A novel about the adventures and regrets of a Texas Oil Princess’s quest for finding love…
Melanie St. John is a beautiful, smart, rich Texan daddy’s girl born to a bold, high-powered lawyer in the oil business who helps Melanie grow into someone who is both worldly and capable. But once she leaves college and enters the privileged world of dating highly sought-after “men of leisure,” she is catapulted in and out of the wealthiest places on the globe while hoping to get married and start a family with one of them.
But these mostly destructive love affairs soon become a dynamic exploration of wealth and love, with all the highs and lows. And to complicate matters she is surrounded by her older, free-wheeling, wildcat sister (and her sister’s exotic but destructive best friend) as well as her own two completely opposite best friends, and each of them also hopes to find their own Prince Charming—which all only adds to the competition, adventures, and scandals.
But throughout each relationship Melanie explores the deeper, more prevalent themes of family, friendship, love, intimacy, freedom, betrayal, motherhood, and most of all, inner strength.
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4 of 5 Stupid By Choice
Stupid By Choice was a little different read for me considering I read mostly YA and Erotica books. I do love all genres but lately I have fallen into a trap where I have been in the NA reading and loving it. So when I ventured off and read this book I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I have to say the descriptions of the south love it! I am a fan of down south. They have such a way of living that is different from the fast lane living I am used to. I would go every summer and I loved it so much. I am seriously thinking about moving down there with my kids.
Stupid By Choice is about a spoiled rich girl living the life she was born into. Melanie has it all, she has riches and everything handed to her. She is traveling and partying and looking for a husband. Only what she gets and what happens is not something she was prepared for. She gets her husband and family but at a cost because her husband is a total tool and douche bag and she endures a lot of abuse.
She decides she has had enough and she decides to leave her husband and take her family and start over. It is here that her starting over and moving on is the crux of the story and what a story she tells. I had to laugh a few times because rich people really do some stupid things and say stupid things. Money does not buy you brains and Melanie definitely found that out the hard way.
This book is a great read so if you are looking for a beach read or an afternoon read this is the book for you! Happy Reading!
Stupid By Choice is available as an e-book from Amazon
Read an excerpt from
Stupid By Choice
I realize, of course, how stupid I’d been. There were signs. I can see them now—vibrant, crushing red banners waving like Spanish muletas down a highway straight to Doomsville. We’ll get to those, in all their hindsight-is-a-bitch glory. For now, all you need to know is that my marriage was an empty, hollow nothing. Appearances had gone out the window long ago—we did our own thing. It was a good day if we stayed out of each other’s way, a bad one if I called the cops.
And yet I stayed. I chose to stay, every day in fact. The absurdity of this concept still surprises me, or at least the version of me who now knows better. I’ve learned that stupidity is often masked stubbornness, resignation, or fear—and for five straight years of my life, I was stupid.
When I realized the mess I’d gotten myself into… really examined the events and decisions that got me to where I am now—the full, shocking brunt of it—I realize that I was propelled into my catastrophe of a marriage as much by momentum as by design. And though I do take full responsibility for it, there were also others at work here, cranking on the propellers of the winds of fate, whether I consciously knew it at the time or not. It was all just too—
“Ding-dong,” the doorbell rang out loudly. It was time. I quickly scooped my soapy toddler Blakely out of her bath, wrapped her in a giant fluffy towel, and motioned for her to put on her robe while I located the key to her bedroom door as fast as I could.
“Ding-dong,” the doorbell rang again.
My now-awaked but still hung-over husband shouted from the master bedroom, “Somebody answer the DAMN DOOR! I’m trying to SLEEP!”
What else is new? I thought as I picked Blakely up and went to the foyer. After today, he would have to get the ‘damn door’ himself. The thought brought a smile to my face as I swung open the front door.
There stood three hulking men in green jumpsuits standing in the doorway. Blakely’s big blue eyes widened at the sight of them; I don’t think she’d ever seen such large men before. Their names were written on each breast pocket in cursive script: “Big Al” was a stocky, tank of a man, “Nick” was tall, chiseled, and lean, and “Joey’s” balding, oversized head sat atop a pair of massive shoulders.
They’re perfect, I thought as I patted Blakely reassuringly.
“Good morning… ah, Melanie—?” Big Al asked, glancing at some paperwork.
“Yes,” I said with a nod to hurry him along.
He held out the stapled set of papers with their moving company’s name written out across the top in big, black, bold letters: Three Men & A Truck. “We got a contract here that says you need us to pack up your whole apartment and move it to Texas.”
“Yep, that’s right,” I said as I glanced at the papers. “I just need one minute though, do you mind waiting here? I’ll be right back…”
I shut the door and took my daughter down the hallway and into her bedroom. I sat her on the edge of her bed while I reached for the clothes I had laid out for her the night before.
“Quickly now,” I whispered as I helped her pull her favorite lace-trimmed sundress over her head. She looked so beautiful in it since she was still bronzed from our recent trip to Newport for the 4th of July. She looked like a tiny, blond, sun-kissed angel. Blackout shades kept the room mostly dark, but the pink and blue light from her oscillating nightlight still illuminated the walls.
I’d decorated her room with a Palm Beach theme for her first birthday last July—stark white walls, turquoise and lemon accents—because I thought it was cheerful, and because it reminded me of a different time. There was a huge fishbowl sitting on top of Blakely’s dresser filled with seashells she’d collected from South Beach, Newport, and Monte Carlo, and a photo wall documenting our family’s happier times together at Disney World, Disneyland, and the Parrot Jungle in Miami. As a new mom I’d taken photos of almost everything she did—there she was happily sitting on the beach with her grandmother Helen at the Beach Club in Newport, playing in the sand with her nanny Joy in Monte Carlo, and taking her first swim in her grandfather Foxy’s Olympic-sized pool at his fabulous Palm Beach estate. There she was again sitting in her father’s lap with a huge bowl of pasta as we all sat at our favorite outdoor cafe in New York City, Le Madeline, back when the possibility of having a normal, happy, family life still felt within reach.
This was the world I revisited in my mind each and every time I entered my daughter’s room. But this morning, I fought back tears as I drank in the photos with steely resolve. I would not cry today. There was too much to do.
As I bent down to put her sandals on, Blakely giggled and didn’t resist. It wasn’t often she awoke this early in such a good mood, and I was overcome with gratitude. Maybe she knew something was up.
Maybe she knew I needed her today, I thought.
“Look Mommy!” Blakely chirped as I looked up—just as she tore off the lid from last night’s Sippy cup. Its orange remains sprayed me from head to toe as she squealed with delight from the explosion.
So much for Blakely being on my side, I thought as I breathed deeply, resisting the urge to get upset over this impromptu juice shower from my mischievous two-year-old. I was already dressed for the day, having gotten up hours earlier to pick out just the right outfit, flat iron my hair straight, and put on mascara. I’d chosen a preppy, tight-fitting, bright green and cool pink Lilly Pulitzer dress, “Palm Beach chic,” that had always had a way of cheering me up. I’d purposefully reached for this dress knowing this was going to be one ugly day. “Dress for success,” I always said, and today I could really use fashion on my side.
Now, as I looked in the mirror, my blond hair sprinkled with orange pulp, I realized my attempt at looking put together today was moot. No time to change, no time to redo my hair.
Great, so this is how one of the biggest days of my life is starting out? I thought.
But I couldn’t be mad. Blakely was one of my main reasons for doing what I was doing. Besides saving myself, I also needed to set a good example for her before she got old enough to understand what was really hap—oh, there was no time to remind myself of all of this now, not on the morning I planned to change our lives forever.
I took the cup out of her hand and smiled. “Hey pumpkin, where’s Mario?”
“Here,” Blakely said as she toddled over to her toy basket and picked him up lovingly. He was a larger, fancier version of a Ken doll and Blakely took him everywhere. She even had a toy closet in the corner of her room filled with only his clothes. I quickly grabbed his mini travel suit.
“Blakely, Mario needs to get dressed now too,” I told her. “This is going to be a very special day for him, so he needs to look really nice, okay?”
“Okay,” Blakely nodded.
I left her happily playing on the floor while I slipped out and shut her bedroom door, locking it behind me.
I hurried down the hallway, glancing out the grand window overlooking Central Park. I could feel the heat index rising as the subtle moisture on the nape of my neck grew, even with the air conditioning on. It’d be a scorcher by nine for sure. I suddenly felt bad and hoped I didn’t leave my three thick gorillas-for-hire waiting outside too long. I opened the front door widely.
“Alright boys, hop to it as quietly as you can, please—oh, and by the way, the faster you go, the higher I tip,” I said pointedly towards Big Al.
He winked and said, “Lady, we’ll work like the wind if it’ll make a pretty woman like you happy.”
Joey gave me an appreciative glance as he put on his work gloves and snapped his gum.
Stale orange juice turns you on? I thought as I grabbed for the phone and dialed.
“Ron? Hi, it’s me, Melanie,” I said into the receiver. “The movers just got here… Yep… same time, same place, right? You’ve got the flight info? And Mom, too? …okay, and thanks again for picking us up.”
Joey was still giving me the once-over as I hung up, but I quickly glanced away.
Like I have time for this, I thought—though it wasn’t like I wasn’t used to it. At five seven and thin as a rail (but with just the right curves), I knew what I had to work with. Even after having Blakely my figure stayed intact, so as tastefully as I could I always accentuated my frame with hip-hugging, leg-bearing styles. I was used to the ogling eyes of men, so no meathead like Joey was going to rattle me, not on a day like today. My heels clicked the floor of the hallway briskly as I ignored Joey and motioned for Big Al to follow me into the den.
“You can start here,” I said.
The three did, quickly and methodically. As they packed, taped, and transported box after box from the apartment I stood apart from them, as if from above it all, watching the proceedings with detached excitement.
I couldn’t believe it was finally happening. Up until this point my whole married life had been foggy, thick and murky like sour milk. But today my nerve endings were firing with crystal clarity. Today was the day I lifted myself and my daughter out of the thick oily muck of our past and led us both into a new life, a new beginning. After five dark, dreadful years I could finally see the brighter path before me. We were driving towards the sun with no rearview mirrors and only the foggiest idea of where the road led, but still, the course was visible, and we’d started down it now. There was no turning back.
In the living room the movers kicked into overdrive, manhandling my belongings like the oversized sausages that they were—and for the first time in years my objects became loosened from their footholds, roots snapping, causing all of my memories of what led me here to crack open along with them as the dust of yesterday got jostled high into the air…
“Listen Squirt, I know you’re only thirteen, but if you ever want to talk to me about boys or sex and stuff, you can. I’ve even got condoms,” my seventeen-year-old sister Whitney said matter-of-factly as we sat in her brightly neon-colored, ’70s-styled butterfly-themed bedroom. As she started to rip open a small black plastic wrapper, her sapphire eyes twinkled with anticipation.
“No!” I shrieked as I blushed and ran back to my books and stuffed animals in my own room right next to hers. I didn’t want to see what she was about to pull out of that strange packaging, but I also knew my sister well enough to know she only took the word “no” as a challenge.
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About the Author:
Leighton Summers is a sixth generation Texan who has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe throughout her whole life. During her travels, she was always surrounded by interesting, successful (and often eccentric) people who encouraged her to find her passion and live life to the fullest.
Writing novels always intrigued her, and so one day while in New York City she took out her laptop in a cafe and decided to jot down some notes about how a female character, created from her own world, could love smarter.
Over the next four years, those notes turned into both funny and sad adventures of a woman's quest to find friendship, love, self, and family and became Stupid By Choice, Summers debut novel.