Authors: Shelly Hickman
Now he laughs out loud. “Well, are you used to my
striking good looks
and intense gazes now?”
“I suppose,” I answer dubiously.
Leaning in close, I press my face to his chest and listen to the words as we sway to the song. Especially striking are the lyrics when they acknowledge God for bringing her love into her life. I tighten my hold on Kiran and he buries his face into my shoulder, while his arms enclose my waist so snugly I want to cry.
God… this is terrifying. To feel this way about someone. Is it even healthy? All I have to say is when the time comes, I better be the first one to go, because I have no clue how I will live without this person.
His body relaxes into mine. “What a relief.”
“Relief.” He lifts his head and looks in my eyes. “I was beginning to wonder if I’d find you… you know?”
My words catch in my throat. “Yeah. I know.”
As we continue to dance and the selection progresses to Sinatra, other couples join us on the floor, including Seth and Gretchen. “So what’s the word?” I ask Kiran, nodding in their direction as Seth playfully waltzes her around the floor. “Is Seth keeping you informed of their progress?”
He tilts his head and shrugs. “He’s been pretty tight-lipped, actually.”
“If I were to make a guess, looks to me like things are going well.”
The mood eventually shifts when the music goes from slow and sappy to “Play That Funky Music.” When the kids were young I had a CD with the song, and often when we rode in the car, I’d crank it up really loud so we could funk out. We found it especially entertaining to see how much attention we could attract at traffic lights. So it brings me a smile when Hayden and Carly, like little automatons, immediately make their way to the floor so the three of us can share in our extremely unfunky moves, for old times’ sake
And I don’t know how he does it, but somewhere midway through the song, Hayden even manages to get Kiran’s parents to join in.
After the DJ gets a nice crowd going for the Electric Slide and the Macarena, everyone settles back into their seats so that Seth can deliver his toast.
Dramatically clearing his throat to draw everyone’s attention, he begins, “For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Kiran’s older, but sadly not wiser, cousin.”
Gretchen looks up at him with an affectionate grin and laughs with the others.
“And though Kiran is definitely the wiser of the two of us, one thing we do have in common is that we’ve spent most of our adult lives unattached. I don’t know about anyone else, but when you reach your fifties and still haven’t found
, you can become a little cynical.”
There’s a gleam in his eye as he looks our way, and his expression softens. “Anyway, I’m not one to go on and on and get all schmaltzy, but I just want to say that seeing what the two of you have found in each other”—he lifts his heels for added emphasis—“
at your advancing age
Kiran rolls his eyes as I press my lips together and scowl at Seth.
“In all seriousness.” Seth chuckles. “You two give me hope, that maybe it’s not too late for the rest of us.” With that, he turns and gives Gretchen a meaningful smile. Then he looks back at us and raises his glass. “To Kiran and Anna. You make it look easy. May your lives be forever brimming with love and laughter.”
The rest of the evening is filled with good food and good company, and though the weather was a pain in the ass, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. At least we made the right decision by booking our flight to Jamaica two days after the ceremony, rather than the night of. Otherwise, I’m sure we would have missed it due to the flooded streets.
We reserved a lovely suite at the Venetian Hotel for our first night as a married couple. Since I’ve never been to Europe, I guess I have to take advantage of the various European-themed properties Vegas has to offer until visiting the real thing someday. After looking through some of the shops, Kiran and I enjoy a gondola ride through “Venice” before retiring to our room to enjoy each other.
As we lie in each other’s arms, exhausted and exhilarated at the end of our special day, I’m at complete peace. You know how when you have one of those moments where everything in your life feels perfect? Even if it isn’t? That’s where I am right now. If only I could just capture this bliss and keep it in a box to pull out for all the crazy, difficult days.
I’m not sure I’m fully equipped to deal with all that awaits us—between libido issues and night sweats and heart medications and mood swings and worries over grandkids and yada, yada, yada. But I do know this. There’s no one I’d rather wade my way through it with than the person beside me.
And that makes it all okay.
Thanks to Wendy Janes, who I can rely upon to catch problematic story elements, in addition to fabulous copy editing. And what a gift to learn that you had valuable information to share about autism. I’d also like to acknowledge the insightful posts found at www.aspergersyndrome.org, written by those touched by autism. To fellow writer and dear friend, Patricia Mann, for being my cheerleader, a second set of eyes, and someone who I can count on to share the joys and frustrations of writing, as well as the joys and frustrations of life. To Francine LaSala for taking the burden of blurb writing off my hands and crafting a book description that makes the task look easy. To all the lovely ladies in the Chick Lit Goddesses writing group, I don’t know what I’d do without your continuous support, advice, feedback, and friendship. And finally, thanks to my new friends in the Perimenopause Hell group for sharing the challenges of this life stage with humility, honesty, and humor. Though sad to admit, misery really does love company.
I appreciate the time you have spent reading
Menopause to Matrimony
and hope you enjoyed it. Now that I’m hitting midlife and beginning to experience the “joys” of growing older, I wanted to share some of those experiences, hopefully in an honest and humorous way. When I first came to the realization that these changes were a part of perimenopause, it was a little scary because I didn’t know what would come next, and still don’t! However, talking with and listening to female friends who are in the same boat definitely helps me feel not so alone, which is why I wanted to write this book. If you’re currently going through some of the same headaches as Anna, I hope it gave you a smile or two. And on the small chance I’m speaking to a man brave enough to read a book with a pink cover and the word “menopause” in the title, kudos to you, and thank you!
I love to hear from readers, so if you would like to shoot me an email just to say hi, please do! And if you’re one who is comfortable writing reviews, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts about the book on
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About the Author
Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as an illustrator for a contractor for the Nevada Test Site. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer literacy and media technology at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dogs, Frankie and Junebug.
Other Books by Shelly Hickman
“Insanely realistic. I think I have found a new author I need to stalk for the rest of her career.”
—Big Girls *Heart* Books
“This book had a little bit of everything in it—drama, tears, a bundle of giggles, some sexiness and a sweet romance. But most of all it was, well… real.”
“A story that depicts the reality of life and the complexity of relationships… full of depth and emotion that will leave a smile on your face.”
—Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Anna has never been the beautiful one; she’s always been the nice one. So when the gorgeous man sitting across the table at a wedding reception remembers her from high school—and quite fondly at that—she’s taken off guard.
Formerly overweight and unpopular, Kiran has never forgotten Anna, the one person who was kind to him when no one else could be bothered, and Anna’s a bit flustered as she slowly comes to grips with his intense attraction for her.
In what feels like a romantic dream come true, all-grown-up, hunky Kiran invites Anna on a trip to Varanasi. But her troubled, whack-a-do ex-boyfriend starts interfering, creating drama at every turn, which begs the question, “Can nice girls really finish first?”
Harmony to Heartburn
, Book 3 in the Fortytude Series coming soon!
“There is hope in this book, there is a positive message of remembering those who have crossed on and those who are still living, finding a reason to draw breath each day and welcoming the sun. And when you need a good reminder of that message, this book will give it to you.”
Jesse Coffey, Lexington Literature Examiner
Believe. A message that still taunts her years after the passing of her daughter. In the days of her daughter’s illness, she considered herself a seeker, open to the possibilities of prayer and faith. Now cynical and guarded, she is forced to reexamine her beliefs and relive her past when an old love resurfaces, with a sick child of his own.
is a story that examines fractures to our foundations in the face of tragedy. It is a story that asks if prayers are always answered, but often in ways we do not see.
Despite the spiritual tone of this work, please be aware it contains strong language.
A note from Shelly about
is my first published work and is quite different than my current style. I began writing it after my daughter completed thirteen months of chemotherapy, thinking that way of life was behind us forever. She relapsed a little over a year later, and the manuscript was tucked away as we fought once again. When she eventually lost her battle, I came back to the story as a way to work through my anger and grief, and to figure out what I believed. The prose is bare and direct. The plot is metaphysical. I think some have read the description and expected something entirely different because of the mention of prayer. The story isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ever lost someone close to you, especially a child, I hope you will find it a worthwhile read.
“The magic, depth and beautiful messages woven throughout the story make it such a feel-good novel
I will think about the many important issues raised in this book for a long time.” —
Samantha Stroh Bailey, Author of
“A heartwarming and entertaining story that has a sweet romance and thoughtful life message.”
—Jersey Girl Book Reviews
“I loved the wit in this novel!”
—Storm Goddess Book Reviews
When approaching life’s problems, Sophie sees in black and white. That is, when they’re someone else’s problems. So when it comes to her sister, Sophie is sure she has all the answers, and offers them without hesitation. If only her sister would listen.
Then, through a series of chance encounters, she meets Sam, who is witty, kind, and downright unflappable. Sophie has the overwhelming sense that she’s known him before, and as a relationship builds between them, odd visions invade her mind. Though she tries to dismiss them, their persistence will not allow it.
As someone who is quick to judge others, she is intrigued by Sam’s ability to accept people as they are. She begins to see him as a role model, but try as she may, his accepting nature is difficult to emulate.
Will Sophie ever be able to put her hasty judgments aside and realize not every problem has a simple solution?