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On The Rocks
by Bernard Shaw
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This rollicking debut novel finds heroine Brooke Miller in the midst of a quandary. A successful Manhattan attorney dating Douglas, a handsome Scotsman, Brooke responds to the news that her ex-boyfriend Trip is engaged to a movie star by telling a small lie and claiming that she and Douglas are engaged as well. Brooke figures Douglas is about to pop the question any day now, so she has a nasty surprise when instead of proposing, he unceremoniously dumps her and reveals his infidelity. Distraught, Brooke tries to win him back, then concocts another plan: she persuades her handsome coworker Jack to put on a Scottish brogue and pretend to be Douglas at Trip's wedding. Brooke doesn't imagine just how complicated things can get. A breezy romantic comedy with plenty of laughs. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
When her ex-boyfriend, Trip, gets engaged to Hollywood's latest It Girl, Manhattan attorney Brooke Miller plans to attend the wedding. Who says a modern girl can't stay friends with her ex? Besides, Brooke's got her sexy Scottish fiancé, Douglas, to take as her date. Okay, so maybe he's not exactly her fiancé, but they're living together in his apartment, so she'll be getting the ring any minute, right? Wrong.
After a fight leaves her without a boyfriend (much less a fiancé) just days before the wedding, Brooke faces the ultimate humiliation of attending her ex-boyfriend's nuptials alone. Desperate to find a replacement to fill Douglas's kilt, Brooke concocts an outrageous plan to survive the wedding and win the man of her dreams, all with her dignity ever-so-slightly intact.
I had left my office that evening at 8:30 p.m., whichat Gilson, Hecht and Trattner, the large Manhattan law firm where I work is actually considered early, so I was feeling as if I had the whole night ahead of me. And I was going home to pick up my gorgeous Scottish boyfriend so that we could go out and meet friends for supper at some fabulous little downtown brasserie where everyone is European and the waiters only speak French, so I could hardly wait. I had the perfect New York City evening planned out.
Since I usually got out of work closer to 9:00 p.m. than 5:00 p.m., I considered myself lucky to have a boyfriend who liked to eat dinner late. I once dated a math teacher who left work at 4:00 p.m. and was in bed by ten. That relationship was destined to fail. Ditto for the guy who traded foreign something or others who started his day at 3:00 a.m. and ate his dinner before I even thought about getting lunch. My boyfriend, Douglas, on the other hand, thought that people who ate dinner before 8:00 p.m. were uncivilized.
I walked into the lobby of my apartment buildingthe poshest building in all of Sohowith a skip in my step. The Soho Triumphe, a building so fancy that, in addition to its staff of eight doormen, it boasts a twenty-four-hour concierge who can get you into any restaurant in Manhattan (not like Douglas ever needed any such help). It even has in-house dry cleaning, like at a hotel. I said hello to the evening doorman who, despite the fact that I had moved into Douglas's apartment a full two years ago, still couldn't quite remember my name.
"Um, 32G?, he asked with a pained expression that indicated to me that he was thinking, at least, very very hard about who I was. I nodded my head yes and pulled my hair out of the bun I usually wore at work while he checked his book for deliveries. Douglas loved my hairdark brown with natural auburn highlights that was so long it fell down my back to just below my bra strap so I always took it down right before I got up to our apartment.
The doorman handed me a mountain of dry cleaningfive custom-made Italian suits (Douglas's), five monogrammed shirts (Douglas's) and one skirt (mine). I checked the mail and took out four bills (Douglas's) and the Barneys New York Spring Look Book (mine)or maybe it was Douglas's. You never could tell with European men.
Balancing it all in the crook of my arm, with my oversize work bag forcing my body to lean perilously to the right, I made it to the elevator just as the door was about to close. I kicked my foot out and stopped the door with my leg. Inside, I could see a tiny little man furiously pressing the "door close" button.
"You could lose a limb trying to get to your apartment," I said to the man with a laugh. Rather than being embarrassed for not holding the elevator for me, he looked annoyed that I had made it in.
"Or you could just wait for the next elevator," he replied under his breath. And they say that chivalry is dead.
With my free arm, I pressed the button for thirty-two. My work bag slid down my shoulder, catching my long hair underneath the strap. I tried to jump up to release my hair, turning my head quickly to the left as I did so. The dry cleaning began to slip from my grip and I begged it not to fall, whispering "We're almost there," to it as if talking to a small child. The man looked at me, his expression saying, " The economy must really be bad if our co-op board let this woman into the building."
But I didn't care. The night would still be perfect. No doubt I would get back to my apartment, and Douglas would be waiting for me with open arms. Seeing me with all of my packages, he would grab them from me, throw them on the couch and kiss me passionately. In his charming Scottish accent, he would say, "Darling, I missed you so much today I could barely stand it," or something as equally romantic and heartfelt and we would go meet our fabulous friends for a fabulous evening out. On our way to the restaurant, he would turn to me and say, " How is it that you look even more beautiful after working a full ten-hour day?"
I bet that that tiny little man in the elevator didn't have a gorgeous Scottish boyfriend to go home to. Or, actually, maybe he did. He was wearing really, really nice shoes.
But I did. I walked in the door to my apartment, starving to death (because, let's face it, I'm totally uncivilized), and before I even had a second to put down our dry cleaning, my gorgeous Scottish boyfriend broke up with me.
Normally, my life isn't this complicated. You see, I'm a simple girl with simple hopes. Up until two weeks ago, all I really wanted in life was for my boyfriend Douglas to buy an engagement ring. And he did! He just didn't give it to me. But I was fine. Even though the breakup was difficult, I remained very dignified.
Well, not so much dignified as a screaming crying mess. But it's not as if I embarrassed myself or anything. Unless you'd call throwing yourself at the tails of someone's suit jacket embarrassing. Which, luckily for me, I do not. We had a very mature conversation, really, if you think about it. I sweetly said, " Please don't go! Please don't leave me!" Okay, so maybe I was screaming it at the time, but you get where I was going with that one.
"I'm sorry, Brooke," Douglas said. "It's not you. It's me. You are an amazing girl. You have so much to offer. It's just that this doesn't feel right. It's just not the time for us."
Now isn't that mature? So, I answered him in kind. "And it is the time for you and thatthatbimbo? What the hell is her name?"
"That's not even a naaaame!" I bellowed.
"Brooke, let's not get hysterical," Douglas said. Hysterical? I was, like, so not hysterical. "Can't we make this friendly? Can't we try to still be friends?, "Okay. you're right. Friends." See how mature I was being?
"Right then," he said, sounding very Scottish. How I loved that accent. "I'll be going."
This may have been the part where I lunged for the tails of his suit jacket and he then dragged me about twenty feet to the door.
"No!" I was screaming. "No, please, no!" Okay, yes, now that I'm telling you about this, I distinctly recall being dragged across the f loor screaming, " Don't go!"
Oh, please. As if you never did that, too.
As a last ditch effort, I cried, " You can't do this! Please don't go! It isn't right!" In an instant, his expression changed. I'm getting through to him, I thought. I lightened my viselike grip on the tails of his suit jacket.
"you're right. I shouldn't go. It isn't right."
I shook my head in agreement and breathed a sigh of relief. As visions of wild, passionate makeup sex f loated through my mind, he said, " After all, I own the apartment." And with that, he opened the door.
I should never have let go of the tails of his jacket.
Really, I blame the breakup on Trip's wedding. That's when everything started to go downhill between Douglas and me. And what's worse, everyone I know thought that I shouldn't have gone to the wedding in the first place. Somehow, everyone who knew me just knew that Trip's wedding would be the end of Douglas and me. (Except little old me, of course.) I really hate being a foregone conclusion.
When I told my mother that I was going to Trip's wedding, she said, " Trip's wedding? Trip who?, (As if Jewish girls from Long Island know that many men named Trip.) "Trip from law school Trip? What woman, in her right mind, would want to go to that?"
Vanessa, my best friend from law school, initially RSVP'd no to the wedding, since she assumed that I wouldn't want to attend. When she found out that I wanted to go, she later called Trip to tell him that her "big case" had settled and that she and her husband, Marcus, would be therebut not before asking me approximately 472 times if I "wanted to talk about it?"
And when I told the partner I worked for at my firm that I would be out of town for a four-day weekend to take my boyfriend to L.A. to go to Trip's wedding, even he asked me, " Why the hell would you want to do that?"
I could have sworn that I even saw my therapist look at me sideways when I told her that I was going to my ex-boyfriend's wedding.
Okay, so I understand that this isn't exactly your typical "girl goes to wedding" kind of situation. But, just because Trip is my ex-boyfriend from law school doesn't mean that I care more about this wedding or am more nervous about this wedding, or that this wedding is any different from any other wedding in any way at all! Because it's not. Trip's wedding is just another wedding. And Trip is just another friend of mine. Even if he is my ex-boyfriend.
What's an ex-boyfriend anyway? Everyone has an ex-boyfriend. Everyone. I mean, even some lesbians I know have them. Nothing special about them, right? I don't care any more or less about him just because he's my ex-boyfriend. He's just a person. And staying friends with your ex is a piece of cake. I barely ever think about him and how he may or may not have been my last chance at happiness in this cruel and unforgiving world.
Really. I have the satisfaction of having a great career and a great independent life filled with fabulous friends and, of course, even more fabulous shoes. I am such a woman of the new millennium that I can go work a full ten-hour day, keep in touch ...
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