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Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Post with Author Susan Lute

Today I would like to welcome to the blog author Susan Lute. Susan is currently on tour for her book The Return of Benjamin Quincy and has stopped by today to share an interview with Sydney Marshall, the heroine from her book. But before we can get to that, lets get to know Susan a bit.

Like all children of military families, Susan spent her childhood moving from one duty station to the next. An ardent student of human nature, she acquired a love for ancient history and myth, a fascination for the ridiculous and unusual, and is the first to admit, she still collects way too much useless information.

These days, when not working as a Registered Nurse, she writes whenever she can. When not writing, her favorite things to do are spend time with family, read, watch movies, garden, take black-and-white photos, travel, and remodel her house.

Places to find Susan:

Sydney Marshall is one of those girls who's a spunky, uber-responsible, girl Friday. She can't say no. I'd say - after interviewing most of the of Rosewood - everyone loves her. She dreams big. Is loyal to a fault. And definitely knows how to take one for the team. Who wouldn't love a girl with that much moxie, who drives a bright-red Volkswagen Bug? Let's see if she'll have a word with us.

Interviewer: Sydney, Rosewood loves you. What do you think of small town life?

Sydney: Small towns are great to grow up in, but there's a lot of other places to see. Can't wait to get on the plane and see it all.

Interviewer: I hear your high-school sweetheart is back in town, and he's a single dad of a little girl, who's smart as the dickens.

Sydney: Yes, I ran into him at Meredith's. She's my ex-boss. He bought The Rosewood Gazette from her.

Interviewer: Any chance you and he will get back together?

Sydney: Not at all! My bags are packed, and I've got my plane ticket right here. Why? Did he say something about us getting back together?

All Benjamin Quincy wants is to make a stable home for his ten year old daughter in the town he grew up in and left in bitter disappointment. Young and hot headed, he made a mistake.

Eleven years later, he’s a divorced, single dad with a troubled child, and a lot to make up for.

Sydney Marshall has finally snagged the perfect job at a coveted travel magazine in New York.

Does she care that her ex has returned to the tiny town of Rosewood with a precious daughter who’s not hers?

Does it matter that every time he comes near, her heat flutters madly like in the old days? No! Her bags are packed; plane tickets are stashed in her carry on bag; the adventure of a lifetime is about to begin.

There’s only one problem. Life and Rosewood have a penchant for interfering in the best laid plans.

Places to Purchase:

She let herself into her boss’ house - almost ex-boss now - gleefully rubbing her mental hands together like a woman who’d just discovered the perfect Prada handbag on the seventy-five percent sale rack. Not that a Prada bag worth its salt would allow itself to be found in a little town where the highlights of the week were JV and Varsity football, but Sydney Marshall was forever optimistic.

When her father was alive, he’d taken her to the football games from the time she was a little girl. She missed those times, when the banter was all about which player was going to take the home team to the playoffs.

Her father had taught her that life was magical, but the magic had died with him, and since she’d dragged her feet long enough, now it was time to make some magic of her own. Finally, after spending the last eleven years working for Meredith - first as her girl Friday, then operating the presses while she went to school getting her journalism degree, and finally making her mark as a local travel writer, she was more than ready to spread her wings.

She had the job, the plane ticket and a studio apartment waiting in Manhattan. All that was left was get on that plane, which she had every intention of doing, as soon as she tied up the last of her loose ends.

Closing the door behind her, Syd eased into the room packed to the brim with people she’d known all her life. The volume was loud. The scent of newly baked cinnamon rolls made her mouth water.

In all the excitement of clearing out her desk at The Rosewood Gazette and locking the door of Rosewood’s only newspaper behind her for the last time, she’d forgotten breakfast. The warm smell of gooey pastries drew her to the kitchen. She would miss Ester Reed’s sinful confections. No one made pastries like Grant’s grandma.

And speak of the devil. Her best friend since he came to town to help his grandmother run Rose’s Bakery grabbed her and spun her in tight circles as though she were nine instead of twenty-nine. “Are you packed?”

“Almost. Put me down, you lug.”

“Knew it. Two weeks to go and you probably have all those boxes you had me drag to your place packed, triple taped shut, and stacked in alphabetical order.”

Grinning, ‘cause Grant wasn’t far off the mark, she slapped his shoulder. “I’m not that bad.”

Her feet dropped to the floor.

“Really? Could have fooled me. How did game night go last night? Sorry I couldn’t make it.”

“As usual. Delle Burns won again.”

“She is one lucky lady.”

As a clothes concept, subtlety was lost on Grant. Today he had on a bright red shirt he’d gotten at a Star Trek convention. It clashed painfully with the pea-green cargo pants he’d paired it with.

Wincing, Syd shielded her eyes in mock horror. “What is that you’re wearing?”

“What? What’s wrong with my clothes?” His blonde, thick hair was pulled into a short tail at the back of his neck. Blue eyes twinkled merrily at her. “Who’s going to eat my cooking when you’re gone?”

“The usual. Everyone in town who’s not bedridden.” She punched his arm and added hopefully, “If you get lonely you can always come see me in New York. You’ll cook. I’ll eat. It’ll be like old times.”

He snorted. “Hardly.”

“I’m looking for Meredith. I have to give her the keys to the office.”

Grant turned uncharacteristically serious. “Are you sure you really want to move clear across the country?”
“Positive. Haven’t you heard? The center of the universe is New York City.” Syd let her grin grow, cocky and a little full of herself. “And I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. Can you imagine writing for The Traveler?”

“Well no. Not my thing,” Grant smirked. “Meredith’s in her office. Said she had a call to make.”

Syd rose on her toes and kissed his cheek. What would she have done without him when her world was falling apart, and all the years since? “I’ll text.”

“You bet your pretty ass you will.”

Laughing, she threaded her way through the crowded living room.

“Congratulations on your new job, Sydney.”

“Thanks, Henry.”

Henry was owner and chief mechanic of the one auto shop in town, Henry’s Auto Repair. When she got on the plane, her beloved cherry-red VW would be parked in his parking lot, a For Sale sign displayed prominently in the window.

Velma Caldwell stopped her with a tentative touch on her arm. “I wish I was brave enough to sell all my things and move clear across the country.”

Syd bit the inside of her cheek. Everyone knew, you-know-where would have to freeze over before Velma, Rosewood’s head librarian, would leave her post.

“I was told Meredith is in her office. Have you seen her?”

Velma shook her head, “Sorry.”

More well wishes and congratulations kept her from making speedy work of running Meredith to ground. Her ex-boss ran The Gazette from the office she’d set up in a spare room a few years ago, after which she’d insisted Syd take over the publisher’s office at the Main Street building. It was an ongoing game played - by those who would remain unnamed, Syd mocked herself - to keep her in town. Bribe the kid, so she’ll stay close to home.

But in the end, she’d won. Her feet did a little happy dance.

There had been a time - God, how long ago it seemed - when she’d dreamed of sharing a sparkling, big life with the handsomest, smartest boy in school. They’d planned a lifetime together. But her dad had gotten cancer, and everything after that had changed.

She swallowed the sneaky remnant of grief, and slashed aside the memory of the last time she’d seen Benjamin Quincy. She was moving on. Ten years too late. But moving on, just as he had.


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