A romantic comedy about friendships, flirtations, and the elusive “Fantasm!”
Hi! I’m Miranda Blake and this is my story. Well, sort of. It’s more like a twisted fairytale, if you believe in them. Except there’s no beautiful, young princess with perky breasts, perfectly coiffed hair and a sassy attitude. I’m closing in on fifty, thirty pounds overweight according to Weight Watchers, and, after nursing two kids and that bitch, gravity, doing her job, I’m lucky the ladies don’t hit my knees. The gorgeous brown mane of hair is slightly frizzy from my ridiculous attempts to recapture my youth by dyeing the hell out of it. As for sassy attitude, well, it wasn’t so long ago that I was a doormat. And the charming prince who sweeps me off my feet into the life of my dreams? I have a dog called Prince, German Shepherd, who knocks me on my ass if I’m in the way when the doorbell rings. Does that count?
“I want a divorce.”I paused and looked up from packing our suitcases for our anniversary trip to Aruba. The ambient light he had insisted upon when we remodeled barely illuminated his form much less his facial expression. I didn’t mind the lighting usually, it smoothed over the slight imperfections on our bodies and made everything look soft and supple. Tonight, I would have given my left boob for one of those interrogation lights you see on detective shows.
“I’m sorry. What did you say?” Like the doormat I am, I continued to fold his underwear into the case. The frustration coming from his voice was enough to convince me he was telling the truth, but I didn’t want to believe him. So, I continued to fold the damn clothes like an idiot, hoping this was his idea of a twisted joke at my expense. I’d had a lot of those over the years.
“You heard me, Miranda.” He raked his right hand through his graying hair. For a moment, I felt a twinge of envy. Men were so damn lucky in growing older. The gray or the glasses made them look sophisticated and worldly. I, however, looked like that myopic frizzy haired witch in those wizard movies. I blinked, returning his frown with a slight smile.
“You don’t mean that,” I said, shaking my head. I could feel the panic beginning to rise. What if he did mean it? What would I do? I’d given up my job as a journalist over twenty-five years ago to get married and have children. I’d stayed home, the perfect housewife and mother, because that’s the way he wanted it. Anger began to replace the panic. I’d given up my dreams to allow him his and this is how he repays me?
The clothes were packed so I started toward the bathroom to fill the toiletries. Brushing past him, I was surprised when he grabbed my arm. “You’re not listening! God, you do this every time there’s something you don’t want to hear. Do you know how annoying that is?”
Annoying? Avoiding confrontation was annoying?? I almost laughed out loud. If he only knew how many times I had wanted to scream at him, to insist he listen to me for once. Perhaps I should let fly right now and really let the bastard have it. After all, he deserved it with this stupid demand.
Who the hell gets divorced after twenty-five years? I mean, that’s like the last year to make a change, isn’t it? After that, you take stock of your life, decide that it may not be all you dreamed of but it’s good enough, and you wait each other out on the death sentence.
I opened my mouth to tell him just that when I noticed he had moved away and was shuffling through the suitcase. “What in the hell are you doing?” I growled at him as I began refolding my things. “We are going on our anniversary cruise tomorrow morning. I need to pack. You need to get a grip on whatever this male menopause thing is and be ready to enjoy our trip.”
Oh my God! Did I just say that out loud? I peeked up at him. His mouth was opening and closing like a fish out of water. I watched the blood rush from his throat to his head. Yep, I’d said it out loud. He grabbed my arms and pushed me into the desk chair. I was suddenly frightened. How odd! I’d never been frightened of him before. Perhaps it was because his face was so close, I could smell the whiskey on his breath, see myself in his eyes. But more than likely it was because he had his fingers around my throat, and he was squeezing.
“Pay attention, Miranda. I no longer want you. I no longer desire you. You have become an albatross weighing me down. We are divorcing and that’s final. You go your way and I go mine. I take what is mine and you take what is yours.” He released me and stepped back to the suitcase, calmly taking out my clothes once again.
“The kids?” I gasped out, rubbing the sting from the skin of my throat.
“The kids are adults. They will be fine.” He closed the suitcase with a snap. “I’m going on the cruise. When I return, I expect you to be out of the house. Everything can be handled through our lawyers.”
The cruise. My clothes. His silences. I closed my eyes against the knowledge of my own stupidity. “Who is she?”
I could feel his stare. He was weighing whether to tell me, so it must be someone I knew. “It doesn’t matter.”
I opened my eyes. “It does to me.”
For the first time, he looked uneasy. He cleared his throat. “It’s Megan Clark. As soon as our divorce is final, she’ll be Megan Blake.”
“Our daughter’s tennis coach?!” I shot up from the chair. “You’ve been fucking our daughter’s tennis coach?!” This threw my anger into high gear like nothing else could. He could mess with me all he wanted, but to deliberately hurt our daughter, use her for his selfish desires?
I pushed him out the bedroom door. “You cheating sack of shit! You find my avoidance of issues, annoying, well, let me help you clear the air! I find your constant handling of your balls annoying, your clearing your throat then swallowing phlegm annoying, your constant critique of everyone else annoying, your pompous attitude about my friends annoying,” I took a deep breath, noting with satisfaction that he now clutched the suitcase to his chest in defense, and screamed at the top of my lungs. “But mostly I find your selfish, narcissistic, cloying attempts to be the man you need to be but fall far short of, to be ANNOYING!”
“You’re insane!” he whispered, horrified at my display.
He scrambled down the stairs and headed for the garage as I continued to hail insults down upon his head. “You’re a terrible father to do this to your children! You’re homemade wine tastes like raspberry piss water! Your mother’s potato salad sucked!”
I saved the best for last. One that would ultimately worm its way into his psyche and take root. One this narcissistic rat bastard couldn’t help but take to heart. The one thing I had to constantly praise him on.
I smiled as he hurried into the car. “You’re a mediocre fuck, Dale. You’re a one trick pony in bed and your balls smell like vegetable soup!” I made sure to imprint the look of horror and disgust on his face as he backed out of our garage to go to his lover.
It was only hours later, as I slid onto the sheets of the bed in the guestroom, that I realized throughout the entire confrontation, neither of us had mentioned love. That made me sad for a moment, then a profound relief took hold and I began to cry. I hadn’t realized how tight I had been wound. Fuckin’ twenty-five years and I finally get a do-over. I closed my eyes and dreamed.
This short rom-com was everything I wanted it to be. We have funny banter, a woman who wouldn’t let life knock her down and a group of friends that stand by your side no matter what.
We have Miranda who is trying to find herself after her divorce. I was enjoying myself with her cluelessness as to what affect she had on men around her. And I liked Reed from the get go. You could see he cared even when his words said otherwise.
Simply put – I loved it. I’m hoping we get to see more of this group of friends because they were hilarious.
***Review copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads Blog***
Maggie Adams is an Amazon Best Selling contemporary romance author. Her first book in the Tempered Steel Series, Whistlin’ Dixie, debuted in Amazon’s Top 100 for Women’s Fiction, humor, on November, 2014 and then again at #61 in 2016. Since then, she has consistently made the Amazon best seller 5-star list with Leather and Lace, Something’s Gotta Give, Love, Marriage & Mayhem, and Forged in Fire. Her series has launched the tiny town of Grafton, Illinois, into International recognition with sales in Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and the UK.