Set in small town America 1957, high school senior and fiery flame redhead Susan Munroe collects boys who have money like the other dolls collect Elvis records, but has she met her match when the handsome Alex Lawson comes to town?
Barnes & Nobel
No Time to Cry
Lost for fifty
years, Moonshine Cove is publishing for the first time deceased
author Rose Campion's newly discovered manuscript. Written in 1957,
it is an authentic period piece of romantic suspense from the era of
tail fins and rock & roll.
in small town America, high school senior and fiery flame redhead
Susan Munroe collects boys who have money like the other dolls
collect Elvis records, but has she met her match when the handsome
Alex Lawson comes to town?
wants just two things from life, dough, lots of dough, and her very
own Prince Charming. With Walt Stanlee wrapped around her little
finger, the son of the richest man in town, she's on her way to
getting the dough. In the midst of fending off Walt's pleas to get
married until he comes up with more cash, she falls for the suave
and debonaire Alex as hard as a load of bricks dropped from an
eighty-story building. Running off with him to be married, this
small-town mistress of the scam is soon left with nothing, including
her virginity. Vowing to recoup her losses and to get even, she lands
herself in a situation involving blackmail and murder. Finally, she
is forced to decide whether Walt was her real Prince Charming all
WHAT OTHERS ARE
SAYING ABOUT NO TIME TO CRY
TIME TO CRY may be set in 1957 Kentucky , but it’s definitely not
Richie Cunningham’s 'Happy Days.' Sue Munroe, a small-town
gold-digging Lolita, mistress of the con, wants two things—riches
and her own Prince Charming—and she’ll go to extremes to get
them. Filled with intrigue, scandal, romance, betrayal and
murder, this romantic suspense novel is a sizzling guilty pleasure
Bellacera, award-winning author of Tango's Edge and the upcoming Lily
of the Springs
Campion's fresh and engaging voice comes through loud and clear on
every page of No Time to Cry. With its vivid descriptions and
fascinating characters, this book grabs you from the start and won't
Huffman, author of Ties That Bind and Suddenly A Spy
Walter Stanlee drove his powerful Lincoln convertible behind a clump of leafy saplings at the far end of Lover's Retreat and parked. Silvery moonlight flooding down seemed to make the brilliant white paint effervesce with an inner fire. The star-studded sky looked like a huge pin cushion studded with millions of fiery-headed pins. Lovers Retreat was the dead end road past the old rock quarry five miles from Wellsburg.
Walt was a good looking, strapping boy of almost six feet with crew cut sandy hair and pale blue eyes who was always ready with a friendly smile. His Pop was Preston Stanlee, the banker, insurance man and property owner who had more dough than any man in Wellsburg. Walt spent it like it grew on trees. Until a couple of years ago, before he graduated from Wellsburg High School, he used it to date any girl he wanted. That is until he fell for me like a ton of bricks from a eighty-story building.
Susan Munroe, Sue the Fiery Flame, that's what they called me.
Walt called me his little Baby Bumble Bee.
He spent half his time begging me to marry him. I'd hit him for dough, jewelry, clothes, a mink coat, gifts and loans. He let me keep and drive the expensive Lincoln as if I owned it. It didn't seem to matter that much to him because he had another car, a fast little two-seater with chrome wire wheels.
One might say that Walt was my monkey-on-a-chain. My love slave. The fact that I lived in the Hound Dog Hollow community outside Wellsburg in a dilapidated, unpainted, rotting old house made no difference to Walt. His starched, pressed and dignified parents thought as much of me as they did a man-eating tiger. They had begged, threatened and beseeched Walt to give me up. But they threw snake eyes. They tried to bribe him to give up that "gold digger from Hound Dog Hollow," but like I said, Walt was so hot for me he didn't know his elbow from a fiddle bow.
Walt got out his pocket flask, offered it to me. I merely wet my tongue. I had no idea of becoming an alcoholic. I frowned on drinking and the whole school knew it. I wasn't one of those girls unsure of their sex appeal who drank float with the crowd. Not me. I had to fight the boys off. Cull them. Until Walt lassoed me and lifted me up onto his saddle padded with dough.
I wasn't the only girl in Wellsburg who was after Walt. Thelma Bickner had been trying to land him for a long time. What she had was a lot of money and that's about all. It was no contest.
Walt took another drink, then got out a pack of cigarettes.
He lit two, put one in my mouth.
"Sue, darling, why can't we get married now? We can keep it secret. I get so jealous the way the other guys look at you. Please, darling, let's slip off and be married."
I sighed wearily.
"Walt, you know I like you better than anyone. Otherwise I wouldn't be going steady with you. But... but..."
"But what? You put me off for months saying you had to take care of your mother. Well, she's gone now. It hurts me and frightens me to think of you living in that tottering old shack by yourself. What if some brute should break in some night and ... and..."
"And rape me?" I smiled at his flushing face, visible even in the moon light. That was one of my talents, being able to make my face pink whenever I wanted. I'd practiced in front of a mirror. "All my doors are locked and bolted. The Bynums live just a few feet away. They were friends of my dear patents. Chessie Bynum is a huge big man and he keeps a loaded shotgun by his bedside. Just one scream from me and he would riddle my assailant with buckshot."
"But why, darling? I can't understand why you put me off. I'll give you one of the finest homes in Wellsburg, a new car, bank account of your own, servants, furs, jewelry and a honeymoon trip around the world. I'll give you anything you want."
Anything but love. None of those things can kiss you back. I liked Walt, he was a nice fellow, but I didn't go for him. When I thought of being his bed and board wife, I shuddered. In fact, I had never as yet been in love. Oh, I'd been fond of several boys. I was fond of Walt, but the love bug had not bitten me. The other girls said I was a little fool. I could marry Walt and become the Wellsburg, Kentucky Queen of Sheba. Rule over Wellsburg society. Light my cigarettes with dollar bills if I liked. What a leap it would be from a hovel in Hound Dog Hollow to a mansion on Security Row in Wellsburg.
Walt turned and gazed at my five foot, five figure and 110 pounds of sensuous and curvaceous flesh. I had a figure so richly endowed by Old Mother Nature it made the fellows turn and whistle in E-flat. When I'd wriggle my hips on the street, the men would turn and stare. My flaming red hair cascaded to my shoulders but the color wasn't a signal for boys to stop. No no. By bosom was swelling, proud and blessed with a heavenly uptilt. My greenish-blue eyes held a baby stare. They could flutter shyly in maidenly abashment, glow warmly, take part in my smile or fill with tears as the occasion demanded. The boys said I was the best looking doll in the entire history of Wellsburg High School.
I found it all to be such a great game, a fun game I loved playing, the flirting game. I guess I got such a kick out of it because it was a game I knew how to make pay.
My father had been a shiftless, lazy, drunkard of a man who wouldn't keep a regular job. He only worked when his liquor was out or he needed fishing and hunting supplies. He worried less than any person I'd ever known. He'd gotten drunk one night, fell asleep on the railroad track and had been killed. Not a bad way to go actually.
My mother had kept the family going. She 'd worked in hash joints, homes and stores to keep me in school. My older brother Charlie had knifed a fellow gambler one night at the Shadrick Tavern outside town. Thinking he'd killed the man, Charlie fled to parts unknown. My brother Jack, also older than me, had gotten a girl in trouble. He ran off and joined a carnival. I had never heard from either of them and had no idea where they were. And I didn't care.
My mother had been weak and in poor health. Yet she had slaved and forced herself to keep on working to see me graduate. But she had died just before my last semester, mostly because I was unable to see her to a hospital. But I had given her a fine funeral. With Walt Stanlee's financial help. He'd charged the whole bill to his pop.
Walt wasn't the only man in Wellsburg I was hitting for money.
There was Frederick Klegg, the moneyed storekeeper.
He was sixty and a skirt chaser. His wife was dumpy with a figure nothing but a barrel would fit. She was as suspicious of Old Sappypappy Klegg as a fox is of a baying pack of hounds. He'd had done everything but kidnap me. Honestly, he was in such a wanting fit for me he would have signed over half his store just for a vacation trip together. I never went into his store except when he was alone. When I'd get close to him, let him smell my perfume and look down my blouse, I'd put my hand on his arm and he would tremble like a violet in a typhoon, and turn as red as a white mouse swimming in jar of red ink.
He had given me hosiery, lingerie, shoes, dresses, coats, sweaters, hats and jewelry to name a few things. When I needed dough, I would let him kiss me. He deserved something I thought. When he'd kiss me I could feel his heart going like a woodpecker's bill on a tree trunk. I kept him on the hook. Kept him thinking I was going to sneak off some week end and spend it with him. Or meet him somewhere on his vacation for a full week. Excuse me while I laugh.
"Sue, where's your mind? What're you dreaming about?"
"What? Oh, I wasn't dreaming, Walt. I was just thinking what a lucky girl I am to have a fellow like you in love with me."
His pleased grin told me he had added the inflation sauce to his ego. Boys are like that. Stronger sex? Ha! Don't make me laugh. A pretty doll can make a boy lay his head down for her to wipe her feet on. Look how I'd cracked the whip at Walt. He would not only jump through a hoop, he'd swell with pride over having done it. Since my mother's death I'd lost all interest in school. Had she lived I would have graduated just to see the look of pride in her tired old eyes. Now I didn't give a whoop. I could graduate if I wanted because I was no longer failing math. My math teacher was good at figures but he was just another male. The figure that interested him most was mine. He gave me passing grades hoping I would meet him some night somewhere.
One teacher, Mrs. Peterson, had knocked me off my high heels with bad test marks. I knew she would flunk me on my finals, but I had an ace she'd didn't know about. Preston Stanlee dominated the school board. I'd cried on Walt's shoulder one night until he begged me to tell him was was wrong. Sobbing bitterly, I told him Mrs. Testerson hated me and was going to flunk me. Walt said he'd take care of that. And he did. I don't know what he did, but my grades jumped so high, the other girls were astounded.
"Yes, Walt, darling. I'm such a lucky little girl. Of course, I could have any of the fellows I want, but you're the only fellow mature enough to interest me. You're sophisticated and intelligent. You see through the silly, cackling, empty-headed dolls. You're a leader, Walt. Staunch, aggressive and sturdy. My type of fellow."
"Sue, my darling."
He pulled me to him and kissed me so fiercely I became alarmed less I'd triggered him too sharply. Still I put fire in my kiss, making his hand shoot to my bosom. I tensed and gasped appropriately. I pressed against him, crushing my breasts against his chest.
I put on too hot an act.
Many times before I'd stopped his exploring hand as it went southward. I thought he'd learned his lesson. Never before had I put so much perfumed and fleshy temptation in his way.
Before I knew what was happening, he'd slid his hand under my dress. It slid up my thigh and before I could catch my breath, it was in my crotch.
"No, Walt! No!"
I broke away from his arms, forcing his hand down. "Surely you don't think I'm just a common little slut. What do you take me for? I thought you were a gentleman. If it's a floozy you want, you can go to Shadrick."
"I'm sorry, Sue. But you're so beautiful, so sweet and so ...aw, I just lose all control when you snuggle against me like that. I want you to marry me so bad. You've got to stop teasing me this way."
"I don't meant to tease you, but how long would you love and respect me if I'd didn't stop you? You'd lose interest in me. You'd become disgusted with me for being a tramp. No, Walt. I'm going to keep myself decent and clean for you. When I do become your wife, I'll be all that you'd hoped for and dreamed about."
I had to turn my head to hide my sly smile.
I was sick and fed up with school and had been doing a lot of scheming since Mom died. Maybe some dolls needed a high school diploma. Sue Munroe, The Fiery Flame, wasn't one of them. I knew I could walk to the head of a long line of high school graduates waiting to be interviewed for a job, wriggle my derriere, bring my bosom up to full life, lean low over the man doing the interviewing, smile at him...and get the job.
Old Mother Nature had given me what it takes. I had oodles of male would-be takers.
"Darling, you're so right. I love you more for it. But you're driving me crazy. I want you so badly I'm burning up. Please, let's get married."
It occurred to me that this was the right time to give him that one good sound reason why I couldn't marry him. Like many others plans ... and crops ... there must me a little preparation in advance if the harvest is to be bountiful.
So I turned on the tears.
As if I had suddenly thought of something very sorrowful. I laid my head against this shoulder and let a few tears roll down his coat. At first, he was surprised and startled. he begged me to tell him what was the matter. This was the question I was waiting for.
"Oh, Walt. I do want to marry you. I do. But my poor parents left me some debts. I could never think of getting married until I go to work and pay them off. I've got to find a job."
He gobbled the bait like a ravenous trout.
"Darling, how much do you owe?"
"Just about five thousand dollars, Walt. Think of it."
He did and it didn't take him long to come up with the answer.
"Sue, don't worry your pretty little head about those debts. I'll get hold of the money and give it to you. And then we'll get married, won't we?"
"Of course, Walt. Of course."
It was a good thing he didn't catch the meaning of my wry smile. I had no more intention of marrying him than I did of starting a mail order course in sword swallowing. Walt was like a fat bank account, an account that never ran out of money. A doll likes to have it always near, but she doesn't want to sleep with it. Hollywood actresses like Marylyn Monroe and Ronda Fleming get well paid for acting. Why shouldn't I? All persons do some acting. Old dames try to act like they're twenty. The older a man gets the more he acts like he's taking a daily dip in the Fountain of Youth. Salesmen and politicians are some of our best actors. Parents act in front of their children. All the world's a stage I've always heard.
He pulled me to him and kissed me. Again, I put fire into my kiss--he'd had his lesson for the night. He knew better than to try to get past the barrier again.
"Sue, it may take me a few days to get that much money for you."
"Don't get it if it's going to get you in trouble. I don't want that to happen."
"It won't," he said chuckling. "I'll have it for you."