Author: Lisa Daily
Release Date: June 27th, 2017
Tour Dates: June 27th – July 4th, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Now, Alex’s perfectly planned life has completely fallen apart, her biological clock is starting to feel like the timer on a nuclear device, and she finds herself drooling over her completely-dreamy-but-definitely-off-limits client, a star chef opening a hot new restaurant. Armed with dating guidance from her oddball collection of advisers—including her gay ex-husband, a foul-mouthed political consultant, a perkily masochistic yogi, and a pot-smoking octogenarian—Alex navigates the booby-trapped world of modern dating, in her search for a second chance at love.
You know that feeling when you’re suddenly startled out of a deep sleep, and you’re in that hazy middle world where you’re not sure what’s real – like maybe you actually could be chasing after an ice cream truck wearing only fishing waders and a canary yellow bridesmaid’s dress, or you’re just one answer away from winning a year’s supply of adult diapers on a Japanese game show?
My cell phone is in my hand, although I have no recollection of answering it.
"Don't panic," says Darcy, as I struggle to rouse myself.
Darcy is my closest friend, aside from my husband Michael, who’s been the love of my life since the first day of kindergarten when I convinced him that the blue Play-Doh tasted exactly like cotton candy. He ate the whole can, just to prove me right. Michael was like that.
Darcy is a one-woman hurricane: a fiery, tell-it-like-it-is political consultant who is as hard on the men she dates as she is on candidates: As Darcy likes to put it, “I don’t have time for screw-ups.” She never calls me in the middle of the night.
“Oh my god, is someone dead?” I ask.
“Why is that always the first thing out of your mouth?” she says.
“Because someone always is,” I say.
It’s still dark outside and I check the clock: 5:04 am. Clumsily, I grope around on my nightstand until I locate the lamp switch and flip it on.
"Darcy, what's going on? I ask, propping myself up in bed. "Did somebody die? Or not"
"Ugh. You're about to," she says.
"What do you mean?" I ask, feeling completely freaked without knowing why.
"There's a story on one of the sports blogs. It's about Michael."
"My Michael? What about Michael?" I ask. My intestines do a nosedive and a nauseating cocktail of dread and adrenaline race through my body. Oh God, is he dead? He’s out of town for work, and I haven’t talked to him since last night.
And then, the more obvious, “Why are you up in the middle of the night reading the sports blogs?”
Darcy ignores me.
"It's a post about Michael having an extramarital relationship with a 21-year old college basketball player."
"That can’t be true,” I say with all the self-assurance a woman can possess while still wearing her pajamas. “What's her name?" Michael would never cheat on me. Never. I’d kill him. Kill him dead.
"Alex, it’s not a her. It’s a him. Bobby something. He plays for Michigan, graduates this year, thanks Jesus after every basket, leads his team in prayer before every game." she says.
"A him? “ Wait, wait, wait, what? I don’t understand. You’re saying Michael is sleeping with a man? A MAN?” And then it dawns on me. “Oh gawd. Did you say Bobby? Bobby Cavale?" I ask. “Michael wouldn't shut up about him. How talented he is. What a big career he’s going to have. How he was the next LeBron or something. I thought it was just his stupid jump shot."
"Apparently it was his layup." Darcy deadpans. I snort and then giggle involuntarily. Darcy cracks jokes at funerals, scandals, and tragedies. It’s her way of helping to break the tension. Because it's hard to contemplate throwing yourself in the path of a speeding termite truck when you're rolling around on the floor laughing.
“Wait, are you saying…do you think Michael is gay?” I ask, absolutely incredulous.
“Yes,” she says. “Most definitely.” I feel my chest cave in.
“No, seriously?” I say.
“Seriously,” she responds. The line goes quiet. Which is unusual for Darcy.
“You’re crazy! Why do you think that?” I ask.
“Well, even aside from the whole making-out-with-a-guy thing, I always thought he was gay. I’ve never seen a man more insanely happy, jubilant even, reporting from the locker room. And then of course there was that crazy Halloween party you guys threw last year. Michael was, hands down, was the gayest Count Chocula ever. Also, I’m pretty sure he only took up biking so he could shave his legs and giftwrap his package in spandex. But that’s just speculation.”
“Why wouldn’t you tell me?” I say, pressing my palms hard against my forehead in hopes of triggering some sort of twenty-minute amnesia, like a reset button for my brain. “Jesus, I feel like such an idiot.”
“It never occurred to me that you didn’t know. It seemed so obvious,” says Darcy. “I mean, you didn’t get your psychology degree online, or stuffed inside a box of cereal, did you?”
I sigh deeply. This is not making me feel better.
Darcy asks, "Look, do you want me to get my crisis team on this and check it out? My best guess is that it's going to blow up over the weekend, and depending on how it's handled, die out by Monday. Unless there's more. Or video. It's not every day that a top draft pick and an ESPN broadcaster get caught screwing around. Michael is going to need a good publicist if he's going to keep his job. The media loves to devour its own. Tell him to call me if he needs some names."
"Mmmmhmm," I respond numbly.
"Or, you can scratch that and just let him hang on live TV. Your call."
"I don't understand," I say. " Why does some stupid sports blog even care that two grown men are having sex, except for the fact that they both happen to work in sports?"
"Because Michael is married. Because Michael is a basketball commentator and Bobby is a top draft pick. Because Bobby is super religious and has felt the need to speak to the media extensively against what he calls the sins of blasphemy and homosexuality. And because Michael is higher profile than the average hook-up." She snorts, "Between the homosexuality, and adultery, all Bobby needs is for Michael to schedule an abortion and he'll have Satan's trifecta. "
"Are you sure it's even true?" I ask. "Maybe it's just a rumor." Please, please let it just be a rumor. A cruel, but completely false rumor. A case of mistaken identity. Something we’ll all be laughing about a year from now.
"It's true. There are… pictures." she says. "I'm so sorry. It was probably bound to happen one way or another."
"Pictures?" I sit straight up bed, gripping the phone so hard my fingers began to numb. What the hell? Was I serial killer, or a door-to-door magazine salesperson in a past life or something? Outrage and humiliation sear my every thought.
Disconnected sounds dribble from my lips, but my mouth can’t form any more words. Like I’ve been tasered. Actually, I’d rather be tasered. At least when you’re tasered things go back to normal after the eighteen million volts of electricity hit your heart. You lose your breath, your body seizes up, you twitch around on the floor, you drool, maybe you pee yourself. But you probably recover. There is no way I’m ever going to recover from this.
"Yes, pictures," she says. "Listen to me, you do not want to get involved in this mess. There are plenty of reporters who will be happy to agree you've been wronged and that Michael is a bastard. And then they'll put your puffy face and bloodshot eyes on camera and the story will last a week or a month instead of a couple of days."
"I'm going to kill him," I say.
"No you're not," she says. "Don’t answer any calls on your cell that aren't from people you know. Do you guys still have a land line?”
“What am I, eighty?” I ask.
“Lay low, stay home, order food, or rearrange your medicine cabinet or something. Don't watch TV. Don't surf the internet. Don’t even think about Googling ‘Craigslist hit men’ or ‘how to poison my husband with leftover pizza and household chemicals.’ Call your web designer right this minute and tell her to put a home page up on your website that says it's under scheduled maintenance. Do NOT speak to any reporters. The last thing you want to do in a firestorm is add oxygen. You need to lay low and hope it's not a slow news day.”
"On camera? Is this really going to go that far? Michael isn't Steve Phillips, he's just a college basketball announcer. Oh God. I just heard myself."
"Yes," says Darcy in her most soothing voice. "He's a college basketball announcer who’s screwing one of the top college players in the country. Not exactly some unknown intern. " I put my head in my hands. Darcy kept talking but I couldn't focus on the words.
"I can't handle this," I say. "What am I going to do?"
"Yes you can,” Darcy says firmly. “Just break out the liquor and pray for a natural disaster."
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