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About the author:
She lives each day thankful for all blessings and mindful of a quote from her favorite book, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
What inspired you to write your book?
The Keeper is dedicated to victims of trauma. I wrote the book after watching a documentary on the subject and was deeply moved by the courage of the people featured.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“Can you believe it’s this hot already and it’s only May?” Clarisse lamented, positioning their heads of lettuce more firmly against the ice in the coolers. “This stuff is beginning to look awful.”
Caitlin tripped over Bandolero a little in her long, second-hand dress as she stepped in Clarisse’s direction to check on the lettuce. To her horror, it was shriveling along the outer leaves. Sighing to herself, she wondered how much money they weren’t going to make that day. The profits didn’t go far when you were splitting them three ways. She didn’t want to have to start working six days a week at the restaurant.
“If Denver had been on time for once, we might have gotten a place in the shade,” Clarisse griped, down on Denver for the third day straight. “Where is he anyway?” Denver had sauntered off as soon as they’d arrived, several hours earlier.
“Who knows?” Caitlin muttered sardonically, reaching down to rub Bandolero’s leg apologetically.
Glancing up, Clarisse and Caitlin discovered Chris Seacrest standing next to their display, appearing almost as downcast as they were feeling.
“Hello.” Clarisse smiled prettily, pushing her wavy blond hair back from her face as she studied the handsome stranger with undisguised admiration.
Caitlin nodded hello, busying herself with tying off bunches of exotic radishes.
“Can we interest you in any organic produce this afternoon?” Clarisse asked hopefully, observing the classy ring and watch.
“No, actually I’m looking for a pot.”
“Did you say you’re looking for some pot?” Denver inquired, appearing from behind the decorative shrubbery where he had taken an unlawful shortcut to bypass the multitudes.
Narrowing his eyes slightly, Chris ignored the question. He immediately recognized the voice as the same person who had answered the phone when he’d called her place Saturday morning.
“Caitlin knows a guy who throws the best pots anywhere,” Clarisse declared dramatically, sipping her wheatgrass smoothie as she curiously surveyed the attractive doctor’s ring finger on his left hand. Surprisingly enough, he wore no wedding band.
“I thought you grew medicinal herbs?” Chris inquired of Caitlin, studying her pointedly. Obviously she was not going to talk unless forced.
“We do,” Denver replied for her, planting himself next to Caitlin as if to shield her from something.
“We sideline too,” Clarisse chimed in, adjusting her head scarf.
Caitlin hid her grubby hands beneath their table, feeling ill at ease. She hadn’t had time to wash them after unloading all their stock.
“What kind of pot are you looking for?” she managed at last, at a loss for anything else to say. After squinting up at him momentarily, he removed his sunglasses and his dark blue eyes searched hers. She looked away again.
“I’m looking for something unique.”
“Oh, you mean like for someone who already has everything?” Denver asked with a grin, noting Buffy approaching in her white silk skirt and Golden South Sea Pearl Necklace.
“Have you found anything yet?” Buffy asked, placing her arm around his waist. She didn’t like the way Clarisse was smiling at Chris.
“You have to go see this friend of Caitlin’s. He’s a genius,” Clarisse insisted, disappointed by the newcomer but still faintly hopeful.
Chris sighed, glancing around languidly. “Well, is he around here someplace?”
“That’d be the day,” Denver commented, reaching for his own smoothie in the ice chest under the table. Uncapping the bottle, he took a long swig to refresh himself.
“Does he have his own shop?” Buffy asked hopefully, quickly tiring of the scruffy threesome. Denver, in particular, looked like something the cat dragged in.
“Oh, no way. He’s a recluse,” Clarisse informed them, nudging Caitlin. “Tell them.”
Caitlin attempted to pull herself together. It was beginning to trouble her that she found the good-looking, affluent doctor even faintly alluring. The emotion was so pathetically cliché, especially considering the ludicrous circumstances.
“Well,” she began, trying to appear somewhat indifferent, “he lives out on the wharf close by here in a warehouse.”
“A warehouse?” Chris appeared skeptical.
“He’s not too crazy about people,” Denver chimed in. “Just pots.”
“What’s his name?” Buffy asked amusedly, tossing back her bouncy hair over one shoulder.
“Yuri,” Caitlin replied.
“That means ‘earth worker’,” added Clarisse. Denver chuckled.
“What’s his number?” Chris reached for his cell.
Denver laughed. “He hasn’t got one.”
“He won’t talk on a phone,” Clarisse disclosed.
“I can draw you a map,” Caitlin offered, tearing a receipt from the booklet and scribbling on the reverse side. “But he might not answer the door.”
“If he’s in one of his moods or doesn’t like the look of you, he won’t answer,” Clarisse warned. “He’s a little strange that way.”
“He’s eccentric all right,” Denver commented, studying the dirt under his fingernails with interest. “You can never predict who he’ll let in or who he’ll kick out. He’s…”
“This is crazy,” Chris finally objected, not about to waste his time. The idea of tracking down some lunatic artist holed up in a warehouse someplace and then hoping he’d actually answer his door was outrageous. “Thanks anyway.” Waving them off, he and Buffy departed, shaking their heads as they walked away.
Caitlin frowned to herself, holding the map she’d drawn and trying not to glance back at them again.
“Do you actually know that sap?” Clarisse asked, beginning to lose interest in the newcomer.
“Sort of,” was Caitlin’s downcast reply.
“Well, he sure looks like he’s loaded but as usual didn’t shell out any dough. Boy, we really went bust today,” Clarisse lamented, scanning their produce. “There were just too many other people here selling stuff.”
“No problem, I already sold it all,” Denver suddenly exclaimed, all smiles. “It’s history. Just start packing it back up in the boxes.”
Clarisse gaped at her partner in astonishment. “You’re joking.”
“Did you really sell all this stuff?” Caitlin asked hopefully. She’d be able to make a payment on Dr. Seacrest’s bill.
Denver nodded his bushy head happily, beginning to load the vegetables into their crates. “Yep, sure did. I was having a beer down on the dock earlier and cut a deal with a restaurant owner who happened to be sitting next to me.”
Their mood was jubilant as they busied themselves, relieved that their enterprise was actually beginning to take off. Caitlin worked hard, packing the heavy crates into the restaurateur’s van and an hour later collapsed back in the chair again behind the now empty table. Clarisse and Denver had already left and people were packing up, the marketplace closing down for the day. They’d been up at the crack of dawn out in the fields harvesting and the exhausting day had finally caught up with her.
“Come on, Bandolero.” She nudged him tiredly with her foot under the table and he stretched and yawned, his afternoon nap over. Wagging his tail, he suddenly seemed to come back to life.
Looking up, she was startled to discover Chris Seacrest again, this time alone. “I’m glad you’re still here; I’ve changed my mind. Do you still have that map?”
Nodding, Caitlin extracted it from her pocket and handed it to him.
“Thanks.” With a quick, obligatory smile, he disappeared into the departing crowd.