Tuesday, April 22, 2014

V is for Vivienne: Blogging the #atozchallenge

Vivienne Lang is a force to be reckoned with. She is an accomplished martial artist and street fighter but she is also a deeply flawed person--a woman whose past has left her vulnerable and both fearful and fearless. She is the central character in The Crazy Old Lady's Revenge and The Crazy Old Lady Unleashed and will be back in the forthcoming The Crazy Old Lady's Secret.

from The Crazy Old Lady's Revenge 
I met Mattie Thorndike when we were in first grade at a little private day school in Boston's Back Bay and, right from the beginning, we were best friends. Both of us had the dubious distinction of being raised by our grandparents. Mattie's parents had been killed in a car wreck a few months earlier and her grandmother, whom she called GrammyLou, brought her to Beacon Hill to live there in her townhouse. I never knew my father and had vague memories of my mother back then. My grandparents – I called them Papa and Nana – lived in Boston's Theater District on Washington Street over Papa's cafĂ©. Papa came from Poland, but Nana had grown up in Boston and her cousin Stanford was married to GrammyLou's sister. I suppose it was inevitable that Mattie and I, being the same age, and virtually orphans, would become best friends.
Actually, I had a mother. Her name was Dianne and, on the rare occasions when I saw her, that was what I called her. She got pregnant with me when she was sixteen. She never said who my father was. Knowing what I know now, I wonder if she even knew. Despite all Nana's efforts, Dianne was always wild. My earliest memories are of screaming fights between Papa and Dianne while Nana cried and begged her to show him some respect. Throughout the first few years of my life it was Nana who took care of me. Nana held me and cuddled me, read to me, and tucked me in bed at night. Nana was the kindest, sweetest lady I ever knew. Papa adored her.
I have come to the conclusion that Dianne was jealous of Papa and Nana. I think that she felt shut out of their love for each other. Papa was fifteen years older than Nana and he worshiped her. Maybe he loved her so much that he didn't have any love left over for Dianne. Still, he has always been good to me. 

from The Crazy Old Lady Unleashed
          “Who's Viv?” Brother Gregory asked.
          “Joe's fiancee,” Tom said. “She's the one who needs to talk to Brother Maksim.”

          “Oh dear.” Brother Gregory frowned. “Bringing her here without warning might not have been a good idea. Brother Maksim is a difficult person under the best of circumstances but he's got a lot of problems with women.”
          “He'll have to get over that,” Tom said. “Viv's the person he'd be working with.”
          “Oh shit, is that him?” Joe turned to look for Viv and, as the three of them watched, an enormous man rose up from where he had been kneeling in one of the gardens near Viv.
          “Yes.” Brother Gregory cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered, “Brother Maksim!”
          The giant strode toward Viv.
          “Crap. Viv's not a good person for men with issues about women to be around.” Joe broke into a run with the other men jogging behind him.
          Brother Maksim either did not hear his name being called or chose to ignore it. He reached out as he neared Viv and grabbed her arm. In a flash, she turned, slammed her heel into the back of his knee and brought her elbow down in the middle of his back, sending him
sprawling, face down in the grass.
          “What the hell..?” Tom stopped dead in his tracks as Joe grabbed Viv and pulled her into his arms.
          Brother Gregory glanced at her, a look of total bafflement on his face. He dropped to his knees next to the fallen man. “Brother Maksim? Are you all right?”
The huge body began to shudder and shake.
          “Brother Maksim?” Brother Gregory put his hands on the massive shoulders and tugged. Brother Maksim rolled effortlessly onto his back and lay in the grass laughing hysterically.
          “What just happened?” Tom asked stopping beside Joe.
          “Viv doesn't like surprises,” Joe said, grinning. He hugged her close. “That's my baby.”

Thanks for reading. 

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