Best Friend for Hire

A phone call at 9:05 on the first day back from holiday break can never bring good news, especially when it comes from the newly appointed, heavily coiffed, senior executive vice president Susan Thornton-Smith, dubbed STS by her corporate minions, who longed to create a sense of intimacy where none had previously existed. This, however, would not be the case for me. I was ready for my promotion; in fact, I had been at my desk for an hour already making sure everything was 100% perfect for today. My new hot pink crocodile iPad case was lined up with its office accessory family. The iPad itself was just one of the many things I was going to buy to celebrate my promotion to Publicity Director.

Being Assistant Director was a big job at my company, despite the fact that there had never been a director for me to report to. It had only taken me T-E-N Y-E-A-R-S to make it from Assistant to Assistant Director. When “STS” came up on my phone screen, my heart leapt in excitement. I got it, I thought. Maybe there was even a little surprise breakfast being planned.

I dreamed of that office deliveryman bringing trays of treats to successful executives. Really successful people never sneak a bagel with a schmear at their desk, but are served mini-muffins on faux silver trays and drink their coffee out of real china cups and saucers. Finally, I thought, this would be me.

Need someone to talk to or a friend to lean on? Call Best Friend for Hire. I am here for you. Jersey Girl Jessie DeSalvo has her dream job at one of New York’s top publishing companies. After ten years of hard work the day of her big promotion has arrived. Unfortunately, her company has other ideas. Instead of a corner office, Jessie is handed her pink slip. Left with little more than her cell phone and an unusable contact list, Jessie retreats to less-than-fashionable Hoboken, New Jersey, to figure out her life—and deal with the attentions of her loving but inquisitive Italian-American family. Then she accidentally stumbles into a career as a professional best friend—by helping friends and strangers straighten out whatever is wrong with their lives. Her jobs include planning the New Jersey wedding of the year and saving a bankrupt rock club in town. Soon, things get complicated when she falls in love with the club manager—and promises an appearance by Bruce Springsteen. In the end, Jessie realizes that not even “The Boss” can make things right—and that she needs to become her own best friend to be truly happy.
Mary Carlomagno is the author of three previous books. She has been featured on the The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CBS News, in Redbook, Real Simple, Design NJ and Woman’s Day and been interviewed on National Public Radio, the Joan Hamburg Show, and Martha Stewart Living. Best Friend for Hire is her first novel.

"You need only pay the price of this book to spend a few hours in the spirited and hilarious company of Jessie DeSalvo. I laughed and rooted for her all the way on her journey from dejected office drone to confident entrepreneur. Forza Jessie!" (Giulia Melucci, author of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti)

"I needed this book! Within the first few paragraphs, I was laughing out loud! Jessie's character is perfectly drawn, There's not a female reader who won't identify with her. As Jessie struggles to make sense for her self created foibles, she has glimmers of insight. What sounds like serious self-reflection concludes with the perfect annotation. 'As I knew from my brief experience with self-help, the answers are always within. And most Bruce (Springsteen) songs help you recognize the difficulties.'

Best Friend for Hire is a clever and hopeful must read!" (Luna Saint Claire, Author)