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Some Kind Of Sexy
By Jamie Sobrato
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJULIET EMORY HELD the leather diary on her lap, both curious about and afraid of the secrets it kept. She had been saving her aunt's diary for months, waiting for the right time to read it. There would never be a right time though. It was the diary of her only family member, her beloved aunt Ophelia who had raised her from the time she was a little girl and who had passed away four months ago.
She needed to hang on to this piece of Ophelia, and now was as good a time as any. Yet when she imagined reading the diary, she felt like a voyeur. Her aunt had shown her the side of herself she wanted Juliet to know, but what if reading the journal revealed parts of Ophelia that were best kept hidden?
Juliet didn't want the image of her greatest role model
tarnished, and yet she wanted to hear Ophelia's voice again,
even if only in print.
A breeze rustled the leaves of the trees in the garden,
reminding Juliet of how she'd sat in this very spot in the
gazebo under the vines of bougainvillea as a child, imagining that the trees were whispering to her, that fairies flitted about among the flowers and that all her dreams were possible.
She opened the journal and a paper fell out and landed at her feet. A small, yellowed piece of parchment paper, which she bent and picked up.
She unfolded it and read the typed title.
Guiding Principles of The League of Scandalous Women.
A flood of memories came rushing at Juliet. Her aunt's Garden District mansion had been a center of the New Orleans art scene at one time, and The League of Scandalous Women had been at the heart of it all.
Any woman who felt bound by society's restrictions, any woman who wanted to celebrate self-expression, any woman who dared to defy the roles handed to her was welcome, and Juliet had witnessed it all through the wide eyes of a child.
She'd overheard the intellectual debates, the discussions of sexual freedom for women and the poetry readings that had often gone on into the early hours of the morning. She'd sat on the knees of some of the progressive thinkers who'd shaped the future for women in America. She'd grown up thinking avant-garde was normal.
As she read the list of the league's guiding principles, she was amazed at how well they still applied today. Aunt Ophelia and her friends had been ahead of their time, and all the things they'd tried to drill into her when she was growing up - ideas she'd rolled her eyes at and ignored - seemed revolutionary, even from her jaded twenty-first century perspective.
She re-read the list, then carefully folded the paper again and placed it inside the journal, too thrilled by this brush with the past to read more now. She felt energized and excited, not sure what she'd do with those guiding principles, but sure she needed to do something. Her gut told her it would be something big.
Something revolutionary. Something scandalous.
The League of Scandalous Women's Guiding Principle 1: A scandalous woman knows that brazenness is a virtue.
"I'VE BEEN A BAD, bad girl."
Juliet smiled as she held the phone to her ear, relieved to hear her best friend's voice after two weeks. "I'm guessing Cancun will never be the same."
"Actually, you'd be surprised how little partying I did." Rebecca Wilson laughed. "I spent most of my vacation inside a hotel suite."
"Ah, so you met a bad, bad boy to burn your energy with."
"Not just any bad boy," Rebecca said in a tone so pregnant with meaning that Juliet got a sick feeling in her stomach for reasons she couldn't have explained.
"Are you sitting down?"
"Yes." Kicked back in her office chair with her feet propped up on a desk littered with party supplies, to be exact.
The inexplicable sick feeling grew.
"I'm getting married!"
Juliet expelled a sigh of relief. This was clearly one of Rebecca's silly practical jokes, and not even a funny one.
The idea of wild, crazy, happily single Rebecca getting hitched was about as believable as Juliet volunteering to join a convent.
"Oh, that's great, because I have Brad Pitt tied up in my basement. We can make it a double wedding after I force him to divorce Jennifer."
Silence on the line. And then Rebecca said, "Juliet, I'm serious. I met a guy in Mexico. He was on vacation, too. He lives in San Diego, and we're getting married."
"This is just so ... sudden," Juliet said, fully aware that she sounded more like a worried mother than a supportive friend. "Are you sure about this guy?"
"Of course I'm sure! Wait till you meet him - he's just fabulous."
Rebecca sounded dreamier than Juliet had ever heard her, and all she could muster in response was a feeble, "Wow."
"I shouldn't be telling you this over the phone, but I wanted to share the news immediately, and I know how your schedule is."
"It's okay." Juliet forced herself to smile so that she'd sound cheery. "We'll get together and have a celebratory drink soon."
"Absolutely, but I have to ask you now - will you be my maid of honor?"
Juliet winced, when she knew she should have felt touched. "Of course I will."
"Great. I'm already thinking about what I want the dresses to look like...."
She continued to hear Rebecca's voice, but the words stopped registering as the sick feeling grew into a full-blown case of nausea. She should have been happy about her best friend's marriage announcement. She had no problem with the institution of marriage. She considered it a perfectly fine expression of the love between man and woman.
What she disliked was all of her party crowd slowly dwindling to nothing thanks to marriage and the inevitable children that followed.
And now Rebecca, too.
Excerpted from Some Kind Of Sexy by Jamie Sobrato Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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