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[ ] Dance till dawn
[ ] Go skydiving
[ ] Wear a bikini in public
[ ] Start living
Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever…
Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.
So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?
The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy,” Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos.
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She shook off the thought and started for the weight room. As she approached, she heard voices. Cooper was there, along with Luka. Ellen hovered just to the side of the door, figuring she didn’t get all that much opportunity to eavesdrop and that she wouldn’t be much of a mother if she didn’t take advantage of a situation that presented itself.
“There’s no reason to go,” Coop said, sounding dejected. “I should stay home and get a job.”
Go? Go where?
“You have to take the bus trip, man,” Luka told him. “Don’t you want to see Stanford?”
“Why? I can’t go away to college. Not that far away.”
Ellen pressed a hand to her mouth to keep from making any noise. Not go away to college? Where had that come from? They’d always talked about him going away. It was what he wanted.
“Coop, come on. Don’t say that.”
“You know I can’t leave her. She needs me.”
No, no, no, no! Ellen battled panic. Who needed him? She didn’t even know Coop was seeing someone. What bitch had trapped him?
She went cold all over and the unthinkable pushed its way into her brain. What if some girl was pregnant? There was a lot of that going around.
She closed her eyes. That couldn’t be it. They’d talked and talked about safe sex. She bought him condoms. She reminded him of how hard it was for just the two of them and how using a condom protected him from unplanned pregnancies and STDs. Hadn’t he been listening?
“You know her,” Coop continued. “You know what our relationship is like. She depends on me. She won’t make it without me.”
Who was it? Ellen wanted to scream the question. She ran through the list of girls she knew her son hung out with and tried to figure out which one might be holding him back. Did Keith know? No, he would have said something. Maybe she should talk to Lissa. Maybe—
“That’s no reason to stay here,” Luka told him. “You want to go away to college.”
“I can’t. Luka, I can’t. She’s my mom and she needs me.”
Ellen sagged against the wall as all the air rushed out of her body. Heat replaced the cold as she battled with the impossible. Her? The person he was talking about was her?
“We’ve always been a team,” Coop said. “I’m her life. She doesn’t date. I’m seventeen years old and my mom hasn’t been on a single date my whole life.”
“Not even one?”
“Nope. She’s never gone in the evening, unless it’s to hang out with Unity or Coach Kinne. She doesn’t do anything but work and take care of me. How can I leave her? Who will take care of her?”
The horror returned, but this time it was laced with confusion and shame. How could her son think like this? She was perfectly capable. She’d raised him, she’d graduated from college, she had a good job. She didn’t need her kid to take care of her. Why would he assume he was her everything? She had a life.
Without thinking, she began backing away from the door. She retreated to the main corridor and stood there, trying to clear her mind.
This was nothing but a misunderstanding, she told herself. Coop was reading the situation wrong. Of course she had a life and she would be fine when he was gone. Why wouldn’t she be? She was more than capable of being on her own. He had to know that. He was free to go live his life—be his own person. She wanted that for him, of course, but just as important, she never wanted him to resent her the way she’d always resented her parents.
She would take a second and gather her thoughts, then return to the weight room. She would find out about his plans for the evening, then go home and… And… Well, she didn’t know what she was going to do, but it would be something fun and exciting. Because of course she had things to do. Not dating didn’t mean anything. Lots of people didn’t date. She was absolutely and totally fine and happy and living the dream. That was her. For sure.
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Monday, July 20th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Tuesday, July 21st: Reading Reality
Wednesday, July 22nd: The OC Book Girl
Thursday, July 23rd: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, July 24th: The Romance Dish
Monday, July 27th: Books and Bindings
Tuesday, July 28th: Jathan & Heather
Wednesday, July 29th: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews
Thursday, July 30th: Audio Killed the Bookmark
Friday, July 31st: PhDiva Blog
Monday, August 3rd: Nurse Bookie
Tuesday, August 4th: The Sassy Bookster