An excerpt from author Carli Palmer new novel, Shore House Slumming Described as ‘the perfect beach read,’ Shore House Slumming weaves together hilarity, wit and adventure in a new move for chick-lit.
Dana reached out, “Let me have a glass. It’s been a long, wretched day.”
“Okay, well maybe not wretched. But exhausting.”
Bella placed the cut-up cheese squares on a place and sat down at the table with her own glass of port. “It’s just the weather. I always get worn-out when it’s rainy and ominous like this. I end up spacing out in front of my work computer. But cheer up; you’re going to be in Florida. Sunny skies and sizzling men are right around the corner.”
“First off, wherever my office will be it will probably be next to some retirement community. Old geezers will be hitting on me as I stand in line for crap coffee which they won’t know how to brew in the first place. Then I’ll probably get some kind of skin rash due to excessive heat because my body isn’t used to Florida weather.”
“Oh my, aren’t we the pessimist this evening! You need to stop your bitching altogether and look on the bright side. The guys here aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, at least the ones you’ve dated,” Bella reminded her friend with a laugh. “And we will be spending two glorious weeks at my family’s beach house, where you’ll be able to start developing a tan.”
Dana finished her port, “I see your point. Is it just us? At the beach house, I mean.”
“Pam will be there the second week. You’ve met her before. She’s divorced, with a teenage daughter in a Massachusetts prep school. Pam whizzes back and forth between here and there when she needs a break from real life.”
“I think I remember her. Oh, did we hear back from Ava?”
A young girl named Ava had called last week in response to the ad they had put in the paper to rent their apartment. A few days later she arrived to see the place with her furry friend Calo, a three-foot-tall German Sheppard who had knocked over Bella’s favorite plant. Bella had to keep her curses to herself while Dana showed Ava around. Ava decided to take the place, and said she would be back next week with a deposit.”
“Yeah, she got back to me all right. It looks like she won’t be moving in,” Bella said grumpily.
Dana slumped in her chair at the news. “Why?”
“Landlord told her no pets.”
“That’s stupid. 3A has a bird, and the woman downstairs must have a cat. I can smell the litter tray when I’m out on the balcony in the morning.”
Bella nodded. “The problem is that Calo is a huge dog. Apparently the landlord saw her when she left last week, and told her no way; only small pets allowed.”
“And I have some more bad news.”
“Aha! Hence the port. Technically we don’t have to find the renter; the landlord does. We’re just doing it to be nice.”
“Well, I read our lease wrong,” Bella mumbled starting down into her glass instead of at Dana’s green eyes.
“What do you mean wrong?”
Pouring herself another glass of port Bella continued, “I thought that our lease was up September 1st …”
“Yeah? It’s not?” Dana asked. She had lived in the place so long she couldn’t find a copy of the lease to recall the date when she had looked.
“The lease is up July 1st.”
“Bella! July 1st? That’s the week after we come back from Rio Del Mar!”
“Calm down, calm down.”
“Calm down? I’m the one who’s going to be shit out of luck. At least you can move in with Craig earlier then you thought, but I have nowhere else to go for the summer. My job in Weston doesn’t start until after Labor Day. Do you know how much it costs to rent on a month-to-month basis without a lease? I might as well be staying in a five-hundred-dollar-a-night hotel room!” Dana sputtered.
Dana was aghast. She really didn’t have anywhere to go. Her parents had retired and moved to a small apartment in Canada that only offered a lumpy couch if Dana decided to seek shelter there and that was without doubt not appealing. Her brothers were in their early working years and still traveling all over the place. She was lucky if she got a call from them on her birthday, much less a card. As for most of Dana’s friends, they were off traveling this summer, already had a full house, or were not looking for a roommate. Dana was not one to impose on people especially for a living situation. For the first time in her life she felt like she had nowhere to go.
Bella took another sip, “What about Kate or Tracy?”
“Kate’s going to Bermuda, and then visiting her parents in Ohio, and Tracy and her boyfriend are backpacking through Europe. Both of them have house sitters already. I can’t intrude on people’s places for such a long time either; it’s just not right.”
“There is nothing wrong with sleeping on couches for a while.”
“Well, my back doesn’t agree with you.”
Filling her glass again and downing it in two gulps, Dana put an end to the conversation. It was only nine-thirty, and two-thirds of the port bottle was gone. Bella was unsurprisingly tipsy, and Dana was depressed. Just when she thought it might not be such a dreadful transition, she was now going to have to come up with a plan of where to live that summer. In only two weeks. During a time when she was supposed to be relaxing without a care in the world.