Author: Whitney Dineen
Series: Pity Series, #1
Publication date: May 18th 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
I should’ve known it wouldn’t work out.
In all my twenty-nine years, life has never been smooth sailing when a man was involved. Astor Hill was everything I’ve ever wanted in a partner—handsome, successful, and interested in me. Until he started cheating. The cherry on the sundae is finding out the truth less than two weeks before we’re supposed to stand up for our best friends at their wedding.
When a staggeringly good-looking and kind stranger comes to town and offers to take me to the wedding, I jump at his proposal. Who cares if he’s gay? Astor doesn’t need to know that.
She thinks I’m gay?!
I’m taking a vacation from Hollywood and going back to Elk Lake. My grandfather hasn’t been doing well after Gram died and he needs my support. Luckily, I’m between blockbuster movies so I can make the time.
My first stop is Rosemary’s Bakery for one of the gingersnaps I remember so fondly from my childhood. The only problem is that the girl at the counter has eaten them all. After spilling my tea on me, she bursts into tears and tells me her troubles. I should be annoyed but I’m oddly charmed.
I know what it’s like to be dumped by a cheater, so I do the only thing I can think of: I offer to take her to the wedding to make her ex jealous. Unfortunately, with the help of the tabloids, things quickly spiral out of control…
It’s Saturday, which means I’m supposed to be in Chicago. Instead, I’m sitting in my house crying. My eyes are nearly swollen shut as a result, making me look like a prize fighter who’s gone around the ring five too many times. Note to self: The post-boxing-match look does not look good on you …
I’m tempted to go into the bakery and tell GG the news about Astor. GG is Rosemary’s abbreviation for Gorgeous Grandma, which she insists on being called by her grandchildren. The only problem is there’s no going back once I tell her. And part of me is still holding out hope that Astor might come crawling back to me.
Obviously, I’d make him grovel and beg for forgiveness. He’d have to swear that Tiffany drugged him and took advantage of him. There would, of course, need to be regular flower deliveries, and he’d have to start coming to Elk Lake instead of me schlepping to Chicago. But if all that happens, maybe, just maybe, we aren’t through.
That would not be the case if GG knew what had gone down. She’d bring the cheating up every time she saw Astor, and he would never be able to get out from under her suspicions. Not that he would deserve to. The truth is, I might secretly want him to beg me to take him back just so I can make the rest of his life a living hell. Although, I’m not quite ready to admit to that. I’d like to think my intentions are pure, and we could live a beautiful life together.
I pick up my phone to call him, but quickly have second thoughts. There’s no way I can talk to him right now without spectacularly losing it. Which would negate my plan to make him jealous at Anna’s wedding.
After turning my phone off, I pull my tennis shoes out of the hall closet so I can get my food shopping done for the week. I normally go on Mondays after getting back from Chicago, but now that I’m not leaving town, I need some staples.
I start to feel a little bit better on the way to the market. That is until I flip on the radio and Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” comes on. Astor sang that to me the night he told me he loved me for the first time. It was a cringingly bad performance, but who cares? When the man of your dreams is declaring his love, there aren’t enough flat notes in the world to mess that up.
I park in the back of the lot, hoping a longer walk will snap me out of my current malaise. It helps a little as I’m not a complete basket case when I walk in. Grabbing a cart, I start my regular path through produce before hitting the cereal aisle and beyond. I grab a few apples, a couple of bananas, and a bag of greens before stopping dead in front of the dragon fruit display. I gasp before bursting into another uncontrollable sob fest. Astor told me we should plan a trip to Costa Rica so I could eat freshly picked dragon fruit. He claims the stuff we get tastes nothing like it should.
Picking up one of the hot pink fruits, I hold it to my nose. There will be no trip to Costa Rica now. Astor will probably take Tiffany, and they’ll stroll hand in hand on the beach while eating their body weight in exotic fruit. Hopefully it has the same effect on them as prunes. That would certainly ruin all chances of romance.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Can you tell me if you have any ripe avocados in stock?” The voice is too close for the man not to be talking to me.
As I turn around, I demand, “Why would I know about avocados?” I’m staring right at Teddy.
“Oh, hey, Faith. How are you?” Before I can lie and tell him I’m fine, he says, “I thought you worked here. You know …”—he motions toward my outfit—“you’re wearing the same thing the employees are.”
Is it any wonder Astor cheated on me? I look down and confirm that yes, I am wearing khaki pants and a light green shirt. I have no fashion sense whatsoever. I open my mouth to tell Teddy he should forget his ridiculous plan to help me make Astor jealous. There’s clearly no way that can ever happen. But as my lips part, no words come out. Instead, I hiccup loudly.
“Oh, Faith, no.” Teddy steps away from his cart and puts his arms around me. “I was hoping you might be feeling a little better.”
“This is better.” I rub my nose against his shoulder hoping not to leave a snot trail. It feels so nice to be held in someone’s arms. I hope he never lets me go.
about the author
Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017
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