Where are you from?
Me or Barry? I guess that’s an unnecessary question. Being siblings we were both born and raised in Summerville, New York, where I stayed, married and am raising my family. Little brother Barry, on the other hand, left Summerville shortly after he graduated from high school, and didn’t get back home for any length of time until a couple of months ago, after being gone for over twenty five years. He had a huge and successful career as an All Star catcher in Major League Baseball, you know.
What brought Barry back home?
A job with Summerville’s own triple A farm club, The Hornets.
He left the majors by choice?
Not exactly. Some yahoo opponent crashed into him at home plate, broke his hand. (Sniffs.) I’m angrier about it than Barry. But, of course, that’s how he is. Very accepting.
The love of his life, Amanda, just came home to Summerville too. After spending close to twenty years working on Madison Avenue in New York City.
What is To Be, Or Not about?
My brother Barry finally coming to his senses and asking the one woman he’s always loved to be his wife.
What did you think the first time you saw Amanda and your brother Barry together?
Oh, wow! That was when they were in second grade. Mom made me go with her on a field trip. I’m twelve years older than Barry. He’s the youngest, I’m the oldest, with three more sisters between us.
What was your second thought?
I had no second thought. Barry and Amanda were made for each other. Period.
Did you think it was love at first sight for them?
As much as I’d like to say yes, I have to say no to that question. My brother is your typical out of touch with his feelings guy—jock guy at that. Let’s just say he’s a little slow to see the obvious. Though I can’t speak for Amanda.
What did/do you like most about Amanda?
Everything. I mean, what’s not to like? She’s attractive, smart, loving oh and patient. She has to be to put up with some of the crap—unintentionally, I’m sure—my little brother dished out over the years. Did I mention they dated in high school?
How would you describe your brother?
Most people have the wrong idea about Barry. They think he’s a big star egotistical yada, yada. They assume life’s gifts, fame and fortune, came easy for him. He’s really a very nice, very sensitive human being. And loving. Very loving. His nieces and nephews mean the world to him.
How would he describe you?
His most ardent supporter. After Amanda, of course.
What do you think is your brother’s greatest fear?
Growing old alone. A lot of people don’t know it, but my brother is a very sensitive person who desperately wants to be cared about for who he is—not what he’s accomplished in, as he calls it, the Big Show.
How do you relax?
You mean Barry, right? He’s always enjoyed watching his nieces and nephews—my kids and those of my sisters—have a good time. Barry’s a giver not a taker like so many sports stars today.
Who’s your favorite fictional character and why?
Cinderella. Oh, you mean Barry, don’t you? He’s always been a fan of Robin Hood.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
There have been so many. Where do I start? One piece of advice that bears repeating I happened upon when I turned the page of a calendar the other day. “Even when you don’t know what you’re doing, do it well.” That idea resonates with me. I’m sure Barry would agree. Especially now when he has to work so hard to get Amanda back. Oh, wait. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to say that.
Anyway, here’s the blurb and an excerpt.
Barry Carlson had it all, a successful career in professional baseball and the adoration of any woman he wanted. Except one. Forced to retire in his prime, Barry returns to his hometown of Summerville, New York to coach the Minor League Hornets.
Twenty years ago, Barry broke through Amanda Marsh’s trust issues. He melted her ice, won her love, then walked away without a backward glance to survey the wreckage. Now Amanda is the head of public relations for the Hornets and happily single—until Barry slides back into her life.
Still reluctant to trust, Amanda gives Barry another chance. But the announcement of their twenty-fifth high school reunion leads to an asinine bet between Barry and his old buddies, and threatens to ruin their newfound relationship. As scandals of the past and present converge, can Barry and Amanda get beyond their differences to find their second chance at love?
The surrounding conversations, laughter and loud music filtered to the background as Barry watched Amanda stop to take off a beige jacket before she sat. With her backside turned briefly his way, he contemplated how he’d never seen a pair of jeans look half as good as hers, then figured he’d best bring his attention off the lady’s physical attributes and come up with some sort of brilliant conversation starter.
“Hey, ladies, you here for dinner?”
“No, we’re looking to get drunk and pick up one night stand,” Marcy deadpanned.
Barry flipped a chair around he made sure to set a bit closer to Amanda before straddling it.
“Dollar drafts tonight for ladies only,” Maggie said as she handed out menus.
Marcy gave her brother a run-down of the whereabouts of her family, two young daughters staying with another sister and a husband who would be joining them when he got off work. All Barry wanted to know about was if her dinner companion had anyone coming to meet her after they got off work.
“I talked Amanda into coming with us because I know how hard Roger’s been working her lately and didn’t want her to spend the evening alone.”
Ask and it shall be given. Barry could have kissed his sister for telling him precisely what he wanted to know.
“The overtime isn’t bad. But this does beat going home to an empty apartment.” Amanda clamped her mouth shut as if she’d just revealed too much.