Get Ready to GET AWKWARD!
The Awkward Woman’s Guide To Dating (After Divorce)
Woo hoo! I’m SO excited to announce my next book is coming out September 15th! It’s a sexy, funny, cringe-worthy modern day romance. When Keira Travis suddenly finds herself single for the first time in her adult life, she jumps right in…to one disaster after another. With a little help from her friends (and a very snarky narrator) Keira navigates the next phase of her life with a sense of humor… and a lot of awkwardness!
But Enough Preface!
I thought I’d offer up the first two chapters for free, so…. here they are! Hope you enjoy!
1 Narrator’s. Everybody’s Got One
Hello. I’m the narrator. Keira Travis’ narrator to be specific. Everybody has one, you know. Wait. You didn’t know? Huh, that’s odd. Yes, dear readers, you all have a narrator that kind of, oh, I don’t know, hovers above you unseen, setting the tone and injecting details and thought bubbles, cueing appropriate music, and so on. Usually, a narrator is unheard by the characters involved in the story, but Keira is unusual, and can hear me (even though she typically chooses to ignore me despite the outstanding insights, warnings, and guidance I’m able to offer her).
Everyone, everyone has a narrator that suits them exactly, based on their personality and in this case, their preference. I, per Keira’s preference have a wonderful upper class English accent, despite that she is quite American. I’ve been narrating her this way since she began reading Jane Austin at age ten. Thanks go directly to her Aunt Eve on her father’s side, a Jane Austin enthusiast who insisted that having the last name Bennet meant every Bennet girl should love Pride and Prejudice. I’ve come to quite enjoy it, surprisingly. Somewhere around the mid-90’s the chaps over at the BBC made a mini-series of her precious Pride and Prejudice, and I came to sound suspiciously identical to her beloved Colin-Firth-version of Mr. Darcy. That was, again, per her request… when she still deigned to speak to me on occasion.
Oh, we had such good times back when she would engage with me. Alas, one can’t converse with one’s narrator past a certain age, not in public, at least, and our Keira found out the hard way. Yes, yes, I’ll take you there. Quickly, though. We’ve a story to get to, after all…
Fourth grade, first day of class:
“Keira Bennet! Please stop staring out the window and pay attention,” hissed Miss Beal, Keira’s thin mouthed, Orphan Annie haired, wretch of a-
“And what is so funny, young lady?’
Miss Beal’s pointy face and piercing voice reminded Keira of an angry badger whose-
“Oh, shut it!”
The classroom fell silent at Keira’s outburst, shocked.
“What. Did. You. Say?” Miss Beal glared.
Don’t say it, Keira. Don’t-
“I wasn’t talking to you, I- ”
“You weren’t talking to me? Oh, really? Then who, may I ask did you just say ‘shut it’ to?”
Don’t say it-
Silence. Then, laughter. The kind that begins as a twitter and chuckle, then swells to a cacophony, complete with finger pointing and desk slapping.
She was sent to the office, of course. She was also teased for about two weeks for having an imaginary friend, ending only when Tommy Pescarelli wet his pants during morning assembly and became the new target of derision.
Let’s suffice to say, I’ve been watching and narrating our wayward, wandering heroine for as long as she’s been on this earth as Keira Bennet (and then Keira Travis) so I can tell you: she’s a sweet one, our Keira. Pretty thing, too. Like a lovely little flower you just want to pluck and take home. Or a pretty bird… that keeps flying into window panes. You see now, that’s the thing about our girl, the thing that makes her interesting (in a cringe worthy way). She looks like she’d be graceful, but Lord, is she not. No, Keira is a bit of a walking catastrophe, I must say. (Our sweet little bird has just given me the finger.) She can’t really help herself, she was born that way.
She came out arse-backward (as her mother likes to tell it, except she says ‘ass’) and she’s more or less done everything in life in much the same fashion. Can’t walk a straight line without tripping, pass through a doorway without thumping a shoulder into its frame, doesn’t own a complete set of glasses or china because she’s dropped at least half of them. And on it goes. When she was six, she walked through the screen door. When she was seven, nine, twelve, and fourteen, she visited the emergency room for (in order, to the best of my recollection): stitches in her left eyebrow (coffee table) cast on her right wrist (she fell up the stairs) cast on her right ankle (she fell down the stairs) and an overnight stay for a concussion (she fell backwards out of her chair). All of her many other incidents and mishaps were remedied by ice, band-aids and ibuprofen.
You’re probably wondering, ‘what the bloody hell is wrong with her?’ As it happens, nothing. Of course, her parents had her thoroughly examined; she saw neurologists, psychiatrics and lots of other –ists, but they all said the same thing: she’s just clumsy. So, that was that.
Unfortunately for our unlikely champion, her clumsiness has only been matched by her social awkwardness. Sigh. To watch her is, well, awkward. Keira is- how can I say this? She is all elbows and knees… but with words. Fun fact: she can write quite eloquently. But conversations… not so much. Unless she knows you well, that is, and even then, well, she can be a bit exhausting.
As a result of Keira’s unfortunate, ahem, affliction, shall we say, she’s kept her world, her bubble, small. It wasn’t much a surprise when she began dating her future husband, a local boy, right after high school. Nor was it a surprise when she married him after less than a year later (Not to me, at least. I absolutely saw it coming. Like a freight train). Darren, tsk. It was only a surprise that it lasted as long as it did.
Oh, did I mention? No, I suppose not. You see, in addition to the clumsiness, the social awkwardness and what have you, Keira has terrible taste in men. Think back on those analogies from above. Go on, reread it, I’ll wait… Yes, those. That is exactly the kind of men Keira dated. Men who wanted to pluck her like a flower and cage the little birdie. For her own protection. That’s what those types like to say. Keira has always fallen for it, too. Whenever she did finally see what was happening, she dumped them like a, like a- hmm, so many analogies to choose from- like a just bitten apple with a worm inside. No? I should’ve gone with the hot potato? Oh, well.
Now, I’ve tried to nudge her in the right direction. Many times, in fact, but that girl has a head thicker than a brick wall. (There’s that middle finger again.) Take that helpful little book I practically dropped into her lap yesterday, The Woman’s Guide to Dating (After Divorce). It was written by a dear narrator friend of mine. (Yes, we do have a life outside of babysitting our charges, you know. It’s not much, usually when they’re sleeping or being incredibly boring, but it’s something.) She’s quite well known for her narrating another hot mess of a woman back in the nineties, one whose dating disasters post divorce were legendary. Now they mostly hang out on the coast and sell her heroine’s art. She still narrates her goings on, of course, just on a much smaller scale; plenty of free time to write a book.
Anyhow, my ward seems to be only skimming the chapters and ignoring the advice. It’s par for the course with her, though. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. This girl has not given me a boring day yet. Take right now for instance…
2 Jump Right In
Chapter One in The Woman’s Guide to Dating(After Divorce): Hey, newly single (again) ladies! You’re ready to get out there, have some fun and meet someone, huh? Good for you! Now, try not to jump right onto sex! Start off simple: a nice dinner date, a movie maybe; you’ve got to ease your way back into the groove of dating!
“Unzip me, please?”
“Your skin feels so soft.”
“Just un- oh. Okay, keep doing that.”
Keira, having innocently caught her hair in the zipper at the back of her dress, had no intentions of sleeping with Dale…until his rough fingertip traced her spine as he slowly unzipped it, freeing the tangle as he did so. At least, that’s what she’d told herself as she led him through her foyer. Just one drink, then go away, she’d adamantly thought even as she turned her back to him, sweeping the rest of her long honey colored hair aside for him.
It felt like it had been ages since she been touched by a man in way that made her feel hungry for it. Ridiculous, she told herself, you don’t even really like him. But, yes, there was no denying, she liked his touch. The zipper ended just above the small of her back, and Dale’s hot hands slipped just inside the loosened fabric, caressing her bare hips, up her ribcage, along the swell of her breasts, over her shoulder blades, then rested against her collarbone. He was waiting for her to assent to what was to come next.
If she hesitated at all, it was for only a split second before she gave a gentle roll of her sun-tanned shoulders to let the straps slide off them. It was a sleek, smooth satiny dress and it needed only a little more help past her full hips before falling to the floor in a whispery smoke grey heap. Keira had never felt this sexy, this uninhibited, this free in her own skin.
This man who she’d known only a short time and barely at all was touching her in a way that was, in a word: delicious. She silenced the little cautionary voice in her head, the one that told her that good girls don’t sleep with strange men, even if he was the singer in a band had a tattoo of Elvis on his forearm. She almost listened, but thankfully the wicked voice spoke up and said, do it, Keira. Do him. Live a little. As if knowing that she needed just a little more persuasion, he traced her curves down to the line of her panties and effortlessly slipped his fingers underneath and cupped her firmly but gently, pulling her back against his hardness. A small, involuntary gasp escaped her lips, and she reached back with one hand to caress him. She wrapped her other hand up and around the back of his neck, turning her head to pull him into a kiss. Their tongues touched and flicked, then abruptly he turned her fully to face him.
*Sorry, narrator’s pause here. That is how Keira would like it told, but come now! You already know her well enough to realize she couldn’t get through such a moment without mishap. As I speak, she’s trying to disengage her ring from his hair and she’s forgotten to step out of her dress, so there’s no doubt she’s about to trip. But, if this is how she wants it told, it shall be so…
He walked her backwards towards the wall, caressing, squeezing, kissing all the way. When they could walk no further, he pressed her against the wall and ran his hand down her thigh, curling his hand around the back of her knee and slowly raising it as he pressed more insistently against her. She marveled at how badly she wanted him inside her and could wait no longer.
“I want you. Now.”
“Yeah? Show me, Keira. Show me how bad you want me. Unzip me.”
Dale grinned wickedly, lust drunk and breathing deeply. Emboldened by that look in his eye, she reached down, and without taking her hazel eyes off of his baby blues, she loosened his belt, unbuttoned, then slowly unzipped the fly of his jeans. Just as slowly and deliberately as he’d done with her, she slipped her hand inside his waistband and caressed. It’s effect was obvious, he wanted her as immediately as she wanted him.
They were completely undressed quickly, and when his clothes and what remained of hers were in a tangled mess on the floor, he pressed himself against her. The skin on skin contact was electrifying; they could wait no more. He lifted her effortlessly, she straddled him, and they rocked and bucked until she climaxed. Moments later, he finished as well and they panted heavily against each other, spent.
“I know, right? I suppose you wouldn’t believe me if I said I don’t normally bring men I’ve just met home and-”
“and fuck in your foyer,” Dale smirked at her, still breathing heavy.
“Not the words I’d have used,” she laughed, “but yes, exactly.”
They slid down onto the foyer carpet, sitting side by side.
“Well, lady, you are quite the little surprise. I mean, I totally thought you were sexy that night at the bar, dancing up in front of the stage with your girlfriends, but I had no idea you’d be so damn hot.”
Keira looked at him skeptically. Sure, lust had made her bold, but the ‘real’ Keira was not like…that. Real Keira was a newly divorced mom of two daughter’s. Real Keira had a house she didn’t know if she could afford, a new job she didn’t know would last, an ex-husband who was resentful and vindictive, a semi-stalkerish ex boyfriend that wouldn’t go away, two crazy dogs, and she just really, really needed to feel something other than the hurricane of emotions she’d been feeling. In short, she just needed to get laid.
Now that she had, she didn’t quite know what to do. She looked over at Dale, naked and propped up against the wall beside her. He was good looking, not great. Taller than her, but not significantly. Blond. The only thing that made him her type, was that he was in a band. Keira had always had a thing for musicians, and now, she’d finally slept with one. She thought of it as if it were some kind of perverse bucket list item and chuckled to herself.
“What’s so funny?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Just realizing that I’m sitting here naked on my foyer floor with a man I barely know.”
“What would you like to know about me?” He tapped his bare leg a moment, then, “Let’s see. I’m in a rock cover band, but you know that already. Um, I have a twenty two year old son. Was married briefly, that tanked. We’re cool with each other, though. My day job is my construction company. Gigs don’t pay the bills, unfortunately. Anything else you wanna know, Keira? Oh, before you answer that, let me just say, I like you, Keira. This doesn’t have to be a one and done kind of thing.”
Keira didn’t quite know how to respond. She wasn’t really sure she wanted to see him again. She did like the idea of being a singer’s girlfriend. She pictured him pointed to her as he sang some romantic line from a song and all the women swooning. She imagined telling her girlfriends she was dating a musician and their reactions. She also imagined, with no small amount of wicked glee, telling Darren that she was dating a musician.
On the other hand, she was freshly divorced. Free. As someone who’d gone from relationship to relationship in her teens and then married at twenty, Keira knew it was time to face her mid-thirties independently. At least for a little while. So, she decided not to answer him and instead patted his bare thigh before she stood to retrieved her dress from the floor.
“How ‘bout that drink I offered you?”
“Sure. I’m starving. Got any food?”
So, Keira made omelets and coffee for herself and the man she’d met two nights before at a club. Welcome to the single life, Keira, she thought bemused.
*Now, you might wonder at my ability to narrate such events as these without, shall we say, discomfort, but I assure you, we narrators are nothing if not professional, thank you. Let’s wrap this one up, shall we? She sees this fellow a few more times, realizes he’s only good for one thing and promptly ‘ghosts’ him (popular modern terminology for ceasing all communications with someone of former interest in hopes that they simply go away.). After a handful of calls, texts and one unexpected house visit at three a.m., he seemed to have taken the ‘hint’. Let’s skip ahead, shall we?
And that’s all ya get, for now! BUT,, you can pre-order it right here:
Oh, and here’s the cute promo video I made: