Help celebrate Women’s Fiction Day June 8, 2023
Leave a comment below, and four lucky winners will get a free copy of The Illinois Caper, book one in the new series, The Route 66 Steal!
Hit the greatest Highway of them all: The Mother Road, Route 66!
Kat and Tish are two middle-aged women looking for a little payback. Now they’re on the road in their 1957 Buick convertible, the trunk loaded with hot diamonds, dubious cash, and glittering gold. They’re heading to a new life in California, but the question is, will they live long enough to get there!
Read an excerpt of The Illinois Caper:
The door hit the frame so hard it bounced back, slamming into the wall. The glass in their wedding photo shattered as it crashed to the floor.
Tish O’Donnell grabbed the rebounding door, slammed it again, and threw the deadbolt.
“Don’t come sniveling back, either!” she shouted at the still-shuddering wood.
He would of course. His name was on the mortgage.
And he’d bring her.
She spun around and caught a glimpse of herself in the hall mirror: pale skin blotched with anger, dark brown eyes blazing in a soft, round face. Her gray-shot red hair, piled high, was askew.
Like Rochester’s mad wife in Jane Eyre, she thought. She’d loved that book as a girl, but she’d always seen herself as strong, competent Jane, not this…this wild-eyed creature that stared at her from the mirror’s depths.
“Urrrgh!” she growled in rage. Her fists clenched with the urge to hit something.
Heedless of the crunching glass underfoot, Tish stormed back through the foyer toward the kitchen, kicking an enameled, cast-iron saucepan out of the way.
“Shit! Shoot!” she shouted, correcting quickly and hopping as pain shot up her foot. “I’ll kill you, you ba…”
She hesitated fractionally, but no word that would not result in penance suggested itself.
“You…schmuck!” she yelled at the walls. As if God didn’t understand Yiddish. She limped into the kitchen, turned a chair upright, sat down, and pulled off her shoe to massage her insulted toes.
Yiddish or not, it still meant more Hail Marys. Father Andrew didn’t allow cursing, even in a situation like this. He didn’t overlook it if it was in Yiddish, either. She’d tried that argument before.
The image of a divine frown couldn’t stop the stream of profanities going through her mind, though. God would just have to understand.
Fear of celestial disapproval wasn’t slowing Fitz down, she thought bitterly. Oh, no. It didn’t stop him from saying the “d” word.
Not after thirty-five years, she fumed, rubbing her stockinged foot. Not after thirty-five long, hard years, three kids, and constant humiliation. You’re not leaving me with nothing. Not now. Just because you think you’re “in love” with your current piece of…flesh.
“Not for that scheming…” The “b” word hovered on her lips, but the last hour had already given her too much to confess.
“…trollop,” was what she settled for.
Kat Merevec. With her tight ass and her big, pointy tits and her purple hair. It had to be her, though she’d always thought Kat was smarter than that. Though why Kat should be any different, Tish didn’t know. Fitz had screwed every store manager they’d had for the last thirty-five years.
Almost all. Ted had been the exception.
He’d slept with them all—and others besides.
But he’d never left her to marry any of them.
“You wait until her boobs head south, you miserable…loser!” she shouted at the door down the hall. “See how much you ‘love’ her then. See how much she ‘loves’ you when you’re broke and selling bead bracelets from a ratty blanket in Fountain Square. Because believe me, you two-timing mongrel, when I’m done with you, you’ll have to start over again. Fancy doing that at your age?”
It should have been my business, not his, she thought bitterly. But her father had given it to Fitz on their wedding day. Because Fitz was the man. Men had heads for business, he’d said, not girls.
She’d been hurt. Outraged. Furious. Her father, chuckling, had just patted her on the cheek and left it to Fitz to sooth and assure her.
“It’s ours, sweetie. Together. It’s our business.” Or home. Or retirement. It was always “ours.”
Except, of course, that everything was in his name.
Even their cars were in his name.
Except, of course, for that gas hog, the only thing her father had given her. Fitz had started saying it reminded him of her. “It’s got a front end and back end as big as yours,” he’d laugh. When she’d glower, he’d just pat her bottom and say, “Honey, I’m teasing. You know I love all of you.”
Yet despite it all, despite the loss of the business, despite the cheating Fitz had done over the years, she’d stuck it out. She’d believed him when he said it was all theirs. She’d needed to believe him, because without belief, she had nothing.
But Tish didn’t believe any more.
Her mind began ticking over as her white-hot anger cooled to cherry red.
When I’m done with you, she thought.
Who was she kidding? How could she hurt him?
She’d get screwed in a divorce. She knew it. All her friends had gotten screwed. Why should she be any different?
The first time Tish had discovered Fitz’s infidelity, they’d only been married a few months. Tish hadn’t even turned twenty. Her mother had shrugged it off. All men ran around, she said. Tish was married. Make the best of it.
The priest said divorce wasn’t possible. Marriage was forever. He’d speak to Fitz. Think of the children to come.
So, Tish thought of the children, and she made the best of it. She worked in the store that should have been hers. Closed her eyes when Fitz cheated.
Eventually she convinced herself that other women were nuts for leaving when their husbands had affairs. Everyone knew that women lived longer than men. It would all be yours if you just waited them out.
That thought, and making herself a very expensive piece of jewelry every time Fitz found a ‘new love,’ had helped ease the pain.
Not on your pitiful, useless life, Fitzpatrick O’Donnell. You are not divorcing Mary Patrice Geraghty Ryan.
Not without a fight.
When I’m done with you, she thought again.
And paused…as a terrible idea crossed her mind.
A terrible, beautiful, brilliant idea.
Tish’s lips curled in a smile that would have scared Fitz’s socks off if he’d been there to see it.
She stood up, shoved her throbbing foot back into her shoe, grabbed her keys and purse, and headed for the garage.
When I’m done with you, she thought with relish, you can have the damned house and the damned store.
And I’ll make Father Andrew’s hair stand on end.