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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sweet Saturday Sample

Today's sample comes from The Best Selling Toy Of The Season.  The novel is published by Melange Books and is available at

In this excerpt, my heroine is meeting her boyfriend's parents for the first time.

Nikki stepped into the house, figuratively glued to Tommy’s side.  She wondered if she might have a stroke. The way her heart pounded  it wouldn’t surprise her in the least.

“Dad, I’d like to introduce Nikki Lane. Nikki, this is my father, Tom Price.”

Mr. Price extended his hand, and Nikki remembered what Mandy had told her to say. “How do you do? It’s lovely to meet you.”

“It’s lovely to meet you also. May I take your coats?”

Nikki’s coat shamed her. She had found it at a thrift store and worn it for years, but it had seen better days. Only yesterday Michael had smeared jelly on the arm as they rushed to get ready for school.
She had rinsed it off, but it definitely showed.

Mr. Price hung her coat in the closet. “I like your coat. It reminds me of one that my wife used to wear. She gave it to charity, but it always looked so pretty on her that I wished she had kept it.”

A thrill of horror shot through Nikki, for she suspected that her coat used to belong to Mrs. Price. Mr. Price might not know, but Mrs. Price would.

He led the way into the living room. Nikki saw a tremendous marble fireplace that burned real wood. The room had hardwood floors covered with expensive looking oriental rungs. Someone, probably a decorator , had painted the room apple green and trimmedit in white, and the furniture was covered in a pretty floral print that coordinated nicely with the walls. Pretty, decorative pillows covered the sofa.

Mrs. Price waited before a roaring fire. She had dressed casually, but nothing disguised the air of elegance that emanated from her. She had definitely not bought her pretty sweater and slacks at Super Mart, and suddenly Nikki felt ashamed of her sweater and skirt. They had looked fine and new at Higgins Court, but on James Street they looked cheap and tacky.

They made introductions, and Mrs. Price patted the sofa beside her. “Come and sit beside me, Nikki. Tom, why don’t you get us all a drink?”

“What’ll you have Nikki?”

“Do you have any ginger ale? I don’t ever drink alcohol.”

“One ginger ale coming up.”

Mr. Price handed out the drinks and sat down across from Nikki and Mrs. Price. “Tommy told us how he met you. Did your boys like their robots?”

“Yes, they sure did. It was nice of Tommy to find them for me.  After I clean his house one more time, we’ll be square.”

“It seems to me that you don’t owe him a thing,” observed Mrs. Price.

“I couldn’t take a gift like that. I like to pay my own way when I can.”

Mr. Price sagely nodded his head. “That’s a good practice.”

“Yes, I think so. It’s hard sometimes because bringing up two boys is expensive, but I have a steady job, and I get by.”

“Do you like to work at Super Mart?”

“Yes, I do. They have some good bargains there especially if you wait for things to go on sale. I got Michael and Tommy some socks today. I got six pairs for $4.50, which is a good price. It seems like we never have enough socks to go around. I don’t know why, but I think the washing machine eats socks.”

“I chaired the committee that planned the Hunt Club Ball last year,” Mrs. Price chimed in, “and we bought several things at Super Mart.”

“They have good cleaning supplies too,” Nikki answered, remembering what else she had purchased. “The store brands are as good as the name brands, and they cost a whole lot less.”

“I imagine that our cleaning service might buy things from Super Mart.”

A butler, the first real butler that Nikki had ever seen, entered the room. “Madam, cook says that dinner is ready to be served."

"Thank you, Henry."

Mr. Price offered his arm to Nikki, and Tommy escorted his mother to the table. Mr. Price pulled out Nikki’s chair and seated her, and Tommy seated his mother.
“Did you settle the Warrington case out of court?” inquired Tom senior, and suddenly an animated conversation broke out between Tommy and his father. Occasionally Mrs. Price made a comment, for
obviously she understood what they said, but Nikki didn’t get a word of it. She didn’t really mind. Let them talk so she didn’t have to say anything.

Unhappily, Mrs. Price saw that they had excluded her. “Tom, must we discuss business at dinner? I’m sure you’re boring Nikki to death.”

“I’m sorry,” Tom answered. “I forget that not everyone loves the law like Tommy and I.”

The butler arrived with the main course, which wrinkled Nikki’s nose with its fishy smell.

“Grilled trout,” Tommy announced, his voice oozing satisfaction.

The butler smiled at Tommy. “Clara did it just for you.”

“Tell her thanks, Henry. I’ll be out to say hello before I leave.”

Nikki began to nibble the trout, but Mrs. Price noticed her lack of enthusiasm. “Don’t you like trout, Nikki?”

“It’s delicious.”

“If you don’t like it, Henry can bring you something else. It’s really no bother.”

“It’s the bones,” Nikki confessed. “The bones in a fish are so little that I’m always afraid I’ll get one stuck in my throat. I knew a girl that had to go to the hospital to get a bone out of her throat.”

Nikki didn’t see Mrs. Price give any orders, but Henry appeared with several slices of roast beef. The roast beef looked pink in the center, and to Nikki, whose mother had always cooked meat until it
was good and chewy, the beef appeared underdone.  I'll eat it or die, she silently vowed.

The butler hovered at Nikki’s elbow with a piece of lemon pie when disaster struck. She turned so swiftly in her seat that she bumped the butler’s arm, and the lemon pie bounced off her lap and
smeared the white brocade fabric of her chair.

“I’m so sorry,” she apologized. She grabbed her napkin and attempted to wipe the chair, but she only succeeded in smearing the yellow stain to fresh areas of the upholstery.

Readers, it just gets worse after this.


Jean said...

You're making me nervous while I sit here and read! Great writing, Elaine. Love this story!

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Love Christmas stories! Can't wait to read how much worse it gets :)

Marsha Ward said...

Whoa! Great scene! I can't wait to see what happens next.

Lindsay said...

I feel for her

Sherry Gloag said...

OH how i feel for her, everyone's nightmare situation, and you had me right there in her head. Great sample.

Elaine Cantrell said...

Thanks so much for coming by, ladies. I've gotten some great feedback on this book.

Patricia Preston said...

I can relate. She's a fish-outta-water. We all face that sometimes and I hope she comes through just fine.

Anonymous said...

As if she isn't nervous enough! Now the pie and you say it goes downhill from here? Poor girl!

Trish said...

Oh man, I feel so uncomfortable for her. lol

Great job of conveying her emotion.