Breakup Boot Camp by Beth Merlin ***Adult - Comedy - Romance - Spotlight - Excerpt - Giveaway***

Breakup Boot Camp 

by Beth Merlin 

Published by: Firefly Hill Press
Publication date: October 8th 2019
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

“Merlin gives off Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffin vibes only with an execution of plots that is all her own….Beth Merlin is totally going to grow in popularity. I’m calling it.” – Book and Broadway

After weeks of training to whip Joanna Kitt into shape for her big day, her picture-perfect engagement to her high school sweetheart is torn in two, and Joanna is left out on her perfectly toned rear end. To put the past and her heartache behind her, she sets off for two weeks at the renowned Retreat House Breakup Boot Camp in Topsail Island off the coast of North Carolina.

Despite her sadness, Joanna throws herself into the experience hoping surfing, yoga, spa treatments, meditation, and talk therapy will be enough to help her get over the one man she’s ever loved. But she soon learns the Boot Camp is only the first step to healing her broken heart. Joanna will have to come to terms with the career she abandoned, the losses in her life she never fully accepted, and the role she played in the ending of her relationship. .

When she meets Todd Aldrich, the handsome and mysterious hotel chef, she has the chance to take her renewed heart out for a test drive and see if she is ready for new beginnings and new love.

Will 12 steps be enough to get her life back on track? Or will her getaway to get over him prove healing the heart takes a whole lot more?


A few days later, I gave my name to the front desk receptionist at the wedding salon, who quickly ushered me to a small office on the lower level of the shop, far away from the shopping brides. The room was painted a tranquil sky blue with a deep-seated light gray velvet couch in the center of the space. In the corner was a small table with a blue-and-white porcelain tea set. The receptionist let me know to make myself comfortable and told me Regan, the Wedding Unwinder, would be in to join me shortly. I settled onto one of the cushions, while Enya’s “Only Time” hummed out of a ceiling speaker. Apparently, this was how they kept jilted brides from jumping off the 59th Street Bridge.

A few minutes later there was a light knock on the door. A petite woman who looked to be around my age entered the room holding a large manila envelope and garment bag. She had dark brown hair pulled back into a loose bun and was wearing a simple white button-down shirt, a classic strand of pearls, slim trousers, and kitten heels. She poured two cups of tea and carried them over to the couch, passing me one as she sank into the seat.

“You must be Joanna,” she said, handing me her business card. I glanced down to read it. Regan Westman, MFT.

I looked up. “MFT?”

“Marriage and Family Therapist.” Regan reached behind her for the envelope and pulled out a stack of papers from inside. “I know this must be a difficult time, but I’m here to make this as painless as possible.”

I swallowed to clear the lump in my throat. “I appreciate that.”

She placed her hand over my own and squeezed. “Of course. So, it looks like you made the final payment on your Georgica Goldstein gown just a couple of days ago?”

“I think I just owe a bit more for the final alterations.”

“Right, I see here that the dress needed to be taken in pretty significantly.” She arched her left eyebrow. “Benji’s Boot Camp?”

“He’s the best.”

Regan smiled and turned the stack of papers over. “In these situations, we offer our brides three options. Option One, you pay the remaining balance and take the dress home today. Option Two, we resell the dress as a sample at a reduced price point. You likely wouldn’t recoup the full amount you’ve spent, but you’ll get some portion back.”

“What’s Option Three?”

“Some of our brides aren’t ready to say goodbye to their dress but find it too difficult to have it in their home. Once you pay the remaining balance, we’ll store it here for you for no extra charge. You may come to realize that while you may not have found the perfect man, you did find the perfect gown.”

“I seriously doubt that.”

“I understand you feel that way now, but I can rattle off the names of dozens of women who’ve sat right where you are and come out the other side.”

I reached for the box of tissues on the side table, pulled one out, and dabbed the corners of my eyes, which had become like faucets these last few weeks.

Regan reached into the envelope and pulled out a small pamphlet. “Here, this is for you. I can’t recommend this program enough. A former classmate of mine runs it out of Topsail Island in North Carolina.”

I scanned the top page. “Retreat House Breakup Boot Camp?”

“It’s a two-week retreat that includes sessions led by the top psychologists, behavioral scientists, coaches, energy healers, meditation teachers, and personal trainers. Heartbreak is a real thing. An all-consuming thing. It’s like having a broken rib. Nobody can see it, but it hurts every time you breathe.”

“Yes, it’s exactly like that,” I admitted.

She nodded and continued. “The resort’s a beautiful beachfront property with surfing and yoga. All the meals are cooked by an on-site chef, using organic and local ingredients. It’s really the perfect place to take a timeout and heal.”

“You sound like you speak from experience?”

“I was in an almost four-year relationship with the man I thought was going to be my husband. Looking back now, I can see how I ignored dozens of red flags, but I was in love. So in love, that when it ended, I could barely function. I fell apart. A friend of a friend had attended the Boot Camp and recommended it to me. Admittedly, I was a skeptic, but the weeks I spent there absolutely changed my life.”

I folded the pamphlet into my tote. “I’ll think about it.”

Author Bio:

Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.

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