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The Fat Fridays Group, Book 2
BY JUDITH KEIM
Tiffany Wright begins her independent life supported by her friends in the Fat Fridays group. Singing at The Glass Slipper lounge on Saturday nights gives her the freedom to find herself and recover from a broken marriage to Beau, a man she still loves. With Beau’s unexpected accident and the birth of their daughter, Tiffany is given a new purpose in life, a new reason to fight his family to protect his wishes and their baby girl. But Sassy Saturdays isn’t her story alone. The other women in the Fat Fridays group face new challenges and opportunities with mixed results as they support one another in the search for the happiness each deserves.
The Fat Fridays Group, Book 2
BY JUDITH KEIM
Who knew a pregnant torch singer would be in such demand?
Tiffany Wright waited behind the velvet stage curtain, hoping she could get in a couple more Saturday night performances before her baby girl arrived. Then she could get on with her life, away from the druggie who’d once been the sweet young guy she’d married.
The chatter of customers, the clinking sound of glasses and the growing sense of anticipation from the crowd increased her usual pre-performance jitters. She was lucky to have the job. The Glass Slipper was a newly-opened, upscale lounge in the town of Williston, Georgia, outside of Atlanta.
Tiffany’s thoughts drifted to Beau. From a wealthy, well-known family, his childhood had been anything but normal. He’d been spoiled, then reprimanded unreasonably for not behaving the way his parents thought suitable for someone of his background. He’d once told her it made him angry that he could never satisfy his parents. When they continued to eat away at the very same self-confidence she encouraged in him, his frustration grew. Then, when things began to fall apart for him at work, he started using drugs. His anger at her and everyone exploded. At that point, Tiffany decided she wasn’t going to be the one he abused.
She drew a troubled breath. She’d never have had the courage to leave Beau if it hadn’t been for the women in the Fat Fridays group. They met every Friday for lunch—no calories counted, and though they were of different ages and backgrounds, they’d become best friends. Their friendship meant so much more to her than having fun lunches. It gave them all the opportunity to support each other as they faced their individual problems.
Tiffany took a peek at them sitting in the audience, waiting for the show to begin. Loyal as always, they were gathered at one of the round tables, and they were laughing–probably over one of Betsy Wilson’s silly sayings.
Filled with affection, Tiffany studied the group. Betsy was the oldest member and the one who’d brought them all together. Karen McEvoy, her partner, was a computer geek and sweet as pie, as Carol Ann would say in her southern drawl. Carol Ann Mobley was sipping a bright blue martini, their favorite drink at these gatherings. Two years older than Tiffany, she had a lot to learn about men. Beside her, still recovering from a tragic shooting, Grace Jamison sat with her arm in a cast and studied the empty stage. Tiffany’s gaze rested on Sukie Skidmore, her favorite. A new young grandmother in her mid-forties, Sukie was, in many ways, the leader of their group. She’d recently landed the hottest man in town, eight years her junior. Tiffany couldn’t help smiling at the whole romantic idea.
“Ready to go?” asked Sly Malone, coming up behind her. An older man, he was the manager of The Glass Slipper, and if Tiffany wasn’t mistaken, he was a little bit in love with her.
She gave him a thumbs-up. She was as ready as she’d ever be. Tucking her long blond hair behind her ears, she grabbed the portable mic and walked out onto the stage. Sassy Saturdays is what she called these nights.
The crowd quieted and waited for her to begin.
Her gaze swept the sea of faces. “This is for the ladies of the Fat Fridays group,” she said, nodding to her friends.
The small jazz trio played a brief introduction and then Tiffany started off with an oldie. Only You fit the tastes of the summer crowd in this small town.
Amid applause she moved on to other songs, soon becoming lost in the notes and the lilting lyrics. Singing was something she loved to do. It sometimes made her forget that, according to her husband’s family–the well-known Beauregard Wrights–she was a nobody from western Kansas. They’d attempted to take her in and change her by dictating her life. Instead, they’d all but taken away her soul.
After several numbers, Tiffany announced a break. As usual, the loudest applause came from the her friends’ table. She walked over to them and sat down.
“Wonderful, Tiffany,” said Sukie, beaming at her.
“I wish I could sing like that,” Carol Ann said wistfully. With her newly-streaked brown hair and more stylish clothes, she was attractive, but lacked a poised, outgoing personality. Tiffany and the other women were trying to help her gain a little more self-confidence.
“Good job,” said Karen. “I love your singing.” Quiet by nature, she was a great match for fun-filled Betsy.
Betsy smiled at Tiffany. “To quote an old Chinese Proverb ‘A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song’. And you, my dear, sing sweeter than anyone I know.”
Tiffany returned her smile. Betsy was such a dear woman. When Tiffany had first met her, she never would have dreamed that beneath Betsy’s jolly, grandmotherly appearance was an unhappy woman who didn’t realize she was gay. It was only after her husband died that Betsy began to question herself and her previous life.
Sukie gave Tiffany a hopeful look. “When the time comes, you’ll sing at my wedding, won’t you?”
Tiffany patted her round stomach. “You bet. We two girls wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
She loved the idea of having a daughter. But Beau and his family had considered the baby’s sex another failure of hers. They’d wanted a boy to carry on the family name. After a fight about it, Tiffany couldn’t hide her misery any longer. When she’d gone to Sukie to talk about it, Sukie had reminded her that a girl is made up of two X chromosomes, not just one from the mother, so she shouldn’t have to take the blame on that one.
Carol Ann clasped her hands together, a dreamy expression on her face. “So when is this wedding going to take place?” The pitch of her voice grew whimsical. The other women smiled. Carol Ann was a hopeless romantic.
“I don’t think it’ll happen for a while,” said Sukie. A pinkish tint crept into her cheeks. “I want to enjoy every moment of being engaged.”
“Oh, sort of like those movie stars.” Carol Ann stared at the ring and lifted Sukie’s hand to study it. “I can’t wait until I have a diamond like that.” She sighed. “If only…”
Grace rolled her eyes and let out a puff of disgust. She wasn’t the man-hater she’d once been, but she was definitely not a romantic. With her background, it was understandable.
“It’s beautiful,” said Betsy, coming to Carol Ann’s defense. In the midst of the noise of the revelers surrounding them, Tiffany noticed Betsy and Karen exchanging looks that spoke of many things.
Sukie held out her hand in front of her.“Cam did a really nice job of picking out a ring.” Her eyes sparkled with happiness. “He’s such a sweetheart.”
“He sure is,” said Karen, and the others murmured their agreement.
The eyes of the women at the table suddenly widened with surprise. They stared at the entrance. Tiffany turned around to see who’d entered the club.
She gripped the edge of the table.
Looking way out-of-place and wearing a frown that spelled trouble, Judge Beauregard Wright was headed in their direction. Tall and handsome, he had a shock of white hair and a distinguished presence few could ignore.
With him in the room, the red velvet booths and small round tables with starched white tablecloths looked… cheap.
The judge approached and bowed to her friends. “Good evening, ladies. I’ve come to talk to Tiffany.” When he faced her, his blue-eyed stare drilled into her. “Won’t you join me at one of the other tables, my dear?”
Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and long-haired dachshund, Winston, and other members of her family.
Growing up, books were always present – being read, ready to go back to the library or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges with strength and find love along the way.
As J.S. Keim I write children’s middle-grade stories. I love writing about kids who have interesting, fun, exciting experiences with creatures real and fantastical and with characters who learn to see the world in a different way.
I have a story in Chicken Soup to Inspire a Woman’s Soul and a story in Belle Book’s Mossy Creek Series – A Summer in Mossy Creek. Some of my stories have finalled in RWA contests and three of my children’s stories have been published in magazines – Highlights for Children, Jack and Jill and Children’s Playmate.
I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy telling them!
Sassy Saturdays – is the second book in the Fat Fridays Group series. Readers wanted more about these five women who meet for lunch on Fridays – no calories counted.
Links to Judith’s website, blog, books, etc.
Amazon: Fat Fridays
Amazon Author Page:
Facebook Author Page:
I’m also on LinkedIn and Twitter @judithkeim
Come say hello!
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Judith will give away a paperback copy (US ONLY) of FAT FRIDAYS and SASSY SATURDAYS to two lucky readers who comment on today’s **Author Peek** Interview or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog on Wednesday. Thank you, Judith, for sharing your stories with us.
Don’t miss your chance to read these books!