COVER & EXCERPT REVEAL
Technically Married by N. Franko
Max is a good guy. He’s rich, handsome, smart and normal. Things are getting pretty serious between us but there’s a problem—technically, I’m already married to a starving artist rock star wannabe.
When my former best friend invited me to her celebrity bridal shower, I went mainly out of curiosity. When she asked me to be her maid of honor though, I wanted to run for the hills. If I didn’t need my estranged husband to sign those divorce papers, I actually would have.
Instead of giving me a divorce, he gave me something else. The truth about the ending of our marriage.
Suddenly, my life with Max doesn’t seem so appealing. The rock star I had run from for all those years is suddenly the man who’s awakened something in me—something I thought had died a long time ago. And damnit, it feels frickin’ amazing!
You know that queasy feeling in your gut that’s like butterflies and fish are wrestling with each other? That’s how I feel every time I look at Jay. I get all hot under my skin and I want to tear my eyeballs out and rip my nails off one by one. I think its the anger and resentment that still lingers. It’s not because I still think he’s a rock star sex God or anything. Really. Shit. This is why we can’t be in the same room with each other.
As soon as Julia broke away from our hug and went to greet him, I ran to the bar and got myself a stiff drink, then headed to the small podium that housed the jazz quartet just in time to hear the bass player’s solo. He was an older man, probably in his late fifties, and played an upright bass like it was going out of style. His fingers danced along the neck, intricately plucking note after note. He grooved with the slight ting ting of the drummer’s cymbal perfectly in time. Man, they were good.
Watching musicians sort of made me nostalgic for my rock star days. I hadn’t picked up an instrument in years and I probably wouldn’t know what to do with a bass guitar anymore. Not that I ever did. That was the beauty of punk music—you don’t actually need to know how to play. As long as you have the balls to get up on stage, scream about something and pluck a few strings, you’re good. I can’t say that I would ever be a musician again but I do miss the freedom to create whatever and whenever I wanted. Corporate life has done alright by me, but it didn’t leave much room for creativity.
“Nice to see you crawled out of your cubicle,” a voice said behind me. Shivers ran up and down my spine like a thousand spiders being set loose. That voice. That deep, drawling voice. Damn it, why did I agree to come?
“Nice to see you crawled out of your trashcan,” I replied. “Would’ve been nice of you to shower, though. I could smell you across the yard.”
“Typical,” the voice spat at me.
“Can you just let me enjoy the music for like five minutes?” To his credit, he shut his pie hole long enough for the bass solo to finish. We both clapped as the band resumed the song. We were the only two who watching them and they smiled at us, appreciative of our attention.
“So, where’s wonder-geek? Or do they prefer the term nerd? I can never get that right,” Jay sneered.
“Look at you making fun of smart, rich guys. You’re so cool,” I drawled. Man, this was seriously getting old. “I’m actually glad you’re here.”
“Oh, really? Geekazoid not doing it for you these days? You need some marital attention?”
“Don’t be gross. I need you to sign the divorce papers. For real, this time.” I was pretty impressed at how steady that came out because I could feel my vocal chords vibrating.
“Oh yeah. Sure. I guess its been long enough. You’ve moved on, I’ve moved on…”
“You’ve moved on?” I don’t know why it came out like I was surprised. Why did I suddenly cared so much? We’ve been estranged for years. I was sort of happy with Max and Jay deserved to be sort of happy with someone too. I guess. I don’t know why the thought of him being with someone else suddenly filled me with blind rage. What was wrong with me?
His lips curled up into a small, sneaky smile. “Her name is Dianna. Why do you care, anyways? You’ve got yourself a nerd-king.”
I took a deep breath and pushed whatever feelings were surfacing back to wherever they came from. “I don’t care. Just sign the papers before you leave, okay?”
“Yes, sir,” he said and saluted me. I rolled my eyes as far as they would go into the back of my head and walked away. There wasn’t a drink stiff enough to drown out how irritating that man could be. I ordered a shot of whiskey from the bartender and headed for the table of food. Maybe stuffing my face with something fried would help block him out.
The table didn’t seem to be missing a single piece of food except the few fried cabbage sticks I ate earlier. I didn’t see anyone else eating either and I was starting to get self-conscious. I mean, Max had taken me to fancy parties with important people before, but even they picked at the mini quiches that always floated around. I guess that’s just life in Hollywood—no one is caught dead eating in public. Whatever. I picked up another one of the fried cabbage things and shoved them in my mouth.
“You should try one of these things,” Jay said from behind me. He was holding up a small, red pepper stuffed with shredded something. It looked good. I wanted one but I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of enjoying what he suggested.
“What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you leave me alone?”
“What? I’m hungry. I do live off of scraps from a trashcan, after all,” he said. His lips curled into a smug smile as he bit into the pepper. That was all I needed. I felt something snap inside of me and without thinking, I raised my hands and shoved him in the chest. Hard. Really hard. He fell back into the table behind him and crashed onto a large, three-tier caked.
“What the hell?” he yelled and picked up what was left of the top layer of the cake and threw it at me, hitting me right in the face. Icing and butter cream dripped off of me as I stood there stunned.
A moment that felt like an eternity filled the air. The band stopped playing, everyone stopped talking and I’m pretty sure I heard a collective gasp. I stood there, starring at Jay. Anger filled every part of me but then I remembered that I was at a party. Julia’s party. Julia’s bridal shower with a bunch of fancy Hollywood people around. I looked up and there she was, standing by the broken table with her feet surrounded by desserts. I gave her a horrified look and said a silent I’m sorry but she just stood there, stone faced.
Between being let go from her job at a small community newspaper and finding her boyfriend cheating, Julia Simmons owed it to herself to have a public meltdown. She just didn’t expect it to be in front of Hollywood’s biggest, most egotistical—and most eligible—movie star Ryan Vexler.
Her photo plastered all over the tabloids were a touch uncalled for, especially now that everyone thinks Julia is Ryan’s girlfriend! Now, Julia is trying to navigate this strange world of Hollywood glitz and glamour because Ryan needs to clean up his public image and Julia is the perfect person to do it.
What Ryan doesn’t know is that Julia is a professional failure. Her music career failed long ago. Her reporting career is in the toilet and now she’s failing as a fake girlfriend because her feelings for this man are very, very real!
If you like your rom coms to be laugh-out-loud with a few twists and turns and a touch of sweetness, then you’ll love N. Franko’s debut novella, Technically Scripted, book one of the Romantic Comedy of Errors.
Start reading the Romantic Comedy of Errors series with Technically Scripted today!
A huge fan of authors like Chuck Palahniuk and Sophie Kinsella, she spent much of her days daydreaming of being an author while failing hard as a reporter and production artist for a small town newspaper before taking the plunge and writing her first book, Technically Scripted.
When she’s not writing, she’s playing drums in a noisy synth-pop band with her rock star husband, annoyingly taking pictures of everything, drinking coffee or watching an obscene amount of television.