Here’s a little taste of my latest release, Nobody’s Darling, for readers of Sweet Saturday Samples! April Raine is the owner of Rainey-Day-Wife, a parenting services organization that helps overextended parents handle the day-to-day duties of family life. On a morning talk show, she comes up against television psychologist and author, Dr. Jefferson Prentiss, who believes her company actually harms families by handing over the responsibilities of love and family obligations to profit-seeking strangers. Take a look at April and Jeff’s conversation on the air:

“In case you’ve just joined us, we’re talking with Ms. April Raine, founder of Rainey-Day-Wife, a parenting services organization, and Dr. Jefferson Prentiss, author of Love Is a Contact Sport. Now, April, you said you wanted to respond to Dr. Jeff’s comments about your organization’s negative impact on marriage and family.”
“Yes, Jocelyn, thank you.” She turned a steady gaze toward him. “First of all, I’d like to say there’s nothing mercenary or shameful in what I do. I provide a service to families who need help, and I am compensated for that service. Don’t you profit from the problems of others, including problems due to troubled relationships?”
Jeff frowned. “I hardly see that as the same thing.”
“No? Do you only treat healthy, well-adjusted patients?”
“Of course not.” Where was she headed with this topic? “But my practice is geared toward healing their ills, not taking advantage of them.”
“And if you can’t heal those ills, do you waive your fees? Are you a philanthropist, Dr. Prentiss?”
“I’m an educated professional, Ms. Raine.”
Her only reaction to the barb flared in the quick blink of her eyes. But in a steady voice, she replied, “I’ve read your book, you know. Unfortunately, I found vital information missing.”
“Oh?” He arched a brow at her. “Such as?”
“Such as a successful relationship takes two people…” She held up two fingers in front of his face. “…working together, twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. Endlessly loving rapport with a spouse is not easy to attain. Bette Davis once said, ‘Love is not enough. It must be the foundation–the cornerstone–but not the complete structure. It is much too pliable, too yielding.’”
His frown deepened until he sensed the camera zooming closer, and he cleared his expression to casual. “If you read my book, you know I never claimed loving rapport was easy. Nothing worthwhile in life is easy to attain. Certainly, by the time a couple decides to have a family, however, they should be secure in their partnership and ready to face new challenges.”
Shaking her head, she smiled, as if she knew a secret he wasn’t privy to. “No one can fully prepare for the stresses of parenthood. Whenever a child is born, priorities change, and a couple’s life is irrevocably altered. Raising a family is the most difficult, gut-wrenching job two people can attempt. Sometimes, the experience makes them stronger. Other times, it tears them apart. But whether their partnership succeeds or fails after the arrival of children, no one’s life should be judged by that outcome.”
Several ladies in the audience cheered, and their hoots and whoops echoed off the soundstage.
Jeff leaned back and waited for the volume in the room to return to normal before continuing. “I realize how demanding a parent’s role is these days. That’s why my book stresses couples must maintain a relationship based on infinite acts of love and consideration, toward each other as well as their children. So they don’t find themselves abandoned, juggling too many responsibilities, and ignoring their children’s true needs in the process.”
Her voice grew soft, almost sympathetic. “How much experience do you have juggling responsibilities, Doctor?”
Now, he blinked. “I’m sorry?”
“Have you ever lost a job because you stayed home with a sick child once too often?” she demanded. “When was the last time you tried to balance your attention evenly between your spouse, your children, your boss, your home, and yourself? Have you ever spent a sleepless night worrying that the check you sent to the gas company would clear your account before your deposit did? Parents are often stretched so tautly, it’s a wonder more of us don’t snap. Frankly, my services help save families teetering on the edge of a breakdown because my staff and I offer them the gift of time. And every parent, no matter how devoted to family, benefits more from extra time than from the acts of love and consideration you espouse.”

Nobody’s Darling is available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble from Avalon Books. You can check out links to other Sweet Saturday Samples here.

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