Babysitter

Babysitter

4.6 5
by Diana Diamond
     
 

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"How far will one man and his wife go to protect their privileged lives? Gordon Acton is a wealthy congressional candidate with a successful business and a beautiful family. Voters admire his seemingly idyllic life, and he hopes they will be even more impressed by his concern for the underprivileged. In a bold move he hires a young woman from a poor background to…  See more details below

Overview

"How far will one man and his wife go to protect their privileged lives? Gordon Acton is a wealthy congressional candidate with a successful business and a beautiful family. Voters admire his seemingly idyllic life, and he hopes they will be even more impressed by his concern for the underprivileged. In a bold move he hires a young woman from a poor background to babysit the children at the Actons' summer home in Cape Cod." "The babysitter, Teresa Santiago, appears wise beyond her years: she's alluringly attractive and self-assured. But is she the answer to Gordon and Ellie's domestic needs and political aspirations, or a threat to everything they hold dear? After a drunken tryst with Teresa, Gordon finds himself in hot water, scrambling to protect his reputation. And Ellie, who is writing her dissertation, receives letters accusing her of plagiarism and worse. Desperate, Gordon and Ellie work out a deadly plan that leads to a conclusion as shocking as it is gripping."--BOOK JACKET.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Still another bad-seed babysitter wreaks havoc, this time in an overwrought gothic by the pseudonymous author ("a critically acclaimed mystery and thriller writer") of The Trophy Wife (not reviewed). But gorgeous, multitalented, and unquestionably ambitious Theresa Santiago, 19, isn't nearly as much of a monster as her employer, Gordon Acton. He's in Iago's class, though at the outset a civilized patina does a serviceable job of camouflaging the darkness lurking within. Gordie's running for the US Congress, and while the seat seems Republican-safe enough he wants to double-lock it by appealing to the "melting pot" districts. Enter Latina Theresa. As they do every summer, the Actons are planning their Cape Cod getaway. Ellie Acton needs a babysitter for her two kids (nine, five) so that she can devote her time to a much-delayed doctoral thesis in special education. Her first reaction to Theresa is distinctly negative. No way, she maintains, can plebian Theresa comfortably breathe the rarified air of Ellie's patrician circle. But Theresa dazzles. She plays the flute like a prodigy, works the computer like a wiz (a skill Ellie soon exploits for her research), and charms the children like a veritable Pied Piper. Don't even ask what she does for your basic bikini. At any rate, don't ask Gordie, who willy-nilly takes her to bed and almost at once rues his rampant carnality. Theresa has both spouses feeling vulnerable. Will she embarrass Ellie by claiming a collaborator's full share of her research? Will she blow the whistle on Gordie's disgraceful philandering, thus blowing his candidacy out of the water? The Actons convince themselves that both answers are yes and something must be done toforestall extortionate Theresa. Few experienced thriller readers will be unprepared for what that something turns out to be. Stock figures and telegraphed plot twists. Diamond aims low here and misses.
From the Publisher
"A multifaceted, remarkably suspenseful thriller."--Booklist

"Vivid...[with] thoughtful exposition and careful plotting."—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312280475
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
07/07/2001
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.00(d)

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Chapter One


"Gordie! Gordie! Gordie!" The shout took on the increasing tempo of a locomotive cheer. "Gordie! Gordie! Gordie!"

    Gordon Acton looked at Henry Browning, who was standing at the edge of the stage wing, where he could glance out at the crowd. He gestured with a nod of his head that asked, "Now?" Browning responded with a gesture, shaking his head, "No!" Ellie Acton looked from one man to the other and then out to the stage, where balloons and streamers were landing. "What are you waiting for?" she hissed to her husband. He responded with a nod to Henry. "He says not yet."

    There was a roar when the locomotive reached full speed. Then the hand clapping started. "We want Gordon! We want Gordon!"

   "Okay, now," Henry said.

    Gordon reached for Ellie's hand.

    "No! Just you!" Henry snapped.

    Gordon looked uneasily at Ellie.

    "She comes later," Browning instructed. "When you thank your wife, the crowd will start screaming for Ellie." He took her hand away from Gordon's. "That's when you go on."

    Gordon hesitated, then buttoned his suit jacket and strode out under the stage lights. The roar was deafening. He waved into the glare and pointed knowingly at no one in particular. He fielded a balloon and threw it back to the crowd. Then he mounted the podium, examined the cluster of microphones, and raised his hands to still the applause. The screaming kicked upa few decibels, and then the high school cheerleaders started into another locomotive. "Gordie! Gordie! Gordie!" He waved vainly for order, then gestured his defeat and submitted humbly to their worship.

    The frenzy lasted for several minutes, loud enough to drown out a local television reporter's interview with the revered senator from Rhode Island. "This is certainly a popular victory," she shouted, and then she and the senator nodded in unison.

    Meanwhile, Gordon had stepped down from the podium and was moving along the footlights, reaching down to hands that were reaching up. "Thanks for your help. Couldn't have done it without you. It's your victory, too." He delivered platitudes to faces that were lost in the lights. But when he mounted the podium again, the uproar quieted dramatically. Now there were individual voices. "Congressman Gordon Acton!" came from one side of the gymnasium. "President Gordon Acton!" came a response from the other side. Then laughter, which Gordon joined.

    "My good friends," he tried.

    He still couldn't be heard.

    "My good friends ..." Now the screamers in the crowd were demanding quiet. The noise settled to a background murmur.

    "I don't deserve to have so many good friends," Gordon shouted. The remark started the whole riot rumbling again. Gordon raised his hands and this time the gesture restored a bit of order.

    "And I don't deserve a wife like Ellie!"

    "Ellie! Ellie! Ellie!" A new locomotive was starting.

    In the wing, Henry told Ellie, "That's your cue."

    "Just walk out to him?"

    "Yeah!" But instantly, "No, wait!"

    Henry plucked a rose from one of the floral displays. "Carry this with you. Give it to him when he takes your hand."

    "Oh, Jesus," she moaned in disgust. She walked onto the stage without the flower, heard her name being screamed, and squinted into the lights. Just smile, Ellie reminded herself. Get to Gordon and hang on to him.

    Gordon stepped down, took her hand, and helped her up ahead of him.

    "Gordon! Ellie!" This new chant brought fresh enthusiasm.

    She still couldn't make out a single face. She smiled and waved, pretending she was finding old friends. Then suddenly Gordon flung their joined hands into the air as if announcing a new champion. She felt her bra pull up over the bottom of her breast and tried to ease her hand down. But Gordon sent it even higher in another victory salute. Eventually, he gave up being his own cheerleader and waved the crowd to near quiet. Finally, half an hour after he had arrived at the high school where the district's Republican leaders had gathered an army of supporters, Gordon was able to launch into his prepared speech.

    Thank Chris Kirby, he remembered from Henry's outline, so he rendered homage to the Cadillac dealer who had challenged him in the primary for the vacated Republican seat. A clean campaign, and an intelligent debate, were the first positive attributes he had assigned to Chris in the past two months. He invited his defeated opponent and all his followers to join with him in a fight for good government.

    Cut taxes, curb government spending, improve education, fight crime, and give the elderly the dignity they deserve were the other points that Henry had wanted him to mention. "No details," Browning had advised. "Just a little something for everyone."

    Then the battle cry. The fight wasn't over; it was just beginning. November was only five months away, right at the other end of summer. There was hardly enough time to present the issues to the voters, nor to answer the lies and distortions that were already emanating from the Democratic camp. It would take their greatest efforts to carry this nomination on to victory, and give proper representation to the district in the United States Congress.

    "Can I count on you?" Gordon shouted.

    Another ten minutes of screaming and confetti showers answered his question. And then it was over. The hired security officers led him and Ellie through the crowd. They slapped greetings to hundreds of offered hands, thanked dozens of well-wishers, but never broke stride in their march to the double fire doors at the end of the room. Then they raced to the waiting limousine like a bride and groom fleeing the church. The car eased out of the glare of the school lights, and headed toward the peace of their Newport home.

    As soon as they were in the dark, Ellie began twisting, trying to reach her right hand into the sleeve cut under her left arm. "Did you notice?" she asked.

    "Notice what?"

    "I hope no one else did."

    "No one else did what?"

    "Notice."

    "What are you talking about?"

    "About you lifting my bra halfway over my head."

    He looked at where her hand was fishing. "I did?"

    "When you pulled my hand up over my head, I came right out of my bra cup."

    Gordon laughed, a snicker growing into a howl.

    "You won't think it's so funny when you see publicity shots of your three-breasted wife. I tried to hide it by folding my arms. Then I looked down and saw that my bra cup was on top of my arm and my breast was underneath. I must have looked like a cow."

    "You looked great."

    She found the elastic band and was able to pull it down into position. "I'm no good at this. I hate politics," she said, while rearranging her breasts.

    "What are you talking about? You're a natural."

    "A natural what? What has three breasts?"

    "Nobody noticed," Gordon said, drawing her close.

    She relaxed into his shoulder. "If Henry Browning says one word ..."


Chapter Two


The children were awake first, and they charged into their parents' bedroom just as the sun was finding the spaces between the shutter slats. Timothy dove into their bed, as he did whenever they were home, and began wrestling with his father. Gordon feigned terror at the five-year-old's attack, and cowered from the pillow that the boy was wielding. Molly, who was nine, stood patiently waiting her turn. She was too sophisticated to simply jump under her parents' blanket, she was beginning to suspect that their bed was a private place. Still, she wanted the hugs and kisses that went with their homecoming. Gordon surrendered to his children's energy and followed them down to the kitchen where they made a project out of breakfast. A half hour later he sneaked back upstairs to bring Ellie her morning coffee.

    The bedroom opened onto a porch that was built over the east wing, vulnerable to the salt spray that blasted off the rocks and soaked the air, and facing into the sunrise. In all the world, this was Ellie's favorite place and she resented every moment of absence. "Politics," she lamented into the steam that was rising from her coffee mug. Gordon's

(Continues...)

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Babysitter 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
As usual - Diana Diamond - is the best author around! This was a fantastic book - hard to put down book!!!! Wish I knew what name she writes under besides Diana Diamond. Otherwise, she needs to write more books under Diana Diamond. Always know when I see one of her books that it will be the best ever!!! Very talented author - wish she had more books!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have read many of her novels and have enjoyed them all. Will definately read more and recommend them to friends and family!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a thriller to the end. Not your normal 'babysitter' story. Enjoyed it from first page to last.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished the book, and I loved it. The premise of the story is an old one-the babysitter from hell-but compelling none the less. Parts of the story were predictable, but Diana Diamonds' writing kept me interested. I work full time, have 4 busy children and I am a student, so I read whenever I can. I would definitely find time to read Ms. Diamond again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago