Monday, December 30, 2013

Emerywood Park

By Lynette Hall Hampton
Contemporary Romance, 299 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans

It's 1959 and Kathryn Drake's mother wants her to forget writing, marry attorney Bruce Claxton and become the society wife everyone expects her be. 

Matthew Hunter sees Kathryn as a spoiled society girl who is about to waste her writing talent by marrying the wrong man.  Will Kathryn take the safe way out and marry Bruce, or will she take a chance and let Matt guide her literary career?

After entering the gates of Emerywood Park, Kathryn Drake pulled into the upper parking lot and slipped the car into a space not far from the surrounding woods. She felt lucky to find such a good parking space on this bright sunny day. With a smile, she got out and headed down the walking trail looking for an unused picnic table where she could do her work and watch the inhabitants, but not be obvious herself.

For her outings in the park, Kathryn habitually dressed in sportswear or a sundress-as she was today. She felt her long blond ponytail bounce as she moved her head and wondered if her make-up, which she'd so delicately applied to accentuate high cheek bones and violet eyes, was still as fresh as when she left home. She glanced down at her small hands with their tapered nails which at the moment were colored a soft pink to match the flowers in her sundress and the lipstick she wore.

Deciding that she was still put together, Kathryn wandered slowly along the path toward one of the many picnic shelters of Emerywood Park, which lay on the east side of Emeryville. Noting the well-kept wildflower gardens and the smell of the recently mowed grass, she wondered how anyone could think this lovely place was beginning to be run-down, or seedy, as Bruce Claxton was so often fond of saying.

In fact, she recalled, almost word for word, the disagreement they'd had about it at dinner a couple of nights ago.

"If you must write your little stories, Kathryn," Bruce said in his usual condescending voice as he glanced at the prize winning rose garden that was beneath the dining room window of their stately country club. "Why can't you do it sitting out there in that beautiful setting or at the swimming pool in your own back yard? Why do you have to mingle with the riffraff who hang around in that seedy environment?"

Tears of frustration almost sprang to Kathryn's eyes in spite of her resolve to prevent them. Blinking them back, she replied, "Bruce, Emerywood Park is far from seedy. A lot of our friends go there. I wish you'd try to understand. My writing career is important to me and I've given myself a year to see if I can make a go of it. I truly believe God has given me the talent to write and I'll be miserable if I have to give it up."

He didn't answer, but shook his head as if she was a disobedient child.

She tried again to convince him. "When I try to work here there are always friends around to interrupt me. They want to chat or play tennis or have lunch. It's just too distracting." When he only continued to look at her, she added, "And now that spring has arrived, I feel the need to get away to write. No one in my family or any of my friends takes my work seriously and I need a little inspiration and comfort. There's no more comfortable or inspiring place than Emerywood Park."

He sighed. "Sometimes I think there's more attracting you to that park than you say. After all, a lot of macho golfers and tennis players who can't afford the country club flock out there. I guess I'm a little jealous." He rolled his eyes and gave her a puppy-dog look.

"Don't be foolish," she snapped at him and ignored the look. She didn't want to admit, even to herself, the handsome, intriguing park jogger who she had noticed on her visits flashed across her mind as Bruce talked. He'd be unreasonable if he knew she'd ever looked at the man and he might fly into one of his rages if he suspected she had even a passing interest in the bearded stranger.

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