Genre: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sonia Koso
Date of Publication: July 20, 2014
Number of pages: 259
Austin socialite Carrie Pryce has no clue her criminally charming husband is carrying on with another woman until she returns home unexpectedly, mistakes the sounds of passion for a home-invasion robbery and accidently shoots him in the backside. Stunned, Carrie drives all night to her quirky hometown and collapses in a near-catatonic state.
A crew of ladies spanning three generations realize it’s up to them to help Carrie get her life out of the ditch. Known as the “Presbyterian Mafia,” these are not sweet grandmothers. They have a book club that never reads, a garden club that doesn’t garden, and a bible study class that gossips about the Methodists. They’re known around town for antics including catfights, car chases and Voodoo rituals. The women enlist Carrie’s former childhood best friend Portia (now a lawyer) and her flamboyant cousin Eric (recently returned from New York) in their effort.
While dealing with the after-effects of her imprudent gunplay and managing a hair color disaster, Carrie meets Rhett Richards, an attractive oil field worker who can make women think un-Christian thoughts by the mere act of wearing a pair of tight wranglers. Carrie soon learns that hometowns can be the perfect places to bury old scandals and create new ones.
His cheating heart and other parts
“Baby, put the gun down,” Jake said in a tone of voice one would use with a naughty three year old. “It’s…it’s not what you think.”
Carrie froze. She couldn’t have lowered her arms if she tried. As she scanned the room, she saw the remnants of a well-planned romantic event including champagne, massage oil, and discarded lingerie.
Jake was slowly moving away from the defiled kitchen island and found a potholder to shield his now deflating manhood.
“I wanted to tell you for a while,” Jake started. “I hate that you had to find out about it this way.” Carrie recognized this as his salesman tone of voice—over-articulated, round tones that were completely full of shit.
“This has been going on for a while?” Carrie asked. Jake looked down and then nodded his head.
He exhaled slowly and gazed downward, his default action before saying something awful. “We’ve been having problems...I’ve tried, but the excitement is gone.”
Excitement? Carrie immediately knew this was man code for I want to trade you in for a new one. She’d seen it many times but never thought it would happen to her. The phrase I’ve tried but the excitement is gone would run through her head in a relentless loop a thousand times.
“I need to be on my own for a while,” Jake continued in round tones. “With you and Kayley around, I can’t figure any of this out. I can’t be a grown man. I need fewer responsibilities…”
“You want me and Kayley to leave so you can figure out how to be a grown man? Jesus H. Christ!” Carrie screamed it more than speaking it. She couldn’t help herself.
“Maybe you need to get a few things,” Jake began, “And I’ll call the Driskill Hotel and get you a suite. We’ll talk in a day or two after we both cool down.”
“Let me get this straight. I walk in on you with your cock in the help… and you think I need to leave?” She firmed up her grip on the tiny Kel-Tec pistol. “I’m not leaving this house, this room or even that damn Aga!” It was an out-of-body experience. She wasn’t sure why she did it but Carrie fired the pistol at the stove.
There was bang followed by a ping and a whoosh and Jake’s scream. The bullet hit the front of the Aga, ricocheted off the cast iron and bounced into Jake’s naked butt cheek.
The next few seconds seemed like a year. Jake’s hand went to his ass then up to his face where he saw blood.
“Holy shit, Carrie!”
As long as I can remember, music has been and integral part of my writing environment. When I’m developing the personality of a character, I often play songs that would fit the life situations they are dealing with. For example, in Smart Blondes, the protagonist, Carrie Pryce, discovers that her husband is cheating. She undergoes a somber internal struggle over whether she is willing to reconcile or call it quits. Getting in her head involved listening to songs about love and conflict including “Clarity” by Zedd.
Some of my “character-developing” music make it in the story. For example, Carrie goes to swing dance lessons with Rhett Richards, a potential suitor. She’s still fixated on the gut-wrenching emotions of discovering her husband’s infidenlity. One of the songs that plays while Carrie and Rhett are on the dance floor is Dwight Yoakum’s “Ain’t that Lonely Yet,” a song about getting over heartbreak. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but towards the end of the novel, I listened to Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” quite a few times.
References to the music a particular character listens to can help give the reader a window into who that person is. Another main character in the story is Deane Linley. She’s a 60-something, hard-as-nails businesswoman with a touch of glamour -much like a cross between Ann Richards and a fairy godmother. Despite the fact that Deane is old enough to retire and living in a small town, she is still very much aware of what’s going on in the world. The reader gets hints about her personal life when we learn that she’s recently gone to see Florence and the Machine in Austin.
In the future, I envision that the e-book experience will become much more interactive. Writers will be able to include pictures, videos and music that can be accessed while reading. Until then, here’s my Smart Blondes playlist:
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