seemed overwhelmed by this revelation. He opened his mouth but could think of nothing to say. He looked at the gulls far above and then at her again. Tears shimmered in his eyes. “It’s all right,” she said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you, Barney. I’m dealing with it. I’m okay.” He nodded, worked his mouth soundlessly, nodded again, said at last, “Whyever he might’ve did it, it never could’ve been you.” He turned from her and shuffled away, bent under his backpack, carrying his trash bag, hurrying as best he could, as if it must be this very kind of thing, the tragedies of the world, from which he had so long been running.
Dean Koontz (The Silent Corner (Jane Hawk, #1))
It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” he said. “I’m glad we got the chance to see it.” “It reminds me of the country. Of home.” He heard the wistful note in her voice. “Gwen misses it, too. She wishes you could all be home for Christmas at Easton Manner.” He turned toward her, leaning against the window frame. She’d never really noticed it before, but his shoulders were quite nicely broad. “Is that what you’d like for Christmas too, Amelia? To be home with your family?” She thought for a moment, then decided to tell the truth. “No, I would like not to have to marry Lord Broadmore.” The sudden intensity in Nigel’s gaze set her already pounding heart tripping over itself. “Then why should you?” he asked in a low voice. She returned her gaze to the snowy square, avoiding his eye. “I suspect you already know the answer—my unfortunate reputation. Besides, my parents approve of Broadmore and are eager to see us married. In their eyes, he will make the perfect husband.” His hand came to her arm and gently turned her to face him. “Amelia, no true friend would think less of you for ending your previous engagements. They were simply mistakes you learned from.” “I’ve been called a heartless jilt by more than one person, you know,” she said, trying to make a joke of a label that had wounded her deeply. “They were wrong,” he said, looking stern. “But tell me why your parents are so eager for you to marry Broadmore. We both know he’s an unrepentant ass.” His blunt speech surprised a laugh out of her. “True, but an ass with a title and several magnificent estates. Papa is determined that I marry as well as possible.” She grimaced. “He says a girl of my looks and fortune deserves the very best.” Nigel smiled. “Your father is correct, but not for those reasons. You do have a very pretty face and your fortune is enviable, but those are not the best part of you.” She had to force the words from her tight throat. “What is?” He took her hand, intertwining their fingers. The breath whooshed out of her lungs and she clutched his hand in a convulsive grip. “It’s your heart, Amelia. Your lovely, kind heart,” he said with a smile that melted her from the inside out. “And now that you’ve told me what you don’t want for Christmas, tell me what you do want.” When Amelia thought of all the obstacles facing them, her courage almost failed. But it was Christmas, the time for wishes and dreams to come true. “I want to marry a kind, loving man who will be a good husband and father. A man who will see me as I truly am, and not as a decorative knick-knack and a means for plumping up his bank account.” Nigel gently cupped her chin with his free hand. “My sweet girl that is only what you deserve.” She stared at him, mesmerized. “And what do you want for Christmas, Mr. Dash?” she finally whispered. His lips parted in a devastatingly tender smile. “A kiss, Amelia. One kiss for Christmas.” She felt her mouth curl up in a silly grin. “Only one?” He let out a husky laugh. “To start.” Then he bent and gently, carefully—as if he didn’t want to frighten her—brushed a kiss across her lips.
Anna Campbell (A Grosvenor Square Christmas)
Ye should have told me the truth,” Cathal nearly yelled. “Ye have been keeping secrets from me, your husband.” Bridget jumped to her feet, ignoring the cloth scraps that fell to the floor. She was furious that he had made her feel so afraid, so hurt, and that he would act so outraged when he still clung to a few secrets himself. “Ye, sir, have no right to be waving a scolding finger at me.” Not sure if she wanted to hit him or weep and feeling like doing both, Bridget started out of the room. “There are still a few secrets ye havenae told me, I vow.” She yanked open the door. “Where are ye going?” “To the stable, I think. I saw a rat there yesterday.” She slammed the door behind her. “That went weel,” murmured Jankyn. “Why do I suspect that ye were in the stables yesterday?” “Because I was,” grumbled Cathal, then he glared at Jankyn but it failed to dim his cousin’s grin. “I wonder why she thinks I am keeping secrets.” “Because ye are. Ye havenae told her about the mating, have ye?” “Weel, nay, but she doesnae ken that.” “Ye would be surprised at how easily a woman can root out a mon’s secrets.” “Aye,
Hannah Howell (The Eternal Highlander (McNachton Vampires, #1))
Dear Lord, you are a vampire,” Eva gasped, then covered her mouth to keep the wayward thing from spouting any other unwanted revelations. Connall stiffened, his eyes shooting to her face. He had the oddest expression on his face, she noted. He looked . . . scared? Nay, apprehensive was a better description, and Eva had to wonder why he was looking so apprehensive when he was the soulless— Nay, not soulless, she reminded herself, recalling their conversation from the night before. He was not dead, nor soulless, he had assured her and he did not kill those he bit. Connall had described himself as just different and while Eva thought that was something of an understatement, she reassured herself with that information, now. He was just different, still her husband, the kind, sweet, gentle man who had treated her as if she had value, and shown her such consideration, as well as taught her passion. Nothing else had changed, she reminded herself as her head began to spin. He was the clan chief of the MacAdie, and her husband. And really, as flaws went, vampirism was much more pleasant to deal with than his being a wife beater or some such thing. Wasn’t it? “Dear Lord,” Eva breathed, shaking her head at her own thoughts, then she glanced to Connall again. He was uncharacteristically silent, his attention focused on her with an intensity that made her nervous. Her husband hadn’t said a word since she’d blurted that he was a vampire and it was making her uncomfortable enough to start searching her mind for a way to make him leave. “If you have things to do, you need not trouble yourself to wait here for me to finish eating. I can manage well enough on my own,” she murmured at last, though the food was all gone. “Tis no trouble to be with ye,” he said with a frown and there was sudden anger on his face. “Yer no a burden to me, Eva, ye ne’er ha’e been and ne’er will be. Dear God, ye saved me life this morn, woman, no once, but twice. Ha’e ye no realized yer worth yet?” “I—” Eva shook her head helplessly, confused by the tears suddenly pooling in her eyes. His vehemence was as surprising to her as the words themselves. She had saved his life that morning. She’d driven the intruder off with the log, then . . . well all right, the feeding bit wasn’t that impressive. Anyone would have done in that instance, but she had fended off the intruder. “Ye’ve courage and beauty and intelligence and are a worthy wife. E’en a king would ha’e pride in claimin’ ye to wife. I have felt nothing but pride in claimin’ ye meself.” “Despite my bein’ accident prone?” she teased with a wry twist of the lips. “Yer accidents are a result o’ tryin’ too hard to earn a place here,” he said quietly. “But ’tis only because you doonae realize ye already ha’e a place here. Yer the Lady MacAdie. My wife.” Eva swallowed, her gaze dropping from his at those words. They made her heart ache for some reason. “Why do ye look away? Do ye hate me now?” Eva glanced back up with surprise. “What?” “Now that ye know what I am?” he explained. “Will ye be wantin’ an annulment? Beggin’ to be set free? Wid ye rather a mortal man to husband? Should I take ye back to Caxton?” Eva stared at him in horror, fear clutching at her heart at the very idea of what he suggested.
Hannah Howell (The Eternal Highlander (McNachton Vampires, #1))
He slides my ruby ring off his finger. 'I, Cardan, son of Eldred, High King of Elfhame, take you, Jude Duarte, mortal ward of Madoc, to be my bride and my queen. Let us be wed until we wish for it to be otherwise and the crown has passed from our hands.'
As he speaks, I begin to tremble with something between hope and fear. The words he's saying are so momentous that they're surreal, especially here, in Eldred's own rooms. Time seems to stretch out. Above us, the branches begin to bud, as though the land itself heard the words he spoke.
Catching my hand, he slides the ring on. The exchange of rings is not a faerie ritual, and I am surprised by it.
'Your turn,' he says in to the silence. He gives me a grin. 'I'm trusting you to keep your word and release me from my bond of obedience after this.'
I smile back, which maybe makes up for the way that I froze after he finished speaking. I still can't quite believe this is happening. My hand tightens on his as I speak. 'I, Jude Duarte, take Cardan, High King of Elfhame, to be my husband. Let us be wed until we don't want to be and the crown has passed from our hands.'
He kisses the scar of my palm.
I still have his brother's blood under my fingernails.
I don't have a ring for him.
Above us, the buds are blooming. The whole room smells of flowers.
Drawing back, I speak again, pushing away all thoughts of Balekin, of the future in which I am going to have to tell him what I've done. 'Cardan, son of Eldred, High King of Elfhame, I forsake any command over you. You are free of your vow of obedience, for now and for always.'
He lets out a breath and stands a bit unsteadily. I can't quite wrap my head around the idea that I am... I can't even think the words. Too much has happened tonight.
Holly Black (The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2))