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Mrs. Perfect
May 5, 2008
5 Spot
ISBN-10: 0446699241
ISBN-13: 9780446699242

 

Mrs. Perfect

Where's a Fairy Godmother When You Need One?

For Taylor Young life is very good. She has a handsome husband who loves her, three gorgeous children, a personally designed and decorated dream house. Suburbanite trendsetter and super mom—life couldn’t be more perfect. And as long as no one notices the fragile woman beneath her coifed and polished image, things will stay that way.

Then, a devastating secret bursts Taylor’s fairy-tale bubble, suddenly making her a cul-de-sac pariah, and stripping her of the role that defined her. With her struggling to maintain her alpha image, Taylor finds help from the unlikeliest of people, her nonconformist nemesis, Marta Zinsser. But to become the woman her family truly needs, Taylor must first believe in the person she is hardest on—herself.

Order It
» IndieBound
» Amazon.com
» Barnes+Noble
» Amazon.co.uk

E-Book editions:
» Kindle edition from Amazon.com
» eBook from Books on Board

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Also, see what readers and fellow authors have to say.

Mrs. Perfect» "With great warmth and wisdom, in Mrs. Perfect Jane Porter creates a richly emotional story about a realistically flawed and wonderfully human hero who only discovers what is important in life when she learns to let go of her quest for perfection."

~ Chicago Tribune on Mrs. Perfect
Read the entire review.
(posted June 2008)

» "I loved this book for being real and for allowing me to live in this fantastic world of wealth and privilege, if only vicariously. So if you’re looking for a fabulous summer read, I give Mrs. Perfect two thumbs up!"

~ Peekaboo Picks Magazine reviewing Mrs. Perfect
Read the entire review.
(posted June 2008)

» "Taylor Young is the perfect Alpha mom until circumstances cause her to have to give up her lush and polished lifestyle... Odd Mom Out author returns with an engaging mom lit book."

~ Suite 101 on Mrs. Perfect
Read the entire review.
(posted June 2008)

» "Porter's authentic character studies and meditations on what really matters make Mrs. Perfect a perfect summer novel."

~ USA Today reviewing Mrs. Perfect
Read the entire review.
(posted June 2008)

» “Porter, an incredibly gifted writer, does a wonderful job of letting us into Taylor's world, peeling back the layers, and showing us that underneath, perhaps she's not so bad after all. Fans of Odd Mom Out will enjoy the cameos by Marta in Mrs. Perfect, but even if you haven't read the prequel, this book certainly stands on its own as a wonderful exploration of female friendship, suburban competition and, ultimately, personal growth. I loved it!”

~ Kristin Harmel chooses Mrs. Perfect as the
May '08 Chick Lit pick on The Daily Buzz.
Read the entire review.
(posted May 2008)

Mrs. Perfect» “Porter’s charming book reminds us that it’s not our possessions that define us, no matter what Madison Avenue tells us. It’s who we are and how we treat each other that really counts. And as the old saying goes, that which does not kill us only makes us stronger. We root for Taylor to overcome her hardships and flourish. Mrs. Perfect is a terrific companion to Odd Mom Out and a delicious treat for readers everywhere.”

~ Bookreporter.com on Mrs. Perfect.
Read the entire review.
(posted May 2008)

» “Porter’s endings defy cookie-cutter expectations while still satisfying the reader. Her books are perfect as beach reads, but will stay with you long after you read the last word. From setting to dialogue, Porter weaves together a world that is so feasible you’ll be breathless with worry and teary-eyed with relief through all of Taylor Young’s trials and tribulations... You’ll want to put Mrs. Perfect on your shelf to pick up again and again. Thought it can be read alone, it's the perfect follow-up to Odd Mom Out. Read them both for maximum Jane Porter exposure! ”

~ Suite101.com reviewing Mrs. Perfect.
Read the entire review.
(posted May 2008)

» “Taylor evolves from her image is the message lifestyle to the realization that true friends are there when things turn nasty. Fans will appreciate Ms. Porter’s strong look at what happens to relationships when the walls come tumbling down.”

~ Mainstream Fiction on Mrs. Perfect.
Read the entire review.
(posted May 2008)

» “Porter has an uncanny knack for getting to the heart and soul of the modern American woman. Her ability to tell it like it is without judgment but with a sense of compassion and honesty makes her writing leap from the page and into our hearts. Jane...I am so tired today because of you but I am thankful for the read!”

~ Literature Chick on Mrs. Perfect.
Read the entire review.
(posted May 2008)

Mrs. Perfect» “Taylor Young is Mrs. Perfect. She’s the kind of woman who we all love to hate. She’s beautiful, thin, rich, and talented. She runs the school and has good kids and a handsome husband.... So, how did I come to like her? The answer is reading a good novel by a master craftsman. Jane Porter’s characters are real–imperfect and sometimes a bit over-the-top, but completely relatable. The reader quickly becomes invested in Taylor’s life and more interested in her family and friends which will keep her turning page after page following Taylor’s life as she struggles and changes and adapts.”

~ 5 Minutes for Mom reviewing Mrs. Perfect.
Read the entire review.
(posted May 2008)

» “I strongly recommend picking up Odd Mom Out and Mrs. Perfect. You may just want to pick up all of Jane Porter’s novels, too - or reserve them at the library! Jane doesn’t gloss over the dark parts in our lives, but she helps her characters get through those bad spots so that they come out better people at the end, people who deserve a happily ever after. This isn’t one of those dark novels that your book club might force you to read, but it will make you think about the state of your own life - can you get to “happily ever after” yourself? Enjoy Jane Porter’s perspective, and grab Mrs. Perfect as a lawn chair or beach read this spring or summer! ”

~ OurGaggleofGirls.com on Mrs. Perfect.
Read the entire review.
(posted April 2008)

» “This book is positively riveting. So while my control freak self knew I should put it down and put my house in an immaculate state, I couldn’t do it. And though there are a few things that were hard to swallow, like a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) with a nanny and Taylor scaling down to a “tiny” house the size of the one I live in (so I know it is possible), I totally got who Taylor was and could even understand why these things were problems for her. I absolutely, hands down, recommend this book.”

~ ArmChairInterviews.com on Mrs. Perfect.
Read the entire review.
(posted April 2008)

» Mrs. Perfect is a feel good read. Readers become cheerleaders for Taylor as she struggles through the hard times to emerge as a beautiful person.”

~ BookLoons reviewing Mrs. Perfect.
Read the entire review.
(posted April 2008)

» “...The witty first-person narration keeps things lively in Porter’s latest. Taylor’s neurotic fussiness provides both vicarious thrills and laughs before Taylor moves on to self awareness and a new kind of empowerment. The glittery high-end fantasy is delivered with enough humor to leaven the silliness, making this a feel-good read.”

~ Kirkus Reviews on Mrs. Perfect.
(posted March 2008)

» Publishers' Weekly loves Mrs. Perfect in its March 31 issue, saying "Just in time for summer, Porter delivers another fine batch of mommy lit." Click on the thumbnail above to read the whole review. (A pop-up window will appear.) (posted March 2008) » Romantic Times BOOK Reviews awards Mrs. Perfect a 4-star rating, claiming that "Porter scores another home run with her latest." Click on the thumbnail at upper right for the full review. (A pop-up window will appear.) (posted March 2008)

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» Mrs. Perfect is featured in a review on She Magazine, in which it was picked as a book that changed writer Monica VanBeekum's life. (posted October 2010)

She Magazine

» Mrs. Perfect is the book choice for the month of June on MamaLit.com. (posted June 2008)

Jane Porter interview on View from the Bay» Watch an interview with Jane from San Francisco's View from the Bay, where she shares some advice for moms trying to juggle it all. (posted June 2008)

Jane Porter interview on Author Online» See the latest interview with Jane where she speaks with Author Magazine on the writing of Mrs. Perfect. (posted May 2008)

» Are you Mrs. Perfect? Read Jane's article over at MommyTrack'd, where she shares her insight into the novel. (posted May 2008)

» Mrs. Perfect is featured on the Editor's page of the May/June 2008 issue of 425 Magazine in Seattle, along with a giveaway. (posted May 2008)

» Quick & Simple magazine's May 13, 2008 issue highlights Mrs. Perfect as their Great Read pick of the week. (posted May 2008)

» The May 2008 issue of Pregnancy & Newborn shines their spotlight on Mrs. Perfect on their "Cravings" page. (posted May 2008)

» Mrs. Perfect and Odd Mom Out were optioned together by a Hollywood producer before Mrs. Perfect even hit shelves. (posted April 2008)

» The January 2008 issue of Romantic Times has a full page splash (on page 26) of May books sure to please and right there at the very top is Mrs. Perfect! Click on thembnail below and see it bigger. (posted December 2007)


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» "I read Mrs. Perfect at Disney World, which was a total mistake, because I hated having to put it down. There I was in the Magic Kingdom, spinning in the teacups, and all I could think was — ‘I wanna get back to my Jane Porter book!’ I loved it!"

~ Julia Quinn, New York Times bestselling author
(posted March 2008)

» "Jane Porter's characters leap off the page and lodge in your heart."

~ Reader Julie Revell Benjamin
(posted March 2008)

» "I loved this book."

~ Lilian Darcy, author
(posted March 2008)

» "Mrs. Perfect is the kind of book that resonates, so that weeks later you're still thinking it over and noticing the ripple effect it has around you.  Taylor Young's quest for perfection will strike a deep chord in any woman who thinks she's not good enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, not a good enough mother, partner, or friend.  Every one of us, then, should read this book."

~ Megan Crane, author of Names My Sisters Call Me
(posted January 2008)

» "Jane Porter understands women. Mrs. Perfect is a poignant exploration of the pressures modern moms face today, both from without and within, but ultimately it's about supporting each other in our choices, no matter what. This is the kind of book you'll want to share with your best friend."

~ Melanie Lynne Hauser, author of Confessions of Super Mom and Super Mom Saves the Day
(posted December 2007)

» "Jane Porter strikes a fine balance in the followup to her hit Odd Mom Out, Mrs. Perfect, a novel about losing 'The Good Life' only to discover what the good life really is - funny, thought-provoking, affecting...and highly recommended."

~Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of
Secrets of My Suburban Life
and Vertigo
(posted December 2007)

 

Jane's newsletter announces all new releases. It's spam-free! Find out about Jane's privacy promise. And read one of Jane's newsletters online to see what you'll get. Stay informed!

newsletter

» Mrs. Perfect Event Photos » Check out Jane's photo album from her Mrs. Perfect launch: both the pre-party set-up and dinner, and the Barnes & Noble book launch and Jane's Perfect Party afterward. Also see pictures from Jane's book tour.

Mrs. Perfect book launch
Mrs. Perfect party

MORE BOOK EXTRAS

Mrs. Perfect trailer

» Sit back and enjoy the trailer video for Mrs. Perfect. Click on the thumbnail above to view. (A pop-up window will appear.)

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Mrs. Perfect» A Reader's Guide is now available. It contains two pages worth of questions and is in PDF form. Here are some sample questions.

Spoiler Alert: Looking at the Readers Guide may give away key plot points.

··· What did you think of the attitude towards Lucy by the women at the country club pool? Do you think women are generally catty towards other women who are going through a tough time? Does wealth and social status have a lot to do with our outlook and attitude? Compare Nathan’s attitude towards Lucy as opposed to Taylor’s.
 
··· What was your impression of Nathan’s character? What sort of husband and father is he? What are some of his strengths that endear him as a man and what are some of his failings? Did Taylor deserve a husband like Nathan? Did he deserve a wife like Taylor?

··· Discuss Taylor’s fashion sense and her addiction to retail therapy. Do you love to shop? Have you ever relied on retail therapy to get you through some emotionally tough situations in life? Should people seek help for this as a legitimate addiction?

··· In Chapter 23, Taylor says, “People with money are respected. People with money are listened to.” Do you agree with this? How much impact does social standing have on women and mothers in today’s world? Are we, as women, guilty of letting social standing color our judgment of other women even on a subconscious level?

··· Can perfectionism and happiness find a reasonable balance in life? Can a woman lead an honest life if she is always giving the illusion of being the perfect mother and perfect wife with a perfect family and home?

» Download the entire Reader's Guide and share it with your book group!

» More Fun extras from Mrs. Perfect will get posted soon. Sign up for Jane's newsletter to stay in the loop.

 

Jane Talks: How much of me is in my books?

» Yes, I live in Bellevue. But I am neither Marta (Odd Mom Out) or Taylor (Mrs. Perfect). I don't own a Harley and I don't live in a house like the one Taylor and Nathan have built.I write fiction. I love writing fiction. That said, I do draw a lot from life. Many of the restaurants and shops mentioned in the books are places I like to frequent. The roads Marta and Taylor drive on are the roads in my day to day life. There is some of me in the hopes and dreams of my characters to be sure (and some of their hang-ups, too -- but I'll never tell!) -- but the part of me in these books is really the setting.

See how much of Jane is in other books.

 

 

Mrs. Perfect» A Chat with Marta, Taylor, and Girls

I’ve brought together today two sets of mothers and daughters in Bellevue, Washington to discuss current issues in Points Elementary School.

Bellevue, a city of one hundred thousand, lies six miles across the 520 bridge from downtown Seattle and is the home to the original Microsoft billionaires, the founders of Amazon, and the father of wireless technology. It’s a place where wealth is still referred to as new and old money and you’re never quite sure who has what due to a rather bizarre mix of Hummers, bling bling and Land’s End flannel.

Our panel includes single parent and graphic artist Marta Zinsser and her nine year old daughter, Eva who have recently returned to the Pacific Northwest from Manhattan; Taylor Young, wife of Nathan Taylor, and a full-time Bellevue mother very active in the school and community, as well as Taylor’s nine year old daughter, Jemma, who is undeniably the most popular 4th grade girl at Points Elementary.
          
Jane Porter: “Marta, let’s start with you. How has the move been?”

Marta: “Bellevue, Washington summed up in two words? PTA Moms. Women in Bellevue have way too much time on their hands. Not that they think they do. But pilates, play dates, and school auction committee meetings dominate their days leading to near nervous breakdowns and comparisons of who ought to be Mother of the Year. I know I’ll never be Mother of the Year. Just ask my nine year old daughter, Eva, who has recently informed me that I’m not a real mom, not like the other moms, and all she wants is for me to be everybody else. But here’s the crazy part: I worked hard to become who I am. I fought the peer pressure, ignored the criticism, and I followed the beat of my own drummer. And this is one of the reasons I had the confidence and courage to became a single mom—I thought I knew what mattered in life.

JP: “Eva, are you unhappy with your mom?”

Eva: “I love my mom, but we’re not in New York anymore. This is Bellevue and moms here are don’t wear boots and army jackets and ride motorcycles. They’re well… like Mrs. Young and they volunteer at school and help out a lot.

JP: “So Eva, you wish your mother was more like Mrs. Taylor?”

Eva: “Yes. Sorry, Mom.”

JP: “Taylor, you’ve lived here for approximately fourteen years now. How would you describe Bellevue?”

Taylor: “As a great perfect place to raise a family. We have some of the best schools, libraries and parks anywhere. With ski slopes just forty-five minutes away, and professional sports teams and all the arts in downtown Seattle, we have everything anyone could want. But it is expensive, and stressful. My life is all about my three girls, and I feel the pressure. There are days I can barely drag myself to my pilates—but I do, because the kids need me. Being a full-time mother is a full-time job and it’s by far the hardest job I’ve ever had to do.

Frankly, it’d be so much easier to have an outside job. To just get up and go to work and feel appreciated. But I’m a mom, and this isn’t about my ego, it’s about putting the kids first. And that’s why I volunteer at school, serve on the PTA board, assist in the classroom, and co-chair this year’s school auction. The kids need the best education possible. It’s a competitive world and unless we make our kids competitive, they won’t have all the opportunities they deserve.

JP: “Jemma, you must be proud of your mom.”

Jemma: “Yeah, she works really hard. She has meetings almost every night. Sometimes we don’t see her because she’s always rushing to another meeting.

JP: “Jemma, you and Eva must be good friends. You’re both in the same class at school.”

Jemma: “Um, not really. We have different friends.”

JP: “Do you ever talk?”

Jemma: “We don’t have anything to talk about.”

JP: “I see. And Eva, who are your friends?”

Eva: “Mmm, well, I don’t have anyone I really do stuff with right now but I hope pretty soon Jemma and I will be friends. I like her a lot. But everybody does.”

Marta: “That’s one of the reasons I’m getting involved at school. I work a lot and haven’t really spent enough time getting to know the kids in Eva’s class. I’m hoping by becoming a room mom that I’ll be able to help Eva meet more kids, and arrange more play dates.”

JP: “Taylor, you look like you’re dying to say something.”

Taylor: “I think it’s great that Mrs. Zinsser wants to help in the classroom, but she’s never even sent cupcakes in before. Why does she think she’s qualified to be Head Room Mom?”

Marta: “I didn’t ask to be head, but I’m happy to do what I can—“

Taylor: “You do know about the class auction projects, don’t you? The school’s live auction is the biggest fundraiser of the year and the class projects are a big money maker. (turns to JP) With the quarter million we raise every year at our annual live auction we’re able to bring in math experts, buy the newest in technology, purchase new books for the library. The PTA is invaluable. We make a huge difference for the school.”

JP: “Do all schools in Bellevue have an auction?”

Taylor: “All the good ones do—“

Marta: “Maybe we should be raising money for kids in East Bellevue, for those that come from immigrant families or impoverished families instead of our kids that already have so much.”

Taylor: “If our kids want to go to college, and we want them to go to college, then they need a competitive education.”

Marta: “And the kids across town don’t want to go to college?”

Taylor: “They can have their own auction.”

Marta: “Do you know how ignorant that is?”

Taylor: “If you don’t like The Points—“

Marta: “I never said I disliked The Points. My problem is with people who can’t see what’s beyond their nose.”

Taylor: “And what’s beyond my nose?”

Marta: “Nothing, apparently.”

Eva: “Mom!” (She reaches across the table, grabs Marta’s hand.)

Marta looks at her daughter then back at Taylor.

Marta: “We need to go.”

Taylor: “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

JP: “I think that went well, don’t you? Thank you Youngs and Zinssers. For more on Marta and Eva pick up a copy of Odd Mom Out and then in May, read Taylor’s point of view in Mrs. Perfect.

» More Fun extras from Odd Mom Out will get posted soon. Sign up for Jane's newsletter to stay in the loop.

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Mrs. Perfect

It’s Back To School Night tonight and I’m giving one of the welcoming speeches, which means I’ve woken up feeling as I’ve already drunk ten cups of coffee even though I’m still lying in bed.

Things are good, I tell myself. I’m doing good. No need to stress. I just need to relax.

I wish I knew why I have such a hard time relaxing. It’s almost as if I am afraid something bad will happen if I’m not constantly in control.

Voices waft from downstairs. From what I can hear, Nathan’s in the kitchen trying to get the girls to eat their breakfasts. He’s usually so patient with them but unfortunately today doesn’t seem to be one of those days and Tori—or is it Brooke?—begins to wail.

Grimacing I pull on the nearest thing I can find, my Juicy tracksuit, as I think about my day. I’m supposed to meet Patti at noon to discuss the auction and the auction chair meeting scheduled for next week. I’d normally have yard duty but I traded with another mom so I could meet with Patti. The morning’s more or less free and I consider taking an exercise class. I need some exercise.

In the walk-in closet I glance at myself in the walk in closet’s full length mirror. In my track suit I look fine but the soft fabric can hide the truth so I pull up the jacket and pull down the bottoms exposing my stomach, hips and boobs. I do this almost everyday. Sometimes what I see is okay, sometimes I can only see ugliness, can only see where my waist is thick and how I’m round across my stomach where I know it should be flat.

Now I touch my stomach, try to suck it in even more, looking for definition, turning to the side to check my width.

The most fashionable women, the truly stylish women, are all thin. Every month when my new issue of Town & Country comes, I leaf through “Parties” to see if I know anyone. And to see if I look better than anyone.

I don’t like that I do this. But I’m so afraid if I don’t keep on top of the situation, of me, I won’t matter.

Usually all the couples in Parties are well known, society staples and celebrity faces, and nearly every woman looks like a greyhound that’s just come from a spa. Their skin is taut and glows and they’re all racehorse thin. But every now and then one woman looks a little bigger, sturdier, than the rest of the stick figures in their couture gowns, and I breathe a little sigh of relief—I’m not that fat!—even as I feel a prick of pity that they’re not as skinny. Privately, I don’t understand this preoccupation with weight and figures. I never even think twice about the men in the Parties pictures. It’s a non-issue if a man is stout in his tux, or narrow through the shoulder, or thinning at the scalp. Men don’t have to be model perfect. Men just have to be men.

Tugging up my bottoms and yanking down the jacket I tell myself I should go to Pilates this morning. It’d do me good. But it’s LuLu in the studio today and LuLu’s style doesn’t work as well for me.

Instead I drop to the carpet next to my chaise and go through a couple yoga poses, hoping that five minutes floor work will equal an hour Pilates. Closing my eyes I take a pose, focus on breathing, focus on stretching, focus on being present and in the moment.

Less than two minutes into my routine, Jemma crashes through the door, interrupting my downward dog. “I can’t find my butterfly hair elastic,” she cries, her long blonde hair caught in one fist.

“Did you check your room?” I ask, turning my head to peer through my arms at her as I inhale slowly to a count of three.

“Yes, and it’s not there.”

Mrs. PerfectI exhale slowly to a count of three. “Then it’s probably in your bathroom.”

“It’s not there, either. I’ve looked. Everywhere.”

I’m inhaling again and it takes me a moment to answer. “Then I don’t know what to tell you.”

“Mom.”

I stand, brush off my hands, trying to ignore the low blue feeling that engulfs me. “Jemma, it’s your hair elastic.”

“And you’re my mom,” she flashes before flouncing off.

Fifteen minutes later I’ve got the girls rounded up, backpacks on their backs, lunches in hand and I walk them to their bus stop. Nathan’s upstairs in the bathroom shaving at his sink when I return to the house.

Our bathroom is enormous, a true spa retreat with heated marble parquet floor, his and her counters and sinks, glass shower, whirlpool tub, and heated towel bars.

“You’re heading to work late today,” I say, leaning against one of the brown and white marble counters. This marble is probably my favorite stone in the house. Dark cocoa richly veined in white. It’s glamorous and masculine as the same time.

He makes a face in the mirror. He’s shaving his neck now and pauses to tap his razor in the sink. “I’m actually heading to the airport. I’ve an eleven o’clock flight.”

“You’re going out of town?” I can’t quite suppress the sharp edge in my voice. “Why didn’t you mention it before?”

“I wasn’t sure I’d need to go until last night and you had bookclub and then I fell asleep.”

I frown. His explanation is suspect at best. “I’d think you would have told me first thing this morning again.”

“You were asleep and then I was getting kids ready for school.”

“You telling me you’re leaving town is more important than feeding kids Fruit Loops!”

He looks at me in the mirror. His brown eyes hold mine. “I’m sorry, Taylor.”

He sounds sincere but at the same time something doesn’t feel right. “But it’s Back-to-School Night tonight.”

He uses a washcloth to wipe away shaving cream residue. “You’ve got it down. You don’t need me there and I need to be in Omaha.”

I shake my head. “Arkansas two weeks ago. Omaha today. What’s next? Bakersfield?”

He rinses his razor, takes his time answering, and when he finally speaks his voice is pitched low, his tone almost excessively patient. “I’ll try to get back tonight, but if I can’t wrap everything up today, I’ll be home tomorrow night. Either way, I’ll call you and let you know when I know more.”

I don’t know if it’s his tone, or his expression, but I feel something small and hard and sharp form in my gut as he combs his hair and then heads for our closet.

He’s my Nathan but he’s also a stranger.

“Don’t you want to hear more about the girls’ teachers and their year?” I ask, following him.

“You’ll tell me,” he answers, reaching for his suit jacket. “You always do.”

His answer perplexes me and I stand there, arms at my side, my brain racing to make sense of what he’s saying and what he’s not saying. This isn’t the Nathan I know. This isn’t the devoted dad who never missed anything pertaining to his children. “Are you okay? Are you not feeling well?”

Mrs. Perfect“I’m feeling fine.” But he’s picking up his briefcase and a small overnight bag and I can’t help it, but I feel like he’s shutting me out.

The cold sharp knot in my gut grows bigger and I open my mouth to ask what I really want to know.

Are we okay?

Is there someone else?

Will you always love me?

But I don’t. I can’t. Instead I kiss him and let him leave.

For a long moment I don’t know what I feel. I don’t know what to do with myself, either. I have a half hour before I have to drop Tori off at preschool. I should go sit with her. She’s just lying on the floor of the family room watching cartoons. Instead I sit down at my laptop computer in the little room off our bedroom that serves as my home office/wrapping paper/scrapbook room and get on the internet to check out the flights to Sun Valley for the winter holiday. $380 each. Not bad. Not great. But it could be worse.

I know Nathan said we couldn’t go this year, but he can’t be serious. Sun Valley is the place to be, and I love the town of Ketchum. Tons of our friends have houses or condos there. We usually book two hotel rooms but this year we won’t go to a hotel. We can just stay with Kate and Bill. Their house is enormous—a seven bedroom, seven bath, ten thousand square foot lodge—and they’ve asked us to stay with them every year. I book the five tickets, and then reserve the car. By saving on hotel, it’s almost free, isn’t it?

Back in my room I strip off my Juicy tracksuit, rummage through my built-in wardrobe drawers searching for my tiny pink Cosabella thong panties and the matching pink bra.

Years ago when I bought my first $200-plus bra, I felt guilty and sick. But $200 for a bra is nothing now. All of my lingerie is expensive. But it’s Italian, and French.

Nathan claims that no one in his family ever spent that kind of money on underwear, and that people with real money don’t blow it. The truly rich are far more conservative with cash than those who wantto prove they’re successful.

Living here in Bellevue I’m not sure I agree, but I do know that Nathan’s family isn’t like mine. They have money, lots of money. They also detest me, at least his mom and sister. Nathan’s dad seemed to have a soft spot for me but he died five years ago and his mother and sister have just grown closer, and colder.

It never crossed my mind that Nathan’s family would despise me. I’m an overachiever, a former born again, straight A student, and cheerleader. I wasn’t the most popular girl at Muir High (being born again had its drawbacks), but I was well liked enough to be put on the homecoming court and to be named ASB president.

I didn’t get the same respect at USC. UCLA students mocked us by saying USC stood for University of Spoiled Children, but the truth is, I was there on a full scholarship. A lot of us were on full scholarship, and I had a virtually free ride through a university that cost others over $30,000 a year in tuition alone.

Nathan should have never told his parents about my scholarship. It prejudiced them against me. They were sure I was after his money.

His mom said so to my face. “You do know under California state law, that whatever assets one partner has before marriage, remain with the partner after marriage.”

I’d simply stared at her and she’d added, as if clarifying her position. “If you marry Nathan, you’ll never have one penny of his trust fund. If you divorce him, you’ll have even less.”

Even today, I’m just one step above poor white trash in their eyes.

Mrs. PerfectNathan’s family is wrong though. My family wasn’t affluent, but we weren’t white trash. At least, we weren’t until my mother fell into the gutter but that was her choice, not ours.

I step into slim pale gold Adrienne Vittadini slacks topped by a pale gold Adrienne Vittadini knit top which has a long matching car coat. Scraping my hair back from my face into a tight, low ponytail I study my reflection.

There are times like now where I realize I’m pretty. I’m grateful that God gave me this face. It’s what attracted Nathan in the first place. Dark blonde hair. Strong eyebrows. Angled cheekbones. Good mouth. Great body. But I work it. I work it every day. Why?

I like being Taylor Young.


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