Title: About Face (Love in the Suburbs #1)
Author: D.E. Haggerty
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 29, 2019
Cover Designer: Jeroen E. Spaan – Geared Training
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.
My grandma is trying to hook me up.
To be painfully specific, my seventy-five-year-old grandmother thinks a little hanky-panky would cheer me up. Direct quote. Since I’m currently living with her, I can’t escape the endless line of grandchildren of friends who keep ‘dropping by’ for dinner. Literally, I can’t escape. I can barely manage the trek to the dining room at this point.
While Grandma’s determined to find me a husband, I’m determined to learn how to walk again so I can walk away from her matchmaking skills. Spoiler alert: She has no matchmaking skills.
But then I get a brilliant idea. I can fake date my physical therapist. Only he wants a real date. Gulp. A real date with me? Is he for real? I’m no longer the stylish girl with the glamorous job. Now, I’m a woman with a shattered leg and a scarred face.
If I’m going to learn to live with my new reality and give love a chance, my attitude needs to do an about face. Easier said than done.
“Now, young man.” I chuckle. Bert is not young by anyone’s measure except Grandma’s. Based on his receding hairline and the gray tinting his beard, I’m guessing he’s somewhere in his late thirties if not older. “What’s this about you having a girlfriend?”
Bert, who just stuffed a huge portion of pork chop into his mouth, chokes but holds his hand up when Grandma stands and pulls her arm back as if to whack him on the back. He takes a drink of water and manages to swallow his food. “My grandmother Alma doesn’t approve of my relationship.”
“Why not?” Grandma asks as she sits down. “Are you a homosexual? Do you need me to talk to Alma? She should know better in this day and age than to discriminate against you gays.”
Bert starts choking all over again. This time on mere air. When he gets control of himself, he shakes his head. “Um, no. I’m not gay. I have a girlfriend,” he explains making sure to emphasize ‘girl’.
“Why doesn’t she approve of your relationship?” I ask before Grandma can start on some other inane theory.
“My girlfriend is in prison.”
My eyes widen at his answer. I can honestly admit of the dozen scenarios running through my head – drug dealer, too young, single mother – ‘girlfriend in prison’ never entered the realm of possibilities. “What’s she in for?” His lips turn down at my question. “What? Is it not proper etiquette to ask?” Like I care. I will find out what crimes his girlfriend committed.
He shrugs. “I guess I can tell you as you’ll probably never meet Shayla. She was arrested for intention to distribute drugs.”
My mouth gapes open. “Your girlfriend is a drug dealer?”
Bert’s eyes narrow on me. “No, she is not. She has a problem with addiction for which she’s being treated.”
Sure, she’s not. “Does she get treatment in prison?”
“She’s going to NA.”
I nod. NA is better than nothing I guess, although I wouldn’t be surprised if she was ordered to attend NA as part of her sentence. Wow. These blind dates are making me cynical. I take a bite of pork chop as I consider my next question. “How did you two meet?”
“Like online dating before she went to prison or…” I trail off when I see him shaking his head.
“No, I met her on this website for dating prisoners.” There’s a website for dating prisoners? People who are not in prison purposefully choose to find a prisoner to date? Fascinating. I have to find this website. Maybe his girlfriend is still listed on there.
“But you have met her in person, right?”
“Of course.” Bert smiles. “I drive down to the prison about once a month to visit her.”
I lean forward and whisper. “Can you like touch each other and kiss and stuff when you visit?” Is it rude to ask someone if they can have sex with their prisoner girlfriend at the dinner table? I sneak a peek at Grandma whose mouth is hanging open as she stares at Bert. Okay, probably not best to ask about sex then.
Bert’s face goes nuclear red. Even the tips of his ears are red. It’s kind of adorable. “Not really. But she’s out soon…” The implication is clear. He can’t wait to do the horizontal mumbo jumbo with his prisoner girlfriend.
Grandma clears her throat and stops any further questions of which I have about a gazillion. I’ve never met anyone who dated a prisoner before. I don’t think I even know anyone who’s been to jail, let alone prison. It’s fascinating.
“What about in the meantime?” Grandma asks.
“In the meantime? What do you mean?” Bert asks, but I have a sneaking suspicious where Grandma is going with this line of inquiry and I don’t like it one bit.
“Don’t you need some female companionship since your girl is … um …. unavailable?”
Oh my god! Is my grandma trying to pimp me out?
I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.