I just can't with #TheBachelor

I really am a terrible pick of Bachelors because I loved Arie before this season started. Now, I see that whenever he is flummoxed, he crams his tongue down someone's throat and we're supposed to buy that he's romantic. Ugh. It is not working for me and after watching "The Olympics" and "Victoria" I just can't summon the courage to sit through the Bachelor in Italy. With such epic quotes as, "It's so Italian." Ya think?


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Last night, I turned it off when Jacqueline was sobbing in the previews. Seriously? Girl, you are in Italy. Get OUTSIDE. Go have a cannoli. Eat pasta. Tour history. See some art. Do not sit and pine over a guy who has all the personality of moldy bread. Listen, I'm sure Arie is a nice guy, but that doesn't make him marriage material. So if you're wondering where my recaps went, I can't really make it through an episode.

I did watch "Victoria" last night, which was SOOO good. It could have been called, "What happens in the Highlands, stays in the Highlands."

While finding a picture, I know Lord M is now dead in Season 2. But you know, Rufus lives...


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#TheBachelor in Fort Lauderdale Recap

The show hasn't even started and I have to give my professional armchair diagnosis. Krystal needs help. I don't mean that in a nasty or catty way. The girl really needs to have some help so that she can understand the world is not out to get her and she is safe. Okay, kind of a bummer place to start, but they really need to follow up on these girls -- kind of like Dr. Phil supposedly does.

So they're in Fort Lauderdale -- where I went to help a NASCAR driver write his autobiography and it's a great city. Normally when I'm in Florida, I'm in West Palm. This was my view from the hotel. They served margaritas in Starbucks' cups. That was cool. Onto the show...

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ONE ON ONE WITH CHELSEA:
There are 12 women left. The first date is with Chelsea -- the single mom. They're going on a yacht. Maquel is back from the funeral, so I guess we have unlucky number 13. Arie will kiss anything. Naturally, the producers give the girls in the hotel a telescope and parade Arie and Chelsea in front of them. So shady.

Chelsea sits backwards on a jetski so she's facing Arie. Classy. I'd like to know if they actually talked and had a connection before all this, but yeah, they didn't show any of that. I'm sort of over Arie's moves which we've been watching for years now. He'd be a hard one to trust.

He wants to know more about her ex. She tells him that he was older, successful and she was young and swept off her feet. They separated when her son was six months' old. That has to suck. Ugh, it gets worse. He left her for someone else. The ex sounds like a real piece of work. Personally, after hearing her story, I think she deserves better than Arie. They're in a car museum. Enter the awkward private concert. Arie makes it more awkward by making out in front of the poor singer -- who is wondering why she has to put up with this crap to make it in the music industry.

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GROUP DATE:

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They're all dressed like Laverne & Shirley and go bowling. Krystal is like a poor man's Deepak Chopra and keeps spouting off words from a greeting card. She's bummed because the blue team won and he invited the pink team to the party too. Now she has to share. Krystal missed that day in Kindergarten. She's going to stay home from the party and stamp her feet because Arie "lied" about rewarding those who bowled best.


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Arie thinks he should discuss it with her. The girls agree because they're hoping he'll send her home. But there's no way the producers will let that happen yet, will they? Bekah with an H is starting to annoy me. The conversation that happens between Arie & Krystal involves a lot of "likes" and then, he tells her she should stay upstairs and he'll see her in a couple of days. She punished him. He punishes her. So mature.

Then, he REALLY disrespects Krystal and tells the girls they can all relax a little now. He spends time with Kendall and under Bekah. He loves her spirit and her energy -- but she's 22. Chances are she's going to have more energy than our hero who is approaching 40.

Becca K gets alone time in the room. I like these two together the best, but we don't see much of her. Bekkah is mocking Krystal as our heroine returns. Wow, Bekah is just mean-spirited. Krystal may be troubled and completely lacking in self-awareness, but Bekah is a mean girl and that's worse to me. We agree on one thing. Krystal needs to go home and work on her narcissistic tendencies.

Lauren B & Arie have a cute game of "21 Questions" and it's the kind of exchange we tune in for -- they're sweet together.
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Lauren B gets the rose. Becca is a little put off and I can't blame her. Bekkah trash-talks Krystal a little more.

ONE ON ONE WITH TIA

They're going on an airboat right in the Everglades. That's not exactly romantic. Those are SOO loud! Okay, after seeing an alligator and a turtle, they stop at a swamp stilt house that is straight out of "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride and a grizzled dude meets them at the boat and tells him he built the house and loves to go froggin' Clearly, Tia's the right girl for this date because it seems they're eating frog legs and yellow-bellied catfish. SHe's really gorgeous and she'd make a great Chick Lit heroine as she explains what froggin' is like back in Arkansas. But I think she needs an alpha male who can start a fire. Something tells me Arie doesn't have the skills to keep her alive in the swamps.

Tia's also a doctor -- she needs a burly brain. She'd be a good Bachelorette, except they don't get a lot of Alpha guys on that show either. They don't meet on the faith issue. He's lost a lot of people in racing and doesn't see the point. That makes me sad for him. Really? You think it's just over for your friends? Tia admits she's a fixer/healer. Not good. She tells him that she's falling in love with him. I love her. I just think he's all wrong for her.

I wish I could believe Arie when he says he has real feelings for any of these women, but he goes right back into all his signature moves and I just don't buy it. Now he's kissing some chick named Jacqueline and I don't remember her at all. Bekah and Krystal are hashing it out and I just don't have the stomach for it. Who cares?

Krystal's backstory is that she was triggered by the bowling alley because she grew up in a bowling alley. Seriously? She tells him it's their first fight, he says it might be their last. She says, "Good conversation!" And skips off...she really doesn't need Arie for this relationship. She's got it all figured out in her own head.

Of course Krystal gets the last rose. You can almost see Arie gritting his teeth, so I'm sure it's a producer pick. Going home are three people I don't recognize -- except for the stunning Indian girl Marikh. She is drop-dead gorgeous and seems really sweet inside. From Ft. Lauderdale to Paris...


Grammys Lesson #1: Music is a young person's gig

Granted, I fast-forwarded through most of the Grammys. I loved Kesha's song and I feel for her because I know she was abused by that awful, narcissistic manager of hers, and though no one believed her, she fought anyway. The people standing up now when it's easy are meh. Sony is tweeting out it's love for her. Now. Where were they when she was being held captive by a narcissistic manager? Yeah, that's what I thought.


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I do not get the music of the night -- like Childish Gambino. What the heck kind of name is that? Yeah, I'm old, but I didn't hear that as music, sorry. People were upset he didn't win. Do they really think his music is going to be around like say, ELO, Michael Jackson or Journey? Maybe it will with his fans, what do I know?

My favorite performance of the night was by Ben Platt. Oh my goodness, what a voice. I totally want to hop on a plane if I can get tickets to "Dear Evan Hansen" -- bugging my bestie at the moment to do just that.

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Loved Patti Lupone, but "Evita!" is obviously not my favorite of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Be honest, we all wanted "Phantom of the Opera" or "Les Miserables."

Loved Chris Stapleton and was happy he won in the Country Album category, but that was a tough category. Still, the guy is gifted and deserved it. Anyway, overall a disappointing night for me. As it appeared to be for Blue Ivy. Did you see her cute little sparkle shoes?


IKEA: It's a trap!

When I lived in East Palo Alto, the best part was living on the Baylands, which is where the San Francisco Bay ends. It's so amazing and quiet -- the only noise is the small planes overhead from the Palo Alto airport, and I love that sound because it reminds me of my childhood. We lived near the San Carlos airport -- back when normal people had airplanes and boats for weekend fun -- not just rich people.. .When I first got married, we'd ride our mountain bikes all over the Baylands and it just made the world disappear.

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So imagine if you will, the perfect reflecting stillness of the Baylands and characters speaking to me, telling me where they are going next. It's like, I'm totally there to listen so I can get home and get it all down on paper. The sun is out. The small planes are flying overhead and the cranes and egrets are perched along the path. It's the kind of zen writers dream of...and I ruined it!
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When I lived in EPA, we didn't so much as have a grocery store. Now there's a Nordstrom Rack, a Target...and an IKEA. This is where I go horribly wrong. I think, "I wonder if I could get a cheap bookshelf and get some of those books out of my linen closet. That would leave more room for fluffy towels. That would allow me to look at my books, which makes me happy...

Yes, I know the founder of IKEA just died and no disrespect to the dead. The man made furniture affordable and who doesn't love opening a sock drawer and having to brace the rest of the dresser so it doesn't fall on your toes? I'm sure there are people out there. I'm just not one of them. But today, I'm by myself and I'm not a particularly anxious person, but when I notice the bookshelves are falling apart IN the store, I think, what was I thinking? I need to get out of here. But here's the thing, try getting out. In the words of Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!" (my boys would be so proud of this reference.)

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You can't go back the way you came in because it's an escalator up. The only way out is through, but through where? There are people everywhere. You think you've just been through one room, but nope, it's another meant to confuse and demean you. The ONLY thing to get your bearings is the overwhelming smell of Swedish meatballs and the cafe. And I'm not going to lie, those meatballs smell incredible. For a moment I think, I may as well just sit here and eat and regroup. I have my Kindle. I can read. I have a pad of paper, I can write down the dialogue I created earlier. I can do this.


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Then you realize, the closest you're getting to the meatballs is that smell. So you search again for the exit. WHERE is the exit? I finally went through the entire store and squeezed my way around the snaking line that went well into the warehouse. I had to take a giant elevator with other panic-stricken people wheeling large flats of pressed furniture until i saw daylight. Well, not really daylight, but some sun peaking into the underground parking garage. As I got into my car, it said I was going the wrong way. But this time, I didn't fall for that lie. I went in the out door and emerged triumphant from the parking garage.

Never again. My books can stay in the linen closet. Fluffy towels are overrated.


Goals 2018 -- (BIC!) Bum in Chair! #AmWriting

So my desk got taken over as a makeup table for my daughter. I realize this is as weak an excuse as they come. But seriously, I'd wake up, she'd be sitting here and I'd start something else and never quite sit down for the day. (An ADD highlight of my life.) So I told her today, you need to park yourself somewhere else.

She eyed me warily as if to decipher if I was serious. I gave that scary mom face.

I started working on my webpage and blog today to make them cohesive. I'm pretty proud of that as I have no talent in this arena. It may show, but be kind, a writer takes enough rejection on a daily basis.

It's time to immerse myself in the life of my Wentworth Heiresses. I'm having fun with this book, but there are so many characters to set up the series, that I'm struggling keeping them all straight in my head. Each with their own goals and annoyances. But my goal for 2018 is to keep producing. I don't want to have to get a real job, so that should be my motivation. That, and my Civil War era brick wall that I want in my next house.


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Preferably in my kitchen -- like this:


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However, it's the 27th of the month and I've only written a paragraph on my new book. I need to get back to a chapter a day. So what are you up to for 2018? For me, it couldn't get worse than 2017, so I'm just excited to leave that year behind.


#TheBachelor in Tahoe -- My Recap

The crew heads to Tahoe where we get such stimulating commentary as this:


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The first date is parasailing Lake Tahoe with Seinne. She tells him that she didn't grow up seeing girls who look like her fall in love. Arie thinks this is sad and he feels good about them, so he gives her the rose. Sadly, there is no chemistry between the two of them at all. They get a private Lanco concert. My daughter informs me that this is a country band. They sing a song about being someone's forever. In truth, Seinne is way too smart for Arie. He's still trying to convince us by his commentary that there's something there we as an audience are missing. We're not.

On the huge group date, they take over the hiking trail. I SOOO HATE big groups on a trail. Just sayin. Krystal proves she's crazier than ever as she tells us she's confident even though she's like a speck of sand among a beach of long-haired beauties.

Suddenly, we are on an episode of "Survivor" and an American "Bear Grylls" tells them to pee in cup so they can survive. Or, you could just pick up a handful of snow or boil water from the creek so there's that. They do end up eating worms. Arie pulls Kendall aside and makes out ten feet from the group. Subtle.

I give them credit. It's snowing and they're hiking on granite. That's not easy. But of course, the hike ends at a mountaintop hot tub. Krystal's commentary harping on the other women is getting so old. They need to take the microphone away from her. Although everyone is doing the exact same thing as her, they are aggressive, desperate and sad. I think she's just vying for "Bachelor Pad." No one is that mean. I hope.

Lauren B and Arie sit by the fire in a fur blanket. He tells her he really loves an independent woman. That's over quickly. Enter Kendall, the quirky taxidermist comes out next. Their chemistry is on fire. I love that he likes the quirky chick. She just seems like she can have a good time wherever she is. I think she's too fun for Arie, but I like her.

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Chelsea should be really happy that Krystal can't stop talking. Chelsea looks demure by comparison. Krystal uses her time with Arie to coo and complain -- and manipulate. That Marilyn Monroe voice needs to go. She really lives inside her own make-believe world. I certainly hope this is an act and not a personality disorder.


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Southern girl Tia gets unnerved by Krystal's attack of crazy. But Arie rewards Tia with the rose.

One on One with Bekah

They go horseback riding. Daughter was like, 'They're allowed to go alone on this trail? They're sketch on horses.' They are. There's a trail guide in the distance. You can't really talk on a trail ride, so they get to a tiny barrel hot tub. Daughter also wants to know how much champagne these bougie people can drink. There's a 14-year age difference between them. The girls back at the house are worried about this, but he's got his signature handsy move and not noticing yet.


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At dinner, Arie is talking about his life in his late 20's and how different he is now and Bekah tells him she's 22. It gets awkward quickly. He visibly gulps. But he's clearly not ready to cut her loose. She calls him on his using it as an excuse. I have to say, she's got it together for someone her age and I don't think it's fake or manipulative like it is with Krystal.

Arie tells Bekah that her age terrifies him, but he gives her the rose anyway. Because he really, really feels connected to her.

There's no cocktail party tonight, so Krystal commandeers Arie in the middle of the rose ceremony. She's panicking.

Sidenote: I'm really ticked that Winchester Mystery House movie looks so stupid. I grew up going there and it's a cool place. They ruined it making it a cheesy horror film. I've been there on night tours, and it's creepy, but in an understated way. Why mess with the story? The only ghost I ever saw, I saw there. It was a friendly ghost. He wore overalls and he didn't scare me. I was eight. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled story.


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Brittany T is going home. Caroline is going home. Since we haven't spent any time with either, it's not dramatic. They're better off anyway. This show makes me feel bad about myself. LOL


Keyboard Warriors Beware: Meteorologist with MS Bites Back

As a fellow MS warrior, this story captured my attention. Someone (who used the wrong YOUR and therefore, his opinion doesn't mean much) tweeted to a Fox News meteorologist that she needed to cover up her legs.


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https://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2018/01/22/fox-news-meteorologist-with-ms-claps-back-after-viewer-criticizes-her-legs/?utm_source=Multiple+Sclerosis&utm_campaign=f5dbb93e54-RSS_US_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5fb7a3dae-f5dbb93e54-72292617

She wrote back, “Fox doesn’t dress me. I dress myself. I’m sorry if you don’t like my legs. I’m grateful I have them to walk with. You’re right. I don’t look like the typical person on TV, and I’m proud to be a size 10. Imagine that! You can always turn the channel if you’re offended by my huge legs.”

What she didn't say is that she has MS, and she's lucky to have the use of her legs. No one with MS takes mobility for granted. We know it can be taken from us easily, and to be criticized for something so vain when you're delivering the weather is beyond insulting. Like this guy/gal is some kind of oil painting.

The truth is, we never know what someone is dealing with, so perhaps we should be kinder to one another. I was just thinking the other day how the name-calling in Washington (on both sides!) needs to stop. How do we tell our kids to work things out with words when our elected officials are having catfights on television? That behavior should be reserved for bad reality television.

I don't want to be a part of the problem anymore. Anger and hatred begets more anger and hatred. Or as Martin Luther King so eloquently put it, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


Apple Monkeys in the Zoo... (New Apple Campus)

As many of you know, I live near the Apple Campus. My Starbucks is directly across from the new Spaceship building. We have close friends who live on the other side of the campus, so I usually drive by it at night. Let me say that the pictures don't do it justice. It's a beautiful building. As annoying as all of the construction has been over the past few years, the outside is lovely -- definitely better than the old, brown HP buildings they took down to build it.

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I'll have to get my own picture one day, but I'm always driving and never bother. It's a new day at Apple because when you stepped onto the old Apple campus, which was next to my daughter's school at the time, security would chase you off (and not nicely.) So it's an improvement that this campus actually has a visitor center. Which is ALWAYS packed. The people look like ants moving around in one of those ant farms we had as kids. Okay, I had as a kid. Y'all are probably too young to have been entertained by ants. (I tried to find a picture of an ant farm, but they're gross, so I'm including a more pleasurable shot of Adam Ant -- who also entertained me.)

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The strange thing about the new building is that it's transparent. For such a secretive company, I find this interesting. I also find it puzzling that the rooftop deck at the visitor center overlooks the spaceship building and the engineers within. Like the engineers are monkeys in a glass cage zoo.

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I know a few people who work at Apple, but none of them have moved to the new building. They're engineers, so obviously introverts, and their departments have fought the "open concept" plan & the lack of a true office. For now, they're still in their old buildings, huddled up in their engineering world.

As an introvert, I love the idea that Apple Corporate believes everyone can work together in an open-concept/huddled masses building and do their best work. It's a bold move. I mean, if you look into the visitor center where the masses are huddled together and look extremely happy about it, it seems like a good idea that would work for anyone. Maybe it's time to bring back the Myers-Briggs test to companies again and remember how people work best.

I know whatever Apple does, they're figure it out. They didn't get to be as big as they are without figuring it out. And why wouldn't you want to watch Apple engineers move around and do their thing like ants in an ant farm?


Schadenfreude: #90DayFiance #LoveAfterLockup

Definition of schadenfreude
: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

I really don't enjoy other people's pain. I'm too empathetic. I feel badly and I want to rescue people from themselves. Nowhere is this more true than when I religiously watch "90 Day Fiancé." It's a train wreck. A dumpster fire. But you can't look away. You're screaming at your television set, "No girl, he don't love you!" (You have bad grammar when you're screaming at your own television set.)


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This couple is from the latest season. Molly is a bra specialist who owns and runs her own boutique -- she's also a mother of two girls. Luis is a bartender she met in the Dominican Republic. He is closer in age to her daughter than to Molly. He's also a complete jerk. I have to admit, initially, I had high hopes for Luis because one of the best love matches was a vacation romance with a guy from Jamaica and a single mom. (Melanie & Devar)


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One of the best things about their season was Melanie's sister Bev barking at her constantly of what an idiot she was being. She's say how Devar only loved her for her green card and worse. Somehow, you didn't believe Bev and you rooted for the couple -- plus Bev was just pure entertainment. Incidentally, Devar & Melanie married and just welcomed a baby. Devar, unlike Luis, was so good with Melanie's son. It just warmed my heart.

The show is hard on couples who really do fall in love and want to get married because there is such abuse of this K1 Visa to bring a would-be spouse to America. Even on the show. Alexei & Loren were very vocal about how it annoyed them because it makes it hard for real couples to obtain the visa with all the rules.

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Watching these shows is like being Sherlock Holmes himself. Or maybe a divine prophet. You feel brilliant. You can see the future. Why can't they see the future? (Granted, it's really a producer who sees the future and edits in a way that makes you feel as if you solved the crime. I love watching people give it all up for love. Because none of us can really see our own flaws or mistakes in real time. We walk into our life lessons with well-meaning friends and family shouting warnings behind us, but no. We don't listen. Because love is the strongest emotion we can experience. And it blinds us to the truth in countless ways.

Now, comes a new show that is supposed to be even more tragic than "90 Day Fiancé." Naturally, it's brought to us by the good people who brought us "90 Day Fiancé" but this show is called "Love After Lockup." You guessed it. Men and women finding love with the incarcerated. Because who doesn't love a good prison romance?

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While I may not be proud of it, I'm giving "Love After Lockup" a chance. And not because of Schadenfreude.

EDIT: I can't take the Love After Lockup. Cannot identify at all, so I'm out.


Early Reviews for "The Theory of Happily Ever After" -- My Happy Dance!

The Theory of Happily Ever After
Kristin Billerbeck

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https://www.amazon.com/Theory-Happily-Ever-After/dp/0800729447/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1516234952&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Billerbeck+Theory

“Billerbeck has the most delightful voice I’ve ever read. I laughed, cried, and rejoiced with her wonderful characters and was sad when the story ended. Highly recommended!”—Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author

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According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious—serious science, that is. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies, like why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream–fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with unforgettable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile—because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.


“A journey of self-discovery peppered with wisdom and truth. I loved Maggie Maguire. A must-read for lovers of chick lit.”—Rachel Hauck, New York Times bestselling author

“I absolutely adored The Theory of Happily Ever After from first page to last. Billerbeck’s signature humor made me laugh again and again, and her memorable characters stole my heart. Don’t miss this one!”—Robin Lee Hatcher, Christy and RITA Award–winning author of You’re Gonna Love Me


Kristin Billerbeck is the author of more than thirty novels, including What a Girl Wants and the Ashley Stockingdale and Spa Girls series. She is a fourth-generation Californian who loves her state and the writing fodder it provides. Learn more at www.KristinBillerbeck