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Welcome to Grayville (FF)

JMS Books LLC

Heat Rating: SENSUAL
Word Count: 25,546
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Welcome to Grayville, where women learn about the power of love, friendship, and the battles of everyday life.

Meet Becca Mantra, who is having a secret love affair and doesn't realize she's pushing her husband Jay over the edge. Why is she so happy about her infidelity with a woman half her age? Maybe it’s because Tuckie Brice, a greasy mechanic at Monkey’s Garage who suffers from depression, is actively seeking psychological help for her problems, while Jay is not.

There’s also psychologist Dr. Sharon Shaw, who sees Tuckie twice a week, falls in love with Trevina Banter, a paperback mystery writer. When Trevina saves Jay from a suicide attempt, she decides to write a strange short story, which has nothing to do with her prize-winning sleuth.

And then there’s Julia Bevel, an abused wife with a questionable attraction to her best friend, Cindy Cotter. When she steps out of her comfort zone and makes a physical pass at Cindy, Julia’s visit to Grayville will never be forgotten, and her life changes in dramatic ways.

Together the women of Grayville share their individual tribulations and triumphs of everyday life in their small Pennsylvania community.

Excerpt

Trevina does bring Sharon flowers, just as she suspects Trevina will. After Sharon places the arrangement in a crystal vase with water and a single aspirin, she asks if they should leave.

Trevina agrees, escorting Sharon to her BMW, being the sweet and princess-like woman that Sharon is quite familiar with, and has grown positively fond of in the last few weeks.

Soon, in a matter of seconds, they are both seated in Trevina’s Beamer and ride away from her Tudor. Sharon talks about the weather, how nice Trevina looks tonight in her brown suit and matching heels, and the current novel she is reading, Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates, which Sharon is enjoying.

Trevina claims that she has never read the book and asks if she can borrow it when Sharon is through with the tome; Sharon agrees. Trevina says something about returning it without dents or scratches, and that she’ll be extra cautious and careful while handling it.

Sharon sort of chuckles at this, and believes that Trevina treats her in the same manner: without dents or scratches, being cautious and careful at the same time -- always.

Within minutes they arrive at Chablis Blanco: a span of white bricks, three stories high, windows decorated with ruby-colored draperies and yellow-white light. Trevina opens her passenger door and eventually escorts Sharon inside. Here, Sharon takes in the French decorations, smells, and ambiance, thrilled to be at Trevina’s side. In a matter of seconds they are escorted to a window seat, overlooking the night’s lake, which Sharon finds beautiful with its blue-golden moon, crashing waves, and shadowy islands beyond Grayville.

****

As Sharon eats shrimp scampi and brown rice, she thinks of her previous girlfriends: charmless with hints of rage, overpowering women who desired nothing but sex, outrageous evenings that tossed Sharon into a vat of self-disgrace. Often she tells herself she can do better. Yet part of her knows she cannot be picky with whom she decides to spend her life with, since she’s past the age of forty now. Sharon is carefully modest with regards to selecting her dates, but at the same time willful and accepting. All women are beautiful in their own ways, and the truth of the matter is simple: she tries to find the most beautiful to spend a date or dates with.

Trevina lands in the minority of the women that Sharon dates. Trevina’s funny, sweet, caring, trivial, and delightful to be around. She asks Sharon questions, unlike other dates that Sharon has shared with women. Who is your favorite artist? Did you ever want any children? Do you see yourself married to a woman in five years? If you were to choose a different career path, what would it be? When asked the same questions by Sharon, Trevina answers them with three sentences each, chatty and sweet. No more and no less; a fact Sharon read somewhere in one of those self-help tomes about keeping a date interested.

Honestly, Trevina is interesting and their conversations flow without lulled moments. Both use eye contact. Both smile. And both allow the other one to speak without interrupting.

Perhaps this evening is going well, Sharon believes, proof that she shouldn’t give up the game in finding the woman of her dreams: Trevina?