HANDCUFFS AND HAPPILY EVER AFTERS SERIES
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A few hard truths…
Don’t bet on The Hasselhoff, Bigfoot might actually exist, and searching for the impossible may lead you to your hearts desire…
It’s a big fat hairy deal when I lose yet another bet to my best friend Rena. Not only do I end up attending Bigfoot meetings with her kooky Aunt Phyllis, I find myself traveling with a band of reality TV, Sasquatch-hunting nut-jobs! Not to mention a suspiciously shady film crew. As if those little nuggets weren’t enough to send me on the express-train to Crazytown…I stupidly swore off men!
Clearly all this would mess up any gal’s social life, but the worst part of the story? The minute I send my libido on vacation, I meet Mitch. Yep, Mitch, the sexiest cop ev-ah. The hottest, best kissing, finest tushied, SINGLE guy I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’d rather be hot on his trail than anything that involves the word Big or Foot. But sometimes what you’re hunting for is right in front of you all along …
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“You’re kidding me,” I said, shaking my head in shock.
“I’m absofuckinlutely not.” My best friend and roommate grinned, gently stroking her six foot tall cardboard cutout of Brett Favre. “Did you think I would take a bet where I might lose my cardboard quarterback boyfriend?”
“But you have a real boyfriend,” I stammered, realizing the magnitude of my stupidity. I knew there was no way out. I couldn’t plead brain damage or lack of sex. Actually I could plead lack of sex, but I didn’t really want Rena to know that little tid-bit right at the moment. Having a kind-of boyfriend who travelled more than he was in town had put a crimp in any activity south of my belly button.
“I do have a real boyfriend,” Rena agreed, “but no one can replace my life-size cardboard cut out of Brett Favre.”
“Does it have to be Bigfoot?” I whispered, praying to Lutheran Jesus for a reprieve. “What if I do your laundry for a month? Or babysit the little people that live in your Aunt Phyllis’ T.V.?”
“Tempting,” my best friend, who I hated at the moment, grinned evilly, “but, no.”
“How does this always happen to me?” I moaned, running my hands through the bane of my existence. The wild blond curls all over my head and half way down my back were the envy of every woman I met, but drove me to drink occasionally. “I’m cutting the hair off,” I muttered, trying to extract my hand.
“No, you’re not. I will personally kill you if you do,” Rena informed me. “I want your hair worse than I want Angelina Jolie’s lips. And to answer your question, you said David Hasselhoff is a big star in France and I said, no he’s not. Then you said, do you want to bet and I said yes. I then proved, via some scary internet footage, that he’s a rock star in Germany and they don’t give a shit about him in France. The end result is that I’m keeping Cardboard Brett Favre and you’re going to accompany my Aunt Phyllis to her Bigfoot meetings for the next two months.”
“Oh my god,” I said, the reality of what I’d done was almost too much to bear.
“What if I pretend I’m you and go for your pap smear?” I was desperate.
That stopped her cold, Rena had an unnatural phobia of Bryant Gumbel and gynecologists. “How many years?” she asked, eyeing me narrowly.
“If you had said twelve, I might have considered it,” she informed me as she lovingly dusted Cardboard Brett Favre’s abs.
“Twelve?” I shouted. “How does twelve years of double pap smears equate to two months of Bigfoot meetings?”
“Just wait and see, Kristy.” She grinned and handed me the Sasquatch get together schedule.
“You suck more,” she laughed.
My eyes darted around Rena’s office as I tried to come up with a reasonable way out of this, or at least an alternate exit. I had an office down the hall where I did fundraising work for the women’s shelter I’d started. The rest of the space was filled with New York Times bestselling authors. Long story.
“Oh, I almost forgot, Louise called from the shelter. She’s a little concerned,” Rena said.
“Why?” I racked my brain trying to remember if there was anything complicated scheduled at the women’s shelter today. I had turned the day to day running of the shelter over to Louise, one of the most level headed and calm people I’d ever met. Hell, it had to be something bad for her to be rattled.
“Apparently Edith and Mrs.C showed up to give knitting lessons.”
“Oh, hell no,” I screeched as I ran from Rena’s office and continued to run all twelve city blocks to the shelter.
“Are they here?” I huffed, trying desperately to catch my breath. My lungs were burning and sweat dripped from my face. I hadn’t sprinted like that in…ever. I’d never sprinted in my twenty-eight years on earth, but the thought of Edith and Mrs.C alone with women who were trying to get their lives together was comparable to hosting an AA meeting at George’s Liquor Emporium.
“They just waddled out,” a pale faced Louise informed me. “It was bad, but most of the women here today don’t speak much English.”
“Thank Jesus,” I gasped, plopping down on the couch in Louise’s office. “Did they use the term, ‘Bless your heart’?”
“Yep,” she shook her head ruefully, “right before or after they said something emotionally crippling about someone’s hair, shoes, face, clothes, or accent.”
Edith and Mrs.C were seventy year old evil twins and they scared the hell out of me. I had inherited them from my recently deceased not-evil grandmother along with said grandmother’s knitting shop, A Stitch in Time, where the two devil incarnates worked.
“What did they want?” I asked, as I covered my eyes and tried to block out the disaster that was my life.
“You,” Louise deadpanned. “As I recall, it went something like this…Tell that no good lazy large bottomed cow she better show her huge ass up at the store or we’ll burn it down, Bless her Heart.”
“Oh my god, my ass isn’t big,” I hissed.
“No,” Louise laughed, “actually, it belongs on the cover of Sports Illustrated. So hot ass, great boobs and amazing hair aside, I think they were serious about burning the store down.”
“Motherhumpin cowballs,” I muttered. “I don’t want the knitting store and I certainly don’t want the two hags that come with it. I already have a job that I love. God, I don’t have time for this.”
“You’re going to have to make time,” she informed me in her no nonsense way. “Mariah Carey almost beat the living daylights out of them.”
“What is Mariah Carey doing in this building? I banned her from coming here for three weeks until she completes an anger management course.”
“Apparently she did it on-line in two days and is cured.” Louise grinned.
Mariah Carey (no relation) was a ninety seven pound ball of fury with the voice of a two hundred and seventy-five pound Minnesota Vikings linebacker. I had helped her get her GED and six jobs, all of which she’d been promptly fired from. The reasons varied, but a similar theme kept popping up. Someone looked at her funny, so she broke his nose…someone tried to return something without a receipt, so she broke his nose…someone said their fries were cold, so she broke his nose. Always men, never women. Her past was rough, but she’d never have a future if she kept getting arrested for aggravated assault.
“Mariah Carey,” I shouted, “get in here.”
All five foot nothing of the unfortunately named pain in my ass entered the office with a sheepish grin on her face. “Sorry dude,” she muttered in a voice that had me wondering for the umpteenth time if she were actually a tiny man with boobs.
“Sorry’s not going to cut it, little missy. Why’d you try to smack down on the old ladies?” I asked.
“Well, um.” She pulled on her stringy hair which was dyed blue this week. Possibly to match her fingernails. “They said nasty things to Consuela and Rosita and they called me a man.”
Hmm, interesting. “So what happened?”
“Nothing dude,” Mariah Carey mumbled. “I just got up in their faces and threatened them.”
“For god’s sake, Mariah, last week you put a metal chair through the T.V. set and the week before that you set the rug in my office on fire and the week before that you painted swear words all over the lobby…why in the hell didn’t you deck the old bitches?” I yelled.
“Kristy,” Louise gasped with disapproval, “you did not just tell her she should have taken out the old ladies.”
“I would never tell her to take out old ladies, but they’re not ladies…they’re mean old hags who are making my life a living hell and said I had a big butt. If Mariah had taken them down, maybe they would have…”
“Died?” Louise spat.
“Oh crap,” I moaned, and dropped my head into my hands. “What is wrong with me?”
“I’ll tell you what’s wrong,” Louise said, sitting down next to me and gently rubbing my back. Mariah Carey wedged herself in on my other side and played with my hair. A little odd, but strangely comforting. “You started this shelter all by yourself three years ago and have worked 24/7 until you hired me six months ago. You have raised enough money, in a shitty economy, through grants and donations so we can keep our doors open the rest of the year. Your grandma died a month ago and your boyfriend seems like a douche. A very attractive douche, but a douche. You now own a store run by Satan’s twin spawns and you need a break. But you can’t tell Mariah she can bust down on old ladies, no matter how vile they are.”
“I’m so sorry,” I told Mariah and Louise between the splayed fingers that covered my face. “I think I need a little vacation.”
“When’s the next major fundraiser?” Louise asked, pulling my face out of my hands.
“October,” I muttered, yanking on a curl and putting it in my mouth.
“That’s four months away,” she said matter-of-factly. “Do you have savings?” I nodded mutely. “You are going to take the summer off. I have it under control at the shelter and you need to figure out what you’re going to do with the knitting shop.”
I shuddered inwardly at the thought of facing the Beelzebub twins, but I knew I had no choice. I’d deal with them and take the rest of the summer off. For the first time in a while I felt lighter.
“Thank you,” I whispered, giving Louise a hug.
“Can I make a suggestion?” Mariah Carey offered.
“Does it involve killing old women with blunt objects or folding chairs?” I asked, giving her the disapproving eyebrow.
“Um, no,” she chuckled, “but that sounds like a good time.”
“So what’s your advice, Mariah?” I grinned, waiting for something appalling or illegal to come out of her mouth.
She yanked on her hair and punched me in the arm. “You need to get laid.”
“Don’t I know it,” I laughed, flopping back on the couch. “Don’t I know it.”
Series: Handcuffs And Happily Ever Afters Series, Book 2
Publication Date: December 19, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 300 pages
Print ISBN: 978-1601832191