One Day Fiance - Lauren Landish Page 0,3

in Great Falls, I got cocky. And when Bluebird Publishing House came to me, offering not just a per-book deal but an actual advance, I took it.

That was two advance checks and dozens of talks with my agent ago. Now I’ve got a deadline looming, and as my Great-Aunt Hannah used to say, it’s time to piss or pounce. But that’s a lot easier to say when you’re not suffering from the inner fear that your follow-up second book isn’t remotely in the same galaxy as your first.

I flip off the freezer calendar like it’s the one that’s done me wrong and this isn’t all self-induced stress. “Way to put pressure on yourself, Poppy. Hello, looming deadline.” I take a long drink of tea and look back at my laptop, the mostly white space of my current page staring back at me. “Or dooming lead line.”

Ugh. If I’m talking to myself, I know I’m losing my shit. A little yipping sound from the couch reminds me that I’ve at least got someone to talk to.

“Why can’t I write like J.A. Fox?” I ask my couch as I approach, looking over the top at my two fluffy white Pomeranians, Nut and Juice. They’re brothers, pups that I got from a neighbor who suddenly realized her own Pom wasn’t sick but pregnant. I told her I’d take one to help her out but somehow ended up with the two runts of the litter. Now, the two, who really do look like a pair of pom-poms, are much bigger, healthy . . . and noisy.

Nut, who’s currently trying to turn his brother into a sister, stops his tussling to look up at me, grinning his doggy grin. Juice, who’s underneath, also looks at me for about two seconds before deciding to go all UFC on his brother and flip him, sending the two tumbling off the sofa and back to their nearly constant playful battle.

“Shoulda known I couldn’t depend on you two,” I tell them as Juice pounces away from Nut.

My pups ignore me as always, and I stretch my tense shoulders, catching a whiff of my ripe, aged cheddar smelling armpits and gag again. “Whew, shit on toast!” I gasp, quickly lowering my elbows to my sides. “I stink.”

It’s one of the perks of being a writer. Yes, I call it a perk. I can sit there and not have to worry about personal hygiene when I’m trying to hit a certain deadline. Hell, most days, I can spend the day wearing what I want. December, and I want to work wearing a Snuggie? I can do it. July, and I want to work wearing nothing but panties? Can do that too.

But when the smell’s gotten bad enough to knock yourself out, I should probably pause for some self-care. “No pauses,” I argue with myself. “You’re procrastinating. You don’t have a hot date.”

Yeah, but for real, when the stench gets so bad that even Nut and Juice give me ugly looks, I really should at least wash the hot spots—pits and pubes—because you know it’s awful when dogs, who literally greet each other by sniffing each other’s butts, start shunning you.

And I do have an afternoon writing session at the library. If my dogs are turning up their noses at me, then the writing friends I’m meeting will definitely balk and spray me down with copious doses of body spray. The last time my friend Aleria did that, I sneezed for days. She tried telling me it was my body ridding itself of toxins in that weird hoodoo-voodoo voice she does, but I’m pretty sure the only toxin I’d been exposed to was the stinky stuff she sprayed me with and the pizza rolls I had for lunch.

None of that matters, though. If I don’t get some progress made on my book, I’m dead meat. I laugh out loud, thinking that I’d smell worse then. But that’s not exactly a compliment, nor a positive thought.

I start back toward the table when my phone rings, and I look down, my heart stopping and then sprinting when I see who it is. Speak of the devil, it’s my agent, Hilda.

I don’t want to answer the call. Hilda’s nice, but she’s not going to like to hear that I’ve been doing little more than wearing out my keyboard for no reason for the past week . . . but I’ve got to keep her updated on what’s going on.

“Hilda, hey,” I greet as I answer