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Authors: Hillary Manton Lodge

Plain Jayne

BOOK: Plain Jayne
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  Plain
J
ayne

HILLARY MANTON LODGE

HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS
EUGENE, OREGON

 

The author is represented by MacGregor Literary.

Cover by Left Coast Design, Portland, Oregon

Cover photos © Pascal Genest / iStockphoto; AVTG / iStockphoto; Susie Prentice / Shutterstock; Sigrid Olsson / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images

Author photo by Danny Lodge

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to events or locales, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

PLAIN JAYNE

Copyright © 2010 by Hillary Manton Lodge

Published by Harvest House Publishers

Eugene, Oregon 97402

www.harvesthousepublishers.com

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Lodge, Hillary Manton.

Plain Jayne / Hillary Manton Lodge.

     p. cm. — (Plain and simple)

ISBN 978-0-7369-2698-0 (pbk.)

1. Women journalists—Fiction. 2. Amish—Oregon—Fiction. 3. Oregon—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3612.O335P53 2010

813'.6—dc22

2009018880

All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.

Printed in the United States of America

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 / RDM-SK / 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

 

Epilogue

Simply Sara Sample Chapter

About the Author

Acknowledgments

Other Harvest House Fiction

Amishreader.com

For Danny
I couldn't have done it without you.

 

 

 

 

While Amish believers do reside in western states such as Washington and Montana, the Amish community in this novel is purely a work of fiction. However, several Mennonite congregations make their home throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

Chapter 1

S
ol called me at ten. Wanted to see me in five.

I couldn't tell if I was jittery with espresso or excitement.

“So, Brian.” I propped my chin on the edge of our cubicle wall. “Who do you think he's gonna send to Miami?”

Brian sighed and didn't look up. “I have no idea.”

“You don't want that story, do you?”

“Marisa would change the locks if I left that long.”

“Are you talking about Cuba?” Laura stopped midstride as she nearly passed us. “Did Sol say anything?”

I masked a smirk. “I'll find out in five minutes.”

Laura tapped her pencil on the ridge of Brian's cubicle. “
Such
a great story. Cuba, post-Fidel—”

“Miami, in April—” Brian drawled.

There was a moment of silence, out of respect for sunshine. Portland, Oregon, isn't known for its sunny springs.

Miami in April, a shot at an above-fold feature…

I wanted it. I wanted it bad.

“Have a seat, Tate,” Sol said, stretching out in his chair, his cocoa brown arms tucked behind his head. All he needed was a stogie to top off his newspaper editor image, and a year ago that might have been the case. After twenty-five years of marriage, the missus finally got to him.

That, and the building's nonsmoking policy. Instead, Sol's arms lowered and he reached for his stress ball. A copy of yesterday's newspaper covered
the immediately visible part of his desk. He tossed the ball from one hand to another.

I sat and crossed my legs.

“How's life?” he asked?

“Um…” Where was this going? “Life is good.”

“Any major stresses going on?”

“Not really, no.”

“Huh.” He set aside the stress ball, adjusted his reading glasses, and leaned over his newspaper. “‘Henry Paul Tate of Lincoln City, OR, passed away Monday, March 20, of a heart attack,'” Sol looked up. “I'll skip a bit. ‘Tate is survived by his wife, Kathy, daughters Beth Thompson, of Neotsu, OR, and Jayne Tate, of Portland, OR, and granddaughter Emilee Thompson, of Neotsu.'” He folded his hands. “I don't think I need to read the rest. There aren't any other Jayne Tates in Portland who grew up in Lincoln City, much less with a father named Henry.”

“Are public records that amusing?”

“Were you going to tell me your father passed away?”

“That's my personal life.” Such as it was. “I didn't think it mattered here.”

And I didn't. Mom held the service on a Saturday, I drove to Lincoln City long enough to hear my uncle's very long eulogy, sing all three verses of “Blessed Redeemer,” and hand wash the punch bowl set.

I did my duty. It wasn't as though I showed up in jeans and a Good Charlotte T-shirt and explained to everyone how my father could suck the joy out of a five-year-old. How he smiled about once a month, and usually to people other than his younger daughter. How my sister Beth married at eighteen to get out of the house, though I explained at the time how leaving for college accomplished the same goal.

No. I wore a nice black pantsuit with sensible heels, played the good daughter, drove home, and vacuumed my apartment.

Sol didn't say anything.

“Really, we weren't close.”

He shrugged. “Whether you were close or not makes no difference to me, but I'll tell you this—your work is slipping.”

“I'm your best features reporter!”

“Lanahan's my best features reporter. I keep you around for the day he digs too deep and they find him at the bottom of the Columbia River.”

“Thanks.” I was better than Lanahan and we both knew it, but Lanahan had staff seniority I couldn't accomplish without a fake ID.

“You're welcome. But you're not bad, your sources love you, and you can write your way out of a wet paper bag. That's why it's easy to tell when your work is slipping. Your leads are flabby and your descriptions are clichéd.” He picked up a piece of paper and read from it. “‘Rain-soaked highway'?” He snorted in disgust. “Are you kidding me? What, you think you're writing for your college paper again?”

“I'll edit anything. You know that.”

“But you've never had to edit this much. Look. You've always been the wonder kid around here, but times haven't been kind to this business. We're laying off good reporters left and right and printing more AP celebrity fluff. If Bernstein and Woodward were trying to expose a presidency in this day and age…well, let's just say they wouldn't have gotten that far. Papers around the country are cutting their foreign correspondents and satellite offices or, worse, resorting to online editions only. People don't read newspapers anymore. Can you believe that? I'd be suicidal if my wife didn't have me doing tai chi. Does wonders for my nerves.” He set his reading glasses on his desk and massaged the bridge of his nose. “Basically, the way things are going, you need to get yourself back together or look for a job elsewhere. Except, there really aren't jobs elsewhere. When was the last time you took some time off?”

“Aside from weekends…” Not that I ever really relaxed, per se, even on weekends. Either way, my relaxation techniques or lack thereof weren't Sol's business.

“According to your file, you have a lot of PTO time built up. I think you should use it.”

Every muscle in my body tightened up. “How long? Is this a forced leave?”

“It's you getting a chance to save your job. I'm doing society a favor—you'd make a lousy waitress. You've got three weeks saved. Use a week and a half, and I'll make up the rest.”

“Sol—”

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