Valerie’s Retreat follows the life of a forty-one-year-old woman who happens to fall in love with a man sixteen years younger. My wife is sixteen years older than I am, so that might have helped foster this idea for a book. The jokes Valerie must endure, such as, “Do you have to cut his meat for him?” are actual barbs my wife received during our dating process. Like Valerie, I also worked in a bank. Unlike Valerie, I never considered robbing the bank where I worked.
Valerie doesn’t consider herself a “Cougar”. Franco, her boyfriend, happened to attend the same church singles dance on the same night. They talked, talked some more, went on a date, and presto- they’re boyfriend/girlfriend. That’s how it happened with my wife and me. “Cougar” makes the women dating younger men seem somewhat predatory. That isn’t the case at all with Valerie or my wife. For the record, my wife never considered robbing a bank either. Well, maybe considered, but never planned it out.
A Spy At Home
Oversight for the CIA? Are you kidding? Once the CIA receives money from Congress, they can spend it without answering to anyone. Everyone in Congress, and even the President, wants deniability.
I worked for the CIA and personally wasted tens of millions funding rebellions in African countries hoping to put in new governments sympathetic to the good ol’ US of A. Wasted your money is what I did, and I got sick of it, so I stole over nine million dollars. The money should have gone to fund a coup, but it was obviously going to fail, so I kept the dough. You, the reader, can decide if I’m a villain with evil intent, a hero with altruistic motives, or a regular guy sick of working for peanuts in a dangerous environment.
Back at home… My wife, Louisa, and I looked forward to our golden years being luxuriously comfortable and opulently relaxed. Unfortunately, we weren’t together long enough. Without Louisa, I have to learn all that she knew about caring for Noah, our intellectually disabled son. After a life of planning for contingencies, dealing with the possibility that I might die before Noah is destroying me. Who will care for my son when I’ve spent a life out of the country and don’t have anyone to lean on back home?
After surviving life in a violent Chicago street gang through his high school years, Darnell Jackson’s future appears promising. A football scholarship gives him the chance to escape the thug lifestyle.
During his first year in college, Darnell safely resides in a small Kentucky town, playing Division Two college football and trying to make something of himself. Adjusting to the new surroundings proves tough, but a teammate and a girl give him hope that his future will be better than his past.
In the summer after his freshman year, he returns to the old neighborhood to be with his mother. The gang reasserts its hold on him, and the leader orders Darnell to kill a member of a rival gang. Nearly dying in a gang fight, Darnell shoots an enemy gangbanger. This forces Darnell to re-evaluate his future. As a result, he lies to the mercurial leader of his gang, claiming he completed his assignment even though he killed a different person. After “doing work” for his gang, Darnell receives permission to head back to school and the security of small-town life.
When the head gangbanger learns of Darnell’s lie, the small Kentucky town isn’t so safe anymore.