Saturday, September 13, 2014

August and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt

August and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt
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OFFICE ROMANCE OR SOMETHING ELSE COMPLETELY?

Theresa Solano is a beautiful, decisive and brilliant woman who is devoted to her family, even when they don’t deserve it. Her father places her in charge of the family business and she finds herself hated by the women, disrespected by the men and engaged in a search for someone she can trust. She holds the Coin of Luck in life and love and finds it will have to work overtime to resolve her dilemma. As she maneuvers through a labyrinth of twists and turns, she continues her search for love but finds the only thing more elusive…is the truth.

Excerpt:

“My turn. You said we were going to talk business. So my question is, would you like me to tell the honest truth about what the employees think of you?”
Theresa hesitated. Sometimes knowing the real truth hurts too much. She nodded yes anyway.
“OK.” Gus took another sip of wine before launching in. “When you first came in there was a ton of grumbling. From everyone. People didn’t like the nepotism factor. They figured you were there to keep an eye on them. Business had been soft and there were a lot of worries that your father might be wanting to shut it down.
“However, most people were unhappy that someone young, who hadn’t paid her dues in the industry, was suddenly in charge. You really didn’t know a waybill from a declaration form and they were used to being led by someone who had been in the industry for a long time. Besides that, you are stunningly beautiful, so the ladies hated you for that and the guys dismissed you.
“Want me to continue or have you had enough?”
Theresa was up to the task. “Keep going. I liked the stunningly beautiful part.”
Again, for just a second, she thought she saw a hint of a smile on Gus’s face.
He picked up where he left off. “So, pretty much everyone disliked you for one reason or another and no one trusted you. But a funny thing happened during the next few months. The women started liking you more and not holding your beauty against you as you held your own against the men. They particularly liked it when you asked the questions and fended off their advances so deftly.
“Every time you made a decision about personnel or marketing or customer relations, you started setting the tone and creating de facto policy, and people started seeing you display some strong common sense. They started trusting you more.
“Anyway, generally speaking, the jury is still out. But you’ve gained a slew of converts and even more respect. Turns out you’re not just another pretty face.” Gus took a sip of wine and added, “And that is the truth.”
Theresa felt a slight shiver go down her spine as he made the last comment. He said it in a way that made her believe everything he said truly had been the truth. Suddenly, she realized how infrequently she had heard it before.
“You value the truth, don’t you?”
“Is that your question or just a sad commentary on the world we live in?”
Theresa shook her head. “I don’t want to trade questions anymore. I’m just trying to understand what makes you tick. The other night at the Grill, you talked about numbers as though they were your religion. You have a thing for certainty, for absolutes, for, well, I guess for truth. Math gives you that, but I wonder if anything else in your life does.”
If it were possible for a straight-faced man like August Tomasi to appear even more serious, she felt she was seeing it now.
Slowly, Gus finished his sip of wine and fixed his eyes on Theresa’s. “Life is a quest for truth. Sometimes we find it and don’t recognize it. Sometimes we find it and don’t like it. And sometimes we miss it completely and don’t know it. And, just as in math, the sum product of our life is about those rare little bits of truth we did find and what good we did with them.”
Theresa stared back at Gus, and for one short moment, felt that she had just been handed a sneak preview into his soul. She took another sip of her wine without breaking eye contact. Then, slowly, she responded, “And when you are all done, when you lay on your deathbed and contemplate the end, the only real question to answer is ‘did I make a difference?’ And my best guess is August Tomasi will be able to say yes. And my fervent prayer—is that I will too.”
Both of them broke eye contact at the same time. Sometimes too much truth did hurt too much.

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