AmazonKindle | AmazonPrint
-- Out Now!
The summertime in Northern California is known for its hot dry weather, Beth Chadwick should know since she’s been going through a bit of a dry spell herself.
Her marriage is falling apart.
She knows exactly how many pairs of black socks her husband owns, and how much starch he likes in his shirts, so when she matches the lipstick stain on his collar to the shade on his secretary’s lips she knows he’s a cheating bastard.
She has her friends to keep her together.
But they come with their own set of problems. Her best friend Madge, is hoping to close the circle on her open marriage, Joyce, the devout Catholic, thinks her daughter might be practicing witchcraft, the widow Samantha is caught in the middle of a real triple-decker of a sandwich generation and Kathy may have uncovered a corpse in her front yard.
These women really get Beth’s need for a new life.
But, how is she going to get past her, stand by your man, mother and her, I’ll do anything if you’ll just take me back, soon to be ex-husband?
Can their problems be solved over a few glasses of wine?
And then, there’s the little matter of the hot photographer camping out in Beth’s backyard…
“I’m losing my mind,” she whispered into the darkness. She walked back to the patio. Sitting on the wicker chair, she folded her legs up, hugging them close to her chest. How could her life have turned out so wrong?
Tracing her finger along the pattern of a rose on the Laura Ashley chair cover, Beth remembered when she’d picked the fabric out. She’d found the print at a local decorating store two weeks after the house had been completed and knew the pattern would be perfect for the backyard furniture. At the time she’d imagined them sharing after-dinner drinks and watching the sun set over the ridge while sitting next to each other holding hands.
And in the beginning their life had been like that; just the two of them sharing their thoughts at the end of every day. She couldn’t remember when they’d stopped. Somewhere along the way she and Dirk had forgotten how to talk to each other.
And now, with the evidence she and Madge had put together it appeared Dirk had done the unforgivable- -he’d gotten into bed with another woman!
Tears burned at the back of her eyes as Beth looked at the empty bird feeder hanging from the far end of the white lattice-work trellis. Tears slowly rolled down her cheek as her heart began to break.
She loved him.
Reaching up, she swiped her hand across her chin. Beth hated to cry. To her, crying showed weakness. If this were daytime instead of the dark of night, she could work the tension off by tending to her gardens. Instead she sat here with too many thoughts racing through her mind and her tears flowing down her face.
Deep in her heart Beth knew she couldn’t allow Dirk to continue to be her husband. She wouldn’t become like her mother and grandmother-women who stayed in their marriages even when they were aware of their husband’s indiscretions. Her mother would surely point out to her how she should stick the marriage out because Anderson women didn’t get divorced.
Of course there had been marriages that had withstood the test of time. People changed. Relationships grew apart and then came back together. She never wanted to settle for a union where one person cherished their vows and the other didn’t.
She’d watched for years as her grandmother and mother rotted from the inside-out while suffering through their martyrdom. They were living in the twenty-first century; divorce was now a perfectly acceptable state of marriage.
Hiccupping a sob, Beth rested her forehead on the tops of her knees. She’d been married for ten years and according to her plan, there should be two-point-five children; one boy, one girl, and a baby on the way. Countless times she’d imagined them running around a big yard surrounded by a white picket fence.
She had dreamed of being the one to break the Anderson curse. Her marriage would be the one that was going to stay solid and loving with no infidelity-no matter what.
Placing her hand over her empty womb, Beth sucked in a deep mournful breath, realizing her mistake had only taken her ten childless years, and one lipstick-stained shirt to figure out just how wrong she’d been.
The back light flickered on, casting her surroundings in a yellowish glow.
“Beth? Are you out here?”
She glanced up to see her husband standing in the doorway wearing khaki pants and a white polo shirt bearing his company logo. He’d been the perfect boy-next-door type when they’d met fifteen years ago, with his sandy-blonde hair, blue eyes, and perfect white teeth. She’d been swept off her feet from the first charming smile, and into what she’d thought at the time, her fairytale marriage.
She slowly lowered her feet to the slate patio. Her gut clenched as she looked at the man she’d vowed to love, cherish, and stay faithful to forever and ever till death parted them.
I’ve been…,” the words caught. She stood, clearing her throat and tried again. “I’ve been wondering when you’d come home.”
“Here I am.” Spreading his arms wide, he walked toward her giving her one of his sexy grins-the kind that used to make her heart beat a little faster.
Sidestepping his reach, she took a good look at him, paying particular attention to his collar. It was difficult to tell in the dark whether or not he had any lipstick stains on his shirt tonight. She clenched her shaking hands into tight fists at her side.
She couldn’t think of one good reason not to confront him with what she’d learned, so she blurted out, “I know about you and Gina.”
“You know what about me and Gina?”