Dorothea Benton Frank
New York Times Bestselling Author
Dorothea Benton Frank
"When Frank nails it, she really nails it, and she does so here." —Publishers Weekly
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Lowcountry Summer (Continued)

And you might know, Trip was still campaigning for Frances Mae to sign new separation papers that she had no intention of signing. Perhaps it was the fact that Rusty and Trip could not marry that kept their fires burning. We always crave what we cannot possess, do we not?

And Millie and Mr. Jenkins? They had enough going on between them to produce smoldering embers in every fireplace at Tall Pines Plantation, but they would never admit it and we rarely caught a glimpse of it. They were old-school, discreet and modest. Ah, discretion! I admired them for those qualities, although discretion seemed to be difficult for me to embrace. Let's be honest. When a suitable man came into my life, Miss Lavinia's blood coursed my veins like the fast train from Dijon to Saint-Tropez.

Speaking of "all aboard the TGV"? My current beau was a wonderful guy named Bobby Mack. Bobby was a little bit shorter than I am and sort of stocky. But he was a willing fellow who was passionate about everything, including me. There were many reasons why we were not likely to marry, but the main one was that he was an unreliable companion. Every weekend and holiday and even today was spent working. Bobby raised pastured Heirloom pork to the music of Chopin, but every time I turned around, he was throwing a pig pull for a hundred people or climbing on a truck to personally deliver a carcass to Daniel Boulud in New York. It was annoying. And the other reason was that he always smelled like traces of the literal pits—deeply smoky and a little greasy—an occupational hazard which could not be washed away by any soap yet produced on earth. But when we'd argue and I would decide it was time to say goodbye forever, he would show up at my door with five pounds of bacon. That was about all it took to sustain us for another month or so. I'm a fool for pork. And to be honest, I liked the way he smelled, but when we were around other people; I would see them sniffing.

My handsome son, Eric, now a freshman at the University of South Carolina, was there also. He had come home for the day with Trip and Frances Mae's oldest daughter, Amelia, who was a junior at the university, majoring in American history. Yes, it was true. Amelia, who had sprung from the fiery womb of Satan's favorite hellcat, had become lovelier to behold with each passing year. Except for her unfortunate hair, poor thing—that endless tangle of black strings was all twisted up on her head and held with combs and rubber bands. But her eyes were nice, bright blue like Trip's, with thick lashes. Millie and I often wondered why Amelia chose to major in American history. Maybe the poor dear thought that if she scoured our country's past with enough diligence, she could find a reasonable explanation for the piss-poor protoplasm of her mother's genetic code. Who's knows? Thank God Amelia was more like Trip.

But my Eric? It's incredible to say this but all of his learning-style differences seemed to have practically disappeared or else he had developed such strong study skills and compensating skills from years of Rusty's tutelage that it seemed that way. In any case, he had blossomed under Trip's attention and my flawless mothering. Do I hear a groan from the peanut gallery? Okay, here's the truth. Between Millie, Rusty and me, Trip and Mr. Jenkins, Eric had enough parents for ten boys. And of course, when Miss Lavinia was alive she doted on her only grandson.

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