Sunday, August 2, 2015

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Every Other Saturday by M. J. Pullen

From romantic comedy author M.J. Pullen comes a unique story about finding help when you need it most, and love where you expect it least.

Even though their daughters have been in the same Jewish preschool class for three years, struggling store owner Julia Mendel and sports blogger Dave “from the Man Cave” Bernstein have never gotten along. She sees him as a definitely arrogant, possibly misogynist symbol of everything that’s wrong with the men in her life. He sees her as the odd, short-tempered PTA president, out to make his life more difficult at every opportunity.

As part of his job, Dave accepts an on-air challenge: go out with a different woman from a Jewish dating site every Saturday for the next four months, and blog the results. He quickly secures his daughter’s favorite preschool teacher (and super-nanny) Ms. Elizabeth to make the experiment possible. Little does he know Julia is in desperate need of the same sitter for the same schedule, so that she can take a part-time job while pacifying her son, who has severe OCD.

A confrontation in the carpool lane leads to an uneasy compromise: they will pool their resources to share Ms. Elizabeth’s services every-other Saturday night. After a while, Dave finds himself sharing his dating stories with non-Jewish Julia across her kitchen table; while she reluctantly turns to him for the masculine perspective – especially for her son – she’s been missing since her divorce. As the Saturdays wear on, however, they may discover they have more in common than car seats and custody schedules.


The Car Pool Line

Summoning every ounce of courage, Julia rapped on Dave’s window, noting with satisfaction that he jumped noticeably. He pantomimed a heart attack and smiled as he rolled down the window. “Mrs. Mendel,” he said. “You should work for the CIA. Look, about the Hanukkah auction—”

“Actually, David—”

“Call me Dave.”

“Sure. Dave, I don’t want to sound…” Kickass. Where the hell was her kickass? “Actually, I don’t care how I sound.”

He raised his eyebrows, amused. Of course, this guy would think it was all really funny. This guy who did five-minute videos from his couch every week and probably made three times her salary at the hardware store, when she paid herself at all. 

“Look,” she said. “You just can’t swoop in and book Ms. Elizabeth to babysit every Saturday night. It’s not fair”

“She still has half her Saturdays free.”

“But those are the Saturdays I need her, too. I think we’re on the same custody schedule.”

“You’re divorced? I didn’t realize. I’m sorry.”

Shut up. Don’t start being all kind and human. “I don’t see how that’s relevant, David. 

See, I was going to call Elizabeth before you, but my phone died and…”

“It’s Dave.”


“Only my mom calls me David.”

“Whatever. It’s not fair for you to monopolize the only teacher who is a decent babysitter and consistently available for half the year. Other parents rely on Ms. Elizabeth, too.”

“That sounds like a decision for Elizabeth to make herself,” he said. “You should take it up with her.”

“I have taken it up with her! You’re paying her extra to commit for so long.”

“Only seemed fair. I was asking a lot.”

“You’re asking too much!” She was losing control, helpless to stop. “The teachers babysit for all the families; you can’t just monopolize the best one for your little womanizing project.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” His expression and voice changed so quickly to anger that Julia was taken aback. She realized in a fuzzy way that she had crossed a line. The kids had begun filing out of the building, looking sleepy from afternoon rest time.

“I just…I’m sorry. But I need to work on Saturday nights now and Ms. Elizabeth is the only sitter I can use. I’m not trying to trivialize—”

“I’d say you are. And calling me a womanizer.” He opened his door and stepped out. For an insane second, Julia thought he was actually going to punch her, until she realized that Ms. Elizabeth walked toward his truck, holding Lyric Bernstein’s hand.

Dave glared at her. His voice was controlled, but white-hot with anger. “Look, lady, I get that you’re the PTA president, but you do realize that’s not actually a position of power, right? 

You’re not some kind of real authority who can tell the teachers when they will or will not babysit. I asked her, she agreed, and that’s it. Hi, champ!”

This last was directed at Lyric, who clambered into her car seat in the back of the cab. 

“Hi, Daddy!” she said. Then, seeing Julia, “Hi, Mia’s mom! Is Mia coming for a playdate today?”

MANDA (M.J.) PULLEN, former therapist and marketer, is the author of complex, funny contemporary romances. She was raised in the suburbs of Atlanta by a physicist and a flower child, who taught her that life is tragic and funny, and real love is anything but simple. She studied English Literature and Business at the University of Georgia, and Professional Counseling at Georgia State University.

Manda has a weakness for sappy movies, juicy gossip, craft beer and boys who talk baseball. After traveling around Europe and living in cities like Austin and Portland, she returned to Atlanta where she lives with her family.