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Monday Puzzler > Monday Puzzler- 10 August 2015

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message 1: by Okie (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2038 comments Mod
"Hi everyone," a familiar voice said.

Heroine blinked. That sounded like Hero.

"I'd like to have your attention for a minute."

Denise put a hand to her chest.

"Is that Hero?"

"I think so."

"What is he doing?"

"I have no idea."

"This won't take long," Hero continued. "If you could move closer to the stage. I need to make an announcement."

Heroine and Denise got out of line an walked toward the stage.

"For those of you who don't know me, I'm Hero Last name."

"We know who you are," a man in the crowd yelled.

Hero chuckled nervously, shifting from foot to foot. "Good. I need your help with something, and you're going to have to keep it a secret."

Several people laughed.

"You really think that's going to happen? a woman asked.

"I hope so. Here's the thing. Someone really important to me is moving back home. Her name is Heroine Last name. A few of you know her."

"She's that writer."

"That's her," Hero confirmed.

Heroine glanced at Denise who looked confused.

"Don't ask me," the other woman said. "I have no idea what he's up to."

Hero was going to talk about her to the whole town? Why? What on earth was he going to say?

She walked a little faster towards the stage.

"Heroine grew up here, like me. Unlike most of us, she didn't have an easy time of it. Her mother was indifferent at best and abusive at worst. Some of you might remember her. She had a reputation for being a drunk and..." He hesitated.

The crowed went quiet.

"In high school, Heroine was smart and beautiful and sweet. But almost no one bothered to notice. Instead the other kids said terrible things about her. Things that weren't true."

Heroine didn't know if she should walk faster or disappear into the crowd. Humiliation burned her cheeks.

"It was all a lie," Hero continued. "I know, because I was her first boyfriend. Her first kiss. Her first."

"We know about the kid, Hero," someone called.

"Right. But what you don't know is that I made a promise to Heroine back then. I told her that I loved her. I said we'd go off to college together. And then when my friend asked me if I was dating Heroine, I lied and said she wasn't anyone I would spend time with. I denied I even knew her and I did it in front of all my friends and in front of Heroine."

There was an audible gasp.

Heroine wove through the ever growing crowd. She could see the stage more clearly now, could see Hero. He stood alone, facing the town.

"I betrayed her and broke her heart," he said quietly. "I denied her and I denied myself. Because I did love her. But I was young and stupid and more worried about what my friends thought than her. I didn't deserve her."

"You can say that again," someone urged.

Heroine reached the side of the stage, where the steps were. But now that she was there, she didn't know what she was supposed to do. Stop him? Listen? This was the most surreal moment of her life.

"Heroine took off. Who can blame her? About three weeks later, she found out she was pregnant. She came back to tell me and I was, ah, otherwise occupied."

"What does that mean? someone asked.

"He was in bed with someone else," a guy in the back hollered.

Several people laughed. A few groaned.

"Not smart," a woman said.

"Tell me about it," Hero agreed. "Flash forward six years. Heroine came back again to tell me about my son. This time, she was determined I would know. But someone got in the way and kept the information from me."

He drew in a breath. "The reason I'm telling you all this is that Hero is staying in town. She's moving here so I an be with my son and her nieces can live in a familiar place. She's a helluva woman."

"Hey. We've got kids here."

"Oh, sorry." Hero looked chagrined. "She's amazing. So for those of you who want to say something bad about her, you're going to answer to me. No more stopping her on the street or in a store and saying she was wrong to keep Tyler away from me. No more making her feel bad. Heroine deserves better and we're all going to give it to her. Understand?"

There were several murmurs of agreement.

Heroine felt as if she were taking part in a play. Or watching a movie. This couldn't be happening.

"If she's all that and you're obviously in love with her, why aren't you marrying her?"

The question came from down in front. Heroine stiffened, not sure she wanted to hear the answer.

Hero sighed. "Hi, Mom."

The crowed laughed.

"Answer the question," Denise insisted.

Heroine held her breath.

"I want to. Heroine is my world. But I've been an idiot one too many times. I asked her to marry me because it was the right thing to do."

"You really are stupid," a woman commented.

Everyone laughed.

"Did you tell her that you're sorry?" a boy offered.

Heroine turned toward the speaker and saw Tyler standing next to Denise. Abby and Melissa were nearby, all looking at Hero, all hopeful.

"She likes it when you apologize after you've done something wrong. And she always gives you a second chance," Tyler informed.

"Not this time, buddy," Hero argued.

"But if you love her," Melissa said, "You should tell her again. Tell her like you mean it."

"Kiss her like they do in the movies," Abby added.

"It's not going to be enough. Heroine deserves better than me."

"Darlin', if we only married who we deserved, then the world would be filled with single women." an older woman said.

There was more laughter.

"I do love her," Hero told the crowd. "But sometimes love isn't enough."

Heroine stared at the man who had always been in her heart and knew she'd been given the most precious gift of all. A second chance. Whatever doubts she'd had faded away in the face of Hero humbling himself before everyone he knew- just to protect her and make her feel safe.

She felt his love, his caring, his support. The road they shared might not always be easy, but it was where they both belonged.

"Love is always enough," Heroine said.

He turned, looking stunned. "I thought you weren't going to be here until noon. I thought the kids had come on their own."

"The band goes on at noon. We got here a while ago."

He dropped the microphone to his side. "How much did you hear?"

She climbed the stairs to the stage. "All of it."

"I do love you, Heroine. I mean that."

"I believe you."

"What's he saying?" someone in the crowd asked.

A person in the front shushed him. "We'll tell you later," the woman said.

Hero set the microphone back in the stand and moved toward her. "I want us to get married. I want us to be a family. But only because I want to spend my life with you, making you happy. I want to be the man you deserve, but I'm going to need your help to get there."

"You got that right," she said with a smile.

"Is that a yes?" he asked?

She stepped into his embrace.

"Yes," she whispered, right before his mouth pressed against her.

"They're kissing like in the movies," Abby crowed. "I love it when that happens."

message 2: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2060 comments Mod
I think I should reread this book. I didn't like it the first time--I'm not a fan of big public apology scenes --but this is better than I remember

message 3: by Okie (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2038 comments Mod
I thought the same thing the first go round, Deb. But he didn't come off as such a jerk the second reread.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Must admit it sounds a bit Amateurish to me. Sorry.

message 5: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
I don't think I could reread this, although I loved the heroine and love the series with a few exceptions, this being one of them. This author is on my auto-buy list, but she has several heroes who don't quite redeem themselves IMO.

message 6: by Phoenix77 (new)

Phoenix77 | 346 comments I cheated to see what book it was. The reviews on this one seem split 50-50 but passage above and the good reviews make me curious to try it.

message 7: by Charlene (new)

Charlene (charlenethestickler) | 320 comments Golly, this one sounds familiar, too.

message 8: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (manda_collins) | 1883 comments Mod
I remember this one! This author sometimes makes her heroes a bit too awful in her attempt at keeping the couple apart. This was one of them.

message 9: by Okie (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2038 comments Mod
lol, Manda! That's a good way to say it. After reading as much NA and MC as I have, this guy doesn't seem as bad. I think that's one of the reasons why I liked it the second time around.

message 10: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Hill | 487 comments HMMM...NO CLUE..??? SOUNDS INTERESTING THOUGH!

message 11: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2060 comments Mod
I know what you mean Janga. She keeps taking it on the chin...

message 12: by Stacey is Sassy (new)

Stacey is Sassy (staceyissassy) | 1222 comments I read the above and my first thought was - What a douchewaffle!!

Thanks for sharing :-)

message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan (susaninaz) | 985 comments I did read this one. Ignore the naysayer reviews, it was very good. This particular scene, where Hero's Mom and Son set him up, was hilarious.

message 14: by Okie (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2038 comments Mod
This weeks Monday puzzler is Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery

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