The Theory of Happily Ever After – Book Excerpt Part 2

THE THEORY OF
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
by
KRISTIN BILLERBECK
  Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: May 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 288
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According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious—serious science, that is. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies, like why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream–fueled chick flick binge.
Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.
 
Filled with unforgettable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile—because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

PRAISE FOR THE THEORY OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER: 

“. . .the sweet will-they-or-won’t-they of Sam and Maggie’s courtship will please readers. . .”
                        —Publishers Weekly
“Billerbeck returns with a light Christian chick-lit novel just in time for the summer beach-read season, taking on stereotypes of femininity, intellect, and worth within an exciting cruise-ship setting with plenty of sunshine and gelato.”
                        —Booklist
“Billerbeck’s latest is full of memorable characters and witty dialogue. . . .The overall story reminds the reader that sometimes happiness will find you, no matter what you may do to avoid it.”
RT Book Reviews  Four Star Review

 

 
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EXCERPT CHAPTER ONE, PART TWO OF

THE THEORY OF HAPPILY AFTER

BY KRISTIN BILLERBECK

 

Click to read Chapter One, Part One on Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/22/18 Tour Stop!

 

A harsh reality is better than a false fantasy. Life is not a fairy tale.

The Science of Bliss by Dr. Margaret K. Maguire

 

He doesn’t stop here though. Apparently he hasn’t completely destroyed me emotionally and professionally. “I’ll be back from our honeymoon on the 27th. I’ll see you in the lab on the 28th and we’ll work on your presentation skills. Anichka is anxious to meet you. I think you’d be a great mentor to her.”

Then he hangs up on me. He hangs up on me! I’m left shaking with rage, obsessing over everything I should have said.

I clamp my eyes shut and mumble some divinely inspired mantra to get his voice out of my head.

I am enough.

I am worthy of love and respect.

I choose success.

I forgive Jake as a gift to myself.

But it’s no use. The murderous thoughts don’t stop coming, and I’m pretty certain that my Lord Jesus along with all decent people would frown upon that. Without looking, I press the volume button on the television until the sickly-sweet movie channel, and not the positive thought mantras, quiets the phone call.

It isn’t five minutes until my peace is once again shattered. My front door slams against the wall with a loud crash, and a framed photograph falls from the top of the TV. Ironically, the picture in the silver frame is of my two best friends, and they are now standing across my living room by the open front door. A flash of blinding sunlight forces me to shut my eyes again, but there’s no mistaking their distinctive forms. When I open my eyes the tall, muscular outline of Kathleen and the petite, girlish figure of Haley begin to take shape in shadows.

“Go away,” I moan.

“Enough of this.” Kathleen’s bark is like a drill sergeant’s. “Get up!” She’s pushy like that. A personal trainer by day, she gives marching orders as if protests are not allowed. Usually Haley and I follow blindly, but not today. Today I want one more bite of gelato and to finish my movie.

As I lift the spoon toward my mouth, Kathleen yanks it away, and ice cream splatters onto the dingy brown carpet. Neon is there to lick it up.

“You’re in my way,” I say, trying to see the television screen. I try to watch around her, but Kathleen has a booty and fills out her yoga pants well, so I can’t see around her Nicki Minaj impression.

I love my friends. They’re amazing for being here and trying to rouse me from my binge-watching stupor, but I’m not ready yet. It’s not time.

“I’m blocking the screen on purpose,” Kathleen says, too loudly through my sugar hangover. “We’ve given you more than enough time to wallow. It’s time to get up. Jake’s moved on, and you’ve got no choice but to move on too.”

I point at the television. “The hero just found that dog. Look how sweet. It just appeared like that, and there’s no one to take care of it. He’s going to take care of it because there’s no one else to do it. Where are the men like him?”

“Are you crying?” Haley asks. She has the sweetest voice to match her tiny, pixie figure, and I wish I possessed an ounce of her honeyed charm. Maybe Jake would still be here. Maybe he wouldn’t have been out scouting the circus talent that had come to town. “Maggie, this is insanity! This TV hero wouldn’t take care of the dog if it wasn’t scripted that he had to take care of the dog. Let’s go.”

Kathleen moves my legs onto the floor and scares the cat in the process. I do my best to ignore her, thinking she will eventually give up and leave me be. I try to explain the importance of the moment—the dog, the hero . . .

“The hero is going to fall in love with the heroine because of the dog. Isn’t that the sweetest thing? I mean, who doesn’t love a dog?”

“You’re going to get bedsores from that sofa,” Haley warns, bending over me with her long strawberry-blonde hair that I’ve coveted since childhood. She pets Neon. “Maggie, whose cat is this?”

I shrug, but my eyes widen.

“You stole that little old lady’s cat from outside, didn’t you?” Kathleen’s face settles into incredulous accusation.

“I didn’t steal it. He meowed at me, and he wanted some attention, so I left the door open and he wandered in. There’s raccoons and stuff out there. Maybe even a bobcat or two.” Orange County, though in the heart of Southern California, was still very rural in places.

“There is a little old lady outside on a walker looking for that cat.” Haley picks up Neon, opens the front door, and gently deposits him on the porch.

“That was mean,” I tell her. I call to Neon, but he ignores me and shoots out of sight.

“Don’t bother talking to her.” Kathleen shakes her head and sighs. “She’s gone. She stole a cat. What sane person does that?” She pulls my slippers off. “Just go get her packed. I’ll force her into the shower.”

“Shower?” I sit up quickly. “I don’t want a shower! Oh.” I zone back into the screen and try to block out the chaos around me. “Look at the dog. Who could give up a dog like that?”

“No one,” Kathleen says gruffly. “That’s a two-thousand-dollar dog. Only a TV movie thinks we will believe that a two-thousand-dollar designer dog is a mutt running loose in town needing to be rescued. This is fantasy, Maggie. Reality is better than fantasy. You said it yourself. Page 218.” She points to my book on the shelf. “I looked it up.”

 

Click to finish reading Chapter One!

 

Kristin Billerbeck is the author of more than thirty novels, including What a Girl Wants and the Ashley Stockingdale and Spa Girls series. She is a fourth-generation Californian who loves her state and the writing fodder it provides.
WEBSITE   FACEBOOK    TWITTER   
 
 
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GRAND PRIZE: Copy of The Theory of Happily Ever After + Bookish Beach Towel, Tumbler, & Book Sleeve
2ND PRIZE: Copy of The Theory of Happily Ever After
+ $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3RD PRIZE: Copy of The Theory of Happily Ever After
+ $10 Starbucks Gift Card
(US ONLY)
  August 22-31, 2018
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
8/22/18
Excerpt, Part 1
8/22/18
BONUS Post
8/23/18
Excerpt, Part 2
8/24/18
Review
8/25/18
Playlist
8/26/18
Review
8/27/18
Scrapbook Page
8/28/18
Review
8/29/18
Author Interview
8/30/18
Review
8/31/18
Review
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