I like triangles. Yeah, the geometric ones are interesting, but I’m talking about the triangles that can get people into trouble. That’s why I use them in my novels. Yes, The Sweet Spot has a big one.
And to complicate things, one person in the triangle is dead.
So, there is Edie St. Claire, whose last name was Sweet before she married Gil St. Claire right after their high school graduation — much to the consternation of his parents. Theirs is a tender love. But Edie’s life is turned upside down when Gil dies in Vietnam.
The third part of this triangle is Walker St. Claire, Gil’s brother. Years after his brother dies, he takes up with Edie even though he is married and has kids of his own. (There’s another triangle.)
Edie can’t let go of her love for Gil, who by my accounts was a sweetheart of a guy, and finds something to care about in his brother besides the sex. Unfortunately, Walker is obsessed with Edie.
This situation is not going to end well, I will tell you that. The tone in this book is decidedly not comic as was the case in my first novel Peace, Love, and You Know What.
Here is a scene from early in The Sweet Spot. Walker has taken Edie to his lakeside cabin. By the way, Shane and Randy are his twin boys.
Edie dressed as she walked around the cabin. She kneeled on the couch to study the dusty black-and-white photos of men holding dead game and strings of fish. Walker grinned from the edge of the bed, where he pulled on his cowboy boots.
Her face spun toward him.
“It’s Gil and you,” she said.
Walker stood beside her. Two smiling boys, wearing plaid jackets and furry hats flapped over their ears, posed with rifles.
“It’s us alright. Dad used to bring me and Gil up here when we were kids.”
“Look at you two. Just like Shane and Randy.”
Edie studied the photo. Walker cleared his throat. He wanted her to look at him.
“What do ya think it would’ve been like if he lived?” he asked her.
“Well, for one, I wouldn’t be here with you.”
She smiled. But Walker felt his jaw freeze. His words came from the back of his throat.
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying we would’ve been happily married. I wouldn’t have been alone with Amber.”
“You think so, huh?”
“Course, I do.”
“Walker, this is silly.”
He clasped her arm tightly and brought his face close to hers. Her smile went flat. Edie cried out, and when he let her go, she dropped the photograph to the floor.
When I think back on the characters in the book, I see other three-pointed relationships, most of which don’t involve intimacy or sex, like Edie’s relationship with her mother and father in-law. Marie is frank about her disapproval of Edie but she puts up with her. Fred has a clear fondness for Edie although his wife runs that marriage.
There is Edie’s relationship with her father and aunt, who like to spar.
And figure in Harlan Doyle, the stranger who moves into town.
Yes, I like things in threes.
The Sweet Spot’s launch, in paperback and Kindle, is expected mid-January, when we’ve all recovered a bit from the holidays.
And here’s the link to Peace, Love, and You Know What on Amazon.
ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: As we ponder the cover, I’ve been researching images of the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts on the internet. I found this vintage postcard of Worthington, where I once lived.