Rumors by Stephanie Abrams
Release date: December 29, 2012
My rating: 4.5 juicy stars
A little bit about this book....
Conspiracies, secrets, lies, scandals and loves are woven into the intrigue of the business and personal lives of Frank, and his young wife, Maisy, their family and friends, as rumors swirl around them and the company Frank joins on his search for a more comfortable life. Warned by Maisy's dad, a retired Nassau County, NY police officer, that disaster awaits if he accepts a job at this local company, based on unprovable rumors about the corporation, Frank's need to make a better life for himself and Maisy result in the lives of all around them being sucked into danger. Rumors abound, like a tornado sweeping through the family and community, threaten the lives, livelihoods, and love relationships of family, friends, and acquaintances in this Long Island community! A glimpse into Frank's welcoming ceremony into the company sets the stage for the intrigue that follows.
Stephanie Abrams is recognized worldwide as a travel expert and has been rated as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Travel. She is the executive producer and host of two nationally syndicated radio shows about travel and has appeared on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC1 Radio and BBC1 TV. She is a sought-after motivational speaker and has given seminars for the last nine years at the NYTimes Travel Show. She is a journalist whose work has appeared in TRAVELHOST, travelgirl, Fido Friendly and WHERE NY. She travels widely globally and in the US and has an award-winning website, which includes the family of brands www.sAbrams.com, www.travelers411.com and www.JetSet411.com.
Abrams has been the recipient of honors, awards and recognitions for her signature business legacy and accomplishments in the travel industry and her philanthropic work sponsoring travel experiences for people whom she identifies as “needing to go someplace of significance to them who otherwise would not get there,” and for needy and homeless children to have the opportunity to travel both in the US and abroad to expand their horizons and assist them in raising the bar in creating their own life goals. Recognitions and awards have come from the Saint Patrick Centre in Northern Ireland, the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy, the Giving Tree Outreach Program that rescues homeless and needy children, the Big Apple Project Pearl Legacy, the Euro-American Women’s Council, the City of Athens and the island of Mykonos, Greece as well as the Greek National Ministry of Tourism, and the Greek Hellenic Parliament.
Abrams launched her travel career after following a path she describes as “what was expected of me.”
After receiving her BA and Master of Science degrees, Abrams taught every level from elementary school children through college where her focus was on developing a curriculum concentration in the field of Travel & Tourism. In the travel industry, she rose to the position of Executive Vice President of a $1.5 billion global travel company and has been recognized with many prestigious awards including being honored as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Travel by Travel Agent Magazine.
Stephanie Abrams first novel, "Rumors," while a work of fiction, presents characters and events inspired by her world travels and observations of life's experiences, creating fictional but believable characters and incidents with unexpected twists and turns. The quiet lives of ordinary people are thrown into chaos that all beings with rumors among friends, family, strangers and colleagues driven by greed, egos and the search for power. Life appears to be imitating art as recent real news events seem to be copied from directly from the pages of Rumors as the first character, Herbert Holmes, is introduced as Mr. Bodyparts.
Abrams is currently working on the first in a series of travel guides which is a new approach creating perfect days traveling in Ireland which will be immediately followed with a sequel to RUMORS called SECRET. Abrams favorite things in life are traveling with her husband, Mark, producing exciting radio programming about inspiring destinations for her national audience, finding occasions to speak French, visiting with her son, Dru, in California, writing stories and poems for and about her granddaughter, Piper, and kissing her English Springer Spaniel, Maggie McGee, on the nose.
An excerpt surrounding Maisy and Frank....
It seemed like only yesterday that they watched Maisy graduate from high school. It seemed like only yesterday these same family members and friends attended Maisy’s graduation party. The irony was that it was only yesterday. . .
. . .As the guests arrived, it was clear that they were beginning to grow weary of the rounds of rituals and celebrations being heaped on Maisy in one compressed weekend and the demands placed on them to exude their joy while suppressing their impulses to indulge in the kind of gossip one would expect from the timing of the two events. Who could blame them from pandering in rumors that Maisy was pregnant and that this must be the proverbial shotgun wedding?
The rumors seemed all the more believable when you looked at the couple. They were so mismatched. Maisy was still very much the giddy, scatterbrained teenager, frequently described as flighty. She was fun to be around but completely focused on nail polish and hair rinses. Her husband-to-be, six years her senior, was tall, olive-skinned, and dark haired and made quite a contrast to Maisy’s pale skin and auburn hair. It didn’t take much to figure out that it wasn’t Maisy’s mind that interested Frank. But it was difficult to see how someone as cute as Maisy, with a flair for making people feel comfortable and keeping them laughing from her antics, could find anything about Frank to love other than the attention he showered on her.
Frank could best be described as devoid of personality. No one could remember ever seeing Frank smile. The contrast of bouncy, bubbly, buxom Maisy and dull and dour Frank added to the undercurrent of buzzing of the guests and propelled the rolling of eyes among those trying their best not to speak ill of this moment of joy.
. . . the honeymoon consisted of one night in a motel off of the New Jersey Turnpike and an afternoon at the slot machines in Atlantic City. Maisy had barely removed her wedding gown and the honeymoon was over. Actually, it was worse than over. Because Frank was in a pitifully low-paying job, an apartment of their own was out of the question. So the honeymoon ended with Frank carrying two nylon duffle bags across the threshold of Hilda and Nate’s house while Maisy brought up the rear carrying the large garment bag that housed her wedding gown. This was not the romantic beginning to their life together that Maisy would have liked. . .
. . . Frank surveyed the room for one square foot of uncluttered space to put down the two nylon duffle bags. Not finding a spot was the defining moment of the newlywed’s first fight. It started so simply with Frank’s words: “Do you have to be such a slob?” to which Maisy responded by bursting into tears and running the kitchen in search of Mommy and Daddy. . .
. . . It was summer. It was hot, muggy, humid and steamy, and that was just the climate in Maisy and Frank’s bedroom. Outside wasn’t much different. For the newlyweds, the sex was good but not as quiet as Nate and Hilda would have liked. . . .
. . . One night at dinner, Frank stunned Hilda and Nate by saying a full sentence that wasn’t related to passing food on the table.
“I’m thinking about changing jobs,” Frank muttered.. . . “I’ve got this account I’ve been sellin’ auto parts to and they like me,” Frank went on. “They asked me to come over and talk about a job.” . . .
. . .“What kind of money are they offering you, Frank?” Nate continued to probe
“Twice what I’m makin’ now!
“Twice?” Nate asked, incredulously.
“. . . Maisy and I will be able to move out of here and get an apartment of our own and live on Easy Street,” Frank concluded.
“There’s no such place, Frank,” Nate cautioned.
. . . “Well, who is this company?” Nate queried.
“Ryan, Cuttler, Angeline, and Dugan,” Frank said proudly.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Nate exhorted.
“Wait a minute, Nate!” Frank shot back. “Who the hell are you to tell me what I can do and can’t do? This is my ticket out of here. This is my chance for success. I think you’re just jealous ‘cause you didn’t make that kind of money at my age.”
”“Nate doesn’t have a jealous bone in his body,” Hilda retorted, protectively. “You watch your mouth and you take that back, Frank.”
Nate turned to Hilda, proud of her defense of him, and asked her to take Maisy for a walk so he and Frank could talk alone. Hilda and Maisy dutifully complied and, then, Nate continued.
“Listen, Frank. Those guys are bad people. They’ve got a bad reputation. If they get their hands on you, you’ll never get out from their clutches. Don’t fall for the easy money,” Nate concluded.
“It’s not easy money. I’m going to be working a lot of hours doing important stuff,” Frank defended.
“Frank, think about what I’m saying to you,” Nate went on. “You’re responsible for Maisy, too. I’m telling you, Frank, these people are no good! Stay away from them! No one’s been able to make anything stick, but they’re a shady organization. Don’t do it, Frank! ”
As he said these words, Nate stood up, pushed his chair away from the table and walked out of the room. Frank muttered, “He can’t tell me what to do,” and then lapsed into his customary silence, which went unnoticed since Frank sat alone in the room.
The next morning, Frank came down earlier than usual. It was obvious at once that he had taken extra steps in grooming himself. His hair was slicked back, his tie was in a Windsor knot, his shoes were glossy, his nails were spotless, and all of the items he was wearing coordinated. The final touch was that he smelled of sweet spices. This was a man with an agenda. And his agenda had given him confidence and altered his mood with the intoxication of the excitement that the day would bring.
Frank sauntered into the kitchen. He swaggered over to the coffeepot and poured himself a full mug. He turned with the flair of a man on top of the world and said with gusto, “Good Morning, Hilda,” to which she responded,
“Good grief, what’s come over you?
“Boy, you sure can’t win around here, can you?” he replied.
“That’s all right,” he continued. “I’m a rising star, in charge of my own destiny.
You’ll see,” he said with finality. “You’ll see.”
As Frank walked liltingly down the front path to his rusting car, Nate appeared on the sidewalk and said, “Don’t be a fool, Frank. These people are no good. Stay away from them! You’re gonna get yourself in trouble. I know what I’m talking about!” Nate’s thirty years on the police force made that statement good as gold.
Nate’s final words of warning were lost on Frank as the noisy rumblings of his muffler drowned the words of reason and wisdom that he was offered.
Read my review of Rumors here...
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