Calendar Girl (October) Chapter 8: It’s Pretty Much Crossfire Now

Calendar Girl (October): Chapter 8

The chapter opens up with Mia and Wes accosted by paparazzi outside of Dr. Hoffman’s studios, who shout ridiculously wide-ranging and insanely specific questions at Wes:

“Weston, what was it like being held by terrorists?” one screamed.
“Did you kill anyone while you were there?”
“Where did they hurt you?”
“What did it feel like watching Trevor die in front of you?”
“Did they hurt Gina, your girlfriend?”
“Who’s Mia Saunders to you?”

“How would you summarize the plot of last few books?” “Can you explain any recent events in your character development?” “What’s it like to take a human life?” “Whoa, Jesus, Jimmy, that’s fucking dark. Why would you ask that?”

Dr. Hoffman and his wife (whom Mia calls “a stupid bimbo” because even her experience in June learning that trophy wives are people too hasn’t slowed her roll) show up all smiles and ask the crowd to give Wes and “his fiancée” a little privacy “after what they’ve been through”. Mia immediately figures out that they set this up.

The doctor smiled wide. Motherfucker. Douchebag. He loved this additional press and planned it for sure.

Dr. Hoffman explains to the crowd that Mia is an employee doing a new “segment every Friday” on his show that Wes is helping her out with. Let’s keep in mind that this is basically the Calendar Girl-world equivalent of, like, Christopher Nolan secretly helping his girlfriend do a segment on Dr. Oz, and somehow this is the least bonkers part of this scene.

Someone asked “Where did they hurt you?”. Thank you, unnamed paparazzi guy who understands double meanings

Mia grabs Wes and runs with him to the parking lot to her motorcycle (which she helpfully reminds us is named Suzi – thanks for the relevant info, Mia) and they speed off. Which somehow results in Mia having this moment of clarity:

“Don’t go home. Just drive, baby,” Wes growled in my ear, holding me tight. “Just drive.
I was so going to marry this man. Period.

Makes as much sense as anything else in this scene. Remember the paparazzi who asked Wes if he killed anyone while he was captured by terrorists? What the fuck kind of celebrity gossip is that dude writing?

So around this point, long-time readers might be wondering, “Wait a second. Celebrity power couple with celebrity enemies? Ham-handed portrayals of trauma that get resolved with sex? Growling male love interests? Haven’t I read this story before?” Hey, guess what! Calendar Girl is more or less indistinguishable from Crossfire now!

Seriously, despite the two stories starting in wildly different scenarios, let’s see if you can tell whether I’m describing Calendar Girl or Crossfire:

  • The series revolves around a couple (celebrity power couple as soon as the woman becomes famous vis a vis her connections to powerful men) who fall in love as soon as they set eyes on each other, get off to a rocky start about whether or not they should be a couple or not, but they love fucking each other too much to stay apart
  • The guy is absurdly wealthy, but the female main character is independently wealthy too, so that his wealth is super hot but it’s not like she’s dependent on him or anything hashtag feminism
  • The male love interest has trauma that manifests itself in sex-based night terrors (although this is explained a lot better in one of them and not at all in the other)

Speaking of that last point, we cut ahead to that night where we get yet another scene of Wes, the PTSD/Sex Hulk, and Mia uses sex to help him with his trauma again. Which would be a weird time for Audrey Carlan to lowkey rave about the might and brutality of the American military, but she goes for it anyway.

This man was a broken replica of someone, but this was not him. His mind was lost in a hut in a compound that had been decimated by the American military.

“This man is someone who used to be someone but this man isn’t that someone. That someone was in a stereotypical third-world building before the most overfunded military complex in the world driven by decades of hyperaggressive interventionalist policies razed it to the fucking ground FUCK YEAH FREEDOM.”

Anyway, back to sex curing all wounds:

His cock was as hard as granite against my thigh. “This for me?” I asked while wrapping a hand around the base.
“You know it is.” He smirked. From night terrors to a smirk?

Pointing out that your scene has awkward shifts in tone isn’t the same thing as fixing awkward shifts in tone. Especially when we’ve read this same Sex Hulk scene, what, three times in this one novella? Mia, we were surprised the first time this happened. You don’t get points now.

“You’re going to love me. Any way you want. For as long as you want. Until it all goes away. Because that’s what you do. My Mia. My everything. You take away all the horrid memories and replace with them new ones.”
Tears pricked at the back of my eyes, but I held them at bay. Now was the time for love, for reunion, not sorrow and sadness.


We (thankfully) skip ahead to later in the night, when Mia’s phone wakes her up. Important detail: Mia’s phone is simultaneously right by her head and also impossible to reach.

Stupid me, I had to have the blasted thing right next to my frickin’ head. It sounded like a horde of angry bees as it vibrated against the wooden end table. Performing a stretch, reach, grab that would make Olympic gymnasts proud, I clasped the phone

Ok, calm down Ms. Metaphors. The Olympic gymnasts probably don’t have this much trouble reaching things that are right by their heads.

Mia wonders who’s calling her in the middle of the night, and turns out it’s her long-lost brother Max with exciting news!

“Mia, sugar, he’s here!” Max’s ecstatic voice roared through the line. “He’s so big. A brute, my boy! Check your phone, darlin’. I sent you a picture.”
I laughed and blinked a few times pushing the phone out, going to the text messages and opening the first of twelve messages from Max.

Aw, ok, yeah, that was cute for me too. It gets cuter when Mia learns that Max and Cyndi named the baby Jackson Saunders Cunningham, using both their last night and Mia’s last name, so little baby Jackson ties the whole family together. Mia is moved. I am also moved. This scene was more charming than the entire book where Mia discovered she was related to these people in the first place! Mia got a new family member and no one even had to coerce anyone into committing identity fraud to get there! Cute!



  1. Jennifer Layton Reply

    Remember how the first several books ended abruptly, and we were always surprised to find that we were already starting the next book? This book is the opposite. It won’t fucking end.


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    • Krista B Reply

      I had a similar thought. On Monday, I thought, “Are we in December yet?” Then I realized we are still in October. Then I reminisced fondly on the days when the books went so quickly one time I thought we were in July, but it was September!

  2. Pip Reply

    Speaking of terrible erotica, I saw an ad for ‘Darker’, the sequel to ‘Grey’. I know that series has cost you your sanity, but it would be so amazing to see you tear it apart again. Pretty please?

  3. wordswithhannah Reply

    To give the series half an ounce of…credit?, a story about a liberated, sex-positive sex worker involving people of multiple races and sexualities (albeit fetishized within an inch of their lives) that takes a dramatic veer toward hardcore conservative talking points certainly was an unexpected twist. I can’t wait to read more about the superiority of the United States, how a nuclear family is everything to which one should aspire, and how money makes a person inherently better than the rest of the peons. Maybe Carlan will regale us all with tales of welfare fraud, tax breaks for corporations, or the War on Christmas next!

  4. Lya Reply

    “He’s so big. A brute, my boy!” why he said his baby is a brute? He’s baby Hulk or something?

    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      Jesus, I totally overlooked that. Toxic masculinity from the second he’s born.


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