Indie Author Weekly

156: A(nother!) reading from Small Town Stilettos

July 18, 2023 Sagan Morrow Episode 157
Indie Author Weekly
156: A(nother!) reading from Small Town Stilettos
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, I'm doing a reading from the first chapter of Small Town Stilettos — this is the scene where Margaret first hears about how she's being forced into a modern marriage of convenience in order to access her inheritance...

Small Town Stilettos on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/174111898-small-town-stilettos

Small Town Stilettos on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Stilettos-marriage-convenience-ebook/dp/B0C776DB4M

Resources & links mentioned in this episode: 

Let’s chat about this episode:

Support the show

Hello and welcome to the indie author weekly podcast where I take you on the behind the scenes journey of my adventures as an indie author. I'm your host Sagan Morrow, and I'm the author of seven romcoms in the polyamorous passion series, plus several business books for solopreneurs. My next romance novel is called Small Town stilettos and it has been released next week on Tuesday, July 25 to 2023 I am so excited. So with that in mind, I thought it would be fun to do a reading from small town stilettos for you today. Let's get excited about this book launch. I did a reading about small town stilettos back in episode 152 of this podcast. So if you haven't listened to that episode I would absolutely encourage you to do so. And if you want to learn more about small town stilettos, then you can do that by searching small town stilettos on Goodreads or Amazon. You can also visit Sagan morrow.com/books and I will drop all of the links in the show notes as well. Small Town stilettos is a modern marriage of convenience it is a love triangle, small town romance second chance only one bed it has all of these really fun tropes. And in this story, what basically happens is the main character of Margaret is returning to the small town where she grew up and she absolutely hates it because her aunt has passed away and she is responsible for taking care of the inheritance and in the reading that we're about to do right now. She is meeting with a lawyer for the first time if this is a section of chapter one. And she is meeting with a lawyer to go over the well and basically began of sorting out her aunt's estate. Okay, so let's just dive right into this reading. 

**

It was a relief to go to the lawyer’s office first thing the next morning. Arnold was an old family friend. Though I didn’t remember him very well, we had been in contact quite a few times over the past couple months at Aunt Eleanor’s request. She always spoke highly of him. 

“Peggy! Look at you—not a little girl anymore, eh?” he said in greeting when I entered his office, stepping back to take a good look at me. 

Why do people always think that everyone younger than them is frozen in time? He looked genuinely amazed that after 20 years, I was a foot taller and didn’t wear butterfly clips in my hair anymore. 

I pasted a smile on my face. “Haha, nope.” I didn’t have the heart to correct him about my name, even though it made me uncomfortable to be called Peggy by anyone besides Aunt Eleanor.

“Now, sit down and tell me all about your life.”

That’s another thing: why do older people think that you’ll automatically be at complete ease with them, just because they used to know you when you were a kid? He probably couldn’t recall the adults on the periphery of his childhood, so why did he think I would?

But he had a kind expression on his face, and he obviously cared about Aunt Eleanor. So I indulged him with some small talk and chitchat, giving him the broad strokes of my life these past 20 years. 

It was hard to believe Arnold was a lawyer. If he were a city lawyer, he would have started the clock the second I walked in the door in order to scrape every dollar out of me. Not Arnold: he looked as though he had all day to sit here with me, drinking tea and swapping life stories. 

I glanced at my watch when I finished my second cup of tea and saw that nearly an hour had passed. At this rate, I would be here all day. 

The slow pace of small town life was going to be tough to get used to. I crossed and uncrossed my legs, trying not to show my impatience too much, wondering how I was going to steer him gently back toward the entire point of our meeting. 

“...and I remember that once, you went to the beach with dear Eleanor, and—” 

How did he remember all of these stories? I’d blocked so much of this from my mind over the years that this all sounded new to me.

“Speaking of Aunt Eleanor,” I cut him off in the middle of his reminiscing, “I want to thank you for being there for her. I suppose we should…” I gave an apologetic shrug, hoping he’d catch my meaning. 

Thank goodness, he did. 

“Yes, yes, of course, you’re right,” Arnold said earnestly, and he opened a folder that had been sitting on his desk, untouched. He frowned as he consulted it. 

“Is there something wrong?”

Arnold peered up at me. “Not quite wrong... Unusual, yes.”

I raised an eyebrow. 

“Well, your aunt was quite clear about the distribution of her wealth. Much of this is straightforward percentages to different organizations, a few instructions about treasured items… but the majority of her estate is given to you.”

My heart swelled to hear that. “I’m touched,” I said softly. 

Arnold nodded vaguely, but he still had a frown on his face.

“Is there a problem?” I asked.

He scratched his head. “There are conditions.”

That was strange. 

“One condition, actually. Did your aunt ever tell you about her groundskeeper?”

“Yes. Finn, right?” 

Aunt Eleanor hired Finn years ago. She was always gushing about him—he started out as the groundskeeper, and then his employment gradually turned into caregiver and house manager. Finn, as I understood it, was the main reason why Aunt Eleanor was able to continue living at home until the end. He fixed things around the house, took care of her estate, ran errands for her, cooked and cleaned; did pretty much anything she requested. 

I’d thought about reaching out to him after she died, to thank him for everything he’d done. Then I figured that it’d be better to do it in person after I arrived back in Fort Edwin. From what I gathered from Aunt Eleanor, he was a fix-it guy around town. People hired him for anything that needed care and fixing. I didn’t know much more about him besides that, except for the kindness and care he’d shown to my aunt.

“Logan Finley,” Arnold confirmed, and my jaw dropped. 

Somehow, I never made the connection between my aunt’s nickname for her groundskeeper… and the last name of my other childhood best friend. The final part of the trio: me, Matthew, and Logan.

“We know each other! Knew each other,” I corrected myself. What were the chances that Aunt Eleanor’s beloved caretaker would be one of my childhood best friends? Why hadn’t it ever occurred to her to mention that?

I was too distracted by this new information to notice the discomfort on Arnold’s face. 

“Yes. Well. It seems Eleanor believed you two would make a good match.”

“Excuse me?” I asked, curious about Arnold’s phrasing.

He cleared his throat, tapping the document before him. “In her will, she stipulates that you are only to receive your inheritance upon your marriage.”

I gaped. “What marriage?”

“To Logan Finley. It was Eleanor’s desire that you marry him.”

“Let me see that,” I demanded, and he relinquished the will to me. I scanned it, trying to decipher the legalese. It was mostly gibberish to my eyes, but I couldn’t deny that it substantiated what Arnold had just told me: Aunt Eleanor fully intended to arrange a marriage for me from beyond the grave.

Suddenly all of those recent conversations when Aunt Eleanor was prying into my love life made sense. She was making sure I wasn’t in a serious relationship with anyone. 

Talk about sneaky.

I handed the will back to Arnold. “How do I get out of this?”

“You have two options: get married to Logan Finley within 120 days of Eleanor’s death, and receive your full inheritance… or refuse to marry him, and your inheritance will be distributed elsewhere.”

“This can’t possibly be legal. I don’t need a man,” I spat in disgust. “This is ridiculous. I’ve never heard of such a—”

“Have some respect,” Arnold said sharply. “She was a great lady, and she didn’t need to leave you with a single penny. Show a little gratitude.”

The rebuke gave me pause. Arnold was right. I should be far more respectful of Great Aunt Eleanor.

I wished she wasn’t putting me in the position of marrying someone I barely knew—of marrying someone at all—in order to access my inheritance. She’d never cared two cents about marriage, so why was she suddenly trying to rope me into an institution that she never participated in, herself?

“She can’t force me to marry someone,” I said stubbornly. 

Arnold shrugged. “You’re right. She can’t. She’s given you another option. If you refuse to marry him, you can rest assured that much of the money will go to charities.” 

I perked up. That wasn’t so bad. I’d much rather give up my inheritance than be forced into marriage against my will. It was for a good cause and everything! 

“Those charities can have it,” I decided immediately. “They need it more than I do.”

“Oh,” Arnold interrupted me, squinting over an amendment on the document, “My mistake. Ten percent of it will go to charitable organizations, and the rest will go to a person named Charity. A cousin of yours, I think?”

Oh hell, my aunt was crafty. Charity wasn’t my cousin—she was my mom’s cousin. And she’d treated my mom horribly when she chose to raise me as a single mother. 

Charity was the whole damn reason why my mom never wanted to return to Fort Edwin. Why I’d changed my name. Why I’d reinvented myself. Why I’d worked so hard all of those years ago to prove to my mom that we could have a different life, a better life, in the city, just the two of us.

Aunt Eleanor was perfectly aware that I had a grudge against Charity. She knew I wouldn’t want Charity to get anything. For that matter, Aunt Eleanor herself held the same grudge against Charity. She wouldn’t want Charity to get a single penny, either. 

“How am I supposed to make Logan marry me?” I demanded. Sure, Logan and I were “girlfriend and boyfriend” back when I used to live in Fort Edwin, but calling yourselves that at the age of 13 was a little different than legitimately getting married in your 30s.

“It might not be that difficult,” Arnold answered brightly. “Your aunt has generously left him a sizable portion of her estate, too, which he can only access through your union. His inheritance will be redirected to a forest research institute if he doesn’t acquiesce.”

“Doesn’t sound so bad for him,” I grumbled. From what Aunt Eleanor had mentioned of “Finn,” he was something of an environmentalist.

“This particular research institute had some controversy recently, after handing over a large part of protected forest to the logging industry,” Arnold explained.

Aunt Eleanor sure as hell enjoyed playing jokes on people. 


**

So there you have it. That is an excerpt from chapter one of small town stilettos a modern marriage of convenience. If you would like to find out what happens next for Margaret and for Logan, and I would definitely, definitely recommend reading the book. So again, you can pre order it on Amazon, you can check out what some other people are saying on Goodreads or already some reviews up there from advanced readers. And all of those links are in the show notes. You can also visit Sagan morrow.com/books, where I have all of the information about all of my books on that webpage. Okay, so happy reading. I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt and if there's anything else that you would like to hear about with regards to small town so that was more anything else about life as an indie author and the books that I am writing? Then you can absolutely submit those questions and topic ideas at Sagan morrow.com/question. That my friend is a wrap for today's episode of indie author weekly access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources at Sagan morrow.com/podcast. And share your thoughts on this episode on Twitter or Instagram my handle this app to saving lives. Please take two minutes to rate and review in the other weekly Apple podcasts. Or if you're watching this episode on YouTube, subscribe to my channel and give this video a thumbs up. Thank you so much for tuning in. And I will see you next week for another episode of indie author weekly