By and large, Amanda Keane makes pretty good decisions. Okay, she might not have the best taste in men, but she’s got great friends, a good job, and an independent spirit. That is, until her 30th birthday ushers in a whirlwind romance with a sexy Irish musician who leaves her, not at the altar as she imagined, but accidentally pregnant. And when he disappears, she’s downsized out of a job, her apartment is robbed, and lapsed health insurance coverage leaves her with a C-section to pay for, Amanda is launched headfirst into the life of a broke single mom. But her friend and uber successful ob-gyn, Joy, clues her in to an unlikely temp position with one of Chicago’s celebrity elite that just may be the answer to all her woes. Or could it be just the beginning?
It’s with serious trepidation that Amanda embarks on her surprisingly lucrative new career: underground wet nurse to the offspring of Chi-town’s rich and famous. Amanda must quickly understand how to live at the whims and mercy of the one percent as she deals with the irony of nursing – and loving – someone else’s child, while still making ends meet for her own daughter. And then there’s Cute Daycare Dad (aka Dan), who’s obviously interested in her. But can she afford to tell him what she really does for a living? Is her new job (something she thought went out with the 19th century) a shameful thing? Just another way of selling her body? Or does it have something to teach her after all?
A novel of motherhood, its many demands, and all the little triumphs along the way, MILKED is a warm and witty debut about making tough choices and traveling the roundabout road to happiness.
“Can you hear me?” said a slight, wiry man with glasses and an authentic Irish brogue. I hadn’t even noticed as a full band of six—no, seven—guys had assembled in the corner of the bar. And oh God, Eamonn was standing there holding a violin. (Is there an Irish word for violin? Would they call it a fiddle?) This was possibly better than a guitar.
“Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Failte,” said the older man, and we all applauded. The band started out with a lively piece and some of the presumably regular patrons started clapping and cheering.
Over the next hour, I sat transfixed watching them (okay, him) as the rest of my group kept chattering away. It wasn’t just his looks that made him sexy; it was the way his hands moved on the violin, how he put his whole body into the song, how he was so in tune with the rest of the group. There were so many more of them than you’d see in a typical bar band, and they all had to play off of each other, producing these amazing harmonies. There was another violinist (fiddler?) playing as well, but I could pick out Eamonn’s the entire night. It sounded sweeter. I had never appreciated Irish music at all before that night. In fact, I had thought it was kind of cheesy. There was nothing cheesy about the way Eamonn looked playing it.
Anthony, good sport that he had been, begged off at ten, citing an early call schedule starting the next day.
“Thank you for the wine,” I said, giving him a pat on the hand as he left. He nodded and left. Meg and Henry soon followed, giving me quick hugs goodbye.
Just then, Eamonn took the microphone from its stand. “We’ve got time for just one more song tonight. I understand there’s a lass here celebrating a birthday?” His eyes scanned the room for about half a second before landing on mine.
Oh, God. I managed a small wave as my friends started to clap and hoot in my direction.
“Any requests, love?” he asked, wiping a little sweat from his brow.
Crap. I didn’t know any Irish songs.
“Er. Something by U2, maybe?” I squeaked out.
He conferred with his bandmates for a moment. They all then left the stage except for Eamonn. He pulled a stool up closer to the microphone and set it back in its stand, then adjusted it for height. He sat down, wiped his brow again, then smiled at me and started to play.
A hush fell over the bar as he alone proceeded to play the most extraordinary version of “All I Want Is You.” Everyone was enraptured at this point, not just me. It was so melodious, so hauntingly beautiful and unlike anything I’d ever heard. I’d never been hugely into violin music before, but I knew I’d never listen to one the same way again.
When he played the last lines, it was like the end of a massage. I felt so refreshed, so relaxed, but damned if I didn’t wish it was longer. The bar erupted in applause, and Eamonn stood up to take a small bow. The wiry man returned to the stage and said, “How ’bout my nephew?” and gave Eamonn a large pat on the back.
Leigh turned to me after the cheers had died down.
“Seriously. If you don’t sleep with that guy tonight, I will,” Leigh whispered.
Let me just tell you that thirty-year-old me had never had a one-night stand before. And by definition, thirty-two-year-old me hasn’t either, thank you very much. I just wanted to make that clear. Leigh, on the other hand, she was kind of slutty. A great friend, sure, but she would be the first to admit she had lost track of her magic number halfway through her twenties.
“I’m not sleeping with anyone tonight, all right?” I said. But that’s not to say I was going to walk out that door and never see that guy again. Hell, no. I grabbed a coaster from the center of the table, and scribbled the words “Birthday Girl” and my cell phone number on it.
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Lisa Doyle is a communications manager and freelance writer based in the Chicago area. A native of Hinsdale, Illinois and a graduate of Miami University, she spent several years editing business-to-business publications for the personal care industry before moving to the nonprofit sector, and currently works in advocacy for homeless families at Bridge Communities in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She has written for major beauty trade publications (Global Cosmetic Industry, Skin Inc, Salon Today, Modern Salon, Renew, Suburban Life) and is a contributor to WOMEN REINVENTED: TRUE STORIES OF EMPOWERMENT AND CHANGE (LaChance Publishing, 2010). Doyle is represented by Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary, Inc., a full-service agency based in New York. For more about Lisa, please visit herwebsite.
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