Sunday, February 5, 2017

(Almost) Happily Ever After

So I am taking a hiatus from The Best Man, at least for this week, but I have something else for you.  I recently released a new book that is a sequel to The Ugly Duckling, the saga of Will and Libby. 


You can pick up a copy of the book (Almost) Happily Ever After on Amazon today!

This is from the blurb:

Libby Saunders was an ugly duckling who dreamed of a magical happily ever after.

Finally, after many, many (many) years of looking, Libby found her handsome prince who would whisk her off into the sunset on a white stallion. He wasn’t exactly the prince she had always dreamed of, but he was so much better. And they kissed and lived happily ever after.

Well… almost.

Because in real life, sometimes it’s not so easy. In real life, the prince might be a workaholic who rarely sees the light of day. Or the princess might notice she’s been off birth control for two whole years, but where are all the new little princes or princesses?

Why can’t happily ever after be as easy as it is in the fairy tales?


Also, while you can read the beginning of the book with Amazon's Look Inside feature, I'm including below a story-length excerpt of one of my favorite Libby/Will scenes from a little further along in the book. Please enjoy!

(Almost) Happily Ever After: An Excerpt



When we get outside, Will gets straight down to business. “Listen,” he says, “remember how the other day you were talking about… you know, getting pregnant?”

“Yes…” Is he going to tell me I’m pregnant? No, I’m not sure how that would be possible. Despite my utter failure in biology thus far, I know a little something about reproduction.

“So I contacted that fertility clinic where my friend went,” he says as he tugs on his tie. “They had no appointments for two months. But then… I just got a call saying they have an opening today. Like, in about half an hour. So I took it.”

“Oh.”

Wow, that happened fast.

“Obviously, I can cancel it,” he says quickly. “I just thought… I mean, there’s no point in delaying…”

“No, I agree.” I shake my head. “I’m just impressed you got us in so fast.”

“It turns out I did some legal work for the receptionist’s mother,” he explains. “I guess she was happy with the job I did.”

I swear to God, I think Will has done legal work for half the city at this point. A few weeks ago, I went to pick up a Hawaiian pie at our favorite pizza place, and the guy wouldn’t let me pay. “No charge for Will Kaplan,” he insisted as I held out some bills. It turns out Will helped them out with some legal advice (free of charge) and now I guess we get free pizza for life? Pretty good deal.

Will has his car, so he drives us to the fertility clinic, which is in one of those state of the art new buildings with a shiny glass automatic door. Everything inside reeks of “expensive”—from the shimmering gold pillars to the ridiculously impractical wavy benches to the shimmering blue orb hovering above us. Will’s wheels glide effortlessly across the gleaming floor. He fits right in with his fancy suit, but I feel ridiculously underdressed in my Reid-repelling outfit.

“Do I have time to change?” I ask Will as I tug on the hem of his T-shirt that I appropriated.

“You look fine,” he says vaguely.

“Oh my God, I do not look fine!” Is he kidding me? Sometimes I think Will doesn’t even look at me. Once I had a piece of spinach stuck in my teeth for at least an hour and he claims he had no idea. “I look awful.”

Will looks me over, from my baggy jeans to my oversized shirt to my messy ponytail and glasses. He gets this grin on his face. “You’re wearing my T-shirt. It looks cute on you.”

Oh brother.

Considering I don’t have anything to actually change into, I give up on the whole thing. The doctor will just have to think I’m a slob.

We head into the waiting room of the clinic, which also reeks of newness and expense. I look around to see two other couples waiting. I’d been hoping maybe since Will told me his disabled friend had used the clinic, I might see another patient in a wheelchair. But no—everyone looks entirely able-bodied. And crazy rich.

Will checks us in at the front desk and returns with two clipboards full of paperwork for us to fill out. I’m glad we’re early, because I very well might need the rest of my life to fill out these forms. I can’t believe how much information they need about me. Did my mother deliver vaginally or C-section? Do I have a history of eye allergies? Who has been my primary physician for the last ten years? What do these people want from me—my blood?

Hmm. Actually, they might want my blood. That probably wouldn’t be unreasonable.

It’s a small miracle that I’ve gotten through my forms when a nurse calls us into the back, leading us down a long hallway. Will strains a bit as he pushes his chair on the carpeting, looking increasingly nervous. We end up in an office, with a dark brown wooden desk and two chairs in front of it. The nurse pulls one chair out of the room so that Will has room for his own chair, then leaves us to wait.

I glance over at Will, who is staring at what appears to be a three-dimensional model of the female anatomy. “Getting turned on?” I ask him.

He smiles thinly and tugs on his tie.

Dr. Theresa Powell turns out to be a tiny, dynamic appearing woman with sharp black eyes behind black-rimmed spectacles. She looks like the kind of woman who would get you pregnant no matter what—even if she had to jam the baby in there herself. As she settles down in front of her desk, she doesn’t even glance at the paperwork I so painstakingly filled out, but pulls out a sheet of her own.

“Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan?” she asks us.

We both nod. Technically, I’m not Mrs. Kaplan yet. But I’m not going to correct her.

“So how long have you been trying for a baby?” she asks us.

She certainly gets right to the point.

“We haven’t been trying, exactly,” I say. “But… well, we haven’t been not trying. For a while. But just, like, in a general sort of way.”

Will gives me a funny look, then turns to Dr. Powell. “Libby’s been off birth control for close to two years.”

Dr. Powell nods curtly. “At your age, Mrs. Kaplan, we do testing after failing to conceive for six months.”

At my age? Christ, am I really that old?

“However…” She holds up a thin hand with strong-looking fingers. “There are obviously extenuating factors here.” She sets her gaze on Will.

He shifts in his wheelchair. “I heard… I mean, I was told that you had experience with patients who are… who have spinal cord injuries.”

“That’s correct,” Dr. Powell says. She looks him up and down, and I can see his ears growing pink. “What sort of injury do you have?”

He rubs his knees. “It’s a T10 complete injury.”

He once explained to me what that means. The “T10” refers to where the injury is—right at the tenth thoracic vertebrae, at the level of his belly button. The “complete” means that the nerve connections in his spinal cord were completely severed, that he has no feeling or movement whatsoever below that level.

Dr. Powell makes a notation on her paperwork. “Yes, I’ve had several patients with similar injuries. Tell me, are you able to ejaculate?”

He glances at me, then shakes his head. “No.”

“Never?”

He shakes his head again. “Never.”

“What about during masturbation?” she asks.

Will honestly looks like he wants to crawl under the desk right now. “I don’t…” he mumbles. “I mean, that’s not something I do. There’s no point…”

“Well, it might be worth trying,” Dr. Powell says. “Masturbation can provide a more intense stimulus than sexual intercourse.”

“Okay, sure. I’ll try it.” He snorts slightly. “It’s been a while…”

“Do you get autonomic dysreflexia?” she asks.

Whatever that is. He shakes his head no.

“Good,” she says. “So go ahead and give that a try. And if that’s unsuccessful, the next step I’d like to try would be high amplitude penile stimulation.”

“That sounds dangerous,” I remark. It seems like something you’d see on bright red lettering on a chain-linked fence. Caution: High Amplitude Penile Stimulation!

Dr. Powell smiles. “Not at all. It basically just involves applying a vibrator to the head of the penis to stimulate ejaculation. It’s something that could be done at home, but I’d like you to do it here so that we could test the sperm sample.”

Will nods, a resigned look on his face. “Okay, fine. So say that works. Then what?”

“Let’s see how energetic those sperm are,” Dr. Powell says. “But I think intrauterine insemination would be our best bet.”

Intrauterine insemination?

When she sees the blank look on my face, she adds, “That involves inserting a small catheter directly into the uterus to deposit the sperm.”

Oh my God…

Wow. Who knew having a baby would be so much work?
_____

After we finish our consultation with Dr. Powell, Will makes an appointment for himself for “sperm retrieval.” I thought the two of us would be pumped after this appointment, but we barely talk on the way home. Will turns on the radio, which he never does because usually we can’t shut up when we’re together.

“I’m sorry,” Will finally said, when we’re about a mile away from home.

I frown at him. “Why are you sorry?”

“Because,” he says, “you wouldn’t have to go through this shit with any other guy. Any other guy would have knocked you up two years ago.”

“Well, I wasn’t ready to have a baby two years ago,” I point out. “So really, you just saved me money on two years of birth control.”

Will doesn’t smile.

I rub his shoulder, even though I know he’s using his arm to work the hand controls on his car, and I probably shouldn’t distract him. “We don’t need to use that clinic, you know,” I say. “Dr. Powell said we could buy one of those penis vibratory thingies and do it ourselves at home. We could do it together.” I wink at him. “Could be fun.”

“No,” he says so sharply that I jump. “I’ll do it there.”

I pull my hand away. “Fine. Whatever you want.”

He sighs. “I’m sorry, Libby. I just feel really crappy about the whole thing. It just makes me feel like such a loser that I have to go through all this.”

I don’t know what to say, so I’m quiet as Will pulls into the parking garage below his building. He parks in one of the handicapped spots near the elevators, but then doesn’t make a move to unbuckle his seatbelt.

“Will?”

He stares at the steering wheel for a minute, his eyes glassy, rubbing his hands over his knees. “Do you still find me attractive?”

“Oh my God, Will.” I smack him in the arm—I can’t help myself. “What’s wrong with you? Why would you ask me that?”

He still won’t look at me. “Because I seriously don’t know how you could be listening to that conversation I had with Dr. Powell and not feel disgusted.”

“Will you quit it?” I tug on his arm until he looks at me. “Of course I find you attractive. I don’t know how you could say that? You’re this, like, crazy sexy lawyer who is like Superman, helping everyone I know with their legal battles. You know how hot that is?”

He relents with a small smile. “Usually it’s something dumb that takes me like fifteen minutes to sort through.”

“Only because you’re so brilliant.” I look him in his nice brown eyes. “Trust me, Will. There’s nothing you could ever do to make me disgusted with you. Ever.”

As Will leans forward and presses his soft lips against mine until I melt against him, I don’t have a clue that I am one-hundred percent, completely and utterly wrong.


Buy a copy of (Almost) Happily Ever After on Amazon today!

10 comments:

  1. Yeah! Bought it! Thanks for making my day!

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    1. Thanks! I tried my best to do their story justice.

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  2. Thank you for the excerpt, I'll go straight to the Libby & Will's story Vol.2 and start reading it!

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    1. Thanks! Let me know what you think!

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  3. I love the taste! Next, for the meal . . .

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  4. Yea! Bought it, read it, and actually reviewed it. And... this girl wants book 3. I need to see that family expand!
    Tc

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    1. Thanks so much for that! I haven't decided about a book 3. Probably not, unless this is somehow wildly popular.

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    2. What????? But I have to know if they become parents!!! ������

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  5. Bought it and stayed up way too late reading it right away. Will be reading it again and again. More please!!

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