Home > Starter Wife (The Jilted Wives Club #1)

Starter Wife (The Jilted Wives Club #1)
Author: Bethany Lopez


One

 

 

Whitney

 

 

“And then I found out he was cheating on me and I couldn’t believe it … I mean, he’d left his wife for me. It just doesn’t make any sense. He’s such an asshole.”

“Now, Amber, you know we need to refrain from the negative talk.”

I refrained from rolling my eyes, but it was a serious struggle as I sat in the hard plastic seat with one hand holding a Styrofoam cup filled with day-old coffee and the other itching for my cell phone.

My therapist had recommended this group to me.

“Whitney,” she’d said. “I think you’d benefit from being around women who are going through exactly what you are …so you can see you’re not alone. Sharing your story would be beneficial for you, and them.”

I liked and trusted my therapist, so I’d given it a shot, but it hadn’t taken five minutes before I realized she’d really missed the mark with this one.

No negative talk.

No bashing your ex.

No threats against your ex, or their new significant others.

No self-flagellation.

Those were the rules…

The twenty-something currently talking couldn’t be further away from like me if she tried. The only thing we had in common was a cheating ex, but hell, I was pretty sure I had that in common with eighty percent of the population. That didn’t mean I wanted to spend an hour listening to them whine, with nothing to show for it but a sore ass and the taste of bitter coffee.

Not wanting to be rude, but needing to escape as quickly as possible, I slowly leaned down to pick up my purse, then eased out of my chair and started toward the back of the room where the table with refreshments was set up.

They had stale donuts to go with the coffee.

Hoping the leader of the group would think I was going for a refill, or maybe to the bathroom, I exited the room without looking back. When the door closed behind me, I let out a sigh of relief and turned to walk toward the exit.

“Couldn’t take it either, huh?”

I stopped, startled, and looked to the right to see two women sitting on a bench against the wall. The first had long, straight black hair and the most brilliant blue eyes I’d ever seen, while the other was small with the body of a bombshell and a smile that lit up the place.

I looked around briefly, and since I was the only other person there, deduced whoever had spoken had been speaking to me.

“Were you in the group?” I asked, throwing my thumb over my shoulder to indicate the door I’d just exited.

“Yeah, for about two seconds,” the raven-haired beauty said as she stood up, stretching well above my five-foot, six-inch frame. “Then I ran screaming from the room, knocking over blondie in my need to escape.”

With a giggle, the other woman stood up and reached out a hand.

“I’m Summer and this gorgeous Amazon is Margo.”

I accepted her hand, shaking it briefly before replying, “Whitney.”

“Recently divorced I assume,” Margo said dryly.

“Guilty.”

“Once Margo picked me up off the floor, we decided to ditch this place and start our own group. Wanna join?” Summer asked sweetly.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I replied, thinking there was no way I could handle more of what I’d just endured inside.

“There’s going to be alcohol,” Margo said, piquing my interest.

“And junk food,” Summer added, a hopeful expression on her face.

“And you can be as negative as you want. I’ll even help you plan any revenge fantasies you may have.”

I grinned at that. I could see myself really liking Margo.

“I can commit to one drink and we’ll see from there.”

“This is going to be so much fun,” Summer cooed, almost causing me to back out right then.

“There’s a place down the block, Campanella’s. They’ve got a great happy hour and it’s mostly an after-work crowd,” Margo said as she checked her phone. “We should at least be able to get two rounds in before it’s over.”

“Perfect,” I said, and headed to the door.

Once we were all outside, we turned our feet toward Campanella’s.

“So, how long have you two known each other?” I asked, pulling my cashmere coat tighter around me.

The coat had been a Christmas gift from my ex, Marcus, but I hadn’t been able to get rid of it like I had most everything else. It was too warm and pretty.

“About ten minutes,” Margo said with a chuckle.

“Oh, I didn’t realize.”

“Yea, I’m sure Margo wouldn’t have looked twice at me if she hadn’t mowed me down,” Summer added good-naturedly.

“She’s probably right. I was pretty intent on getting out of there as fast as possible and hopping in my car.”

“Funny, isn’t it. How we were all trying to get away from the group and now here we are heading out together. Three strangers with a common desire not to share our feelings with strangers,” I said with a wry laugh.

“I don’t mind sharing my feelings and I have a feeling we won’t be strangers for long,” Summer said as she opened the door to the restaurant and held it open for Margo and me.

It was like going into a portal. From the cool, quiet outside, to the loud and lively restaurant. The bar was full of smart-looking people in their suits and tailored jackets. The women had perfectly made-up faces and the men fresh haircuts.

It was the kind of crowd I’d loved when I was a young up-and-coming accountant. The kind I’d given up when I’d gotten married and stopped working so I could raise our family and keep house.

I ignored the pang of regret and followed behind Margo, who’d let the host know with a look that we were taking the last empty high-top table in the bar.

She obviously came in often and, really, you could tell she fit just by looking at her. With her long legs encased in perfectly straight slacks, high heels that would instantly leave me with a twisted ankle, and a well-cut blouse that was expensive without being flashy. This was obviously a restaurant full of her peers.

Summer, on the other hand, looked like a sunflower in the middle of a sea of black and navy weeds.

Unfazed by the fact she stuck out like a sore thumb, Summer hopped up on the bar stool and picked up the tapas menu as she looked around the room with a smile.

“Wow, lotta hotties here tonight.”

I nearly choked on my laughter as I tried to get on the stool with as much grace as I could muster.

“If you go for the type,” I said, glancing around. Because seriously, the men in this place were like carbon copies of each other.

“Just check with me before you go home with anyone,” Margo said, without an ounce of jest. “I’ll let you know if they’re worth your time or not.”

“Is that how it is?” I asked, infusing my tone with laughter so she’d know I wasn’t judging.

“Let’s just say I’ve been having a bit of rebound fun the last few months,” Margo replied with a smirk.

“Here you are, ladies, a little something to get you started.”

I glanced up as an attractive server placed a shot glass in front of each of us.

“What’s this?” I asked.

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