Kurt Younger, an ex-mercenary, doesn’t need anything from anybody. Never has and hopes he never will. Now he’s facing a midlife crisis. At the center of it is a sackful of stolen emeralds and a woman. One is worth two million bucks. The other is priceless, a woman who has captured his heart. Having one won’t do much good without the other.
Paula Taylor is too smart and beautiful for her own good and going stale in the closet of a dead marriage and a meaningless life. Enthralled with Kurt Younger, she must decide: Forsake all that she has known to run away with Kurt to his hideaway island in the Florida Keys or never see him again. Kurt is determined to have both the emeralds and Paula. Only he knows lives are at stake. His, and if he isn’t careful–Paula’s.
I have been asked why I set my romantic thriller UNTHINKABLE CONSEQUENCES 55 years in the past. There are many reasons, but I think P. C. Zick in her review pointed out a significant one: “I enjoyed reading a novel without cell phones to rescue stranded boaters, a GPS to guide lost vehicles, and the Internet to search for the answer to every puzzle.”
Paula and Kurt, the lustful protagonists, find themselves in a life-and-death struggle and in order to survive, have little more than their wits to rely on because the technological wonders we take for granted today simply didn’t exist. This notches up the level of suspense to the breaking point.
Think about it. What would you do if you were stranded in a dark, lonely place or were being pursued by a gang of cutthroats and couldn’t dial 911 on your handy smart phone?
What if there were no Google maps, no wi-fi modems, no internet at all, not even computers? Want to make a call? Use the wired phone in your home or office, or a courtesy phone in a store, or find a pay phone booth somewhere – just make sure you have plenty of change in case you want to make a long distance call, say, the next town over.
Welcome to America in 1959.
It is still a man’s world ruled by the men who won WWII. They beat the Nazis and the Japanese and were an unstoppable force, rebuilding America in their own image. The president is the man who led them to victory, Dwight Eisenhower. If you were a woman, you either rooted for the home team or got the hell out of the way. You raised their kids, cooked for them, cleaned for them, ran errands for them, and learned how to be the perfect hostess.
This is the world I grew up in, hot and sultry Florida in the 50s. Garden parties were common, hosted by ladies who were cool in their colorful sundresses and wide skirts, projecting a calm and collected demeanor; every move, every comment seemingly rehearsed, a cigarette poised in one hand, a tall, icy drink in the other. But there was an undercurrent of something else, a hint of desperation in their eyes, carefully guarded. These were lionesses trapped in gilded cages. Many of them had nothing but time on their hands and were going stir crazy. Their husbands were too busy conquering the universe to notice. Or care. When the last of their children were tucked away at college, look out!
Enter Paula Taylor. Beautiful, statuesque, ripe for trouble. Her husband is married to his business and treats her like a nuisance more than a wife. She decides it’s time to go. And she knows where – into the waiting arms of a rogue named Kurt Younger who lives by nobody’s rules but his own and makes her feel like a real woman for the first time in her life. He has stoked flames of passion within her she never knew existed. For the past year they’ve been having a steamy affair in a secret passion pit in Key Largo.
Paula knows nothing about Kurt, not even what he does, and that’s part of the thrill. All she knows is that he has a private island she’s never seen in the upper reaches of Florida Bay and he’s going to whisk her away to it on his big sexy boat named Black Jack. Once there, they’ll make wild love and live happily ever after.
She doesn’t know about the two million dollars in stolen emeralds Kurt has stashed away, or the black-hearted men who will happily cut his throat to get them, and who look at Paula as the prize in their Cracker Jacks.
She’s completely unaware that Unthinkable Consequences lay dead ahead.
LETTERS FROM THE FRONT
It’s April 23, 1945 in New London, CT.
In her cozy bungalow, nationally renowned essayist Katharine Hartgrove finds the disciplined and orderly life she normally leads crumbling into chaos. Her son Stuart is fighting with the 5th Army in Northern Italy and the man in her life, Johnny Chastain, has just walked through her front door like a two-legged typhoon with way too many hands.
And one of them is carrying a suitcase.
Johnny is America’s favorite radio comic who is living the high life in Manhattan, and although he and Katharine have been dating for over a year, this is his first visit to her abode.
Katharine invited him up for two reasons. One is personal: she feels it’s time to put their dizzying romance to the test. The other is pragmatic. She’s been commissioned to write a play about the American spirit as revealed through war correspondence dating back as far as the Revolutionary War. Having never written anything to be performed before, she plans to take advantage of Johnny’s considerable showbiz acumen to help her get through the project.
This could be her salvation, or the worst mistake she has ever made.
Johnny’s irreverent and often madcap antics make Katharine laugh, not only at him, but at herself, despite her concerns over Stuart and the daunting task of writing the play. Johnny is welcome relief at first, but his tone soon turns cynical, even mocking, leading to a contest of wills and wit.
What follows has been described by audiences around the world as an “emotional rollercoaster.” Ultimately, Letters From the Front is a celebration of America with all its beauty and tragedy, echoed in the thoughts and feelings of those who carried the torch of freedom from the village green at Lexington to the burning sands of Afghanistan. The surprise ending is an achingly humorous tribute to the human spirit’s ability to claim victory over life’s darkest moments. When the laughter and tears subside, Johnny is the most unlikely of heroes and Katharine is healed from emotional scars that have haunted her for twenty years
Letters From the Front is a poignant, funny, moving, and very memorable theatrical experience. Now for the first time it is available in book form at your favorite online book retailers. For more detailed info on the play check out the Letters From the Front blog at https://lettersfromthefronttheater.wordpress.com/.