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Apocalipstick

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Overview

From the author who brought you Spin Cycle and Neurotica comes a hilarious new novel about falling in love, hating your job, and getting what you want out of life---without ever mussing your lipstick!

When it comes to men, beauty columnist Rebecca Fine always seems to be on the scruffy end of the mascara wand. But all that changes the morning she meets Max Stoddart, her new colleague at the Daily Vanguard. With his upscale suit, Hugh Grant hair, and obscenely sexy good looks, ...

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Apocalipstick

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Overview

From the author who brought you Spin Cycle and Neurotica comes a hilarious new novel about falling in love, hating your job, and getting what you want out of life---without ever mussing your lipstick!

When it comes to men, beauty columnist Rebecca Fine always seems to be on the scruffy end of the mascara wand. But all that changes the morning she meets Max Stoddart, her new colleague at the Daily Vanguard. With his upscale suit, Hugh Grant hair, and obscenely sexy good looks, he’s a single woman’s dream come true. Finally, her grandmother can stop surfing the Net for eligible Jewish males. But is Max the catch of the decade---or just a major babe magnet?

Meanwhile, Rebecca’s old high school nemesis has resurfaced, a former blond bombshell called Lipstick who is now engaged to Rebecca’s widowed dad. And it’s good-bye to articles on toe cleavage when a hot tip sweeps Rebecca to the center of the Paris cosmetics world, where a miracle anti-wrinkle cream is about to be launched. That is, until she blows the whistle on a scandal that could set the beauty business---and the future of world peace---reeling. Will Rebecca win the recognition---not to mention the Pulitzer---she yearns for...and get the man of her dreams? Stay tuned.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Beauty columnist Rebecca Fine is having a lifelong bad-hair day until an unmarried hunk named Max Stoddart slips onto her radar screen. But as she focuses her sights on her mate-to-be, Rebecca begins to notice that she is not the only babe in hot pursuit. And, as if things aren't confusing enough, a former blonde bombshell resurfaces as the future bride of Rebecca's widowed dad. How is a gal to cope? The author of Spin Cycle ups the ante -- and the pleasure.
From the Publisher
“Quick in pace and often very funny.”
--Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews
Slapdash farce from the author of Spin Cycle (2001, etc.). Rebecca Fine, newly appointed and very nervous beauty columnist for the Daily Vanguard, is stuck in traffic and about to miss her first meeting at the paper. What better time to apply her mascara-and just as she does, the lout in the expensive car behind her suddenly honks, leaving Rebecca besmirched with a black streak from eyebrow to hairline. When she finally gets to work, she finds that her desk has been cleared for a newcomer and she's been banished to an undesirable corner. Surprise: the newcomer is the lout in the expensive car, who's actually quite attractive and becomingly modest. It's not even his own car. Max Stoddart, the new science and environmental correspondent, is bright, too. Rebecca is impressed but wary. After all, she has other things to worry about. Her Jewish grandmother, agitating for great-grandchildren, has been advertising on Rebecca's behalf on dateadoctor.com. And Rebecca's father has selected a former classmate of hers, the infinitely tawdry Bernadette O'Brien, to have a midlife affair-and crisis-with. Good news: svelte as a teenager, when she was dubbed "Lipstick" for the lurid red goo on her pouty mouth, Bernadette now has thunder thighs and looks older than Rebecca. Bad news: circumstances will force the two into a shared flat until Rebecca's father gets his act together. Even a night of erotic bliss with Max Stoddart wouldn't make up for this. And is that grandma-enlisted geek, Warren, leaving messages? Max is curious, Rebecca furious. Other medical professionals are soon sending e-mails: an ambulance driver, a cranial osteopath, two male midwives, a prosthetic limb technician . . . . And thingsgo from bad to worse when an undercover assignment from the paper's gung-ho editor lands Rebecca and Max in the Middle East, pursued by a host of nefarious ne'er-do-wells. Quick in pace and often very funny.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385336567
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,029,222
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Sue Margolis was a radio reporter for fifteen years before becoming a novelist. She is the author of three previous novels: Breakfast at Stephanie's, Neurotica, and Spin Cycle.?
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Rebecca was fiddling with the tuner button on the car radio. She'd been sitting in the monster traffic jam on Camden Road, engine off, for the best part of fifteen minutes. For the last two she'd been trying and failing to find some traffic news that might explain what was going on.

". . . still offering huge discounts on our exclusive range of Lazee Dayze recliners . . ."

Fiddle:

"Here's Brotherhood of Man, with Save All Your Kisses for Me . . ."

Jab this time:

". . . and my Alan was just lying there, completely limp--not even the faintest sign of life. So, I did what anybody would do. I got down on the floor and started giving him the kiss of life."

Rebecca found herself stopping to listen.

"And isn't that a cheery, feel-good story to brighten up this drizzly a.m. in the capital? Jacky from Borehamwood, there, talking about her house fire and how she successfully resuscitated Alan, her iguana."

Her nose wrinkled as she imagined puckering up to some slimy reptile. Not that she hadn't puckered up to one or two in the odd drunken moment. The only difference was, her reptiles had worn tight leather pants and called her "babe."

Fiddle:

". . . so best to avoid the Camden Road area if you can. More traffic news in the next hour. Caroline Feraday, 5 Live Travel . . ."

Rebecca Fine, newly appointed beauty columnist of the Daily Vanguard Saturday magazine, now let out a tiny yelp of frustration and switched off the radio. The monthly beauty, fashion and lifestyle meeting was due to start in half an hour, and unless the traffic freed up in the next few minutes, there was no way she was going to make it on time. It was her first meeting and she'd been so anxious to make a good impression. Her only hope was that other people would be driving in from north London and they would be late too. For now, all she could do was sit it out. She picked up her bag, which was lying on the passenger seat, and went rummaging for her lipstick and mascara.

She was staring into the driver's mirror, finishing her lashes, when the car behind her let out three long blasts of its horn. The first made her jump so violently that her mascara brush shot upward, leaving a gash of black from her eyebrow to her hairline, which made her look like some kind of unihorned devil. As the honking continued, she saw what had happened. A broken-down lorry, which had been causing the holdup, was now being towed away and the traffic was moving. Clearly the driver of the car behind her was more than a tad put out that she hadn't noticed. Her hand flew to the ignition, but the car refused to start. Honk. Honk. A twenty-yard gap had opened up in front of her.

"All right. All right." She was getting flustered now. Looking down, she saw the automatic gear lever was in drive. She shoved it into neutral. Honk. Honk. Honk.

As she turned the ignition key a second time, her eyes darted back to the rearview mirror. The honker was some guy in a flash sports car. No surprise there. Before she had a chance to move, he began pulling out to overtake her. He couldn't get up any speed because he was squeezing between her and the oncoming traffic. As he drew level with her, he leaned across the sports car's passenger seat and lowered the window. Rebecca lowered hers.

"My apologies for disturbing you," he smirked. Plummy voice, expensive suit, floppy Hugh Grant hair. Posh estate agent, probably. "It's just that some of us have jobs to go to."

"Look, I'm really sorry, but there was no need to blast me like that . . ."

Just then her mobile started ringing.

As she picked it up off the dashboard and pressed OK, the sports car roared off.

"And it's Mr. Subaru Turbo," she said in a singsong voice, "who wins the award for the smallest penis, this drizzly a.m."

"Hi, Becks. It's me," the voice on the end of the line giggled. "Listen, have I disturbed some kind of intimate moment? I mean I can always call back."

It was Jess.

"No, you're fine," Rebecca said, her tone brightening. She put the phone between her shoulder and chin and asked Jess to hang on while she pulled away. It was a difficult maneuver, since all the cars behind her had followed the Subaru and nobody was allowing her to rejoin the stream of traffic. Finally somebody let her in.

"God, he'd have thought twice about intimidating me like that," Jess said when Rebecca had finished telling her about the hooray honker.

"He would?"

"Too blinkin' right. You see I've got this brilliant new bumper sticker that says: 'I'm out of estrogen and I've got a gun.' "

Rebecca burst out laughing. "So," she said, "how's the baby?"

"Oh, you know," Jess said with a sigh, "fine, but knackering. In the two months we've had him I don't think either of us has had more than three hours' sleep on the trot." She paused. "Then there's my Bagpuss."

"Oh, sweet. Bought it for the baby?" Rebecca asked, assuming quite reasonably that her best friend had been to Toys "R" Us and bought the furry TV character for the baby.

"No, you dope, Diggory hasn't got it."

Diggory. Jess adored the name. And since Rebecca adored Jess, she pretended to love the name, too, but secretly she worried that the poor child might grow up to become a bearded botanist in a cardigan.

"What, so you bought it for you? Getting in touch with your child within. Nice."

"Oh God. Becks, listen. I haven't bought Bagpuss. I've got it. Let's put it this way, since giving birth, my pencil-gripping days are definitely a thing of the past."

"What? You could do that?"

"I don't know. I never tried. But if I could, I wouldn't be able to do it now. And I know Ed's noticed. Why else would we have only done it twice since the baby? The second time it took him ages to get a hard-on. He doesn't fancy me anymore. I just know it."

"Oh, come on," Rebecca soothed, "Ed's crazy about you. Always has been. He's not going to go off you simply because you've gained a millimeter or two in the pussy department. You've got a new baby. He's exhausted like you are, that's all. Sex is hardly going to be what it was, not for a while anyway. You of all people should know that."

Jess was the agony aunt at Femme magazine. It always amazed Rebecca how she seemed able to get a handle on everybody else's problems except her own.

"Just keep doing the pelvic floor exercises," Rebecca went on, "and I'm sure everything'll spring back into shape."

"Yeah, you're right," Jess said, cheering up. "Look, you don't fancy popping round tonight, do you? Ed's got to work late on the news desk and I'll be all on my own with the Digsbury. I'm longing to hear how the new job's going."

"Great," Rebecca said. "I'll bring pizza."

The moment she hung up, her mobile went off a second time. She pressed OK, desperate for whomever it was on the other end to be one of her few friends who wasn't pregnant or recently delivered and with whom she could still have an above-the-waist conversation.

". . . still leaking when she sneezes . . . Hello? Rebecca?"

Rebecca's brow furrowed.

"Gran?"

"Sorry, darling, I've got Esther here. We're off to the sales. I was in the middle of telling her about my cousin Doreen's bladder operation. I didn't think you'd pick up so soon. So, did you see it?"

"What, cousin Doreen's bladder operation?"

"No, silly. The e-mail I sent you."

Grandma Rose was a Net head--a "silver surfer" who had forced herself to come to grips with new technology when she realized how much cheaper it was to e-mail her brothers and sisters in Miami and Sydney, not to mention her cousin Doreen in Montreal with the leaky bladder, than phone. With time on her hands, what had begun as a money saver had become a hobby verging on an obsession.

"No, sorry, I haven't had a chance to check my e-mail. I was out till quite late last night."

"Ooh, somewhere nice?"

"Just a bar in town with a few friends."

"And you ate?"

"I ate."

"So, what did you eat?"

"We all went out for sushi afterward."

"What? A few bits of raw fish? You'll fade away. You'll turn into your great-aunt Minnie. The woman ate like a sparrow. If it wasn't for her nose she'd have had no shape at all."

From the moment Rebecca's mother died ten years ago, her adoring, devoted Jewish Grandma Rose had taken it upon herself to worry, fuss and kvetch about every aspect of Rebecca's life. "Not that I want to meddle, but . . ." became her mantra. This of course was the surest sign that she was about to do precisely that, on a scale unsurpassed since Hitler meddled with the Sudetenland.

Top of Rose's causes for concern list was Rebecca's lack of a husband. This was closely followed by her granddaughter's health, which naturally included her eating habits. God forbid she should mention the gut pain she'd had last week after a dodgy prawn bhuna. Rose would have her off to a gastroenterologist before she could say barium enema.

"So," Rose continued, "did you, er, you know, meet anybody nice?"

"Gran, believe me, the only man I went to bed with last night was Jerry Seinfeld."

"Ooh, do I know him? You've never mentioned him. Well, I hope he took precautions."

Rebecca decided against teasing her grandmother further and explained that she'd been watching the TV show. (Seinfeld being her absolute, all-time favorite sitcom. Last night The Paramount Channel had been showing twelve episodes back-to-back. She'd managed to stay with it until just after one, before finally dropping off.)

"So, Gran--the e-mail."

"Oh right," Rose said cheerily, clearly over her disappointment that Rebecca wasn't going out with Jerry Seinfeld. "Well, I was surfing yesterday afternoon and I came across this lonely hearts Web site. Listen, have I ever got a fella for you."

"Gawd."

"OK, get this: 'Orthopedic surgeon, Jewish. Midthirties. Looking for love.' Doesn't he sound just perfect?"

Rose was positively squealing with delight. " 'Dark. Six two. Lean, masculine guy. Not hairy chested.' Personally I like a man with a bit of chest hair, but never mind. Goes on to say he's got a mustache . . . You know, I think that Clark Gable look's definitely coming back . . . and that he's passive and very versatile. What more could you want? A man who doesn't argue and can turn his hand to anything. Then it says he likes to give O . . . I'm not sure what that last bit means. Maybe he donates to some orthopedic charity or something. My God, a philanthropist as well. So what do you reckon? There's an e-mail address."

"You sure that's all it says?" Rebecca said with faux casualness.

"Yes, except for some initials I don't understand at the beginning."

"What initials?" Rebecca asked. She knew precisely what was coming.

"G.W. M. Actually, thinking about it, I reckon that must mean good with money."

"Gran, it stands for gay white male."

Grandma Rose missed a beat.

"You sure?"

"Positive," Rebecca declared.

Another beat.

"Esther," Rose hissed, "Rebecca says he's gay."

Rebecca could hear her explaining about G.W. M. A few moments later she was back on the line.

"Esther reckons it might be worth contacting him anyway. She says perhaps he's not very gay. She could be right. It's possible he's just confused. So many young people are these days. You could help him sort himself out. What else have you got to do? After all, you haven't had a date for nine months. Why you had to finish with that Simon beats me. He sounded so nice. Two weeks you went out. How can you expect to get to know a person in two weeks?"

"Gran, you can't be a bit gay. It's like being a bit dead. And I've told you before, it just didn't work out between me and Simon. I know you worry, but I'm doing fine on my own, honest. And it's not like I don't have friends. Look, I gotta run, I've just pulled up outside the office and I'm running late. I'll speak to you later. Love you."

She was grateful for an excuse to get off the phone. There was no way she could ever tell her the real reason she ended it with Simon.

The truth was that Simon, an exceedingly cute stand-up comic and ventriloquist, had been just a tad off piste personalitywise. But not in a trendy, cool way--more in a weird, Star Trek convention kind of way. For a start, his hobby was wood turning and polishing. On their second date he presented her with an exquisitely finished mug tree. On the third, a newel!

What was more, he insisted the dummy--a pint-size football hooligan with a rictus grin, two earrings and a Tommy Hilfiger tracksuit--accompany them on all their dates. At first Rebecca thought this was a hoot, since Wayne (the dummy) would often pipe up with the odd witticism. The real problem--and the reason she finally ended it--began as soon as she and Simon started having sex. Whenever Simon came, the omnipresent Wayne would yell at the top of his voice: "Back of the net! Back of the fucking net!"

Apart from the occasional till-dawn-do-us-part relationship, there hadn't been anybody since.

"You know what you should do?" Grandma Rose had said soon after she finished with Simon. "Pack up and move somewhere where the men outnumber the women."

Rose immediately went on the Net to gather statistics. It turned out Rebecca's choices were the Shetland Isles, Qatar or Tower Hamlets.

Occasionally she found herself sharing Rose's pessimism about her lack of a man. She was thirty-two; if she wasn't careful her life was going to end up on the remaindered table along with all the Anthea Turner biographies. It was always Jess who brought her to her senses, made her see that playing the field could be just as much fun as being in a relationship. She'd done it the other night when she popped in for a quick chat (having left Diggory and a bottle of expressed milk with Ed), only to discover Rebecca sitting in her PMS dressing gown, drowning her sorrows in Baileys and Marshmallow Fluff sandwiches.

Jess spent ages doing her sympathetic but sensible agony aunt bit, reminding her that a relationship did not guarantee happiness. "I mean Liz Hurley had to put up with Hugh's antics. Mick constantly cheated on Jerry."

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First Chapter

Chapter 1

Rebecca was fiddling with the tuner button on the car radio. She'd been sitting in the monster traffic jam on Camden Road, engine off, for the best part of fifteen minutes. For the last two she'd been trying and failing to find some traffic news that might explain what was going on.

". . . still offering huge discounts on our exclusive range of Lazee Dayze recliners . . ."

Fiddle:

"Here's Brotherhood of Man, with Save All Your Kisses for Me . . ."

Jab this time:

". . . and my Alan was just lying there, completely limp--not even the faintest sign of life. So, I did what anybody would do. I got down on the floor and started giving him the kiss of life."

Rebecca found herself stopping to listen.

"And isn't that a cheery, feel-good story to brighten up this drizzly a.m. in the capital? Jacky from Borehamwood, there, talking about her house fire and how she successfully resuscitated Alan, her iguana."

Her nose wrinkled as she imagined puckering up to some slimy reptile. Not that she hadn't puckered up to one or two in the odd drunken moment. The only difference was, her reptiles had worn tight leather pants and called her "babe."

Fiddle:

". . . so best to avoid the Camden Road area if you can. More traffic news in the next hour. Caroline Feraday, 5 Live Travel . . ."

Rebecca Fine, newly appointed beauty columnist of the Daily Vanguard Saturday magazine, now let out a tiny yelp of frustration and switched off the radio. The monthly beauty, fashion and lifestyle meeting was due to start in half an hour, and unless the trafficfreed up in the next few minutes, there was no way she was going to make it on time. It was her first meeting and she'd been so anxious to make a good impression. Her only hope was that other people would be driving in from north London and they would be late too. For now, all she could do was sit it out. She picked up her bag, which was lying on the passenger seat, and went rummaging for her lipstick and mascara.

She was staring into the driver's mirror, finishing her lashes, when the car behind her let out three long blasts of its horn. The first made her jump so violently that her mascara brush shot upward, leaving a gash of black from her eyebrow to her hairline, which made her look like some kind of unihorned devil. As the honking continued, she saw what had happened. A broken-down lorry, which had been causing the holdup, was now being towed away and the traffic was moving. Clearly the driver of the car behind her was more than a tad put out that she hadn't noticed. Her hand flew to the ignition, but the car refused to start. Honk. Honk. A twenty-yard gap had opened up in front of her.

"All right. All right." She was getting flustered now. Looking down, she saw the automatic gear lever was in drive. She shoved it into neutral. Honk. Honk. Honk.

As she turned the ignition key a second time, her eyes darted back to the rearview mirror. The honker was some guy in a flash sports car. No surprise there. Before she had a chance to move, he began pulling out to overtake her. He couldn't get up any speed because he was squeezing between her and the oncoming traffic. As he drew level with her, he leaned across the sports car's passenger seat and lowered the window. Rebecca lowered hers.

"My apologies for disturbing you," he smirked. Plummy voice, expensive suit, floppy Hugh Grant hair. Posh estate agent, probably. "It's just that some of us have jobs to go to."

"Look, I'm really sorry, but there was no need to blast me like that . . ."

Just then her mobile started ringing.

As she picked it up off the dashboard and pressed OK, the sports car roared off.

"And it's Mr. Subaru Turbo," she said in a singsong voice, "who wins the award for the smallest penis, this drizzly a.m."

"Hi, Becks. It's me," the voice on the end of the line giggled. "Listen, have I disturbed some kind of intimate moment? I mean I can always call back."

It was Jess.

"No, you're fine," Rebecca said, her tone brightening. She put the phone between her shoulder and chin and asked Jess to hang on while she pulled away. It was a difficult maneuver, since all the cars behind her had followed the Subaru and nobody was allowing her to rejoin the stream of traffic. Finally somebody let her in.

"God, he'd have thought twice about intimidating me like that," Jess said when Rebecca had finished telling her about the hooray honker.

"He would?"

"Too blinkin' right. You see I've got this brilliant new bumper sticker that says: 'I'm out of estrogen and I've got a gun.' "

Rebecca burst out laughing. "So," she said, "how's the baby?"

"Oh, you know," Jess said with a sigh, "fine, but knackering. In the two months we've had him I don't think either of us has had more than three hours' sleep on the trot." She paused. "Then there's my Bagpuss."

"Oh, sweet. Bought it for the baby?" Rebecca asked, assuming quite reasonably that her best friend had been to Toys "R" Us and bought the furry TV character for the baby.

"No, you dope, Diggory hasn't got it."

Diggory. Jess adored the name. And since Rebecca adored Jess, she pretended to love the name, too, but secretly she worried that the poor child might grow up to become a bearded botanist in a cardigan.

"What, so you bought it for you? Getting in touch with your child within. Nice."

"Oh God. Becks, listen. I haven't bought Bagpuss. I've got it. Let's put it this way, since giving birth, my pencil-gripping days are definitely a thing of the past."

"What? You could do that?"

"I don't know. I never tried. But if I could, I wouldn't be able to do it now. And I know Ed's noticed. Why else would we have only done it twice since the baby? The second time it took him ages to get a hard-on. He doesn't fancy me anymore. I just know it."

"Oh, come on," Rebecca soothed, "Ed's crazy about you. Always has been. He's not going to go off you simply because you've gained a millimeter or two in the pussy department. You've got a new baby. He's exhausted like you are, that's all. Sex is hardly going to be what it was, not for a while anyway. You of all people should know that."

Jess was the agony aunt at Femme magazine. It always amazed Rebecca how she seemed able to get a handle on everybody else's problems except her own.

"Just keep doing the pelvic floor exercises," Rebecca went on, "and I'm sure everything'll spring back into shape."

"Yeah, you're right," Jess said, cheering up. "Look, you don't fancy popping round tonight, do you? Ed's got to work late on the news desk and I'll be all on my own with the Digsbury. I'm longing to hear how the new job's going."

"Great," Rebecca said. "I'll bring pizza."

The moment she hung up, her mobile went off a second time. She pressed OK, desperate for whomever it was on the other end to be one of her few friends who wasn't pregnant or recently delivered and with whom she could still have an above-the-waist conversation.

". . . still leaking when she sneezes . . . Hello? Rebecca?"

Rebecca's brow furrowed.

"Gran?"

"Sorry, darling, I've got Esther here. We're off to the sales. I was in the middle of telling her about my cousin Doreen's bladder operation. I didn't think you'd pick up so soon. So, did you see it?"

"What, cousin Doreen's bladder operation?"

"No, silly. The e-mail I sent you."

Grandma Rose was a Net head--a "silver surfer" who had forced herself to come to grips with new technology when she realized how much cheaper it was to e-mail her brothers and sisters in Miami and Sydney, not to mention her cousin Doreen in Montreal with the leaky bladder, than phone. With time on her hands, what had begun as a money saver had become a hobby verging on an obsession.

"No, sorry, I haven't had a chance to check my e-mail. I was out till quite late last night."

"Ooh, somewhere nice?"

"Just a bar in town with a few friends."

"And you ate?"

"I ate."

"So, what did you eat?"

"We all went out for sushi afterward."

"What? A few bits of raw fish? You'll fade away. You'll turn into your great-aunt Minnie. The woman ate like a sparrow. If it wasn't for her nose she'd have had no shape at all."

From the moment Rebecca's mother died ten years ago, her adoring, devoted Jewish Grandma Rose had taken it upon herself to worry, fuss and kvetch about every aspect of Rebecca's life. "Not that I want to meddle, but . . ." became her mantra. This of course was the surest sign that she was about to do precisely that, on a scale unsurpassed since Hitler meddled with the Sudetenland.

Top of Rose's causes for concern list was Rebecca's lack of a husband. This was closely followed by her granddaughter's health, which naturally included her eating habits. God forbid she should mention the gut pain she'd had last week after a dodgy prawn bhuna. Rose would have her off to a gastroenterologist before she could say barium enema.

"So," Rose continued, "did you, er, you know, meet anybody nice?"

"Gran, believe me, the only man I went to bed with last night was Jerry Seinfeld."

"Ooh, do I know him? You've never mentioned him. Well, I hope he took precautions."

Rebecca decided against teasing her grandmother further and explained that she'd been watching the TV show. (Seinfeld being her absolute, all-time favorite sitcom. Last night The Paramount Channel had been showing twelve episodes back-to-back. She'd managed to stay with it until just after one, before finally dropping off.)

"So, Gran--the e-mail."

"Oh right," Rose said cheerily, clearly over her disappointment that Rebecca wasn't going out with Jerry Seinfeld. "Well, I was surfing yesterday afternoon and I came across this lonely hearts Web site. Listen, have I ever got a fella for you."

"Gawd."

"OK, get this: 'Orthopedic surgeon, Jewish. Midthirties. Looking for love.' Doesn't he sound just perfect?"

Rose was positively squealing with delight. " 'Dark. Six two. Lean, masculine guy. Not hairy chested.' Personally I like a man with a bit of chest hair, but never mind. Goes on to say he's got a mustache . . . You know, I think that Clark Gable look's definitely coming back . . . and that he's passive and very versatile. What more could you want? A man who doesn't argue and can turn his hand to anything. Then it says he likes to give O . . . I'm not sure what that last bit means. Maybe he donates to some orthopedic charity or something. My God, a philanthropist as well. So what do you reckon? There's an e-mail address."

"You sure that's all it says?" Rebecca said with faux casualness.

"Yes, except for some initials I don't understand at the beginning."

"What initials?" Rebecca asked. She knew precisely what was coming.

"G.W. M. Actually, thinking about it, I reckon that must mean good with money."

"Gran, it stands for gay white male."

Grandma Rose missed a beat.

"You sure?"

"Positive," Rebecca declared.

Another beat.

"Esther," Rose hissed, "Rebecca says he's gay."

Rebecca could hear her explaining about G.W. M. A few moments later she was back on the line.

"Esther reckons it might be worth contacting him anyway. She says perhaps he's not very gay. She could be right. It's possible he's just confused. So many young people are these days. You could help him sort himself out. What else have you got to do? After all, you haven't had a date for nine months. Why you had to finish with that Simon beats me. He sounded so nice. Two weeks you went out. How can you expect to get to know a person in two weeks?"

"Gran, you can't be a bit gay. It's like being a bit dead. And I've told you before, it just didn't work out between me and Simon. I know you worry, but I'm doing fine on my own, honest. And it's not like I don't have friends. Look, I gotta run, I've just pulled up outside the office and I'm running late. I'll speak to you later. Love you."

She was grateful for an excuse to get off the phone. There was no way she could ever tell her the real reason she ended it with Simon.

The truth was that Simon, an exceedingly cute stand-up comic and ventriloquist, had been just a tad off piste personalitywise. But not in a trendy, cool way--more in a weird, Star Trek convention kind of way. For a start, his hobby was wood turning and polishing. On their second date he presented her with an exquisitely finished mug tree. On the third, a newel!

What was more, he insisted the dummy--a pint-size football hooligan with a rictus grin, two earrings and a Tommy Hilfiger tracksuit--accompany them on all their dates. At first Rebecca thought this was a hoot, since Wayne (the dummy) would often pipe up with the odd witticism. The real problem--and the reason she finally ended it--began as soon as she and Simon started having sex. Whenever Simon came, the omnipresent Wayne would yell at the top of his voice: "Back of the net! Back of the fucking net!"

Apart from the occasional till-dawn-do-us-part relationship, there hadn't been anybody since.

"You know what you should do?" Grandma Rose had said soon after she finished with Simon. "Pack up and move somewhere where the men outnumber the women."

Rose immediately went on the Net to gather statistics. It turned out Rebecca's choices were the Shetland Isles, Qatar or Tower Hamlets.

Occasionally she found herself sharing Rose's pessimism about her lack of a man. She was thirty-two; if she wasn't careful her life was going to end up on the remaindered table along with all the Anthea Turner biographies. It was always Jess who brought her to her senses, made her see that playing the field could be just as much fun as being in a relationship. She'd done it the other night when she popped in for a quick chat (having left Diggory and a bottle of expressed milk with Ed), only to discover Rebecca sitting in her PMS dressing gown, drowning her sorrows in Baileys and Marshmallow Fluff sandwiches.

Jess spent ages doing her sympathetic but sensible agony aunt bit, reminding her that a relationship did not guarantee happiness. "I mean Liz Hurley had to put up with Hugh's antics. Mick constantly cheated on Jerry."

Copyright 2003 by Sue Margolis
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Very mediocre

    As far as brit chick lit goes, this is probably at the bottom. Very ridiculous w/ raunchy humor. The plot has no real substance. If you have time to kill read it, otherwise not worth reading.

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  • Posted July 15, 2011

    So funny!

    This was the first time I've read something by Sue Margolis and was completely knocked off my feet with laughter. I've been reading the chick-lit authors, and so far, this author is the most hilarious. I admit the storyline's okay, plot is rather predictable, and yet with everything seeming so ordinary, the way she can crack me up makes this book truly amazing. It's definitely the way she delivers her punch lines that makes this book a quick, fun read and stand out. She's on the top of my list for comedies! The characters are very lovable.

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  • Posted June 18, 2010

    Hysterical funny!!!!

    I haven't laughed this much since I read the "Shopaholic" series! Loved it!!!!

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  • Posted May 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Love this writer and this book

    This is the book that got me addicted to Chick lit..Sue Margolis is one of my favorite writers of all times. Her books are gripping from the first page and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Every story has great characters, heartwarming plots, and hilarious dialoged. You'll fall in love with the characters from the beginning and want to read every book she has ever written. You won't regret this buy!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2005

    GREAT BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is one of the best books I have read to date. It is laugh out loud funny. I passed the book on to my friend and she is now hooked too. I liked her other books but didn't think they were as good as this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2005

    Somewhat disappointed

    This is my first Sue Margolis book, recommended to me because I love Erin McCarthy's work. Apocalipstick had so much potential. However, I found it very predictable (literally, about halfway through the book I predicted how it would end with Max and his 'goddaughter', and what Lipsticks' good news would be--big yawn) and scenes that were supposed to be funny, fell flat. I was disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2004

    'Delightful, Dawling'

    Third times a charm! I read Spin Cycle and Neurotica by Sue Margolis before this one, and it was equally as wonderful. This book was amazingly funny and light-hearted. The British humor is extremely catchy and works wonders for the flow of the plot. A+!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2004

    I loved this book

    This book was great. I couldn't stop reading once I picked it up. I even found my self laughing out loud while reading it on the train on the way to work. I have recommended this book to all my friends. They have all loved it too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2004

    FINISHED IT IN TWO DAYS!!

    Very funny book, laughed out loud in public several times reading this book. Fast read, highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2004

    Very funny! Easy read! Enjoy!

    I am now reading the 3rd Sue Margolis book. They all have the cutest British humor and you are able to breeze right through them. You will enjoy this one thoroughly!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2003

    FUNNY!

    I laughed out loud as well, which is unusual! It was a fun, quick read. You will not be disappointed if you love chic lit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2003

    Perfect

    it was a book that had humor,love, everything to make it a good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2003

    Love & investigations-funny & dangerous

    What can be worse than having your widowed father marry the blond bombshell, Lipstick, from your high school class who use to put your down & bullied you? This is one of the things that happens to beauty columnist Rebecca Fine in Sue Margolis¿ APOCALIPSTICK. It seems to Rebecca that her nice grandmother didn¿t do so well trying to fix Stan, her father, up, and she isn¿t doing well with the guys she finds on the internet for her either. Traffic is as bad in London as it is in the US. Thirty-two year old Fine is on her way to work at the Daily Vanguard as the beauty columnist for her first meeting but is caught in traffic. While putting on make-up, a guy behind her honks for her to get a move on, causing it to smear. Fortunately everyone else was having trouble to work on time, also. When she gets to work, she discovers her workstation is no longer hers; she¿s been moved. Turns out the ¿honker¿, Max Stoddart, is the new hot-shot reporter, an absolute hunk , & the owner of her workstation,. Rebecca & Max get past that early morning situation enough to start dating-hot and heavy. Things get sticky when Rebecca believes Max is stepping out on her. Rebecca has ambition; she wants to become an investigative reporter. When an anti-wrinkle crème is being touted by one of the famous make-up companies, Rebecca head off to Paris with her friend to try to get a sample, no matter how. She has figured out that the cream is the cause of women saying very unpleasant things to people that they never would say. The crème is not for sale yet, so fortunately only a handful of women have had access to it. The twists and turns involving trying to snatch a sample put Rebecca in jeopardy. Margolis weaves a good, humorous story, including suspense, with the Lipstick/Stan situation and the blabbermouth crème scenario. Fans of Margolis¿ SPIN CYCLE and NEUROTICA won¿t be disappointed in APOCALIPSTICK. I wasn¿t.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2003

    I actually laughed out loud . . .

    and I bought it soley based on title alone. It was a very good read. A bit corny at times and even though you knew everything would work out in the end, it still had the ability to keep your attention. Fun characters, funny situations; what more could you ask for? I read it in one day and can't wait to read her other two novels. Definitely a thumbs up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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