PW #119: Adult Women’s fiction: THREE MEN AND AN ACTUARY

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Laura Heffernan

Mentee: Julie Mulligan


Category: Adult

Genre: Women’s fiction

Word Count: 94,000


Attending her estranged mother’s wedding could be Brooke’s one chance to make her mom suffer for abandoning her—if only the reserved actuary had the guts to do it. Her roommates concoct a series of absurd adventures designed to demolish her comfort zone, but may send Brooke scrambling for an escape hatch instead.


Somehow the phone withstood my death grip as I struggled to focus on the conversation. My bottom lip stung and throbbed, but it didn’t deter me from continuing to gnaw on it.

“Do you think you can come?” Mom asked.

“Um…” It would be rude to give a blunt no.

“Please speak up, Brooke.”


My mother’s sudden wedding announcement sent my thoughts swirling around as if she had reached through the phone, taken my head in her hands, and concussed my brain.

A loud crash reverberated from the floor above me. The guys were playing soccer in the house again. They used a soft Nerf ball, but it ricocheted off every surface, which explained the barren walls. Once, the ball hit my head while I carried my laundry to the washer. I dropped my basket, confiscated it from them, and pointed at the stairs. “Everyone up to their rooms right now and think about what you did.” While I had only lived with three men for a few weeks, I had aged five years.

“I hope you can make it.” Mom’s voice jarred me back to the call. “I’d love to see you.”

Her words resembled an imposter’s. My mother didn’t invite me to events or want to see me. My mother disappeared from my life seventeen years ago. Two months, one week, and three days shy of turning eleven, I awoke to a note saying she couldn’t handle motherhood anymore. End of story, until now.

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