It’s My Party
(Seven Brides for Seven Mothers #3)
Publication date: March 16th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
High off her success of playing matchmaker for both of her sons, lodge owner Ruby Cavanaugh decides to try her hand pairing other eligible singles–starting with her executive chef and her new event coordinator.
Party planner Claire Choate has a cheating boyfriend who also happens to be her boss. After visiting Oregon for her brother’s wedding–which didn’t even happen–Claire is offered a job that gets her out of LA for good. How can she pass up an opportunity like that?
Even though he has little time for a social life, executive chef Geoffrey Bere loves his job. After a past complication left him gun shy about workplace entanglements, he lives by a strict, “no dating co-workers” policy. But when Claire Choate arrives on the scene, he finds himself ready to break his own rule.
Will Ruby cement her reputation as matchmaker extraordinaire or will Claire and Geoffrey prove too much of a challenge for even her?
Find out in this deliciously fun third installment of Seven Brides for Seven Mothers!
There are so many ways to quit a job with flair. You can storm into your boss’s office and throw a hot cup of coffee on him (a potted plant would also work, but you might have a harder time claiming that was an accident); you could create a huge public scene so that onlookers would know what a reprehensible a-hole he is; or you could just stop working and wait and see how long it takes for him to notice you’re no longer doing your job.
I wish I’d channeled my mom’s feisty nature and taken one of those paths. Instead, I submitted my resignation through human resources along with the knowledge that I’d been offered a wonderful opportunity in the Pacific Northwest. I gave my two weeks’ notice at the same time I took my remaining two weeks of vacation time.
People don’t generally quit a dream job like mine—throwing launch parties for the biggest movie studio in the history of movie studios—to work at a lodge in rural Oregon. But of course, most people aren’t dating their boss only to discover he’s been cheating on them with up-and-coming starlets.
It’s not like I shouldn’t have seen it coming. Jack is the poster boy for Hollywood glamour. His socks are handwoven by Ecuadorian nuns, for heaven’s sake. His shoes are so bespoke, they’re practically sewn onto his feet.
For some reason, I thought my own star shone brightly enough to make me an equal in his eyes. My aunt is Tooty Jackson, seven-time country music award-winning singer of such hits as “Tie Me Up and Call Me Betty” and “His Expiration Date is Here.” You might be thinking, “so what if she has a famous aunt?” But my peripheral glow is much bigger than just Tooty. My mom writes all of Tooty’s songs and, wait for it, my brother is Romaine Choate. Yes, the rock god and lead singer of Turnip Garden.
I’m from music royalty and that counts in a place like Hollywood. At least it has up until now. I know how shallow that sounds, but in a town where everybody is somebody, it helps to use whatever clout you have to remain visible.
Standing in the middle of my walk-in closet, I wonder if I should bother taking my cocktail dresses. For all I know, working at the Willamette Valley Lodge might require planning hoedowns and rodeos. I’m going to work with my brother’s ex-fiancée, Tara Heinz, who is the pastry chef at the lodge. She used to be a supermodel, but she got tired of starving.
I was heartbroken when Tara and Romaine broke up. But Tara wanted a life out of the spotlight, which is not something she could have had being married to my brother. She’s currently dating the son of my new boss.
My phone rings with my mom’s signature ringtone, Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” I hurry into my bedroom to pick it up. “Hey,” I greet after putting her on speaker.
“Hey yourself. When does the moving truck come?”
“Tomorrow morning. I’m not sure what all I should take.”
I hear fiddle strings being plucked in the background. She must be in her studio working on something for Tooty. “Why leave anything behind? Take it all!” she declares before breaking into a full riff like she’s battling the devil for territorial rights of Georgia.
“What if I don’t like it there? Then I’d be stuck with all my stuff.”
“What if all of your stuff makes it feel more like home and you wind up settling in faster that way?”
She may have a point.
“You sound happy that I’m leaving. Aren’t you going to miss me at all?” I ask desperately, feeling the need to know I matter.
“Yes and no,” she answers plainly. “I’ll miss knowing you’re only twenty miles away, but I’m only forty hours away from getting my pilot’s license, so pretty soon I’ll be able to fly to you anytime I want. I’ve already looked into it and I can land at the airport in Albany.”
“I’d rather you fly commercially,” I tell her for the millionth time. My mom is an enormously driven woman and can do anything she sets her mind to, but her piloting a small jet is something that scares the bejesus out of me. The potential headlines are too scary. “Sister of Tooty Jackson/Mother of Romaine Choate Flies into a Mountain!” “Sharon Choate Dead After Forgetting to Fill Her Plane Up with Gas!” The possibilities are endless and terrifying.
“Honey, life is for the living,” my mom interrupts my morbid thoughts. “You have to grab the world by the balls and shake it up every now and again.” My mom grew up in Tennessee before going to college in New England, where she met my dad. Though her southern accent is barely discernible anymore, she’s held onto her colorful verbiage like she’s clinging to a bungee cord after flinging herself off the side of the Grand Canyon. Which she has done.
“I’d prefer you left the world’s junk alone and stayed safe,” I tell her. “I’d like you to live long enough to meet your grandchildren.” Why did I say that?
“Don’t you go blaming your lack of procreating on me. By the time I was your age, I had three babies, all potty trained. I don’t know what’s slowing you kids down these days.”
“Tell my older siblings, please. Once they’ve done their duty by you, you can complain to me, but not until then.”
“Lutèce told me she’s looking into a sperm donor. What do you think about that?” my mom asks.
“I think it could be great or awful. I mean, if she uses a sperm bank, she has no idea what she’ll wind up with—’cause you know people lie like dogs. How many Harvard graduates are really out there selling their swimmers? “If she uses a friend,” I continue, “she could run into custody issues.” After her last boyfriend decided he wanted an open relationship—which included other men … for him—my sister declared the opposite sex more trouble than they’re worth. She’s currently taking a rather lengthy relationship sabbatical.
“I think she should ask Travis or Vince,” my mom decides. “You know, keep the musical talent alive in the next generation.”
“I’m pretty sure neither Travis Tritt nor Vince Gill would be interested. They already have families. Why would they want a baby, and by a woman that grew up calling them ‘uncle,’ no less? Ewww.”
“They’re family friends and they’re too old to want to start over, so Lu wouldn’t have to worry about custody.”
“Their wives might have something to say about that,” I remind her.
“Quit pooping on my parade, Claire. I’m a problem solver and I’m just trying to solve a problem here. I’d also like to keep your sister from birthing a child of questionable lineage.”
While wrapping my shoes in pillowcases to keep them from getting scuffed, I reply, “You mean, having a child with no musical talent, like me.” I don’t know which line I was standing in when they handed out the music genes, but I didn’t get any.
“You’re as capable as anyone,” my mom says. “You just never worked at it.”
I took as many piano lessons as my sister and while she came out of the experience something of a virtuoso, I can barely play “Chopsticks” without tying my fingers into knots. Then there’s Romaine, who has never picked up an instrument he couldn’t play. “Whatever,” I tell my mom. “I’m just saying that you should leave Lu’s future baby daddy up to her and not get involved.”
“Okay, then let’s talk about your future baby daddy.”
“Mom, Jack and I just broke up. Please let me mourn before asserting any motherly pressure.”
“Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. I’m sure there’s a lovely man waiting for you in Oregon.”
Throwing my last pair of Louboutins into a giant box with the rest of my footwear, I declare, “Just be here tomorrow at noon, if you’re still planning on driving up with me.”
“I’ll be there with bells on, hon! Dad says he’s sorry he can’t come too, but he has to fly to DC for a meeting this week, then he’s off to somewhere he can’t talk about for two more weeks.” My dad is a building contractor for the government. Since most of his jobs are top-secret, we have no idea what those buildings really are. But let’s face it, in this family, unless he was designing a concert hall, no one really cares.
“Tell Dad I love him, and I totally understand. Maybe he can come up sometime in the spring.”
“I’ll fly him up myself!” my mom declares excitedly. Great, both of my parents dead in a plane crash.
“I’ve got to go, Mom. Goodwill is coming by in a couple of hours and I have to make sure I have everything that I’m not taking ready for them to pick up.” I’m totally lying. Goodwill comes the day after I leave and will take everything left in the driveway. I just really need some time with my thoughts right now.
The most pressing thought being, what in the world am I doing moving to Oregon?
Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017
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