Lettie Osbourne has lived her whole life by the book. Sweet, predictable, and certainly not living life on the edge, she’s always been content to make a living as a kindergarten teacher who writes adorable children’s books on the side. After her fiancé leaves her, Lettie decides she is perfectly content to accept her fate as mother to her beloved dog Odin and favorite auntie to her niece and nephew.
But then everything changes.
When Lettie’s publisher decides to sell only erotica, her editor convinces her to turn up the heat and throw some spice into her vanilla life. Lettie sets out to find the perfect man to inspire her writing…and finds him in her school’s vice principal, Eric Clayman. As Lettie and Eric grow closer and her writing gets steamier, she’s left wondering: is Eric Mr. Wrong? Or Mr. Right?
“I’m going to have cherry-chocolate-chip ice cream with rainbow sprinkles,” Portia said as I unfastened her car seat harness.
“That sounds yummy. What if they don’t have cherry-chocolate-chip?”
“They do. Wanna know how I know that?” She didn’t wait for me to reply. “My vagina told me.”
Faye had warned me that Portia was going through what she called “an exploratory phase.”
“It’s perfectly normal, of course,” she’d said. “But just be aware. These days, she’s all about private parts. It’s important that we allow the exploration and not shame her.”
Fine. But no one had told me that my niece was actually talking to her bits. “Huh. Is that right?”
“Yes,” Portia replied. She looked at me earnestly. “Does your vagina talk to you, Aunt Lettie?”
I was about to inform Portia that vagina wasn’t a nice word, but then, what was the alternative? Va-jay-jay? Then she’d just sound foolish. I’ve always pitied kids in my class who referred to their private parts by cutesy names, like “winkie” and “cha-cha.” I inevitably wonder whether they will continue to use those terms into adulthood, and if so, how many relationships it will end.
“Actually, no, my vagina doesn’t talk to me.” I lifted her out of her car seat and walked her over to the sidewalk so I could get Blaise out of the car. Sweet Blaise, who didn’t ask me about such things. “Stand over here, honey, away from the cars.”
I hoped that would end the discussion, but Portia wasn’t easily deterred. “Why doesn’t your vagina talk to you? Did you get into a fight?”
I shot her a quick look over my shoulder. Was she screwing with me? But no, her eyes were wide and curious. I wondered how Faye would want me to answer her daughter’s question so as not to cause shame. I came up empty.
“My vagina used to talk to me, but she’s been in a coma for some time. It’s very sad,” I added gently, sorry to break the bad news.
“Oh.” Portia frowned and glanced down at the cement. “Why’s she in a coma?”
Another excellent question. My niece was just chockfull of them, bless her heart. “It’s a little complicated.” I searched for an explanation that wouldn’t win a lecture from my big sister. “Basically it was medically induced.”
“What’s that mean?” Blaise asked as I lifted him onto the sidewalk.
“Sometimes when there’s a lot of swelling or someone gets very sick, doctors will put them into a coma so they can rest.” I thought that was mostly true, and they wouldn’t be able to run Internet fact checks for a few years yet. “Do you remember Uncle James?”
“Yes,” they both said in unison.
“You wanted to marry him,” Portia added.
“It’s because of him.” I grabbed the twins’ hands. “All right, let’s go get some ice cream!”