Thursday, June 22, 2017

**GIVEAWAY** Showcase - Love The Wine Your With by Kim Gruenenfelder

When I saw this title I knew I had to showcase it and Kim's publisher St. Martin's Press has graciously offered to sponsor a giveaway. 
Let me entice you with some information then enter to win a copy.
Details below

ISBN-13: 9781250066749
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 06-13-2017
Length: 384pp
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound

Three best friends decide to open a wine bar in Echo Park LA, where they encounter the trials and tribulations of dating, love, and life in Kim Gruenenfelder's Love the Wine You're With.
Jessie is finally about to realize her life-long goal of owning her own house, the first step to a wonderful marriage, kids, and life with her boyfriend of three years, Kevin; except after they find the perfect place, Kevin suddenly gets cold feet.
Nat is having a passionate affair with her gorgeous British boss Marc—unfortunately, he’s married. Now what?
Holly is an actress who still waits tables to pay the bills, and who is coping with the recent loss of her father. A particularly bad audition, where she snaps and tells off a big director, leads her to wonder what to do when you stop loving what you do. (And also what to do about her hot neighbor. Because, you know, hot neighbor.)

After each girl finishes a particularly awful workday, the three friends meet at their favorite wine bar, which has been sold by its owner for a huge profit and will close that night. In a moment of tipsy brazenness, Jessie suggests that the three of them open their own wine bar in the gentrifying Echo Park area of Los Angeles. An unapologetically girly place for good wine and good friends—which leads to a challenge for each woman: how do you fix a life that’s not actually broken, but needs an upgrade?

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Excerpt courtesy St. Martin's Press ––

Chapter One

9:58 A.M.
Man, I love my job!
Not very many people can go to work every day feeling like this is exactly where they are supposed to be. As a kid growing up in San Diego, I had always dreamed of being a TV writer. And now, at thirty-two, I am the head writer for one of the top-rated game shows of the season. I even won an Emmy last year.
How many people can say they are excited to get out of bed in the morning? On tape days, I don’t even hit the snooze button once.
I am standing at the judges’ table on the set of the game show Million Dollar Genius! feeling fantastic in my new purple cashmere sweater. (At the beginning of a tape day, most people on the crew wear a sweater or a jacket, because the lights have not heated the place up yet, so the set is beyond freezing. I’ve been on sets in August watching a two-hundred-pound cameraman shiver in a wool peacoat.) I’m sipping a large vanilla cappuccino made especially for me by the craft services guy (who also made me my favorite bacon-and-cheese burrito earlier; gotta love tape days—Free food!) and am going over a few questions with our host, Cordelia Mumford, a beautiful former CNN reporter who accidentally got into game show hosting, and my producer, Marc Winslow, a handsome Brit who accidentally got into game show producing.
The contestants are still squired away in a soundproof greenroom in back, but we keep our voices low so that the audience can’t hear us as we hunch over the table, poring over our scripts.
“Okay, we switched out the six-hundred-thousand-dollar question in this game so that we didn’t have Kafka as the answer twice in the same week,” I whisper to Cordelia. “Here’s the new question.” I point to a pink paper square that has been glue-sticked onto her white script, which she silently reads.
“As long as the answer is never Kardashian, I’m a happy camper,” Cordelia quietly jokes.
I chuckle, then continue. “And by the way, for the million, it’s the South Sea Bubble, not the South Seas Bubble. If they say ‘Seas,’ we’re going to have to rule them wrong.”
“Frankly, I think if they know the name of a market bubble from another country three hundred years ago, they deserve a million dollars,” Cordelia tells me.
“That’s because you’re not from England,” Marc, who’s from London, politely tells her in his perfectly lilting English accent.
“No. That’s because I spent my college days getting drunk and under an assortment of frat boys and football players. Far better use of one’s time,” Cordelia counters playfully.
“Yet here you are, the maven of American trivia,” Marc says, rather flirtatiously.
“I know. Life’s weird,” Cordelia says, lightly folding her script in half and pulling away from our table. “Did I tell you that I got invited to the White House?”
“That’s awesome,” I say, surprised. “I didn’t even know you were a fan of the president.”
She leans in to me to cheerfully confide, “I’m so not. Plus, I was in the middle of a transcontinental move that year and couldn’t even figure out where my polling place was.” Then she walks to the middle of the stage and breaks into a huge smile as she booms to the audience, “Thank you guys so much for coming! We are going to have a great time today! Isn’t our warm-up guy Jerry amazing?!”
Marc and I take our seats as judges while the contestant coordinator escorts the first three contestants to the stage. Cordelia walks to her podium, then stands patiently as the makeup artist presses her face with a powder puff and does “last looks,” which is exactly what it sounds like—the last look the makeup person gives before Cordelia is ready for the camera.
I forget about work for a second to clear my mind, look around the room, and savor the moment.
There is no better feeling than being on a set right before a show begins. When all of the hard work is done: the writing, the rewriting, the arguing with your nerd staff about whether or not the average American knows the difference between the national debt and the national deficit, or explaining that Jean Patou was a French parfumeuse, not the inventor of pâté à choux pastry.
That moment when you get to just bask in the glow of a happy audience, a crew filled with people who worked their butts off to get to where they are, and that rare feeling of being exactly where you’re supposed to be, working on something you’ll want to be remembered for at your funeral.
Okay, that last point may be a bit dark. Let’s just say rest home. I’ll be proud of Million Dollar Genius! at my rest home.
I smile at Marc next to me, and rolling begins. The first assistant director announces to the crew, “And we’re on in…!” He puts up his left hand and fans out his five fingers, “Five!” then ticks back one finger at a time, “four … three!” and then he goes silent as he folds down his ring finger for two. Then one. Then he points his index finger toward the host.
“Welcome to Million Dollar Genius!” Jerry Winters, our show’s announcer, belts out in his smooth baritone voice as Marc slips me a sheet of paper. I open it with a serious look on my face, and read:
You look so bewitching in that sweater. It makes your olive skin glow. It’s taking all of my self-control not to slide my hands under it right now. And that red lipstick? I want traces of it smeared all over my body from your kisses.
I try to suppress a smile as I earnestly scribble a note back:
Well, the only way your suit would look better is if it were beside you in a heap on the floor.
I fold the note and pass it back to him. Marc opens it to read. No smile, just a stern note back:
Meet me at the top level, northwest corner of parking lot two at lunch.
Oh, yeah. There might be one downside to my job. Small detail. Hardly worth mentioning, really. I’m kind of, maybe, sleeping with my boss.
Chapter Two
8:00 A.M.
I want to quit my job.
Actually, that’s not true. I love my job—when I’m actually working. I’m an actress, and there is nothing more fun than being paid to spend the day flying around the set in a harness, or being outfitted by a costume designer in a seven-thousand-dollar sequined dress, or looking across a table at a love-struck George Clooney, who asks you to pass the salt.
But today my job is to get a job. Which sucks. Always, always, always. I wish I could be like that actor who said every audition is an opportunity, however short, to practice your craft. I’m thirty-two years old and have been working for fourteen years. I’m done. I’m ready to (a) start fielding offers or (b) win the lottery and retire.
I start today’s round of auditions at six (fucking) A.M., because audition #1 is at eight A.M., but in Santa Monica, a city west of Los Angeles. I live with my roommate, Natasha, in Silverlake, which is a good hour from Santa Monica even in the best of traffic conditions. Add drizzling rain, the usual frazzled commuters, and two lane closures for road work, and one must leave the house two hours early.
As if that weren’t bad enough, it’s for a commercial for a pharmaceutical where I have to look like a scientist, and where I’ve been told to “dress the part.”
You tell me how not to look like an ass when you show up to a job interview in a white lab coat. (The same lab coat you’ve worn to at least twelve auditions, and one very weird second date.)
I don’t know why the trend lately, but I’m half Asian, half Caucasian, and I seem to be getting audition after audition for “scientist” and “doctor.”
Okay, I totally know why the trend. And the stereotype totally pisses me off. Although I suppose one advantage of being in my thirties is I’m now the smart scientist type. Once, in my twenties, a director gave me the most back-handed compliment when he said, “With your straight, black, ‘shampoo commercial’ hair, and porcelain”—(read: half-white)—“skin, you’re like an approachable geisha.”
Yeah, as opposed to all of those stand-offish geishas.
Anyway, a little before eight, I make my way to the ad agency, which is on the third floor of a mirrored building that looks like all of the other mirrored buildings in the area. I sign in at the reception area to let them know I’m there and try to pretend that I don’t see twelve other Asian women, all dressed in lab coats, silently rehearsing their lines.
The receptionist hands me the sides, which is what we call the pages with the actor’s lines on them. On the top of the first page is a word: XKLGGENZS. Judging from the rest of the script, I’m guessing that’s the name of the drug they’re selling. I resist the urge to ask to buy a vowel.
I sit down on a white pleather sofa and read through the script. The first page is for a younger actress, who will play Sarah, my afflicted patient. What she is afflicted with, the script will not say.
My part, on page 2, starts out innocuously enough:
JULIA, a handsome woman, older, approachable, tells us in her authoritative voice …
But now, we women have options.
Then page 3 scares the shit out of me. Because over a shot of four beautiful young women laughing over cocktails (Sarah and her friends), I (the phony doctor) have a voice-over to warn consumers:
Side effects include drowsiness, short-term memory loss, decreased libido, stroke, depressed mood, dry mouth, tinnitus, and death. Pregnant women should not take Xklggenzs. If you have thoughts of suicide, please stop using Xklggenzs and consult your doctor immediately.
A glowing Sarah runs up to the camera to confide …
It’s time for a new start. It’s time for Xklggenzs.
I quickly look up tinnitus on my phone: ringing in the ears. Seriously?
“Holly Graham.” A curly-haired guy in a navy blue suit calls out, clipboard in hand.
I raise my hand and tell him cheerfully, “That’s me.” I gather up my things and make my way into the casting room, whispering to him as we walk in, “How do I pronounce…?”
“x-KEL-ggenzs,” I repeat.
“No, the second g is silent,” he tells me, then raises his voice to announce to a roomful of executives, “This is Holly Graham. She’ll be reading for the part of Julia.”
I quickly survey the room to see who I’m playing to. In front of the floor-to-ceiling windows is a super-long table with twelve people seated to face me. Shades of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. In the center of the table, substituting for Jesus, is a video camera. While one of the execs stands up to run the camera, the man farthest to my left (I assume he’s the casting director) says to me, “Can you state your name?”
“Holly Graham.”
“Great. Now, Holly, can you read the side effects for me as quickly as possible?”
“Sure,” I say, giving him a huge I’m-a-team-player smile. “Side effects include drowsiness, short-term memory loss, decreased libido—”
“Let me stop you right there,” he says, putting up his palm. “You gotta go faster than that. I’m understanding every word you’re saying.”
“Absolutely. Thanks for the note,” I say cheerfully. Then I begin again, rapid-firing it, “Side effects include drowsiness, short-term memory loss, decreased libido, stroke, depressed mood, dry mouth, tinnitus, and death. Pregnant women should not take Xklggenzs. If you have thoughts of suicide, please stop using Xklggenzs and consult your doctor immediately.”
“Oh, my God. You sound sooooo bummed out when you say that,” the executive the second from my right tells me. “Can you sound a bit more upbeat?”
As I talk about thoughts of suicide? I think to myself. Then I tell him, “Absolutely,” and run through it again.
“Okay, now you’re sounding too happy,” the one woman executive in the room tells me. “How about something a little more authoritarian?”
This went on for five more read-throughs. If I’m supposed to be grateful to the universe for giving me this free opportunity to pursue my passion, I’d like to remind the universe that my passions also include ice cream and pretty much anything to do with Hawaii, France, or Ryan Gosling.
10:00 A.M.
I want to quit my job.
I should have been a dental hygienist. You never have to audition to clean out people’s mouths.
Audition #2 of the day is a callback, meaning I have already auditioned for the casting director, and either she wants to see me again, or I get to audition for the director. After a snail’s crawl commute down the 405 freeway to get from Santa Monica to the Valley, I make my way to soundstage three of the CBS Studios lot, where I see a line of stunningly beautiful women waiting patiently. Most of them are wearing shiny neon spandex from the 1980s.
Uh-oh. Before I get in the line, I quickly text my agent, Karen:
Hey—question about the NCI: Boise callback. Why is everyone in spandex?
I wait for Karen to text back.
Didn’t I tell you to wear spandex?
No, I’m pretty sure I would have remembered that.
Hold on …
I wait about fifty feet away from the line of actresses while (I assume) Karen talks to her assistant. My friend Audra (who is also mixed-race Asian and Caucasian, so we frequently end up at the same auditions) spots me.
I put out the palms of my hands and lift my shoulders to mutely signal, What the fuck? She responds by shaking her head, then pretending to hang herself.
I love her.
My phone pings that I have a new text. Karen.
Apparently they want you to look like Jane Fonda.
They want an Asian-looking Jane Fonda? Would that be before or after she was in Hanoi?
Very funny. Why did you put “Hip-Hop Dance” under special skills on your resume?
Because I’m desperate for a job. But Jane Fonda taught aerobics in the 80s, not hip-hop in the 90s.
Pretty sure they don’t know that.
Swell. I quickly head to a ladies’ room to change into some (circa 2010s, very unshiny) yoga pants, then Google the term “Fly Girls” to get a crash course in hip-hop from the 1990s. The Fly Girls were a group of dancing girls choreographed by Rosie Perez and featured on the show In Living Color. Jennifer Lopez got her start dancing with them. On my phone, I check out a picture of her from that time—she looks nothing like Jennifer Lopez. Welcome to Hollywood.
Twenty minutes later, I clumsily manage the Cabbage Patch and the Running Man, then nearly break my neck while attempting a move with my leg that the choreographer should just call the Broken Clavicle. This is followed up by a dance that should be renamed, Learning to Ski at the Age of Fifty.
Needless to say, I don’t think I got the part.
12:00 NOON
If I quit my job to become an Uber driver, would the amount of driving for work actually go down?
Audition #3 is on the Paramount lot in Hollywood, a short enough drive that I have time to hit Arby’s, change out of yoga pants and into blue jeans in their ladies’ room, then wolf down a large roast beef sandwich, potato cakes, and Diet Coke. All in less than five minutes. On my way out, I drive through for a ham and cheese with Horsey Sauce, silently promising myself to hit the gym before seeing Nat and Jessie tonight.
Twenty minutes later, I am signing in at the next production front office, where I am handed my sides. Normally, sides look like this:
Can we speak to Mr. Huang?
I’ll see if he’s in.
Only for this audition, I am given a blank sheet of paper—except for one blue line drawn horizontally across the sheet.
I flip the sheet over, thinking the casting director’s assistant must have handed me the sides upside down.
Nope, nothing but white on the other side.
I smile pleasantly at the receptionist. “I’m sorry, you just handed me a blank sheet of paper.”
“Oh, did I?” she responds politely, looking over at the paper. Then she shakes her head. “No, that’s right. You’re Blue.”
I can feel my lips scrunching toward my left ear, trying to figure this out, when my name is called. “Holly Graham.”
“Here!” I pipe up nervously, then follow a puffy middle-aged woman with fried bleached blonde hair and long acrylic nails into a room where three men in suits sit at a table across from me.
“Okay, Holly is coming in as Blue,” Bleachie announces to the men before taking her seat at the side of the table.
They all wait for me expectantly.
I stand in the middle of the room and stare back at them.
The man in the center seat of the table beams a cheerful smile at me. “Whenever you’re ready. Just have fun with it.”
“Okay,” I say awkwardly, trying to study the blue line.
I look up at the main guy and say, “If I could just maybe get a little direction here. If there were to be words on my script, what might they sound like?”
He laughs, and the other men laugh with him, half a second too late. “You are a riot. Karen said we’d love you. The whole point of our show is that it’s unscripted. So say whatever Blue would say.”
I nod, making sure to look him in the eye so that he can see that I’m totally getting where he’s coming from. “And who am I in this script?”
“You’re Blue,” he answers with a flourish.
“Well, thank you for not making me calculus.”
Polite laughs on their parts.
I try again. “What I meant is…” How the hell else can I ask this? “How do you see Blue?”
He nods, furrowing his brow as he ponders my deep question. “That is a good question.” Then he turns to the man on his left. “Dave, how do you see Blue?”
“Well, obviously, she’s female,” Dave answers, then motions toward me, “And extremely hot.”
Oh, yay me.
Then Dave shrugs. “I would say just play with it. Really make it your own.”
Believe it or not, the audition went downhill from there.
12:45 P.M.
I think I’m never getting a job again.
The good news: My next audition is at 1:20 on the Paramount lot, so I don’t have to drive. I grab a cup of coffee at the commissary and go through my e-mails to learn that Xklggenzs has already passed on me, but am I interested in auditioning for a medical marijuana commercial? I e-mail back to ask if they want me to be pro or con? Not that it matters—I’ll probably go in anyway. Sigh.
I waste some time texting Jessie.
Tell me again why it’s bad to be an accountant?
Pick one: Spreadsheet. Monotony. Nude hosiery. Sensible shoes. (I can’t find the emoji for Munch’s Scream.) Oh! And having to sleep with Kevin.
I realize that I have accidentally texted my roommate, Nat, a game show writer, not our friend Jessie, the accountant. I point out to Nat …
I have to wear nude hosiery sometimes.
Yes, and your reward for that is you get to kiss a One Direction member as part of your day job. By the way, did you eat the rest of the Cheetos?
I did, and I’d do it again. Yesterday was brutal. Today is worse. Plus, it paired well with the double-chocolate Milanos you hid behind the canned string beans.
I hear a ping from my phone, alerting me to a text from Jessie.
Tell me again why it’s bad to be an actress?
1:10 P.M.
I walk in to my audition ten minutes early to have Marion, an assistant whom I know fairly well, look up at me from her desk and do a double take. I turn to get a gander at the room full of actresses I’ll be competing against: They’re all drag queens. I smile at Marion, silently wave good-bye, and see myself out.
“You’re coming to bingo Monday, right, baby?” I hear from the waiting room on my way out.
“Wouldn’t miss it, Roxy,” I yell back to one of the ladies. “Just promise me you’ll tell me I-29 at least once.”
Six more hours until I’m sitting at the bar of Wine O’Clock with my friends, sipping on something from somewhere weird, and not having to pretend to be something I’m not.
Chapter Three
8:00 A.M.
I want to quit my job.
Don’t get me wrong: Staring at the Sexiest Man Alive (according to People magazine, not me) is not the worst way to spend a morning. It’s just, you know, when he opens his mouth that we have a problem.
“So I’m a little unclear here…” I begin carefully. “You spent a hundred thousand dollars on a pair of shoes…”
“Two pairs of shoes,” Justin Hayes corrects me, then proudly flashes me his big laser-whitened smile. “Pretty fiscally responsible of me, huh?”
I want to say, “They’re shoes,” in the driest way possible, but I decide to keep my job for at least two more minutes. “It’s just that I’m wondering how such a purchase fits in with your goal to cut your expenses by thirty percent this year?”
Justin pulls out his phone and begins ignoring me to read his screen. “You should look happier, Jess. Clearly I’ve cut my expenses by fifty percent. I just told you, I got two pairs of shoes for the price of one.”
I silently breathe in a cleansing breath, then continue. “Fair enough. Can we maybe agree not to spend any more money on shoes this year?”
He looks up from his phone. “When I win an eBay auction, that doesn’t actually mean I won something, right?”
I’m afraid to ask. So instead I answer, “No. It means you were the highest bidder, and you now have to pay for whatever it is you bought.”
Justin scrunches his lips so close that they disappear. “Hm.” He shrugs, then pockets his iPhone. “So we’ll have something to talk about next month. Do you have cookies?”
I give him a tight smile. “Sure.” Then I press the intercom. “Jacquie, can you bring some cookies in for Mr. Hayes?”
“Are they vegan?” Justin asks me.
I push the intercom button again, wondering in that split second where my life went. “Jacquie can you bring us some vegan cookies?”
“What the hell are vegan cookies?” Jacquie asks through the intercom, not realizing she’s on speaker.
Seriously, how can you live in Los Angeles and not know what a vegan cookie is?
“They’re cookies without butter,” I tell her. “Or eggs.”
“Why would anyone eat cookies without butter?” she asks.
Justin knocks my hand out of the way so he can push the button. “Jacquie, honey, I made a mistake. I’m not vegan this week, I’m gluten free.”
“So you want gluten-free cookies?” Jacquie asks.
“Then I amend my question: Why would anyone eat cookies without gluten?”
“I’m so sorry,” I tell Justin. “She’s new here and a little green.”
“She’s smoking hot. Do you think she’d go out with me?”
“Doesn’t your wife frown on you dating?” I ask him.
He shrugs. “Not as much as you’d think.”
Jacquie, 19 and a size 0, strides in and places a bag of (not gluten-free) Milano cookies on my desk. “These are the only cookies in the kitchen right now. Are Starburst gluten free?” she asks Justin, who turns to me for an answer (like I have any idea).
“Do you have a pot brownie?” Justin asks her.
Jacquie’s face lights up. “In my purse! Let me go get it.”
As she walks out, I return to my lecture. “Okay, so you can’t live without super-nice shoes. What red-blooded American man doesn’t feel that way? What if we got rid of your plane? You could be saving…”
“I can’t give up my plane. Then I’d have to go through the regular airport.”
“So my wife might not exactly frown on my dating, but she does frown on TMZ taking pictures of me and my mistress coming back from Bora Bora. One-hundred-mile rule and all that.”
“You have a mistress?” Jacquie says as she glides back in and hands him the brownie. “That’s a shame. I thought you were hot.”
Justin is unfazed by the rejection, turning away from me to check out Jacquie’s backside as she returns to her desk. After she disappears, he turns back to me. “So, what other cuts can I make to my budget? Let’s keep this ball rolling.”
“Well, You own five vacation houses, each of which requires money for upkeep, insurance, etc. How do you feel about selling two of them?”
“Which two?” he asks me.
“Which ones are you not using as much?”
He looks up to think. “And by ‘as much’ you mean…”
“At all,” I instantaneously rephrase. “Which ones are you not using at all?”
Justin furrows his brow. “Okay, I’m definitely using the Miami house…”
“You don’t own a Miami house…”
“Oh. Well, that’s disappointing. Do I own one in Prague? I feel like I should own one in Prague.”
“Should I buy one in Prague?”
“Please don’t. Why don’t we go over the five houses, and you can pick two to sell. Now the house in Bora Bora…”
Justin nearly spits out his brownie. “Wait! I have a house there? Damn! I have been wasting a LOT of money renting overwater bungalows. I mean, don’t get me wrong, women LOVE overwater bungalows.” He flashes me his sexiest smile. “If you know what I mean.”
I nod wearily and try to smile back. “You leave little to the imagination.”
Jacquie reappears. “I found gluten-free ham. Would that work?”
Justin turns to her. “Want to go to my house in Bora Bora before I sell it?”
While she makes a show of considering it, all I can think is, This is going to be a long fucking day.
9:00 A.M.
I want to quit my job.
“Time is of the essence here,” Chad, my trust fund baby client (and yes, his name really is Chad), tells me in irritation. “I only have nine hundred and sixty thousand to last me until the end of the year. So what can I cut? Are there any charities I can get rid of?”
Dear Karma: Seriously—how can you explain this guy?
I look down at his list of bills, printed out in front of me. The guy gets several million dollars a year from his family, and yet he still can’t afford to buy a house. I take a deep breath, and begin, “As you don’t actually donate to any charities, Mr. Connors, I’m afraid eliminating that line from the budget doesn’t do you much good. However, as I told you over the phone”—(when he called me at one in the morning during a bender in Vegas)—“If we’re going to cut expenses, I think we should start with your cars…”
“Babe, I’m not taking the bus.”
“I’m not suggesting that. But maybe you don’t need seven cars.”
“Oh, come on. None of them are that expensive. Why, I’m pretty sure I have a Prius in there.”
His girlfriend’s car, I’m betting.
“Fair enough,” I say, suppressing a sigh. “What’s a hyperbaric oxygen chamber?”
“How the fuck would I know?”
“I thought since you bought two of them last month…”
“Then obviously I need them,” he says with a tone of disdain. Then he quickly reverses course. “I’m sorry, baby. I’m sure the girlfriend bought them as part of her healing regimen. She’s got a private yoga instructor now too. Trying to be all Zen after I gave her a gift last month that was not graciously received.”
“Did you give her flowers? Because you guys are spending an awful lot on—”
“I gave her something from Vegas. A little surprise I picked up that she was not happy with.”
“Oh. Well, can she return it? Because the money—”
“It was a disease. I have this booty call in Vegas, and apparently she sees other dudes when I’m not in town.”
I make a note on the list of bills. “Which would explain the ten-thousand-dollar cash withdrawal in Henderson…”
“She’s worth it. Do you know what the girlfriend experience is?”
I look up. “She makes you miss football on Sunday to go antiquing?”
“You’re funny, Jess. Oh … but you should be proud of me here … she’s totally comping me the next time I’m in town because of that … uh … gift she gave me.”
“Clearly, she’s a woman of character,” I tell him as I scroll down more expenses. Then I ask. “Back to the flowers. You and your girlfriend are having four bouquets delivered twice a week from the most expensive florist in Beverly Hills.”
Now Chad looks irritated. “Yeah?”
Deep breaths, Jessie. “Okay, well, for example, one of the bouquets, the peonies, cost six hundred and twenty-seven dollars. Now, if you could go for only having flowers delivered once a week…”
“Oh, please. These are minor changes. You might as well tell me not to go to Starbucks for a Venti Mocha. Give me a big item to cross off the list.”
“Big item! You got it! You spent one hundred and twenty thousand dollars last month on ‘entertainment.’ If you could bring that down to even forty thousand a month…”
Chad pulls out his phone, pressing a button as he stands up to let himself out. “You know what? I’m late to a thing. You’ll figure it out.” As he walks out without so much as a good-bye, I hear him tell the person on the other end of the phone, “Linda. Send my accountant Jessica some peonies.”
10:00 A.M.
I want to firebomb my building.
On the other side of my desk now sits Methuselah and his trophy wife, Tiffani, who’s dressed like a sex doll, and dots her i’s with hearts. (I’m not being a bitch; her official signature has hearts on it. Okay, I am being a bitch—but how can I not be? Seriously!)
“So I understand why you paid for a reverse vasectomy,” I tell Methus … Mr. Kennedy.
“He needed it so we could have children,” Tiffani practically spits out at me.
“Of course. And mazel tov, by the way. I’m sure you’ll make an amazing mother.”
And he’ll make an amazing great grandfather. Nope, need this job.
“Now what I’m unclear on is why you’re still spending money every month on maintenance for sperm you froze in the 1990s.”
Mr. Kennedy’s eyes nearly pop out at me as Tiffani asks me, “What does that mean? Maintenance on sperm he froze?”
I nervously look over at Mr. Kennedy. He pleads with me with his eyes. I take a deep breath and tell her, “My mistake. It’s just a medical expense.”
“Daddy Issues” turns to her husband. “This is why we need a man accountant. She doesn’t understand what a medical expense is.”
“Mrs. Kennedy, I assure you that any accountant in the city will tell you that Juvederm and Botox injections are not medical expenses…”
“But I need them for my job.”
“Oh. Are you working?”
“Yes. I’m his wife. I have to look good for his client dinners.”
Methuselah closes his eyes, lowers his chin, and appears to drift off to sleep.
11:00 A.M.
I wonder if it’s too late to get into hooking? Nah. I’d still have to deal with the Chads and the Methuselahs of the world.
My next client comes in with a full-on crew: including a director of photography (DP), lighting guy, gaffer, and two hair and makeup people.
Oh, and a director. Who, as the gaffer and DP set up lights around my office, tells me, “So the feeling here is aspirational. I need you to let the audience know how rich Gretchen is without actually saying it.”
Did I mention that my client is a reality star known mostly for a sex tape she made before marrying a sitcom star? Or maybe she made the sex tape with a famous sitcom star and then married her husband? Or her dad defended a famous murd … Well, anyway, only in L.A. could an accountant come back from a secret donut and two-minute coffee break to a lighting crew and a guy putting black tape on her carpet and showing her her mark.
“But she’s not rich. She declared bankruptcy last year,” I point out to the director. Then I turn to Gretchen and say gently, “You do know you’re not rich, right?”
Before she can say anything, the director says, “Love it! So just talk to Gretchen like you would any other client who’s wasting money. Maybe give her a lecture, so our viewers can feel superior, yet make it clear this is how she lives, so they can want to be like her.”
I think I can manage that.
Is it too early to start drinking?

Copyright © 2017 by Kim Gruenenfelder

"Kim Gruenenfelder is an engaging storyteller and this book embodies everything Iadore about women’s fiction! Her characters are smart, funny, and relatable; she’s created the kind of perfectly imperfect women I’d want to spend time with in real life. (I would so frequent their winebar!) Balancing moments of profound wisdom with pithy observations, Love the Wine You’re With will brighten your day faster than a glass of chardonnay.” —Jennifer Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author of Bitter Is the New Black and The Tao of Martha

“Written with a wickedly wry sense of wit and graced with an engaging cast of characters, this bright and breezy novel is the literary equivalent of a frothy daiquiri and every bit as refreshing.” —Reader to Reader Online on Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink

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Meet Kim:KIM GRUENENFELDER lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son, and continues to avoid anything even remotely resembling a real job. She is the author of A Total Waste of Makeup, Misery Loves Cabernet, There's Cake in My Future, Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink, and Love the Wine You're With. In addition to her novels, she is also a screenwriter and founder and curator of, a website for people to read and share stories about life-changing moments.

Today's Gonereading item is:nothing goes with a glass of wine better thanan adult coloring bookclick HERE for the buy page

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  1. The blurb is what I am immediately drawn to since I am interested in learning about the book.

  2. Sounds good and love that title.

  3. That sounds interesting. The cover is cute too.

    1. I LOVE the title, but now I can't get that 70s song If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with out of my head LOL

  4. This sounds delightful and I adore her book covers!

  5. Love the wine you are with. LOL. Nice one

  6. I enjoy this authors books and the title is awesome! This book is going on my wishlist.

  7. Oh that's a good title. I know a couple who would probably really like this one :D

  8. Haha, kind of, I do like a good title! Thanks for sharing the excerpt and chance to win!

  9. Oh the title is what draws me in to read more...I always love to browse covers!!! I have found some of my favorite authors this way!

  10. Oh the title is what draws me in to read more...I always love to browse covers!!! I have found some of my favorite authors this way!

  11. I live in wine country so it caught my eye immediately.