Sunday, August 25, 2013



Frank Barnes is content living on the streets of Atlanta. A soup kitchen and a makeshift shanty sure beat his days as a POW in Vietnam. But Chloe Roberts can’t handle the eviction that sends her into the hell of homelessness. With no family or friends to turn to, Chloe and her children are sucked into the traumatic world of night shelters, and dangerous predators.

When they bump into each other at the soup kitchen, Frank offers Chloe a glimmer of hope that she can pull her life back together. She rekindles his lost sense of self-worth by taking his mind off his own problems. But they will not meet again until Frank is riding high as a working man, and Chloe has hit rock bottom.

By helping Chloe rebuild her broken life, Frank banishes the demons from his own past. Unfortunately, the past comes strolling back into their lives, threatening to destroy the happiness they have finally found.

Losing It All is a very charming mainstream romance. Frank is a Vietnam vet fighting the demons of his past. Chole is a sweet mother of two young children with a deadbeat, runaway husband. Frank's worn and somewhat jaded, but he refuses to let the streets have the best part of him. She's an easy mark for the dog-eat-dog world of homelessness in Atlanta. Both characters have you rooting for them right away.
There is a certain grittiness to this story that doesn't whitewash the problems faced by the characters. The surly attitude of the shelter, bus, state daycare, and employment agents are real enough. The problems with finding someplace safe at night and the consequences if you don't are well described. The handouts and not hand-ups show a very really need to change how we view those in need. They may be homeless, but the are still people with needs, wants, and futures.
I very much enjoyed watching these two characters weave in and out of each others lives. Even better is the lack of a Prince Charming to swoop in with his pile of money and make everything perfect. These two characters work very hard to fight back the mean world and to make a life for themselves. The events are not be fanciful, delicately tip-toed around, or alluded to with flowery prose. Every hardship seems real and very plausible, and yet, there is a message of hope  through the worst adversity. I would recommend this book to any age group. This is an excellent summer read for the beach or the poolside. The language is mild and the sex isn't graphic. This would make an acceptable mainstream romance read to have on lunch break at work. I almost never give star ratings, preferring to give recommendations on likely audiences, but if I did, Losing It All would get all five.
As soon as the sun went down, the night air regained its bite. Frank zipped his jacket up to his raw chin. The front wheel of his grocery cart squeaked as he pushed a load of rotten lumber toward his favorite convenience store. A hooker stood under a street lamp, displaying her wares to drivers that passed. When she saw Frank, she relaxed her pose.
“Evening, Frank,” Diamond called, boosting her double Ds in a tight sweater.
“Hey, Diamond.” Frank parked his buggy against the lamppost. “How you doing?”
“Glittering, honey.” She fluffed her Afro with silver fingernails.
“I see that.”
“Got some sugar for you.” She cocked a leg out and ran her hand up her fishnet stocking.
“I’ll pass tonight. Thanks.”
Those fingernails had raked a good chunk of flesh off Frank’s forearm the first time he met Diamond all those years ago. His GI cut had grown just shaggy enough that she thought he was an Emory student on his way to the Plaza Theater. But when she offered to suck his dick, he flashed-back on those whores in Saigon, and took a swing at Diamond with the pint of Sloe gin he’d been guzzling. He grazed the side of her head, and she came after him, her arms whirling like a windmill.
Frank had tried to retreat but somehow Diamond got a fistful of his hair. Her shiny silver high-heel drew back, and when Frank saw her knee rise up toward his crotch, he cried out, fell to the sidewalk, and curled into a fetal position, clutching his jewels.
She could have laughed at him, or taken advantage of his sniveling by kicking him with said silver shoe. But she knelt and helped him to his feet. “Come here, Sugar. Why don’t you tell Diamond all about it?”
Between slurps of gin, he told her about the horrors of Vietnam, and how he’d been compensating ever since with drugs and alcohol.
“Watch my stuff?” he asked Diamond as he reached for the door handle.
She swiveled her hips. “Like you be watchin’ mine.”


Clutching a metal cash box, Chloe slipped into her checkout lane at Foodtown, a pitiful excuse for a grocery store, with rusty stains on the floor tiles, and the rancid odor of old meat. She slid the box into her drawer and turned on the light.

In the next lane over, Jennifer popped her gum as she swiped food items across her scanner. “You’re late again.” 

“Sorry.” Chloe gave a weak smile. Just because she worked in a rundown part of town didn’t mean she shouldn’t look her best. It took time to find just the right shade of eyeshadow to coordinate with her lavender blouse from K-Mart. Chloe wasn’t the type to just smear a quick coat of lipstick on her mouth. She outlined her lips with a deeper shade, like she’d seen in the magazines. And after what she had paid to get her hair colored, she wanted to make sure it was teased and sprayed to look just like Lucy Ewing on Dallas.

Jennifer’s Foodtown smock was unbuttoned enough to show a peek of the red bra she wore. Chloe bristled as a construction worker buying a sub sandwich and a quart of beer bent in for a closer look. His hands were filthy. Was he going to wash those hands before he ate?

 Puffing out her chest, Jennifer grinned at him! Sure, Duane loved to see Chloe dressed in short skirts and low-cut blouses. But not the whole world.

Once the construction worker left, Jennifer leaned against her register, and dug something out of her teeth with a polished fingernail. “So, what’s your excuse today?”

Chloe reached under the counter for a bottle of glass cleaner and spritzed her scanner. “You know how my niece Staci has been babysitting for me?  Well, she was late because she had to stay after school to meet with a teacher.”

“Yeah, right.” Jennifer snorted a laugh. “You believe anything, Chloe. That’s why you’re in deep shit.”

Chloe glared at her. “I do not.”

“Right. Your husband took off, and you think he’s looking for a better job in Chattanooga.”

“He is!” Chloe felt the heat rising up her neck. “He should be back any day now.”

“Back my ass.” Jennifer’s glossy red lips curled into a sneer. “It’s been three months.”

“He’s training for a career,” Chloe repeated what she had been told. “Not just a job.”

Jennifer wasn’t buying it. “Wake up. He hasn’t even called you. And as close as Chattanooga is, surely he could get away to come home some weekend.”

 Chloe’s bottom lip quivered as she swirled her paper towel around the glass. 

  About the Author:
 After working for fifteen years as a cafeteria manager in an elementary school, I turned in my non-skid shoes for a bathrobe and slippers. Now I work at home, writing novels, ranting on Facebook and Twitter, and occasionally whisking a Swiffer across dusty surfaces.
Like thousands of others, I thought I could write romance, but soon discovered I was a dismal failure. I did increase my repertoire of adjectives such as throbbing, pulsing, thrumming, vibrating, hammering, pumping . . .
I live in the country north of Atlanta with my husband, and two molly-coddled cats. My two grown sons occasionally visit for clean laundry and a hot cooked meal.
 Author's Website

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