I hope everyone is having a fantastic week. The weather here is Arkansas is amazing, and I am loving being outside planting flowers and taking walks in the park while eating the ever-so-delicious Strawberry Cheesecake Snow Cones! They are amazing.
I wanted to share with you a fantastic read that I had the opportunity to preview and give my thoughts. Of course, you know me, I can’t put down a good read, and this one was definitely in that category. For Spring Break, the only trip I took was a trip down my stairs, yes that would be me!! I ended up with a sprained right ankle, a sprained left ankle and a fracture in my left foot. Needless to say, I had lots of free time during the week, so I had ample opportunity to read this beautiful book Crushed, by Layne Gray.
Enough of me babbling, let’s meet Grace!!
After a decade of dialing it in on her marriage – subsisting mostly on school fundraisers and designer trunk shows – Grace, on a whim, surprises her husband at the airport, picking him up in nothing more than scant lingerie and a fur coat. But that backfires spectacularly. Hoping to help, Grace’s best friend tells her of a secret retreat for discarded wives—Finedale, where Grace just may be able to get back her confidence, build her self-esteem, learn a rewarding career, or even rediscover that hot sex needn’t be a thing of the past.
Before long, Grace is orchestrating a new, fabulous life. Everything seems to be going brilliantly. But as cracks begin to appear the possibility of another, darker, truth behind Finedale catapults Grace into a role she never anticipated.
My Thoughts on the Book……..
Layne Gray’s new book Crushed is an excellent read and story of hope and renewal. If you are a woman who has ever tried to restart your life, then Crushed is the book for you.
A chick-lit novel for sure, but of course we all need those!! Am I right ladies??
I loved reading this story and realizing that all is not lost when you have to pick yourself up and start over again. In fact, amazing things can happen when life throws you a curveball.
Joining Grace on her new journey was excitement, to say the least. I laughed with her, cried with her, and got angry with her. But I also felt proud of her for not letting her bad situation win!!
And doesn’t FInedale sound like the perfect retreat? I know several women who would love to join in!
I hope you will join Grace as she steps from her old life into her new one.
Enjoy this excerpt from Crushed…….
-From the stress of the day Grace could use a good cry, but her tears were kept at bay by the seasoned officer who spun tale upon tale of the best excuses for speeding he had heard during his career in the field as they drove her to City Tow to retrieve her car.
“One time, I pulled over a couple and the driver told me he was speeding twenty miles over the limit because he was racing to get his wife to the hospital to have a baby. She didn’t look pregnant to me, but I escorted them to the hospital anyway. I walked them in and made sure they got signed in and a room.”
“Did you end up giving him a ticket?” asked Grace.
“Nope, I figured the hospital bill was punishment enough.”
In the rearview mirror, Grace could see his eyes. They’re so green…and penetrating. She flipped her hair off her right shoulder and gave out a quick laugh as she batted her eyelashes.
When they reached City Tow, her heart sank again. There, extending out the double glass entrance doors and down the sidewalk, were dozens of people waiting impatiently to retrieve their expensively towed cars. Her eyes welled with tears.
He turned and handed her the handkerchief from his breast pocket. “It’s okay. I’ll take you in so you don’t have to wait in that line.” His deep, soothing voice restored her equilibrium.
The three of them got out of the squad car and made their way into the reception room. Grace couldn’t be sure whether he blinked or winked at her before disappearing with his young associate through a restricted door. Sitting down on one of the hard plastic benches, Grace listened to the spectrum of justifications people were giving the clerks as to why they should be exonerated. Four broken parking meters and three lost keys later, the men in blue reappeared before her with a squatty short-sleeved bureaucrat whose shirt pocket was armed with an authentic plastic penholder.
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Chief Jones told me of your circumstance, and we’ll have your car in the side driveway momentarily,” said the man, who kept looking up at the older, taller officer as he spoke. He then scrambled back to his lair.
Grace reviewed the name badge on his uniform. Jones.
“So, who else besides the guy who runs the police department gets to be called Chief?” she asked.
The junior officer answered proudly. “No one.”
“Then what the heck are you doing here? Is this an Undercover Boss taping?” Grace darted her eyes back and forth, scouting for hidden cameras.
“I do it one day a month.” The chief slayed her again with his grin. “Keeps me in touch with what my men and women are facing out here every day. Randy, here, was considerate enough to let me ride with him today.” Chief Jones gave Randy a nod.
Randy pulled his shoulders back squarely and positively glowed.
Grace was itching to ask how Chief Jones had gotten her out of the ticket, but decided against it since there were at least twenty people around them pretending not to listen to their conversation. Outside where her car was waiting, Chief Jones handed her his card, but it wasn’t a normal business card. Rather, it had his picture on one side, with his hobbies and length of service with the police department. On the flipside, the expected business information confirmed that Ross Jones was, in fact, chief of police.
“Oh, look, it’s like a baseball trading card!” said Grace, unable to bluff nonchalance, and before she could stop herself, she found she was flirting like that Southern belle, Professor Johnson at Finedale. “Why, you’re a veritable collectible, Chief Jones, I dare say.” She lifted the card up to her face in preparation to fan herself, but instead tucked it into her brassiere. Eagerly, Randy handed Grace his card with the same double-sided format. “Very nice,” said Grace, handing it back to Randy. She looked at Ross’s face, a good six inches above hers. “Let’s see, you like Giants baseball, surfing and skiing. Do you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, too?” Having sworn off men for at least a year—although no one had ventured to test her resolve on that issue, Grace cheeks burned hot.
“It’s the newer, friendlier police force. I hope you like it,” replied Chief Jones with that partial uplifted smile. But it wasn’t just any smile. It was warm, lingering, and very seductive.
How can he be the police chief and I’ve never seen him on the evening news? Discreetly, from behind her Gucci sunglasses, Grace checked out his physique, but she could only get a tease of how toned his body was under his police-sanctioned, navy short-sleeved shirt and bulletproof vest. She imagined herself again swooning in his muscular arms by Renata’s revolving door.
“Note to self, get arrested … soon!” said Grace to Chief Jones as she patted her chest where his card was stowed. “Only because my pants have no pockets did I put your card in here.”
Suddenly overcome with mortification at how completely daft she was sounding, Grace threw open her car door and clambered inside. Ross Jones and his junior officer headed back to the chief-mobile. But Ross reversed his stride and tapped on her driver side window.
“By the way, I do like piña coladas… especially with those little paper umbrellas.” He winked at Grace. This time, she was sure of it.
Grace came unglued with glee as she watched him saunter back to his squad car. Wait, little paper umbrellas? Is he friggin’ kidding with me? Shit, maybe he’s a charming gay man just trying to make me feel like a valued woman in solidarity. How am I supposed to figure out men when I’ve been off the market for so long? It’s unfair and makes me mad that Finedale didn’t teach me how to distinguish gender preferences in prospective dates.
As she switched on the ignition, she realized that Chief Ross had indeed given her a sign—two, in fact. He’d lingered in her personal zone, used Flirting Technique No. 5 – returning to her after the end of a conversation. And No. 7 –responding to an overt opening flirt. Professor Johnson would be proud. Two points for Lilienthal!-
WOW!!! That excerpt pulls you right into the story!! Click here for finish the story!
Layne is also having a giveway for an Amazon Gift Card! You don’t won’t to miss out on this!! Enter here!
Layne Gray is an author, entrepreneur and experienced marketing strategist. Layne’s background is in technology marketing and she has worked for large companies, including as Director of UNIX Product Line Marketing at Oracle Corporation and Director of UNIX Application Marketing at Altos Computer Systems. She was the founder of LKE Productions, a global technology conference production company that ramped to over $20M in annual revenues.
Layne is a seasoned charitable fundraiser who has helped raise millions of dollars for local and national charities through events she has chaired and campaigns she has spearheaded. Bay Area beneficiaries have included the San Francisco Ballet, Junior League of San Francisco, San Francisco Zoological Society. National organizations include buildOn, UN Foundation Girl Up and Mocha Moms.
Born and raised in Oregon, Layne received a B.A. in Marketing and Statistics from the University of Oregon. She has taken the WSET Level 3 Certification and teaches wine classes around the country. Layne is an Emeritus Board member of the San Francisco Zoological Society and a sustaining member of the Junior League of San Francisco and the San Ballet Auxiliary. She lives in San Francisco and enjoys cycling, snow skiing and walking her dogs at Crissy Field.