THE DIVORCED NOT DEAD WORKSHOP, a romantic comedy with a whopping side dish of chick lit, is a hilarious and touching look at re-entering the dating world after divorce.
Meet Dorsey Bing. She’s been divorced for five years and was recently dumped by her mega-hot Brit boyfriend, Theo. Smart, funny and a wee bit angsty, Dorsey brainstorms about a dating workshop for divorced men. Too bad she’s an idea person with zero follow-through.
That all changes when her best friend Pilar, a feisty go-getter, opts to set up the workshop with herself in charge and Dorsey as her “go-fer.” But do things ever really work out as planned. No. No, they don’t.
A startling mishap, rebellious workshop attendees and the arrival of handsome but wily Finn Woodall soon send things topsy-turvy for Dorsey. Even more trouble arises with the unexpected re-appearance of Theo. Will Dorsey want him back or is she smitten with Finn who could possibly be a back-stabbing rat bastard? And with everything that’s happened in the workshop will Dorsey face her biggest challenge to win the love, and life, she’s always desired?
“C’mon, we all know how much men suck these days,” I said, pausing to slurp down the last drops of my wine cooler. “Maybe this could help desuckify them.”
Mimi’s face, framed by curls the color of a peach frappé, crinkled into a smile. “Gee, Dorsey, if it can do that, go for it.”
I beamed back at her then turned to the ruby-lipped woman walking on the other side of me. Friends since our first day in Psych 101, I’d always considered her the most no-bull straight shooter I’d ever known, when she wanted to be. “So what’s your verdict, Miz Vega?”
Brushing back her thick, glossy dark bangs, Pilar furrowed her brow, deepening the vertical line between her eyes, the one she used to call her “San Andreas fault line” until last year, the year she turned thirty-six … and started wearing bangs. “A dating workshop for divorced men. That’s what you’re saying, right?”
My head bobbed like a pecking hen. “Yup. That’s the idea.”
“Sounds like,”—she paused for an eon—“it might have potential, if you handle it correctly.” Her expression grew more intense, which was fine with me, because the one thing I knew for sure about Pilar Vega was, when she got hooked on something nothing in the world could stop her. She was like Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, who was brilliant at recognizing the potential in an idea, and when he did, he’d jump on it like a hawk on a field mouse and never let it go.
I grinned at Pilar, my rock and my Kroc. If she were kicking my butt, who knows what might happen.
“There it is,” Pilar said, pointing at a large white tent with a Jimi Hendrix flag waving in the breeze. We’d come to the Thursday night opening of the Santa Monica Music Legends street fair to get a birthday present for Todd, Pilar’s twelve-year-old son. That was the reason she’d given me, but I suspected there was more to it.
Today was the fifth anniversary of my divorce, and I’d been dreading it for weeks. Pilar was well aware of how I felt since every conversation I’d had with her lately started with, “Five freaking years! How could it be five freaking years since I split up with Evan?”
By now, I really thought I’d be settled down, possibly even married again, or, at the very least, in a committed relationship. But, no, I wasn’t. Not even close. With a sigh, I tossed my plastic cup into a nearby recycling bin and followed Mimi and Pilar into Jimi’s tent.
At a back table, stacked with tie-dyed T-shirts, bell-bottom jeans and hats and wigs, Pilar picked up a wild curly afro. “Think Todd would like this?”
“Most definitely,” I said, reaching across the table for a wide-brimmed purple suede hat. “And this is cool, too.”
I was trying on the hat when I heard Mimi’s grumbling, “Crud in a basket.”
I looked at her. I knew something was wrong since Mimi considered “crud” an honest to God curse word, but before I could ask, she waggled her fingers at me. “Eyes right here, Dorsey. Look at me. Don’t turn around.”
Which, of course, prompted me to do just that.
“Holy crap,” I muttered.
Standing outside the tent was Theo Gower, the golden-haired Brit I’d dated for a while, and the only man I’d been halfway serious about since my divorce. I hadn’t seen him in four and a half months. Not that I was counting.
My mind reeled. Should I pretend not to see him? Or let him see me then deliberately snub him? Or should I wave and give him a warm smile as if I’d forgiven him? Which, believe me, I had not.
Just then a curvy blonde in a Pepto-pink sundress flounced up to Theo and pressed her perky D-cups into his chest. With a throaty laugh, he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her on the lips. My stomach lurched. Sonofabitch. Theo, the jerk, was on a date.
Suddenly I pictured myself racing up to them and shoving Curvy out of the way so I could grab Theo by the throat and choke him so hard he’d soon be seeing Lionel, his dead grandfather. Haaaa! Take that, you rat bastard!
Oh, damn. I must have said that out loud because Mimi just shook my arm. “Dorsey. Look at me, not him.”
I wanted to obey, but I couldn’t. My eyes were locked on Theo’s hand sliding down to cup the blonde’s other perky attribute. The girl—twenty-five, if that—giggled, and then, to my surprise, pulled out of his embrace and started to walk into the tent, with Theo two steps behind her. No, no, no. He can’t see me like this. I’ve gained weight, my hair’s a mess, my complexion’s splotchy. I had only one option.
With my heart thudding hard enough to panic a paramedic, I tossed the purple hat to Mimi, dropped to my knees and started crawling under the table. Pilar latched onto my arm. “No, you don’t. Stay up here and tell him off.”
“Nooo.” I slapped her hand away and scuttled under the table. Hugging my knees into my chest, I curled into a protective ball, hating myself for being weak and spineless and for wearing these stupid open-toed pumps, which seemed to be attracting an enormous black beetle. I wiggled my foot, which did nothing. The bug inched closer to me. I hissed like a rattler (thank you, Animal Planet) and the damn thing stopped mid-crawl and stood there, flicking its antennae at me.
“Hey.” Pilar’s face appeared under the table. “Blondie’s shopping. Could be a while.”
“My back’s hurting and that thing”—I shot a look at the beetle—“is after me.”
“Then get up there.”
“No,” I squawked. “I can’t.”
Pilar glowered at me before straightening up, leaving me to contend with the bug, which was once again skittering toward my shoe. Two angry taps on the ground told it I meant business and it scurried off. Pleased at my small victory, I hugged my knees tighter and tried not to think about Theo, which didn’t work at all.
How could I have been so clueless about us? I thought we were doing great. I thought we were connected and possibly even ready to move to a new level in our relationship. Until that last night, the night he walked out on me without a word of explanation.
Weeks had slogged by, and I’d just about given up on hearing anything from him when late one night I came home and found a message on my landline. I knew it was him. I recognized his voice, but I had no idea what he said. The message was too garbled to understand.
Mimi tapped on the table. “Dorsey, they’re leaving.”
I crawled out from under the table, stood up and laughed. Mimi had donned the purple hat. Pilar was peeking out from under the huge afro. “We’re in disguise,” Mimi explained.
Pilar sniffed. “Not that he noticed us. He only had eyes for the chickadee.”
“Typical,” I muttered. “Like a bird dog on the hunt.” Then to my surprise, I broke away from my friends and hurried to the tent entrance.
Peeking through the flap, I saw Theo and the blonde moving down the street, her butt swaying like a palm tree in the ocean breeze. My heart sank when I saw him reach for her hand. It was a sweet gesture … and pure torture for me. Tears pricked at my eyes. Damn it. I wanted to be angry, not hurt.
“Chica,” Pilar said, walking up behind me. “Let’s go get a drink.”
Ten minutes later, our little trio walked into Casa Oro and lucked out by getting a table right away. After a pink-cheeked boy waiter took our order and sauntered off, Pilar hiked an eyebrow. “I thought you said Theo was in Hong Kong?”
I shrugged. “That’s what Audrey told me. He returned her call and said he’d be working on a movie there until after Christmas.”
Audrey York, Theo’s great aunt by marriage, not blood, was the only member of the York family he still talked to. Years ago, when he was a teen, she’d made him feel welcome when his mother married into the family, and from then on they’d always gotten along fairly well. I’d met her when she made a brief stopover on her way from London to Bali. Her travel plans had changed dramatically when I introduced her to Ralph, my widowed stepfather, and they fell in love.
Mimi nudged the chip basket my way. “Dorsey, how’s the temp job going?” I knew she was trying to get my mind off Theo.
I plucked a chip out of the basket. “If I stay on my budget I might get out of debt in a year. I’ll be braindead, but creditworthy.”
After years of being an underpaid assistant on low-budget movies, I’d grown tired of working on mindless junk with brash young directors interested only in bouncing boobs and blowing up things, so I’d quit freelancing and taken a nine-to-five job. A month later, that company folded, and now I had a temp job with the promise of a permanent position if I could “wow” them.
“Ladies, your Loca Madres,” our young waiter said, returning with a sweaty pitcher which he placed on the table right in front of me. “The bad news is Happy Hour ended already.” His gaze landed on me. “This is gonna be full price, ma’am.”
Ma’am? The boy’s smug tone took my mood a notch lower. And it got worse when I watched him swagger over to the next table and tell four scantily-clad young vixens that he’d gladly extend happy hour for them.
My jaw tightened and I wanted to slug the little ageist twerp. Instead I reached for the pitcher. “Forget what I said about a workshop,” I grumbled to Pilar and Mimi. “There’s no way in the world you, me or anybody else could ever desuckify the jerks.”
Sale! THE DIVORCED NOT DEAD WORKSHOP by @ceceosgood #99cents #giveaway #clpblogtours @chicklitplus
CeCe Osgood lives in Texas after many years in LA working in the film industry. Her writing career includes magazine articles and screenplays as well as being a freelance script analyst (main client HBO). She also has had two screenplays optioned. Being a novelist has been her lifelong dream, and now it’s becoming her reality. Her debut novel, THE DIVORCED NOT DEAD WORKSHOP, a romantic comedy with a whopping side dish of chick lit aka lighthearted women’s fiction, is about dating after divorce. She loves red wine and hates pretzels. See more about her at http://www.ceceosgood.com.
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