Handbag and Book with
I have a bag fetish. I can’t walk past a sale table in Macys’ without stopping. On weekend getaways or vacations, no boutique will go unexplored. Frankly, off the beaten path in little towns on the beachfront is where I’ve found my greatest treasures. My husband swears I have a new bag every week, but so not true. Cough! Cough!
I am fussy about the style of bag I’ll carry. No clutches, totes, satchels, no drawstrings, no bucket-bags. For me, it must be a Crossbody or Messenger bag big enough for an on-the-go wristlet, and strap for a hair clip. It’s hands-free for me.
My latest I bag was a Christmas gift from me-to-me. It’s Italian. It’s a Crossover. And it’s roomy. The bag fairy made sure I found it. I owe her big time.
When Stella Delray unexpectedly loses her job a week before Christmas, which is also the anniversary of her husband’s death, she is forced to stop talking to his ashes, come to terms with her loss, and get her life back on track for her young son’s sake as well as her own. She never expected that posting an ad on Craigslist would send her into the arms of not one but two men, one of whom is her former boss. Now she’s working as an admin for a retired Broadway star, bookkeeping for an erotic video production company, and writing love letters for the mysterious "Oaklander." Adding to the craziness of her new life, her monster-in-law resurfaces and the father-in-law she never met shows up on her doorstep. With the guidance of her best friend, Bono, Stella will learn to redefine the rules she’s always lived by.
Focus, Stella, the little voice shouts. There’s enough cash in the bank to last six months. This is not a good time to be unemployed. As if there is ever a good time, I whine inside.
“Stella, did you hear me? Are you okay?” A touch of worry sails through the wires and lands like a thud on the counter.
I hit the mute button to block the dry sob growing behind my breastbone. Breathe, one thousand-one, one thousand-two, one thousand-three, one thousand-four, hold for six counts. I grip the edge of the counter, which keeps me rooted to the kitchen floor and from drowning in the acid panic flooding my veins. Damn. I’m losing my job. Ava will come after Santi again. Damn. Stop! Don’t you dare cry on the phone in front of a man, especially not Jack. Inner Stella swoops in and takes control.
“Stella?” His voice is no longer a whisper. I unmute the phone. “Yes, I’m here.”
“Is everything okay? Did you hear what I said?”
“Yes, I heard, and I’m fine.” You jerk, what a stupid question. “The news is unexpected, of course. Thanks for the heads-up.” I need to make a graceful exit from the call. I manage to choke back my sob. “I assume our meeting is canceled. There’s probably no point in me coming into the city to talk about the business plan for next year.” Since I’ll be living in a cardboard box under the Bay Bridge, you selfish prick.
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