Coming home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days. So, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing never to look back.
Seeking solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.
In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.
The sighs from my supposed-to-be-empty bedroom grow into moans, and my pulse thuds in my temples. I know the dark place might suck me in if I’m not careful, but I can’t stop myself from looking.
I peer through the half-open door. My husband crouches naked on the bed with his face buried between long, shapely legs. Gorgeous, oddly-familiar legs.
“Oooh, oooh,” groans the owner of the silky limbs.
“Mmm, mmmmm,” answers Jerome. His rear wags from side to side. The two bald spots in the center of his butt cheeks stare at me, and my skin tingles the way it did when I drew too close to the sparklers little Benjamin played with on the fourth of July.
The bed creaks. After twenty-six years the thing still makes the same noise. A chill winds its way up my back, and pain sears beneath my ribcage. My breaths rush in and out.
How can he? What the hell? In our bed. Today of all days.
Darkness grows, and flames erupt behind my eyelids. In a red fury, I howl and charge. I whoop again and bear down on the startled couple.
With a jolt, the name of the owner of the legs explodes into my mind.
I know Mandy. Sort of.
Jerome’s personal trainer. Mandy Malone.
I slip on the area rug and lose my balance. Oh, yes. I know Mandy. At the gym Christmas party Mandy’s hips sported a short, pink thing that appeared to be more like a headband than a skirt. The Christmas party was where I saw those legs before.
Mandy jumps out of bed and pulls the covers around her. She cowers in the corner.
I’m not proud of what I do next.
I grab a red high heel from the floor and climb to my feet. Taking aim, I hurl the shoe, but Jerome rolls away and the stiletto lands on the pillow. I reach for one of Jerome’s wing tips resting annoyingly on the floor beside a pair of red panties and matching bustier. I launch the shoe, and the ever-athletic creep dodges and leaps from the bed. A pink rubber phallus lands with a thunk, and a yowl bursts from deep within me. “Sex toys. You’re using sex toys.” My hands grasp the floor lamp and level it like a spear.
“Sof, cut it out.” Jerome’s voice quavers, and he holds his hands over his privates.
Yanking the plug from the wall, I swing the lamp in a circle with no idea of what I’m doing, acting on instinct. I run towards him, but Jerome darts out of the way. The lamp smashes into the headboard, shattering bulbs and sending the pole flying from my hands. Shards of glass cover the bed and floor.
A tiny red mini-skirt and pink tank top catch my attention. My God, she must shop in the children’s department. And what an awful color combination.
“Sof, this isn’t doing anyone any good. Can we talk?” He’s bobbing and weaving now, waiting for the next assault.
“Talk? Talk? What’s there to talk about?” My brain sizzles, and my thoughts stab mercilessly. I seize his belt from the floor and hurl it, grazing the top of his head. “Do you remember when we bought this bed?”
No answer leaves his lips.
“I do.” I snatch up his other wingtip, and this one catches him in the back. “We couldn’t afford it, but you wouldn’t take no for an answer. You said it would last a lifetime.” I rip at the all-cotton sheets, yanking them off the mattress. “I just bought these at Macy’s. I changed the bed yesterday. You told me polyester blends make you sweat. So does she!” I yell, jerking my arm towards the cowering blonde and fighting the fury twisting inside my gut.
Jerome approaches the closet. His hairy bare rear with its Orphan Annie blank orbs shines in the morning light. I tug on the curtains, and as the metal rod falls we both reach for it. He twists hard, and I let go causing him to lose his balance and send the pole clattering against the oak flooring. I swoop up the rod in a death grip and connect with the back of his knees. He falls to the rug and writhes in agony.
“Stop,” he shouts.
“Sure,” I say, launching myself on top of him and boxing his ears. “How’s this?”
He rolls to the side throwing me off, and my face plants onto the carpet. I scramble to my feet and collect the scattered clothing, stumbling down the hallway to the spare bedroom.
About the Author
Barbara Quinn is an award-winning short story writer and author of a variety of novels.
Her travels have taken her to forty-seven states and five continents where she’s encountered fascinating settings and inspiring people that populate her work.
Her many past jobs include lawyer, record shop owner, reporter, process server, lingerie sales clerk, waitress, and postal worker. She’s a native New Yorker with roots in the Bronx, Long Island, and Westchester. She currently resides with her husband in Bradley Beach, NJ and Holmes Beach, FL. She enjoys spending time with her son and his family and planning her next adventure. She wants to remind everyone that when you meet her, SHE’S NOT SHOUTING, SHE’S ITALIAN.
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