Voodoo Kiss, p.20Jayde Scott
I hate that word. It's almost as bad as saying you're a divorced female and nearing forty. "No, don't you dare change the garden." I smile and whisper, "Why mess with perfection?"
"You'll take it?" He looks stunned, as though he doesn't believe his luck.
I nod, wondering whether I'm making a mistake here. Just as I'm considering whether to tell him I'll sleep over it, my phone beeps and I read the text message:
Don't you bail out on me!!! Xoxo
Mel must be psychic. Or she has a listening device planted in the second-hand Louis Vuitton handbag she gave me for my last birthday.
I smile, only then noticing Ben's still awaiting my confirmation. "When shall we sign the papers?" I ask.
"Right now?" He pulls out a bunch of documents and presses them into my hands, saliva almost dripping down his chin. I force myself to read through the tiny print that I usually tend to skip and sign the dotted line. Then I pull out an envelope filled with banknotes. Ben sucks on his fingertips before he starts counting. I turn away, disgusted.
Eventually, he smiles and dangles three sets of keys from his fingers. "Congratulations on your new business. What's it called?"
My insides turn hot and cold as I peer at him from under mascaraed lashes. "The Divorce Club."
I'm supervising the delivery guy who's just arrived with a huge stack of print paper and other office stuff, an intern from a local newspaper who's supposed to be interviewing me but has no idea what she's doing, and my chattering daughter who's talking to her first boyfriend. I should be focusing on the interview because the success of my business depends on the publicity I receive, but I can't help tune in to Sam's gushing over the boy.
A finger taps on my shoulder and I turn around. Mel's standing behind me, her straight, glossy, golden hair bouncing against her skinny shoulders, her pearly whites on full display as she says, "Who's Sam talking to? She's fidgeting like a bird caught in the rain."
"Her boyfriend." I cock an eyebrow.
Mel's jaw drops in a most unflattering way. Her forehead remains smooth. I suspect she had yet another Botox session without telling me because she knows I worry about all the poison she's injecting into her skin. "Is she even old enough to have one? In my days we gals could call ourselves lucky if we were allowed to speak to boys before the age of eighteen."
I laugh. "You don't look like you were born in the Middle Ages." The delivery guy tosses another stack of papers on the floor and I shout, "Hey, why did you even bother to climb up the stairs when you could've thrown in the parcels through the window?"
I'm not usually such a sour puss, but my last nickel went out on a stapler and several flowerpots from the local bargain store. I can't afford to print out my correspondence and invoices on smudged paper.
Mel elbows me in the ribs and hisses, "What did I tell you about bitching and journalists, darling?"
All right, I forgot. I smile and offer the delivery guy a coffee, but it's too late. Smelling the possible success coming from rummaging through other people's garbage cans, the intern girl starts scribbling.
"We can't do that. Mom would go ballistic," Sam says. What would make me ballistic? I turn sharply, narrowing my eyes as I try to catch what my daughter's talking about, but she just giggles and walks away.
"How are you going to keep that from Greg?" Mel asks.
I roll my eyes. "Luckily, I won't have to because he's gone incognito. He owes me child support for the last three months."
"The bastard," Mel hisses. "You should try voodoo."
The doorbell rings, startling me. I nod my head toward intern girl. "Can you take over?"
"Sure." Mel shrugs, flashes her PR diva grin and strolls toward the girl like a spider enclosing a fly trapped in a net. For a woman dressed in a tight pencil skirt, she moves with surprising speed and agility. I've no doubt Mel will have a fabulous time.
I open the door and let in a petite redhead, plump in all the right places. For a moment, I can't peel my eyes off her generous cleavage, wondering how much she paid for it. I'm even temped to ask for the doc's number, but then I remember Sam needs orthodontic braces more than I need a pair of double Ds. What's she doing here? What man would actually divorce breasts like hers?
"Is this the Divorce Club?" the redhead whispers conspiratorially as though she's talking about buying an illegal joint in the semi-lit backroom of a shady bar.
"Welcome and thanks for coming." Straightening my back, I nod and point at a sofa still covered in plastic foil. "We'll be opening in half an hour. Please take a seat."
I remove the plastic wrapping and start stacking my office supplies in a cheap cupboard. By nine a.m. the reception area looks quite nice. The floor's no longer obstructed by boxes, my desk's free of any clutter and the light shining through the windows casts a golden glow on the obviously fake flowerpots.
As I mentally brace myself for the speech that Mel prepared for me, the doorbell rings again and more women I don't know flood in. The room's starting to fill up. I flick through my papers, but don't look up because my heart's pumping hard in my chest. Doubt starts to nag at the back of my mind. God, what was I thinking? I was a housewife. Cooking and cleaning defined my identity for the last twelve years. Consequently, I know nothing about running a business, or mixing with the clientele, or even about getting people to sign up as clientele.
Mel appears behind me and squeezes my elbow whispering, "You'll kick butt. I know you can do it."
No idea why she has this immense trust in me when I feel like my knees have just turned to jelly and my tongue's stuck to the back of my throat. From the corner of my eye I notice Sam giving me the thumbs up and I realize I have two options. Either I suck it up and just do it, or I pack my things, close shop and give Greg the self-satisfaction that I can't earn a living without him.
Taking a deep breath, I step in the middle of the room and raise a cheap champagne glass. "Ladies, thank you so much for being here today." My voice starts shaky, threatening to break any moment, but I continue, "I'm Sarah, thirty-four, and divorced with a wonderful daughter. During my long divorce from my two-timing ex-husband, I often debated whether to take him back because I must've done something to deserve his straying. I often wished I could rely on someone to guide me through those moments when I felt worthless."
Mel starts clapping and the others join in. I smile at the sympathetic faces and hold up a hand. "The Divorce Club's here to offer women moral support through their divorces. But our little group is much more than that."
I grab a stack of colorful brochures Mel designed a while back and hand them out as I speak, now fully confident as I gaze at the interested faces. "One membership option includes the full benefits package: weekly meetings, one-on-one counseling, advice on how to deal with single life, filing for child support, learning to let out your anger and rebuilding self esteem, polishing your social skills and a 24/7 hotline. We'll help you get a job and create a personalized battle plan uniquely designed to suit your needs. If you're moving, we'll help you pack and unload. If he's the one moving, we'll help you throw his belongings out the window."
Laughter fills the room. I smile.
"If you have difficulties getting the hubby to sign the papers, we'll come up with a strategy to get the leech out of your life." I raise my brows meaningfully. "And if you sign up today you'll get the full benefit package at half the membership price. Once again, thank you so much for coming. Mel and I will be happy to answer your questions."
"What do you mean by arrangements? You're not talking about hiring thugs, are you?" the redhead asks.
I laugh and the others join in, but I can sense the sudden uneasiness. "Of course not. We're not a gang. What I meant was transforming you into something he no longer wants. We'll use psychology, undercover work and female intuition."
Several heads bob and ahs and ohs echo through the room. Mel takes over as I walk to my desk with a few women following behind, some still clutching their brochures, o
End of sample. The Divorce Club is available now in all ebook stores.
Bewitched by Jayde Scott…coming soon
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Jayde Scott, Voodoo Kiss
Voodoo Kiss by Jayde Scott / Romance & Love / Young Adult / Mystery & Detective have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes