By A. M. Leibowitz
Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC
Publication date: November 1, 2014
Phin Patterson is an educational consultant dissatisfied with his job and his life. On a mission to complete one last assignment before escaping his unfulfilling career and figure out what he wants, he accepts a commission from Donald Murdock at the New York State Education Department. Suddenly, he finds himself on his way to evaluate a tiny school in New York’s Southern Tier, not far from the town where he grew up. Now his only goal is to get in, do his job, and get out before anyone from his past remembers him.
That turns out to be easier said than done. Dani Sloane, the sharp-witted administrative assistant to the principal, learns the truth about why Phin is really there. With the help of her friends, she sets out to unmask him and force the local board of education to stop the plans that could ruin their school. Discovering that her sometime-lover is an old business associate of Phin’s only complicates both the situation and their relationship.
Meanwhile, Phin, who has committed himself to keeping his emotional distance, can’t resist the charm of the town and its residents—especially the school psychologist, who turns out to be an old friend he hasn’t seen in over twenty years. While Dani works to take him down and save her school, Phin wrestles with learning how to do the right thing, including telling the truth to the man with whom he’s already falling in love.
Alex spun around and threw his hands in the air. “Why are you still here? Go find someone else to bother.”
“What if I think the information you have is more valuable?” Phin crossed his arms and tilted his head, jutting out his chin.
“And what if I think you’re wasting your time? I have nothing here that would be of interest to you.”
The corner of Phin’s mouth curled upward. “I would say you’re mistaken. There’s plenty here for me to take interest in.” His gaze traveled downward slowly, making Alex feel exposed. Heat spread across his face, followed by a surge of anger. Placing his hands on the table and leaning toward Phin, Alex replied, “I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but it won’t work on me. Is this how you’ve handled your other clients?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Yes, you do.”
“All right, you got me.” Phin chuckled softly. He moved in closer and lowered his voice. “I once signed an entire multi-year textbook contract on my appeal alone.” His smile faltered, and he looked away briefly. He snapped his attention back to Alex and narrowed his eyes. “You’re not the most difficult client I’ve ever worked with, though it’s close.”
“I’m not your client. There’s no reason for your behavior.”
Phin licked his lips. “I didn’t make a mistake in the bar the other night.”
He pulled out his phone and glanced at it. “Listen, I need to go. Dani, what time do you want me to come over to help Jake draw his display board?”
“Is nine okay? We need to be at the school by eleven to set up, and the fair starts at noon.”
“Sure thing.” He grinned at the group. “Good night, ladies. Alex.” Once again, his face colored just a little when his eyes flicked to Alex. With that, he was off.
Dani watched him go, shaking her head. “Pied piper,” she muttered.
“What?” Eunice asked.
“You know—the pied piper. He got everyone to follow after him, thinking he was solving the town’s rat problem, only then he stole the children.” She laughed. “I’m just being paranoid. Where are the kids? We should get going—long day tomorrow.”
A. M. Leibowitz is a spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. She keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing romantic plot twists and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, she blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, and her family.
Find me on the Internet:
Web site: http://amleibowitz.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyunchained (@amyunchained)
Sometimes I can’t.
I can’t even.
I don’t even know what’s going on
but it hurts.
I don’t know why it hurts
except I do
but I don’t.
Why can’t life be easy?
Why do I feel
Sometimes it’s really great
and I feel like I’m floating.
The sun is shining, and it’s actually me!
I’m shining! I feel awesome!
Life is good.
I can do anything or be anything I want.
I help people see their beauty
and their greatness.
That makes me feel good.
And then I get down.
And I hurt.
but I don’t even know why.
Something is lost.
Something I loved very much.
but I’m the one who threw it away.
And that hurts.
The tears roll down my insides
and over my aching heart
and I feel like I’m going to burst.
I know where it is. But
I know something better is coming.
Oh g-d, why?
I love myself, and
I accept myself,
even though I don’t understand myself.
And I forgive myself.
I am sad, but I have love.
I have love.
And I will give that love away.
My aching, bursting heart
needs to share the love
so it will not burst.
And I will be OK.
I will really be OK.
In fact, I will be better than OK.
I will be good!
I will be GREAT!
I am love.
~Sean-Allen Douglass Parfitt
~Tuesday, September 2nd, about 1:50 AM
I was reading results of a study on folks put through ex-gay therapy, and it reminded me of this interesting tidbit from my past.
Around my 22nd or 23rd year, I developed a theory about my “homosexual tendencies” and nail biting. See, I had been biting my nails for as long as I could remember, and I had also been attracted to men since I recognized attraction. In my Christian upbringing, addictions were often treated as a spiritual thing. Older men, first-generation Christians*, would often give testimony that when they got saved their drinking/drug/gamboling addictions would immediately disappear. Many other things, when done in excess, were also considered addictions, including nail biting, video gaming, and looking at pornography. Continue reading
Today I’m going to share four short stories that I’ve written. The come randomly to me in different circumstances, usually from something I’ve read or a comment a friend has made. I would call them more Scenes than Stories, actually, but here they are. Hope you like them. Continue reading
I got this idea from my friend Penny. You can read her post here: Colors – Old Skool.
I tend to think in colors a lot. Sometimes I describe my feelings in colors rather than with adjectives. I assign people different colors or auras in my mind. When sending energy to people, it’s always in colors.
The funny part? I’m red-green colorblind!