Inside the Book:
Title: Girls' Weekend
Author: Cara Sue Achterberg
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: The Story Plant
Genre: Women's Fiction
Harried Dani can't explain why she feels so discontented until she meets a young gallery owner who inspires her to rediscover the art that once made her happy.
Dependable Meg faces up to a grief that threatens to swallow her whole and confronts a marriage built on expectations.
Flamboyant Charlotte, frustrated with her stagnated life and marriage, pursues a playboy Irish singer and beachside business opportunities.
All three of these women thought they would be different. None of them thought they'd be facing down forty and still wondering when life starts. What they do when they realize where they're headed is both inspiring and wildly entertaining.
GIRLS' WEEKEND is a fun, yet poignant romp through the universal search of who we are, why we love, and what makes us happy by an author who is quickly emerging as one of our most incisive storytellers.
Later, Charlotte and Dani waited on the porch for Meg. She should have been there hours ago and wasn’t answering her cell phone. Dani worried she’d never find the house in the dark.
“Maybe she changed her mind,” said Charlotte.
“I don’t think so. I get the feeling she had to move heaven and earth to make this happen.”
“I bet Peter’s pissed off.”
“I can just see him. He might actually have to do some dishes and miss his precious golf game,” said Dani.
Charlotte laughed. “He sure is Mr. Perfect. I wonder if he always was. Didn’t Meg meet him in high school?”
“I bet he was hot back then. Can you imagine being together so long?”
“No,” said Charlotte before taking a long drink of her wine. Then she smiled mischievously. “Do you suppose she’s never slept with anyone else?”
Dani smacked her. “Charlotte!”
“I mean, seriously, can you imagine?”
“I think it’s kind of nice.”
“That’s not the word I’d use,” said Charlotte. “Think of all you’d miss out on!”
Dani laughed. “Some of us more than others!”
“Ouch! But I have no regrets! How many men have you slept with?” asked Charlotte.
“I don’t know.”
“Yes, you do. Everyone does. Unless it’s so many you can’t keep track?” Charlotte poured more wine in Dani’s glass.
“Let me think.” She took a sip of wine and started counting on her fingers.
“Five. But really four and a half,” said Dani.
“How is that possible?”
Dani shrugged. “I was drunk and I didn’t mean to sleep with the one guy. So I don’t count it because it didn’t mean anything.”
“Oh my God! I did not expect that from you Danielle Harper!”
“Oh c’mon! I was young! It may be hard to believe but I wasn’t always such a model of good behavior!”
“I’d say not!”
An owl hooted in the trees and they both jumped.
“It’s nice here,” said Dani. “I’m so glad we did this.”
They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes, then Charlotte asked, “Do you ever think about what your life would be like if you’d married one of those other guys you slept with?”
“I don’t know. Not really. They were just kids. I think one of the reasons I married Joe is he seemed like a grown up.”
“Are you glad you chose him?”
“Of course,” said Dani, climbing in the hammock that swung gently in the corner of the porch. “Now this is nice.”
“Room for me?” asked Charlotte, climbing in. Dani shrieked as the hammock tipped, but after the initial dip, it leveled back off again.
“Here,” said Charlotte, handing her a napkin to wipe the wine that had spilled on her jeans. The hammock shifted slowly in the slight breeze.
“Why all these questions about the men not chosen? Aren’t you glad you married Brett?”
Charlotte ran her finger around the rim of her glass. “Not lately.”
“Really? I thought you two were happy.”
“We are. I mean, I guess Brett is, but I wouldn’t know since we never talk.”
“How is that possible? Especially now with Will away?”
Charlotte shrugged. “I don’t know. I always feel like I’m the only one doing the talking. He’s usually willing to go along with my plans, but he never initiates anything—not dates, not conversations, lately, not even sex.”
Charlotte was quiet. Dani knew it wasn’t easy for her to admit this. She thought of Charlotte as the friend who had it made—great husband, perfect son, and a successful business. Plus, she was always upbeat. To most of the world, Charlotte appeared to have life on a string. Dani knew it wasn’t as perfect as all that, but she hadn’t realized there was a problem.
“I wonder sometimes if he wishes he weren’t married to me.”
“Charlotte! That can’t be true. Brett loves you,” insisted Dani.
“I think that may be apparent to everyone but me.” She shook her head and took a drink of her wine. “I suggested maybe we should have dinner last night, before I left today, and he didn’t even show up. He called later and said he’d forgotten.”
“Wow,” said Dani. “That sucks.”
Charlotte nodded. “Here’s what sucks even more. We haven’t had sex in probably six months.”
“How is that possible? Don’t you sleep in the same bed?”
“He usually goes to bed before me. And when I suggest a little action, he always has an excuse. After a while, the rejection starts to feel personal. Our relationship feels more platonic these days anyway.”
“Still, he’s a guy. That doesn’t make any sense. Joe would do it every night if I agreed. The man is insatiable. I always feel like the party pooper. Any chance Brett’s having an affair?”
“I’ve thought of that, but I don’t think he would. Not because of me, but because of Will. He’d never want to do anything to disrupt our family. And beyond that, it wouldn’t be in his character. He always does the right thing. Brett’s a great dad. He’s a fun guy.” She took the last sip of her wine. “Maybe he’s tired of me.”
“I can’t imagine anyone getting tired of you, Charlotte. You’re the most exciting person I know.”
“I am, aren’t I?”
“And modest, too. That’s what I love in a friend.”
Charlotte jumped up quickly, causing the hammock to tip and dump Dani on the floor.
“Hey! What’s that for?”
“You needed a little excitement. Besides, I’m out of wine.”
When Charlotte returned with a fresh bottle of wine, Dani was sitting on the steps, picking dead leaves off the ivy curling around the railing. Charlotte handed her a glass of wine and a fortune cookie.
“Thanks. Where’s yours?”
“I already ate it.”
“What was your fortune?”
“In the end all things will be known,” said Charlotte in a deep, serious tone.
“Huh,” said Dani, pulling her fortune from the cookie. She squinted in the porch light. “There are no mistakes, just lessons to be learned.”
“Profound,” said Charlotte, clinking her glass with Dani’s.
“Look at all those stars,” said Dani looking up at the dark sky. “It seems like there are more here than at home.”
“They’re there, we just can’t see them because of all the light pollution,” said Charlotte. “It’s getting late, I hope Meg’s really coming.”
“She’ll be here.”
“I was surprised she agreed to this. I haven’t seen her without the kids since Logan’s death.”
“Maybe she’s afraid to leave them alone.”
“Yeah, or maybe she’s afraid to be alone.”