EXPOSED AND ALONE
is exactly where talented and prolific author Ginger Simpson placed herself with her no holds barred novel EMBEZZLED LOVE. This story faces one of society's shunned problems head-on. It's a terrific book you definitely need to read.
ISBN 1-897370-34-2 E-book
ISBN 1-897370-33-4 Print
They advertise on television—“find your true love; we’ll match you with the person of your dreams.” Their irritating spam clogs your computer inbox—"free tonight? Let’s chat.” You can turn the channel or hit the ‘trash’ button, but the promises still linger in your mind. Is it any wonder divorced and lonely, Cassie Fremont, signed up for an on-line dating service? What later shocked her was the cost of the ticket for a ride on the roller coaster from hell.
You aren’t the first woman he’s lied to.
When Cassie Fremont’s brother and sister present her with evidence they believe proves her new love is a con-man, her happy world is turned upside down. Either she chooses to believe them or Evan. How could she possibly believe that this wonderful man who gave up his thriving business in Texas and moved to California to begin a life with her could be the man to whom they allude? Surely it’s a mistake. The love she sees in his eyes can’t be a lie. Will Evan be the man Cassie believes him to be or are the words that invade her thoughts really true.
There have been others who have lost everything because of him.
The cold white paper covering the examining table crackled each time Cassie shifted her weight. Nervously, she reached around to pull the flimsy plastic material of the examination gown around her bare behind. Why did Dr. Owens insist on a complete physical? She only made the appointment to talk to him about getting something for this overwhelming depression.
What was taking him so long, and why did they have the air-conditioning so high? Her nipples pebbled from the cold air and became embarrassingly visible through the layer of vinyl she wore. The stiffly starched modesty sheet, draped across her legs, was no help at all against the cold air rushing through the vents. She rubbed her dangling feet together, trying to thaw toes that had turned to icicles. A rueful glance at the panty hose draped over the chair with her other clothing made her wish she’d worn socks instead.
Finally, the doorknob turned and Dr. Owens entered. He’d been her physician for as long as she could remember, and was the one to do her first pap smear. She recalled the embarrassment she’d felt, revealing her most private parts to a handsome, young man. Now he sported thinning grey hair, and deep wrinkles creased his once smooth brow. Had she aged as much as he?
"Well, Cassie," he said, peering at her chart and then looking over his spectacles. "It’s about time you came in. You haven’t had a checkup for two years. You’re well past time for your mammogram, pelvic and blood work. You used to be much better about scheduling these visits."
"I know. I’m sorry, but things have been very hectic at work. I’m tired all the time, I can’t sleep, I feel like I want to cry for no reason at all, and I have this horrible empty feeling that just won’t go away. Please say you can help me. Is there something you can prescribe?"
He sat on his stool and jotted notes inside a metal clipboard. Finishing, he looked up and smiled. "I’m sure we can find something to help you, but let’s get the nurse in here and get the unpleasant part of the exam over with."
While the doctor pulled on his gloves, Cassie lay back on the table, trying to relax but well aware it wasn’t humanly possible, knowing what was coming.
The nurse adjusted the metal stirrups and guided Cassie’s feet into them, then kept motioning until Cassie had inched her bottom all the way to the edge of the table.
Dr. Owen rolled his stool into place and adjusted Cassie’s covering. He spoke those all-too-familiar words. "Relax and just let your knees fall apart."
She tried not to jump when the cold speculum first touched her and stifled a groan when the doctor palpated her ovaries. This ordeal was still horribly embarrassing. To occupy her mind, Cassie counted the little holes in the acoustical ceiling tiles until they all blurred together.
"Well, that does it." Dr. Owen said, appearing from beneath the sheet. He stood and stripped off his gloves and threw them in the trash. "Everything looks fine." He offered his hand to pull her into a sitting position.
His eyes filled with genuine concern. "So, tell me again what’s bothering you, Cassie."
She ran her hands through her long dark hair. "I just think I’m seriously depressed. Everything is a chore. I hate my job, I deplore being sad all the time, and I detest being alone. Sometimes I even wonder if life is worth living anymore."
"Now, Cassie. Lot’s of women your age go through this, so you aren’t alone. How regular are your periods?"
"Pretty regular, they just aren’t as heavy as they used to be."
"Well, my guess is you’ve begun menopause, and that in itself can cause a big change in your emotional status. It can magnify other problems and make them seem twice as bad. The good news is that there’s a pill recently approved by the FDA that I think will help make you feel better."
Shivering, Cassie clutched the sheet around her. "Thank you, Dr. Owen. I really need something." She sighed with relief.
He patted her hand. "Go ahead and get dressed. I’ll be right back with your lab slips and prescription. Just make sure to follow the directions. If the medication doesn’t seem to make a difference let me know and we can try something else."
Cassie quickly changed into her clothes, then sat waiting for the doctor to return. The sooner she got the prescription filled, the better. This black cloud hanging over her head was more than she could bear. She heaved another sigh, trying to ignore the little voice in her head telling her if she took all the pills at once her problems would be over.
EMBEZZLED LOVE was a 2009 EPPIE finalist and is also available at Amazon. If you'd like an autographed copy, email Ginger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catch-up with Ginger on her website or on her entertaining blog Dishin' It Out.
I'll be back Monday with something to heat you up from P.A. Brown. Until then...
Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell