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Misery Loves Cabernet

Misery Loves Cabernet

by Kim Gruenenfelder

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Charlize "Charlie" Edwards finally has it all: a house in Silverlake, L.A.'s hippest neighborhood, two fabulous best friends who always have her back, and a great (though hectic) job as the personal assistant to Hollywood's hottest movie star, Drew Stanton. But best of all, Charlie has a newly feathered love nest with Jordan, the sexy photographer she recently started dating. Maybe Charlie's journal of smart-alecky life advice—which she's always been better at writing than following—has finally helped put her on the right track.

Unfortunately for Charlie, Drew is causing complete havoc on his new movie set, her eccentric family is descending upon L.A. for the upcoming holiday season, and her love life may be back to square one. Jordan has left L.A. to work on a film shooting in Paris, where the women are gorgeous, sophisticated, and possibly after her man. And Drew's handsome new producer, Liam, is an old crush who has reappeared to tug at Charlie's heartstrings. Charlie's torn between the misery of waiting for Jordan and the tingly feelings she has for Liam. But there's nothing misery—or seduction—loves better than a great glass of cabernet.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429989527
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/14/2009
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 466,638
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

KIM GRUENENFELDER lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son, and continues to avoid anything even remotely resembling a real job. She is the author of A Total Waste of Makeup, Misery Loves Cabernet, There's Cake in My Future, Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink, and Love the Wine You're With. In addition to her novels, she is also a screenwriter and founder and curator of, a website for people to read and share stories about life changing moments. She can be reached there or through
Kim Gruenenfelder lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son, and continues to avoid anything even remotely resembling a real job. She is the author of A Total Waste of Makeup, Misery Loves Cabernet, There's Cake in My Future, Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink, and Love the Wine You're With.

Read an Excerpt

Misery Loves Cabernet

By Kim Gruenenfelder

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2009 Kim Gruenenfelder
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-8952-7


Do not read and reread a man's text message, or e-mail, or listen to his voice message, over and over again. Do not try to delve into his words for hidden meaning, or call your friends to get their opinions on "what he really means." It's a message, not the Constitution — you're not supposed to study it.

I'm sitting on my living room couch, an empty bag of Doritos to my right and an unopened pack of Marlboro Lights to my left, writing a book of advice for my future great-granddaughter.

Why am I writing a book that won't be read for almost a hundred years? A few months ago, I started thinking about all of the things I wish I had known when I was sixteen and wish I could remember now that I'm thirty.

I began my book a few months ago by telling her things like:

You should never have a job that you hate so much you think, "Thank God it's Friday" every week of your life.

Not to mention:

You won't meet your future husband at a bar.

And, my favorite:

Some days are a total waste of makeup.

In the past week, I've come up with a few other pieces of advice I like, such as:

If you are going to show up at someone's house unannounced, call at least five minutes in advance. This gives your hostess four minutes to race around the house collecting dirty dishes to throw in the sink, and another minute to plan your death.

All women think they can utter the following phrase: "If I had a dime for every sane member of my family, I'd have a dime."

Never drink wine from a box.

And just now ...

Do not read and reread a man's text message, or e-mail, or listen to his voice message, over and over again. Do not try to delve into his words for hidden meaning, or call your friends to get their opinions on "what he really means." It's a message, not the Constitution — you're not supposed to study it.

Which is stupendous advice, if I do say so myself. So stupendous that I must immediately ignore it, walk over to my computer, and stare at the e-mail on my screen:

Charlie, you're overthinking this. Have fun at the Halloween party. Talk to whomever you want. As you said before, we'll figure this out when I get home. No worries.



Crap. What did Jordan mean when he wrote that? That we're a couple who trust each other, and therefore I can have fun talking to whomever I want while he's away in Paris?

That he likes me, even though I've insisted that we should be on a break while he is in Paris?

That he's already on the set sleeping with the Second A.D.?

The past six weeks have been alternately perfect and hideous, and the hideous parts may be my own damn fault. I recently wrote to my great-granddaughter:

You know what the right thing to do is, even though it's usually easier (and temporarily more fun) to do the wrong thing.

The problem is, I don't even know if I have done the right thing.

Let me back up. Six weeks ago, after a particularly brutal weekend acting as maid of honor at my little sister's wedding, I thought I had finally found my perfect guy, my reward for all of my torturous years of dating. Jordan Dumaurier. After several frustrating starts and stops in our relationship, both of us were totally free of our entanglements, and we were now dating each other.

Those next six weeks should have been bliss. I wasn't working much, since my boss was out of the country. One of the perks of being a personal assistant to a successful boss is that they sometimes take off for Belize on a moment's notice, and you get some unexpected free time. So while international movie star Drew Stanton dined on plantains and readjusted his chakras in a Yucatán villa, I got to hang out with my new man and still collect a fat check every week, made out to Charlize Edwards.

Yes, Drew Stanton. As in the Drew Stanton: Golden Globe winner, Academy Award nominee, "Sexiest Man Alive" ... complete lunatic.

But I say that with love. Drew is one of those forces of nature that seem to irreparably change all who enter his sphere of influence. In chaos theory, they refer to this as the butterfly effect. But if Drew is a butterfly, I'm frankly never sure whether to stare at him in admiration or pin him to a corkboard.

But enough about him, let's talk about me. And Jordan.

Jordan's gig as set still photographer on Drew's last film ended when the shoot wrapped, so he had time off, too. We spent four delicious weeks holed up in my little house, eating lots of takeout, talking for all hours, and having sex, sex, and more sex.

Then, the unthinkable happened. He — gasp! — got a job offer. Oh, the horror.

Yes, I know, I'm being a big baby. People have to work. It's reality. And I even advised my great-granddaughter:

Don't be jealous of spoiled rich kids. If you don't work, you don't have honor.

But here's the problem: he didn't actually get one offer, he got two. One was to shoot stills for a film shooting in Los Angeles for the next three months. Taking that job would have allowed us to be in the same city during the holidays. The other job was for a movie shooting in Paris until the end of February. And he had to leave the next day.

He chose Paris. And I couldn't help but feel that he had chosen Paris over me.

I spent the next sixteen hours hanging out with him as he packed, and temporarily breaking up with him.

I didn't actually break up with him. What I did was tell him that long-distance relationships don't work, and that we'd be deluding ourselves if we thought we could weather a four-month split after a four-week courtship. I then quoted the "if it was meant to be" line, and said that when he got home, if we both wanted, we could start up exactly where we left off.

It all sounded perfectly logical at the time. I've worked in the entertainment business for years, and (with the exception of the marrieds) I've yet to see a four-month break ever lead to anything but a breakup.


So, at the time, I felt like I had no choice.

That said, the moment he left, I backtracked like crazy. My first day alone I worked myself into a tizzy, convinced that the moment he walked off the plane, he would go to the film set and run right into a gorgeous, thin woman with a sexy French accent and her sights set on my hunky American man.

Oh, she's out there, and I hate her already. Cheeky little ...

Anyway, I have spent the last two weeks continuing to work myself up into a psychological frenzy, and this past hour has been no different. I cannot leave my computer screen for more than two minutes. Gazing at his latest e-mail is like watching a bad car wreck, or the latest Tom Cruise Scientology video — you want to turn away, but you can't.

I walk back to my living room, grab my notepad and my unopened cigarettes, head back to my office, look at the screen again, and stew.

Charlie, you're overthinking this. Have fun at the Halloween party. Talk to whomever you want. As you said before, we'll figure this out when I get home. No worries.



He wrote xoxo, J. Not Love, Jordan. Not even Love, J. Nope — xoxo.

Okay, yes, it's better than Cheers! Jordan, or (God forbid) Best, Jordan. Or his initials — JAD — that would be obnoxious.

But, I don't know, I use xoxo for the friends I adore, not the man I'm sleeping with.

Was sleeping with.

Then dumped for no good reason.

Scratch that. A very good reason.

Besides, we've never said the L word to each other, and I'd rather hear it in person (preferably when he's sober and standing up) rather than in an impersonal e-mail.

My God, if I spent half as much time exercising as I do obsessing about men, I'd weigh what it says on my driver's license by now.

I glance over at the pack of cigs and sigh. I also quit smoking six weeks ago. I didn't do it for Jordan, I did it for me. Well, the first six hours I did for me. After that, my only motivation was the promise of sex whenever I wanted. Which does help with those oral cravings, I must admit.

But then the sex went to Paris, and now I'm just abstaining because I really enjoy getting road rage, eating enough in a day to sustain a small horse, and constantly wanting to slam my head through a wall.

My home phone rings. I pick up on the second ring. "Hello?"

If you ever become a rock star, whether you have one hit or twenty, you are still never entitled to have a CD entitled The Essential Collection.

"Huh?" I ask.

"That's my advice for your book," my best friend Dawn says. "I mean, you know, the Beatles could get away with it. But Hall and Oates? Tom Jones? Please."

"Not bad," I say, writing down her advice.

"Or The Ultimate Collection," I hear my other best friend, Kate, say in the background on Dawn's end of the line.

"Who has that?" I hear Dawn ask Kate.

"Shalamar and Ace of Base," Kate says.

I hear Dawn mutter "Ugh," as I ask her, "Where are you guys?"

"The Grove. Kate dragged me here so we could do a little Christmas shopping."

Ah, yes, the last week in October. The week most stores start putting up Christmas decorations — and Kate becomes a raving Christmas lunatic. You would think one of the city's top political radio show hosts would view the holiday season with a certain sense of perspective and decorum.

You'd be wrong.

Last year, Kate's apartment included one dancing Santa, two Christmas trees, and a life-size flying reindeer.

"Tell her about the New Year's resolutions," I hear Kate say cheerfully.

"The what?" I ask.

"Don't ask," Dawn says under her breath. "Poor girl's got issues, and should not be encouraged. Now listen, I got the e-mail you forwarded from Jordan."

"Good. What do you think it means?"

"It means you are one crazy heifer," Dawn says emphatically. "You've become the girl who forwards a man's e-mail to all of her friends. You made the right decision: get rid of him for now. Men are like trains: one doesn't just come every twelve minutes, it usually doubles back eight hours later, during the afternoon rush hour."

My phone beeps. "Hang on, that's my call waiting," I click over. "Hello?"

"Don't listen to her!" Kate counters from her cell phone. She's probably all of two feet away from Dawn. "Breaking up with Jordan just because you've had previous problems with long-distance relationships is making him pay for the mistakes of his competitors. It's important that you greet every relationship with your mind completely open and emptied for the joy that is to come."

"Did you just tell Charlie to be an airhead every time she dates a new guy?" I hear Dawn ask incredulously in the background of Kate's line.

"You're paraphrasing my words in a foolish manner to defeat my position of love and openness. This is a reflection of your pain, not a condemnation of my hope. According to this book I'm reading —"

"Don't make me come over there with a shoe!" Dawn counters.

"Well, I'm not going to let you sabotage Charlie's love life just because you can't make yourself emotionally available to a man," Kate says firmly to Dawn.

"Can you hold on a sec?" I ask Kate.


I click back over to Dawn. "What the hell is she talking about?"

"I begged her to stay out of the self-help section," Dawn tells me, and I can almost hear her shaking her head, "but not only did she sneak in, she bought books, took notes, and is trying to drag us into her sick little world...."

Kate's voice suddenly comes in loud and clear, meaning she has taken the phone away from Dawn. "Sometime next week, you're both coming to my house so we can do our New Year's resolutions."

"New Year's isn't for more than two months," I remind her. "And I haven't finished ignoring the ten pounds I planned to lose last year."

"No, no. I just read this amazing book: Dream It, Do It, Deal with It. It's all about figuring out what you really want in life, then forcing yourself toward your goals every day. One of the tricks is to make New Year's resolutions every month, instead of once a year."

"Tell Charlie what the Deal with It part means," I hear Dawn say dryly.

I hear Kate sigh. "That's the negativity talking," she insists to Dawn.

"Ya think?" Dawn asks sarcastically.

"What does the Deal with It mean?" I am curious to know.

"Oh, that's for when you get your dreams, but you're still not happy," Kate says quickly, trying to skirt over that part. "But I'm telling you, the rest is genius."

"Boo, can I have my phone back?" Dawn asks, "I want to text Charlie."

"Sure," Kate says. "Charlie, click back over to my phone."

I click back to Kate's phone, and hear Dawn hang up. "You really think Jordan still likes me?" I ask Kate.

"Of course he does," Kate assures me.

My iPhone gives me a little explosion to let me know I have a new text. Hoping to God it's Jordan, and not following my earlier advice to my great-granddaughter:

Don't wait by the phone.

I immediately click on my text inbox to see Dawn's number, followed by the message:

Blow him out of the water, and leave him for dead.

What are you wearing to the Halloween party? Be sexy, but not desperate.



P.S. (Note how I did not dare write xoxoD)

That's easy for her to say. Dawn is stunningly beautiful. The product of three interracial marriages (her grandparents are Hispanic, Jewish, Japanese, and African American), she seems to have swum through the world's largest gene pool, and come out perfect. Well, not perfect. She flunked Physics back when we were in college together. But I've yet to hear a man ask her about that.

Don't obsess about your looks, but don't ignore them, either. Potential suitors can't see your brain from across the room.

"Do you think I need eyelid surgery?" Kate asks.

The girl has rendered me speechless for a moment. "As opposed to what?" I finally ask.

"Well, a boob job, I suppose. Or maybe the collagen lips thing."

"Trout pout's over," I hear Dawn warn in the background.

"Fair enough," Kate concedes. "But I have to do something. I haven't been out in the dating world for nine years. I need something to spruce up my image."

"Hey! Size four!" I hear Dawn yell, "For the love of all that is holy ... put the diet book down!"

I hear Dawn take the phone from Kate. "We gotta go. I have to get the girl to a hot fudge sundae before she completely loses it. Are you gonna be okay?"

I stare absentmindedly at Jordan's e-mail. "Yeah, I'll be fine."

"Good. We're meeting at your place at eight. Call me if you need to talk. Bye."

"Bye," I say, and hang up the phone.

I let my bottom lip puff out in self-pity as I read again:

Charlie, you're overthinking this. Have fun at the Halloween party. Talk to whomever you want. As you said before, we'll figure this out when I get home. No worries.



I stare at my computer, and click on my inbox. An e-mail telling me I've just won twenty-five million pounds in the British lottery, and another one trying to sell me Viagra. (I am curious as to how I got on that spam list.)

I force myself to walk away from the computer, only to see a different pack of unopened cigarettes beckoning me from the dining room table.

I purse my lips together as I stare at them.

Cigarettes. I really should quit buying them. Although I've decided to quit, I like keeping packs of them around. It's like a little black book of old boyfriends' phone numbers: just knowing they're there in an emergency makes me feel better.

My iPhone rings. I check the caller ID. My boss, Drew Stanton.

The butterfly has emerged from his cocoon.

I pick up. "Hi, Drew."

"What does a manic depressive act like?" Drew asks me, sounding like he's in a state of utter distress.

"Well," I begin, trying to come up with a succinct definition. "They act sort of like you, only they get depressed sometimes."

"Okay, then that's not it," Drew says quickly. "Then I think I'm having a panic attack."

"Did you accidentally climb into that crocodile exhibit again?" I ask sternly.


"Are you hanging three thousand feet in the air without a net?"

"No!" Drew blurts out. "And I thought we agreed you would never speak of that incident again."

"My bad," I apologize. "Are there any sharks, snakes, or hitmen within ten feet of you?"


"Then you're probably not having a panic attack," I conclude. "You only tend to have those when there's a genuine need for panic."

"Okay," Drew concedes. "So then, what does a heart attack feel like?"

"You know, this would go a lot faster if you'd just tell me what happened."

"I've been fired," Drew says, sounding like he's hyperventilating. "The head of Pinnacle called my agent to say that they don't think they should be spending two hundred million dollars to make Men in Motion 2. I'm out of a job!"

Oh, crap. If Drew is out of a job, that means he's going to spend the entire holiday season filling his days by trying to find the perfect religion, the perfect woman, or the perfect Pre-Colombian pottery. And he'll be dragging me along with him on that quest.

Before I can respond, Drew's voice changes completely, going from a tone of sheer terror to one of contemplation and calm. "You know, he's telling the Hollywood Reporter it's 'creative differences,' but, really, I think he's mad about the hippo."


Excerpted from Misery Loves Cabernet by Kim Gruenenfelder. Copyright © 2009 Kim Gruenenfelder. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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