Title: And Then She Shines
Author: Helen Libby
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and Helen Libby for the opportunity to take part in And Then She Shines Blog Tour!
The Excerpt …
Cassie’s Choice by Helen Libby (taken from And Then She Shines: A Collection of Novelettes)
To set the scene: Cassie’s husband made it clear when they first got together that he didn’t want children, and she was okay with that. But since she turned forty, Cassie’s started having doubts. She’s not happy and wonders if, deep down, she wants a child. Deeply in love with her husband, fully aware that his stance on children hasn’t changed, she doesn’t know which way to turn.
The seed of an idea is planted in my head and grows during a week where I’m just going through the motions. On Friday evening I put my idea to Alex. We’ve just finished dinner and are in the process of clearing up in the kitchen.
He’s incredulous and immediately stops loading the dishwasher. ‘What? You want me to move out? No, no way.’
I’ve just suggested he goes to stay with his mate, Phil, who lives a few doors down from us. Alex wouldn’t be far away, and it would give me space in which to make a decision.
I trace some crumbs on the white granite worktop. ‘It’d only be temporary. Please, Alex, I can’t make a decision whilst you’re around.’
He’s running his fingers through his hair repeatedly, a sure sign he’s stressed. ‘Us living apart is not a good idea. I can’t believe this. Why, after all these years?’
I do feel guilty about hurting him like this, but also a bit defiant. I’m hurting too. This is so hard for me, but Alex has made his choice and it’s time for me to make mine. I can’t look him in the eye as I say, ‘Whilst we’re still young enough, you know, to make changes.’
‘Make changes? What the fuck?’ Alex begins pacing. ‘You mean you’re already thinking about replacing me?’ He stops suddenly and whirls around, his eyes blazing. ‘Christ! It’s like you’ve had a personality transplant. That you can think of tossing me aside so easily. The Cassie I know and love wouldn’t be this cold, this calculating.’
I flinch. All my bravado has left me. Seeing Alex so distressed, it’s not easy. Alex and I have a good marriage, a happy marriage. What am I doing?
I go to place my hand on his arm, but he snatches it away. My heart cracks a tiny bit. Taking a deep breath I say, ‘I’m not cold. I love you, Alex. I, I don’t want another man, there could never be another man. I’d have to go down the sperm donation route. Oh, I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it.’ And I don’t want to; it would rip my heart in two.
‘Have you thought what it would be like, the reality of it, us separating? Is that what you want?’ he says, disbelief and now fear evident in his voice.
My heart cracks that little bit more. Tears fill my eyes. ‘Of course it isn’t. I know it would be hard. I, I, I don’t want to think about it, but if we want different things …’
He resumes running his fingers through his hair. ‘This isn’t fair, Cass. I told you when we first got together that I didn’t want to be a father.’
‘I know!’ I hang my head. ‘And I was okay with it back then. But things change, people change … I have the right to change my mind.’
He walks through to the lounge and I follow him. ‘I was offered a three-month secondment in the Milan office today; they’re rolling out new software. I turned it down, but now I’m wondering whether I should accept it.’ Alex is a software programmer.
More cracks form in my heart. ‘What?’ I’m blindsided. ‘You want to go abroad, to be that far apart?’
‘I don’t think I can hang around here – even at Phil’s – waiting for you to decide whether our marriage is over,’ he says quietly, all the anger, all the indignation gone.
‘Now you’re not being fair. This is about whether I want a baby or not.’
He puts his hands in his pockets. ‘Same thing, isn’t it? If you want one, then you’ve made it clear you’ll leave me.’
‘I never said I’d leave.’ I close my mouth. But what would we do? How would we get past it?
Book blurb for Cassie’s Choice
“Something is missing from my life, and I can’t pinpoint what it is. Could it be a baby? Maybe.” What if you think you want a child, but your partner doesn’t? It’s time for Cassie to make her mind up. Does she want a baby, or not? If she does, is she willing to leave her beloved husband, Alex, in order to start again? Can you miss something you’ve never had? Does Cassie need a baby in order to feel fulfilled? So many questions, and she’s running out of time.
About the Book
Five women, five different issues, five ‘feel-good’ reads.
And Then She Shines brings together brings together four previously published novelettes, along with Helen Libby’s new story, Cassie’s Choice.
Can you keep a secret? All the clothes Ruby’s bought may have filled her wardrobe, but they haven’t helped her to feel fulfilled. She’s been holding back on her dream of travelling for years. And now Ruby’s in debt. A LOT of debt. She’s so ashamed. She doesn’t want anyone to know, not even her boyfriend, David. He’s so careful with money – he wouldn’t understand. Ruby’s trying to change. She wants financial stability AND a good relationship. Will she be able to resolve her debt before David discovers her secret?
Stay or go? Anna’s a romantic. She loves musical theatre, but her life is a far cry from her favourite shows. When her boyfriend Joe tells her he doesn’t love her anymore, she doesn’t know what to do. Anna just wants to be loved, but Joe suffers from depression, and they’ve both been unhappy for a long time. A last minute trip to Paris gives Anna some time to reflect, and shows her whether life can ever really be like a musical.
“People who love me leave me.” Laura makes a New Year’s resolution – to find her birth mother. She needs answers. What she doesn’t need is a relationship, so when things start getting serious between her and Rob, she does her best to hold back. Only Rob won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and Laura is torn. Will Laura find her birth mother? And will love find a way?
He knows everything about her. The only thing she knows about him is that he’s her husband. Can she fall in love with him for a second time? Ella’s lost her memory – the last ten years of her life. Her friends and family want her to slot back into place, only it’s not that easy. Will Ella’s memory return? Does she need to remember her husband in order to love him again? Join Ella on her journey of self-discovery.
“Something is missing from my life, and I can’t pinpoint what it is. Could it be a baby? Maybe.”
What if you think you want a child, but your partner doesn’t? It’s time for Cassie to make her mind up. Does she want a baby, or not? If she does, is she willing to leave her beloved husband, Alex, in order to start again? Can you miss something you’ve never had? Does Cassie need a baby in order to feel fulfilled? So many questions, and she’s running out of time.
About the Author
Originally from North Wales, Helen currently lives in Shropshire with her husband and their dog. Helen worked for many years in the public sector and has an administrative background. She writes both fiction and non-fiction. As well as being an indie author, Helen is a self-publishing consultant, offering editorial, self-publishing, and writing services. To find out more, please click here.
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Happy Reading, x