Yes, I Wrote a Book with SEX in the Title
By Michele Bardsley
Years ago, I entered a short story in the Writer’s Digest competition. It placed second, I believe. I don’t remember the title now, but I do remember opening that short story one day and writing on it until it became a chapter. And then I wrote another chapter. And another. Until I was writing a book.
SEX, DOUG, AND A ROCKY ROAD wasn’t my first novel. No, by the time I’d delved into Ellie Johnson’s snarky world of Las Vegas housewifery, I’d found a home in the e-publishing world writing romantic comedy. But I still I had a partial novel written, and this book baby, this very novel now exclusively available through Amazon.com, is what I submitted to my now literary agent.
For those of you who love the Broken Heart world, who love the vampires and werewolves and paranormal creatures who populate the little town in Oklahoma, can thank SEX, DOUG, AND A ROCKY ROAD. Truly. Because without my agent, I would’ve never written I’M THE VAMPIRE, THAT’S WHY, much less sold it.
In fact, I was writing madly on SEX, DOUG, AND A ROCKY ROAD, attempting to finish it when I came up with the idea for Broken Heart. I stopped, wrote the partial for the vampire series, and when I got the two-book deal, I abandoned this project for six glorious years of writing about Broken Heart vampires and their assorted otherworldly kin.
So, I’ve come full circle. I opened up this book, and rewrote it, updated it, and finished it. It’s not paranormal. It’s not set in the future or the past. No one has superpowers (unless you count snark). It’s about a woman whose life implodes and the hysterical way she picks up the pieces and builds a new life. Sometimes, we willingly create change. But most of the time, change marches into our lives and takes us hostage until we find ourselves being strengthened by struggles we did not choose. And that is Ellie’s story. In some ways, it’s also mine. And probably yours, too.
SEX, DOUG, AND A ROCKY ROAD
By Michele Bardsley, National Bestselling Author
Ellie Johnson is a Las Vegas housewife dealing with the fallout of her husband’s affair with a big-boobed Australian. As she goes from married to unmarried, Ellie embarks with her best friend on a happiness journey that is messy, chaotic, and fraught with ice cream and booze. A lot of booze. Then there’s Doug. You know, the ex-boyfriend who wants to take up with Ellie where they left off more than fifteen years ago. Sometimes, life is the luck of the draw. And sometimes, life is Sex, Doug, and a Rocky Road.
I heard the front door open as I headed downstairs. I stumbled, grabbed the rail, and landed hard on my slinky black heels. The left one broke and flew off, tumbling down the stairs. Shit. I yanked off the shoes and threw them after the heel.
The living room lights clicked on then Stan appeared at the bottom of the staircase, holding his briefcase in one hand and the comforter in the other.
“Honey? Why is the—” He looked at me, his mouth agape. “Wow. What did I forget?”
“Your wedding vows.”
For a moment, I glimpsed the man I fell in love with. Brown eyes, brown hair, shy smile. A little absent-minded. A lot detail-oriented. All these years I’d loved him. Maybe I still did. My heart squeezed in my chest. What if … what if he had a twin he never told me about and that’s who was holding the blonde? What if it was his doppelganger? And here, I’d be accusing him of adultery.
He stared at me, his expression one of confusion and concern. He put down his briefcase and the comforter, and took a step up.
“Stop right there, Stan. Don’t you get anywhere near me.”
“Ellie, what’s going on? You’re acting weird.”
I stifled a laugh. I felt hysterical. Stan looked more and more bewildered.
“I know about your affair. I want a divorce. I’m keeping the house, my car, and half your income. You can have the comforter and those ugly purple sheets. Now get out.”
He looked hilarious. Like he’d suddenly realized he was dealing with a mentally-impaired person and he needed to find the right tone and action to soothe her. Then what I had said infiltrated his thick head and he paled.
“Wait a minute, honey. An affair? Who told you that?”
I spun around and ran up the stairs and into our bedroom. I heard Stan’s footsteps behind me. My heart pounded so hard, I thought it would beat right out of my chest. I grabbed the folder full of incriminating evidence and clutched it against myself like a shield.
Stan entered the bedroom, flicked on the light, and advanced toward me. “Who the hell is Mel Carver? You just can’t believe what some guy tells you about me.”
“Mel’s a private investigator. I hired him to follow you.”
I flung the folder at him. It smacked him on the arm and opened, the photos fluttering like ghostly shadows to the floor. He kneeled and picked up the one of him kissing Bimbo outside the entrance to Le Cirque.
“Oh my God.”
“Yeah. That’s right, you … you … dicklicker.” Anger filled up the hole emptied by my tears. Heaping hot helpings of it. I felt strengthened by its ferocity. “What’s the story, Stan? You’re really a spy, right? It’s your duty to screw some Russian princess to get the goods. Or maybe that guy in the photos is really your twin brother, the one you never told me about.” My chest heaved with my anguish, my breath tight and hot inside me, bundled with my anger. I pressed a fist against my mouth so that I wouldn’t cry again.
“It’s me.” He gathered up the pictures, not looking at them, just placing them carefully into the folder. “Her name is Rose McClure. I met her last year on the business trip I took to Australia. Remember?”
I put my hands on my hips and stared at him. “She’s Australian?” Like I give a fuck.
“Yes. She worked for one of our sister firms there. We spent a lot of time together working on the project and ended up in bed. I didn’t mean for it to happen, Ellie. I thought it was a one-night stand. My only mistake in our whole relationship.
“I never thought I’d see her again, but she transferred here two months later. We’ve been seeing each other ever since.” He handed me the folder. “I never meant to hurt you. I knew I needed to break it off, that if I didn’t, you’d find out. But I couldn’t. I’m a bastard. I know it.”
My anger drained away. Poof. Gone. Without its sustaining emotion, I felt adrift. What a stupid, crazy moment to realize I was still in love with Stan. That maybe, just maybe, I hadn’t been pretending all these years after all. I’d been content in the little domestic world I’d created. And Stan hadn’t been. Had he ever tried to tell me? To show me? Maybe he hadn’t realized he wasn’t content until he met Rose McClure and her beckoning breasts.
“What I have with Rose isn’t what I have with you. She’s just … Viagra on legs.”
“Oh. Why didn’t you say so? All is forgiven.”
“Ellie, I love you.”
“Stan, here’s some advice. When you love someone, don’t show it by fucking someone else. It sorta ruins the sentiment.”
“I’m sorry, baby. I’m so sorry.”
“Sorry you got caught. Don’t call me baby, honey, or—or wife. You’ve lost endearment privileges.”
“Don’t do this.”
“I didn’t. You did.”
I shoved past him and went into the closet, finding another pair of heels to wear. I grabbed my purse from the nightstand then looked at him. “I’m going out. I’ll probably pick up some young stud in a disco bar and rip off his shirt while we have wild sex. If he satisfies me, I’ll be home around midnight or so.”
“That’s not funny, Ellie.” He placed the folder on the dresser and folded his arms over his chest. His features softened into what I called his “oh-she’s-being-silly” expression. I hadn’t ever admitted it before, but Stan had one lousy sense of humor. He tolerated my wit; he smiled patiently when I joked. He shook his head in wonderment when I used sarcasm. I was really good at sarcasm, too.
“Having sex with someone else isn’t going to stop you from hurting—and it’s not going to solve our problems.”
The patronizing tone of Stan’s voice amazed me. He was playing armchair psychologist instead of guilty adulterer. Was he addressing the issue of Rose—the woman who was breaking up our marriage? No. He was addressing the issue of Ellie—the wife who was overreacting to his trysts with Rose. An icy calm enveloped me.
“We don’t have a problem, Stan. You do. Her name is Rose. Please be gone before I return.”
“I’m not leaving my own house.”
I stepped into his space and poked my finger into his chest. “Midnight. You. Cheating. Lying. Asshole.”
“Fine.” His shoulders slumped and he rubbed his face. “I will leave tonight, to give you time to think, but we’ll talk about this first thing in the morning.”
“No, we won’t.”
“Ellie, you’re being unreasonable.”
“Oh, pardon me. I didn’t mean to be unreasonable.”
SEX, DOUG, AND A ROCKY ROAD
By Michele Bardsley
Available now at Amazon! Pick up your copy today: http://tinyurl.com/sexdougrockyroad
Giveaway: Michele is giving away a 10 gift certificate to Amazon, just tell me why you want to read Sex, Doug & A Rocky Road!