Temporary insanity, I thought as I swung the tire iron I’d plucked out
of my Toyota Tacoma against the headlights of my husband’s
four-wheel-drive Tundra. I felt bad for hurting such a beautiful truck,
but I’d done everything for that lying, cheating, two-timing
son-of-a-bitch, and this was the only way I could think of to hurt him.
Certainly, even a fresh-out-of-college attorney could get a jury of my
peers to understand why I had to take revenge against Dick Embers. And
since I didn’t have the stomach to pull a “Lorena Bobbitt” job, a
“Carrie Underwood” meltdown would have to suffice.
Maybe that would be my defense … She’d been listening to the radio,
Your Honor, my attorney would plead on my behalf, and well, the next
thing Jana Embers knew, she’d come to with a tire iron —
“Jana!” my husband’s shrill tone hit me just as I smashed in the
second taillight. “Oh, my God! Are you insane?”
I looked up at my soon-to-be-ex-husband and forced a smile. “As a
matter of fact, I am. Meet your creation, Dick!” I swung the heavy
steel rod down on the lip of the tailgate, leaving an indentation that
no dent-remover tool in the world would ever be able to pull out.
Dick embers pressed his clenched fists to his head as he assessed the
damage, but then stopped gawking and chased me as I ran to the front of
the truck. “Give me the tire iron, Jana,” he said as calmly as I’d
ever heard him speak.
I swung the heavy metal against the hood. “Fifteen years! I’ve given
you everything within me for fifteen years. And you repay me by getting
some bimbo pregnant.”
Dick raised his hand as though he expected me to hand him my weapon.
“It was a mistake, Jana. I didn’t mean —”
“A mistake?” I swung my makeshift bat into the chrome grille as
though all the bases were loaded and I was going for a home run.
“Wearing different color socks is a mistake.” Whack. “Sending a
text to the wrong person is a mistake.” Whack. “Sticking your penis
in the wrong woman isn’t a mistake, Dick!”
He dropped his head. “I’m sorry —”
“Sorry?” I jabbed at a piece of dangling metal that hadn’t fallen.
“Sorry because you got caught? Sorry because you didn’t use a
condom?” My eyes on him, I backed up to the driver’s door, hopped up
on the running board, and then bashed the windshield with all my might.
“I made you who you are, Dick Embers. If it wasn’t for me, you never
would have been promoted at that stupid car dealership. I handled all of
your follow-up calls for your work and still found time to wash and cook
and clean. I changed all the diapers, handled all the discipline for our
son …” I continued to bring down the iron rod on the front window
over and over, aggravated that the safety glass refused to shatter.
“We had sex all the time, as often as you wanted …”
Dick took a step toward me, so I jumped off the side step and held the
tire iron on my shoulder, ready to swing it against his head if he came
near me. Self-defense, my attorney would call it. Mrs. Jana Embers was
in fear of her life after she’d gone temporarily insane.
“Please, Jana,” Dick whined.
“Please, what?” I screeched.
“Please forgive me.”
“And have to share you with a woman for the next eighteen years while
the child the two of you adulterers created grows up? No. Uh-uh. Not
this woman, Dick. I gave you fifteen years. I’m certainly not stupid
enough to give you another day.”
I walked back in the direction of my Tacoma, surprised to see that every
corridor of the apartment building where Dick had moved into this week
had people standing in the doorways.
Ignoring the surrounding stares, wondering why no one had called the
police yet, I raised my chin to Dick as I opened the door. “Oh, I’ll
be filing for divorce first thing in the morning.”
The crowd cheered, some whistled, one woman called out, “Atta girl!”
Surprised, I twirled my weapon as though it were a baton and curtsied. I
skipped to my truck and hopped inside, feeling the most alive I’d felt
my entire life.
Shaking too violently to avoid spillage, I used both of my hands to lift
a cup of coffee to my lips, wondering when the police would show up. The
adrenaline from my crazed attack on Dick’s Tundra had worn off,
replaced with the fear that I might be spending the next sixty days in
I’d called my cousin on my way home in case I needed someone to drive
my fifteen-year-old son to school and then be available to bail me out
of jail. Now we just sat across from each other, staring in silence,
fearing the rap on the door that would surely come at any moment. I’d
never been incarcerated before. I wasn’t very large. So how would I
defend myself in jail? I wondered briefly if the arresting officer would
let me take my tire iron. Mmm. Probably not. Especially since it would
be marked as exhibit A on the evidence table.
Angela reached for my quivering hands. “I’m so sorry, Jana. Is there
anything I can do? Is there something else you need to handle? Not that
I can beat up a truck or anything.”
A laugh burst out of my mouth that quickly turned into a sob. “No …
but … thank you. Before I went on my rampage, I went online and
transferred every penny out of our joint accounts, which sadly wasn’t
as much as I’d hoped. I dumped every penny into Eric’s account,
since it was the only account that didn’t have Dick’s name on it.
Then I called all our credit card companies, reported the cards as lost,
and ordered new cards. I’m not sure what else I can do.”
“So this is really happening?” Angela asked.
I swiped at my tears. “What else was I supposed to do, Ang? Not only
did he cheat on me, but he also didn’t use protection. God only knows
what type of disease that woman might have … or any other woman he
might have been screwing.”
Angela blew out a long breath. “You’ve just been together so long.
Heck, you’ve been married since I was in grade school. I’ve known
Dick almost my entire life.”
“Yeah … me too,” I said on a sigh. “Since I was nineteen.
Believe me, I didn’t plan to be a single mother at thirty-four. And
what will I do to make money? I have a B.A. in business, but what good
is that when I haven’t worked outside the home in fifteen years?
I’ve spent nearly half of my life helping him make it to the top. And
he —” I burst into tears again, as I’d been doing for the last
week. It surprised me that I had enough water left in my body to shed
any more tears.
Angela got up from her chair and wrapped her arms around me. “I’m so
sorry, Jana. I really am. I wish there was something I could say or do
that would make you feel better.”
I sniffed and looked up at my cousin, who also happened to be my best
friend. “Ever think about contract killing?”
Angela laughed. “No, and I’m gonna forget that you asked that.”
“Okay, so if you won’t kill him, the least you could do is help me
figure out how to get back at him. And give me some suggestions of what
I can do to make money. I did a budget last night, and even if Dick
continues to pay the mortgage, and I scrimp and scrape every dime, I
have enough savings to pay for the utilities and food for about a year.
After that, I’ll have to hit the streets.”
“From what you told me last night, I think you already got him
back.” Angela sat back down, then picked up her mug, smiling over her
steaming hot latte. “You still look pretty good, too. I’m nine years
younger than you and I have more gray hairs than you do. Maybe it’s
the dark shade you got from your mom, whereas I got the light hair from
your father and my dad’s side of the family. I bet you’d do rather
well on the streets.”
I rolled my eyes, then swiped at my tears again. “Not funny, Ang.
Seriously. It’s not like I can go back to cocktail waitressing. Who
wants to see a thirty-four-year-old mom in short-shorts and a tank
My cousin jumped up from her chair. “I got it! Remember when I told
you about Jenny, my friend from college who’s doing so well, the one
who started that couponing website.”
I dropped my head into my palm, rubbing my temples with my middle finger
and thumb, trying to massage away a headache that was forming from lack
of sleep … and stress … and probably because I hadn’t eaten
anything in days. Not to mention that the continuous waterworks had more
than likely left me dehydrated. “I don’t even like clipping coupons
Angela waved her hands as she paced around my kitchen. “It’s more
than that. It’s not really about the coupons as much as it is about
the products she displays on her website. She’s an affiliate for
several major websites. And get this,” Angela leaned across the
counter in front of me, “she makes up to ten percent when someone from
her site buys a product, any product. It doesn’t even have to be the
item she’s advertising.”
I sniffed, then cocked my head. “Go on …”
“Well, you just have to find something you love, and then start
blogging about it. From there, I guess you can add all the links.”
I huffed out a breath. “What do I love? I’ve never done anything. I
know how to be a wife and mother. Other than that, I don’t even have
any hobbies. I’ve been too busy raising Eric and taking care of my
stupid unfaithful husband.”
Ignoring my complaint, Angela slid onto a barstool, then rested her head
on her folded hands. “There’s gotta be something, Jana.”
“I like wine …” I ventured, thinking a tall goblet of Merlot would
taste really good about now, but Angela would probably start to question
me if I pulled out a bottle of wine at five a.m. “You and I have
always enjoyed going to those wine-tasting events. And I’m great at
picking out the most expensive.”
Angela nodded, then shook her head. “You are, but I don’t think
that’s a good idea. You know, with your mother’s history … and
I didn’t want to think about my mother. Not that I knew her anyway.
She’d been dead since I was in diapers. My aunt, on the other hand,
had been the closest thing to a mother I’d known. But in the last year
or so, I’d only seen her a handful of times. Angela and I both knew
she had a drinking problem, but it seemed to have gotten worse lately.
Not that I was an alcoholic, but with the history of drug and alcohol
abuse in both of my parents’ families, it probably wouldn’t be a
good idea to take up a hobby that required me to drink on a daily basis.
“Yeah … I guess you’re right,” I said.
“Oh!” Angela jumped up again. Even pregnant, the woman had more
energy than my son, and that was saying a lot. “Reading! You love to
read!” she exclaimed with conviction, as though my love of reading
would solve all of my problems. Truly, reading had helped me cope when I
was a teenager, but I doubted I could disappear into make believe as
I’d done when I was an adolescent.
Still trying to loosen the tension in my head, I pinched the skin above
my eyebrow. “Yeah, but how am I going to make money from reading?”
“You can blog about what you read. Write reviews and stuff.”
“Angela, you’re a lot younger than I am. You understand all of that
computer stuff. I wouldn’t know how to do that.”
“Jenny says it’s easy. In fact, she’s been wanting to train me.
But with the baby, not to mention being pregnant again, I just don’t
have the time or energy. I’m sure she’d come over and help you set
it up, though, especially if you tell her you’ll link back to her
I leaned back in my chair. It was worth a look. I didn’t like the idea
of starting a full-time job when Eric was accustomed to me taking him to
school and all of his extra-curricular activities every day. Since I’d
been unable to do much other than go to school and babysit Angela when I
was a teenager, I’d wanted Eric to enjoy his high school years.
“Okay … I’ll look into it. Anything is better than nothing at this
point, I guess. Maybe it’ll give me something to do so I don’t spend
every minute of my day scheming how to make Dick’s life a living
Angela laughed. “Well, it’s been three hours and the police
haven’t shown up. Maybe he’s decided not to press charges, hoping
he’ll get in your good graces.”
I inhaled a deep breath, hoping Angela was right about the cops, but
then said, “Dick Embers couldn’t earn his way back into my good
graces if he were the Pope himself.”
Excerpted from "Unlucky In Love" by Carmen DeSousa. Copyright © 2013 by Carmen DeSousa. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.