Rhonda O’Donnell has everything her heart desires: a dream job, a beautiful home, and a successful husband. But one morning in May, she loses it all. Rhonda faces no other choice but to contact the only person she has promised herself never to see again: her own mother. Will her mother help Rhonda crawl out of her pit of misery? Or will she let her daughter drown in her own despair?
After Drew Huntington, an ex-murderer, is released from prison, he wants to find his father and atone for his despicable past. His search takes him back to a country which evokes dreadful memories of his youth. As he continues his search, he encounters unexpected hurdles, and finally ends up on a dead-end street. How do you find somebody whose tracks have been erased? How can you find someone who wishes not to be found?
David Westin, a billionaire’s son, uses his good looks and charm to get women into bed. He plays with them; considers them objects. But when he meets his great love, he makes the mistake of his life and loses her. When he runs across her two years later, he acknowledges that his feelings for her are still alive. He conceives a plan to win her back. However, somebody else has stolen her heart, and more importantly: she hates David. Will David be able to reawaken her feelings for him or has he forever burned his bridges?
My name is Edvin Palmer. I am a Swedish writer, who resides in The Netherlands. I work as a teacher and translator. "You're My All" is my debut romance novel. Influenced by American and British authors, I wrote "You're My All' in both American and British English.
Read about what happened at Dave's Upper East Side Apartment.
You’re My All
Rhonda and Dave rounded the corner of Fifth Avenue and East Seventy-Third Street. Now East Seventy-Third Street lay before Rhonda’s eyes. The tree-lined street exuded tranquility and privilege. It formed an oasis of peace amid the bustling city. Its deserted sidewalks looked spotless as they glistened in the morning sun. The fashionable townhouses with low fences emanated high class. Rhonda wondered how the street had looked like a hundred years ago. In her mind, she saw a cobblestone street filled with horse-drawn coaches, women in gowns and gentlemen in top hats.
The Fifth Avenue traffic behind Dave and her intensified and brought her back to reality. A motorist recklessly dashed through the street; it made the Chihuahuas bark.
“They are so cute!” Rhonda exclaimed. “How long have you owned them?”
“Actually, they aren’t mine,” Dave explained. “They belong to my boss. I’m dog sitting them for a fortnight while she’s out of town.”
“Oh, I see. I love them,” Rhonda said.
“Well, this is where I live,” Dave said, came to a halt and looked up at a magnificent narrow old building.
Rhonda looked at the historic townhouse made of red-bricks and white limestone. The portico which sheltered the centered front door immediately caught her eyes. When she looked up, she set eyes on a little balcony at the second story. It must be a great place to live, she concluded and fastened the broken bicycle to a fence. She checked the bike lock twice and peeked at her watch. Her employer expected her to show up at the Convention Center in two hours and a half. That gave her plenty of time.
“Will you make it in half an hour?” Dave asked as he pushed open the door of the townhouse.
She bit her lip, put a few strands of hair behind her ear, and removed imaginary dirt from her sleeve. “I guess I haven’t been totally honest,” she tentatively admitted. “I actually have plenty of time. I start at ten o’clock.” Gosh, I feel guilty for having lied.
“Didn’t you say you needed to get to work really soon?”
“Yeah, I did. Will you kill me for it?” Rhonda asked.
“No, I’m sure you had your reasons,” said Dave and faintly smiled. He closed the front door behind them. They walked over to the landmarked elevator; Dave pressed the button on the right side of it. When the door opened they entered the elevator in silence. When they reached the second floor, he unlocked and opened the door to his apartment.
As Rhonda stepped inside, a bolt of bright light hit her eyes. “Wow, it’s a lovely apartment,” she said in awe as she looked around. The sparsely furnished living room overlooked the street. In the far end, she saw three atmospheric semicircular fanlights. Underneath the one in the middle, a pair of French doors led out to the small balcony. On each side of the doors, multi-paned French windows added ambience.
“This flat comprises four rooms,” Dave told her.
“Awesome,” Rhonda said, nodding. “That’s a lot of space for a New York apartment. It looks far more spacious on the inside.” This impeccable living room oozes manliness, luxury and class. “And I like your fine taste in furnishing,” she admitted.
“Thank you. My father presented the flat to me as a birthday gift. It’s not huge, but it contains everything I need,” he said, shrugging.
“How generous of him! Dreams do come true for some of us,” she said, grinning. “It must be wonderful to live so close to the park.”
“It is. I’m a lucky chap,” he said uninterestedly.
It surprised her that he had not said it with pride. She detected a whiff of sarcasm in his voice.
Dave took off his shoes and a weird silence broke out between them. The air felt heavy and stifling. Dave went to open a window and said, “The bathroom is down the corridor.”
“Okay. Thank you,” Rhonda said and followed his direction.
“Would you like a Latte Macchiato? I can make one,” Dave offered.
“Why, thank you. I’d love to have one!” Rhonda exclaimed before locking the bathroom door. Homemade Latte Macchiato, she thought. Wow, I thought he’d offer me tea. Dave’s courteous, well-dressed and has fine taste. They don’t make men like him anymore. It’s like he’s from a totally different era.
She undressed and fished out her iPhone and credit card from her white jeans. Feeling how wet they were, she grabbed a towel and dried them off. She put them in the washbasin; shivered at the thought that her iPhone might be broken. Nervously, she pressed the power button, hoping that not all hope was lost. Her neck and shoulders relaxed when the iPhone screen sprang into life. Thank God, it’s still working, she reflected, turned it off and piled her wet clothes.
She opened the shower cubicle door and turned on the shower. Water squirted onto the dark granite shower tray. When the water began steaming, she stepped under its warm jets; closed the cubicle door.
She tried to process the unseen events of this morning. Her thoughts immediately rushed to Dave. He’s been kind to welcome me to his home, but I doubt whether I shoulda come. He seems like a nice guy, but I’ve felt his glances on me. I know his mind longs for more. Okay, okay! I admit it! I admit I like ‘m. He’s easy on the eye, and a part of me wishes to get to know ‘m better. That particular fact caused her blood to run cold. Although she refused to admit it, she knew she liked him more than she should. People call it love at first sight, and it frightens me as I’m a married woman. Before God, I’ve sworn to love my husband for eternity. Martin and I’ve exchanged vows and rings. So, even if I already like Dave, I can’t take it any further than this. When I leave the apartment, I shouldn’t see Dave again. Nothing improper has happened between us, and I intend to keep it that way.
“Are you decent in there?” Dave queried five minutes later as he knocked on the door.
“Give me a sec,” Rhonda answered. She switched off the shower, wrapped a towel around her body and opened the bathroom door.
“Here,” Dave said, looking into her eyes, “I’ve got a plastic bag for your wet clothes, and I happened to find this floral dress in my wardrobe. The woman it belonged to was about five feet six and slim. It should fit you.”
“That’s so sweet of ya,” Rhonda said. She lowered her gaze, so her eyes would not meet his. She gently took the bag and the dress, and closed the door. She found the dress hideous, but she put it on and it fitted her perfectly. As she put the wet clothes in the bag, she asked, “Who did the dress belong to?”
“To an old flame. She’s long gone and forgotten!” Dave shouted from somewhere in the apartment.
Rhonda found a hairdryer in the bathroom cabinet; began drying her hair. When she was ready, she grabbed the plastic bag and exited the bathroom.
She found Dave and her hot drink waiting for her in the living room. I intend to drink it and leave within five minutes, she decided. She perched next to him on the blue couch, exhaled and smiled. “What have I done to deserve all this?” she wondered and took a sip of the Macchiato. “How can I ever repay you?”
“You can start by having dinner with me tonight. I know a restaurant in the vicinity where they serve the most delicious Italian food. You must try it while you’re in town.”
Oh no! I knew it would come to this, she fretted. Why did he feel the need to spoil this moment? A tempest welled up inside her. It raged within her, and she desperately sought to find a way to calm it down. Should I listen to my heart and say “yes”? Or should I listen to common sense and decline? My heart longs for mischief and exploration, but my mind forbids it. So, I can’t say “yes”. I mustn’t accept it. “I knew this!” she exclaimed. “I knew you told me a lie when you offered me to come here.”
“Guilty as charged. Will you kill me for it?” he said and smiled.
“You have some nerve, Dave!” Rhonda said and put down the hot glass with a loud bang. She stood up and said, “I don’t know you.” She shot him a grim look. “And I never date strangers.”
“I’m just asking you out for dinner. What’s wrong with that? Don’t tell me you don’t want to. I know you’ve been checking me out,” he said in a light-hearted voice.
“I never checked you out!” Rhonda ranted. She heard the anger in her voice and knew she was lying. “Who do you think I am!?…You took me here so you could ask me out! I knew it from the moment we entered this street. You took advantage of the situation in the park and that’s low!” Oh, I just raved at him. But, that’s good. It’s better to be rude; then he’ll back off. He only means trouble. But, I hope I’m not overdoing it.
“Okay, I’ll be frank,” said Dave. “My offer in the park was sincere. I only wanted to help, but during our way over here, I thought…perhaps…you’d….” He paused for a full five seconds, and then he changed his mind. “Look. Forget about it. I apologise. I should never have asked.” He held up his hands in surrender.
Rhonda bit her lip. I did overdo it. I am being a total bitch and now I’ve hurt his feelings. I didn’t intend to do that. “Look, I am sorry. There was no need for me to get obnoxious. I’m sure you’re a nice guy. I shouldn’t have come down on you like that. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, but…I think I’d better go now,” she said. Rhonda seized her bag and strode to the front door.
“What about your Macchiato?” Dave asked the second before she escaped into the elevator.
When the elevator arrived at the first floor, she rushed out of the townhouse. She could not describe how much she hated herself. He didn’t deserve to be yelled at. It’s not his fault I’m married. He’s a perfectly friendly guy. I should immediately have refused politely.
A warm breeze touched her face as she plodded over to the bike. She took a deep breath and wished she could turn back time. She wanted to return to him and apologize for being rude. I oughta have been honest with him, she chided herself as she unlocked the bike. I oughta have told him I like him, but that I’m not available. She sighed, hung the plastic bag on the handlebar, took the bike and strode toward Madison Avenue. As she quickened her pace she wondered what caused her to sweat so heavily. Had the outside temperature risen so fast, or was she the one feeling overheated with guilt? Whatever caused the perspiration, she wanted to catch a cab, and get away from the Upper East Side. Tomorrow this will all be forgotten.
“Hey,” somebody shouted at the top of his lungs when she reached the corner of Seventy-Third Street and Madison. “You forgot your iPhone and credit card!” the man shouted behind her.
Rhonda swiveled around and saw Dave standing outside his apartment many yards away. He was holding up her personal belongings in the air and came stalking toward her.
“Thank you so much. You’re a lifesaver,” Rhonda said when Dave walked up to her and handed her the bag. “My life depends on these little things.” She hoped he failed to hear the trembling in her voice.
“No, problem, “he said. “Look, although you gave me a bit of a fright in there, I’d still like to go out with you. Are you sure you aren’t free tonight at eight?”
“Honestly, Dave,” said Rhonda, “I don’t know what got in to me. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have raved at you. You deserved better from me.” In her mind, she thanked him for giving her a second chance to apologize. But, don’t say “yes”, don’t say “yes”, don’t accept the invite. “So, what I’m trying to say is that…. I’d like to go out with you.” She heard the words slip out of her mouth.
Before Dave gave her the chance to take it back, he exclaimed, “Excellent! Shall I come and pick you up at your bed and breakfast?”
“No,” Rhonda insisted. I shouldn’t but…. “It’s time I did something for you. I’ll be here at eight. I promise I won’t be late.”
“You’d better not be,” Dave said, feigning a scowl.
“No, I’ll be here. I give you my word,” she said. On winged feet she felt happiness soar within her. She fought the urge to give him a hug.
He leaned forward and tried to give her a goodbye kiss on the cheek. But in that same instant she turned her head to call for a cab. The force of it all made their heads collide. “Ouch!” they exclaimed in unison.
“I’m so sorry,” Rhonda said, seeing stars before her eyes. “I’m so clumsy.”
“No, it’s my fault,” Dave assured her.
The embarrassment of the situation unleashed an icebreaker which caused them to crack into laughter. Just relax. It’ll be alright, she told herself. It can’t hurt to enjoy some food and a glass of wine with him, right? But I definitely can’t take it further than that. If I make sure tonight is the last time I see him, I won’t upset anyone.
She called for a cab. A second later, one pulled up before her on Madison Avenue. She said goodbye to Dave and stepped in. From the backseat of the taxi, she watched him shrink on the sidewalk as the taxi driver maneuvered toward Greenwich Village.