“Jerk,” Janette grumbled, walking away from the slammed door of Chandler’s home office. “Who would want to read your stupid romance novels? All my fans, that’s who. And I am perfectly capable of transferring money from our savings to our checking account. Thank you very much.”
She strode down the hall to her home office, which was more of a converted parlor in their elegant Victorian. This room was probably used to receive formal guests in the eighteen-hundreds. They had attempted to maintain as much of the original charm when upgrading the electrical wiring and installing high speed internet and video equipment for vlogging. She was proud of what Chandler had accomplished in the remodel.
Settling into her large executive chair, Janette tucked her feet up under her legs and spun the chair to face her desk, jiggling the mouse to wake up her computer. However much she wanted to fight her husband on this, the reality was they were running out of time and needed to book some hotel rooms for their trip.
“Hot tubs,” she grumbled. “I’m insisting on hot tubs. I don’t care how much it costs.” She was tempted to find the most expensive hotels in each city just out of spite but recognized that she and her husband weren’t rich. Her fledgling career as a romance author had yet to pay out. Janette knew success was a possibility. Her friends were proof of that. Angelina in particular.
Angelina Michaels seemed to own a magic wand. Every book she wrote rocketed to the top of the clean & wholesome romance charts. Every time she wrote a blog post or produced a video, the world sat up and listened or read her words. She was also one of the nicest people Janette had ever met. Well, technically they’d never met in person. They’d only met by video chat. But Angelina was generous and patient, and always seemed to have time to answer Janette’s many questions. She was the epitome of a mentor.
She had also invited Janette and Chandler to stay at her house in Las Vegas when they were there to visit their daughter, Blayke. For that they were eternally grateful. The idea of finding an affordable hotel in Vegas was even more daunting than trying to space out their days of driving across the country. And there was no way they were staying with Blayke and her twenty-something aged roommates. College-age kids were notorious for partying and staying up too late. Janette needed her beauty sleep. Plus, she was excited to have Angelina’s undivided attention for two whole days. This would be a dream vacation.
If Janette could manage to get along with her husband.
She and Chandler had been married for twenty-four years. Long enough to know everything about each other and stay married in spite of their idiosyncrasies. They were also a couple of opinionated hotheads who both wanted the last word in every argument. And there were many, many arguments. Not fights. Just spats. Annoyances. Jabs. Digs.
Chandler just didn’t understand Janette. He thought she lived in fantasy land writing romantic stories about imaginary people. He never read anything she published so he didn’t appreciate her talent. She kept thinking that if she could make a boatload of money, he’d recognize her success. In spite of their differences, Chandler was the person from whom Janette craved acceptance.
He was her romantic inspiration. Even with his receding hairline and expanding waistline, he was still smoking hot. He probably didn’t even realize how much she was still attracted to him after all these years. If only he’d give her a second glance.
Janette understood why he wasn’t interested anymore. She’d gained weight over the years. Her hair was turning grey and thinning. Her favorite hairdresser had moved out to Las Vegas to pursue her career as a make-up artist to the stars. Although proud of their daughter, Janette missed the way Blayke always touched up her mom’s roots and kept her stylishly trimmed. Now she just looked shaggy and unkept.
Instead of searching for the most expensive hotel rooms, Janette erred on the side of average price with hotels that included a pool and hot tub. They would need one hotel halfway between their home in Michigan and their son in Oklahoma. She chose a hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, feeling proud of herself for a job well done, and moved on to the next city. Stillwater, Oklahoma, as close to her son’s apartment near the campus of Oklahoma State University as possible. Done. On to city number three. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Halfway between Stillwater and Las Vegas. She didn’t need a hotel in Vegas, thankfully. And they’d be heading from there to Chandler’s brother’s house in Mesa, Arizona.
Feeling a sense of accomplishment, Janette sent all the confirmation emails to her phone to be linked up to her car’s GPS and then opened a new Word document. She named the new file “Road Trip” and started typing chapter one. This was going to be fun. A road trip across the country with the man of her dreams. She wondered if her husband wanted to come along…