Thrilled to be part of my friend Susan Thatcher's blog tour for
At Last, the sequel to These Foolish Things!
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Author: Susan Thatcher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: December 1, 2013
These Foolish Things is a response to all the love stories that begin with young lovers and end immediately after mutual declarations of love. Life continues after youth and love can happen anytime, anywhere.
At Last picks up where These Foolish Things leaves off. Elizabeth Gardner and Ty Hadley seem destined for “happily ever after,” but fate has challenges in store that could tear them apart. Is their love strong enough to survive?
“Well, this afternoon promises to be a good time,” Liz commented as she rinsed her hair.
“Why’s that, Babe?” Ty asked over the hiss of the shower.
“OB-GYN visit and mammogram, so much fun. ‘Mrs. Hadley, good to see you. We’ve devised some new tortures to visit upon your body in the name of practicing medicine, beginning with a nicely chilled speculum and ending with the pressurized fun of a mammogram. Welcome to your mid 40s, Elizabeth,’” Liz answered. "‘By the way, did we remember to recommend that you have a colonoscopy, too? Just a thought.’”
She heard Ty chuckling.
“You make sure that prostate stays in good working order, Ty. I’m not done with it yet.”
“You got it,” he said laughing.
Liz raised her left arm over her head and began making firm circles on the skin of her left breast with her right hand, feeling for irregularities underneath. “Okay, so far, so good.”
“What’s that?” Ty asked.
“Breast self-exam,” Liz answered. “Every month, like clockwork, haven’t missed in 9 years.” She put her right arm over her head and repeated the procedure on the right breast.
“Want me to do it for you?” Ty asked. “Be no trouble at all.”
Liz laughed, “Thanks for the offer, but it’s not really all...that…ero…tic…” The circling stopped and she returned to the spot and felt again. No, she hadn’t imagined it. “No. Oh, God.”
The shower curtain snapped aside.
“What just happened?” Ty’s eyes were fixed on her hand. He reached out to touch, imitating Liz’s hand and circling, pressing her wet flesh. “You found something?” Liz heard the fear in his voice.
“I’m not sure,” she admitted, “Could be my imagination. Could be a cyst.”
“Could be cancer,” Ty finished hoarsely. He yanked a towel off the rack and wrapped Liz in it, sarong-style, then pulled her close. They stood there for a minute, Liz holding as tightly to Ty as he held her. He was only wearing a towel around his waist and Liz needed the intimate contact of skin to skin.
“God damn it,” she heard Ty growl, “God damn it.” She could feel the anger in him beginning to build.
Liz put her hand on his shoulder and squeezed. She slid her hand up to Ty’s face and looked into his eyes.
Quietly, she said, “Look. This may be nothing, okay? Let’s stay calm until we know for sure.” She brought Ty’s face down for a kiss that took on more urgency the longer it lasted.
Ty broke off first. “I love you, Liz. I don’t want to think about losing you.” He kissed her forehead and left his lips pressed to it. “Ever.”
He kissed her again. “That’s it. I’m coming to the doctor with you.”
Liz buried her face in his shoulder, smiling. “No, Counselor. I can handle this. Besides, if there is a lump, the doctor will refer me to someone else for a biopsy and that will take a few days to schedule, so you’d be terrorizing the doctor today for no good reason. Take it out on opposing counsel instead, okay?” She kissed Ty again, deeply. “I love you.”
“I love you, Liz,” Ty said. “Sure you’re okay with doing this by yourself?”
“Done it before, remember? I know the drill.” Liz felt him relax slightly.
Luckily, Liz thought, she’d done pretty good job of hiding her own terror.
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READ MY REVIEW OF THESE FOOLISH THINGS HERE.
So At Last is considerably shorter than These Foolish Things, and it absolutely picks up in the middle of nowhere, so if you haven't read TFT, you'd better. Here's the good news: this book delves into the "happily ever after" part of romance novels, which frankly, doesn't exist - either in romance novels or in real life. That's not to say Liz and Ty's love fades and they get a nasty, bitter divorce, because they don't. But some rough shit comes down the pike after they marry. Like seriously rough. Like life-threateningly rough. But they are realistic issues that real people have to deal with in real life, as opposed to someone being kidnapped by a jealous ex or something soapy and silly. While I appreciated that there wasn't any noticeable fluffing out to make the sequel longer, I actually wished there was a bit more, because I very much enjoyed the comfortable ease and warmth the relationship exuded in this part of their story. Long past the butterflies and batting eyelashes stage, they settled into their real relationship and I would have liked Susan to have explored that in more detail. She makes significant time jumps in the story that in the hands of a lesser writer probably would've ripped you out of the moment, but fortunately she makes it work. I do happen to know Susan personally, and that means I also happen to know that These Foolish Things and At Last were originally one novel, so I highly recommend if you haven't read TFT yet, get both of them at the same time and read them back to back, because while both are good reads, I do happen to think they would've worked better as one cohesive work. But alas, we indie authors in particular are living in the world of The Almighty Trilogy and I understand why it is what it is. Still a well written novella and worth it. But again, you'll be lost if you don't read TFT first. Up next, I believe, is the prequel, which I'm looking forward to.
I have to make note of one little thing that made me a little nuts: the very last sentence of the book. Without giving it away, I have to give the author crap for writing a cliffhanger that's not a cliffhanger. Seriously, woman??? *throatpunch*
Get this book. Get both of them.
Rating: Four smooches (out of 5):
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Meet The Author
Susan Thatcher was born in New Hampshire and raised in Vermont, graduating from the University of Vermont (including a stint in Salisbury, South Australia as an exchange student starting in January 1982. She hates winter that much). She contributed occasional articles to UVM’s newspaper, the Vermont Cynic. Susan has also contributed to Morning Edition on NPR (they read her letter on the air.), the Boca Raton News and ww.dognewsteam.com, a news parody website. Susan also earned a Juris Doctor from Franklin Pierce Law Center.
She presently lives in Southern California because the climate and topography suit her. And she is writing more material.