Happiness Key: Tracy’s Story, Part Two

If you read Tuesday’s blog, you know that I’m sharing Tracy’s story this week.  Tracy is one of four major women characters in my new novel Happiness Key, which will debut next month.  Without delay, here’s part two of Tracy’s tale.


Tracy 2.jpgTracy’s Story, Part Two

Up to that point I’d had other significant moments in my life. Here are a few of them.

There’s the first time I knew I had pleased my mother, Denise. This was after my braces came off and otoplasty had successfully pinned back my protruding ears. The big moment came after a childhood when I’d realized I was a work in progress and my mother only had time to flit in occasionally to see how long the unveiling would take. This time, though, she had arrived at the country club tennis tournament with selected friends in tow. And when I played like a wannabe Venus, I saw her lift her head in pride as her astonished friends sat forward. Stick a fork and me and declare me ready for consumption.

Then there was the moment that my father, Barney, whose photograph I kept beside my bed so I could recognize him when I passed him in the hall, came home from twelve straight hours at his office and told me to get in his car. We drove to the BMW dealership and he let me pick out any Bimmer on the lot while he reclined in his seat and chatted with Summer, his office manager, on his car phone. Over the years that Summer worked for him my dad, orthodontist to the stars, must have had a lot of chats with her, because about five years ago he got tired of that scene, divorced my mother, and now has chats with Summer every morning over coffee.

I’m thirty-two, but I still have the silver Z3 convertible roadster with black leather seats and spider spoke wheels that I chose that afternoon, and it’s a good thing I let sentiment rule. After we married I refused to let CJ sell my car. When almost everything else we owned was carted away, my roadster wasn’t worth bothering with. 

I know now that my father saw his gift as an investment in my future. No matter. At the time it looked like a loving gesture.

That moment in the solarium when CJ told me he was going to jail was not one I look back to with longing. I had known he was under investigation under California’s Freeze and Seize law, as well as various federal charges. I had witnessed the flocks of attorneys coming in for a landing, heard the accelerating squawking of his cell phone conversations. CJ was away more than usual, and even with my father as an example, I didn’t suspect infidelity. Despite every assurance he would easily beat these charges, CJ looked tired when he returned, yes, but never happy. If there was another woman, I had nothing to fear from her. But I had been completely clueless about how bad things really were. I had been so brainwashed by CJ’s opinion of himself that I believed he would thwart the little guy once again and walk away a free man.

Instead in the end CJ accepted a plea bargain and went to jail. As a real estate wheeler dealer, his crimes were technical, tricky and legion, but in the end mail fraud across state lines earned the largest chunk of his sentence. CJ was not young when I married him, but he had aged several decades by the time I divorced him. He will be walking with a cane by the time he gets out of prison. I will not be waiting at the gate to take his arm.

Tracy’s Story–to be continued


  1. April on June 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I was in Barnes and Noble and they had Happiness Key already on sale today (6/25). I don’t know if it makes a difference or not to sales figures. I have ordered it from Amazon, but I do want to pick up another copy for my mom. I have heard from others that it does mess things up for them, but, like I said, I don’t know, so I thought I would pass on the information. Feel free to ignore my rambling 🙂

  2. Emilie Richards on June 26, 2009 at 6:38 am

    April, thanks for this information. Yes, it does affect bestseller lists, but I hate to complain because my book’s on sale. It’s also for sale on Amazon and B&N online now. If you’re going to buy a second copy, wait a day or two and use the coupon I’ll put up this weekend. It’s only good June 30-July 31st, which is why it’s not up yet. It’s very kind of you to let me know this.

  3. Kathy Flinchbaugh on June 26, 2009 at 8:58 am

    I just recieved am email from Amazon.com that it was possible to pre order your new book Happiness Key. Now that was something that made me happy. Since I try to check out your website often to see if you have anything new coming out, I was so happy to get the email today. When I get a little more time later today I will look at your blog to see how you developed the characters. You made my day – a book to look forward to. Thanks.

  4. Emilie Richards on June 26, 2009 at 11:14 am

    And you made my day with such a lovely comment.

  5. Lucy Harney on June 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Family means happiness to me

  6. April on June 26, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you for reminding me about the coupon! I had forgotten all about it. I will deffinately use it this weekend. My mother loves when I surprise her with books by authors she really enjoys and you are in her top 5. Thank you again!

  7. Linda Hausmann on June 27, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Happiness for me is visits with my children and grandchildren. That’s just the best!!

  8. Donna P on June 29, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Happiness is friends, family, books and gardening. Just love this time of year in Michigan. The temps are pleasant and no humidity. Perfect for reading your book on the deck w/my little dog Teddy snuggled at my feet. I love your website, Emile. Keep up the good work.

  9. Kimberley Coover on June 29, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Happiness is Family (including the kitties)..reading a book while my husband watches poker on TV. Joy is finding the book I have anxiously awaited on the bookshelve at B&N!

  10. Betty on June 29, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Sharing a cup of green tea and a beautiful sunset after a wonderful meal with some girlfriends I haven’t seen in a long time means happiness to me.

  11. Ola on June 29, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I’m looking forward to reading Happiness Key and getting to know these new characters.

  12. Jayne Kasten on June 29, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I try to have happy thoughts when I awaken and tobring happiness to others in small, simple ways every day. Being positive means you can be happy and share happiness.
    Thanks for the happiness key coupon and for sharing this wonderful story about women friends with us: NOW that’s something to bringhappiness to everyone!

  13. Patricia Barraclough on September 6, 2009 at 11:10 am

    What a shame to have such a disconnected father and then to marry a similar man. They do say we are attracted to mates similar to our parents.

  14. Patricia Barraclough on September 6, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I’m happy my children have grown up to be individuals. They are their own person and not clones or something they were pushed into being. If you saw the three of them together, you wouldn’t know they were related. They are very different people. That is the way it should be.

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