A wife fakes her death to escape the most dangerous man she knows: her husband. But cruel Martin Burney discovers his wife is alive, and stalks her in a small town. A young professor there is courting her, but one night she knows her compulsively neat husband has entered her house to rearrange towels in her bath and canned goods in her kitchen.
He's found her.
He's out there.
A love story, a mystery, and a small town in World War II. What if you want--and deserve--revenge? Miranda is bright, funny and pretty. She loves two men who want her as much as they hate each other. The war changes all three. Miranda has a happy life, and a secret. She keeps it until no one remembers. No one knows.
The world thinks Randal Eliot writes during his manic phases, but his wife Mary creates his famous books and supports their family. When Randal dies, no one will believe she is the genius.
She marries a younger man, Paul, a Randal Eliot scholar. Paul cannot bear to believe Mary is the genius—she will destroy his life work and Randal Eliot’s reputation. He has killed before. He must kill again.
When Catherine Buckingham’s parents die, her young uncle, Thorn Wade, becomes her guardian and raises her as her mother wished, so Catherine becomes an adult who is not like the men—or women—of the world around her: she is a sexual creature we seldom encounter. With innocent joy Catherine explores her amorous feelings for the man who has raised her, while Thorn will not take any male initiative by word, look or action. They keep the memory of that summer like a promise they will someday fulfill.
But Thorn must leave to fight in World War II. Catherine is told he is dead, and learns, painfully, how to be like women of the 40’s and 50’s. Yet Thorn is alive, and comes to find a Catherine who is finished, accomplished. How can she face the man who formed her for another life?
Three courageous young people, one a new white slave mistress, two captured black slaves--meet on South Carolina rice plantations during the summer of 1850. Black Joan and her husband Will have been raised free, then captured. Their civilized virtues make Joan valuable as a maid in the Big House, and Will soon becomes the black slave driver.
Slavery's subtle poison corrupts the three industrious, warm-hearted young people, slave mistress as well as slaves. They have no choice; they survive, even triumph, just as capable young people trapped in a sick society would survive and triumph today.
In an echo of THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James, a rich father and daughter unknowingly marry two lovers. But in the world of this book, the father is a ruthless Iowa businessman who has earned his name of “Bonfire” by burning down his competitor’s warehouses. His beautiful young wife loves the wealthy life he gives her, but she cannot resist her new son-in-law, and he loves her still.
Their risk is deadly. Bonfire has the money and the power to stop at nothing, even murder. His daughter is dear to him. When Bonfire and his daughter discover the truth, one of them will forgive, but the other will kill.
Mary Bryant grows up in a dirt-poor Nebraska family, hungry and unwanted. Her only friends are a next-door neighbor and her little half-sister Rhody, but she has to leave them and run away to Chicago to sleep under a hedge and work as a waitress.
Gunther Meyer finds her, marries her, and she’s happy in her first real home with their new baby, Maria. But one day her world explodes: she discovers her marriage to Gunther was a sham. He has a rich young woman for a wife.
Mary escapes to Florida with Maria, only to find that she is being pursued by Gunther, his friend Manuel, and Gunther’s new wife. They find her at Disney’s Epcot, and Manuel forces Mary to take her baby to Mexico with him, and begs her to marry him. But he keeps her a prisoner, hiding her—why? Soon the world’s reporters are on her track—what has she done?
Publication list of award-winning short stories and a featured selection
Publication list of award-winning poems and several featured poems
A New work of Fiction
From chapter three:
Tom's room smelled of the tuna sandwich he'd had for lunch. He put his arms around Raina and murmured, "Don't cry," and the shape of her slim back, the smell of her hair made him grit his teeth.
She pulled away from him to take off her hat and strip off her gloves. “Three years..." she said, and wiped her cheeks with both hands. "I'd just checked in at the hotel and was taking a walk until I could phone you."
When Tom turned on a bedside lamp, Raina looked at the room's two chairs, a table, a narrow bed, a kitchenette. "You live here?"
How beautiful Raina was; she lifted her heavy hair from her shoulders with both hands, a movement so familiar Tom had to look away. "You were marrying Quentin this week," he said. “Aunt Emily told me."
"Do you know I’m still living in our little room, our one little room?“ Raina said, taking his hand in hers, kissing the palm.
"What's going on?" Tom pulled his hand away. "You phoned and said you were coming--"
"One last week. I’m going to hide here with you one last week, before you marry your rich girl." Raina turned away, snatched a stuffed toy soldier from the bedside table and said in a choked voice, "The General! You kept him."
The British guardsman's eyes were blank; there were four gold star seals pinned to his shoulder.
"And I kept your goodbye note that came with him," Tom said.
Raina put the toy back under the lamp, and the General stood at attention as she unbuttoned her dress and let it fall. "When you bought him for me, you said we'd have a London honeymoon...see the Changing of the Guard..." her voice was soft. "And then we made love for the very first time..."
"You're so lucky. You're marrying money."
"So were you." Tom stood by the door; he hadn’t taken off his coat. "Quentin's house in town, and his beach house, and his fancy cars and world trips and clothes he bought you--"
"Emily wrote about your big new house." Raina unhooked her bra and threw it with her shoes into a corner.
"You didn't want anybody poor, like me," Tom said.
Raina gave him a look under the fall of her shining hair. "Quentin was going to marry me in front of half the city—the San Francisco Event of the Year."
“So?" Tom said in a hard voice.
"So I caught him in bed with Tony Tucker. It’d been perfectly obvious to everybody but me for a long time. I could tell because the two of them laughed at me. I was so dumb. I brought everything Quentin had given me and threw it at him, except for what I’ll wear to your wedding.” Tom stepped closer, but Raina lifted her head, swiped at her wet eyes, pushed her garters and hose down and off, and was beautiful and naked in the lamplight. "I have such bad luck." She glared at Tom. "And I'm in for more, obviously--you haven't even taken off your coat." Tom met her angry eyes with his cold gray ones.
Raina said, "You'll have to put on a little act when I pretend I've just arrived in town next Thursday to stay with your Aunt Emily--I'll be the daughter of Emily's best friend." She snatched the toy soldier and hugged him to her bare breasts. “And we'll be acquaintances. That's all.”
"You can't stay here." Now the room was fragrant with the perfume Tom remembered.
"I want to be waiting for you every night," Raina said. Her dark brown eyes were almost black, veiled by her long lashes. "You can go to your toast-the-happy-bride-
and-groom parties--I don't care. You'll know I'm here, waiting."
"So you and I are supposed to be almost strangers?" Tom said. "Why not tell Anne we were lovers? She'd expect I might have had some experience—I’m twenty-five--"
"No!” Raina jumped up to grab Tom by the shoulders. "You're supposed to be a gentleman--you can't kiss and tell." Her voice trembled. "You 1eft me--"
"You wanted money, lots of it, right away. We could have married--"
"I know!" Raina cried. "And I really wanted you! I knew long ago I couldn't stand Quentin, but I was too proud--"
"Put on your clothes." Tom picked up Raina's dress. "I'11 take you to the hotel."
"Tom!” Raina ran to turn off the 1ight. Tom felt her against him and put his arms around her under her warm, silky, slippery fall of hair.
"I hurt so much," Raina whispered. "I don't love anyone but you. There's still time--let's run away. I was so stupid…”
Tom let her go to turn on the light again above the small toy soldier. “Get dressed. I’ll take you to the hotel."
Raina covered her face with her hands. “It’s all money. That’s all it ever is.”
“I love Anne,” Tom said.
“And she’s got the money!” Raina cried.
Foreign Editions, BONFIRE'S DAUGHTER
L'INCENDIAIRE (hardback, FRANCE) Presses de la Cite, Paris 1998.
L'INCENDIAlRE (hardback, FRANCE) Club France Loisirs, Paris 1998.
L'INCENDIAIRE (paperback, FRANCE) Presses de la Cite, Paris 1999.
L'INCENDIAIRE (CANADA) Presses Solar Belfond, 1999.