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Premarital Assets


Denise Marcil
Denise Marcil Literary Agency


Didi Saxton, 43 and still single, suspects that love and marriage have passed her by. To remain in her large family home after her parents have died, she rents her guest rooms to boarders. Her first tenants are all bachelors, and one sweeps her off her feet. When she learns he intends to steal her house, she must choose between love and honor.


Didi Saxton, (think Rene Zellweger), a passionate gardener and the youngest of four grown children, who has inherited her large family home after taking care of her ailing mother. She needs to earn money to repay a home equity loan that she took out to restore her greenhouse.

Bachelor no. 1 = Edgar Mendenhall, (think David Hyde Pierce, aka Nigel on Frazier),

a nerdy widower employed by the local jewelry store.

Bachelor no. 2 = Bernie Fisher, (think Jason Alexander, aka George Costanza on Seinfeld), an unemployed accountant separated from his wife.

Bachelor no. 3 = Will Conroy, (think Matt Damon), an ex–baseball pitcher from Atlanta, sidelined by a shoulder injury, never been married.

Caroline Winter = Will’s pregnant girlfriend, (think Katherine Heigl), who tracks down Will in Herrington.

Bachelor no. 4 = Marty Akers, (think Johnnie Depp without the mustache), who sweeps Didi off her feet and proposes marriage.

Gladys = Didi’s nosy, in-your-face neighbor across the street, (think Joan Cusack), who continually annoys her. With a twist of irony, it is Gladys who gives Didi her most valuable insight.

Meg Kelly = Didi’s best friend, (think Kelly Preston), a school teacher, married with three kids.

Mary Margaret Kelly = Meg’s middle child, (think Ellen Page from Juno), age 16, a surprising mentor for Didi.

Various minor characters


Herrington, Illinois = fictitious small town, frozen in time, west of Chicago




Chapter 1

On Saturday morning, March 21, 2009, Didi Saxton is at home watering, and talking to, her huge array of indoor plants. She is interrupted by the arrival of the mail, which contains a letter from the bank saying she has 90 days to repay the $50,000 principal of her home equity loan.

Chapter 2

Over coffee with her best friend Meg, Didi shares her panic over her finances. A college dropout, she feels she’s not qualified for any job, but Meg insists there’s a lot she can do. They toy with the idea of a bed-and-breakfast in Didi’s large, beautiful home. Gladys, Didi’s nosy neighbor, adds to her aggravation.

Chapter 3

Didi visits two important allies, Fred and Marshall, two gay guys who own the local florist shop.Didi feels an emotional connection to them, in addition to flowers. While sympathetic to her plight, they are not able to employ her. She pitches the idea of them selling her violets and orchids, but they resist.

Chapter 4

Didi shops for groceries and sees an ad for a “Room to Rent.” Taking in boarders makes a lot of sense. She visits her parents’ graves to tend their plots. She recognizes a man who works in the jewelry store visiting another grave. She tells Meg of her plans. Meg is aghast and urges her to be careful. Didi runs into Felicity, a waitress at the local restaurant, who tells her Edgar from the jewelry store, who is grieving after the loss of his wife, is looking for a room to rent. Felicity suggests that Didi return that evening to speak to Edgar, who eats supper at the restaurant every night.

Chapter 5

Very nervous, Didi arrives and Felicity introduces her to Edgar, who asks to see a room.Didi shows him her house and the room, and they make a deal. Edgar goes to the jewelry store to say he is ready to resume working. Didi prepares for Edgar’s arrival and wonders how her life will change.

Chapter 6

Edgar, shy and awkward, moves into his room. Gladys intrudes to inquire about the “new man.” Didi escapes to the coffee shop with Meg, who explains why Gladys feels responsible for Didi. She reflects on her solitary life vs. Meg’s marriage and children. Later, while going about her daily plant-tending, Didi wishes Edgar would talk more. Edgar finishes his work at the jewelry stores and stops at his house, where his late wife was a hoarder. He feels overwhelmed by the accumulation and chaos, but manages to come away with some papers in a shopping bag. He eats supper at Wayland’s, alone. Aside from the income, Didi’s life hasn’t really changed.

Chapter 7

Didi overhears Edgar crying in his room, brings a tray of tea and offers her listening ear. He vents about Genevieve’s “collecting,” and she suggests a professional organizer. Edgar is grateful and spontaneously kisses her, then pushes her away, embarrassed. Didi remembers her college boyfriend. She gardens and processes her encounter with Edgar. Gladys is nosy. Mary Margaret, Meg’s daughter, walks by and suggests she could get paid to plan other people’s gardens.

Chapter 8

Bernie Fisher goes to Wayland’s, meets Edgar, and asks the waitress if she knows of any rooms to rent. Edgar takes him to Didi’s, who needs a day or two to check his references, but Bernie asks to move in right away. Didi hesitates, but then goes with her gut and says okay. Didi tells Meg about Bernie’s arrival. Meg thinks she should have been more cautious. Didi is defensive. Meg compliments her new look and presses her on whom she prefers. Didi resists and confides that she hardly sees her boarders. Meg suggests a shopping trip, but Didi declines.

Chapter 9

Bernie admires Didi’s breakfast room plantscape. That evening he returns very discouraged about job hunting. On Sunday evening she overhears him shouting in his room. She arrives with a tea tray and learns his wife plans to take their daughters far away for the summer. She assures him everything will work out, and he kisses her, then apologizes. Didi processes that she wants someone to love her as much as Bernie loves his wife and daughters.

Chapter 10

Returning books to the library, Didi overhears Will Conroy inquire about a room to rent. After several snafus, Didi garners the courage to ask Will to consider living in her house, and he follows her home to see a room. He wants to board, and she agrees to check his references. When Didi stops at the florist to buy fresh-cut flowers, Fred and Marshall reveal that Gladys has been mouthing off about her and mentioned “zoning.” Didi panics and hurries home, only to find a business card from a building inspector stuck in her door. She fears her boarding house is doomed.

Chapter 11

Didi fills Meg in on Will Conroy’s arrival and her fears about zoning. Meg urges Didi to go to zoning and stop worrying. Meg also suggests they celebrate her “full house” by going shopping. Although she’s uncertain about prospects with her bachelors, Didi thinks a new outfit or two might be nice. Didi visits the zoning office. The officer is bureaucratic and dismissive. She leaves feeling frustrated but determined to make it right.                    

Chapter 12

Meg takes Didi shopping at Loehman’s. Later at home, she tries on her new outfits in front of her mirror. The three bachelors return home from supping at Wayland’s and rave about the “new Didi.” They all watch baseball on TV, and for the first time, Didi is included.

Chapter 13

Didi is visited by Zoning, but the inspector says that her house is fine as far as Zoning is concerned. Marty Akers, bachelor no. 4, presents himself at Didi’s door, telling her he’s looking for a room to rent. She is snowed by his good looks and demeanor. She agrees to check his references, and if all goes well, he can move in the next weekend. Didi joins Meg and Mary Margaret at the coffee shop, and offers to make the corsage and boutonniere for the prom.

Chapter 14

Marty compliments Didi on her interior plantscape. Gladys stops over, and reluctantly, Didi introduces her to her tenants. Mary Margaret and Curt arrive to get their flowers for the prom. Probing Didi for her life story, Marty learns that she inherited the house free and clear.

Chapter 15

On the Fourth of July, the bachelors’ plans are cancelled due to a driving rain. Marty proposes an indoor picnic. Everyone pitches in, and a ‘Saturday night supper’ ritual is established.

Chapter 16

Didi runs into Meg while grocery shopping and realizes she’s really happy. Returning home, she finds Will talking to a very pregnant Caroline Winters, the girl he left in Atlanta. Didi reluctantly agrees to let Caroline move in until the baby comes.

Chapter 17

Caroline and Didi start bonding.  Meg is concerned for Didi having a pregnant boarder. Meg pressures her to reveal her crushes. Didi observes Caroline standing up to Will.

Chapter 18

At that evening’s Saturday dinner, conflict erupts between Will and Marty. Marty has said he is an executive recruiter, but he gets a check from a collections agency. Will calls him on it. The men adjourn to watch baseball. Didi turns in early. Later that night, Marty hears Didi crying. He brings the tea tray and presses her for why she’s sad. After first resisting, Didi reveals she’s jealous of Caroline. Marty comforts her, and one thing leads to another….

Chapter 19

Meg warns Didi about unprotected sex. Didi confesses her fears of rejection. Caroline has a baby boy. Everyone goes to the hospital to see the baby. Didi learns Marty was married and divorced, but also had a child out of wedlock. Will, Caroline and baby Madison return for their last night. They have decided to marry.

Chapter 20

Edgar announces he’s moving back home after Labor Day. Bernie shares that he has found a new job. Didi is melancholy. She fears he, too, will soon move on.

Chapter 21

Didi receives a large phone bill. Marty reluctantly affirms the calls are his. He seduces Didi.Mary Margaret visits Didi with her new driver’s license and suggests that Didi become a wholesaler to Fred and Marshall, who have lost their supplier. She tells Didi about the Young Entrepreneurs Club and shows Didi her line of children’s jewelry. Mary Margaret also insists that Didi enter the Harvest Festival this year.

Chapter 22

Edgar shows off a large check from the auction house. Marty reveals he is short on cash. Edgar’s room is now empty. Bernie starts his new job. Bernie announces that Sarah has invited him home for the Jewish holidays. Didi reveals that a new boarder will move in. Marty is pissed. Bernie returns from Yom Kippur and announces he’s moving out. Marty tries to console Didi with sex, but she declines.

Chapter 23

Later the same night, Didi and Marty make love and he proposes. Didi accepts. She is ecstatic that she is finally getting married. Didi tells Meg that Marty wants no more boarders and no more rent payments. Meg is very happy for Didi, but is also concerned about the financials and suggests an attorney and a pre-nup. Didi is defensive. Edgar admires Didi’s ring and offers a free appraisal.

Chapter 24

Didi takes Marty to Herrington’s annual Harvest Festival and introduces him as her fiancé. Marty is awed by the large crowd, but subtly turns up his nose.

Chapter 25

Didi and Marty argue over soliciting more boarders. Marty also wants the house in both their names and to stop paying rent. He further proposes a joint checking account. While putting away laundry in Marty’s drawer, Didi finds six additional rings that look just like hers. Didi learns from Edgar that her ring is a zircon, not a diamond.

Chapter 26

Marty runs into Fred and Marshall and insists there will be no more boarders. He reveals that his single mother had to rent rooms to some unsavory characters. Didi is eager to set a wedding date. She has talked to her attorney. At a reunion Saturday dinner, the former boarders press Didi for details. Marty resists. Marty and Will spar over being “kept” by a woman. The guests encourage Didi to get more boarders. Privately, Didi confides to Caroline that she and Marty have financial issues.

Chapter 27

Over lunch at Wayland’s, Bernie tells Edgar that Marty has a low credit score and unpaid debts.Bernie tells Didi of his findings. She’s angry and in denial. Didi returns to the large telephone bill and learns from the Internet’s reverse directory that the number belongs to a Sally Mae Akers. A coincidence? Didi reverts to denial when she remembers that her attorney said he had seen much worse credit reports than Marty’s. She confides in Meg that Marty has serious debts, and Meg coaches her on how to lovingly confront Marty and learn the truth.

Chapter 28

On Thanksgiving Day, Marshall announces at dinner that he and Fred will marry. Didi is happy for them but very envious. She constantly daydreams about her wedding. Marty seduces Didi again. She agrees to put the house in both names and he agrees to a Valentine’s Day wedding. Didi decides to call the Blue Island phone number and learns that Marty is still married to Sally Mae Akers.

Chapter 29

Didi confronts Marty about Sally Mae Akers, and he produces a photocopy of a divorce decree. At the coffee shop, Meg produces three marriage licenses for Marty. Didi feels betrayed by her friend. Didi re-reads the three marriage licenses that Meg had given her and resolves to ask Mary Parsons at the library to help her find the divorce decrees.

Chapter 30

At the library, Didi tries to find the divorce decrees online. Gladys snoops at what she’s researching on her computer. The next day Didi runs into her lawyer and asks about online divorce records. They agree on a date and time to sign the house documents. Marty leaves on a business trip. Mary Margaret helps Didi in the greenhouse and relates how she coped when her boyfriend lied to her. Finally, Didi must decide if she wants to marry a liar. The next morning, Didi returns unread books to the library. In the parking lot, Gladys pounds on her car window and gives Didi a newspaper cover story identifying Marty as a bigamist.

Chapter 31

Marty returns from his business trip and goes to the lawyer’s office, expecting to find Didi, her lawyer and appropriate witnesses. He finds Didi alone. She confronts him with the credit reports, the marriage licenses, and finally the newspaper clipping. Marty realizes his goose is cooked. Edgar and Bernie appear to escort Marty back to the house so he can pack. Meg comforts Didi. She withdraws during January and February. She agrees to do the flowers for Fred and Marshall’s reception but refuses to attend. Mary Margaret visits Didi and tells her that she deserves better than Marty. Gladys tells Didi that she knows what it feels like to be betrayed. She promises Didi that in time, she will heal.

Chapter 32

Martin Kincaid presents himself at Didi’s door and asks to rent a room. He is attractive and well-spoken. She shows him a guest room but says she must check his employment letter. Didi runs into Paul Melling at the Village Hall. He asks if she’s still running a boarding house, and she assures him that she is.