When Wendy Wax introduced Madeline Singer, Avery Lawford and Nicole Grant and shared their story of friendship, family and triumph in TEN BEACH ROAD, USA Today cited the book as one of “six that belong in your beach bag.” Now, this highly praised novel, which has already gone back to press seven times since its original trade paperback publication, is also available as a mass market paperback reprint on sale nationally.
Wax set TEN BEACH ROAD at two of her favorite spots in the world—St. Pete Beach, the city in which she was raised, and the famous Pass-a-Grille beach—where she brings together three women, thrown together by fate, and challenges them with choices that will change their lives.
Madeline, Avery and Nicole are very different from one another. Madeline is a homemaker coping with an empty nest and an unemployed husband. Avery is an architect. At least she was until she ended up as the sidekick on her ex-husband’s television program—the one she created, sold and co-hosted. Nicole, dating guru, matchmaker extraordinaire and founder of Heart, Inc., is living in the shadow of her biggest mistake—trusting her only brother. All are at the end of their financial ropes, the victim’s of a Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme. All they have left is shared ownership of the once-glorious Bella Flora mansion, now a beachfront ruin.
Madeline, Avery and Nikki have to make a choice—cut their losses and sell the historic property for whatever amount of money they can get or trade sweat equity for the backing of a local contractor in order to restore it and their bank accounts. The women choose to save Bella Flora. There amidst the rubble and former glory, in the midst of a
sweltering summer and the backbreaking tasks of renovation, they begin to redefine themselves, and to discover their own strength and the power of friendship. Then, as Bella Flora again stands magnificent and proud, secrets begin to pull them apart and fate steps in once more, ready to destroy everything they’ve built.
Once again, Wendy Wax has imbued the lives and dialogue of her protagonists with energy and insights that immerse readers in their story from the very start.
ABOUT WENDY WAX
A St. Pete Beach native and longtime Atlanta resident, Wendy is perhaps best known to readers for her exploration of women’s friendships and the emotional bonds tying people to their families, friends and work. Her writing has been called “entertaining and informative” (St. Petersburg Times) and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
praised her “breezy wit and keen insight.”
Ten Beach Road, Wendy’s best selling novel to date, has gone back to press seven times since its first printing in May 2011, and is now available in a mass market paperback reprint edition, as well as its trade paperback and electronic formats. It is the first of Wendy’s novels to use her hometown as her primary setting.
Wendy has always been a voracious reader. Her love affairs with language and storytelling paid off beginning with her first shift at the campus radio station while studying journalism at the University of Georgia. She returned to her home state, and then studied in Italy before graduating from the University of South Florida and going to work for the Tampa PBS affiliate, WEDU-TV. She was best-known in the Tampa Bay area as the
host of Desperate & Dateless, a radio matchmaking program that aired on WDAE radio, and nationally as host of The Home Front, which aired on PBS television affiliates across the country.
The mother of a toddler and an infant when she decided to change careers to write professionally, Wendy has since written eight novels, including OCEAN BEACH, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, The Accidental Bestseller (a Romance Writers of America Rita Award finalist), Leave It to Cleavage, 7 Days and 7Nights, and Single in Suburbia. Her work has been sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club. Her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.
Excerpt from TEN BEACH ROAD by Wendy Wax
An eternity later, they hobbled out to the backyard just as the sky was beginning to pinken. Bedraggled, they dropped into the beach chairs with a scrape of aluminum against concrete.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this dirty in my entire life.” Madeline plopped a family-sized container of hummus and triangles of pita bread on the upside down packing box that their Sam’s purchases had been carried in.
“Me, neither.” Avery dropped a bag of Cheez Doodles beside it and swiped the back of her forearm across her forehead, managing to add another streak of dirt to her face.
Nicole set an unopened bottle of Chardonnay on the pool deck next to her bare feet and handed a plastic cup to each of them. “If there was an inch of water in this pool, I’d be in it.” Nicole slumped in her chair. “I think we should make it a top priority.”
“We barely have a working bathroom,” Avery pointed out. “It took me forever to clean the shower and tub up in the hall. There’s pretty much no water pressure. I’d rather have a shower than a swim in a pool.”
“I want both,” Nicole said, lifting the cup to her lips. “It’s not an either/or sort of thing.”
“Well, it is here.” Avery took a long sip of wine as the sun slipped farther toward the Gulf. “Everything’s not going to get done at once, but I will talk to Chase about the schedule and how things should be prioritized.”
Madeline looked ruefully down at herself. Together they could have posed for the illustration of “something the cat dragged in” – even Nicole in her high-end running clothes and her hair pulled back in a glittery clasp. This was only day one; she could hardly imagine what they’d look like after the long, hot summer that lay ahead.
Her arms were so tired that it took real effort to lift even the small plastic cup, but she nonetheless touched it to the others. “Cheers!” she said, and they nodded and repeated the toast. “Will you be able to run your business from here?” she asked Nicole as they contemplated the sinking sun.
Nicole’s cup stopped midway to her lips. In the pass, a boat planed off and gathered speed as it entered the Gulf. “Sure,” she finally said. “Have laptop and cell phone, will match make.” She turned her gaze from the boat that was now disappearing from view to focus on Madeline. “How about you?” Nicole asked. “Can you really leave home for the whole summer?”
Madeline finished the last drops of wine and set her glass on the makeshift cocktail table. “You make it sound like going to camp,” she said in what could only be described as a wistful tone. “I was hoping my husband, Steve, would come down and help for a while.”
“Oh, is he retired?” Avery asked.
Madeline felt her cheeks flush. Nicole raised an eyebrow and poured them all another glassful.
“Not exactly,” Madeline admitted. “He was a financial planner who made the mistake of putting all his clients’ money in Malcolm Dyer’s fund. Along with his family’s.”
Her teeth worried at her bottom lip. She hadn’t meant to say so much. Or sound quite so pathetic.
“He stole my father’s entire estate,” Avery said. “Everything he’d built over a lifetime of hard work went into that thief’s pocket.” She grimaced and shoved her sunglasses back up on top of her head. “I still can’t believe it. Anything short of being drawn and quartered would be far too good for him.”
Madeline saw Nicole shiver slightly. “Are you cold?” The sun had not yet set, but its warmth had diminished.
“No.” Nicole turned her attention to the boat traffic in the pass. A Jet Ski swooped close to the seawall, its plume of seawater peacocking behind it. The rider was big shouldered and solid with jet black hair and heavily muscled arms. Nicole watched idly at first, presumably because he was male and attractive, but straightened in surprise as the rider locked gazes and offered a mock salute before revving his engine and zooming away.
“Do you know that guy?” Madeline asked Nicole, surprised. “He waved at you.”
“No,” Nicole said. “I don’t think he was actually waving at me. He …”
“Yes, he was,” Madeline insisted. “He acted like he knew you.”
“That guy was definitely hunky,” Avery said. “And he was definitely eyeing Nicole.”
“He must have thought I was someone else,” Nicole took a sliver of pita and chewed it intently before changing the topic. “So, how many kids do you have?” she asked Madeline.
“Two,” Madeline said, unsure how much information to share. “My son’s struggling a bit at school; he’s in his freshman year at Vanderbilt,” she said. “And my daughter, well, right before I left she lost her job-she’s a filmmaker- and she came home unexpectedly to live.” She cleared her throat as if that might somehow stop this bad news dump. “That was right after my mother-in-law moved in.”
“Good Lord,” Nicole said. She lifted the bottle, eyed the little that was left, and poured the remaining drops into Madeline’s glass. “No wonder you want to go away to camp.” She smiled with what looked like real sympathy. “Drink up. Girl; I’d run away from home, too, if I had to deal with all that.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes, sipping their wine, as the sun grew larger and brighter. A warm breeze blew gently off the Gulf, stirring the palms and riffling their hair.
“Maybe you should get your daughter to come down and shoot some ‘before’ video for us,” Avery suggested. “That’s actually what led to Hammer and Nail.” She furrowed her brow. “I had no idea what was coming down the pike when I shot that first ten minutes.”
Madeline considered the small blonde. “My mother-in-law seemed to think it was your husband’s show, that he got you on it.”
“A lot of people came to believe that,” Avery said, her tone wry. “Including my ex-husband. But the idea was mine. I’m the one who sold it, and us, to the network.”
They fell silent as the sun burned with a new intensity, shimmering almost white, then turning golden red that tinged the Gulf as it sank smoothly beneath it.
“God, that was beautiful,” Madeline breathed as they all continued to stare out over the Gulf, unable to tear their gazes from the sky and the last painted remnants of daylight. “It makes me feel like anything is possible.”
No one responded, and she supposed she should be grateful that no one trampled on her flight of fancy. The show was over, but Madeline could still feel its power. It moved her in a way her fear and even her resolution and Little Red Henness had not. She raised her now-empty glass to Avery and Nicole. “I propose that we all make a sunset toast. That we each name one good thing that happened today.”
“Good grief,” Nicole said. “Look around you.” She motioned with her empty plastic glass at the neglected house that hunkered behind them, the cracked and empty pool, the detached garage with its broken windows and listing door. “Is your middle name Pollyanna?”
Madeline flushed at the comment, but she didn’t retract her suggestion. “I’m not saying we should pretend everything’s perfect,” she said. “I’m just saying that no matter how bad it is it would be better to dwell on the even slightly positive than the overwhelming negative.”
“You’re serious, aren’t you?” Avery asked. They all still held their empty glasses aloft. “How good a thing does it have to be?”
“That’s up to you.” Madeline said. “I’m not interested in judging; there will be no ‘good enough’ police.”
“Well, that’s a good thing,” Nicole snorted.
“All right, hold on a sec,” Madeline said. She went into the kitchen and retrieved a second bottle of wine from the fridge, grateful that John Franklin had had the power turned on. As she refilled their glasses, she searched for a positive. Nicole was right, it wasn’t an easy task.
“Okay.” She raised her now-full glass and waited for the others to do the same. “I think it’s good that three complete strangers were able to reach an agreement and commit to a course of action.”
They touched glasses and took a sip. Madeline nodded at Avery. “Your turn.”
“Hmmmm, let me think.” She looked out over the seawall at the gathering darkness as the three of them sat in a spill of light from the loggia. A few moments later she raised her glass. “I think it’s good that this house is not going to be torn down. It deserves a facelift and a new life.”
They clinked and drank and turned their gazes to Nicole. Madeline could hardly wait to hear what she would say.
Nicole looked back at the house, then at them. A small smile played around her lips, and Madeline wondered if she was going to tell them to stuff the happy crap or simply refuse to participate. But she raised her glass in their directions and with only a small sigh of resignation said, “It’s a good thing no one saw me in that minivan. I can’t imagine how I’d ever live it down.”
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TEN BEACH ROAD
A Jove Mass Market Reprint/Fiction A Berkley Trade Paperback/Fiction
$7.99 ($8.99 Canada)/978-0-515-15066-7 $15.00 ($17.50 Canada)/978-0-425-24086-1
Madeline, Avery and Nicole head to Miami in OCEAN BEACH, on sale June 26, where the
cameras are rolling for the first season of their reality show, Do Over. (A Berkley Trade
Paperback Original, On Sale June 26, 2012, $15.00 ($16.00 Canada), 978-425-24541-5)
Looks like a great summer book!