The Restoration of Abby Walker
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by Linda Rettstatt
Description: Can Abby Walker Mulgrew restore her life and reclaim her self following a shocking divorce after twenty-five years of marriage?
eBook Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc., 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: October 2009
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [487 KB]
Reading time: 298-418 min.
Abby slid her hand between the layers of silky fabric, observing the outline of her fingers. Yep, this one should do it. She carried her selection to the checkout, feeling deliciously wicked.
"This is lovely." The cashier scanned the price tag.
"It's for my anniversary." Why did she feel as though she had to explain the purchase?
The younger woman smiled and nodded.
Heat crept up Abby's neck, and she couldn't meet the cashier's eyes as she handed her a credit card. Perhaps I've already exceeded the age limit for see-through lingerie. I'm a little beyond the 'secrets' stage, at least with Wil.
"Well, congratulations. What anniversary are you celebrating?" the cashier asked, presenting the receipt to Abby for her signature.
"It's our twenty-fifth. We're going on a cruise. I wanted to purchase something special ... to surprise my husband." Now she was babbling and realized there was no need to explain. The next waiting customer shifted and exhaled. Abby signed the charge slip, grabbed the package and hurried from the store. I wonder what might have happened if I'd given in to the temptation to purchase a pair of crotchless panties. She smiled at the thought as she made her way down the block to Anthony's to meet her friend Meg for lunch.
Meg dropped into the booth where Abby had settled. "Hi. Good thing you got here early. This place is crazy today."
"I think the weather's brought everyone out. It's a beautiful day. Do you have to go back to the office? It would be nice to walk and window shop. I don't have to rush home. Wil's working late tonight."
"I do have to go back, but not right away. What's up with Wil, anyway? He's been putting in a lot of eighteen-hour days lately."
"You know how obsessive he is about the bank--it can't run without him. He's just worried about being away for ten days for the cruise. Speaking of the cruise, let me show you what I bought." She removed the tissue-wrapped negligee from the bag and discreetly passed it across the table to Meg. "Don't unfold it. Not in here," Abby said in a panic as Meg lifted the negligee by the straps. "Just slip your hand inside."
"Why Abby Mulgrew, you little vixen. Why even bother getting dressed?"
"I want to surprise Wil. He's been working so hard and, well, we've kind of drifted away from one another lately."
"Things a little quiet in the bedroom?" Meg asked, passing the negligee back across the table.
Abby waited until the waitress had placed glasses of water and menus on the table and was once again out of earshot before responding. "Quiet--now there's a good word. If it gets any quieter, Wil and I could be sleeping in the public library. Sometimes I wonder if he's having an affair."
Meg gasped. "You think..."
Abby shook her head. "Not really. Ever since Caitlin graduated and moved to California, it seems Wil and I have little in common. He has the bank and all his work involves. I have the house, the Garden Club, and ... well, that's about it. Sometimes I feel as though he and I are two strangers inhabiting the same space."
The waitress reappeared and waited impatiently while Abby and Meg perused their menus one more time before ordering.
When they were alone again, Meg narrowed her eyes. "Is this serious?"
"No. At least I don't think so. Wil's late four or five nights a week. He's had to go out of town for business twice in the last month. And I wasn't invited to go along. I feel as if I don't exist half the time. I know I'm not as young and attractive as I used to be, but neither is he."
Meg rolled her eyes. "Yeah, you're a real dog."
"I think this cruise is just what we need. It'll be the two of us--no work to rush off to and no phone interruptions. I already checked, and we won't have cell service in some of the areas we'll be cruising. I thought I'd take advantage of the opportunity while I have Wil alone and try to spice things up a little."
Meg sat back against the booth and leveled her gaze on Abby. "Okay, first of all, you aren't exactly over the hill. Abby, you're gorgeous, and Wil would have to be blind not to see it. Secondly, if that negligee doesn't jumpstart his engine, there's definitely something wrong with his spark plugs."
Abby grinned. "I think Wil just needs a little tune-up."
Meg laughed. "Oh, the images that just rolled through my head."
After lunch, Abby walked with Meg until they came to a stop in front of Hampton Towers, where Meg's office on the twenty-fourth floor offered a fabulous view of the city.
Meg hugged her. "Have a wonderful time, and make the most of the negligee. Call me as soon as you get home."
"I will. Thanks for lunch." Abby watched Meg pass through the revolving door and into the building. She turned and headed toward Wil's bank on the next block.
Rounding the corner in front of the bank, Abby observed Wil standing on the sidewalk and talking with a tall blonde. He had one hand on the woman's arm, and they were both smiling. When he spotted Abby, he waved and then dropped his arm, shoving both hands into his pockets. He nodded to the woman, who turned and walked away.
"What brings you by?" He kissed Abby's cheek.
"I did some shopping and had lunch with Meg. I just thought I'd stop by on my way back to the car." Her eyes shifted from Wil to the woman, now nearly out of sight. "Who's that?"