Skip to main content

Excerpt - Turning The Paige by Laura Jensen Walker

Captain's Log, Stardate 03.26.2009


Turning the Paige
by
Laura Jensen Walker


Welcome to the in-between world of Paige Kelley.

At thirty-five, she’s put her dreams on hold to care for her ailing, high-maintenance mother. Three years after her divorce she’s still not dating, still working at her temp job, and still longing for motherhood even though, as her own mother often points out, “You’re not getting any younger, you know!”

When her Getaway Girls book club friends urge Paige to break free and get on with her life, she desperately wants to try. But how? What about her mom? The unexpected answers come from a surprising source. A trip to Scotland and a potential new love interest help launch an exciting new chapter in her life, and lead Paige to discover that God’s plan for her life promises to be more than she ever imagined.

This latest release in the Getaway Girls collection delivers a smart, funny, and warm account of one woman’s challenge to reconcile who she is—a dutiful Christian daughter—with the fulfilled woman she longs to be. It will appeal to any woman whose ever forgotten, even momentarily, that God’s timing is perfect.

Buy from Christianbook.com

Excerpt of chapter one:



Turning The Paige



Zondervan (March 1, 2009)




Chapter 1


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.”

To Kill a Mockingbird


My mother killed my marriage. Stomped all over it with her
Pepto-Bismol pink pumps and ground it to divorce dust.

Okay, maybe that’s not entirely fair. Mom wasn’t solely
responsible for the destruction of my marriage. Like many
couples, Eric and I had some problems. But the biggest one was
my mother. I turned the page in my wedding album on what
would have been our five-year anniversary to a close-up of the
two of us — happy, bright, shining, and in love. So in love. But
that was then and this is now.

My fingers moved up the glossy page to the cleft in Eric’s
jaw. I loved that Kirk Douglas cleft and had spent many happy
hours kissing it. And the delicious lips above it. Now someone
else was kissing them.

I slapped the album shut. And as I shoved it back into
the closet, the phone rang. I walked over to the nightstand to
check the caller ID. Probably a telemarketer.

As the phone continued to ring, I squinted at the name.
Now where’d I put my reading glasses? By the time I finally
found them, the answering machine had clicked on.

“Paige?” My mother’s querulous voice filled the air. “Are
you there? Or are you out again? Seems like you’re never
home anymore.” She released a loud sigh. “I was hoping you
could come over for just a minute and pull down my other quilt
from the top of the linen closet. This one’s getting too hot and
heavy.” She lobbed one of her famous guilt grenades. “Oh well,
guess I’ll just have to make do. Talk to you soon.”

My turn to expel a loud sigh.

Mom’s “for just a minute” was never that. Every time
I went over to her house — several times a week since Dad
died — she found “one other little thing” for me to do. “Since
you’re here, would you mind bringing the new bag of cat litter
in from the garage? It’s too heavy for me.”

Translation: Clean out the dirty litter box and refill it.

“Could you look up the number to Animal Control? I think
I’ve got raccoons or possums under the house.”
Translation: Call the County and take care of it.

“Would you run up to the store and pick up some chicken?
Breasts are on sale. Oh, and could you pick up a couple
Other things for me too?”

Translation: Do all my grocery shopping.

Since Dad died nearly three years ago, I’d become the
go-to girl for anything and everything my mother needed.
Mom was of the old school, accustomed to having my father
handle everything, from balancing the checkbook to pumping
gas, and had never really learned to do things on her own, or
establish any kind of independence. And at her age, I didn’t see
that changing.

She also had the mind-set that family should do everything
for one another, and considered it an imposition to ask
for help from people who didn’t share her same blood. Which
meant everything fell on me.

My brother Patrick and sister Isabel had seen the writing
on the wall and gotten out of our Sacramento hometown years
ago. Patrick, the youngest, was a free spirit, going his own way
and dabbling in different things. Last we’d heard, he was living
on an ashram somewhere in India. Staying in touch wasn’t
exactly his thing.

As for Isabel, after getting her MBA from Berkeley, she’d
moved to Chicago to join an investment firm. There she’d
steadily risen up the ranks to the executive level where she was
now a corporate muckety-muck in a high-rise office overlooking
Michigan Avenue. Isabel, who’s two years older than me, is
married to David, another executive who shares her same career
drive and Dom Perignon tastes. They work hard and play hard,
flying all over the world to exotic vacation spots — beginning
with their elopement to Barbados two years ago.

Mom still hasn’t forgiven her for that. “How could your
sister go and get married without any of her family there?”
she’d asked me. “A wedding is a celebration for the whole
family — not just the two of them.” She released one of her
signature sighs. “But then your sister’s always been selfish.
I’m glad I have at least one daughter who puts others before
herself. I can always count on you, honey.”

No pressure there.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my mom. And I always try to
honor her as the Bible says. But what about that Scripture that
says “do not exasperate your children”?

A siren split the air. Mom’s ringtone.

I knew if I answered my cell, she’d wheedle me into stopping
by and I’d be late to book club. I’m thirty-five years old
and I haven’t learned how to say no to my mother. Grabbing
my phone, I set it to vibrate and tossed it in my purse. Then
I headed out the door, eager to meet the girls on our latest
adventure.

Last year, at the start of our book club season, Becca, the
founder of the club, had suggested that rather than just sitting
around discussing the books we read, we start to live out some
of the adventures in the books instead. And boy had we ever.
We’d gone sailing, camping, hiking, blind dating, even rafting
down the river — courtesy of Huck Finn — but our biggest
adventure came when we traveled to Paris to take cooking lessons
after reading French Women Don’t Get Fat.

Ah, Paris. J’adore. We’d all fallen head over heels for the
beautiful, cosmopolitan city, but Chloe, my karaoke-singing
pal who used to not have a daring bone in her body, had taken
a sabbatical from work to return to the City of Light for an
extended stay. She was there even now, painting and living out
her French adventure.

Not that I’m jealous or anything. C’est la vie.

Last month for our April book club adventure, in honor
of Kidnapped, where young David Balfour goes on the run
through the Scottish Highlands, I took the girls to the annual
Scottish Games and Gathering in a nearby town. I’d have preferred
Scotland — especially since I’m part Scottish — but two trips to Europe in one year wasn’t in anyone’s budget.

We settled for Woodland.

There we had a blast watching the Highland dancers and
pipers, tasting Scottish delicacies, and watching different athletic
competitions including the hammer throw and haggis hurling. But our favorite event was checking out all the men in kilts.

Shades of Mel Gibson. Talk about freedom.

Today we were enjoying the freedom of a hike in the foothills
north of Sacramento.

“This hill’s too high,” Kailyn whined.

“You think that’s high — just wait’ll we get to Yosemite,”
Becca said. “This is great practice for our Into Thin Air climb
in a couple weeks.”

Annette, who’d been steadily puffing alongside me for the
past hour, sat down abruptly. “I need to rest, y’all. Isn’t it about
time for our picnic, anyway?”

“Works for me. Hey guys,” I called to the rest of the group
as I sank to the ground beside Annette, “time to eat.” Kailyn
hotfooted it over to us but stopped short. She looked at her
new white shorts and then down at the ground with a dubious
expression.

Annette removed the denim overshirt she’d tied around
her waist and spread it out on the grass beside her à la Sir
Walter Raleigh. “There you go, Queen Elizabeth. Now your
royal designer shorts won’t get ruined.”

“Thanks, Mom. You rock.”

“That I do,” Annette said. “Madonna has nothin’ on me.
Well, except money, rock-hard abs, and an estate in England.
Although . . . I used to live in England too.”

“On an estate?”

“Nah. In an Air Force dorm when I was stationed there
in the seventies. My roommates and I formed a girl band and
played at weddings and bar mitzvahs. We really rocked those
receptions.” She hummed a little “Bohemian Rhapsody” as she
began removing food items from her backpack and setting
them on a small tablecloth.

“Bunch of wusses,” Becca grumbled as she and Jenna
joined us. “I don’t know how you ever expect to scale a mountain
when you can’t even make it up a little foothill.”

“I don’t expect to scale any mountains,” Annette said. “I’ll
just watch you.”

“Ditto.” I smiled up at Becca.

“Aw c’mon, that’s not fair. The point of these adventures is
for all of us to do them together.”

“Then you need to pick adventures that all of us are physically
capable of doing.”

“You tell her, Mom.” Kailyn stuck out her tongue at her
risk-taking roommate.

“If we all trained together, we could get in shape to climb,”
Jenna said. “We could work out together every morning. I
could probably even get us a group rate at the gym.”

“No thanks,” Annette said. “I already do a morning workout
every day with my husband.”

“Every day?” Becca’s eyes gleamed beneath her dark spiky
bangs. “Who says the sex drive wanes as you get older?”

“Eww!” Kailyn gave Becca a playful shove. “That’s my
parents you’re talking about.”

“And this parent was talking about walking, not nookie.”

I faced Becca. “Can’t we compromise on the mountain
climbing? You’ve got a mixed group of women here and not
all of us are in as great shape as you and Jenna.”

“I know!” Kailyn’s blonde ponytail bobbed as she jumped
up. “We could go to one of those indoor rock-climbing walls
instead, with those rubber thingies where you put your feet.
That doesn’t look too hard, plus we’d be protected from the
elements.”

“I’m sure that’s just what Sir Edmund Hillary said when
he was climbing Everest. ‘Gee, let’s stay inside so we’re protected
from the elements,’ ” Becca said.

“Shut up, nature girl.”

I clapped my hands the way I used to when my siblings
fought. “Time out. Hey, Jenna, aren’t there less extreme mountains at Yosemite we could climb instead? Say with some pretty waterfalls or something?”

“Well, there’s Vernal Falls. Technically, it’s at the top of a
mountain.”

“Yeah, with steps,” Becca said dismissively.

“Narrow steep steps cut into the cliff.”

“Annette, didn’t you, Tess, and Chloe go up a bunch of narrow
steps to look at the gargoyles in Notre Dame?”

She nodded.

“Well, you can certainly do these steps then,” I said. “And
so can I. Tess will too. Where is Tess today, anyway?”

“She had a date with James. They were going to an exhibit at the DeYoung.”

“Nice. Blowing us off for a guy and art,” cynical Becca said.

Works for me.

“Not just any guy,” Annette said with a small, secret smile.

“This is love.”

“Twoo wuv.”

“Mawwiage is what bwings us togevver today.” The Princess
Bride
is one of my favorite romantic movies.

“Does anyone else think it’s ironic that Tess’s last name is
the same as his first name?”

“No. I think it’s a God-thing,” Kailyn said.

“Yeah, right.” Becca snorted. “It’s just a coincidence.”

“A God-incidence,” Annette corrected her.
Becca rolled her eyes. “Here we go with the God-stuff again.”

Jenna and Becca were the two non-churchgoers in our
group. Jenna never seemed bothered by our occasional God-mentions,
but Becca was. I think it was something to do with her upbringing, but she’d erected a clear No Trespassing sign on that part of her life.

Popular Posts

Year of the Dog serial novel

About Year of the Dog : A month or two ago, I remembered an old manuscript I had completed but which hadn’t sold. It was a contemporary romance meant for Zondervan, titled Year of the Dog . The book had gone into the pipeline and I even got another title ( Bad Dog ) and a cover for it, but eventually my editor at the time decided she didn’t want to publish it, for various reasons. She instead requested a romantic suspense, and so I cannibalized some of the characters from Year of the Dog and thrust them into the next book I wrote, which was Protection for Hire . Honestly, I didn’t take a lot from Year of the Dog to put in Protection for Hire , aside from character names and a few relationship ties. I was originally thinking I’d post Year of the Dog as-is on my blog as a free read, but then it occurred to me that I could revamp it into a romantic suspense and change the setting to Hawaii. It would work out perfectly as (yet another) prequel to the Warubozu series and introduce

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Just another day at youth group

My Christian contemporary romance, Single Sashimi , includes some of the wilder tales from my and my husband’s stints as youth staff workers at our church. The Steven character in the book is actually the same Steven who’s the associate pastor and youth group leader at our church now, since I wrote Single Sashimi when he was still in youth group. :) He’s a young man in his late twenties (maybe early thirties?), and he’s full of great ideas and lots of energy. On one particular Saturday, my husband and I were at youth group as usual. Steven had bought a tug of war rope—the really long, thick kind that looks like it belongs on a sea trawler. The opening game for the kids was, of course, tug of war. Then we came indoors for a three-song worship set. After worship, we usually split up into Junior High and High School for lessons, but this time Steven had an idea: “Okay guys, we’re going to have a tug of war--staff versus kids. If you guys win, we’ll ditch the lesson and go out t

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

A new tier in my Patreon

I started my Patreon for my fans and for people who didn’t want to buy my books on Kindle. My patrons get each new ebook 2-3 weeks early for only $3 (which is usually the newsletter-only price), and they only get charged when I release a book, not every month. At the moment, I’m releasing my Christian historical romantic suspense series, Lady Wynwood’s Spies. But after I finish that series, I’ll be releasing my Christian contemporary romantic suspense series, the Warubozu Spa Chronicles, and those in my Patreon will be able to get those books early, too. I just added a new $1.00 tier for fans who would prefer to read my books in Kindle Unlimited or buy the Kindle ebook, but just want to support me. Click here to read more about my Patreon. Thank you so much for reading my books!

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 9

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Aunt Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri

Follow Camy on BookBub

Follow my author profile on BookBub! You’ll get an email from BookBub whenever I have a new ebook release and when my books are ever featured there. Click here to go to my Camille Elliot page on BookBub.

ひとり寿司第28章パート2

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** キッチンテーブルの上にごちゃごちゃと置かれている食べ物を見つけた。フルーツが入ったお皿は、すでに子供たちがめちゃくちゃにしていたが、新鮮なマグロの刺身は、巻き寿司の隣にきれいに並んでいた。天ぷら鍋から取り出したばかりのもち粉チキンは、まだ湯気が立っていて、祖母の自家製たくあんが、その隣の小皿に置かれている。 「わあ、叔母さんか誰かが、エビの天ぷら作ったんだわ」トリッシュはエビの天ぷらを紙皿に取った。 レックスはお皿をつかんだ。ここに来た唯一の理由。祖母ですら、美味しい日本食を食べていると

A List of my Free Blog Reads

Curious about what my writing is like? Here’s a list of all my free books and the free short stories, novellas, and novels that you can read here on my blog. I’ll update this post as I add more free reads. Christian Humorous Romantic Suspense: Year of the Dog (Warubozu Spa Chronicles series, Prequel novel) (Currently being posted monthly on my blog as a serial novel) Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, finally has a chance to buy a facility for her business, but her world is upended when she must move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate. When she stumbles upon a three-year-old missing persons case, security expert Ashwin Keitou, whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier, is tasked with protecting her. However, danger begins to circle around them from people who want the past to remain there. Can they shed light on the secrets moving in the shadows? Christian Romantic Suspense: Necessary Proof (Sonoma series #4.1, n

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th