One day Nick Donovan has it all; a beautiful, pregnant wife, a nice house, a great job. The next day he is on his own, starting from scratch with nothing but a few suitcases and his old truck.
Nick flees to the opposite coast of Florida, trying to leave his ex-wife and the memories behind. But that couldn’t happen. Soon Nick finds that he is tied to Shelley in a way that he hadn’t expected. And, in her bitterness, she does everything she can to ensure his misery.
Brandy is Shelley’s opposite; wild, sensual, free-spirited. With Brandy, Nick is able to rebel against all that Shelley stands for. Brandy quickly leads Nick into a world of sex, drugs, and cash. And now Nick finds himself caught between the two worlds, desperate to stay afloat.
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Excerpt from Miami Snow
Nick had never liked Mondays, but this one felt especially bad. He had nothing to base it on, no particular reason for feeling the way he did. Still, the feeling clung to him
He stepped into the elevator behind a large woman who had apparently bathed in a vat of cheap perfume. Three men in typical business attire stepped in behind him. They all pushed the buttons for their respective floors, and stood in the awkward silence that inevitably fills any small area crammed with strangers. Nick took shallow breaths and silently cursed the makers of Jean Nate.
When the elevator doors opened for the third floor, Nick stepped out and welcomed the stale air minus the perfume. He turned left and started toward his own cubicle. Just enough space to turn around in.
Margaret, one of the long-time secretaries, stopped him mid-stride. “Mr. Styger wants to see you in his office,” she said.
Nick reflexively checked his watch. He wasn’t late. In fact, he was ten minutes early. He tried to read Margaret’s expression, but she wore the same simple smile as always. “Okay, thanks,” he said. His voice was steady, as if he did this sort of thing all the time. As if getting called to the boss’s office didn’t make him feel like he was in trouble with the high school principal.
Carol, Ron Styger’s personal secretary, sat in her padded leather chair behind a desk covered by a computer, its files opened to various spreadsheets. Her blonde-gray hair had that freshly curled look. Her makeup fell into her wrinkles, giving her face the appearance of a parched desert.
“Mr. Styger is waiting for you,” Carol said.
Nick nodded. The door leading into Styger’s office was ajar. Nick stood stiff, staring at the door, waiting for something and nothing to happen. When he realized waiting served no purpose, he knocked lightly and poked his head inside. “You wanted to see me?” he asked.
Ron Styger rose from behind his cluttered desk. He was, in many ways, the stereotypical middle-aged man. Thinning hair with splashes of gray at the temples. A belly that hung beyond his belt. Somehow, with businessmen, the belly said he could afford to indulge in expensive food and drink. Had Styger been an employee at a blue collar job, that same belly would have pronounced him lazy with a beer addiction.
“Good morning, Nick,” Styger said. “Good to see you.”
“Good morning, sir.”
“Come in. Sit down. I’d like to talk to you for a minute.”
Nick thought uh-oh but said, “Okay. Sure.”
Styger’s eyes were puffy, bloodshot. His hair had grown straggly. Nick pushed his hand through his own hair. Yes, there was definitely something about this particular Monday.
“You’re divorced, right Nick?” Styger asked.
Odd way to begin a work-related conversation. Nick let the simple answer hang in the air. He fidgeted in his seat, uncomfortable under Styger’s sudden scrutiny.
Styger’s face twisted into something like a grimace. “How long now?”
“We’ve been apart almost nine months.”
Styger nodded as if he’d been given a vital piece of information. “My wife left me recently,” he said. “For a younger man.”
Nick watched his boss, waiting for the point of this meeting. When Styger said nothing else, Nick assumed he was expected to reciprocate. Though he could not, for the life of him, figure out where this was leading. He said, “Mine left me for my best friend.”
Styger drummed his fingers against the desk. “Thirty-two years together…”
Styger’s voice trailed off. His eyes glazed over. Nick sat in the uncomfortable silence that followed. What was he supposed to do? Had he been summoned to Styger’s office for the sole purpose of commiserating?
Finally, Styger slapped his palms against his desk. “At any rate,” he said, “I didn’t bring you here to dump my problems on you. I wanted you to know that I understand. This divorce thing… Such a mess. I received a court order to verify your income.”
“Apparently your ex-wife wants to be sure that you’re not earning more than you’ve admitted to. So, in case you haven’t been completely honest with her—which, by all means, is something that I would understand—well, I thought you should know that I have to tell them what they want to know.”
Nick rubbed his temples. His head threatened to explode. “How did she even know where I work? I haven’t told her a thing.”
Styger shrugged. “It really isn’t hard information to obtain, providing you have the means and the finances. By which I mean the right lawyer.”
“Divorce. They leave us, then they act as if they have every right to all we’ve worked so hard to attain.”
Nick nodded. “Thank you, sir, for the information.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if my wife demands half of my wardrobe.” Styger sighed. “Men like us need to stick together, Nick. Divorce… I never imagined.”
Nick mumbled a few words of understanding, before escaping to his desk. His computer hummed, waiting for him. He sat there staring at the empty screen, hating Shelley so much, his skin crawled.
Thanks for reading. 🙂