Blurb: Cassie is an unpretentious country girl who is nursing a broken heart after her fiancé callously dumps her. Remy is a big-city photographer whose vengeful ex will do anything to throw a monkey wrench into his love life and livelihood and then blame him when he cannot keep up with child support payments.
When the two meet during a mushroom-hunting expedition, it is lust at first sight during a wildly romantic picnic. However, when Remy’s ex gets hold of some highly incriminating pictures that go absolutely viral, will these two opposite worlds collide or repel when Cassie and Remy find out.
What’s a Picture Worth?
Unexpectedly and as a result of Andrea’s stab at retribution, Remy’s ship came in and he found himself with more offers than he could accept. He had his pick of photography assignments and was even asked to model shirtless in a beer ad and star shirtless in the same brand’s commercial to be aired during a Mets game! He had tons of money coming in and he was able to not only repair his old Toyota, but trade it in and buy a new one. He paid all his bills and gave more money to Andrea. Rather than being happy for him, since his good fortune extended to her and Jared, she was instead aggravated by his new found success.
Confronting Andrea for what she had done would do no good. He couldn’t retract the pictures and he had just been paid for some more of him and Cassie. He had doctored them up a bit to hide their private areas and applied a filter where needed. He had sold them to a few different outlets, the most provocative and unmodified (with genitals showing) going to a well-known (to perverts) pornographic online magazine. That porno had paid almost as much as the beer ad. He put half of the money from those pictures aside in case Cassie ever came looking for him.
Remy hoped that Cassie was benefiting from the fame of the pictures as well, but he hadn’t seen anything about her on the internet yet aside from the pictures and that her name and hometown were identified. He had an uneasy feeling but had to shrug it off (worry caused wrinkles). He liked being famous, he liked the money and free stuff (that beer company had given him cases of the stuff), and adoration that came with fame. He planned to take full advantage of it until he was yesterday’s news. In the meantime, he was re-building his name as a photographer and the offers were coming in. Even Lincoln Airlines was thrilled with his pictures of the mushrooms (after the fact), and they wanted to offer Cassie a modeling job, but he didn’t want to call her, and damned if he was going to call that gargoyle Martha just to be yelled at and called a bastard again. Let Lincoln Airlines do their research and find her themselves. His success didn’t hinge on hers.
Cassie’s new apartment was 400 square feet of total charm, she felt. Her bedroom was big enough for her bed and a dresser and a nightstand, and the living room was small but cozy. The kitchen had the suffix “ette” on it, but she was thrilled with the fireplace, walk-in closet, and balcony. The appliances were new and the place was clean. No loud neighbors yet, but there was a twenty-four-hour complaint department that she could either email or phone. Everyone was afraid of bad reviews these days, and the apartment complex was no exception. It was also a nice place to lay low, until word got out that she was in town. But the town wasn’t that small, where she would be noticed right away. She would wait out the negative publicity and then start job hunting. She checked Huffpost daily until she no longer saw her name (but Remy’s was still there, and she couldn’t help but marvel that she had actually been intimate with this man. But the consequences…it was like an STD that she couldn’t get rid of!) and then she ventured east to the local supermarket rather than an hour and a half west to a Wal-Mart, where her anonymity had been fairly well assured.
Almost immediately, wearing a scarf about her head and sunglasses, she saw Sally and her kids traversing the parking lot. Sally was struggling with holding one of her children and the other had his hands above his head, holding on to the handle of the shopping cart. Cassie ran up to her, hoping to greet her without scaring her, with the intention of helping her old friend.
“Hey, Sally! Let me help you with that,” Cassie said, attempting to take the cart from her.
Sally came to a dead standstill. “Hi, Cassie,” she said in a polite voice. “That’s okay. I can get it myself.”
“What’s with the Stepford Wives attitude? ‘Hey, Cassie! It’s great to see you!’”
“Why would it be great to see you? You’re a disgrace.”
“Oh, Sally, please, let me explain what happened.” Sally moved on with her cart and kids, who were calmly assessing Cassie, rather than causing the mayhem of thirty seconds before. “Sally, please!” Cassie pulled at the shopping cart.
“Move out of the way before I start screaming, Cassie.” Cassie moved and let Sally pass.
This was a nightmare. Even people with whom she joked about her encounter with Remy (and Sally had approved of the whole thing!) wouldn’t speak to her. So naïve of her to think that the people in this town would welcome her back with open arms, comforting her.
Cassie did her shopping quickly, having only one more close encounter with an unforgiving local from her past. Over the melons, fondling them lovingly and thumping their tough hides, was June. She caught Cassie staring at her and averted her gaze, cutting her completely with no words at all. Tears streamed down Cassie’s face from produce to frozen foods and then all the way to the register for checkout. She cried buckets all the way back to the apartment and uncorked a bottle of wine as soon as she set down the groceries. Wine had been becoming her friend as of late. She found that it dulled the loneliness a bit and gave her about the same headache as most of her relationships had. Today, it gave her the courage to do one more thing.
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Meet the Authors
Laura Wright LaRoche is an author and graphic designer with over ten years’ experience. She has published Black Woods Series, Manfin, Two Sisters, and Broken Soul. Her work is available online.
Bethie Gold is an author and experienced editor who has helped hundreds of writers self-publish. She has published her own books, The Lucy Series and BiPolar Mama. Her work is available online.