My favorite topics to explore in my novels are wrapped around moral dilemmas, and “Asked For” is no exception. Not yet released, this story has been picked up by The Wild Rose Press and is being readied for publication. It was a challenging story to write and is proving to be a difficult story to edit, intertwining plots from two different characters’ perspectives building until they converge at a defining moment which answers the question – Did she or didn’t she?
Lana is in the eighth grade when Cletus, an older widower, spots her. He wants sons, and he wants a wife, not a bride. And he wants someone young and uncomplicated to supply these sons for him. Lana’s imagination is full of stories of princes and princesses, heroes and heroines, when her grandmother tells her she is to be wed, that someone has asked for her. “Do what’s right, let him be king of his castle, and don’t sass.” Armed with Grandma’s advice and a handful of dresses, Lana leaves behind a fatherless upbringing, a girlhood lacking the affirmation she longed for other than what her friend Jim offered, as she takes off with Cletus.
James is Lana’s last son, the one Cletus denied was his, the one Cletus referred to as That Boy instead of as James. James never understood his own love of baseball, since he looked nothing like his father and had none of Cletus’ natural ability for the game. James lacked height, he lacked slender limbs that reacted like snakes, he lacked his father’s support and encouragement. “Baseball’s not in your blood,” was all Cletus would say. But another man, Mr. Morgan, told James he had his mother’s heart, and heart was more valuable than raw talent. Mr. Morgan came alongside James, filling the spot Cletus failed to fill. He was so much like James, so much like his mother, Lana, that James saw both of them in Mr. Morgan’s eyes – James’ hurt and Lana’s admonition to keep going above the hurt at all times.