The Klone and I: A High-Tech Love Story

( 41 )

Overview

Stephanie had a rat for a husband. But after 13 years of marriage and two kids, she was devastated when he left her for a younger woman. Suddenly Stephanie was alone. And after months of trying to find a little romance on New York's wild singles circuit, she was ready to give up, reconciled to just raising her two great, but outspoken, kids. Then a spur-of-the-moment trip to Paris changed everything.

She met him on the Left Bank. Peter Baker was a marvelously handsome high-tech ...

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Klone and I: A High-Tech Love Story

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Overview

Stephanie had a rat for a husband. But after 13 years of marriage and two kids, she was devastated when he left her for a younger woman. Suddenly Stephanie was alone. And after months of trying to find a little romance on New York's wild singles circuit, she was ready to give up, reconciled to just raising her two great, but outspoken, kids. Then a spur-of-the-moment trip to Paris changed everything.

She met him on the Left Bank. Peter Baker was a marvelously handsome high-tech entrepreneur also visiting the city. Stephanie was certain it couldn't possibly work. Peter was just too perfect. But much to her amazement, he contacted her when they returned to New York. And at the Long Island rental cottage she shared with her kids, Stephanie embarked on a bizarre and hilarious adventure beyond her wildest dreams.

Shy, serious Peter, chairman of a bionic enterprise, was supposed to be away on business. Instead, he's standing at her door, wearing day-glo satin and rhinestones. Naturally, Stephanie thinks it's a joke--until the truth suddenly dawns: this isn't Peter playing a role. This is his double! Calling himself Paul Klone, this wild, uninhibited creature isn't even remotely like Peter except for his identically sexy good looks. This uproarious novel explores the outrageous love triangle that develops between Stephanie, Peter...and the Klone.

In a wickedly funny, right-on-target look at finding the perfect mate in an imperfect world, bestselling novelist Danielle Steel reveals insights into the human heart that have made her novels #1 bestsellers around the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Give Steel points for turning from her usual tearjerkers (The Long Road Home) and trying her hand at a playful romantic comedy with a twist. The twist involves a bionic man who wears Versace clothes and leopard G-strings and carries a matching set of purple alligator Hermes luggage. This suave creature, called Paul Klone, is the brainchild of Peter Blake, an eligible mensch. While Paul and Peter look alike, their personalities could not be more opposite. Stephanie, Steel's long-suffering heroine, has been thrown over by her husband Roger for a young bimbo, and flees to Paris with her two children to recuperate from the betrayal.

It's there that a newly slimmed down and dressed-up Stephanie meets Peter, who begins to woo her, even following her back home to Manhattan. Things are going well, there are trips to the theater and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, until Peter travels to California on business, and sends Paul (The Klone) to keep Stephanie company. And, naturally, Paul (who's more like a robot, with electrical wiring and a removable head), is all the outrageous things that sober Peter is not: charming, spontaneous, and an artist in bed: Besides the Day-Glo wardrobe, he performs triple somersaults during sex, and is working on his quadruple. It's no surprise, then, that Stephanie finds her affections pulled in two very different directions. Paul is fun, but could she marry a robot? Peter's sweet, but not nearly as stimulating as Paul. Can she have both? And what will the kids say, not to mention her ex-husband? A deft, bubbly, decidedly unusual romance, and a welcome departure for the ever-redoubtable Steel.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440225690
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/27/1999
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 322,778
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Danielle Steel
Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world's most popular authors, with over 370 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include: The Long Road Home, The Ghost, Special Delivery, The Ranch, Silent Honor, Malice, Five Days in Paris, Lightning, Wings, The Gift, Accident, Vanished, Mixed Blessings and other highly acclaimed novels.

Biography

When it comes to commanding bestseller lists, no writer can come close to Danielle Steel. Her work has been published in 47 countries, in 28 languages. She has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the author who has spent the most consecutive weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. She has not only published novels, but has written non-fiction, a book of poetry, and two series of children's books. Many of her books have been adapted for television movies, one of which (Jewels) was nominated for two Golden Globe awards. She has received the title of Chevalier of the distinguished Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government for her immense body of work. In short, to say that Steel is the single most popular living writer in the world is no overstatement.

Steel published her first novel, Going Home, when she was a mere 26 years old, and the book introduced readers to many of the themes that would dominate her novels for the next 30-odd years. It is an exploration of human relationships told dramatically, a story of the past's thrall on the present. Anyone familiar with Steel's work will recognize these themes as being close to her heart, as are familial issues, which are at the root of her many mega-sellers.

Although Steel has a reputation among critics as being a writer of fluffy, escapist fare, she never shies away from taking on dark subject matter, having addressed illnesses, incest, suicide, divorce, death, the Holocaust, and war in her work. Of course, even when she is handling unsavory topics, she does so entertainingly and with refinement. Her stories may often cross over into the realm of melodrama, but she never fails to spin a compelling yarn told with a skilled ear for dialogue and character, while consistently showing how one can overcome the greatest of tragedies. Ever prolific, she usually produces several books per year, often juggling multiple projects at the same time.

With all of the time and effort Steel puts into her work (she claims to sometimes spend as much as 20 hours a day at her keyboard), it is amazing that she still has time for a personal life. However, as one might assume from her work, family is still incredibly important to her, and she maintains a fairly private personal life. Fortunately for her millions of fans, she continues to devote more than a small piece of that life to them.

Good To Know

Along with her famed adult novels, Steel has also written two series of books for kids with the purpose of helping them through difficult situations, such as dealing with a new stepfather and coping with the death of a grandparent.

When Steel isn't working on her latest bestseller or spending time with her beloved family, she is devoting her time to one of several philanthropic projects to benefit the mentally ill, the homeless, and abused children.

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    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 14, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Educated in France. Also attended Parsons School of Design, 1963, and New York University, 1963-67
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

My first, and thus far only, marriage ended exactly two days before Thanksgiving. I remember the moment perfectly. I was lying on the floor of our bedroom, halfway under the bed, looking for a shoe, with my favorite well-worn flannel nightgown halfway to my neck, when my husband walked in, wearing gray flannel slacks and a blazer. As always, he looked immaculate, and was impeccably dressed. I heard him say something vaguely unintelligible as I found  the glasses I'd been looking for, for two years, a fluorescent plastic bracelet  I never knew was gone, and a red sneaker that must have belonged to my son, Sam,  when he was a toddler. Sam was six by the time I found the lost sneaker. So much for thorough cleaning at our house. Apparently none of the parade of cleaning ladies I had ever looked under the beds.

As I emerged, Roger looked at me, and I politely rearranged the nightgown. He looked embarrassingly formal, as I glanced at him, the top of my hair still sticking up from my foray under the bed.

"What did you say?" I asked with a smile, unaware that one of the blueberries  from the muffin I'd eaten an hour before was delicately lodged next to my eyetooth. I only discovered it half an hour later, when my nose was red and I was  crying, and happened to see myself in the mirror. But at this point in the saga, I was still smiling, with no inkling of what was to come.

"I asked you to sit down," he said, eyeing my costume, my hairdo, and my smile, with interest. I have always found it difficult to discuss anything intelligent with a man when he is dressed for Wall Street, and I am wearing one of my well-loved nightgowns. My hair was clean, but I hadn't had time to comb it since the night before, my nails were trimmed and also clean, but I had given up  wearing nail polish sometime in college. I thought it made me look more intelligent not to wear it. Besides, it was too much trouble. After all, I was  married. At that point, I was still suffering from the delusion that married women don't have to try as hard. Apparently, I was sorely mistaken, as I discovered only moments later.

We sat down across from each other in the two satin-covered chairs at the foot of our bed, as I thought again how stupid it was to have them there. They always looked to me as though we were meant to sit there and negotiate going to  bed. But Roger said he liked them that way, apparently they reminded him of his  mother. I had never looked past that statement for a deeper meaning, which was,  perhaps, part of the problem. Roger talked a lot about his mother.

He looked as though he had something important to say to me, while I carefully buttoned up the nightgown, sorry that I had not yet made it into a sweatshirt and blue jeans, my daily costume much of the time. Sex appeal was not foremost on my mind. Responsibility was, my kids were, being Roger's wife was important to me. Sex was something we still played at, once in a while. And lately it had not been often.

"How are you?" he asked, and I grinned again, somewhat nervously, the mischievous little blueberry undoubtedly still twinkling naughtily at him.

"How am I?  Fine, I think. Why?  How do I look?" I thought maybe he meant I  looked sick or something, but as it so happened, that came later.

I sat, waiting expectantly to hear him tell me he'd gotten a raise, lost his job, or was taking me to Europe, as he sometimes did, when he had time on his hands. Sometimes he just liked to take me on a trip as a surprise, it was usually his way of telling me he'd lost his job. But he didn't have that sheepish look in his eyes. It wasn't his job this time, or a holiday, it was a different kind of surprise.

The nightgown looked a little frail as we sat in the satin chairs, me sliding slowly forward uncomfortably. I had forgotten how slippery they were, since as a rule I never sat there. There were several small tears in the ancient flannel  I was wearing, nothing too revealing of course, and since I get cold at night, I was wearing a frayed T-shirt underneath. It was a look that had worked well for me, for thirteen years of marriage with him. Lucky thirteen, or at least it had been till then. And as I sat looking at him, Roger looked as familiar to me as my nightgown. It felt as though I had been married to him forever, and I had, and of course I knew I always would be. I had grown up with  him, had known him when we were both kids, and he had been my best friend for years, the only human being I truly trusted in the world. I knew that whatever other failings he had, and there were a few, he would never hurt me. He got cranky now and then, as most men do, he had trouble hanging on to a job, but he had never seriously hurt me, and he was never mean.

Roger had never been a raging success in his career. He had played at advertising when we were first married, had a number of jobs in marketing after  that, and invested in a series of less than stellar deals. But I never really cared. He was a nice man, and he was good to me. I wanted to be married to him.  And thanks to the grandfather who had set up a trust fund for me before he died, we always had enough money not just to get by, but to live pretty comfortably. Umpa's trust fund had not only provided well for me, but for Roger  and the kids, and allowed me to be understanding about the financial mistakes Roger made. Let's face it, and I had years before, when it came to making money, or keeping a job for more than a year or two, Roger did not have whatever it took. But he had other things. He was great with the kids, we liked  to watch the same shows on TV, we both loved spending our summers on the Cape, we had an apartment in New York we both loved, he let me pick the movies we went to once a week, no matter how sappy they were, and he had great legs. And when we were sleeping with each other in college, I thought Casanova paled in comparison to him in bed. I lost my virginity to him. We liked the same music, he sang in my ear when we danced. He was a great dancer, a good father, and my best friend. And if he couldn't hold on to a job, so what?  Umpa had taken the sting out of that for me. It never occurred to me that I could, or should, have  more. Roger was enough for me.

"What's up?" I asked cheerfully, crossing one bare leg over the other. I hadn't shaved my legs in weeks, but it was November after all, and I knew Roger  didn't care. I wasn't going to the beach, only talking to Roger, sitting at the  foot of our bed on those stupid, slippery satin chairs, waiting to hear the surprise he had for me.

"There's something I want to tell you," he said, eyeing me cautiously, as though he secretly knew I was wired with an explosive device, and he was waiting for me to blow up in a million pieces. But discounting the stubble on my legs and the blueberry in my teeth, I was relatively harmless, and always had been. I'm pretty even-tempered, a good sport most of the time, and never asked a lot of him. We got along better than most of my friends, or so I thought, and I was grateful for that. I always knew we were in it for the long  haul, and figured that fifty years with Roger would not be a bad deal.  Certainly not for him. And not even for me.

"What is it?" I asked lovingly, wondering if he had gotten fired after all.  If he had, it certainly wasn't anything new to either of us. We'd gotten  through that before, though lately he seemed to be getting defensive about it,  and I'd noticed that the jobs seemed to be shorter and shorter. He felt he was  being picked on by his boss, his talents were never appreciated, and there was  "just no point taking any more crap at work." I had figured one of those moments  was heading our way again, as I'd noticed that he'd been crabbier than usual  for the past six months. He was questioning why he should have to work at all,  and talking about spending a year in Europe with me and the kids, or trying to  write a screenplay or a book. He had never mentioned anything like it before  until recently, and I figured he was having a mid-life crisis of some sort, and  contemplating trading in the daily grind at an office for "art" instead. If so,  Umpa's trust fund would have to get us through that too. In any case, so as not  to embarrass him, I never talked about his frequent failures or countless jobs,  or the fact that my dead grandfather had supported our family for years. I  wanted to be the perfect wife to him, and even if he wasn't the wizard of Wall  Street, he had never promised to be, and I still thought he was a good guy.

"What's up, sweetheart?" I asked, holding a hand out to him. But to his  credit, he didn't let me touch him. He was acting as though he were about to go  to jail for sexually harassing someone, or exposing himself at one of his  clubs, and was embarrassed to tell me. And then it came. Roger's Big  Announcement.

"I don't think I love you." He stared me right in the eye, as though he were  looking for an alien in there somewhere, and he was talking to that person,  instead of me with my torn nightgown and my stray blueberry.

"What?" The word shot out of me like a rocket.

"I said, I don't love you." He looked as though he meant it.

"No, you didn't." I stared back at him, my eyes narrowing. And for no reason  in the world, I remember noticing that he was wearing the tie I had given him  last Christmas. Why the hell had he put that on just to tell me he didn't love  me?  "You said you think you don't love me, not 'you don't love me.'  There's a difference." We always argued about stupid things like that, the  small stuff, about who had finished the milk and who had forgotten to turn the  lights off. We never argued about the important stuff, like how to bring up the  children, or where they went to school. There was nothing to argue about. I  took care of all that. He was always too busy playing tennis or golf, or going fishing with  friends, or nursing the worst cold in history, to argue with me about the kids.  He figured that was my domain. He may have been a great dancer, and a lot of  fun at times, but responsibility was not his thing. Roger took care of himself  more than he took care of me, but in thirteen years I had somehow managed not  to notice that. All I had wanted was to get married at the time, and have kids.  Roger had made my dreams come true. And undeniably, we had great kids. But what  I'd failed to see until that point, was how little he did for me.

"What happened?" I asked, fighting a rising wave of panic over what he had  just said. My husband "didn't think" he loved me. How did that fit into the  scheme of things?

"I don't know," Roger said, looking uncomfortable. "I just looked around and  realized I don't belong here." This was a lot worse than getting fired. It  sounded like he was going to fire me. And he looked as though he meant it.

"You don't belong here?  What are you talking about?" I asked,  sliding still farther off the satin chair, suddenly feeling unbelievably ugly  in my nightgown. Sometime in the last ten years, I should have found the time  to buy new ones, I realized. "You live here. We love each other. We have two  children, for chrissake. Roger . . . are you drunk?  Are you on  drugs?" Then suddenly I wondered, "Maybe you should be. Prozac. Zoloft.  Midol. Something. Are you feeling sick?" I wasn't trying to discredit what he had said, I just didn't understand it. This was the craziest thing he'd come up  with yet. More so even than saying he was going to write a book or a screenplay. In thirteen years of marriage, I had never even known him to write a letter.

"I'm fine." He stared at me blankly, as though he no longer knew me, as  though I had already become a stranger to him. I reached out to touch his hand,  but he wouldn't let me.

"Steph, I mean it."

"You can't mean it," I said, tears leaping to my eyes, and suddenly running  down my cheeks faster than I could stop them. Instinctively, I lifted the hem  of the nightgown to my face, and saw that it came away black. The mascara I had  worn the day before was now smeared all over my face, and my nightgown. A  pretty picture. Most convincing. "We love each other, this is  crazy. . . ." I wanted to scream at him, "You can't do this to  me, you're my best friend." But in the blink of an eye, he no longer was. In a matter of moments, he had become a stranger.

"No, it isn't crazy." His eyes looked empty. He was already gone, and at that  precise moment, I knew it. My heart felt as though it had been hit with a  battering ram, which had not only shattered it to bits, but driven right  through it.

"When did you decide this?"

"Last summer," he said calmly. "On the Fourth of July," he added with  absolute precision. What had I done wrong on the Fourth of July?  I wasn't  sleeping with any of his friends, I hadn't lost any of the children so far. My  trust fund hadn't run out, and shouldn't for both our lifetimes. What in hell  was his problem?  And without Umpa's trust fund and my good nature about the  jobs he lost, how did he think he was going to eat?

"Why the Fourth of July?"

"I just knew when I looked at you that it was over," he said coolly.

"Why?  Is there someone else?" I could hardly get the words out and he looked  wounded by what I said to him.

"Of course not." Of course not. My husband of thirteen years tells me he no  longer loves me and I'm not supposed to at least suspect a rival with enormous  breasts who remembers to shave her legs more often than just at the change  of the seasons. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not entirely disgusting, nor am I  covered with fur, nor do I have a mustache. But I will admit to you now, as I  look back at that painful time, I had grown a little careless. People did not  retch as I walked past them on the street. Men at cocktail parties still found  me attractive. But with  Roger . . . perhaps . . . I had become a little  less than attentive. I wasn't fat or anything, I just didn't dress up much at  home, and my costumes in bed were a little odd. So sue me. He did.

"Are you leaving me?" I asked, sounding desperate. I couldn't believe this  was happening to me. All my adult and married life I had been supercilious  about women who lost their husbands, i.e., those whose husbands divorced them.  That could never happen to me, nor would it. I was about to  discover it could, and had, and was happening at that exact moment, as I  slipped almost entirely off the goddam slippery satin chair in my own bedroom,  with Roger watching me as though he were a stranger, and I were someone he  hadn't been married to for thirteen years. He looked at me like an alien from another planet.

"I think so," he said in answer to my question about whether he was leaving.

"But why?" I was beginning to sob then. I was convinced he had  killed me, or was trying to. I have never been so frightened in my entire  life. The status and the man who had been my identity, my security, my life, were about  to disappear. And then who would I be?  No one.

"I have to leave. I need to. I can't breathe here." I had never noticed him  having any trouble breathing. He breathed fine, from what I could see. In fact  he snored like a Zamboni on an ice rink. I kind of liked it. To me, it sounded  like a large cat purring. But then again I wasn't the one who was leaving, he  was. "The kids drive me nuts," he explained. "It's just too much pressure  all the time, too much responsibility . . . too much  noise . . . too much everything . . . and  when I look at you, I see a stranger."

"Me?" I asked, with a look of amazement. What stranger would parade around  his house with uncombed hair, unshaven legs, and a torn flannel nightgown?   Strangers wore micro miniskirts, stiletto heels, and tight sweaters over enormous silicone implants. Apparently, no one had told him.

"We're not strangers after knowing you for nineteen  years, Roger, you're my best friend." But  not any longer. "When are you leaving?" I managed to choke out the words,  while still smearing the watery black mascara all over my nightgown. It wasn't  a very pretty picture. Pathetic barely began to touch it.  Ugly would have done it better. Revolting would have said  it all. I must have looked nothing short  of disgusting, and to add to the romance of it all, my nose started  running.

"I thought I'd stay through the holidays," Roger said grandly. It was nice of  him, I guess, but it also meant I had approximately one month to either adjust  to it, or talk him out of leaving. Maybe a vacation in Mexico . . . Hawaii . . .  Tahiti . . . the Galapagos would do it. Someplace warm and sexy.  I'm sure at that moment he had absolutely no problem at all imagining me on a  beach somewhere, in a T-shirt  and a flannel nightgown. "I'm moving into the guest room." He looked and  sounded as though he meant it. It was my worst nightmare. The impossible had  happened. My husband was leaving me, and had just told me he no longer loved  me. I managed to throw my arms around his neck then and smear what was left of  my mascara all over his immaculate shirt collar. My tears fell unseen on his  blazer, and my nose ran on his tie, while ever so cautiously he held me, kind  of like a bank teller afraid to get too near the bank robber with sticks of  dynamite taped all over his body. The one thing that was obvious was that he  didn't want to get near me.

In retrospect, I'm not sure I blame him. Looking back, I also realize how  little contact we had had for a long time. We were making love in those days  about once every two or three months, sometimes as much as every six months, after I'd  complained enough about it, and he felt obliged to. Funny how you overlook  things like that, or explain them to yourself. I just thought he was stressed  about his job, or the lack of one, depending on his current situation. Or it  was because one of the kids was asleep in our bed, or the dog, or something,  anything. I guess that wasn't the problem. Maybe I just bored him. But sex was  the last thing on my mind as I looked across at him that morning. My life was  on a tightrope and teetering badly.

He finally managed to unwind my arms from around his neck, and I retreated to  my bathroom, where I sobbed into a towel and then took a good look at myself,  and saw not only the hairdo that eight hours on my pillow had achieved, but the  remains of the blueberry muffin. Seeing myself just as he had, only made me cry  harder. I had no idea what to do to get him back, or worse, if I even could.  Looking back, I wonder if I had relied on the trust fund to keep him for me.  Maybe I assumed that his natural ineptitude would make him dependent on me. But  clearly, even that hadn't done the trick. I had thought that sparing him any  responsibility, and being a good sport about everything, would make him love me  more. Instead, I had the feeling he had come to hate me.

I cried all day, as I recall, and that night he moved into the guest room. He  told the kids he had work to do, and like a truck with three flat tires, we  lumbered awkwardly through Thanksgiving. My parents were there, and his, and  Roger's sister Angela and her kids. Her husband had left her the previous year,  for his secretary. I could suddenly see myself in her shoes in the not too distant future. And out of sheer embarrassment I told no one what had happened. Only Roger's sister  said that I looked like I was coming down with something. Yeah, the same thing  she had when Norman left her. Six months of intense depression. And the only  thing that seemed to be saving her was the fact that she was now having an  affair with her shrink.

Christmas was beyond belief that year, the stockings were hung by the chimney with  care, and I cried every time no one was looking. Worse yet, I still couldn't  believe it, and did everything I could to talk Roger out of leaving, except buy  new nightgowns. More than ever, I needed my old standbys. I wore  them with mismatched pairs of Roger's socks now. But Roger was in therapy by  then, and more convinced than ever that he was doing the right thing by leaving  me. He wasn't even in trouble at work this time, and had stopped talking about  writing a novel.

We told the kids on New Year's Day. Sam was six then, and Charlotte was eleven.  They cried so unbelievably that I thought I would die watching them. Someone I  knew had described that as the worst day of her life, and I readily believed  it. After we told them, I threw up and went to bed. Roger called his therapist,  and went out to dinner with a friend. I was beginning to hate him. He seemed so  healthy. And I felt dead inside. He had killed me, and everything I had once  believed in. But the worst part was, instead of hating him, I hated me.

He moved out two weeks later. I will try to spare you the boring details, and  hit only the high points. According to him all the silver, china, good  furniture, the stereo, the computer, and sports equipment was his, because he had  written the checks that paid for them, although my trust fund had supplied his  checkbook. I owned all the linens, the furniture we'd both hated from Day One,  and everything in the kitchen, broken or not. He had already contacted a  lawyer, but I didn't find out until after he moved out that he was suing me for  alimony and child support, equal to whatever he thought he'd spend on them  whenever he had the kids, right down to the toothpaste they'd use and rented  videos. And he had a girlfriend. The day I found that out was the day I  knew we were truly finished.

I met her for the first time when I took the kids down to him in the car on  Valentine's Day, and she was with him. She was perfect. Beautiful, blond,  sexy, her skirt was so short I could see her underwear. She looked about  fourteen, and I hoped had an IQ of seven. Roger was wearing a ski parka,  jeans, which he had previously refused to wear, and a grin that was so obscene  it made me want to hit him. She was gorgeous. And I felt nauseous.

There was no kidding myself after that. I knew damn well why he had left. It  wasn't just a matter of proving something to himself, as he had said to me more  than once by then, or no longer wanting to depend on me (Was he kidding?  Who  was going to support him, if not me?), all of which would have seemed almost  admirable, if I hadn't looked right into that girl's face and seen the truth.  She was beautiful, and I (whatever looks I still had, and I must have still had  some) was a mess. The uncombed hair, the haircuts I never got, the makeup I  never wore, the high heels I no longer cared about, the comfortable clothes  that were so much easier for carpooling the kids (outfits composed of my  oldest faded sweatshirts, Roger's discarded tennis shorts, and espadrilles with  holes in them), the unshaven legs (thank God I still shaved my underarms, or  he'd have left years before), the things we no longer  did . . . suddenly, I saw it all, and knew it all. But along  with the all-too-clear messages about me, I also knew something else about him.  It isn't sexy taking care of a man to the extent that I took care of him. A man  who lets you do everything for him because he's too lazy to care for himself,  or take care of you, doesn't turn you on after a while. I may have loved Roger,  but he probably hadn't revved my motor in years. How could he?  I was covering  up for him, trying to make him look and feel good in spite of everything he  didn't do and wasn't. But what about me?  I was beginning to think Umpa may not have done  me such a big favor after all. Poor thing, it wasn't his fault, God knows. But  I had become some kind of cash cow to Roger, an extension of his own mother,  who had taken care of everything for him before I came along. And what I could  no longer remember was what he did for me. Take out the garbage, turn off the  lights at night, drive the kids to tennis when I had something else to  do . . . but what was it that he did for me?  Damned  if I knew.

That was the day I threw out my flannel nightgowns. All of them. All right,  except one. I saved it in case I got really sick one day, or someone died, and  I knew I'd need it for comfort. The others went out with the garbage. The next  day, I got my nails done, and got a haircut. It was the beginning of a long,  slow, painful process, which included shaving my legs religiously, winter or  summer, jogging in Central Park twice a week, reading the newspaper thoroughly,  not just the headlines, wearing makeup even when I picked the kids up at  school, reevaluating my hemlines, buying new underwear, and accepting whatever  invitations came my way, and there weren't many.

I went to anything and everything, and invariably came home profoundly  depressed. There was no male equivalent to Roger's friend, the person Sam and  Charlie now called Miss Bimbo, whose face, hair, looks, and legs now haunted me.  The trouble is, I wanted to look like her, but still be me.

The process took me approximately seven months to complete after he left, and  by then we were well into the following summer. I was doggedly paying alimony  and child support by then, had replaced the silver and china, some of the  furniture, and no longer woke up every morning trying to think of ways to get  Roger back, or kill him. I had called my old therapist, Dr. Steinfeld, and was  "working through" things, like brambles, or the fog in London. I had more or  less come to understand why he had left, although I hated Roger for his lack of  charity. I had put up with his lack of business acumen, why couldn't he have  been more tolerant about the way I looked?  I had fallen into disrepair like a  sailboat no one loved anymore. I had had barnacles on my bottom, my sails were  frayed, and my paint was chipping. But I was still a damn fine boat, and he  should have loved me enough to see me through it. The blunt truth was, he  didn't, probably never had. Except for two wonderful children, it was thirteen years wasted. Gone. Poof. Vanished. Like Roger. He was out of my life  completely, except to argue with me about changing my plans and keeping the  children every time he wanted to be with Miss Bimbo. Worse yet, it turned out  that she not only had great legs, but she had a trust fund bigger than mine,  which really said it all to me. Apparently, she loved the idea of  his not working, and thought he should write a screenplay, he was so  "talented," according to what the kids repeated to me, that she thought he was  wasting himself at work. Besides, we both knew he could afford to live  handsomely off the alimony I was paying him, for the next five years anyway.  That was what the judge awarded him. Five years of a hefty alimony and child  support and then he was on his own again. And then what?  He'd marry her?  Or  would he finally try to support himself?  Maybe he didn't care anymore. Pride no  longer entered into it, but it sure made me look back at where we'd started  with a jaundiced eye.

We had moved in with each other after I finished college. I'd been working as a  junior editor at a magazine at the time. The job paid peanuts, but I loved it.  And Roger had been making as little as I as an account exec at a small  advertising agency. We talked about getting married, and knew we would  eventually. But Roger kept insisting he didn't want to get married until he  could support me, and our kids one day. Six years somehow slipped by, Roger  changed jobs four times, and I was still in the same one. And then, when I  turned twenty-eight, my grandfather died, and left the trust fund to take care  of me. It all fell into place after that, though I'll have to admit, getting  married then was my idea. We didn't have to wait anymore. It didn't matter how  small our salaries were, though Roger insisted he didn't want to live off me.  He wouldn't be, I promised him. We could still support ourselves, and fall back  on my new trust fund to help us when we had children. I talked him into it, or  at least I thought I did. We got married six months after that, and then I got  pregnant, and quit my job. And then the great purge came in advertising, Roger told me everyone was getting fired. And by the time the baby came, I was  grateful for Umpa's money. It wasn't Roger's fault he was out of work for  nearly a year. He had even offered to drive a cab, but with what I had from  Umpa, it seemed stupid. My mother warned me then in ominous undertones that  Roger did not appear to be much of a provider, and I loyally defended him, and  ignored her.

We bought an apartment on the East Side, Roger finally found a job, and I loved  staying home with the baby and being married. This was what life was all about.  I loved sitting in the park all afternoon with the baby in the pram, chatting  with the other mothers. And I loved the security Umpa gave us. It made it  possible for Roger to work at jobs he loved, instead of jobs he hated. It  seemed to me like we had a lot of freedom. And that was just what Roger had  now. Freedom. From me. From the kids, most of the time. From responsibility, as  usual. He had everything he wanted, including Miss Bimbo to tell him how  terrific he was, and how persecuted he had been. All he had to do was look at  her and he could remember with ease how boring I'd been. And why the hell had  he come out of it so lucky?  From what I could see, he was starting back at the  beginning. A new life. A pretty girl on his arm, her trust fund or mine. I  wondered how much difference it made to him, and couldn't help wondering if  he'd ever loved me. Maybe I was just convenient. A stroke of luck that came  along at the right time and made his life easy. It was impossible to know, in  the end, what had been in his heart and mind in the beginning.

At that moment, with those questions rattling around in my head, I became one  of the walking wounded. Which prepared me perfectly for dating. A new chapter  in my life. A new era. And, I told myself, I was ready.

The divorce was final in September. Roger married Miss Bimbo in November,  almost a year to the day after he had told me he didn't love me. I told myself  he had done me a favor, though I didn't entirely believe it. I missed my old  illusions, the comfort of having a husband, a warm body in my bed to cuddle up  to, a person to talk to, someone to watch the children for me when I had a  fever. It's funny the things you miss when you no longer have them. I missed a  lot of things about him at times, but I lived through it. And Helena, as she  was called, was now Mrs. Bimbo and had all those things I was missing. The  unfortunate thing for her was that she had them with Roger. I had become a lot more  honest with myself by then, and knew full well the places where I had closed my  eyes, the things I had chosen not to see too clearly or too often. Okay, so he  was a good dancer and sang a great tune, but then what?  Who was going to take  care of her when things got rough?  What was going to happen when she found out  that Roger could not only not write a screenplay, but not keep a job?  Or didn't  she care?  Maybe to her it made no difference. But whether or not it did to her,  and no matter how inadequate he may have been, he had nonetheless been my  husband. And now he was hers, and to me, at that exact moment, it looked like I  had nothing.

I was forty-one years old, had learned to comb my hair finally, had a therapist  who insisted I was sexy, intelligent, and beautiful. I had two kids I loved,  and bought fourteen incredibly expensive satin nightgowns. I was ready. For  what, I didn't know yet. From what I could see, there was still no one out  there, except my friends' husbands, whom I wouldn't have touched with a  ten-foot pole, though several of them tried energetically to convince me  otherwise, and all of whom were even more boring than Roger. But in case Prince  Charming showed up, and wandered into my life one day, I was prepared. My legs  were shaved, my nails were done, I'd lost ten pounds. And the kids said my new  haircut made me look like Claudia Schiffer. Shows you what loyalty can do to a  kid's eyesight. By Christmas, thirteen months after that fateful day when Roger  sat in the satin chair at the foot of our bed and let me have it right between  the eyes, I had even stopped crying. Even the blueberry muffin was a dim memory  by then, and in fact, so was Roger. For all intents and purposes, I had  recovered. And then came dating. And a whole new life I was totally unprepared  for.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    This one i didnt not like

    This one was not good

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    Vngjgjruru

    Tunurruhvmrututtubyfhnmyu bnvn b c

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Not the greatest

    I have read every Danielle Steel novel penned, but I must say this one was awful. Definitely not up to Steel's usual high caliber.............If you want my advice, just skip this one. That being said, I would highly recommend any other Steel novel.

    Only giving one star because I have to in order to post this review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Not her best work

    The book has its giggles, but overall isn't up to Steel's normal caliber. The text is also loaded with typos.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2011

    Delightful escape from Steel's usual books!

    Not only delightful but cutely kinky. I adore Danielle steel and have read most of her works, this is by far an escape from all the rest- a fun read!

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    Uggg... don't do it!

    A woman is left by her husband, she meets someone who travels a lot so he sends her a Klone to keep her company. A romance mix up with her boyfriend and Klone- very predictable, very dumb! Not a good story, weird- don't waste your time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2005

    RIDICULOUS

    I guess Danielle Steel probably wrote this book as a break from her usual types of romance and strong heroine-based stories...there is nothing wrong with that and I tried to keep this in mind while I was reading it. But this was absolutely one of the worst books I have ever read. Although it does have some humor, I just expected better from her. The story was RIDICULOUS!!! I have read every one of her books and I must say that I am sorry I wasted my money on this one. Read anything else she has written, but do not waste your time on this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2003

    Disappointed

    I was very disappointed with this book. Absolutely Kookie! I would have never guessed it was written by Danielle Steele. I would not reccomend this book to anyone. All others I have read by Danielle Steele are great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2003

    FUNNY

    This is the first book I've read that has made me laugh out loud in a long time.Mrs Steel you've done an excellent job. Keep those funny books coming. We need a break from those tear jerkers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2002

    Good laughing material

    I read this book a while back but in part it still stays with me. I think the reason being is because it is not like anything else she has ever written. I have rarely read a book that actually made me laugh out loud, but this one really did. It may not be one of her best writings but still a very enjoyable light book to read. I would recommend this book if you need a good laugh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    different

    this book was very unique. i enjoyed it. its a break from the normal romance novels, i mean it isnt like d.s is trying to hide anything from you...THE TITLE SAYS IT ALL. But seriously, this book is really cute and i really enjoyed it. It makes you laugh out loud, and sometimes that is what we all need... a break from reality:)HIGHLY RECOMENDED

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2002

    not the usual Danielle Steel

    Okay, so this book was not the kind that Steel writes. Yes, it was silly and not very realistic, but it was a little different from Steels usual style of writing. The part I liked the most was when the main character Steph was introduced by wearing a torn flannel gown, blueberry stuck in her teeth, and unshaven legs. I laughed out loud. It was such a break from Steels typical heroine being thin(even after five children)classy, and always dressed fashionable.I think all us moms sometimes feel like Steph. My loyalty still stays with Steel. There may be hope for her next novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2001

    READ THIS

    i will say that his book is an interesting one until he meet with the klone i also think like a french that this book is ungly and never should be on a collection of best seller

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2001

    A Great Love Story With a Different Twist!!

    The Klone and I was a great story about how one man who really loves another woman tries to make sure she is never lonely for him. Stephanie meets Peter in Paris and they begin a relationship. Peter is involved in high-tech bionics and creates a look-alike of himself. Stepahnie must then decide who she really loves, Peter or his Klone. This is a very cute story. It will make you laugh and cry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2001

    Great Love Story

    I thought that this book was great. I could really relate to it. I even cried towards the end of the story. This book was so good I had my boy-friend read it. It depends on the individual how they like this book and I liked it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2001

    the poorest danielle steel book to date.

    i did not like this book. if you are into sci-fi you might enjoy this bizarre tale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    Not Even Entertaining

    I was a Danielle Steele fan many years ago but stopped reading her books as I felt they all had the same theme. I thought this book seemed to be different from all her other books. Well, it definitely was. I did not find it entertaining or funny. The part where she went to the therapist I guess was supposed to be funny but I found it annoying. After having one failed marriage due to lack of communication why wouldn't the main character speak honestly in this new relationship? And nothing could make me understand why she would be intimate with both even after she realizes they are not the same person. Once again, very disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2000

    different but still cute

    I really enjoy all of Danielle Steels books. This one took a different twist but was still cute. You need to go in with the mind frame that this is not a true story because the you can enjoy it more. Dont expect everything to be a fact. This is really good for a rainy afternoon tucked in a comfortable chair.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2000

    A BUBBLY, LIGHT-HEARTED FANTASY DELIGHT

    Steele doing sci-fi! Who'd have thunk it? A charming, innovative tale of a woman who is devastated from a parting until she finds a new sweetheart AND finds herself in a love triangle with said sweetheart and his robot double! This book is excellent, excellent, EXCELLENT! Buy two copies -- you'll wear out the first with re-reading!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2000

    not that bad

    I read alot of the reviews and I really don't think it was that bad. I thought it was completely different from Danielle Steel's typical style. But, I really thought it was pretty funny. I'm not one that laughs out loud while reading a book but I did with this book. Although, it isn't one of her best I would still recommend this book if you want a good laugh.

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