by Sharona Nelson
ISBN-13: 978-1-59279-691-5 (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59279-664-9 (Electronic)
Read an excerpt.
WATCH THE BOOK VIDEO FOR COVER
Single mom Sunny Montgomery survived a
childhood with hippie parents as well as a terrible marriage with the
cheating Kirk Stanley (AKA Kirk the Jerk), so she figured she could
deal with whatever life threw at her. In short order, however, Sunny
loses her job, car, health insurance, and life's savings.
What's a single mother to do? Get
course—though not for love.
Sunny accepts a marriage-of-convenience
her landlord, Ben Hart, so that she and Libbie, her asthmatic daughter,
will have health insurance. The only problem is, she's falling in love
with him—despite the fact she thinks he's gay. And, while she
sometimes craves more distance from the temptation known as Ben, heaven
knows that good, affordable apartments in Boston are as rare as winters
Through it all, Sunny views her life
comic lens. She succeeds when she takes chances, when she puts her
heart on the line, and when she stops nursing old wounds and forgives.
Whether beset by estranged hippie parents, money troubles, a creepy new
boss, an is-he-or-isn't-he faux husband, or the
Boston mob, Sunny sustains herself with her inner strength, her best
friend Dulcie, odd-duck neighbor Ray, and lots of mac-and-cheese, hot
dogs, and ice cream. Oddly enough, what Sunny's daughter, Libbie,
wants—comfort food and plenty of SpongeBob SquarePants on the
tube—aren't fundamentally different from what Sunny
wants—happiness and love.
Sunny's struggles teach us that making
from life's abundant supply of lemons isn't too difficult, as long as
we follow our hearts...
first person, Sunny’s perspective of her world engages the
reader from beginning to end. Ms. Nelson’s unique voice and
characterization shines through, giving the readers a very enjoyable
story. I suggest adding COVER ME to your reading list today!"—
first-person point of view and characters who really sparkle, Sunny's
story is both stylish and attention-grabbing... COVER ME is a great
pick-me-up this spring; make sure it's on your reading list!"—
Romance Reviews Today
and very readable novel ... I love, love, love this new, modern take on
the marriage of convenience!"—Bev Katz Rosenbaum, author of I Was a
Teenage Popsicle and Beyond Cool
feisty heroine and an endearing hero make Cover Me a joy to read! This
book is for anyone who's ever dealt with difficult parents, challenging
children, found love and lived to tell the tale!”—April Kihlstrom, award-winning romance author
Excerpt from "Cover Me"
© 2007 Sharona Nelson. All rights reserved.
"Don't you just love it?"
Dulcie swirls in front of me, showing off
scarlet dress. Its filmy skirt floats lazily around her thighs. I look
down at my black jeans, dull blue sweater, and black ankle boots, then
survey her clear plastic high-heeled slides.
"If we sing together, we're going to be
duckling and the swan. Are you certain you want me up there with you?"
I nibble my lip.
"Hush up already with the ugly talk. You
biggest gray eyes in the world, blonde waves to die for--"
"Dishwater blonde," I say.
"--blonde is blonde--though a few
wouldn't hurt--and a body made for high fashion. Let me check your
Twenty minutes later, I'm wearing a
dress. It skims my bones so that I look as if I actually have curves.
Silver strappy sandals and a quick makeup job, and I'm nearly gorgeous.
"I'll bet you didn't buy this dress, did
says while squinting, adjusting the fabric to flow better over my
"No. I think Kirk did."
"Have you ever worn it before?"
"An impulse buy. Wasn't I with you?"
She taps her chin with an index finger.
remember now. You'd just found out that Kirk The Jerk couldn't keep his
pants zipped. Yes, I took you for shopping therapy that day. I still
can't believe he flat-out dropped his life here and ran away to parts
unknown. The man's pure-D nuts."
"I still can't believe he'd do that to
daughter. Run away from her, I mean." A sob escapes before I can choke
it back. "Aw, shit."
My best friend dabs at my eyes with a
tears, now. Tonight you're going to try something new, and you're going
to kill. By the end of the evening, you're going to have a date, too,
"Or else what?"
"I'll sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner'."
"In that case, I'd better find a man."
When Dulcie reaches for the high notes
stay away from large panes of glass.
After sufficient primping on her part, we
into her car. We spend less time driving to The Coast than we do
finding a parking place once we arrive, but that's typical for Boston.
After we locate a legal spot a mere block away, we join the streams of
people, all of us walking in the same direction.
The Coast is the biggest and best karaoke
Allston-Brighton. It's kitschy seventies: colored lights, a mirrored
revolving ball, and an actual dance floor. Did I mention that the house
special is a classic Seventies drink, the Tequila Sunrise? A couple of
those and you won't know whether the sun is rising or setting.
"You really think Libbie will be all
Jessie?" I worry.
"You saw the way they were playing before
left," Dulcie says. "Lib took to her as if she were an older sister.
Ooo," she whispers, grabbing my arm, "take a look at the fellow over
there." My eyes follow her not-so-subtle pointing finger.
"Geez, Dulce. Even a dating service would
him. You think he's hot?"
"Well, who do you like, smarty-pants?"
"I like the one standing near the stage.
She stares briefly. "He's your type, all
Good-looking businessman who oozes testosterone. I'll bet he's in
middle management at some financial operation."
"Operation? You make him sound sleazy."
"Yeah. He's Boiler-Room-Roger. He sort of
resembles Tim Robbins in The Player. Just not as
I take another glance; he doesn't seem as
he did before. Something about him reminds me of Kirk the Jerk.
"Who do you like?" I say.
"That one." She motions with her hand.
"He looks like Software-Engineer-Ed."
Dulcie actually acts offended. "Just because I appreciate a man who
looks smart and not smarmy, there's no need to diss my taste."
"Okay. Truce. Let's figure out what the
"Don't you mean, what we're singing?"
A man at the bar catches my eye, smiling.
my head in my best Sarah Jessica Parker style and smile back.
Another woman approaches to snag him.
"I'm going to do it. I'm singing alone,"
"No, you won't. We've been here before.
chicken out. C'mon, let's do something fun like 'Werewolves of London.'
I don't want to sing alone."
"You don't sing. A cat in heat sounds
the audience always loves you."
"I stand up there and enjoy myself.
That's all you
have to do. Remember, unlike me, you can actually do something that
sounds like singing. And the audience wants you to succeed. So give
them what they want."
It's our turn to choose from the songbook
up. Dulcie, a huge Warren Zevon fan, picks "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me." I
flip the book open, stab randomly, and come up with Shania Twain's
"Man! I Feel Like a Woman."
"Perfect," I say while scribbling my name
on the list.
"No way you'll do that song," Dulcie
"Bet me a drink?" she taunts.
Boiler-Room-Roger stands before us, with
man to his right.
"I'm Roger, and this is Peter."
Damn. His name really is Roger.
"Oh, goodie," Dulcie says under her
"So, like, what are your names?" the man
"I'm Dulcie, and this is--"
"Sarah," I interrupt. "Sarah Parker."
"What are you drinking?"
He oozes charm. I hate charm. Charm
reminds me of
Kirk. From now on, I'm immune to charm, I decide.
"Beer," I say.
"Something diet and non-alcoholic,"
"I'm the designated driver."
"You want Bud Light?" Roger asks me.
The Coast has about two hundred brands to
from. Feeling a little mean, I say, "Yuengling Light," knowing he's
probably never heard of it, much less how to spell it.
"Ying-Ling?" Boiler-Room-Roger says,
"What's that, Chinese beer?"
"Oh, God, don't get the microbrew freak
beer," Dulcie says.
I stare both men down.
"No. It's a Philadelphia beer. Oldest
the country." I use my snobbiest tone.
Peter looks as if his shoes are pinching
but my comment flies right over Roger's head.
"Okay. Back in a moment," he says.
Peter follows. It's clear who the alpha
male is in
"Ladies and gentlemen," the emcee begins.
your host, Frankie Went Hollywood. It's time for Saturday Night Karaoke
at The Coast, where we celebrate the best--and the worst--of pop music.
First up, the incomparable Patsy. Give it up!"
A regular who sounds eerily like Patsy
the stage. Tonight she resembles Cline, too, with a dark flip-do wig,
circle skirt, and neckerchief. She croons her way through "Walking
"She's so good," Dulcie says. Her voice
tinge of envy.
After Patsy, a Madonna-wannabe performs
Yourself." She dances better than she sings. "Vogue" follows, sung by a
woman whom I suspect is not one hundred percent female down where it
Peter and Roger return with drinks. The
stage give me an excuse not to talk, though that doesn't stop Roger
from trying a bit of non-verbal communication. I smack his hand when it
strays to my thigh.
"Let's welcome Dulcie Williams, as she
both Warren Zevon and Linda Ronstadt," Frankie the host says.
I cheer as she sways to the beat. Three
later, she has us all laughing fit to burst, because she vamps the
Zevon verse that describes a perverse encounter. She really can't sing
worth a damn, but she's a showstopper.
"Next is Sunny Montgomery, in her first
performance at The Coast. Give her a big welcome, folks!"
I hear Roger say, "I thought your name
I stand, walk to the stage, take the mic.
are wobbling, and flop sweat breaks out on my brow when I hear the
No, damn it, you're going to do
like you do in front of the bathroom mirror.
I pretend no one's in the room but me and
rip. I pose; I sing; I dance on those silver heels like Mercury had
blessed them. When I finish, I freeze, eyes closed, breathing hard.
Waves of applause and cheers hit me. I
Dulcie is jumping up and down,
"Sun-NY! Sun-NY! Sun-NY!"
My eyes turn wet from sheer joy. I did
conquered my fear and security demons and did it. Hot damn, but it
Maybe I'll take another risk soon,
fact that taking risks normally gives me hives.
I skip back to the table, where the two
bug-eyed with admiration. Actually, they look a little intimidated. I
throw my head back and laugh.
"Wowie," Dulcie says. "You're even better
thought you would be, and I thought you'd be fabulous."
We high-five, then hug.
"Want to go celebrate somewhere else?"
We grab our purses. Roger frowns, saying,
we talk you ladies into staying?"
We're beating a hasty retreat from Peter
when we hear the emcee say the only words that could convince me to
"Here he is, folks, your favorite
mine, Doctor Ben Hart. Tonight he's treating us to his rendition of,
'It's All Been Done Before' by Barenaked Ladies. Give it up!"
My feet glue themselves to the floor.
mouth hangs open. And there's my landlord, bouncing on his toes,
moments from ripping into song.
Our eyes meet. The grin he shoots me
He opens his mouth.
No, he's great.
I hear Dulcie squealing. I'm silent,
As the applause dies down, Ben heads
me, moving more like a rock star than a physics nerd. Not that he looks
the least bit nerdish tonight, not with his shining espresso hair,
large green eyes, and muscled body. Not Fabio-muscled, which I can't
stand, but trim and fit, dressed in jeans, black T-shirt, and denim
Why does he have to be my landlord? And
gay, to boot?
Excerpt from "Cover Me"
© 2007 Sharona Nelson. All rights reserved.