Single-Minded: A Novel

Single-Minded: A Novel

by Lisa Daily

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Overview

Single-Minded: A Novel by Lisa Daily

Alex has planned and executed her life with laser focus since she first met her future husband at the play-doh table on the first day of kindergarten. They have a terrific life, a gorgeous house on the bay, and fantastic careers they love. There's only one problem: Alex's husband has a secret. A big one.

Now, Alex’s perfectly planned life has completely fallen apart, her biological clock is starting to feel like the timer on a nuclear device, and she finds herself drooling over her completely-dreamy-but-definitely-off-limits client, a star chef opening a hot new restaurant.

Armed with dating guidance from her oddball collection of advisers—including her gay ex-husband, a foul-mouthed political consultant, a perkily masochistic yogi, and a pot-smoking octogenarian—Alex navigates the booby-trapped world of modern dating, in her search for a second chance at love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250060440
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/27/2017
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

LISA DAILY is the love and relationships expert on Daytime, a nationally-syndicated morning TV show, and has appeared everywhere from MTV Live to Entertainment Tonight, and been quoted by the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Men’s Health, Christian Science Monitor, and US Weekly. She is the bestselling author of seven books, including Stop Getting Dumped!, Fifteen Minutes of Shame, How to Date Like a Grown-Up, and Beauty.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

You know that feeling when you're suddenly startled out of a deep sleep, and you're in that hazy middle world where you're not sure what's real — like maybe you actually could be chasing after an ice-cream truck wearing only fishing waders and a canary-yellow bridesmaid's dress, or you're just one answer away from winning a year's supply of adult diapers on a Japanese game show?

My cell phone is in my hand, although I have no recollection of answering it.

"Don't panic," says Darcy, as I struggle to rouse myself.

Darcy is my closest friend, aside from my husband, Michael, who's been the love of my life since the first day of kindergarten when I convinced him that the blue Play-Doh tasted exactly like cotton candy. He ate the whole can, just to prove me right. Michael was like that.

Darcy is a one-woman hurricane: a fiery, tell-it-like-it-is political consultant who is as hard on the men she dates as she is on candidates. As Darcy likes to put it, "I don't have time for screwups." She never calls me in the middle of the night.

"Oh my God, is someone dead?" I ask.

"Why is that always the first thing out of your mouth?" she says.

"Because someone always is," I say.

It's still dark outside and I check the clock: 5:04. Clumsily, I grope around on my nightstand until I locate the lamp switch and flip it on.

"Darcy, what's going on?" I ask, propping myself up in bed. "Did somebody die? Or not?"

"Ugh. You're about to," she says.

"What do you mean?" I ask, feeling completely freaked without knowing why.

"There's a story on one of the sports blogs. It's about Michael."

"My Michael? What about Michael?" I ask. My intestines do a nosedive and a nauseating cocktail of dread and adrenaline races through my body. Oh God, is he dead? He's out of town for work, and I haven't talked to him since last night.

And then, the more obvious, "Why are you up in the middle of the night reading the sports blogs?"

*
Darcy ignores me.

"It's a post about Michael having an extramarital relationship with a twenty-one-year-old college basketball player."

"That can't be true," I say with all the self-assurance a woman can possess while still wearing her pajamas. "What's her name?" Michael would never cheat on me. Never. I'd kill him. Kill him dead.

"Alex, it's not a her. It's a him. Bobby something. He plays for Michigan, graduates this year, thanks Jesus after every basket, leads his team in prayer before every game," she says.

"A him? Wait, wait, wait, what? I don't understand. You're saying Michael is sleeping with a man? A man?" And then it dawns on me. "Oh gawd. Did you say Bobby? Bobby Cavale?" I ask. "Michael wouldn't shut up about him. How talented he is. What a big career he's going to have. How he was the next LeBron or something. I thought it was just his stupid jump shot."

"Apparently it was his layup," Darcy deadpans. I snort and then giggle involuntarily. Darcy cracks jokes during funerals, scandals, and tragedies. It's her way of helping to break the tension. Because it's hard to contemplate throwing yourself in the path of a speeding termite truck when you're rolling around on the floor laughing.

"Wait, are you saying ... do you think Michael is gay?" I ask, absolutely incredulous.

"Yes," she says. "Most definitely." I feel my chest cave in.

"No, seriously?" I say.

"Seriously," she responds. The line goes quiet. Which is unusual for Darcy.

"You're crazy! Why do you think that?" I ask.

"Well, even aside from the whole making-out-with-a-guy thing, I always thought he was gay. I've never seen a man more insanely happy, jubilant, even, reporting from the locker room. And then of course there was that crazy Halloween party you guys threw last year. Michael was, hands down, the gayest Count Chocula ever. Also, I'm pretty sure he only took up biking so he could shave his legs and gift-wrap his package in Spandex. But that's just speculation."

"Why wouldn't you tell me?" I say, pressing my palms hard against my forehead in hopes of triggering some sort of twenty-minute amnesia, like a reset button for my brain. "Jesus, I feel like such an idiot."

"It never occurred to me that you didn't know. It seemed so obvious," says Darcy. "I mean, you didn't get your psychology degree online or stuffed inside a box of cereal, did you?" I sigh deeply. This is not making me feel better.

Darcy asks, "Look, do you want me to get my crisis team on this and check it out? My best guess is that it's going to blow up over the weekend, and depending on how it's handled, die out by Monday. Unless there's more. Or video. It's not every day that a top draft pick and an ESPN broadcaster get caught screwing around. Michael is going to need a good publicist if he's going to keep his job. The media loves to devour its own. Tell him to call me if he needs some names."

"Mmmm-hmm," I respond numbly.

"Or you can scratch that and just let him hang on live TV. Your call."

"I don't understand," I say. "Why does some stupid sports blog even care that two grown men are having sex, except for the fact that they both happen to work in sports?"

"Because Michael is married. Because Michael is a basketball commentator and Bobby is a top draft pick. Because Bobby is super-religious and has felt the need to speak to the media extensively against what he calls the sins of blasphemy and homosexuality. And because Michael is higher profile than the average hookup." She snorts. "Between the homosexuality and adultery, all Bobby needs is for Michael to schedule an abortion and he'll have Satan's trifecta."

"Are you sure it's even true?" I ask. "Maybe it's just a rumor." Please, please, let it just be a rumor. A cruel but completely false rumor. A case of mistaken identity. Something we'll all be laughing about a year from now.

"It's true. There are ... pictures," she says. "I'm so sorry. It was probably bound to come out, one way or another."

"Pictures?" I sit straight up in bed, gripping the phone so hard my fingers began to go numb. What the hell? Was I a serial killer, or a door-to-door magazine salesperson in a past life or something? Outrage and humiliation sear my every thought.

Disconnected sounds dribble from my lips, but my mouth can't form any more words. Like I've been Tasered. Actually, I'd rather be Tasered. At least when you're Tasered things go back to normal after the 18 million volts of electricity hit your heart. You lose your breath, your body seizes up, you twitch around on the floor, you drool, maybe you pee yourself. But you probably recover. There is no way I'm ever going to recover from this.

"Yes, pictures," she says. "Listen to me, you do not want to get involved in this mess. There are plenty of reporters who will be happy to agree you've been wronged and that Michael is a bastard. And then they'll put your puffy face and bloodshot eyes on camera and the story will last a week or a month instead of a couple of days."

"I'm going to kill him," I say.

"No, you're not," she says. "Don't answer any calls on your cell that aren't from people you know. Do you guys still have a landline?"

"What am I, eighty?" I ask.

"Lay low, stay home, order food, or rearrange your medicine cabinet or something. Don't watch TV. Don't surf the Internet. Don't even think about googling 'Craigslist hit men' or 'how to poison my husband with leftover pizza and household chemicals.' Call your web designer right this minute and tell her to put a home page up on your Web site that says it's under scheduled maintenance. Do not speak to any reporters. The last thing you want to do in a firestorm is add oxygen. You need to lay low and hope it's not a slow news day."

"On camera? Is this really going to go that far? Michael isn't Steve Phillips, he's just a college basketball announcer. Oh God. I just heard myself."

"Yes," says Darcy in her most soothing voice. "He's a college basketball announcer who's screwing one of the top college players in the country. Not exactly some unknown intern."

I put my head in my hands. Darcy kept talking but I couldn't focus on the words.

"I can't handle this," I say. "What am I going to do?" "Yes, you can," Darcy says firmly. "Just break out the liquor and pray for a natural disaster."

CHAPTER 2

The second I get off the phone with Darcy, I dial Michael's cell. No answer. Asshole!

"Call me," I screech into the phone. "Call me right now!"

Darcy told me not to watch the news, and I should have listened to her. Darcy, after all, has gotten dozens of politicians through prostitution, drug, and undocumented nanny scandals, most of them with their careers still intact. If anybody knows how this is going to play out it's her. I pop in my favorite old movie, When Harry Met Sally, to distract myself, a movie I've seen a million times, and I watch ten whole minutes of the DVD before I succumb to the temptation to turn on the news. I can't help it.

That Carrie Fisher line from the movie keeps bouncing around in my brain, when all her friends keep telling her that her married boyfriend is never going to leave his wife: You're right, you're right, I know you're right.

I tell myself it's just a blog story, that it can't possibly be true, that it will all disappear in a few days, a page buried under posts about trades and bad coaching and steroid scandals. But just in case, I check FOX Sports. I can't bear to watch ESPN, for fear Michael is calling a game somewhere they play basketball at five-thirty in the morning. I don't want to see him right now, even on TV. I do, however, want to see what Bobby Cavale looks like — no idea why. It can only make me feel worse. If the person your spouse cheats with is a troll, you'd say, I can't believe he'd cheat on me with them. If the mistress (or in Michael's case, mister) is gorgeous, perfect, a way better version of you, wouldn't you feel even more depressed? Or would some level of physical perfection make you just shrug your shoulders and say, Did you get a look at that one? What mortal man could resist that? What was the reason for wanting to see the person my husband had cheated with? To have a face to tie to the horrible knowledge of betrayal — to give more meat to the memory it? To figure out what he has that I don't? (Aside from a twenty-one-year-old body and a penis.)

HLN doesn't mention anything about it for the first thirty minutes I watch, and I feel a glimmer of hope that they'll skip the story altogether, but then I see the text crawl updating at the bottom of the screen: TOP DRAFT PICK BOBBY CAVALE AND ESPN COMMENTATOR MICHAEL MILLER SEX SCANDAL. Shit.

I switch to MSNBC and they've got basically the same text crawl at the bottom. Oh God, oh God! This cannot be happening! FOX Sports is worse. They do a whole segment on Michael and Bobby Cavale, and one of the commentators mentions that Michael is married and wonders aloud if his husband Alex ... Wait, WTF, husband? FOX Sports thinks I'm a man?

"Alex is short for Alexandra, you hack!" I shout at the screen. "Nice fact checking!"

I'm not sure what's worse — that Michael is having an affair that's making national news, or that the media are under the impression that I'm a dude. Humiliating.

An hour later, I'm still glued to the television set, running back and forth between FOX Sports in the living room, MSNBC on my bedroom set, and hitting refresh on my laptop, phone, and iPad every time I make a lap, scanning for breaking stories online. Do I need to set up a Google alert? Both FOX Sports and MSNBC do about a minute on the scandal, showing a blurry photo of Michael and Bobby obviously taken by some pervert with a smart phone. There are no new details, just the stuff Darcy already told me. Top draft pick, ESPN commentator, lots of sex. I do think it's bizarre that the news coverage makes Michael out to be some big ESPN juggernaut. I guess that makes for a more exciting story. Mercifully, there isn't much about me, other than the repeated mentions that Michael is married to a man named Alex. I hope my mother isn't watching. She'll probably think I had a sex change or something. Not that she'll call to find out. She's an attorney with more of a killer instinct than a maternal one. It's 5:30 A.M. in Sarasota, Florida, where Michael and I live, which means it's 2:30 A.M. in San Diego, where my parents live. So one small blessing, at least; they won't hear about it for another couple of hours.

My cell rings at six, six-ten, six-twenty, and six-thirty. A New York number I don't recognize. Letting it go to voice mail, I down two shots of tequila. Who drinks this early? I do, apparently. The phone rings again and again with numbers I don't recognize. Darcy has been right about everything else, there's no way I'm going to let myself get sucked into a conversation with a reporter. So far, I've been pretty much left out of the story other than the mention that Michael is married. And the man thing. Mercifully, there isn't much about me. As far as I know, my last name has not yet been released. At least that is something good. Thank God I kept my maiden name. With every update to the story, I feel like I'm getting seasick on my couch.

I'm humiliated and completely livid with Michael, but there's a part of me that hates to see his career decimated, especially so publicly. Mostly. I helped to engineer it, after all, researching the right internships and plotting the most likely path to get him on air. Michael always says I'm unstoppable, once I get my mind fixed on a goal. Even if that goal is someone else's.

Michael started his broadcasting career while I was in grad school, working his way up from an internship to an on-air gig on the radio, and then two years later, a spot at ESPN. He was the Wiki of sports knowledge, highly ambitious with TV-friendly hair. All our dreams were coming true.

I've always felt lucky to have met Michael so early. Our life together has been practically perfect, thanks to my judicious planning. We fell in love in kindergarten, and attended every single school dance and prom as a couple, dating all the way through college, without a breakup or a blip. I wanted to wait until I'd finished grad school to get married, and so we did. We got married at twenty-six, a week after I finished my doctorate.

I'm an environmental psychologist who consults with charities and businesses to create environments that influence customer and employee emotions and behavior — like helping kids feel less scared at the pediatrician's office, pulling customers to the newest merchandise by employing strategic throw pillows and signature scents, staging inspiring environments for creative types to do their best work, or keeping diners in a restaurant for exactly sixty-eight minutes, the optimum time frame to create a great dining experience, boost liquor sales, and still turn the tables at a quick pace using things you'd never notice, such as table placement and seatback angles. And once, I gave my eighty-year-old swinging-single neighbor Zelda Persimmon a vial of pink grapefruit perfume, which cues men to perceive a woman to be 6.1 years younger than she actually is, because Zelda only likes dating younger men. She's totally like the "It Girl" of her seniors-only salsa dancing class.

I never wish bad things on anyone, even someone I'm really pissed at. But it's hard to resist the impulse to feel a tiny bit of glee as karma comes after Michael's cheating ass. Weirdly, I'm not at all angry at Bobby. He doesn't know me. He never made a promise to love and honor me for the rest of his life. He's young, and obviously naïve, and making some mistakes that all twentysomethings make as they navigate the terrain to adulthood. I feel sorry for him in some ways. This decision is going to follow him around and define who he is, even before he has the chance to define himself. Damn, I'm magnanimous.

I promise myself I'll turn off the TV and all my devices after ten more minutes. And then another five minutes. Finally, I put myself out of my misery and shut them all off. After the blurry image of Michael and Bobby surfaced, the blogs and news coverage started to include more photos of them together and a grainy video of what looked like them kissing in a parking garage. It was tender, really, the way Michael leaned in to kiss Bobby. Michael used to kiss me like that. Then Michael picked up Bobby, and kissed him ferociously. Michael's never kissed me like that.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Single-Minded"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Lisa Daily.
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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Single-Minded: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
Single Minded Lisa Daily Daily’s latest novel is a rare find, a feel good rom-com page-turner that’s out of this world real, real funny, real heartfelt and real amazing. Her laugh out loud witty narrative softens the blows of her at times sober plotline and her promotion of the Sarasota sights and sounds will make readers want to book a flight. Her costars, from her octogenarian pot loving retired circus performer to her star’s hilarious yet loyal besties, are awesome and her introduction to environmental psychology 101 is highly educational and absorbing but its her unsinkable, unforgettable, incredible star, Alex that rules every page of this can’t put it down, keeper shelf bound, must read. Brava! SUMMARY: Dr. Alex (Alexandra) Wiggins was so busy living her carefully (control freak) planned “perfect” life, being a successful environmental psychologist, married to an ESPN sportscaster her lifelong love and BFF since Kindergarten, and getting ready for their 1.5 children that she totally missed the fact he also happened to be gay. That was until the scandal of him and an up and coming basketball star made national headlines and worse after his fall from grace was made public was the fact that apparently she was the only one of her family and friends who wasn’t aware of his sexual orientation. So she turns to her two best girlfriends, a political spin-doctor and a mercurial yoga studio owner plus her (okay sue her, but he does know her best) ex for help. But can they really help a thirty-one year old gay-husband virgin whose clock is ticking on her dying ovaries have it all? Is she too old to find someone to love her? And more importantly can she ever trust her judgment (because she’s obviously got no gay-dar) in men?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was unbelievably funny! I can't say that after being married to my husband for 10 years and then finding out that "all the sudden" he's gay I'd still be best friends with him after 5 months of separation and realizing the last ten years of my life was a lie. But this book made me laugh time and time again! It was a good read.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
Single-Minded is an emotional book. A woman, Alex, marries the love of her life since kindergarten then finds out he is gay. A divorce and getting back into the dating world are all a lot to handle. Much less her friends telling her she has to date the Naughty Nine, 9 guys to sleep with before she finds Mr. Right, it is no wonder that she is overwhelmed in life. While there are a lot of different emotions in the book it is also funny and enjoyable. I love how quick her friends are to jump to help her no matter the situation she finds herself in. Darcy always seems to have the most crazy ideas and never fails to share them and pull the rest of Alex’s friends, including her ex-husband, into the schemes. This is a book that threw me back on my heals a couple times with the emotions that rocked Alex and then in the next paragraph I was giggling at the men she met, the way her friends were acting, or just her life in general. I enjoyed every page of Single-Minded and recommend picking up your own copy. Thank you Jessica Lawrence and Kristopher Kam at St. Martin’s Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
Hilarious! An easy read with a nice quick pace that is perfect for the beach. Alex is a planner. She's had her life planned since she was 11 years old. When a bombshell implodes her perfectly planned life she's at a loss on how to move forward. Since she's never really dated before (she met her ex in kindergarten!) she's not really sure how to get back out there but she's determined to give it a try. This one is very well written with some of the best secondary characters ever! Getting dating advice from this ragtag group of friends may not be her smartest move. This is definitely a book I would recommend.