Book Title: You’ll Be Fine
Cover Artist: Natasha
Release Date: August 2,
Genres: Contemporary F/F Romance, Family comedy, trans
Tropes: Comedy of errors, love triangle
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 77 900 words/ 343
It is a standalone book and
does not end on a cliffhanger.
Second chances don’t
mean repeating the same mistakes
After Alex’s mother passes away, Alex takes leave from her
job as a writer for a lifestyle magazine to return home to Maryland and join her brother
Owen, a study in failure to launch, in sorting out their mother’s whimsical, often
While home, Alex plans to profile Juliette Sprigg, an Eastern
Shore restaurant owner and celebrity chef in the making who Alex secretly dated in high
school. And when Alex enlists the help of Carolyn, the editor of the local newspaper, in
finding a photographer for the article’s photo shoot, Alex struggles with the deepening,
tender relationship that blossoms between them as well.
To complicate matters, Alex and Owen’s “Aunt” Johanna,
who has transitioned to a woman, offers to come from Seattle to help with arrangements,
and all hell breaks loose when she announces she is actually Alex and Owen’s
long-estranged father. Can Alex accept her mother and father for who they are, rather than
who she hoped they would be? And can Alex apply the same philosophy to herself?
“An enjoyable story about an adult trying to grow up.” –
The last time she’d seen Juliette was high school
graduation. They hadn’t spoken for weeks, and their last names—Sprigg and
Maas—ensured they’d be nowhere near each other in the audience of graduating seniors.
Alex had told Owen and her mother to meet her in the parking lot after the ceremony. She
had no intention of lingering in the high school gym, drinking fruit punch and eating sheet
cake emblazoned with GO SENIORS and CONGRATULATIONS with the other kids who’d
treated her like she was some highly contagious lesbian fungus.
She’d gotten through the first row of cars and spotted her
mother in the fourth row, near the exit, leaning against their Subaru. Her mother wore Ray
Bans and a black fedora, her arms crossed like she was the third Blues Brother or had
materialized from some mid-80s new wave music video. As Alex raised her hand to wave to
her, she felt another hand on her shoulder.
“Alex.” It was Juliette’s mother, Barbara Sprigg. She wore a
floral print dress with a ruffled collar. A small crucifix hugged her thick neck. Her hair was
red like Juliette’s but her face ruddier, plastered with freckles. She smiled. “You’re in a hurry!
“Thanks.” Alex glanced over Mrs. Sprigg’s shoulder, saw
Juliette, still in her graduation gown, lagging behind with her father and little sister. “My
mom is taking us out to dinner.”
“Oh, I won’t keep you.” Mrs. Sprigg said, clasping Alex’s
forearm as she did so. “You haven’t been by the house for a long time—Juliette says you’ve
been so busy getting ready for Swarthmore. I’m sure your mother is so proud.”
“Uh huh.” Alex nodded. “I know Juliette is excited to go to
Eastern Shore State.”
“Well, she’s⎯” Mrs. Sprigg glanced over her shoulder,
“never been much of the academic type. I’m just glad I taught her to bake.”
“It’s a shame they didn’t let you guys supply the cakes.”
Juliette’s mother ran a bake shop in town. Even now, she smelled faintly of sugar and
“Well, they wanted some asinine discount,” Mrs. Sprigg
snorted. “Because Juliette is a student. Fine, but a 50% discount?”
“It was very nice to talk to you.” Alex tugged her arm away
gently. “But I’ve got to go.”
“Is everything okay at home now, dear?” Mrs. Sprigg
looked in the direction of the Subaru.
“Yes, why?” Alex glanced at Juliette again, her dark red hair,
the few strands that stuck to her lip gloss. Alex wondered if the lip gloss smelled like mint, or
strawberry. She wondered how Juliette’s hair would feel splayed between her fingers at that
“Okay. I’m glad.” Mrs. Sprigg nodded, and Alex wondered
what Juliette had told her. There was a lot, she thought, she could tell Mrs. Sprigg about
They embraced, a half, light, back-patting hug, their cheeks
“Stay away from my daughter,” Mrs. Sprigg murmured into
Alex’s ear. Then, as if nothing happened, Mrs. Sprigg waved vigorously and went to join the
rest of the Spriggs. Stunned, Alex watched them walk toward their Buick. Before they
reached it, Juliette turned her head, her mouth parted, her eyes searching Alex’s. Alex
wondered, for a moment, if she had been too hasty, too harsh, to Juliette, if there was
something salvageable between them.
No, she decided. Her life after high school would be
awesome, and she wouldn’t remember Juliette any more than their high school mascot or
her mom’s boyfriend Lewis. She held up her hand to Juliette, as if to wave. Instead, she gave
her the finger and joined Owen and her mother at the other side of the parking lot.
“Did you just flip someone off?” Her mother lowered her
sunglasses. Her hazel eyes bored into Alex with an unwavering intensity of a gamma ray. “At
“It was Juliette,” Alex murmured, shaking her head. In her
new life, she would be more mature. She felt fears in her eyes. “I shouldn’t have. I
“Are you kidding?” Her mother grabbed Alex by the
shoulders and looked up at her. She grinned. Alex noted her mother had borrowed her
lipstick. “I’m more proud of that than your stupid diploma.”
Her mother pulled a pack of Benson & Hedges out of
her dark cotton blazer with the rolled-up sleeves and tapped out a cigarette.
“Smoke?” She held out the pack to Alex. “You’re almost
Alex shook her head. “I don’t want lung cancer.”
“Your choice.” Her mother shrugged, lighting hers. She took
a drag, then exhaled with a flourish. “Welcome to adulthood.”
About the Author
Jen Michalski is the author of
three novels, The Summer She Was Under Water, The Tide King (both Black Lawrence Press),
and You’ll Be Fine (NineStar Press), a couplet of novellas entitled Could You Be With Her
Now (Dzanc Books), and three collections of fiction. Her work has appeared in more than
100 publications, including Poets & Writers, The Washington Post, and the Literary
Hub, and she’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize six times. She lives in Carlsbad,
California, with her partner and dog.
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