Oh this was a hard one for me because I LOVE secondary characters so nearly all my books have groups of family or friends of some sort who are active in the story along with my hero and heroine. So first I decided on the character, my favorite secondary character of all my books – Polly Chase.
Polly Chase is based, in large part, on my mother-in-law’s personality. They look nothing alike, but the spirit is the same. Polly grew up in a world that has gone through many amazing changes. In a place that had whites only lunch counters for part of her childhood, but also Dr. King, Vietnam, huge changes in rights and opportunities for women, walking on the moon, the advent of birth control, televisions, computers. She’s not who she was when she married Edward as a young woman either. A lot has happened in her life and she’s triumphed because she is, at base, a strong person who knows exactly what she wants. Sometimes people don’t take her seriously because of the hair and the big Caddy, they think she’s a stereotype, but she doesn’t care and that’s what makes her so wonderful. She’s just Polly Chase. She loves her family fiercely, she’s protective and funny, she can be tough or tender and I just love her.
Of course THEN I had to choose the book and then the scene. I have several and in no particular order I’d say: The scene after the football game when Polly comforts Tate; the scene in Taking Chase when Polly rear-ends Cassie; the scene in Giving Chase when Kyle’s ex comes over on Thanksgiving and Polly gives them a talking to; Maggie’s baby shower in Chased, oh man any time she gets near babies or her boys get out of line.
So I settled on this one from Taking Chase when Shane and Cassie have had a big argument:
CHASE BROTHERS: TAKING CHASE by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2007, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Samhain Publishing
Polly Chase parked her car on Main and got out for the short walk to Paperbacks and More. “Damn kids. I tell you, if you want something done…” she mumbled as she patted her hair into place and absentmindedly waved at someone who’d called out a hello.
She walked into the store and zeroed in on Cassie. Her heart ached for the girl her son loved so much. Men!
“Hello, Polly.” Cassie smiled wanly.
Polly pulled Cassie into a hug and held her upper arms as she gave her a long up and down. “Honey, you look like hell. When you gonna forgive Shane so you can both get some sleep?”
“Polly, I appreciate you checking in on me, I really do. But this thing between your son and I is not only private but complicated.”
“Oh that’s a pretty way to tell an old woman to mind her business. I like you, honey.” Polly chuckled as she sat in the chair behind the counter. “But I’m a nosy old woman, it’s a perk of getting old. You can be annoying and people just call you eccentric.” Polly laughed at that. “Anyway, I know Shane messed up. I know what he did and how he reacted must have made you wonder if he’d be like your wretched sonabitch ex. But you and I both know after a day or two, that’s not the case. My son is a good man and that bitch gave him, how do you kids say, issues or baggage. I’m not excusing his actions, you best believe I tore a strip off him a mile wide and his father has too. But no one is punishing him harder than he is himself.”
Polly leaned in, peering intently at Cassie. “You’ve made mistakes before in your life. I know part of that is what makes you hesitate now. But also, can’t you see your way to giving my boy another chance? Let’s face it, you two are going to fight. A lot. There’s enough chemistry between the two of you to make an old woman sweat.”
Cassie blushed crimson and looked at the paperback in her hands to keep from looking at Polly.
“You two have chemistry and heat but you’re both stubborn, headstrong people. Lord knows this won’t be your last fight. But you can fight with your man and know it’s going to be all right the next day. Edward is the kind of man that butter wouldn’t melt. I like that. It suits me. But Shane isn’t that man. He’s got my disposition. We’re a tad hot headed. We love fierce. Shane loves you and I know you love him.”
Polly hopped down from the chair, grabbing the bag she’d put near the register stand. “Two things. This has a cherry and a peach cobbler. Eat them both, you look pale. The second thing is I already think of you as my daughter-in-law so I love you too. Please give Shane another chance, for both your sakes. Oh, okay a third thing. You call Matty or Marc or me and Edward if you feel spooked, all right? We worry.”
With that she thrust the bag at Cassie, hugged her again and click-clacked out of the store.
From there she headed over to the police station.
“Shane Edward Chase! You hold up right there, boy.” Polly thundered as she stormed down the hall toward where he stood with the county prosecutor.
“Mrs. Chase, ma’am.” The prosecutor, a boy she babysat many a time, bowed and got the hell out of there.
“Coward,” Shane muttered and then waved his mother into his office. “Have a seat, let me get some soda because I can see from the look of you this will be a long lecture.”
With narrowed eyes, Polly sat as she glared at her eldest’s impertinence. “You look here, boy, I brought you into this world, I will not hesitate to take your dumb ass right out of it.”
Shane laughed as he handed her a soda. “Of course, Momma, I’m sorry. I imagine this is about Cassie and I know, it’s my fault and I’m trying to get her to talk to me. I told you that yesterday and the day before and before that too.”
“I just went to see her, girl looks like she hasn’t slept in a week. She’s on the fence about you. But she loves you. She must â€˜cause I didn’t let her get a word in edgewise.” Pleased with herself, Polly chuckled again. “I made a good case for you, I hope. You know you and her are gonna butt heads a lot, right? Makes it more interesting in the bedroom I imagine.”
Shane winced and got a sour look. “I don’t want to have that line of conversation with you, Momma.”
Polly waved him away. “Pshaw. Boy, you’ll have any line of conversation with me I tell you to. Your daddy and I have four children, you think we don’t have some chemistry ourselves? Now listen here, you’ve got to let her know that you love her and won’t hurt her, even though you’ll be fighting with her regular-like. And don’t deny it, you two are just that way. But Maggie and I made her some cobbler and you know how your sweetie loves cobbler. Sweeten her up a bit hopefully.”
Standing she raised the soda. “Thank you, Shane. You’ve turned out to be quite a decent man. I’m pretty proud of myself for not tossing your butt in the lake all the times I wanted to when you were a kid.”
Shane grinned and kissed her cheek. “You’re the best, Momma.”
“Yeah, yeah. Boy, you better work on this girl harder because if she’s not at dinner on Sunday you’re eating a tuna sandwich.”
With a last wave, she headed out while he chuckled.
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