Begin With Me
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by Mike Ryan
Category: Mainstream/Mystery/Crime EPIC eBook Award Winner
Description: Matt Druker loses his job and his girl. He lost his faith long ago. Now he struggles with no job, but one day he drifts into the local church which needs help. Matt decides to impersonate an Irish priest to help the struggling pastor. Does he have a prayer?
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2005
eBookwise Release Date: December 2005
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [250 KB]
Reading time: 155-217 min.
"Talented author Mike Ryan has crafted an interesting tale with realistic characters to hold the interest of any reader. He gives us a look into the heart of a man who is attempting to find his niche in life and the path to his future. Any reader who enjoys stories about people as they attempt to solve the problems life tosses their way will enjoy this book. Recommended as an interesting and well told tale and a satisfying way to spend some time. Enjoy. I did."--Anne K. Edwards, Mysteryfiction.net
"Mike Ryan certainly gives his Catholic readers a wonderful trip down memory lane and for those of us who are not Catholic he does a good job of explaining in detail its rituals. He also gives readers great detail of the Boston area. Begin with Me is a good read but for those needing hot sexual content, this one is not for you. Once you start to read it, though, you cannot put the book down as you will want to know what happens next. Does he get caught and will he and Maddie re-connect? I enjoyed my brief education on the Boston area and Catholic procedures and fell in love with the characters."--Alisha, Two Lips
"Begin With Me is a relaxing contemporary story about a man's struggle in rediscovering himself, shedding issues that placed material things as important to make way for new that focuses on people. A delightful read that I will enjoy sharing, and re-reading."--Pamela Jenewein, Romance At Heart
"I heard a pastor not long ago say that the reason there is little good inspirational fiction is because it is too bland. I'd like to send him a copy of this... This is a feel good read."--Amanda Killgore
Wedding Bells and Groundballs
"I would love to get married at that church, Matt."
"It will be a cold day in hell when I go back to church."
They passed the Catholic Church in his new town. The church was a small, brick structure with some charm and crumbling front steps.
As he drove the BMW, Maddie usually navigated on their day trips. A soft rain tapped the windshield while the wipers beat a steady rhythm.
"Who said anything about marriage, Maddie?"
He ignored her face.
"I could move into your place," she said.
"That would only upset our mothers."
"We've been going out for four years. I've waited for three."
"Maddie, I'm not ready."
"You're almost thirty. Will you be ready by forty?"
"No wedding. No live-in."
She suppressed tears.
"Matt," she said softly, "I want children."
"We've never talked about kids."
"We have. I've always wanted to be a mother. You pretended to not pay attention. I teach children. If I didn't like them, why would I work as a teacher?"
The possibility of tears now was replaced by anger and hurt.
"Come with me to Mass tomorrow, Matt, please."
Matt turned from the road toward her. "Sundays are sacred to me."
"Right. Softball and football. Sports every Sunday."
They pulled up to his condo. When he turned off the ignition, Maddie folded her arms and waited.
"Three months, Matthew. Either propose, or impregnate me. Either option would please me."
He nodded slowly. "So I have until May Day."
"You have been served notice." * * * *
Two months later, Matthew Philip Druker roused slowly from the satin sheets. He preferred the company of his significant other, Madilyn Brooks, but she was in no mood to stay the night after reiterating her earlier ultimatum for a commitment.
"You have less than a month," she said after supper. "Think for yourself. Maybe you should consider a life of celibacy."
Tossing off the sheets, naked Matthew climbed out, walked to his closet, and found his velour maroon, monogrammed robe in the dark. He flicked a few lights in his home. In his kitchen, the black digital wall clock with blue metallic numbers read seven thirty-two in the morning.
Opening the curtain in the kitchen window, he gazed at the lake, a sheet of gray glass and a short throw from his third-floor perch.
This Sunday, the overcast sky gave Lake Glass its name. Short pine trees dotted the shoreline. A fisherman in his rowboat was the only occupant on the water. Matt ruffled his thick, neatly-trimmed black beard, staring at the angler. Fishing never appealed to him.
Next, he opened his kitchen door to find the Sunday newspaper on the welcome mat. He grabbed it and plopped it on the table. Although he owned a deluxe Braun coffeemaker, he brewed his French vanilla coffee from an old pot, a favorite of his father's. Scarred from a thousand flames, this bronze pot stood as the only old appliance in the room. Love of coffee was inherited from his father. A mailman, Peter Druker, never said much. But he loved baseball, another love passed onto his son.
On the physical side, Matt was built like his father, just under six feet with broad shoulders, jet black hair, long dark eyebrows like a former Red Sox player Bill Buckner, and dark green eyes hooded by long lashes, unlined skin, and a florid complexion. Thoughts of his father vanished with the ring of the telephone.
"Don't you call your mother anymore, Matthew?" asked his mother, Angela McCarty Druker.
He smiled. "Not if she calls before my coffee."
"You're a fuddyduddy, Matthew Druker. You move to a fancy condo and ignore your only relative. And don't tell me you're too busy."
"How's Madilyn? She there?"
"What kind of guy do you think I am?"
"Matthew, I know that Maddie stays over."
He poured his scalding-hot coffee into a Red Sox mug. He let the steam rush to his nostrils.
"What would you like to know, Mom?"