Life's a Beach [Secure]
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eBook by Claire Cook
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: From the author of Must Love Dogs comes another sparkling romantic comedy about a relationship-challenged single woman, her quirky-to-put-it-mildly extended family, and the summer the shark movie came to town. Life's a bit of a beach these days for Ginger Walsh, who's single at forty-one and living back home in the family FROG (Finished Room Over Garage), who's hoping for a more fulfilling life as a sea glass artist, but instead is babysitting her sister's kids. Toss in a dumpster-picking father, a Kama Sutra T-shirt wearing mother, a movie crew come to town with a very cute gaffer, an on-again-off-again glassblower boyfriend, plus a couple of Red Hat realtors, and hilarity ensues. The perfect summer read, Life's a Beach is a warm, witty, and wise look at what it takes to move forward at any stage in life.
eBook Publisher: Hyperion e-books/Hyperion
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2007
I WAS SQUEAKY CLEAN AND MY HAIR HAD BEEN CONDITIONED for at least two of the suggested three minutes when the water went cold. I did a quick rinse, then turned the faucet off. The plastic shower curtain moved a few inches, and a clean white towel magically appeared. Noah had already left when I woke up, but maybe he'd only made a breakfast run. Or maybe he just couldn't stay away. I smiled.
"Here you go," my mother said from the other side of the curtain.
I screamed. I wrapped myself in the towel and stepped out of my tiny square shower and practically into my mother. "Jesus, Mom, I thought you were . . . someone else."
"Noah? He left at six-twenty-five this morning. And tell him to watch that pebble business or he'll break a window." My mother started dabbing my shoulders with another towel.
My mother kept dabbing. There were no limits in our family. I could clearly remember sitting in the bathtub with a book one night when I was ten or eleven. My sister, Geri, had already gone off to college, and my parents had company for dinner. Suddenly, the door opened and four adults looked in at me and my bubbles. "Say good night to Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien," my mother said.
Today, my mother was wearing her GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN T-shirt, and a couple of tiny beaded braids in her thick gray hair made her look like she'd just come back from the Caribbean. I was kind of wishing she were there now. "Listen," she said, "your father and I have found the townhouse of our dreams. The Village of Silver Springs. Fitness center with personal trainers, billiards, bingo, indoor boccie ball, salsa lessons. You know how your father loves to dance."
"It's not just a townhouse, it's a lifestyle," a strange voice said.
I peeked behind my mother to see two women wearing red hats. They were measuring what I liked to think of as my carriage house with a bright yellow tape measure. My cat watched silently from the rumpled sheets of my still-pulled-out sleeper sofa.
On my best days, I could convince myself that, with me at the far end of my parents' driveway, and my sister and her family about a mile away, we had our own little Kennedy compound. On my worst days, I had to admit that I lived in an apartment over my parents' garage.
The women waved. I hiked my towel up a little higher. "Mom," I whispered, "get them out of here. Now."
My mother reached down and scratched my cat under his chin. She said, "Hi, handsome," and he purred his acknowledgment. She nudged yesterday's bra, which had somehow ended up in the middle of the floor, with her toe. "You're going to have to start keeping things a little bit neater around here, honey."
One of the women, the one wearing a jeweled red visor, didn't seem to be the least bit bothered by the fact that I was dripping all over the apartment she was trying to help my mother sell right out from under me. In fact, she acted like I wasn't even there. "A FROG is a nice bonus feature," she said. "Everybody loves a FROG."
"Excuse me," I said, not that it was any of her business. "But, actually, it's not a Finished Room Over the Garage. It has a bath and a kitchen, which makes it technically more of a carriage house."
Everybody ignored me. "If you bury a statue of St. Joseph in the ground," the visor woman said, "the house will get scooped up right away. Guaranteed."
"Mom," I said with every bit of outrage I could muster without dropping my towel. I wondered if telling these women this wasn't a legal rental unit would make them lose interest, or if it would only get me in trouble with my mother.
"You have to be careful how you bury it," the other woman said. Her hat had a frothy drape of red netting that covered her eyes, so maybe I really was invisible to her. "My cousin said she faced hers away from the house when she buried it, and the house across the street sold instead."
"Upside down and facing the house is the way to go," the other woman said. "If he's upside down, that way St. Joseph will work extra hard to get out of the ground and onto the mantel of your new townhouse."
My mother was actually nodding, as if these two trespassing red-hatted women were not completely and certifiably insane. "Well," I said loudly, "I don't want to keep you. Sounds like you'd better get over to the mall fast before they run out of statues."
Now they were all nodding, so I started inching my mother toward the door, hoping the other two would follow. They did, though the first woman had unfortunately mastered the art of walking and talking at the same time. "But," she said, "for St. Joseph to be fully effective, you also have to do all the necessary fix-ups, price the house to reflect the current market, and of course, properly stage the home. Cut flowers, cookies baking in the oven, some pine-scent potpourri. Then you add the statue."
We were almost there. My mother leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek, and I reached past her to open the door. "Sorry we have to run," she said.
"Not a problem," I said as I hiked my towel up again.
"We'll catch up later, honey."
"You bet we will," I said.
Copyright © 2007 Claire Cook.