Sneak Peek: Breaking the Ties That Bind
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Excerpt: Chapter One
Kendra Richards completed her ablutions, opened her sleep sofa, extinguished the lights, and crawled into bed. She had stood continually from three o'clock in the afternoon until eleven that night and she'd frozen a smile on her face as she checked coats, briefcases, canes, and umbrellas in a classy Washington, D.C., restaurant. A tally of her tips showed that, as balm for her tired feet, she had exactly sixty-three dollars.
"Oh, well, at least I have a job," she said to herself, fluffed her pillow, let out a long, happy breath, and prepared to sleep. Tomorrow, she would have lunch with her three buddies-The Pace Setters, as the four called themselves-a treat to which she always looked forward.
She heard the phone ringing, but she put her head beneath the pillow and willed the noise to go away. But it persisted, so she sat up and answered it. "Hello, whoever you are at half past midnight."
"What on earth took you so long? Don't tell me you were asleep."
She got comfortable and rested her right elbow on her knee. "What's the matter, Mama?"
"Nothing's the matter. Why does something have to be the matter?"
"Mama, it's almost one o'clock in the morning. I got off a little over an hour ago, and I was just going to sleep. Why'd you call so late?"
"Oh, for goodness' sake. You're the only person in this town who thinks twelve o'clock is late."
Ready to throw up her hands, she said, "Yeah. Right," beneath her breath. Nobody had to tell her that Ginny Hunter was about to drop a bomb. Kendra cut to the chase. "What is it, Mama?"
"Don't be so frosty. Your mama needs a couple 'a thousand. I saw a nice little Lexus, and I need that money for the down payment."
Kendra stared at the receiver as if it were the phone that abused her patience. "You're not serious. You risked waking me up for this? And why would you buy a car? Your license has been revoked, and you can't drive it. Besides, you can't get car insurance if your license has been revoked, and it's against the law to drive an uninsured car."
"Oh, that's stupid. Nobody can get around in Washington without a car."
"Mama, I'm tired. Can we talk about this tomorrow? I'll call you."
"I don't want a phone call. I want the money. Getting anything out of you is like squeezing blood out of a turnip."
"That's hardly fair, Mama. For twelve years, I've been trying to save enough money to go back to Howard and complete the requirements for my bachelor's degree. And for twelve years, every time I get one or two thousand dollars in the bank, you borrow it, and you never pay it back. To make it worse, every year the cost of college is higher.
"I have two thousand dollars, but I saved it for my tuition. I hope you remember that you borrowed twenty-seven hundred dollars from me about six weeks ago and promised to pay it back in two weeks. You're acting as if you don't owe me a thing, Mama. So please don't say I'm stingy. I'll call you in the morning and let you know."
Kendra hung up wondering, not for the first time, about her mother's spending habits. Hopefully, she didn't gamble or use illegal drugs. Kendra slept fitfully and awakened as tired as she'd been when she went to bed.
Ginny Hunter figured she'd done her duty when she gave birth to Kendra. She hadn't wanted any children, but Bert Richards, Kendra's father, threatened to hold her criminally liable if she had an abortion. She did her best to be a mother to Kendra after her own mother passed on and left the child rearing to her. She'd hated every minute of it, but she'd done her best, and it shouldn't be much of a stretch for Kendra to help her out when she needed money.
Ginny sucked in her breath. School. Always school. If Kendra would find herself a man with some money, she wouldn't have to work till nearly midnight. Damned if she'd do it. Ginny rolled out of bed, slipped her feet into her pink, spike-heel mules, and threw on her pink negligee. She glanced back at the long, brown male frame on the other side of the bed and frowned. Why didn't men realize that the sunrise shouldn't catch them in a woman's bed, unless the woman was their wife?
She did not cook breakfast for any man. She went around and whacked the man on his behind. "Get up, uh, Ed. It's time to go home."
He sat up, rubbed his eyes, and gave her a smile that was obviously intended to captivate her. She stared at him. "Listen, honey. What's gorgeous at night doesn't look so good in daylight. I got to get out of here and go to work."
"Don't I get some breakfast?"
"Baby, I don't even cook for me."
He got up, pulled on his shorts, and looked around for the rest of his clothes. "I can see why you're not married," he grumbled.
"No you don't. I just divorced my fifth husband, though the decree's not yet final.
When a relationship starts to sag, I say bye bye baby."
[ Read the first chapter excerpt today. ]
Excerpted from Breaking the Ties That Bind by Gwynne Forster. Copyright © 2011 by Gwynne Forster. Excerpted by permission of the author. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.