Read One Love Online

Authors: Lynn Emery

Tags: #romance, #louisiana, #contemporary fiction, #geneaology

One Love

BOOK: One Love
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ONE LOVE

 

 

 

LYNN EMERY

 

 

 

All names, characters, stories, and
incidents featured in this novel are imaginary. They are not
inspired by any individual person, incidents or events known or
unknown to the author. Any resemblance to actual persons living or
dead is coincidental. ONE LOVE was originally published by
Kensington Books in 1999. This is a reprint.

 

Copyright 1999 Margaret Emery
Hubbard

Smashwords Edition

 

This ebook is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this book with
another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or
it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to
Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting
the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

 

Visit me on the web at:

www.lynnemery.com

 

Connect with me on :

http://www.twitter.com/LEmeryWriter

www.facebook.com/lynn.emery.author

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 


Yes, Mr. Blanchard. No, Mr.
Blanchard. I’m sure you do, Mr. Blanchard.”

Lanessa wedged the telephone receiver
against her shoulder to free both hands as she listened. She fought
to keep from groaning loudly. Sorting through the pile of papers on
her desk, she searched frantically for the obscure article she’d
found for another client. The second phone in her office
trilled.


Info, Inc. If we can’t find
it, you don’t need it,” Robyn said in a lively voice.

Having her assistant come up with
clever one liners every week as a phone greeting did not improve
her mood. Lanessa wanted to find an opening to close this
merry-go-round conversation with the nervous client. She had a
thousand other things to do.


I’m sure your lawyer is
doing everything he can-- Yes, they do charge a fortune.” Lanessa
could not help but think the man earned every penny if he had to
listen to this regularly.


Hell-ooo”, a familiar
female voice called. An insistent knock on the door
followed.

Robyn bounced up and opened the door.
“Morning, Mrs. Pellerin. My you look lovely. But then what’s
new?”


Thank you, sweetheart.”
Clarice beamed with pleasure. “And so do you. Oh, she’s on a call.”
She frowned in what seemed like aggravation.”


I think she’ll be through
soon.” Robyn glanced at her boss.


Hmm.” Clarice cast a
critical gaze over the office. “How are you getting along?”She
raised an eyebrow.


Great.” Robyn wore a bright
smile.


No, really.” Clarice
lowered her voice. “I mean, you should have seen this place before
you came. You’ve worked a miracle in one.”


Actually Ms. Thomas just
needed an extra set of hands. The files were in folders and
labeled.” Robyn picked up a stack and showed them to Clarice. “See,
she just couldn’t juggle assignments and organize.”


Organization was never
something Lanessa was good at.” Clarice made sure her voice
carried. “But juggle men...”

Robyn cleared her throat. “Uh, come
with me. I made low fat raisin bran muffins.” She beckoned for her
to follow.


You’re pure gold. Lanessa
complains if she has to warm something in the microwave,” Clarice
said in a stage whisper. She waved her slim fingertips at Lanessa.
“I’ll be right back, dear.”

Lanessa did groan this time. “No, no,
Mr. Blanchard. I’m listening.”

The man finally wound down after
another five minutes of whining about the unfairness of life.
Lanessa dropped the receiver on its cradle and glanced at the
clock. Ten thirty, an entire day was ahead. She stared at the
chaotic office as her mother had.


And I wanted to be my own
boss. Ha! What a laugh.”

Neither Lanessa’s voice nor attitude
held even a trace of real amusement. She must have been insane to
think she could handle a home-based business. It was less than two
months since her last group therapy session. Somehow she felt that
if she failed once more, she was doomed. Fish or cut bait, sink or
swim were two phrases that had chased around her skull at least
once a day. Once again she remembered why she’d anesthetized
herself with liquor and pills- fear. It was her constant companion.
Now she had a list of clients wanting all kinds of information.
Lanessa knew she was top-notch at research. Her experience working
at the legislature came in handy. She had a Rolodex full of experts
on any subject, from aardvarks to zymosan. But the fear would not
go away. Then the flowers sitting on top a gray metal filing
cabinet caught her eye. She dug through a pile of mail to find the
fancy note card. Mrs. Eddington-Carls had been effusive in her
praise. Not only that, she’d sent two referrals to
Lanessa.


Bless your snobby, diamond
draped soul,” Lanessa murmured. She kissed the fine linen paper
with the embossed “EC” on it.

For now the little demon that tried to
convince her to give up, give in and have a drink faded. The mounds
of papers represented a growing business. And she was the reason
those lawyers, corporate executives and more came to her. Just as
her spirit rose, a staccato laugh brought it back down a
notch.


I tell you, my girls really
tested me.” Clarice strolled with Robyn. She looked at Lanessa with
an indulgent smile. “Hello, dear.”


Hi, Mother. How’ve you
been?”Lanessa picked up a pile of books from a chair
nearby.

Clarice brushed the seat before she
sat down. “Hmm, so much has happened since we last spoke. I hardly
know where to begin.”


Oh please,” Lanessa burst
out.” It’s only been two weeks. I called last Thursday. Daddy said
you were at your Links chapter meeting.”


Only
two weeks? And you couldn’t call back?” Clarice raised an
eyebrow at her “Robyn calls her mother once a day.”


Only because she’s getting
used to being alone after so many years of marriage.” Robyn
shrugged.


I’m so sorry, sweetie. When
did you father die?”Clarice wore a look of sympathy.


Oh daddy isn’t dead, Mrs.
Pellerin. He lives in Key West with his fourth wife
Tracy.”


Excuse me?”Clarice blinked
at her in confusion.


No, mama just kicked out
her third husband two months ago. This is the longest she’s gone
without getting married.” Robyn giggled. “Of course I haven’t
talked to her today.” With that, she went off to her small
office.


Good Lord!”Clarice turned
back to Lanessa with a prim look. “You couldn’t just get a
secretary with a normal background. Oh no, that would be
boring.”

Lanessa threw back her head and
laughed. “Mother, we’ve got more nuts in our family tree than a
pecan orchard.”


This earthy sense of humor
you’ve picked up is very unattractive.” Clarice cleared her
throat.


Uh-huh.” Lanessa was amused
by the way Clarice squirmed.


So, I take it from the
ringing phone and all this that you’re business is doing well.”
Clarice swept a hand around the office.


Yeah. And that old saying
about being careful what you wish for is so true.” Lanessa heaved a
sigh. “I haven’t come up for air in days.”


Despite not hearing from
you more often...”


Don’t start on that again,”
Lanessa said.


Keeping busy can only be
good for you,” Clarice finished ignoring her daughter’s sour
look.


You mean it’ll keep me from
getting drunk.”


I wouldn’t have put it that
way. You’re sensitive like me. You need stimulation and excitement.
This way you can channel your energies.” Clarice gave a
nod.


And keep from climbing back
into a bottle of booze or pills.” Lanessa was not going to dress it
up. “Mother, I’m an alcoholic. It ain’t pretty, but it’s the truth.
Let’s face it.”


I have,” Clarice said a bit
defensively.” I just don’t need to speak so crudely about it.
Honestly, I’m so glad you went to the Lanier Clinic finally. The
kind of talk you picked up at that public place.”


The city clinic is one of
the best in the country. And I’m not a teenager hanging with the
wrong crowd.” Lanessa brushed back her dark bronze hair. “Far from
it.”


And that’s another thing.
You’re in your prime. Stop acting like you’re seventy-four instead
of thirty-four.” Clarice gazed at her.” Besides, you look a good
ten years younger like most of the Hawthorne women.”


What about the Pellerin
women? Daddy’s sisters and Mama Pellerin still look good. I get it
from both sides.” Lanessa suppressed a smile at the reaction that
brought.


Handsome in their own way I
suppose.” Clarice lifted a shoulder. “Of course style is what
really makes a nice looking woman beautiful.”


Clarice Hawthorne Pellerin,
what a catty remark.”


All I’m saying is we have a
certain flair and they... don’t.” Clarice spread her hands out to
make her point.


You’re still competing with
each other after all these years. Unbelievable.”


Let’s get back to you,
young lady.” Clarice assumed a determined expression.” Who are you
dating?”


None of your business.”
Lanessa was equally blunt. She picked up a pile of papers. “Subject
closed.”


I’m just worried about you,
baby.” Clarice’s voice softened. She leaned forward and put a hand
on Lanessa’s arm. “I want you to be happy.”


And I appreciate your
concern. But I’m doing okay. Besides it takes time to meet men.
Remember, I’m building a whole new life with a mostly new social
circle.”

Lanessa refrained from
commenting on the quality of the men she used to pick. In fact,
some of her drinking pals were only fuzzy memories. Her tastes in
male companions had left a lot to be desired. With one major
exception. This time a stab of pain replaced the fear.
Don’t think about it.
She
only hoped blocking thoughts of him would eventually stop the empty
ache.


Not everyone you knew was
bad.” Clarice seemed to read her mind.” Alex...”


Mother, please.” Lanessa
flinched at the sound of his name.


He’s divorced now.” Clarice
wore a look of satisfaction when Lanessa’s head snapped up.” I’ll
bet it didn’t last because he never got over you.”

Lanessa let her words sink in. She
shook her head slowly. Once again she had to face reality. “That’s
where you’re wrong. I didn’t just mess up once or twice. It went
back years before he finally walked away.”


But—“


I know you’re trying to
help, but it’s no good.”


Okay. But you’re not going
to be happy until you face up to it.” Clarice squeezed her arm once
then let go. “Well, I’d better get going.”


Thanks, mommy, for caring.”
Lanessa kissed her on the cheek.


Hey, I’m a mother.” Clarice
patted her cheek.


Don’t worry. I really am
doing well. Now I’ve got a lot of work.” She forced a smile for her
mother’s benefit.


Me, too. I’m meeting with
Rose Saizon about the charity luncheon next month. I swear they
should have made me chairwoman. Rose can’t make a move without
me.”


Yes, mother.” Lanessa
nodded as Clarice chattered on. “Really? Imagine that. Well it will
all turn out fine I’m sure.”

She gently guided her out the door and
toward her Lincoln Continental. When she finally said goodbye,
Lanessa let out a long slow breath. At least Clarice had gotten
better. A whole month had passed since she’d tried to meddle in
Lanessa love life. But she was right about one thing, though not
for reasons Clarice intended. Lanessa had faced a long list of
people she’d hurt in the past. It was part of her healing process,
of moving forward. Yet she’d rationalized that confronting Alex was
different. He had a wife and children. He was a happy family man.
Why open up old wounds? A reminder of his divorce knocked the legs
from under that excuse.

BOOK: One Love
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