Today I'm delighted to present another new-to-The-Maze and fellow Triberr tribemate-author for the Eggcerpt Exchange, Elaine Cantrell, and her romantic comdey Fortuna, "a merry tale of life, love, and confusion in a small town."
Aimee Sherwood never dreamed that following her fiancé into the witness protection program would land her in a haunted house in a town that’s downright creepy. She’d have laughed if she had been told the guy who lives down the road might be her soul mate, not the man whose ring she’s wearing. Life in West Virginia is nothing like life in Los Angeles, but between bean ball battles with Marilyn Monroe, remodeling a crumbling farmhouse, and starting a new business, Aimee’s life is anything but dull.
Aimee sees Fortuna, the house her fiancé bought for them, for the first time. June is the realtor who sold the house to Rocky. Cade is Aimee and Rocky’s friend.
“Let me show you the house, hon. It’s just incredible. I can’t believe how lucky I was to find it.” He beamed at June. “Thanks to you I didn’t buy that tacky McMansion for sale on the other side of town.”
Aimee’s teeth ground together.
With Cade and June following, Rocky indicated the room to the right of the fallen door. “This is the living room.” He pointed toward the ceiling. “See that pretty molding up near the ceiling?”
Aimee shook her head. “No, but I do see some crumbling plaster. Is that what you’re talking about?”
Rocky closed his eyes as if her assessment of the molding pained him. “Hon, this house was built in 1750. Of course it needs a little work.”
“With historical properties one focuses on the potential, not the current condition,” June inserted.
Aimee’s lips tightened when June’s snarky tone registered.
They left the living room and went straight into the room on the left of the fallen door. “This is the dining room,” Rocky said. “Don’t go into the far corner. We have a hole in the floor.”
Aimee bounced on the supposedly safe part of the wooden floor. “I’m not sure we should be in here at all. It feels spongy to me.”
Cade stepped into the hall.
From the hallway, Rocky led them to the back part of the house. “Here’s the kitchen, hon.”
“Much nicer,” Aimee approved as her eyes swept the room. “The kitchen must have been redone in 1920. Is that a woodstove over there?”
June scowled and Cade laughed.
“Hon,” Rocky reproved.
The bedrooms were no better, but the bathroom . . . “There are no words,” Aimee whispered. She kicked the claw-foot tub and dislodged a rain of rust particles. They made a pretty pattern where they drifted across the dirty floor. What did the floor look like? Was it black and white? No, maybe gray and white, or maybe brown? “Rocky . . .”
“Don’t worry, hon.” He patted her shoulder. “We have outside facilities. I told the contractor he’d need to work on the bathrooms first thing.”
“No, he’ll need to shore up the entire thing first, or it’s going to fall down and kill us.”
Cade’s eyes were full of laughter. “Hey, Rocky, where are the outside facilities?”
“Look out the window.”
Aimee rushed to the window and looked out. She saw an outdoor shower with absolutely no way to conceal oneself. Not far away she saw a small, crooked hut. No! It couldn’t be. Her grandmother had told her of such things, but . . . “Is that hut an outhouse?”
Rocky nodded. “Uh-huh. It has two holes and some catalogues from 1955. You won’t even have to take a book with you.” He pursed his lips. “I don’t really know why they needed two holes. Maybe people in the country make communal bathroom visits.”
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Learn more about the heroine of Fortuna, Aimee Sherwood:
Welcome to Tuesday’s edition of Centerville Today. My name is Charlotte Mason, and my fist guest is Aimee Sherwood. Aimee, welcome to the show.
Aimee: Thank you, Charlotte. I’m glad to be here.
CM: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Aimee.
Aimee: I was born in Baltimore, but I spent the last few years in LA where I worked for LAWA wrestler Rocky Stone.
CM: Why did you move to Centerville?
Aimee: Oh, it was that witness protection thing. I’m sure you read about it in the papers.
CM: Everyone did. It sounded hair raising.
Aimee: (shivers) It was.
CM: Well, enough of that. Tell us about your new business.
Aimee: Since everyone in Centerville loves history, I’ve started a costume business. All of my work is historically accurate.
CM: Was it always your goal to have a business for yourself?
Aimee: No, not at all. I only started the business because I didn’t have a job. In fact, I didn’t think I’d like it so much.
CM: What’s your greatest fear, Aimee?
Aimee: My life is so wonderful since my marriage that I don’t really have any fears. I’m too happy to be fearful.
CM: Speaking of marriage, how did you meet your husband?
Aimee: He was a LAWA wrestler. I met him when I lived in LA.
CM: Does your husband have any nicknames for you, Aimee?
Aimee: (blushing) He calls me Sunshine.
CM: With your blonde hair that fits. Thanks for coming today, Aimee. We wish you good luck with your new business.
Aimee: Thank you. I’ve enjoyed being on the show.
Learn more about the author:
Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She holds a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University. She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators and is also a member of Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.
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