Easily Amused

by Karen McQuestion

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780547745022
  • ISBN-10: 0547745028
  • Pages: 304
  • Publication Date: 08/23/2011
  • Carton Quantity: 24
About the Book
About the Author
Excerpts
  • About the Book
    When twenty-nine-year-old Lola Watson unexpectedly inherits a rambling house in the suburbs, she thinks her life just couldn’t be more perfect—until her new neighbors make her their “project,” a heartbroken high school friend crashes indefinitely at her house, and her younger sister announces she’s getting married, on Lola’s thirtieth birthday. Suddenly Lola’s not so keen on her newfound domestic bliss. But when she meets handsome, mysterious Ryan Moriarty, Lola dares to hope she’s found the perfect guy to one-up her sister and add a little spice back into her life.

    Karen McQuestion deftly blends romance and comedy in this delightful romp where love is discovered in the most unexpected of places.

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts
    When I saw a group of my neighbors clustered on the sidewalk
    in front of Mrs. Cho’s house, I was sure they were talking
    about me.
     It was a sunny spring evening, and I was heading out to
    meet my friend Piper at a local bar. After work, I’d changed out
    of my office garb and into a lacy tank top and short skirt, then
    slipped my feet into a new pair of strappy sandals. A quick look
    in the mirror to touch up my makeup and I was set.
     Despite my efforts, it was a sure thing Piper would look better
    than me, no matter what she was wearing—ironic considering
    she’s the one who’s married with a baby, while I, on the other
    hand, am currently and constantly unattached. Not her fault, of
    course, but still annoying.
    I’d pictured a brisk walk to burn a few calories and hoped
    I might even collect a few admiring glances on the way, which
    would have done my poor ego a bit of good. But springtime in
    Wisconsin doesn’t necessarily mean warm weather; thirty seconds
    out of the house I realized it was a little too chilly to be
    without a jacket, and my hair was getting windblown. Worse
    yet, I sensed I was about to get waylaid by the four neighbors
    halfway down the block.
     As I approached the group, Crazy Myra, who’d been leaning
    forward to whisper something to Brother Jasper, straightened
    up abruptly, like she’d been caught snooping in someone’s medicine
    cabinet. The other two ladies—Belinda, the dog woman,
    and Mrs. Cho—took a sudden, suspicious interest in a lilac bush
    adjacent to where they stood.
    My plan was to smile and nod, and then circle around them,
    but I was stopped by Mrs. Cho, who grasped the fabric of my
    top with her bony fingers. “Pretty,” she said. For such a tiny lady,
    she had one hell of a grip.
     “Mighty fine,” Brother Jasper said. And then he added,
    “Lola, you look like springtime.”
     Before I could say thanks and press onward, Crazy Myra got
    into the act. “Where are you headed to, missy, all dressed up?”
     “I’m meeting a friend for dinner.” The part about dinner was
    a lie. We were really meeting for drinks, but I hated to say that
    because it sounded trashy. I suddenly wished I’d taken Piper up
    on her offer of a ride. “Don’t be ridiculous,” I’d told her. “It’s like
    three blocks. I’ll meet you there.” Now I shifted awkwardly and
    glanced down the street, hoping to spot Piper in her silver minivan
    so I’d have an excuse to break away from the group.
     At the office I’m known for having a take-charge personality,
    but socially I’ve always been a little unsure of myself, and
    these neighbors put me on edge. They were a little too eager
    and a little too Stepfordish, always stopping by to offer me cookies
    or invite me to the latest neighborhood gathering, none of
    which I attended. If they noticed a candy wrapper on my front
    lawn, they stopped to pick it up. If I struggled with heavy grocery
    bags, they were right there to help. I’d lived in the house for
    four months and still wasn’t used to it. Growing up in the suburbs,
    we collected mail for vacationing neighbors or exchanged
    friendly waves as we drove past, but there was no door-knocking
    or favor-asking. Not that people in the burbs are standoffish. I
    don’t mean to imply that at all—they just respect boundaries.
     “Meeting a friend for dinner,” Brother Jasper said. “How
    nice.” He was my favorite of the bunch, not too intrusive but still
    friendly, always with a ready smile, his perfect teeth blindingly
    white against his mahogany-colored skin. Still I steered clear
    of him, always fearful he’d try to get me to go to his churchof-
    the-folding-chairs with the Styrofoam-cup coffee social they
    held afterwards. “We were just talking about our annual block
    party,” he said. “I’m not sure if your aunt mentioned it? We raise
    money for the shelter.”
     “She might have,” I said. I’d inherited the house from my
    great-aunt May, and everyone on King Street assumed we’d been
    close. In truth, I hadn’t known her all that well; we’d crossed
    paths at family weddings and funerals, and that was about it. I
    was as surprised as anyone else when I found out I was her sole
    beneficiary. Not that I’d turn down a free house in a great location—
    just half an hour from downtown and blocks from the
    lake.
     “It’s quite an event,” Belinda said, gesturing wildly. Without a
    leash or two to hold on to, her hands moved in spastic jerks, seemingly
    involuntarily. “We get bands to play and have carnival games,
    and there’s lots of food. It’s the high point of my summer.”
     Somehow I didn’t doubt that. “How nice.”
     “Last year best year ever,” Mrs. Cho said. “Two thousand
    dollars, we make. All the neighbors work together.”
     They looked expectantly at me. I was sure they wanted me
    to volunteer to make balloon animals or do face painting, but I
    wasn’t biting. “When is it?” I asked, thinking that the date could
    exactly coincide with a trip out of town.
     “See, that’s the thing,” Brother Jasper said. “We didn’t want to
    plan it until we’d talked to everyone and made sure they were available.
    We don’t like to leave anyone out.” He grinned again, the kind
    of smile God must give you when he welcomes you into heaven. A
    person would have a tough time resisting the warmth and goodness
    of that smile. “Especially,” he added, “since you’re new to our
    neighborhood family. We want to make sure to include you.”
     He patted my arm, and I had to look down or I would have
    promised anything. I’d wind up running the block party, when
    in fact all I really wanted to do was extricate myself from the
    whole damn thing. “That’s really nice,” I said in the direction of
    my toes. “But I’m still waiting to hear about my vacation time
    from work. Can I get back to you?”
     I peeked upwards and saw all four of them nodding.
     “Just let us know as soon as you hear,” Belinda said.
     “Once we know,” Mrs. Cho said, “then we plan.”
     Apparently the very existence of the block party hinged on
    my availability.
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