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About the author:
Caroline Adair is a native of Virginia, but lived in Nashville, TN for most of her life. She majored in Social Work and Art History at MTSU. This book is a tribute to the strong women in life, the ones that saved, inspired and stood beside her through everything. It is for every broken doll that didn't back down and survived.
What inspired you to write your book?
My sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We both have a genetic mutation that predicts that we both have an 80% chance of developing ovarian, cervical or breast cancer that will kill us within five years of the diagnosis. I had always wanted to be a romance writer for my entire life, but was always too afraid or busy to do it. Suddenly, I was out of excuses and I knew the time to follow my dream wasn't as long as I thought it would be. I had to write it for my sister, because she believed I could do it and for the sister we lost. There is nothing I wouldn't do to have her back for just one more day.
Here is a short sample from the book:
What Broken Dolls Do
"She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings."
I had been in bed for what I guessed was about two weeks. I rarely got up, except to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. I ate the bowl of cereal my housekeeper left for me each day. My husband would bring me food but I left most of it untouched. He attributed my current state to my sinus infection and I let him believe that. He worked constantly now and barely noticed what I did.
I would wake, but I had lost track of time and day. I considered getting out of bed but the dull ache in my chest would feel too heavy for me to move. Something was wrong with me but I had little interest in trying to fix the problem. It would take more effort than I could muster.
I laid in bed for days, unable to find a reason to get out of it, until the fact that I was beginning to smell bothered me. I rose to shower; moving took all my strength.
I removed my smelly pajamas and was about to step into the shower when my heart began to race. My fingers tingled as though they had fallen asleep and I was trying to wake them. My breath became fast and shallow. My legs began to tremble. I clutched the shower door in order not to lose my balance. I briefly thought I should call an ambulance but I was only twenty-five years old. I had never experienced anything worse than a cold or my recent sinus infection.
I ran through the list of medical conditions that might cause rapid heartbeat. I hadn't smoked or even drank a cup of coffee in two weeks. I hadn't taken any medications.
My heart pounded as if it might escape from my chest and I felt as if I were suffocating. My limbs began to feel numb. Was I dying or having a stroke? I spoke aloud to myself to test my speech. I wasn't slurring or skipping any words.
I forced myself into the shower because if I was dying, I wasn't going to die smelling like a sewer. I also needed to shave and I wasn't going to die like that, either. I washed my hair despite my hands being numb. I picked up my razor but my hands quaked. It tumbled from my fingers, falling next to the drain.
I thought of Sarah, lying on a gurney with her face covered in vomit and her amber eyes half closed. Her mouth hung open and white foam dribbled from the corners of her lips.
The trembling of my legs forced me to sit down. I knew that something was terribly wrong, but I dismissed the idea that I was dying. If I were truly dying then I would have done so already. Death was usually either slow and agonizing or struck with one painful blow. It was rarely a tease. I let the water run over me until my heart started to beat regularly and my breathing slowed.
I stood carefully, making sure my legs would hold my weight. I retrieved my razor to shave all my private bits. I stepped out of the shower after I was clean and trimmed to look at myself in the mirror.
I wiped the condensation from the glass and stared at my reflection. Nothing about my appearance seemed out of the ordinary. My blue eyes were a bit puffy and I was paler than usual, but nothing indicated a serious medical problem. I went back to bed without bothering to put on clothes.
I was a damaged person but I understood my damage. It was no worse than anyone else's. There had been times in my life when I wondered how I continued to keep living or caring if I did. Everyone feels like that, at some point or another. That wasn't the problem. I had made it through those times as I had everything else.
There were holes in me but I was used to them. I snickered at the thought of my psyche looking like Swiss cheese at this point. My laundry list of "Shitty Things That Can Really Fuck a Person Up" was long but didn't explain my current state. I wondered what level of fucked up I was at currently. After the whole shower incident, I believed I had gone up a notch.
I curled my knees to my chest and tried to think my way through the problem. Something important eluded me, and the answer hovered at the edges of my memory. It hung there just out of my reach.
I rolled over to stare at my ceiling and turned its pristine whiteness into a movie screen. I let my life play out before me as if it weren't even mine but someone else's. It was always better to think of my life that way. If my memories belonged to someone else, I didn't have to accept them as my own. Sometimes, it made the ugly parts more gruesome and the beauty even more startling.
I was white trash but I did everything to rise above it. I read every book on proper manners. I married the perfect man and we both had perfect jobs. I was well groomed and in perfect shape. I always appeared to the outside world as the perfect wife.
I was the perfect host; getting an invitation to one of my parties was like winning the lottery to some people. I hated those parties and almost every person that attended. I tolerated them because I had mastered the ability to smile while blood ran down my hands.
My husband was a handsome and brilliant man. His family despised me. They accepted our marriage because they would face ruin if they did not. I could hardly blame them for their bitterness. I wasn't good enough for their son. I knew it, and they knew it.
My husband loved me anyway but most days I could not understand why. He reminded me of the first day of spring after a long winter. I often found it difficult to look away from his arresting beauty. He took my breath away, then gave me his. I didn't deserve him.
My resume was a work of fiction but I managed one of the biggest art galleries in Atlanta. My boss in New York stared at me with ravenous hunger each time I saw him. He made my skin crawl, although I am sure other women would have been flattered.
He did his best to manipulate situations to his advantage. He would tell me he needed me in New York and that his secretary had made all the arrangements for me. I always thanked him and told him there was no need. I could have a plane ready in an hour and we owned a suite of rooms at the Carlyle. He would laugh as though he had forgotten but we both understood he hadn't. He arranged the hotel room so he could fuck me. It was an unspoken invitation for me to say, “Yes.”
He would say outrageous things to me, ask me to come with him to his summer home, and tell me all the things he wanted to do to me. He cornered me at an opening and said in a low voice, "Paige, you're miserable. I can make you a very happy woman." I laughed and exaggerated my southern accent as I protested, "Behave yourself, now! Don't make me have to spank you!" He didn't laugh and told me how much he wanted to spank me instead.
Apparently, it doesn't matter where a woman works. Sleazy bosses abide in every fucking corner of the Earth. There is no escape. I kept my job because my boss wanted to sleep with me. He must have figured out over time my resume was a fabrication. I didn't complain about him. I wasn't stupid; he would portray me to others as if I were a whore or worse, too inept to do my job. The thought of admitting to others that I was only hired because I was a pretty piece of ass was humiliating.
My only solution was to quit and I didn't do that because of my husband's parents. To them, I would be a lazy, good for nothing wife if I didn't work. The one thing I didn't need to give them was more mud to sling on me.
My life was a forgery, a perfect replica of a masterpiece. It was the perfect lie.