One night and one stupid mistake turned the life of suburban housewife and mother Tilley Jenkins into a prison of paranoia and fear. Dancing and drinking on a rare girl’s night out, feeling young and sexy, she flirts with a man she met briefly. Before she knows it, she’s had too much to drink and no way home.
She wakes in the morning in bed with him, the first man she’s slept with, besides her husband, in twenty-five years. Her guilt spirals her down the pathway of depression and alcoholism while her spirited and popular daughter rebels and falls into the hands of neighbors involved in a powerful and outlandish cult. Tilley gets the shock of her life when she encounters the cult members and their strange beliefs as she fights to regain the trust and love of her daughter and her own self-esteem in the process.
She was so high she cared only for the music, excitement and the fun, euphoric feeling inhabiting her otherwise dull, boring life.
They danced to three songs before heading back to the table. Getting late, a few of their friends left for home.
“Where is everyone?” A cocktail napkin in her hand, Tilley waved it in front of her perspiring face and appeared concerned.
Maggie, who again gave everyone shots of tequila, smiled.
“They took off and left us. They mumbled something boring about husbands, children and responsibility. So that means we get to do their shots.”
Tilley didn’t see any problem and drank two in a row.
“Yeah, we’re leaving, too,” Michelle said.
Maggie spent the evening gaping at a cocky, shaved head cowboy and he finally came over.
“Not yet.” Maggie crooked her head his way. “I want to go two-step with John Wayne here.” Her hand out, he grasped it and they headed to the dance floor.
Annoyed, Michelle glanced at her watch and shook her head. “All right, a couple more songs and then we’re leaving.” Ensconced in her chair, she sipped water.
A slow song played and Steve led Tilley to the dance floor.
“I shouldn’t be doing this,” she slurred.
“You aren’t allowed to dance with a friend?” Steve smiled at her sweetly. “Think of me as a friend.”
Rhythms from the song melted her body into his and she pulled Steve close, her head on his shoulder, her face turned away. His hands on her hips, he moved them down to the round of her bottom and she felt he’d grown as he rubbed against her.
Facing him again, her lips caressed the stubble on his neck, just below his jaw line. His scent, intoxicating, she put a delicate kiss on his beating pulse.
Michelle witnessed the entire tawdry scene and showed signs of disgust. After they finished and sat down, she glared at Tilley.
“If you want a ride, you have to take it now,” she said. She let Tilley know she didn’t appreciate her behavior. “I’m leaving.”
“I’ll take you home later if you want,” Steve interrupted.
“Really! Great, yeah,” Tilley said. “Thanks.”
Michelle gave Steve a deadly stare. “She’s coming home with me.”
“Tilley’s a big girl, I think that’s her decision to make,” he said.
“Tilley’s had too much to drink,” Michelle said sarcastically and yet firmly. “So, I think as her friend, I should do what’s best for her.”
“I’ll be fine,” Tilley said. “Steve’s a friend. We know—each other from w-work. Don’t worry. Besides, I’ll be with Maggie. Go home.”
“You’ve had a lot to drink, Tilley,” Michelle said. “I’m worried. I think you should come home with me.”
“God, I’m not friggin four-years-old,” she said. “I’ll make up my own mind, hiccup, when to go home, thank you very much. I’ll thank you to keep your nose out of my, hiccup, business. Steve is a friend. He’ll drive me and Maggie home.”
Michelle, upset, left reluctantly. Tired of arguing with Tilley, she hoped for the best and depended on the fact Tilley knew Steve from work, although she’d never mentioned him before.
As if bounced out of a time machine, allowing her to replay her days as an unattached college girl, Tilley lived in the moment.
They did more shots and Steve pulled Tilley tight as the night wore on. Her inhibitions completely gone, she let him wrap his arms around her and press himself close. Michelle and her other friends gone, taking their judgmental attitudes with them, she felt free to have some fun.
The crowd thinned to a couple dozen people as the lights came on. Ready to go, the room did a spin and Tilley grabbed a table to steady herself. Darting a worried gaze around, she didn’t see Maggie anywhere.
“Where did Maggie go?” Tilley asked Steve woozily.
“She skipped town with the urban cowboy.” He took her arm. “Come on, I’ll take you home.”
Hesitant for a moment, she held onto him and they left the club together. His car, parked in the empty lot, appeared expensive and she attempted to open the door. Coming to her aid, he helped and then gently guided her in.
In the driver’s seat, he told her he was lonely, never having found the right woman to spend his life with. Feeling sorry for him, she enjoyed the kiss he placed on her lips, felt honored someone so good looking considered her worthy of such adoration, but her mind raced with worry at the mess she found herself in.
He reached over, cupped her face in his strong hands and kissed her again. His lips, soft and inviting, welcomed her kiss in return. The first man, other than her husband, she’d kissed in twenty-five years. Warm in his car, Tilley pushed a button to lower the window, but it didn’t move. Sick, hot and claustrophobic, she only wanted out. “I’m so attracted to you,” he said.