Goddess Goodies – an e-book novel from Cerridwen Press - mainstream women’s fiction.
Diana Lambert returns home from a business trip to find Melinda, her trusted young assistant, and Derek, her trusted middle-age husband, playing house. Melinda, who’s pregnant with Derek’s child – Diana is childless -- has moved into Diana’s house. Diana soon learns the new couple also plans a business coup. After they take over Diana’s Delights, the successful business built on her family recipes, Diana will be out.
Stunned and devastated, Diana looks to family and friends to help her regroup. Along the way, she meets Ben, a man she’s more attracted to than she wants to admit, and she bands together with friends whom Derek has fired. Derek and Melinda appear to be unstoppable. But when Diana learns they’re using inferior ingredients in Diana’s Delights products, she gets in touch with her inner goddess and begins to fight back.
Is it too little, too late? Can this goddess rebuild a new life from the ashes of the old?
Grudgingly, I followed him. Maybe when we were alone I’d be able to communicate with him, get to the bottom of whatever was going on.
Walking behind him, seeing his still tight butt and the way he almost loped, I realized with a pang that I still loved him. Izzy’s voice instantly invaded my head -- How dumb is that?
Very dumb. But my head and heart were not on the same wavelength. Knowing my feelings were unwise didn’t make them disappear.
Derek’s office still looked the same, probably one of the few things at Diana’s Delights that hadn’t changed for the worse. “Sit down.” He pointed to one of the cognac leather armchairs I’d talked him into. I expected him to sit in the other one. Instead, he sat behind his desk. “Can I get you some coffee?”
“Just tell me what the hell is going on.”
He sat forward in his brown tweed ergonomically-correct desk chair, put his elbows on his desk and steepled his fingers in front of his face. Then he seemed to come to some sort of resolution. He clapped his hands, shrugged and began to fiddle with a stray paper clip. “This hurts me to say, Diana, but change is inevitable.”
“No. There’s more. Look, Diana, you made a wonderful contribution getting Diana’s Delights started.”
I looked around for something heavy to throw at him. “I’ve made a contribution?” My ideas, my family recipes and the ways I’d improved them were the foundation for Diana’s Delights. There’d never have been a company without me. “Are you nuts?”
“No need to get offensive. You’re the one who wanted this conversation.”
“Hello. You don’t think we need to talk about what’s going on here?”
“Of course we need to talk.” He sat back. “But I think any exchanges we have from now on should be, well, civilized. You know, one adult communicating with another.”
“I guess you need some talk time with an adult considering the child you’re now living with.”
He shook his head. “See? That’s just the kind of unreasonable dig I was hoping to avoid. And I couldn’t help seeing how flustered Melinda looked. I don’t want you saying or doing anything to upset her. She’s extremely sensitive these days.”
About as sensitive as a vulture circling a fresh corpse. “Who said you can make all the rules?”
“I’m sure you’ll agree we need parameters for how we behave together. I’m willing to set them or listen to your ideas.”
He ignored my sarcasm as effectively as he’d been ignoring everything else about me -- for how long?
“In light of your contributions to this business, it behooves us to behave like professionals in all our transactions.” He was wearing his lawyer -- oops, attorney -- hat.
I tried to quiet my roiling nerves and stomach. I took a deep breath. “I take exception to your reducing my role in this business to some contributions, but I’ll put that aside now so you can say the rest of whatever it is you intend to.”
“Exception duly noted.” And probably relegated to the circular file, I thought.
“As I started to say, we must face the need for change, to go forward.” He opened his arms wide as if to signal expansiveness. “In order for us to grow this business, we need to shed some of the old-fashioned ways we’ve been doing things. It’s time to move our business into the twenty-first century.”
“Can the bull, Derek. You know, cut to the chase. We’ve had this discussion before, and always concluded that we’d stay with the founding vision -- my founding vision -- that’s served Diana’s Delights so well over the years.” I got up and walked around to his side of the desk, looking at him full face. “Bottom line. What the hell are you talking about for Diana’s Delights?”
“I just told you.” He withdrew.
“You just spouted some words but didn’t actually say anything.” I stood my ground.
He chuckled dryly. “I’m trying to put things as simply as I can so you can follow. Please, Diana, go sit back down. I’m feeling a bit claustrophobic with you standing over me.”
“I’ll sit down, but you have to be straight with me, Derek. You’ve told me something about change. Be more specific.”
He seemed to relax as I moved away and resumed sitting. Now he looked at his watch. “As a courtesy, I’m staying here with you and not going to the meeting with Melinda, though I should be there. But we both thought it was important for me to take the time to talk to you. Still, it would really be good if I could get to at least part of the meeting.”
I gritted my teeth. “How sweet of you to take a few minutes to explain how you’ve determined to screw up my life and the company based on my family’s recipes. And to think, we might be inconveniencing sweet Melinda.”
“Sarcasm is never attractive.”
“Neither is betrayal. Now tell me what the hell is going on here.”
© 2007 Mardi Ballou
Goddess Goodies review snippets:
“5 BLUE RIBBONS: Grab yourself a treat, sit back, and indulge in this tale of love and betrayal. I found myself completely immersed in Diana’s life and anxious to find out what she’d do once the numbness of Derek’s actions wore off... I couldn’t help but laugh... I don’t normally read many “women’s fiction” labeled stories but I have to tell you this one rocks!”
-- Chrissy Dionne, Romance Junkies Reviews
“4 CUPS: Goddess Goodies is one heavenly read. ...a fantastic modern story that is very character driven. The reader can really feel the pain of what Diana is going through. ...highly recommend this delicious novel.”
-- Bonnie-Lass, Coffee Time Romance
“5 ENCHANTMENTS: ...a fun book to read, and Ms. Ballou truly embodied the spirit of a decadent box of rich chocolate... This one will make you root for...every woman to find love and her true value when she stands on her own two, strong feet. ...definitely one to recommend!”
-- Zee, Enchanting Reviews
“4.75 OUT OF 5: a great story... a great job adding so many wonderful secondary characters... can’t wait for more of your enchanting tales.”
-- Melinda, Night Owl Romance