Francine: Dazzling Daughter of the Mountain State

Francine: Dazzling Daughter of the Mountain State

by John Schwartz


Publisher Sun Hill Books

Published in Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description


Francine Boyers, a bright and beautiful young West Virginian with a mining engineering degree and an MBA, is hired by Jim O’Hara, CEO of OHARA Mining in New York. As the CEO’s personal assistant, she proves to be unusually quick on her feet, deft at fending off wolfish men, and rises through the ranks with astonishing speed. She ultimately finds herself enmeshed in a corporate conspiracy, with the continued existence of the company—and her own reputation—on the line. Will she save the company, and find happiness?

Sample Chapter


Francine Boyers trudged down Fifth Avenue after stepping off the New York City bus at the Metropolitan Museum, close to Central Park, and called her friend Nancy on her cell phone. Frustrated that Nancy didn't pick up, she left her a message, "Finding a job on Wall Street is harder than cracking a bank." Then she called her dad, "Wall Street is what it is, climbing walls."

"You shouldn't be looking at the financials only. Why not join my company? You like Beckley."

"Beckley is great, Dad, but I told you before, I don't want to start in West Virginia. I love the state, but New York is the way to go. I'll try another week."

She folded her cell phone back in her tote. The balmy July breeze inspired her to take a walk in Central Park. Lost in thought, she was crossing the park's ring road when a wobbling biker knocked her to the asphalt. Her faux Louis Vuitton tote flew off her shoulder, and her cell phone and papers fell out. A dog-walker with his day-charge of ten pulling and panting pooches, varying from terriers to bulldogs, trampled her belongings. He stopped, holding his doggies back with one hand and stretching out his other, saying, “Sorry, are you okay?”

Seizing the hand of the helpful dog-walker, she scrambled up, examining her bloodied elbow. "Jerk!" she screamed at the young biker. She wiped off her skirt, then retrieved her torn tote and smudged possessions. The biker, in shiny black shorts designed to display male potency, had crashed head-on into a beech tree and sat on the ground, dazed. He glanced at her, embarrassed, got up, and limped over. "My apologies. I lost control because of that swerving bunch of dogs and saw you too late." He sent a reproachful glance at the dog-walker, who’d walked on.

"Why don't you guys go bike somewhere else?" Francine said in a high-pitched voice, clutching her elbow.

"Yeah," a bystander said. "This park should be for pedestrians only. It's bad enough with them horses shitting everywhere."

"I'll pay to repair your bag," the biker said, shifting his red-and-blue-striped helmet, his dark blond hair sticking out. His sharp lavender-blue eyes seemed sincere.

"Repair?" Francine protested. "Are you kidding? You almost killed me. The least you could do is buy me a new one. And what about my phone? But I bet you don't have a job. Only dopes like you ride during the day when everybody's at work."

"No problem. I can send you a check. My name’s Ron. I'm in public..."

"Oh, drop it," she scoffed. "Stay off your bike and go home."

The biker slouched back and tried to straighten his handlebar, twisting it left and right, jostled with the front wheel, but was unsuccessful. Annoyed, he walked away, carting his bike on his shoulders.

Francine watched the onlookers moving on. Had she been lying on the ground, squirming, they would've been staring at her like vultures. She staggered down East 79th street to where she stayed with Nancy Smith, her roommate and sorority sister from William & Mary. Nancy had found a job in New York and invited her to her rent-controlled two-room efficiency, about ten minutes from the park, to do her interviews.

Francine sat down on the red faux-leather sleeper-sofa, looking at her painful elbow. She tried her cell phone and fortunately it still worked. To forget her depressing interviews, she turned on the stereo. The music cheered her up. She felt at ease in Nancy’s place. A few colored glass lamps and flamboyant Caribbean posters gave the living room a homey atmosphere. The sleeper-sofa worked out fine.

She took a shower and treated her elbow with antibiotic cream from Nancy's medicine cabinet. Refreshed, she mixed a martini with the Absolute Vodka that was permanently cooled in the fridge. Hardly had she taken the first sip when the door lock clicked and Nancy, a vivacious blonde, came in. "Hi," she said, puffing from the heat. She put her computer bag down, kicked off her shoes, and plopped into a recliner, blowing the hair out of her face. "No luck you said?"

"None. They're still not hiring after the Wall Street crash. If nothing works out I can always go back to modeling. At least I got some money showing off in JcPenny catalogs."

Nancy chuckled. "Great idea. I could even promote you in my company."

"Look at my elbow." Francine lifted her left arm. "A biker ran into me in the park. I used your cream."

"That's so annoying. People complain a lot about these morons."

"What to do? Write a letter to the mayor? You want a martini?" Francine raised her glass.

"Yes, please. Let’s drink to your better luck tomorrow."


Excerpted from "Francine: Dazzling Daughter of the Mountain State" by John Schwartz. Copyright © 2017 by John Schwartz. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

John Schwartz

John Schwartz

After an international career traveling worldwide, John Schwartz wrote a memoir coming--of –age story of John van Dorn, Some Women I Have Known, starting with Audrey Hepburn, and a novel Enchanting The Swan, a moving romantic story about the troubles of a musician/graduate student couple, both published in mid-2015. End 2017, John published Francine - Dazzling Daughter of the Mountain State, a corporate novel about a young bright West Virginian woman who beats the odds on the corporate ladder in an international mining conglomerate based in New York City. In between, John published two non-fiction books, summarizing the works of a famous great-uncle/author around the turn of the 19th and 20th century, Maarten Maartens Rediscovered. John resides as a writer in Virginia, blogs at his website, and has his author page on

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