Hey folks! Today I’m happy to introduce you to Shane Hayes and the story The Last Dreamgirl!
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A native Philadelphian, Shane Hayes earned his bachelor’s and his law degree from Villanova University, and studied for a year at Princeton Theological Seminary. He worked as a writer/editor for Prentice Hall and an attorney for the federal government. He is married, has four children, and lives in suburban Philadelphia. His nonfiction book The End of Unbelief: A New Approach to the Question of God was released by Leafwood Publishers in the fall of 2014.
Two young men meet on ship when both are recently out of college. They share a flaming ambition. Each aims to write novels that will be internationally acclaimed and win him a place in American letters. One of them, Paul Theroux, achieves the dream in all its glory: becomes world famous, writes over 40 books, and three of his novels are made into films. The other, Shane Hayes, fails completely, but keeps tenaciously writing, decade after decade, plowing on through hundreds of rejections. Then almost half a century later, Shane contacts Paul, who remembers him, reads three of his books, likes them, and praises them with endorsements.
In writing to agents and publishers Shane could now say, “Query for a novel praised by Paul Theroux.” No one offers a book deal because of an endorsement, so rejections keep coming. But more people let him send at least a sample and are predisposed to see merit in it. At his age, time is crucial. In the month he turns 75, Shane receives contracts on two of his books from different publishers. He will always be grateful to the literary giant who remembered ten days of friendship half-a-lifetime after it ended.
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For every man there’s a girl who grips his imagination and his heart as no other girl ever did or will. She may be in her teens or a mature woman. He responds to her as a boy to a girl. Whether she comes early in his life or late, there is a throne in his subconscious that she takes possession of, without trying, often without wanting to.The image he forms of her reigns there in perpetuity, even if she has left his life, or this life. Her enchantment never fades or fails, and he is never immune to it. She may not be for him the last wife or paramour, but she is the last dreamgirl.
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He thought of stopping in the kitchen, sitting down with her at the table and pacifying her, maybe even having coffee together, so she’d see he wanted to talk. But then he’d have to get brutal again to force her to the basement. He decided to get that part over with and then begin the process of calming and convincing her of his benign intentions when she was, well, in the cage.
That secure little bedroom didn’t look as awful as it sounded, he thought, but Sandra panicked as he forced her—now struggling and screaming—down the cellar steps, into her new quarters, and closed the heavy iron cage door behind them. He made her sit on the easy chair beside a bookcase, then he dropped panting into the companion easy chair. “Now let’s just sit and catch our breath,” he said, sweating and breathless. “This has been hard for both of us.”
Though red-faced, teary-eyed, and bordering on hysteria, Sandra stared at him with hate-filled eyes and said, “For both of us? You want my sympathy?”
Ollie looked at her with surprise and admiration that she was capable of irony at what had to be the worst moment of her life. “No,” he said with a trace of a smile, “but you have mine. Whether you want it or not. And whether you believe it or not. I’m sorry to put you through this.”
“Sure,” she muttered caustically, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
“I don’t want your sympathy,” Ollie said, wiping his forehead with his forearm. “I just want your friendship.”
Sandra stared in disbelief, though sensing already that her abductor was not a total savage, not destitute of human feeling. In forcing her from the car to his house and then down the stairs and into—what looked like an iron-barred bedroom—he had not touched her in any erogenous zone, as he might have if rape were all he had in mind.
To her amazement he seemed to be struggling with his conscience. If she tried to reason with him she might at least defer the violence a little. Her comment about sympathy had surprised her as much as Ollie. She realized vaguely that sarcasm made her sound and feel strong. She tried it again.
“My friendship! Are you kidding? Is this how you make friends? Is there a chapter on kidnapping in Dale Carnegie?”
Ollie smiled wearily. “I haven’t read that book. But my mother has it upstairs.”
“Read it,” Sandra said. “Read it tonight and let me go.” Then she said hopefully: “Is your mother upstairs?”
“No,” Ollie said. “She died four months ago.”
“I’m sorry,” Sandra said, meaning more for her sake than for Ollie’s.
“Thank you,” Ollie said, thinking the sympathy genuine.
“Does anyone else live here?” Sandra was not only curious about that but determined to keep the conversation going. As long as they were verbalizing she felt safer: he might not get physical.
“No. My father died a few years ago. There were just the three of us.”
“I’m sorry about that, too.”
“Thank you,” Ollie said again. They were beginning to catch their breath.
After a moment of silence Sandra asked, “Who are you?”
Ollie, inspired by her tone of irony, said: “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Oliver T. Bower. My friends would call me Ollie, if I had any. But I don’t. My parents called me Ollie.” God, he thought, I’m talking with a sense of humor. This cage is working. I’m not terrified. “Please call me Ollie.”
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~ * ~ GIVEAWAY ~ * ~
Shane Hayes will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. CLICK HERE to enter to win! Readers, follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates and places can be found here: Tour Schedule
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Shane Hayes, thank you for stopping by today!
Love & blessings to all! ❤