One Hot Summerby Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Carolina Aguilera Garcia
Margaritaalong with her 30-something Cuban-American friends Vivian and Anabelis still trying to figure it all out. DO the right pair of Manolo Blahniks equal happiness? Margarita is pretty sure that an empty life can't be filled simply with material pleasures. SO when she begins to fall back in love with her old college flame, jeopardizing the strong marriage she prides herself on, her world starts to rumble. Will Margarita throw away everything she ha worked so hard to build with her husband and young son, for the love and passion of her life? Or will she tuck her passionate love life back into the history books, along with her fast-track legal career, in order to be the perfect stay-at-home wife both her husband and her old-fashioned mother want her to be?
Witnessing Margarita's and her friends' lives transform from crippling self-doubt to powerful self-doscoverywith some side-splitting comedic romps in betweenOne Hot Summer is the summer's hottest read. It's the story of three women trying to get it rightand having some fun along the way.
About the Author:
Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, born in Cuba, was a private investigator for ten years and eventually turned to writing full time. Her previous books include Bloody Waters, Bloody Shame, Bloody Secrets, A Miracle in Paradise, Havana Heat, and Bitter Sugarall wonderfully acclaimed mysteries in the Lupe Solano series. In 1999, she was awarded the Flamingo Award, and in 2001, she was honored with the Shamus Award.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- 6.32(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.09(d)
Read an Excerpt
I was in an unusually upbeat mood, riding that luscious high a woman comes by when she knows she's looking particularly fine and that she has a good time ahead of her. Earlier in the day I'd run over to Saks Fifth Avenue at the Bal Harbour Shops and picked up a new dress, a simple Armani sleeveless black sheath that fit me perfectly. I knew I would get a lot of use out of it. My previous black dress, reserved for trips to the Caballero Funeral Home, had been getting overexposed, I figured, since I'd worn it to more than a dozen wakes and funerals. It needed replacing with a fresher and more stylish model. My husband claims that I'll jump at any excuse to go shopping. I guess he's right.
Well, what of it?
In Cuban Miami, going to a wake at a funeral home isn't necessarily the depressing social trial it would be anyplace else. A wake doubles as a social setting where old friends get together and reconnect before setting out for the night. And that was Miami for you -- not even death can get in the way of the pursuit of a good time.
It was seven o'clock on a hot sultry early July night. I was driving on the MacArthur Causeway with the latest Marc Anthony CD blasting. The speed limit on the causeway was fifty but no one -- except maybe for tourists and old ladies'ever drove that slow.
I had just left Miami Beach, where I live, heading for Coral Gables to meet my best friends -- Vivian Mendoza and Anabel Acosta -- at the wake for the great-aunt of Maria Teresa Martinez, another of our friends. Neither Vivian nor Anabel nor I had ever so much asexchanged pleasantries with the octogenarian lady who had passed away peacefully in her sleep earlier that day, but because of our friendship with Maria Teresa, our attendance was mandatory.
I hoped it would be a closed-casket viewing -- however oxymoronic the concept. It gave me the creeps to make small talk with a dead body lying a few feet away. I could never banish the thought that the deceased was listening to us discussing what restaurant we preferred for dinner that night. It just wasn't seemly, and, now that I was thinking about it, I realized that this entire train of thought was threatening to dampen my mood. So I pushed it away. I really wanted, no, I needed, to have a good time that night.
In Cuban circles, wakes are actually considered a great place to pick up dates -- if not in the viewing room, definitely at the cafeteria behind the building. The quality of the pickings rose in proportion to how well-known the deceased might have been, or whether he or she came from a big family. When we were teenagers, Vivian and Anabel and I would check out all the boys at viewings and discuss their physical traits within earshot of the deceased. Not exactly proper behavior for three Catholic girls -- maybe my guilt over my actions lay behind my distaste for open-casket viewings now that I'm an adult. The worst part when we were girls came when the priest started to recite the rosary. It took forever, and there was no escape -- no one could possibly leave the room while the rosary was being said, that was one of the few rules that could never be broken. We used to try to time our visits to avoid encountering the priest.
I have countless memories from wakes throughout my life, and every so often my friends and I reminisce about all the viewings we've attended together. Of course we only remember as pleasant the wakes that involved an elderly distant relative and not someone we were close to -- those evoked a different kind of memory altogether. The wake that night was in the former category: None of us knew the departed, and we were looking forward to having dinner together afterward. Since two of the three of us were married, there was no need to check out the scene. It was a night out for us, something we hadn't enjoyed in at least a few weeks. Maybe longer, after I thought about it.
Driving always clears my mind. I watched Biscayne Bay shimmer like spun silver. There was some kind of regatta going on, boats with bright sails stretched taut against the wind, their masts almost touching water. They skimmed the surface, headed north in tight formation. Farther along I saw a Sealand container ship so heavily loaded that it lay ow in the water; it was pulled by two tugboats through the narrow channel, almost visibly yearning for the open seas.
There were three cruise ships, so enormous they looked like floating apartment buildings, docked in a line at the Port of Miami for service before heading south to sail the Caribbean. I'd never taken a cruise, and every time I saw one of these ships I fantasized about drifting off on one, removing myself from daily life and going completely incommunicado. My temptation, or desperation, had never built to the point where I was compelled to buy a ticket and go. Still, I read the Sunday Miami Herald travel section every week from cover to cover.
I passed the bridge that led to Palm and Hibiscus Islands, taking my eyes off the road for a second to look for one of the dolphins that could sometimes be seen cavorting in the distance. But it was not to be. I might have been a sophisticated thirty-five-year-old woman who'd seen plenty of dolphins in the wild before, but the sight of one of those majestic animals still always made my heart race. It wasn't such a bad thing to maintain some shred of innocence inside my soul. It wasn't easy, not in...One Hot Summer. Copyright © by Carolina Aguilera Garcia. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Carolina Garcia-Aguilera is the author of the much-lauded One Hot Summer as well as the Lupe Solano mystery series. She was a private investigator for more than fifteen years before turning to writing full-time in 1996, The recipient of the Flamingo Award in 1999 and the Shamus Award in 2000, Ms. Garcia-Aguilera lives in Miami Beach.
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What a great book! Couldn't put it down. Perfect reading for the summer; a smart romance filled with insights on the Cuban exile experience in Miami. I really, really liked it!