One of my great pleasures is writing friendships between women characters. In my own life, girlfriends have been a source of support, honest opinions, and laughter. Even though my best friend lives across the country, when we get together—as we did last week—things are exactly the same. We even claim that we still look the same!
In Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One, April Lachance is the sophisticated woman of the world, even though she’s only 18. And Kelly Tanaka needs all the advice on guys that she can get. I have one beta reader who tells me regularly that April is her favourite character. I think it’s her sarcasm.
In How The Cookie Crumbles, girlfriends come in threes. Frankie, Bianca, and Chloë were high school besties who kept the friendship going through university. Each one is very different but they complement each other. And they have the shared history of every embarrassing thing they did together during high school!
In my upcoming book, Second Round, the girlfriends are now in their forties and the friendship is mature and hilarious. Jackie Wagner and her best friend, Sharon Zennaro have bigger responsibilities. Both are single moms raising their kids and navigating the dating scene at the same time. Jackie is a sweetheart and Sharon is a straight-shooter with a ton of swagger.
Once a lovely reader told me that she aspired to be as confident as my heroines—who make mistakes, but maintain a sense of self. Jackie Wagner is the least confident of all my heroines. When her husband left, she suffered a huge emotional blow that filled her with doubt. She’s worried about her kids, unsure of her job prospects, and really nervous about dating. But luckily, she has Sharon around for a good kick in the butt.
Here’s an excerpt from the book. After Jackie accidentally runs into the new coach of the Vancouver Vice hockey team, she flees to Sharon’s house to discuss everything:
I parked in front of Sharon’s house. Like the shoemaker’s children, her place was always in the midst of some renovation. Right now the front steps were missing, so I climbed up the cement blocks that were a substitute. I knocked and walked right in.
“It’s me. Not a burglar or anything. Shouldn’t you be locking the door?” Sharon was in the living room with her feet up and a glass of wine beside her.
“You think whenever you leave the safety of West Van, you’re entering a war zone.” She shook her head. “Soooo, what the fuck’s up with this coach?”
“Oh God. I went to his place to finish up the kitchen and hang the curtains in the little girl’s room. I thought he was on a road trip, but it turns out that’s next weekend—”
“Get to the good stuff.” Sharon handed me my own glass of wine and then relaxed against the cushions.
“He walked into the kitchen while I was there and scared me.”
Sharon frowned. “Is that it?”
“No, he had just taken a shower, and he was only wearing a towel. He has this amazing body, with muscles here and here.” I motioned to my chest and arms. “And there were little beads of water on his skin. He looked so hot.”
I paused and closed my eyes, remembering everything about how he looked. “He’s good-looking too. Not in a conventional way, but he has these sharp angles in his face. His cheekbones, his eyebrows, his mouth... everything.”
“So far you’re only giving me an inventory of facial parts.”
“Oh, sorry.” I snapped out of my daze. “I saw his business too!”
“His business? For fuck’s sake, Jackie, how old are you? You mean his penis, right?”
I nodded vigourously. “Through the towel. It was um, impressive. And you know what? My mouth actually fell open, and he laughed at me and said something suggestive.”
“Seeing that he was half-naked and you were drooling, I’m surprised that nothing happened. Nothing happened, did it?”
“No.” My lower lip turned down. “Not tonight anyway. He asked me out.”
“Fuck, yes! You’re finally going on a date. It’s about time.”
“I’ve been on dates,” I protested.
“Yes, innocent, polite little coffee dates. Not evening dates with the possibility of sex.”
I swallowed hard. Could a date with Leo end up in sex? I was willing to make whatever ritual sacrifices were necessary to make this happen. “He’s the first man I’ve been attracted to since Brent. And it’s huge.”
“Are we talking about his dick again?”
“No! I mean the way I’m attracted to him. It’s almost overwhelming. I hardly know him, and I wanted to have sex with him, right there in the kitchen.”
“Mmmm, I am so happy to hear you say this. You’ve been strangely asexual for months.”
I shook my head. “What’s it like? Having sex with someone new. The last time I took my clothes off with a new person, I had a fabulous twenty-something body. All firm parts and flawless skin.”
“Yeah, but did you know that then? In our twenties we all agonized about tiny food babies or a single zit. Now if I get up and nothing new sags, I’m throwing a fucking party.”
“You’re right. I felt like I was getting more confidence as I got older, until....” Until Brent left. My life these days could be divided into two parts: Before Brent Left and After Brent Left. But when Leo had touched me, it wakened all my buried senses. If he could do that by touching my hands and hair, imagine what his hands on my body could do. But taking off my clothes in front of a stranger was still daunting. Things had changed while I was married. Even naked bodies were different these days.
“Can we talk about shaving?” I asked.
Sharon’s hand flew to her upper lip. “Fuck. Am I turning into my Nonna? Why didn’t you tell me before?”
I giggled. “Not you. I mean me. Do guys expect women to have full Brazilians these days? I’ve never done that stuff.” I trimmed because otherwise Brent complained about going down on me. But that hadn’t been necessary lately.
“You’re in luck. I heard that the bush is back.” She had a big sip of her wine. “You know that guys shave now too, right?”
I winced. Hairless made me think of Greek statues, not real men. “I heard about that, but I thought it was only young guys.”
She nodded. “Yeah, most guys our age won’t go near their balls with a razor. However, if it makes their dicks look bigger, sometimes they’ll take the risk.”
“In fairness, women go through a lot of pain to make themselves look good. Still, why bother? Once I’m naked with a man, it’s not like I’m going to change my mind because of some optical illusion that his penis is larger.”
Sharon giggled. “Have you not learned that when it comes to penises, guys don’t do a ton of logical thinking?”
Second Round comes out on August 9th. Preorder the ebook here.