For Better or Worse

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Overview

Touching, funny, and remarkably true-to-life, Jill Amy Rosenblatt's latest novel explores how the friendships between women only grow stronger with time. . .even when life throws curveballs no one sees coming. . .

Emily, Elizabeth, and Karen are as different as three women can be, but that hasn't stopped them from forging an unbreakable bond. Newlywed Emily, now half of a New York City power couple, would love nothing more than to see her friends settled down with soul mates of ...

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For Better or Worse

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More About This Book

Overview

Touching, funny, and remarkably true-to-life, Jill Amy Rosenblatt's latest novel explores how the friendships between women only grow stronger with time. . .even when life throws curveballs no one sees coming. . .

Emily, Elizabeth, and Karen are as different as three women can be, but that hasn't stopped them from forging an unbreakable bond. Newlywed Emily, now half of a New York City power couple, would love nothing more than to see her friends settled down with soul mates of their own. But Elizabeth still carries the sting of a past heartbreak, while Karen fears she's destined to repeat her parents' disastrous marriage. Yet even as Emily plays matchmaker, she must ultimately confront a secret truth about her own marriage. . .one that threatens the future she thought was secure. When she does, all three friends will discover that life's paths may turn out to be longer, and harder, than expected, but the twists and turns lead us where we're meant to be. . .

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  • For Better or Worse
    For Better or Worse  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758223715
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,454,866
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

First Chapter

For Better or Worse


By JILL AMY ROSENBLATT

KENSINGTON BOOKS

Copyright © 2009 Jill Amy Rosenblatt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-2371-5


Chapter One

Ian MacKay took a deep drag on his cigarette, exhaling a long spiral of smoke. Standing outside the gothic-style church in Midtown, he watched the parade of limousines as the stone saints on either side of the doors watched him. New York City was baking under another day of unexpected heat and he held his jacket draped over his arm. As the limos discharged their cargo, a rainbow of couture hurried past him, as if afraid of melting under the onslaught of the sun. The beautiful people cast cool glances at his jacketless form and open-collared shirt.

"I told Emily, June is best," he heard a woman say. "There is nothing more romantic than a summer wedding in New York."

He squinted through the smoke at the men in their finely tailored suits; no doubt financial wizards, like the groom. He wondered if Michele had chosen a man like one of these to take his place, to be her next husband. Feeling his blood pressure rise at the thought of his ex-wife, he threw his cigarette down, grinding it into the concrete with the tip of his polished shoe. That was the first and last time he'd be walking down the aisle. Turning, he entered the church.

Inside the narthex, he inhaled the welcome blast of frigid air and shrugged into his jacket. A bridesmaid emerged from aside door. His eyes traveled the length of her, lingering on the rose-colored slip of a dress hugging her slim form. Her blond hair was swept into a neat French twist and she fidgeted with the small bouquet of orchids in her hand. Wondering what scent she wore, he was instantly sorry he wasn't closer. She caught him in his scrutiny, her delicate features furrowing into a frown.

"Which side?" she asked.

Ian couldn't decide whether she was annoyed or bored. "Sorry?"

Her hazel eyes moved over him. "The bride or the groom's side?"

"Neither," Ian said, amused to find himself the subject of her examination.

She pointed to a large book lying open on a stand. "Would you care to write a wish to the happy couple?" "I don't think it will help."

She gave a short, clipped laugh before catching herself. "Your accent-England, no, Scotland."

"Very good."

"You've come a long way to witness a wedding when you have no faith in marriage."

"I didn't say that. It's not for everyone though, is it?"

"Let me guess, it's not for you."

"Not for me, no."

She chuckled, this time without the smile. "Still finding yourself?"

"I'm not lost."

"You need your space."

"My flat is quite roomy." He smiled, enjoying her look of irritation.

She straightened. "A man who knows his own mind, how refreshing." She waved the bouquet toward the chapel. "Sit anywhere you like." Turning on her heel, she disappeared back into the room she had come from.

Entering the sanctuary, Ian spotted Robert maneuvering his sturdy six-foot frame through the clusters of guests chatting and laughing in the aisle. He approached his friend and received Robert's firm handshake.

"Eighty grand on flowers," Robert lamented. "There isn't a pink rose left in Manhattan. What a waste."

"It's not a waste. They'll use them for the divorce party."

Robert gave a laugh.

"How do you know what the flowers cost?"

Robert leaned in. "Because the groom hasn't shut up about it since we got here."

Ian glanced over his shoulder toward the narthex. "Did you notice the girl I was talking to?"

Robert nodded. "That's Karen's friend, Elizabeth, a money manager. Did you notice she's not your type?"

"You don't know what my type is," Ian shot back.

"Oh, I beg to differ. As your oldest friend, I have seen your taste across five countries and two continents. She's not your type."

Ian gave Robert a sharp look.

"But I don't interfere anymore."

They stood in awkward silence.

"If you're that interested, I can put in a good word. If I tell Karen about your many chivalrous exploits, I'm sure it will get back to Liz. Rescuing damsels in distress stranded by no-good boyfriends-"

"It was hardly a rescue."

"Providing room and board to countless weary travelers, including myself."

Ian smirked. "All right, are you done amusing yourself? How much have you told Karen about me?"

Robert shrugged. "Nothing. You told me not to say anything. You haven't even told me what you've been doing for the past two years. Why all the secrecy?"

Ian shrugged, glancing back at the narthex. He thought he caught sight of Elizabeth again. "It's not secrecy. It's a new country, a new life." He turned back to Robert. "Best to leave the past where it is, don't you think?"

"Whatever you want." He gave Ian the once-over. "You're not wearing a tie."

"I was hoping they'd ask me to leave."

"Not a chance. The bride loves you and your no-tie, who-gives-a-shit artist attitude."

"If she truly loved me and my attitude, she would've bought three of my paintings, not one." Ian put his hand on Robert's shoulder. "Now, let's have it. What's your prediction?"

"One year. Then they flame out."

"And you're never wrong."

"Almost never."

Among their friends, Robert's keen understanding of human nature had rendered him a seer. His uncanny aptitude for foretelling the future was an urban legend, with one exception-the happily-ever-after he had predicted for Ian's marriage.

Elizabeth and Karen watched Robert and Ian from the narthex.

"So who's the operator talking to your betrothed?" Elizabeth said, taking in his slicked-back blond hair curling over his open-collared shirt and the short, trimmed beard. She lingered over his slim, wiry frame. I am enjoying this way too much.

"Robert's best friend, Ian MacKay, from Scotland."

But he hasn't been there in a while, Elizabeth thought. The accent was watered down, the thick brogue long gone.

"I don't know that he's an operator, he seems like a good guy. Robert didn't say much about him."

"He wears the most delicious cologne," came a voice from behind them. They turned in unison, finding Emily glowing in her Badgley Mischka gown. It was perfect for her, the scoop neckline revealing the right amount of cleavage, the dropped waist making her five-foot-nine-inch frame seem even taller, more regal. A descendant of a founding father and subsequent captains of industry, Emily's money was as old as her lineage and it showed; she didn't walk, she flowed, her elegance a hallmark of her birthright.

"And, his beard is like velvet," she added.

Elizabeth feigned a look at her watch. "You still have twenty minutes. Would you like to switch grooms?"

Emily rolled her eyes. "I kissed his cheek."

Elizabeth folded her arms.

"Okay, both cheeks, it's the European way." Emily laughed, coloring. "I invited him for tea a few times, strictly business. He's going to paint my portrait."

"And why is this the first I'm hearing about Ian MacKay of Scotland and his beard of velvet?" Elizabeth said, turning an enquiring eye on Karen.

"He just got here," Karen said. "You haven't come up for air since your promotion. I hardly see you anymore."

"Uh-hunh," Elizabeth said, giving Karen a sharp look. "Painting Emily's portrait?"

Karen sighed. "Yes, he's an artist."

Elizabeth gave a disgusted laugh, and headed back to the dressing room.

"Liz, you can't judge all artists by Josh and certainly not by William," Emily said, trailing after her, Karen close behind.

"I do not judge all artists. I simply have an intimate understanding of their basic nature."

"Which you use to judge them," Emily persisted as they entered the dressing room.

"Whatever."

Emily held out her hands to draw them into a circle. "Now, my dearest friends, this is it. This is Act Two of our lives." She held up Karen's hand, with its glittering diamond ring. "We've all found our soul mates."

Karen's eyes darkened with concern.

"Now, don't fret, your wedding will be perfect," Emily said. "Lots of people have crazy parents. Who is that philosopher you study?"

"Lao-tzu. Taoism teaches stillness, and giving up fear, anxiety, and control so all things flow naturally to the right ending," Karen said.

"Oh, I love that," Emily squeaked. She turned to Elizabeth. "After Karen and Robert are married, you and Nick will be next. You two are my crowning triumph, a perfect match-and Nick knows it."

"It's only been six months."

"He told Parker you were the one after the first date."

Elizabeth smiled. He knows it, and I know it too. She glanced at Karen and caught her friend's look of doubt.

The wedding planner, flanked by her team, blew into the room. They whisked Emily away, all the while clucking at Elizabeth and Karen to take their places.

"How are you, really?" Elizabeth whispered to Karen as they fell into line for the processional.

Karen sighed. "Did you see Page Six? My parents are at it again. Divorced for ten years and they don't see that as a reason to stop fighting. The Tao says troubles are like rocks in the middle of a stream. The rocks try to interrupt the water's calm flow, but they can't. My parents aren't rocks, they're boulders."

"You haven't told them you're engaged, have you?"

"I couldn't. She's in Europe, on a book tour, but still found time to give a satellite-radio interview. The subject? My father's plagiarism. She quoted chapter and verse from his solo works, claiming it was stuff she wrote when they were married. She can't prove it. She can never prove it. You know when they created audioconferencing, I don't think this is what they had in mind." She sighed. "Twenty years of marriage, twelve books together, and this is how it ends. Actually it doesn't end, it just keeps going."

"What about your father? Did you tell him you were getting married?"

"He's been too busy."

"Is he finishing a new book?"

"No, his fifth marriage."

"Oh."

"I need to remain calm, be still, and it will all work out. The Tao says be flexible and learn to let go of the most important issues. Then they work out by themselves."

If only it were that easy, Elizabeth thought.

The first bars of music began; there was a palpable rustle as the crowd turned in unison toward the door.

* * *

Elizabeth counted silently to five before taking her first step. Making her way down the aisle, feeling the eyes of the crowd on her, brought back a flood of memories; the steps she had taken to the altar. Up ahead she saw Parker, the groom-to-be, whispering something to the minister. For a second he became Josh, her Josh, pulling her aside and whispering that he couldn't go through with it. He was sorry; he didn't mean to hurt her.

It seemed a lifetime ago and yet still fresh as yesterday. She gave herself a mental shake and focused straight ahead. That was almost fifteen years ago. I'm almost thirty-five years old. I'm a grown woman. Why think about the past?

She caught a glimpse of Ian MacKay as she passed by; those deep, blue eyes, the hint of baby-smooth skin peeking out from the corners of his beard. Her eyes rested on him a second too long; she shook off any thought of him, scanning the crowd until she found Nick.

Chapter Two

Ian turned away from the Rainbow Room's windows and the majestic view of the kingdom that was New York City. Champagne corks popped, glasses clinked, the orchestra played. Like the Titanic, the band playing as the ship was sinking, he thought, as this marriage will sink. Wandering back into the crowd, he caught sight of a woman looking him over. She gave him a smile of invitation. He imagined her a nice girl with a pretty face and a busy life. They would fall into something easy and convenient. She would come and go until realizing he would give nothing more. After a time she would drift away on her own. If it even lasted that long. He lingered a moment, then turned away from her.

He scanned the room, settling on a woman in an expensive sequined gown. He could tell by the way she held herself she was maintained, but not a pedigree. She was on the arm of a debonair man, with unruly long hair tucked behind his ears, a long angular face; a European. The money was his, not hers. This was the kind of man Michele had left him for, someone able to give her everything she wanted: money, travel, ease. All of the things that weren't coming fast enough being married to me, Ian thought. The art shows weren't big enough, he wasn't the rising star she expected, the enfant terrible she hoped for.

Ian's attention returned to studying the woman. She couldn't compare to Michele. Michele was exquisite, skin like porcelain and azure eyes that cut through you. One look at her and there was no going back. She could have any man she wanted. And there had been several, he found out. Michele had tried them out first, in secret, to see if they had enough to please her before finally making her choice.

Ian could feel his anger rising when a hand settled on his shoulder.

"Let's get a drink," Robert said.

Ian nodded. It was the least they could do to salvage the evening. When they passed Parker, the groom had a glass in one hand, its contents splashing over the side as he waved his arm, describing his real estate empire.

"Thirty thousand square feet," he was saying. "The front entrance will be all marble. Italian. And that's just the main house. I'm putting in a one-thousand-square-foot pool house."

The men clicked glasses and drank to the pool house.

"You know, one of my guys quit last month. I had him on debt acquisition. I buy fifty million in debt from some shithole country-whose name I can't pronounce-for pennies on the dollar. When they default, I send Nick to court, he sues, we win, and that shithole country has to pay me the whole fifty, maybe more."

One of the men spoke up. "In what century will you collect?"

"Any dollar comes into that country, I get first. This guy's whining to me about our moral obligation, aren't we victimizing impoverished nations. I told him, if I wanted to, I could make a few currency bets and change that country's economy in a heartbeat."

He took another swallow of his drink, then laughed, talking almost to himself. "He says we should be safeguarding the economy. I am the economy, asshole. I'm moving the value of currency. He couldn't take the pressure, dickless wonder. You know where he is now? Putting in eighty hours a week at some plain-vanilla mutual fund for a shit bonus check. Good luck with your fiscal responsibility, shithead. I'll be at my compound in Greenwich, stepping out the door to the helipad to bring me to Manhattan."

"To Parker Davis," they said, raising their glasses.

Shaking his head, Ian hunkered down next to Robert at the bar, watching the bartender set up glasses and pour. Taking a long drink, Ian let out a sigh of relief until a heavy slap on his back made him jump and slosh his drink onto the bar.

"Hey, I hope you're enjoying my wedding," Parker said. "You're looking at one and a half million."

Elizabeth was only half-listening to Karen as they lounged at a table by themselves. Her eyes were fixed on Ian MacKay.

"I still don't understand the change in attitude. Not six months ago you said having Emily as a matchmaker is like asking an arsonist to house-sit. She's broken more engagements than her nails. Are you listening to me?"

"At least she had the right idea. She left them." She should have left one more. Why did a woman who made her society debut at Le Bal Crillon marry a low-life like Parker Davis?

"Liz, how is it really going with Nick?"

"Fine." Elizabeth continued to stare out into the crowd. "He's kind and attentive. He takes me to dinner and sends me flowers. We discuss matters of business because we share common interests. Is there something wrong with a serious, focused man? He's a grown-up."

Karen was silent for a moment. When she spoke her voice sounded hurt. "Robert's a grown-up. You don't have to be in business to be a grown-up."

Elizabeth turned to Karen. "Of course not. I didn't mean it that way. Robert is a brilliant writer and so are you. I'm sorry I've been so busy with the job and these dinners with Emily and Parker. That doesn't change us or our friendship. But this relationship with Nick is what I want now."

"Sometimes I think I made a mistake convincing you to come to New York. You had a life in California."

Elizabeth turned to give her friend a sharp look. "What life?"

"A life as a painter."

"I was a painter. I'm not anymore. Are we going to go through this again?"

"Liz, you can't keep punishing yourself for what your mother did. She hurt herself. You didn't hurt her."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from For Better or Worse by JILL AMY ROSENBLATT Copyright © 2009 by Jill Amy Rosenblatt. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2013

    Great chick lit

    I really enjoyed this breezy book. Well written with fun characters and a nice style. It was easy to empathize with the characters too.

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    Posted May 1, 2011

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