Title: THE THEATRE
Author: Marsha R. West
Genre: Second Chance Romantic Suspense
Kelly Lawson, a New York TV actress, returns to Texas for the summer to star in her hometown’s local theatre’s summer musicals, choreographing, and directing. She’s appalled to discover someone is harassing the company’s gay actors, and it appears to be a Glenview police officer. Police Chief Josh Kincaid, the most recent of her mother’s selections to be Kelly’s love interest, investigates, causing upsets in town politics and falling under the actress’ spell. Can the theatre group survive under the attacks? Can they find a way to bring their worlds together? Will all their combined efforts be sufficient to keep Kelly alive?
Standing ovations being quite common in small town theatre, this one went on for a solid five minutes. Someone presented Kelly with long-stemmed, yellow roses. She stepped forward, took another bow, then motioned for the audience of three hundred to sit down.
“As many of you are aware, this is my hometown, and I can’t tell you how much I love performing here before my family and all of you again. Thank you for your attendance. You’ve been a generous audience. Please tell your friends and come see us again throughout the summer. If you’ll give us a minute, we’ll meet you out front in the lobby.”
The small orchestra reprised “Hello, Dolly” while the cast made its way off stage, and the audience stood again to applaud and cheer their approval.
“Super job, Kelly.” Phillip spun her around and then kissed her on both cheeks. “Thanks for coming home. Your fans await, and don’t forget the party at the mayor’s.”
Kelly laughed when Phillip ran up the aisle ahead of her, exuberance in every step, belying his years. Yeah, the performance had gone well. For close to half-an-hour, Kelly shook hands, accepted congratulations, and signed autographs. Finally, she made her way to the dressing room to get out of the costume and change for the party.
She yanked off the wig and the nylon covering her head and tugged out the pins holding her hair. Getting the mass under a wig always proved a challenge, but the longer style allowed her to wear a ponytail. Her hair didn’t whip into her eyes or across the faces of other performers during dance rehearsals as it did when it was loose. After a good brushing, she drew some on top of her head and let the rest curl around her shoulders.
Kelly accented the little black dress with red, four-inch-high strappy sandals and a ruby pendant with matching earrings. She grabbed her purse and strolled the block-and-a-half walk to Mayor Garland’s two-story Victorian house. The warm breeze lifted strands of hair from her neck, swirling it around.
Her heart filled with gratitude, and she brushed at moisture in her eyes, because her father had been able to come to the show again. No telling how many more times he’d be able to do that, or how long he’d remember the experience.
Music from a small combo greeted Kelly as she climbed the front steps to the mayor’s house. The party was in full swing with people dancing in a small, cleared front parlor. Had her mother arrived yet? Yes, she stood by the dining room table, talking with a tall, brunette woman. Kelly made her way toward them, smiling and responding to people who congratulated her.
“Hey, Kelly, dear.” Her mother put an arm around her waist. “Dad couldn’t stop talking about you while I drove him home. He wanted to hang out for you in the lobby, but it was very crowded and hectic, he became nervous. I thought it best to take him straight home. He was so proud of you I thought he’d pop a button or two on his shirt.” Her smile grew. “You were wonderful.”
“Forgive me, I got caught up and forgot you haven’t met. This is my good friend Cindy Kincaid. I’ve mentioned her.”
“Yes.” She certainly had. “Hello, Mrs. Kincaid,” Kelly reached out a hand to her mother’s friend. The mother of the Glenview Chief of Police.
“I’m thrilled to meet you, Kelly. I’ve been a fan of you and your show for years. I may stop watching though, since you won’t be in the cast anymore. I read about the changes in TV Guide and sent off a sharp letter telling them what a mistake they’d made.” She laughed. “Not that the producers would listen to me. I am thrilled you’re home for the summer, and I can visit with you in person.”
“You’re kind, Mrs. Kincaid.”
“It’s so fun for your parents and the rest of your fans,” the older woman exclaimed, clapping her hands together.
“Don’t let us monopolize you, dear. Run on and visit with the dignitaries.” Her mother waved her away.
“Okay.” Kelly turned to leave then glanced over her shoulder. “Oh, Mom, I forgot to thank you for the yellow roses. Divine scent and really beautiful.”
Her mother’s head cocked at an angle. “I’d like to take credit for them, but I ordered an arrangement with pink carnations and those hydrangeas you love. Didn’t you get those?”
“If they were delivered, I never saw them. They must be somewhere backstage.”
“What made you think the yellow roses were from me and Dad?”
“The card said ‘From Your Biggest Fan. I’ll be watching.’” Repeating the words aloud sent an unexpected chill ran across Kelly’s shoulders. If her parents hadn’t sent them, who had?
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
I don’t have weddings in many of my books. They all have HEAs, but not always a wedding. THE THEATRE has a wonderful wedding set overlooking a lake in a small town. Everything a wedding should be. I love the characters in this book, the heroin’s pushy mom and seeing how the H & H deal with their fathers’ struggle with Alzheimer’s. I love how Kelly fights for the safety of her cast. I love the small town where the story takes place. And lastly, I love Kelly’s parents’ two pups, modeled on the two pups we had at the time. It was fun writing this book and drawing on my and my daughter’s experiences performing.
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A retired elementary school principal, a former school board member, and theatre arts teacher, Marsha R. West writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. She lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband and Charley, a deaf, Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier. Their two daughters presented them with three delightful grandchildren all who live nearby.
The theme of Marsha’s nine books is always second chances, and she even has a four-part series titled The Second Chances Series. She believes in Happily Ever Afters. Her husband picked up a plaque for her on one of their several trips to Maine that states her philosophy exactly. Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. The Heroines and Heroes in her books are in their 40s and 50s with their parents and children often playing supporting roles.
She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, the North Texas local chapter, NTRWA, Authors Marketing Guild LLC, & the WORD BY WORD Blog. She has her own weekly blog and monthly newsletter. Marsha loves making presentations to groups and has twice taught a Silver Frogs class on Indie Publishing for Texas Christian University. Her books can be found on AMAZON, B & N, KOBO, and iTunes and other sites. Print books are also at Draft 2 Digital, Indie Lector Stores, and Amazon.
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