It’s not a party unless you show up…

Tot3 launch party poster

TOTLANDIA
Book 3: The Onesies/Spring

In Bookstores Now!

Coliloquy Books
978-1-937804-16-9 / 
eBook

Buy it on Amazon.com

Buy it on BN.com

 

To celebrate the launch of Totlandia: The Onesies, Book 3 (Spring),
join me for a fantabulous Twitter party, and a chance to win a free copy of Book 3!

Now is the time to ask me all your must-know questions about
Jade, Brady, Ally, Lorna, Jillian….and of course, Bettina!
I'll also be tweeting some trivia on all the Onesies moms,
and asking your opinion about some of the characters you love…and love to hate!

Looking forward to having you join me!

– Josie

@JosieBrownCA

 

____________________________

 

Spring comes in like a lamb as the exclusive
Pacific Heights Moms & Tots Club welcomes its newest members.
But that tranquility belies a storm brewing,
as new tensions and old rivalries come to a head.

The surviving moms are ready to reap the rewards of membership,
but none of them counted on club founder, Bettina Connaught Cross,
needing a pick-me-up from a bitter betrayal.
While lesser women might cry into their pillows,
Bettina finds comfort in exerting control over her domain.

With Bettina on a rampage, the new Onesies are trying to stay out of sight
long enough to deal with their own issues:
Lorna wants to tell her family about Dante’s autism,
but keeping it on her own terms could be difficult
when her hippie mom and socialite mother-in-law meet for the first time.
Jillian fights to regain her financial footing and confront her own insecurities,
finding comfort in an unexpected place.
And Ally can’t bear the thought of hurting Jade,
so she continues to bury her feelings for Brady.

But when another desperate housewife stirs the mix,
Jade could become a pawn in an even more devious game.
It’s no ordinary spring in Totlandia, as emotions build to a fury and end with a roar.

________________________________

EXCERPT

Friday, 4 January

8:14 a.m.

“What do you mean I don’t qualify for unemployment benefits?” Jillian Frederick’s hand was shaking so hard she could barely hold the phone to her ear.

It had taken her almost an hour to get more than an automated voice on the line, someone who could actually answer her questions about how to file a claim. Within that hour, her cell phone beeped because its battery was low. To top it off, someone had just texted her. No doubt the waiting text was zapping her juice as well.

“Sorry, my dear, but them’s the breaks.” The Unemployment Office clerk practically yawned in Jillian’s ear. “You worked for, like what… two months? And for minimum wage at that. What did you expect?”

“My husband left me and our two babies a few months ago. It was the only job I could find!”

“Seriously, hon, I feel for you. But I’m not Dear Abby, and the Unemployment Office isn’t your parents’ ATM.”

“This is an emergency! I may lose my house! I supported my ex-husband through college, so I’m sure my benefits from back then still count, don’t they? Listen, can you check and see how far back you can go?” 

Just then one-year-old Amelia yanked a branch of the Christmas tree so hard that three glass ornaments fell and cracked. Both she and her twin sister, Addison, wailed in union.

As Jillian scooped both girls up into her arms to cuddle them before they grabbed at the glass shards, the cell phone fell out of her hand, hitting the cold marble floor with a loud crack.

“Oh my God! Are you—are you okay?” Jillian could barely hear her own voice over her daughters’ wails.

 “I think you broke my eardrum,” the clerk finally retorted.

“I’m so sorry! One of my daughters almost pulled down our Christmas tree.” Jillian was trying with all her might to keep the tears out of her voice. “Listen, isn’t there any way to find out if those benefits are still good?”

“Yeah sure. What’s your maiden name?”

“McKeever.”

“I’ll check. Let me put you on hold again.”

Hold? Oh my God, no! My phone battery is dying, and I was on hold for forty minutes before I reached you! Can’t you just all me back? Wait!”

But it was too late. She was being serenaded by a symphonic version of the Black-Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow.”

Frustrated, Jillian fell back onto the couch. The drop in altitude left the toddlers giggling. They smacked Jillian’s face as if that would relieve her too-early-in-the-morning exhaustion. She sighed, forced her lips into a smile and wiped the tears from her eyes before opening them.

Truth be told, even if she hadn’t been canned, Jillian’s credit card bills were mounting so fast that no amount of generous tips could’ve saved her. She was now four months behind on her SUV’s payments. She hid the car in the alley behind her house so she could dodge the repo man who kept knocking on the door. As it was, she barely used the damn thing, except for Costco and Wal-Mart runs. Having rammed it repeatedly into the Porsche of her philandering soon-to-be ex, Scott, her car’s bumper now scraped her front wheels on tight turns.

Last week she had just managed to scrape together the money to pay the gas and electric bill. To keep them under fifty dollars a month, she closed off the vents in every room of her rambling mansion on Pacific Street except for the kitchen and the nursery, where for the most part Addison and Amelia slept and played, or burned used paperbacks in the old home’s fireplaces.

 She had traded the convenience of her pricey local Whole Foods and the neighborhood grocery markets on Union, Polk, and Chestnut streets for Chinatown’s vegetable markets, where produce could be purchased for less than half the price.

The thought of collecting unemployment benefits shamed her. But it was going on three weeks since she lost her job, and she had to do something, anything.

She was too proud to give up the home she had so lovingly restored. Further, it would have been one more intolerable defeat at the hands of her two-timing husband.

A commotion coming from the alley behind her house roused her from where she sat prostrate on the couch. She picked up both girls before walking to the window, just in time to see her SUV being hoisted onto a flatbed truck.

She set the girls down in their playpen and ran down the stairs and out the side door. The tow operator, a large bear of a man sporting tattoos on every inch of skin not covered by his jeans or the jacket emblazoned with Bay Area Repo, had already chained down her vehicle.

Jillian grabbed his arm. “Wait! That’s my car! Where do you think you’re taking it?”

The man shrugged. “Back to the dealership. Sorry, lady, three missed payments means they own it again.”

“How will I get around without it? It’s the only transportation I’ve got, and I have two toddlers! Please—”

He looked down at her. “Nothing I can do about it. Here’s a tip, though. Next time, disengage the GPS so we can’t find it so easily. Just sayin’.”

If only she’d known that earlier.

She watched as he backed the truck through the alleyway before gunning it down Pacific Street. Then it occurred to her that she’d left the kids alone inside. Both were now adept at catapulting themselves over the playpen’s side with a kamikaze flip they’d learned from their little gal pal, Zoe Thornton. She ran back into the house.

Too late. The girls were toddling toward the Christmas tree.

She grabbed them just before they hit the field of broken glass.

Now, for her cell phone. Where had she put it?

It took her a full five minutes before she realized she’d tossed it into the playpen with the girls. By the time she did, it was too late. The damn battery had gone dead.

She threw it back down into the playpen.

Big mistake. The girls climbed down out of her arms and into the playpen after it. She was just about to fish out all three one more time when the doorbell rang.

Who the hell could it be now? Jillian wondered. Before she opened the door, she looked through the peephole.

Scott.

She slumped up against the wall. What the hell was he doing there?

© 2013 Josie Brown. Published in 2012 by Coliloquy Books. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

 

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