Authors: Jean Joachim
Tags: #romance, #love, #love story, #contemporary romance, #sensuous romance, #sensuous love story, #sensuous contemporary romance
THE MARRIAGE LIST
by Jean C. Joachim
Published by Moonlight Books
This is a work of fiction. Names, places,
characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any
similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, is
purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names,
or named features are assumed to be the property of their
respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no
implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for
review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part,
electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright
THE MARRIAGE LIST
Copyright © 2011 JEAN C. JOACHIM
Published by Moonlight Books
Cover Art Design by Jean C. Joachim
Edited by Katherine Tate
Formatted by Dingbat Publishing
ISBN # 978-1-4661-5271-7
For my aunt, Nan Edelston Cohen who would
have loved this book had she lived to read it.
With appreciation for your love and support
to: Diana Finegold, Sally Gallagher, Larry Joachim, Marilyn Lee,
Kate Sharp, Katherine Tate, Kathleen Tighe Ball and Lydia
Envy burned in Grey's chest as he walked
through the door at Blondie's, the sports bar on West
Street. His three best buddies had it all, great
jobs and great wives, while at 30 years old, Grey was still working
night and day, saving every penny and sleeping alone…most nights.
Tonight he faced the challenge of listening to them brag without
letting the smile slip off his face.
The bar was beginning to get noisy with
baseball games on three TVs and rowdy laughter. Grey wondered when
it'd be his turn for happiness. He got a table and downed a drink
before his friends arrived, brushing a careless hand through his
His hazel eyes swept the room for eligible
women. There were a couple at the bar, talking to each other,
looking pretty hot. Later, he'd try to drum up some action. One
looked over at him, her gaze moving over his body slowly and her
broadening smile indicated she approved of what she saw. . Her
blonde hair and ample chest made it hard for him to turn his gaze
back to the door, where Will was entering, followed by Spence.
Grey raised his hand in greeting to his
buddies as they made their way to his table. This was their
quarterly get-together for a couple of beers and dinner. Though
they were eight years out of college, when they were together it
was like old times hanging at the fraternity. Practically
inseparable in college, they called themselves the "Four Horsemen".
When Bobby arrived, they motioned to the waitress for another
pitcher of beer.
After placing their food orders, the Horse
men settled back in their chairs. Grey opened the conversation.
"So how's married life treating you
"Thinking about tying the knot, Grey?" Bobby
"That would be news," Will put in, before
taking a swig of beer.
"Yeah, yeah, 'Grey Andrews, tired of screwing
different women every night sets the date'" Spence said, making
quotation marks in the air with his hands.
"I'll drink to that," Will said, raising his
mug in a mock toast.
"You'll drink to anything!" Bobby piped
"So who is she?" Spence asked, narrowing his
eyes and gazing at Grey.
"No one. There's no one," Grey said, his
shirt collar feeling suddenly tight. He reached up and unbuttoned
his shirt then took a deep breath.
"Sure, sure. You don't have to tell us, but
we'll find out eventually," Will said.
"Come on, guys, I'm serious," Grey
"So you've stopped working sixty hour weeks
and sleeping with whatever you could pick up at a bar?" Bobby
"Gonna kick out your roommate and squeeze a
wife into that overloaded place you live?" Will asked.
"So the nest egg is fat enough now, got
enough cash and you're ready for the next step? Grey, you plan like
a girl," Spence chuckled and the other two laughed with him.
"So marriage isn't so great for you guys,
huh? Is that what I'm hearing?" Grey said, smirking.
Grey, the only unmarried one, wanted to hear
how married life was treating his friends. Although he wasn't in
love or even dating one woman exclusively, he was thinking about
taking the plunge himself…time to start looking for Ms. Right.
Spence was right, Grey was a planner.
Will took a gulp of his beer before he turned
"Your crazy job giving you time off to get
Grey had spent the past eight years working
sixty hour weeks to achieve success; his job at an investment firm
kept him busy watching his clients' money and his own. He lived on
practically nothing, took girls on inexpensive dates, shared an
apartment, all to save up for freedom and marriage, the way he
"Still the master of the cheap date, Grey?"
Spence asked him, putting down his empty beer glass.
So what if he was inventive enough to master
the art of the cheap date: picnics in Central Park, free concerts,
trips to the Bronx Zoo on free entry days, long walks. The women he
escorted didn't mind that dates with him were unusual instead of
costly. Grey wooed his women on as few dollars as possible, saving
every cent and it was paying off as he watched his money grow,
multiplying at a rapid rate.
"I'm still careful with my money, Spence.
How's your marriage, by the way?" Grey asked, lounging back in his
Grey was on a mission, gathering data,
information, formulating his plan for wedded bliss. After two
pitchers, tongues started to loosen up.
"My wife is a pain in the ass with her
decorator and her cook. The living room is white, can't wear shoes
there. Can't put my feet up on the coffee table. And food! Tiny
portions, salads. Give a good meatloaf any day, I eat like a
rabbit," Will complained, refilling his glass.
The table was silent for a moment.
"Bobby, how's that sexy lady you married?"
Spence asked, his eyes glittering with either desire or envy, Grey
couldn't tell which.
"Watch it, Spence. Just because she has big
"Man, she must be hot," Spence continued.
"I said watch it!" Bobby got halfway out of
his chair before Grey put a hand on his arm to stop him.
"What's the matter, Spence, not getting any?"
"Susan's a great talker. She loves to talk.
Very smart. Intellectual, in and out of bed. But the action I want
in bed doesn't involve talking," Spence said, gazing down at his
"I wish Tiffany would talk a little more. She
says lawyer stuff is boring. I tell her 'yeah that lawyer stuff is
what pays for your wardrobe, honey' but she doesn't get it," Bobby
said, signaling the waitress for another pitcher.
Grey didn't hear anything like what he'd
expected. He had steeled himself to hear enough bragging to make a
strong stomach retch, but it never materialized. Instead his
friends continued to complain about their wives, what their
seemingly perfect wives lacked and what the Horsemen were missing.
His frustrated pals killed his taste for the women at the bar and
the discovery of their dissatisfaction caused Grey to wonder if
married life was a good idea for him after all.
The next night he went out to dinner with his
sister, Jenna. She was two years younger than Grey and engaged to
be married. Jenna taught middle school. The objective of her trip
to New York City was to buy a wedding dress as well as to break
bread with her favorite brother. Grey took Jenna to a nice French
restaurant. After a good day in the stock market, he wanted to
treat his baby sister to a superb dinner. Grey ordered a martini
while Jenna had Chardonnay. She looked around at the chocolate
brown walls with cream trim, the cream tablecloths and pink and
white dishes and sipped her wine.
"How are you feeling about…uh…getting
married?" He asked her.
"Great! Bill is everything I've always wanted
in a man," Jenna cooed.
"Is he a good listener?" Grey said, opening
"A good provider?"
"He makes a good salary as corporate counsel
for the bank." Jenna glanced at the list of specials on a separate
"And…in the sack…?" Grey asked, turning his
gaze from her face back to the menu as he was embarrassing
"Grey! That's none of your business…what we
do in private. Honestly!"
"I know, but are you…ah, compatible?" Grey
lifted the menu higher to hide his blush.
"What do you mean?" She put her menu down and
stared at her brother.
"You know what I mean, Jenna. Stop playing
with me," Grey insisted, dropping the menu.
"If you would stop asking such a personal
"Compatible…like you both want it the same
all the time, uh, most of the time."
"Grey! I can't believe you asked me that."
Jenna looked to the left and right to see if anyone at a
neighboring table overheard him and was staring at her. She was
relieved to find the other patrons were absorbed in their own
conversations, not paying attention to her discomfort.
"Are you?" He put the menu down, enjoying
having his sister on the spot.
"I'm not going to answer. Why are you asking
me these personal questions? It's not like you," Jenna said, color
rising in her cheeks.
"We had a 'Four Horsemen' meeting two nights
"You still keep in touch with those
"Sure, they're still my best friends."
The waitress appeared and they ordered
dinner. Grey picked a wine to go with the meal and gave the
waitress the once over. Jenna shot him a dirty look and he smiled
"And? Your dinner with the Horsemen?" She
prodded, picking up her water glass and taking a drink.
"They were talking about their
wives…complaining actually, each about different things and I've
been thinking. I wouldn't want to trade places with any of them. I
used to think they had it all…great jobs, great women," he cleared
his throat, "now I'm not so sure."
"You don't want to fall into the same
"Each one had a separate complaint, a
completely different thing bugging him about his wife. Three big
things." Grey looked down at his hands.
"One of them was s-e-x?" Jenna raised an
"Spence," He added with a wry smile, "Not
getting enough. I wouldn't want to have to beg my wife to sleep
with me." Grey picked up his water glass, drinking while he watched
The waitress returned with the wine, popped
the cork and filled their glasses. Jenna waited until the waitress
was out of earshot before continuing the sensitive
"That's why you're asking me all these
personal questions?" Her face lit up with understanding.
"I need to know if it's standard…after you're
together for a while…begging?"
"Did Bobby and Will complain about that?"
Grey shook his head.
"So then it's not like that with everyone."
Jenna took a sip of her wine and smiled her approval.
"Translation, you and Bill are sexually
compatible. You don't make him beg?"
"Only if he's been a bad boy," she
"Jenna! Get serious." He coughed, choking on
his water for a second.
"How can I? This is ridiculous. Do you even
have someone you're considering marrying?"
"Not yet, but I will. I plan to. Things are
going well for me now and soon I'll be in a position to have a new
life, one with room for a regular woman."
"A regular woman? I'd hate to think of you
with an irregular woman," she snickered.