Eliza Starts a Rumor by Jane L. Rosen
English | 2020 | Romance, Contemporary | ePUB | 3.0 MB
The author of Nine Women, One Dress delivers a charming, unforgettable novel about four women, one little lie, and the big repercussions that unite them all.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. When Eliza Hunt created The Hudson Valley Ladies’ Bulletin Board fifteen years ago she was happily entrenched in her picture-perfect suburban life with her husband and twin preschoolers. Now, with an empty nest and a crippling case of agoraphobia, the once-fun hobby has become her lifeline. So when a rival parenting forum threatens the site’s existence, she doesn’t think twice before fabricating a salacious rumor to spark things up a bit.
It doesn’t take long before that spark becomes a flame.
Across town, new mom and site devotee Olivia York is thrown into a tailspin by what she reads on the Bulletin Board. Allison Le is making cyber friends with a woman who isn’t quite who she says she is. And Amanda Cole, Eliza’s childhood friend, may just hold the key to unearthing why Eliza can’t step out of her front door.
In all this chaos, one thing is for sure…Hudson Valley will never be the same.
Funny, romantic, raw, and hopeful, this is a story about being a woman and of the healing power of sisterhood.
Eliza Hunt sat in the parking lot of her local Stop & Shop. Her neck was soaked in sweat, her hands trembling uncontrollably. It wouldn’t be long before she’d have no choice but to curl up in a ball on the front seat of her car and give up.
She looked at the curved bold font of the familiar bright purple sign and read it out loud: “STOP & SHOP.” Such simple instructions, yet she felt as if her body were weighted to the front seat of her car, pinned down by fear.
She refocused and tried talking herself out of the car: “Eliza. The twins are coming home from college for the long weekend. You need to walk across the parking lot and buy food for them.”
She had already attempted to will the panic away with calm breaths in and out, in and out, a method she had learned from the psychiatrist who treated her during her first bout with agoraphobia some thirty years earlier. It hadn’t helped then, either. She pried her feet out of her sneakers, peeled off her sweat socks, and shoved them under her now-drenched underarms. Thankfully, the sweat socks lived up to their name. How did I get here? she asked herself. She knew the answer, but as per usual, she didn’t have the strength to address it. She stared out at the familiar market she had been in a thousand times and yelled, “Get out of the damn car, Eliza!”
Still nothing; the fear was mounting, not retreating.
At this point in her life, Eliza knew the Stop & Shop so well that she could direct someone to aisle nine for beverages and aisle five for Preparation H as deftly as the store manager could. She knew that if she could just get midway down aisle four to her old friend, a box of chocolate-covered Entenmann’s donuts, she could ingest enough sugar, and derive enough comfort, to hold the panic at bay for the duration of her shopping. Growing up, she had kept a similar box under her bed, hidden from her mother, who didn’t allow sweets in the house. Whether she was suffering from anxiety, rebelling, or just looking for a remedy for the teenage blahs, they always did the trick.
Eliza closed her eyes and pictured the familiar blue-and-white box, with the clear window on top, visualized herself opening the side tabs and scoffing down one, or two, or four. She imagined her first bite—the distinct segue from the hard chocolate shell to the soft, vanilla cakey inside, channeling her mind and spirit into the exquisite sense of anticipation.
“Focus. Focus on the donut, Eliza.”
Before she knew it, she was out of the car and standing in aisle four, three donuts in. They had the desired effect, and she took a few deep breaths to seal the deal. She pulled the socks out from under her armpits, threw them in her purse, and yanked out her shopping list. She was good to go.