Yesterday, I got a fan letter about my Calendar Girls series. As trite as it sounds, I love hearing from my readers, and I do answer every fan who writes to me, whether it’s via email, Facebook or Twitter. I’m always thrilled when a reader takes the time to let me know they enjoyed my work. I delight in learning they stayed up ’til two in the morning reading. After all, it’s only fair. I had lots of long nights writing those words.
This particular reader had devoured all four of the stories available in the series in the last month and was anxiously waiting for the next installment. I hesitate to tell her, I’ve only written the first chapter of that book. I mean, the most recent book, HOMECOMING IN NOVEMBER, was only released on July 28.
If you haven’t checked out my Calendar Girls, now might be a good time. Each book features two different women from the same Long Island seaside town, Snug Harbor, at a different crossroads in their lives. In HOMECOMING, you’ll meet Terri O’Mara, a recovering alcoholic, and Dr. Jayne Herrera , the new veterinarian in town who’s struggling to get over her own sordid past.
Continue after the cover to read an excerpt:
“What I want is for you to relax and spend some time with me.”
“Why?” Yes, my mouth often ran faster than my brain, thanks for asking.
To his credit, Max just laughed. How about that? I made Max Trayham laugh.
“Do you know why I sat next to you at the meeting?”
This time, I sipped my juice before answering. “Now that you mention it, umm, no. Why did you?”
“Because, right now, I need a friend. And out of everyone in that room, you looked like the one person I could trust.”
“Yes. And I sensed you could use a friend, too. You had this air of desperation about you that called to me.”
“I don’t mean that the way it sounded. We’re all freakin’ desperate at those meetings. I saw you race inside, and I felt this need around you, like you were hoping something or someone could fix whatever sent you there. And I realized I was in the exact same situation. Then I thought, ‘what if she and I could fix each other?’ I’m new to the program, new to this town, but I wonder if you and I might become ‘sober buddies.’ Not a sponsor relationship. I’m too much of a rebel when it comes to authority figures. We would be two people, two equals, who help each other stay straight. No judgment, just support, encouragement, and a sympathetic ear. You know what I mean?”
Throughout his speech, I gaped at him, sure this was some colossal joke my friends were playing on me. This wasn’t the real Max Trayham, but a celebrity lookalike. Any minute now, Siobhan and Pan would jump out of the kitchen and shout, “Gotcha!” But no one did. And he really did look like the real Max Trayham, a Max Trayham waiting for my answer.
“I think so. But here’s the thing.” There went my mouth again, leapfrogging over my brain. I drained the last of my juice to buy time for my gray matter to catch up, but when it did, it agreed with my mouth. I owed Max the truth. No matter how crushing the fallout would be. “I’m only forty-nine days sober myself.”
I expected him to realize he’d misjudged me. And when he leaned forward, I prepared for his speech about how he suddenly had an appointment he’d forgotten about. I even had my no-big-deal face ready to slip on. But, instead, he reached for his glass and sat back to sip, completely at ease. “That’s perfect, actually. You and I can find our way together. We’ll keep each other honest and on the straight and narrow. What do you think?”
What did I think? That he was either insane, or I was. My mind couldn’t get past the idea this television star wanted to be “sober buddies” with me: boring, small-town, ne’er-do-well Terri O’Mara.
“Don’t you have close friends or family you’d rather spend time with?” Curse my wicked mouth and empty juice glass.
“Honestly?” He offered me a wry grin, the one his television character wore whenever he was about to outwit a business rival. “That’s part of my problem. All my friends are what dragged me down. I need to find new friends—people outside the spotlight who can help me stay sober. People like you, who are also struggling and understand what I’m going through. People with their priorities in order. People who aren’t caught up in the Hollywood game. People who are down-to-earth, grounded, and fighting some of the same demons I’m facing—without the glitter. People who won’t sell me out to the tabloids for a quick buck. What do you say? You feel like doing me a solid?”
“So…we’d…like…call each other and stuff?”
“Absolutely. Any time. You get that itch in the back of your throat—you know the one I’m talking about—at three in the morning and don’t think you can fight it off, you call me. And I’d be able to call you in the reverse situation.”
“You’re going to call me. And I can call you.” I knew I sounded like an echo chamber or some robot on repeat, but I couldn’t fathom how I’d managed to get a television star to want to be my new buddy. Believe it or not, this kinda stuff didn’t happen to me on a regular basis. Still, there was only one answer I could give him. “Deal!”
HOMECOMING IN NOVEMBER is available now from Amazon.