The Bestseller’s Bed comprises the journey of Cali Macy, a bestselling author whose much older husband, Matt, dies suddenly in a car accident. Devastated, Cali tries valiantly to pick up the pieces of her life and career in the wake of what seems an insurmountable loss.
Aided by the kindness of her rural neighbors and the academic community of which her husband had been a part, Cali struggles to redefine herself. Though his death has left her a wealthy woman and an assortment of rescue animals on their small farm offer her some comfort, she finds little meaning in her memories and healing seems a long way off.
To make matters worse, she is also under pressure to produce another book under her publisher’s contract, yet finds herself unable to write without Matt’s help.
K.A. Shott has crafted a book that explores the complex relationship between sexuality and creativity; love and need, a story of grief, courage and self discovery that any reader can readily relate to: We learn to love and help ourselves by loving others.
Cali shrouded the house in darkness and would have preferred it remain so. A knock on the backdoor forced her to consider the needs of whoever waited outside in the dark. Resentfully, she flipped the switch illuminating Rex Ray, her neighbor, a rancher and friend.
Rex Ray never forgot he day the young Macey couple bought old man Brown’s dilapidated farm. They were naïve city-folk who’d paid full asking price for what any southern Iowan farmer or rancher in their right minds wouldn’t have given more than pennies on the dollar. And they were happy to do so. Rex remembered Cali most because she flitted, here and there, espousing grand plans for what country life was going to be. Her dreaming, though intoxicating, pained him for the memory of his beloved and made him feel much older than either of them even though he was fifteen years Cali’s senior and nine years younger than Matt.
It had been fifteen years since they’d moved into his life and Matt’s death hit Rex hard; he couldn’t remember having felt more worn out. Cali opened the door but said nothing. She still wore her funeral garb.
“Listen, if you need anything, you just let me know.” Rex handed her a small basket of strawberries, then turned and walked away.
Cali closed the door, set the basket on the table, turned the light back off, and collapsed onto the kitchen floor. She wanted to cry. She tried to make herself do it. But it was as if her tears had somehow drained away inside her, like a laboring woman whose water broke too soon. She was left to dry-deliver through eviscerated skin and it was violent enough to make Cali clench her stomach from grief’s hard labor. The only sound she heard was the leaky faucet Matt had promised to fix for years. It dripped its hot water taps into the metal sink like raindrops on a tinned roof. The darkness carried her through fitful dreams then delivered her to the sun; she cursed and rose, unchanged.
She stood, still dressed. The sling backs were the first to go. High heels always broke Cali’s back no differently than the crack-stepping children did their nursery rhyme mothers’. Then, stocking-footed, Cali put her hands to her hips and stretched the way old grandmothers did after laboring days. In one silk-laced move, Cali unhitched the garter-belt encircling her waist and slid out of the straw and hair laden stockings. The dress came off next. All that was left was the lingerie.
Cali had made a daytrip to her state’s second largest city just to be able to visit a brick and mortar lingerie shop. Storefronts were dying at the hand of online. The few survivors had descended into démodé, like chalkboards, but for Cali nothing merited greater romance than honoring the antiquated or the dead.
She indulged her fingers to feel the camisole and slip’s smoothness but only for a moment before shimmying free and peeling from her skin the final layer of bra and panty as carefully as she had the thin epithelial of onion as an undergraduate in the Introduction to Biology lab.
The class had been instructed to observe what was invisible to the naked eye. Where others only saw plant cells, Cali marveled at the onion’s castle walls. Like medieval fortifications, they’d been built to persevere and rebuilt with a singular hope: survival. Her lab partner handed her a moistened paper towel, “Dab your eyes. It will help with the sting.” He’d assumed her tears were mechanical but Cali, alone, knew they fell out of respect for strong walls having fallen. For Cali, everything was about strength: gaining it, if losing it then recovering it, and surviving the suffering one paid in order to achieve it. She’d spent a lifetime in the Iron Game. Thousands of pounds hefted, some wounding, but never breaking her. Matt’s death threatened to succeed where they had failed.