excerpt from the book:
What are you drinking?” came a voice from behind. I stopped picking at the corner of my cocktail napkin and turned on my barstool.
“Excuse me?” My mind was transfixed on the Spokane company the firm was working on landing, Hoppeller, Inc. I’d done what I thought was a smashing job during my branding team’s main pitch that afternoon in the hotel’s stuffy conference room, but now that I was seated at the hotel’s bar, spending time pondering the day’s events, I wasn’t so sure.
“What’s your poison?” It was Paul Mackenzie, the handsome executive. He’d done a fine job with his team that morning. If we were going to lose the Spokane deal, it wouldn’t be because of his performance.
“Oh, white wine spritzer,” I said. “Lame, I know.”
He took an uninvited, although not unwelcome, seat next to me and asked the bartender for a martini, extra dry.
“You sound so down. Someone die?” he asked. He gave me a wink. His blue eyes were beautiful.
“Oh, I’m thinking about the pitch today. I really hope we—I mean I didn’t screw it up. I want Hoppeller.”
“We all do. It’s a big account. Haven’t had one like this since late last year, I think.” Paul took a draw of his martini as soon as it arrived. “I don’t think you sucked it up. I think you did a fantastic job. But you always do, Lara.”
“Ha! You’re being nice.” I took a sip of my own drink. “We rarely ever work together. What do you mean I ‘always do’?”
“Well, from what I’ve seen, you always do fine work. I tell you, if half the people on my team were as committed as you, Cooperton would be far more profitable. You’re a pit bull.”
“Now there’s a compliment every woman loves to hear.” I said with a small grin.
“I thought a big career woman like yourself would find that to be complimenting.”
I sensed a hint of flirtation in his voice, and I liked it. Yes, I wasn’t one to go against my anti-workplace-relationship stance, but I was also dry on the relationship front. I hadn’t had a single date in months. I hadn’t had a boyfriend in what seemed like forever. Zero serious prospects in years. So what was a little shameless flirting going to do, even if he was a co-worker? Besides, he was the flattering and complimenting party here. He approached me. I was just minding my own business, mulling over the day’s suddenly dismal events. I was slowly putting on my drunk girl goggles. A girl can always blame them.
“If pit bull is a little rough, how about firecracker?” he said.
I raised my eyebrows bewilderingly. Was he serious? Was he trying to amend the feminist faux pas situation or take this flirting thing to a new level?
“Firecracker?” I asked, slightly dubious. “Firecracker?”
He smiled slyly and I felt tiny butterflies flutter in my stomach.
He leaned into the bar on his elbows, then over to his right, closer to me. “Yeah, firecracker,” he said coyly. “Lara, you were a firecracker back there. You’ve done the firm proud.”
“Well,” I said, shifting somewhat uncomfortably in my seat. “I wouldn’t go that far. But I’ll take this ‘firecracker’ thing as a compliment.”
“As you should.”
I gave him a half-smile, thinking how precarious the situation was getting. Then rational Lara—good old, reliable, and rational Lara—popped up in my mind.
You’re at a bar. You’re drinking. You’re on a work-related trip. Talking—no—flirting, with a co-worker. It’s time to set down the wine glass and go to bed. It’s back to the office tomorrow. Business is business.
“I think I’m going to turn in for the night,” I said wisely, giving in to my sensible side. “Have a good one, Paul.”
He gave me another wink and bid me good night, before telling me, “Sweet dreams, firecracker.”
Guest Blog Post
One of the most fun things about writing is the creation (and development) of the supporting cast, or the secondary characters, or, loosely quoting one of my favorite rom coms, The Holiday, “There’s the leading lady and then there’s the best friend.”
Each novel in my When Girlfriends… collection is told from the perspective of one of the six women in their eclectic group of best friends. While each novel gives one lady a chance to take on her leading role, the rest of her friends are certainly right there next to her. They’re playing important, special, and often integral parts in the story. Just like our own BFFs in real life.
I mean, imagine going wedding dress shopping without your friends there to help you slip in and out of all those ruffly gowns? (And tell you which ones should definitely be returned to the wrack!) What would the world be like if you didn’t have someone with whom you could watch guilty pleasures like The Bachelor? What on earth would happen if you were pulling your hair out because that guy from that place the other day still hadn’t called back and you needed a sound mind to calm you down (and maybe take you out to catch a rom com to get your mind off things)? From the small to the monstrous, the supporting cast—those best friends—can push forth the plot and make for a very fun story just as much as the leading lady herself.
In When Girlfriends Make Choices, the leading lady Lara Kearns finds herself in a really wretched situation—falling in love and carrying on a relationship with a married man. At first, Lara, a strong-willed and high-powered career woman, thinks she can figure out what her head and heart want on all her own. She quickly realizes, however, that her friends are there to help and she needs them desperately. They want to help because they simply want what’s best for Lara, and sometimes the best friends can see that a bit more clearly than the leading lady herself. Sometimes those best friends are there to commiserate with her, sometimes to give her a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes just to tell her to buck up and get her act together already!
Without her friends (and a little help from her therapist), where would Lara be in such a difficult situation? Every girl needs that best friend or that group of fab girlfriends she can turn to for anything from a fun afternoon out to sage advice when the world seems to crumble. “There’s the leading lady and then there’s the best friend,” and no chick lit is complete without a healthy dose of both!
My interview with Savannah:
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a Southern Californian expat living in Berlin, Germany with my husband (and hopefully some day soon a Puggle because every writer needs a cute canine companion). If I’m not writing or enjoying a good book, I’m probably doing Pilates or yoga, desperately trying to grow plants on the apartment balcony, blogging about wedding flowers (my other super awesome job), watching Office or Frasier re-runs, or trekking around my fabulous home city.
How did you come up with this story?
I love a sappy love story or a feel-good chick lit just as much as the next girl, but I also love the kind of book that pushes the envelope or makes you think about an issue in a different light. For a long time I’ve wanted to write a more provocative chick lit about “the other woman.” About what happens when the protagonist falls in love with a man who’s already taken. When Girlfriends Make Choices has been my most challenging book I’ve written so far, but it’s hands down my favorite.
What are you working on now?
A couple weeks ago I released the fourth novel in the When Girlfriends… collection: When Girlfriends Chase Dreams. I am really excited for readers to follow Claire as she plans her wild wedding! That book was a ton of fun to write!
Currently, I’m working on the fifth novel in the collection, which is set to release in summer 2013. This one is all about globe-trekking Emily and her inability (or…reluctance?) to find a meaningful and lasting relationship. Again, another fun one to write.
What character was the hardest to write and which one was the most fun?
Lara Kearns, the leading lady in When Girlfriends Make Choices, was a tough cookie to write. I had a good idea of her admirable strengths thanks to the previous book, When Girlfriends Step Up. Lara’s a reliable and dedicated best friend to Robin, the protagonist in that book, but discovering her weaknesses was a tough one when it came time to write her story. Kind of like her slow move towards finally making a choice about her love life, Lara slowly revealed her weaknesses and her story to me as I wrote. It was tough and slow-going at points, but very fulfilling. It’s always neat to see characters reveal themselves during the writing process, especially when they act in ways you didn’t anticipate.
My most fun character to write is the care-free, wild-child, over-the-top and full-on drama queen, Jackie Anderson. Her story has yet to be to be told, but whenever I incorporate her into each When Girlfriends… novel I get so excited. She’s funny, crazy, and outspoken, but she’s also insecure and damaged. She’s a complex and kind of tortured character, but I just adore her. Jackie’s story will be told after Emily’s and I’m planning on releasing that later this year. I can’t wait!!
Do you have a favorite comfort read?
I give Emily Giffin and the Harry Potter series many return reads. When I read EG I feel like I’m taking to the city with my best girlfriends! And an afternoon at Hogwarts? Those afternoons quickly turn into evenings and, well, there’s no hopping back on the Express to leave. :)
If you could live in any book what one would you choose and why?
I have a ton of Paris-based books (Le Divorce, The Sweet Life in Paris, Paris to the Moon) and whenever I dive into one I immediately want to be a character in the story. Paris (closely tied with Berlin) is by far my most favorite city I’ve ever visited. It’s the ideal city for a romance, a chick lit, a mystery, a memoir… Paris is just magical and it’s like that little black dress: It’s ideal for all occasions! Naturally I’m very excited to set one of my When Girlfriends… novels there soon!
My review of the book:
Lara is career oriented and wants to move up in her job. She seems to know what she wants and how to get it until she meets Paul. Her and Paul start to date and things were going good for them, she was starting to fall in love. Then she finds out that Paul isn't who he said he was and that he is married and has to children as well. Lara is torn on what to do because she loves him and wants to be with him. Thats when her girlfriends step in and try to get her back on track and tell her what she is doing isnt right even though she doesn't want to hear it. All she can think about is Paul and the love she has for him.
Torn between right and wrong she knows what she has to do but doesn't want to let go of something she has wanted for so long.
This is a Fantastic book about the love you share with your girlfirends and how they are they to help you through the good and the bad.
I loved this book and am glad I had the chance to read it!
Savannah Page is the author of the continuing When Girlfriends… collection and her travelogue and first book, Bumped to Berlin. When she isn’t writing, Savannah enjoys a good book with a latte and jazz tunes, Pilates, and exploring her home of Berlin as an American expat.
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