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Authors: Patricia Scanlan

Finishing Touches

BOOK: Finishing Touches
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Patricia Scanlan was born in Dublin, where she still lives. Her books have sold worldwide and have been translated into many languages. Patricia is the series editor and a
contributing author to the
Open Door
series. She also teaches creative writing to second-level students and is involved in Adult Literacy.

Find out more by visiting Patricia Scanlan on Facebook.

Also by Patricia Scanlan

 

Apartment 3B

Finishing Touches

Foreign Affairs

Promises, Promises

Mirror Mirror

Francesca’s Party

Two for Joy

Double Wedding

Divided Loyalties

Coming Home

 

Trilogies

 

City Girl

City Lives

City Woman

 

Forgive and Forget

Happy Ever After

Love and Marriage

With All My Love

A Time for Friends

First published in Ireland by Poolbeg Press, 1992
This paperback edition published by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2015

A CBS COMPANY

Copyright © Patricia Scanlan 1992

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

The right of Patricia Scanlan to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act,
1988.

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
1st Floor
222 Grays Inn Road
London WC1X 8HB

www.simonandschuster.co.uk

Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney
Simon & Schuster India, New Delhi

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

PB ISBN: 978-1-47114-107-2
EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-47114-108-9

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY

This book is dedicated to you, dear reader

Contents

Acknowledgements

Prologue 1991 The Invitations

Cassie

The Family

The Friends

David

Book I 1969-1978

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-One

Twenty-Two

Twenty-Three

Twenty-Four

Twenty-Five

Twenty-Six

Twenty-Seven

Twenty-Eight

Twenty-Nine

Thirty

Thirty-One

Book II 1978-1985

Thirty-Two

Thirty-Three

Thirty-Four

Thirty-Five

Book III 1985-1990

Thirty-Six

Thirty-Seven

Thirty-Eight

Thirty-Nine

Forty

Forty-One

Forty-Two

Forty-Three

Forty-Four

Forty-Five

Forty-Six

Forty-Seven

Forty-Eight

Forty-Nine

Fifty

Epilogue 1991

The Party

Acknowledgements

In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths

Thank you, God, for directing my path.

So many people have helped and supported me in the writing of this book. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them. Thanks to:

My American publishers, Dell; my agent, Chris Green; my publicist and friend, Margaret Daly; my London publicists, Gina Sussens and Briony Harrison.

All the writers who have given me advice and encouragement: Maeve Binchy, Deirdre Purcell, Ita Daly, June Considine, Alice Taylor, Anne Schulman and Sean McMahon.

Those who advised me as regards careers: a solicitor friend, Donie Wiley, Aoibhinn Hogan of the Beauty Shop, Mary Street, and Paddy Crosbie, interior designer.

David Stone and Pauline and Ann in Liverpool, Annette Tallon, Janet Rooney, Ciara Melligan and Anne Kirwan.

The staff of Finglas Library.

Helen and Gerry McCartney for lending me their mobile home in Wicklow to start this book.

And especially my family and friends, who gave me such loyal support. For neglecting you so dreadfully while this book was being written, I can only apologize, and promise that
I’ll be all yours – until I start the next book!

Prologue 1991
The Invitations
Cassie

No wind can drive my bark astray

Nor change the tide of destiny.

 

Oh Mary we crown Thee with blossoms today,

Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

Oh Mary we crown Thee with blossoms today,

Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

Cassie Jordan paused while sandpapering a dado rail, to listen to the words of that old, long-forgotten, much-loved hymn of her childhood. My God! she hadn’t heard it in
years.
That
brought back memories.

Cassie sat back on her hunkers and took a little rest. She would just do this last piece of rail before finishing up for the night. Tomorrow was going to be a long day – all her furniture
and equipment was to be installed – so she had promised herself an early night. A nice cup of milky hot chocolate, a quick glance at the newspapers while listening to the rest of
Late
Late
, and then she’d sleep like a baby.

She was sleeping much better these nights. She was still not free of all the shackles of guilt, resentment and unhappy memories, but she was working on it! If Barbara, her sister, wanted to
spend her life in a bitter feud, that was entirely up to her. Barbara had resented Cassie ever since they were children and it had spilt over into their adult lives, Cassie reflected, as she got a
fresh piece of sandpaper and started rubbing more vigorously than was necessary.

Well, the invitations had been sent out and would have been received by now. She sighed. It would be interesting to see who in the family would come to the official opening of her new interior
design business. She had invited them all, even Barbara and Ian. John and Karen would be there, supportive as always. Would Barbara let bygones be bygones, and would Ian, the brother-in-law Cassie
so despised, come with her? Would Martin, her younger brother and Jean, his wife, who had interfered so much in what was really none of her business? Would her sister Irene bother to get in touch
from Washington? She hoped they would. Life was too short to hold grudges and she had no intention of letting the past ruin her future. She was going to get on with her life. And what a life it was
going to be.

A tingle of excitement ran through her. Starting her own interior design business was going to be the greatest thing! The correspondence course and all the studying were paying off. Although the
official opening of
Finishing Touches
was next week – the premises were only just ready – her interior design business had been getting off the ground for the previous
six months. It was one hell of an achievement and she had orders on her books right up to the end of next year, from clients all over Dublin city and county! Word of mouth was a great thing. And
nothing gave her such a high as when she designed a room or worked out a colour scheme or found the perfect vase or lamp or picture. It was lovely to see something dark and dismal transformed to
light and airy by her creative talents.

Sighing happily, she ran her fingers along the rail. It was smooth as a baby’s bottom, just right.

Well, at last she had made her dream come true, despite all the opposition. David had kept her going, though, Cassie smiled to herself. David Williams had been the candle in her darkness for the
last few years. Solid and dependable, he had come into her life when she was at her lowest ebb, seen her at her absolute worst and, despite it all, had fallen in love with her. And what joy that
love gave her. David might be eleven years older than her, but he was the sexiest man she had ever met, with his piercing blue heavy-lidded eyes and that sensuous Welsh voice that she could listen
to for ever, especially when he was whispering endearments to her during their lovemaking.

‘Cassie, where did you find him? He’s absolutely gorgeous. I could listen to him for hours!’ Laura Quinn had raved after she met David for the first time. Laura, a high-powered
solicitor, was not easily impressed, and Cassie had smiled in amusement at her friend’s enthusiasm. Laura had carved out a career for herself in the legal world and become a partner in the
solicitors practice where she had worked since the days of her apprenticeship. She was one of the best friends a girl could have and Aileen O’Shaughnessy was another. Just thinking of Aileen
made Cassie laugh. She was as mad as a hatter, even now, but a truer friend could not be found.

Aileen’s sister, Judy, was coming to work with Cassie. She hadn’t worked a day since her marriage to the wealthy Andrew Lawson but she was finally going to become a career woman,
much to Andrew’s dismay. Judy was going to do PR, reception, and assist Cassie with the buying side of things. And she certainly had the contacts. There wasn’t a shop in Grafton Street
and its environs that she wasn’t known in. Andrew Lawson’s wife used her credit cards with gay abandon. As she once confided to Cassie, ‘I was born to shop!’

Stepping out of her overalls, Cassie ran a finger through her rich chestnut locks. She’d better get her hair done. After all, it was going to be her special day. Sitting in the small bay
window of the landing of her little house, she looked out at the almost motionless waters of the Broadmeadow Estuary. She had been so lucky to get this house by the sea and she loved Malahide with
its colour and charm and small-town friendliness. She had been right to sell up and move from Port Mahon, even though it was not very far up the coast. This was the place to start her new life.

David would stay the night of the party. That would be something to look forward to. They’d discuss the evening, who had come and who hadn’t and what he thought of this one and that
one. His dry, witty observations would make her laugh. David was a shrewd judge of character. Then they would make love in her big brass bed and she would fall asleep in his arms.

But for tonight, Cassie was content to be alone with her thoughts, watching the moon glimmer on the estuary, wondering who would come to her party.

The Family

A fool is too arrogant to make amends; upright men know what reconciliation means.

Proverbs, 14:9

Barbara Jordan Murray was in a foul humour as she slogged away at an article that should have been on a magazine editor’s desk at noon that day. Upstairs the children
were arguing, despite the fact that it was after eleven and her little girl had to get up for school in the morning. ‘Ian, for God’s sake will you do something with them!’ she
snarled at her husband, who was in the adjoining room looking at wrestling on the sports channel. A resonant snore was her spouse’s thoroughly unsatisfactory response. Barbara gritted her
teeth and bent her head to her work.

She was writing an article on families, and who knew more than she about that subject? ‘Don’t talk to me about families,’ she muttered to herself, as she lied through her teeth
and wrote that a united family such as her own was the greatest blessing.

BOOK: Finishing Touches
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