A FREE EXTRACT FROM THE HUSBAND DIET

I called an emergency service babysitter and within twenty minutes

I had a Mrs. Doubtfire lookalike at my door. Ever grateful, I shoved

the list of emergency phone numbers (all mine) at her and in three

minutes flat I was out of there. Which was unlucky for me because five

minutes later I was squirming in my Kia van, dying for a pee. I pulled

over into a plaza and charged into a nice-looking bistro restaurant.

Finally a relieved woman in every sense, I stepped out of the stall

and lathered my hands with some rose-scented soap.

 Did I remember to get Paul’s slippers? I can’t rememb—what the hell?

A tickling, multilegged slimy sensation under my pants made me freeze as my mind

knew there could only be one explanation. A spider!

A horrible convulsion shook my body at the realization of my

worst phobia. Never mind heights, open spaces or closed spaces—the

only thing in the world that scared me were those wretched beasts.

I remember screaming and beating my leg to kill said beast, but

the thought of it crushed to a pulp against my flesh sent me into a

mindless hysteria. I was beyond panicking. I remember throwing

myself on the floor in a fit of terror for what seemed like days because

darkness kept washing over me and I must’ve been near passing

out several times until someone—a man—gripped my arms.

“What’s wrong?”

“Help! Take my pants off!” I shrieked.

“What?”

“A spider in my pants! Take them off!”

“Your pants?” he asked dubiously.

“Please!”

“Are you sure?”

What the hell was wrong with the guy? “Now!”

At that, the blessed man obliged and yanked on my zipper. “It’s

stuck,” he informed me.

“Just rip them off!” I begged him and he easily tore my pants

from my front zipper down and pulled them off my legs, checking every inch of wobbly thigh as I frantically kicked, repeating, “Kill it, kill it!”

I didn’t give a shit if he saw my flesh flailing in the air—I’d

never see him again. All I wanted was to be rid of the monster.

At some point I finally collapsed under him, exhausted, but still

digging my nails into his flesh, still shaking and bawling and clawing

at his shirt until he was half-naked next to me. He felt so safe,

so solid, like a nice cozy cabin in the middle of a snowstorm. And

he smelled fantastic, like a real man, without the nauseating mist of

different colognes I have to fight through to get from the lobby to

my office every morning.

But more than anything, I remember how he’d calmed me down

with his deep, soothing voice and how it had enveloped me, warmed

me, like a father’s should when you’re a scared child or a husband’s

when you’re a woman down in the dumps. I had never had either

source of comfort in my life from my dad or Ira, and it was like the

other shoe had finally dropped. This voice, this presence, this kind

of man, was what I’d lacked my entire life. If I’d had this kind of

solid support and understanding all that time, and not for just a few

terrifying seconds in the ladies’ room, my whole life would’ve been

made. I’d be a different woman today. Sweeter. More self-assured.

Less aggressive. More loved.

This was the kind of patience and loyalty that I needed. Someone

who would believe me and act upon my fears as if they were

as important to him as they were to me. This man had taken me

seriously. This man had been my security. If Ira had been there with

me, never in a thousand years would he have agreed to rip my pants

off just like that.

The stranger put his lips against my ear and whispered, “It’s all

right. It’s gone. Calm down now.”

“Are you sure?” I croaked, burying my head deeper into his

chest, my arms and legs still wrapped around him like a real whack

job.

“Positive—take a look for yourself—see?”

I stopped and lifted my face to scan the floor with trepidation.

He was right. No sign of the thing. The coast was clear. And then I

finally looked up at him. And almost fainted dead away again, but

for another reason this time.

He was surreal. Handsome didn’t even begin to cut it. Wide shoulders.

Muscles. Strong. Perhaps enough to lift me. Black hair that fell

over his forehead. Big green eyes and the most awesome, longest lashes.

Dark five o’clock shadow. Pure man. Pure, sinfully gorgeous man.

“Hands up!” twin voices echoed in the empty bathroom.

My savior turned toward them and raised his hands, his torso

still stuck to mine so that he looked like he was doing sit ups against

my breasts.

“It’s okay, lads. It’s only me,” he assured them.

One of the guards re-holstered his gun. “Sorry, sir.”

“It’s fine. A little accident with a big hairy monster,” he explained,

tucking his shirt back into his jeans as the two guards

looked at me.

I crossed my arms in front of my chest and shot them an evil

glare. “He means the spider.”

One of the guards stifled a snort and I shakily crawled for my

trousers, which were now in shreds, too humbled to look my savior’s

way. It was a good thing that Paul always waxed the hell out of me,

otherwise the guards would’ve thought the poor man was tackling a

grizzly bear in the ladies’ room.

“Oh, okay,” agreed the other guard all too easily.

I hid my face in my torn trousers. “He was just helping out a

hysterical lady,” I contributed, not wanting to seem ungrateful. “Go

now, please. I’m in my underwear in case you hadn’t noticed.” And

they weren’t my best pair, either.

At that my savior chuckled and wrapped his jacket around me

like a kilt. I’m big, but this thing fit all the way around me. My face still hidden, I muttered a muffled, “Thank you,” and crawled back

into the stall—a different one, though.

“Okay, let’s give the lady some breathing space,” I heard my hero

say. Was he the manager of the restaurant? He sure had authority.

“I’ll be sitting outside if you care to join me for lunch, madam?”

“Uh, I don’t know. Thanks anyway.”

A pause. “Okay, then. I hope to see you again soon.”

Yeah, like that was ever happening. “Me, too, sir. Thank you.”

“We’re at our desk if you need us, ma’am,” called one of the guards.

“All right. Thank you. And thank you, again,” I called to my hero

from over the stall, too embarrassed to show my face.

“My pleasure, madam,” he said. At least that’s what I think. He

had a crazy accent I couldn’t place.

I raced home wearing the guy’s jacket around my hips, up the

stairs past the aghast babysitter who must’ve thought I was a freak,

and hopped back down the stairs, one leg into a pair of jeans. By the

time I got to the front door I was dressed. When you’re a working

mom you learn to multitask very quickly.

“I’ll pay you the extra time!” I shouted over my shoulder as I

catapulted myself out the door and into my Kia, flooring it.

2 comments on “A FREE EXTRACT FROM THE HUSBAND DIET

  1. Valerie Cox on said:

    Throughly enjoyed the excerpt. Where can I buy the books?

    • NancyBarone on said:

      Hi Valerie,

      so sorry, but I just found your message, Valerie, thanks so much!
      I believe you’ve already bought, read and reviewed it if I’m not mistaken.
      As you know, Lullaby For My Sister also features an Aidan-inpired (well, Lombard, really!) hero, and his brother who is Mitchell-inspired.

      I’m also working on a Christmas story AND a thriller, the latter inspired by Mal, but he undergoes a change (think Impact awards with the short hair).
      Back to work, and thanks once again for taking the plunge with an author you weren’t familiar with. I hope you’ll keep reading and help me spread the word! And… Long live our boy Aidan!

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