Mrs. Perfect

By: Jane Porter

Acknowledgments


A huge thank-you to my agent, Karen Solem, for making this fourth book for 5 Spot a reality. She’s an extraordinary agent and I’m lucky to have her.

Another huge thank-you to everyone at 5 Spot/Grand Central Publishing for their tremendous support. I’m lucky to work with such talented, creative, and dedicated people in publishing. I am especially grateful to my editor, Karen Kosztolnyik, for understanding where I want to go with my stories and making sure I get there. To Elly Weisenberg, my 5 Spot publicist, and all the sales, marketing, and art department folks who always make sure I look good and my books are where they need to be. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I’d also like to acknowledge my Bellevue friends who helped my research, notably former ad exec Denise Bocezk, preschool teacher Wendy Lange, and life coach Kristiina Hiukka, for their wonderful insights, inspirations, and brainstorming. There are so many other Bellevue friends who have been here for me over the years. You know who you are. Thank you.

To fellow 5 Spot authors Liza Palmer and Megan Crane, thanks for becoming such good friends. I love talking books with you and just hanging out. I’m lucky to know you.

To my boys, Jake and Ty, thanks for understanding that Mom needs her words but loves you both dearly.

And finally, to my guy, Ty Gurney. You’re my sugar and salt. You make life taste better.





Chapter One


Zooming into the country club parking lot, I snag a spot close to the club pool. Okay, technically it’s not a spot, but there’s nothing else close and I’m late.

Nathan says I run late often, and yes, sometimes I do, but not always. It’s just that my schedule all summer has been ungodly. I’ve always been busy, but in the past year I have taken on way too much, sat on far too many committees, agreed to assist too many organizations.

The problem is, everyone needs help, and I hate inefficiency, I really do, which is how I got to be on so many committees in the first place.

I know how to get things done. I’ve always known how to get things done, and for me, it’s relatively easy organizing functions and raising money. And as we all know, everything these days is about raising money. As well as improving the quality of life for the kids.

It really is about the kids, isn’t it?

I sign in quickly at the poolhouse’s front desk and wave at a passing mother—never do remember her name, though—and emerge into the late afternoon light that already streaks the pool.

Scanning the area for my girls, I tug my top over the waist of my white tennis skirt. I wish I’d showered and changed before heading to the pool, but I was afraid of being even later. It’s Friday, Labor Day weekend, and my nanny hoped to leave early today to go camping with her boyfriend.

I feel bad that Annika, our Finnish nanny, didn’t get to leave at three-thirty as requested (it’s nearly five now), but today was hellacious. Morning Pilates, two-hour auction committee meeting, afternoon on the tennis court before quick grocery shop. Then it was a rush home to get the salmon steaks into the bourbon marinade for dinner before another rush out to pick up the girls from the club.

Pulling my sunglasses off, I spot the girls. Tori’s in the baby pool, Brooke’s lying on her towel on the lawn, and my eldest, ten-year-old Jemma, swims in the deep end with her friends. Annika sits in the shade near the baby pool, her purse on her lap. She’s ready to go, which annoys me.

I don’t like being disapproving, but I do resent being made to rush and then feel guilty. It’s Labor Day weekend. She has Monday off. It’s not as if she won’t have three full days of vacation.

Annika spots me. I lift a hand, letting her know she can go. She leans down, kisses Tori, and, with a nod at me, leaves. Quickly.

“Taylor!”

It’s Patti calling my name. I turn, spot her and a cluster of women at one of the pool’s round tables, and indicate that I’ll join them in just a moment. First, I have to get something cold to drink.

Something preferably with alcohol.

A few minutes later, I collapse in the poolside chair with my gin and tonic. Nice. Sliding my sunglasses on top of my head, I sip my drink appreciatively. Day’s almost over. I’m almost free.

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