by Jude Ouvrard
Widowed before her thirtieth birthday, Gracie Collins has dealt with her share of tragedy. Lonely and on her own, she ends up taking a job with an arrogant boss. Three years later, she’s taken to tolerating him for the sake of entertainment. When she’s not eating the frustrations he’s caused, that is. Everything changes when a stroke of good luck puts Gracie in a position she never imagined. Freed of the rat race, she begins contemplating her identity, her goals, and her dreams. She begins taking chances and expanding her horizons, but is she ready to move on with life, love, and the future? Will her newfound fortune pave the road to happiness? Or will Gracie find that wealth has left her poorer than ever before?
I can’t believe I’m running late for the second time in three days.
Why? Because my new iPhone is my alarm, and apparently, I haven’t figured out how the damn thing works yet. Anyway, here I am, running through the business district of New York like a mad lady, wearing two and half inch high heels while sweat rolls down my forehead. If my husband were still alive, I’m sure I wouldn’t be running this morning. I would be sitting in his comfortable Jeep while he drives me to work. I sigh and try not to think about him. Time is flying by so fast this morning, I can’t deal with emotions right now.
It’s just about nine in the morning but already almost seventy-five degrees. Why not wear my sneakers to work instead of the dress shoes? They’re at my office. Jesus Christ! If by some stroke of luck Mr. Pulley doesn’t fire me this morning, then I’m buying a lottery ticket. There’s no way he is that forgiving, though; and I understand. I’m already thirteen minutes late, which is unacceptable.
If I could, I’d take off the heels and run. It’d be much easier and faster, but the last time I did that, I ruined a pair of stockings. Not a luxury I can afford, although they’re a luxury I refuse to give up. Sexy silk stockings are my guilty pleasure, what I treat myself to no matter what they cost.
The moment I run inside the building breathless and disheveled, all eyes are on me—Mr. Pulley’s included. He might have called my name as I rushed for the elevator, but I’m not sure because all I can hear is the echo of my heels clicking against the marble floor. Jumping in the elevator right before the door closes, I take a deep breath and try to fix the mess of my hair.
“I’m pretty sure it’s about to turn into a rough day,” I answer with a roll of my eyes.
The man gives me an apologetic smile and stays quiet for the remainder of the ride.
A pile of work needing attention awaits me at my desk, along with the burning pain of multiple blisters on my feet. I want to cry. There may even be tears in my eyes at this point.
“Ms. Collins, in my office, now.”
His voice gives me shivers, and not good ones. I’m scared shitless. “Shit,” I mutter to myself before following him to his office.
“We aren’t in kindergarten, Ms. Collins. Am I going to have to keep an excel sheet of all your misdemeanors, or will you be able to be on time from now on?”
“I’m sorry. I’m having a hard time adjusting to my new iPhone.”
Mr. Pulley looks at me as if I’m growing a second head. “Your alarm clock issues are not my problem. But seriously? My four-year-old nephew can configure one of those in less than two minutes.”
“Well, I guess there are two geniuses in your family, then.” Jesus, did I say that out loud?
“I’m sorry, Mr. Pulley. I’ll contact Apple and arrange a private session to figure it out. It won’t happen again.” If I can’t keep my sarcasm in check, I’ll be in trouble.
“Go. Before I change my mind. However, this is your last warning, Ms. Collins. Oh, and may I suggest you visit the restroom, you look like a racoon.”
Jude Ouvrard is an author who writes from the heart, and reads with passion and devotion. Jude enjoys stories of drama, true love, tattoos, and everything in between. While writing is her therapy, reading is her solace. Life doesn’t get better than books and chocolate, and maybe a little bit of shopping.
A romance lover, Jude writes about love, pain, heartbreak and matters that will challenge your heart. A book can tell an unexpected story, no matter which directions it takes. Jude embraces words that have haunted her for years.
Jude is a working mom who dedicates her time to a law firm and writing books. She has an energetic superhero son, and a supportive boyfriend of many years. Her family is her rock; she could not survive without them. Born a country girl, she transformed into a city woman who now lives in Montreal, Canada. Although French is her first language, Jude decided to write in English because she liked the challenge.