Title: Life in Plan B by Jennifer Vessells
Publisher: Vessells Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 282 pages
When twenty-eight year old Haley Simpson, a sales associate for her best friend’s clothing boutique in Columbus, Ohio, begins a secret affair with the boutique’s potential New York City business partner, she digs a cavernous hole of deception that not only threatens to end her blossoming career, but to destroy a life-long friendship.
Jennifer Vessells’s debut novel, LIFE IN PLAN B, encompasses everything classic chick lit should: the dynamics of friendship, the nuances of high-reaching career aspirations, and the struggles – both usual and unique – presented by romantic and familial relationships. An entertaining story at every turn, LIFE IN PLAN B is identifiable for readers of any age. In short, Ms. Vessells hits her debut novel out of the park!
De Alexia was situated quaintly between an antique lamp store and a specialty pet store on Columbus’s popular High Street. In recent years, revitalization efforts in the city led to a new array of upscale apartment buildings, condos, and restaurants in the neighborhood, driving up the prices of the already expensive specialty stores that had always called the Short North area their home.
Although we were newer than most of the clothing boutiques, De Alexia fit in well with the cozy, eclectic storefronts of old. Set in cursive on an iron plate, the boutique’s name reinforced the store’s expensive and upscale feel. The mannequins in the two front windows were styled fashionably for summer, striking fierce poses in Alex’s cropped pants, shorts, tees, and tanks. I smiled as I reached for the door, wondering whether Naresh would display the clothes in a similar fashion.
I entered to find one of the store’s employees, Dominic, folding jeans for the front table display. The boutique looked neat this morning, clearly not yet having to host more than a couple of customers. The old wooden floors had been swept and the front racks appeared recently organized. Alex had a particular eye for the style and layout of the boutique, continuously demanding a crisp and obsessively clean look throughout the store, no matter how busy the day. He felt as though the organization of the store reflected the fresh, tailored look of his line, and would freak if he found the store unkempt and disorganized.
Raising his head as the bell rang to announce my entry, Dominic gave a gruff, “Hey Hale,” and quickly refocused on the task at hand. I chuckled a little too loudly when I saw his hairy face scrunch up in confusion, as if mastering jean folding was as difficult as solving a calculus equation. Dominic wasn’t the sharpest of tools, but he was well liked, always showing up to work on time and entertaining everyone with his slightly dimwitted antics. Dominic worked at De Alexia part-time, trying to save money in his last year of college. No one quite knew what he was majoring in, but he had been preparing for his graduation later this spring for some time.
Dominic’s thick, curly brown hair was as long as I’d ever seen it, dangling almost low enough to block his vision. He was probably about twenty pounds overweight for his 5’10” frame, but nevertheless had squeezed himself into Alex’s most popular pair of Euro-style skinny jeans. Thankfully, the wanna‑be-grunge Guns N’ Roses t-shirt he was wearing was long enough to cover up his waistline, preventing any plumber‑style mishaps. I chuckled again, this time wincing as my head pounded angrily in response. Rubbing my temples, I glanced up and asked Dom if he wanted any coffee from up the street.
“Nah,” he responded, eyes not moving from his folding project. “I had a Mountain Dew earlier, I’m good.” I cringed at the thought of shocking my system with that much sugar in the morning and made my way to the back of the store to find Alex.
Passing the unmanned register, I slipped through the office door to find him on the phone, sitting in the red, patchy office chair we had picked up at a Springfield flea market a few months earlier. He turned as he heard me come in, a smile plastered on his face. Winking, he held his finger up, indicating he’d only be a few more moments.
“Great! Sounds good, man,” Alex responded into the receiver. I could tell he was wrapping up his conversation. “Okay . . . yup . . . great . . . talk to you soon.” Leaning over the messy desk to hang up, Alex turned and looked me up and down in amusement. “You’re up bright and early!” He exclaimed, in mock surprise. I smiled, rolling my eyes, and glanced curiously at the phone. “Nice shoes,” he added, more seriously. I ignored the compliment, more interested in whom he’d been talking to.
“What gives?” I asked, secretly hoping it hadn’t been Naresh explaining there was a ‘delay’ in the paperwork.
“Oh, that was Naresh,” Alex announced, confirming my fears. “He wanted to make sure I was here to receive the contract, wanted to know if I had any questions, blah blah blah.” He waved his hands impatiently as he trailed off, obviously unconcerned by the phone call. I hoped he wasn’t leaving out anything important with his ‘blahs.’ Alex wasn’t the best listener. “Anyway, Hale,” he continued, turning in the chair, crossing his legs, and intertwining his long, bony fingers, “once I receive the paperwork I’m going to pop down to Charlie’s office so he can give everything a look-see.” Charlie was De Alexia’s lawyer, someone who Lindsay had recommended on the cheap. “And you, my love,” Alex stated, his expression turning into a half smile, half grimace, “are going to have to schedule another flight to New York, leaving sometime Wednesday morning.” He winced and leaned back as if he thought I might slap him. I wasn’t a violent woman, but part of me did feel like hitting him. I didn’t mind traveling, but I’d been living out of a suitcase for nearly a month.
“Why do I need to schedule such an urgent flight, may I ask?” I inquired, haughtily. “I just got back yesterday!” I tried to keep a calm demeanor about me, but I could feel my large green eyes getting wider by the second, bulging menacingly in Alex’s direction. I had my dad’s eyes. Whenever he had been angry, his big green eyes would pop out as if trying to escape their sockets. ‘Bug eyes,’ my brother and I had called them.
After practicing law for nearly three years, Jennifer Vessells decided to leave the practice to pursue her dream of being a novelist. After an intensive year and a half of writing, Ms. Vessells is proud to finally present her debut novel to the world – a story that’s been marinating since her early college days.
Passionate about women’s fiction and children’s chapter books, Ms. Vessells plans to enjoy a long writing career. Keep your eye out for more exciting publications from this author in the future!
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