Pink Slip Blues
After the dot-com bubble burst, Dan Porter is laid off from his job and must decide what is truly important. His wife of twenty years, Jackie, a beautiful and successful managing director at a clothing designer shop, no longer connects with him. His teenagers, Josh, Nina, and Millie, are distant and confusing. Jackie is tempted by the attentions of a younger man at her office, and thanks to an opportunity suggested by a magazine article, Dan finds himself contemplating a drastic change in his life.
"A red scarf. A roller coaster. A tidal wave of blood . . .Isabel Wright spends her days at the Belvedere Center for Sleep Research analyzing the dreams of others. Dr. Martin Belvedere, a pioneer in the field, recognized her unique talent for what he calls Level Five lucid dreaming. It's satisfying, lucrative work, but it can be emotionally draining. Especially when one of her anonymous subjects, known only as Client Number Two, captures her imagination through his compelling dream narratives. Secretly, she thinks of him as "Dream Man."
"His real name is Ellis Cutler. A loner who's learned not to let anyone get too close, he works for a highly classified government agency with an interest in the potential value of lucid dreaming. And he's just been ordered by his boss to make contact with Isabel, who's been fired after the sudden death of Dr. Belvedere."
When a reporter wrongly accuses Lily Blake of having an affair with a newly appointed cardinal, she becomes an instant pariah. Hounded by the press, fired from her job, and robbed of her freedom, she has no choice but to return to her hometown of Lake Henry, New Hampshire. Driven to exact justice against the media that has damaged her reputation, Lily forms an uneasy alliance with John Kipling, publisher of the hometown newspaper and a man who has his own scores to settle.
Grace Sorrentino is divorced, nearly 40 with a teenaged daughter, and has just gotten fired from her job. She hatches a plan to snare one of Palm Beach's wealthy widowers to end her financial woes.
"She's been handed her walking papers.
"Jane McGregor has just been laid off from her job designing pink slips for an office supply company. The irony is not lost on her. She's a twenty-eight-year-old art major whose last major career accomplishment was being propositioned by the company vice president. Desperate to maintain her freedom from her oddball parents, tyrannical older brother, and slacker ex-boyfriend, Jane starts sending out resumes. So what if some of them aren't exactly, well, true. She's taking the future in stride."
"'We've been screwed blued and tattooed,' quips Hilly Pruitt at hearing the news of the closing of Cherished Lady, the local lingerie factory. Hilly, along with many other women in Florabama, have been relying on the factory for their livelihood for years. As Hilly always says; 'Life is like a dog sled: If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.'
"The same day the plant closes, Bonnie Duke Cullman begins her drive through a Gulf Coast storm to the first real job of her life. Her country-club-and-charity-committee existence has come to an end as abruptly as her marriage. In short, she too has been downsized. But luckily for Bonnie, she does have a job to go to: she's been hired to run a "Displaced Homemakers Program" for a podunk community college where the ex-bra seamstresses of Cherished Lady await her wisdom.
"In an unlikely alliance, Bonnie and the Florabama women join together in a midlife survival course where the events of a single year forever alter the way they see the world and their places in it. Despite their very different lineages, they find common ground in the longings and dreams we all share: for community, identity, security, and for love."
Bill Wyeth is a rising real estate attorney living the lofty heights of success. Then a tragic accident claims everything he has: his family, his fortune, his career. His downward spiral lands him at the table of Allison Sparks, the dangerously alluring owner of a midtown steakhouse. She needs a personal favor of him--to engineer a midnight trade-off in a shady multimillion-dollar real estate deal. For a man with nothing left to lose, the set-up is too lucrative to refuse, and like Allison, too forbidden to resist.