Tempting Fate

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Overview

What is a woman’s greatest temptation? How far will she go to find fulfillment—and how much is she willing to lose? This is an unforgettable, enthralling novel about the risks and rewards of "having it all" from beloved New York Times bestselling author Jane Green.

Gabby and Elliott have been happily married for eighteen years. They have two daughters. They have a beautiful, loving home. Forty-three-year-old Gabby is the last person to have an affair. She can’t relate to the way...

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Tempting Fate

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Overview

What is a woman’s greatest temptation? How far will she go to find fulfillment—and how much is she willing to lose? This is an unforgettable, enthralling novel about the risks and rewards of "having it all" from beloved New York Times bestselling author Jane Green.

Gabby and Elliott have been happily married for eighteen years. They have two daughters. They have a beautiful, loving home. Forty-three-year-old Gabby is the last person to have an affair. She can’t relate to the way her friends desperately try to cling to the beauty and allure of their younger years. And yet she too knows her youth is quickly slipping away. She could never imagine how good it would feel to have a handsome younger man show interest in her…until the night it happens. Matt makes Gabby feel sparkling, fascinating, alive—something she hasn’t felt in years. What begins as a long-distance friendship soon develops into an emotional affair. Intoxicated, she has no choice but to step ever deeper into the allure of attraction and attention, never foreseeing the life-changing consequences that lie ahead. If she makes one wrong move, she could lose everything—and find out what really matters most.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/09/2013
New York Times bestselling author Green (Family Pictures) returns with the story of Gabby, a 43-year-old Englishwoman living in Connecticut with her husband, Elliott, and their two teenage daughters, Alana and Olivia. Ever since she left England and her unpredictable mother, Gabby has prided herself on being surrounded with tranquility, one of the defining characteristics of her happy and long-standing marriage. During a girl’s night out with her friends in New York City, she encounters an intriguing younger man, Matt, at a bar. Gabby is flattered by his unexpected attention, but reminds herself that “once tonight is over she will once again be a middle-aged suburban housewife, caught up in the pots and pans of life.” Afterward, Gabby tries to return to normalcy, feeling safe since Matt lives far away, in California, but her intentions soon fall by the wayside. Green skillfully depicts a woman trapped between contentment and temptation, crafting an insightful look into married life and middle age. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Praise for

Tempting Fate

"A Scarlet Letter for the twenty-first century." —Kirkus Reviews

"A compelling tale…reflects an understanding of contemporary women that’s acute and compassionate, served up with style."—People magazine

"Captivating" —Booklist

"Green once more proves her skill at exploring the complexities of the human heart. This is a sure bet for her fans and new readers who enjoy well-written women’s fiction." —Library Journal (starred review)

"Green skillfully depicts a woman trapped between contentment and temptation, crafting an insightful look into married life and middle age." —Publishers Weekly

"If you’re in the mood for a juicy, heartbreaking page-turner, you should definitely give it a try." —OK magazine

"Likely to stir debate and lively book club discussions." —Danbury News Times

Library Journal
★ 11/15/2013
In another complex story of a marriage, Green (Family Pictures) introduces fortysomethings Gabby and Elliot, a couple apparently comfortable with each other and the status quo. The course of their lives changes in one night when Gabby goes out with her girlfriends. As her friends flirt and drink, Gabby tries to pass the time until she meets Matt, who is much younger than she and very handsome. The two hit it off, and as Gabby moves on from that night, she finds herself thinking about Matt. They start to exchange mildly flirtatious emails that turn more intense. Elliot has recently made a permanent decision that affects their marriage, and Gabby begins talking more to Matt than to her husband. VERDICT Green once more proves her skill at exploring the complexities of the human heart. This is a sure bet for her fans and new readers who enjoy well-written women's fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/13; 150,000-copy first printing; library marketing.]—Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-20
An affair threatens a woman's marriage, yet it also forges unexpected bonds that transcend the narrow definition of family. At 43, Gabby is certain the best years of her life are behind her. Eighteen years of marriage to Elliott, a highly successful gastroenterologist, have given her two lovely daughters and a secure future, but she's feeling anything but sexy. While her friends dress to the nines for a girls' night out, Gabby dresses simply, hoping to camouflage the more womanly curve of her hips. As her friends desperately chat up older men, Gabby finds herself drawn into a deeply flirtatious conversation with a gorgeous man 10 years her junior. Matt listens avidly to her thoughts, making her feel desirable and even beautiful. Soon, several martinis as well as the witching hour have passed. Although Gabby hasn't been literally unfaithful, as her friendship with Matt intensifies over the coming weeks, it is only a matter of time. Their one night of passion splashes cold water on Gabby's face: How could she risk her marriage and family for a fling with a man who may appreciate her but could never build a life with her? Her infidelity, however, can't stay hidden for long. The next year is fraught with anxieties and epiphanies, as her marriage falters and her daughters struggle to forgive her. Green (Family Pictures, 2013, etc.) charts a broad emotional terrain, ranging from frustration and desire to shame and resignation. Gabby's transgression may detonate a bomb in her personal life, yet out of the wreckage emerges a love more flexible, more tolerant and more inclusive. A Scarlet Letter for the 21st century.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312604189
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/4/2014
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 49,902
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Green

Jane Green is the bestselling author of Another Piece of My Heart and Family Pictures—also available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks—as well as fourteen other novels that deal with real women, real life, and everything in between. She contributes to various publications, both online and in print, including the Huffington Post, the Sunday Times, and assorted anthologies. Passionate about both food and the home, she spends most weekends cooking up a storm in her home in Westport, Connecticut, where she lives by the beach with her husband and their many children. Visit her at www.JaneGreen.com or at www.facebook.com/authorjanegreen.

 

Biography

British import Jane Green is a founding member of the genre known as "chick lit," a literary territory populated by funny, likable, underdog heroines who triumph over life's adversities and find true love in the end. If someone turned Green's life into a novel, she might emerge as a chick-lit heroine herself. She toiled for years in the trenches of entertainment journalism and public relations (two fields that sound far more glamorous than they are!) before moving up to become a popular feature writer for The Daily Express in London.

In 1996, Green took a leap in faith when she left the paper to freelance and work on a novel. Seven months later, she had a publishing deal for her first book, Straight Talking, the saga of a single career girl looking for (what else?) the right man. The novel was a hit in England, and Green was, as she admitted in a Barnes & Noble interview, an "overnight success." The success got even sweeter when her second novel, Jemima J, became an international bestseller. Cosmopolitan called this cheerful, updated Cinderella story "the kind of novel you'll gobble up in a single sitting."

Since then, Green has graduated to more complex, character-driven novels that explore the concerns of real women's lives, from marriage (The Other Woman) to motherhood (Babyville) to midlife crises (Second Chance) -- all served up with her trademark wit and warmth. Whether she has outgrown chick lit or the genre itself is growing up, one thing seems certain: The career of Jane Green is destined for a happy ending.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Green:

"My life is actually very boring. The life of a bestselling novelist sounds like it ought to be spectacularly glamorous and fun, but in fact I spend most of my time incognito, and in fact were you to pass me in the street you would think I was just another dowdy suburban mom."

"I'm still a failed artist at heart and never happier than when I'm sitting behind an easel, painting, which is something I rarely do these days, although I have a few of my paintings around the house, competing, naturally, with far greater works."

"I am completely addicted to gossip magazines that are, I have decided, my secret shame. I know everything there is to know about who's been wearing what and where, the only problem is I have an inability to retain it, so although I enjoy it whilst flicking through the pages, as soon as I close the magazine all the information is gone."

"I am a passionate gardener and happiest when outside planting, particularly with the children, who have their own vegetable gardens."

"My favorite way to unwind is with friends, at home, with lots of laughter and lots of delicious food. I'm a horrible baker -- everything collapses and tastes awful -- but a great cook, particularly comfort food: stews and casseroles."

"I have a deep and passionate love of America. It is where I have always thought I would be happiest, and although I miss England desperately, I find that my heart definitely has its home over here."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mummy
    2. Hometown:
      Westport, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 31, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      "Managed to drop out of Fine Art Degree at University."
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

One

 

 

It’s just a night out with girlfriends, not the Academy Awards, thinks Gabby, frowning at her wardrobe as she endlessly pushes hangers back and forth, hoping something compelling, something worthy, will suddenly appear and jump out at her: the perfect shirt, the perfect dress.

It shouldn’t matter, this being a girls’ night out, but of course it matters far more than a night out with Elliott. She is dressing for the other women, not to attract the attention of men, although she has heard that on these girls’ nights out, it is not unusual for men to gather round the girls, not seeing, or ignoring, the wedding rings on all their fingers; ignoring the wedding rings so often on their own.

Gabby doesn’t care about these men, but she wants to fit in, wants to at least look like she has made something of an effort, that she too can scrub up into something of a glamourpuss, that she deserves her place at the bar, just like the rest of this particular group of friends.

She settles on black pants, all the better to hide her thighs with, and knee-high boots, the only pair in her wardrobe that have something of a heel. These boots are almost ten years old, old enough for them to have gone completely out of fashion, then revolve full circle to be not dissimilar to all the boots she passes in the store windows in town.

She bought them when it seemed important to look good, before life, children, pots, and pans got in the way, before it was easier to slip her feet into furry Merrells and be done with it.

In their thirties, all her friends wore the same dull uniforms, but suddenly, in their forties, these same girls are reemerging from their self-imposed cocoons, eschewing the dull blanket of motherhood and grind, emerging in a flurry of bright chiffons and silks as their children no longer needed babysitters, tripping out on girls’ nights out in impossibly high heels and blown-out silky hair they flick flirtatiously, wanting to be seen.

Gabby does not have bright chiffons and silks, would not have bright chiffons and silks for that is not her style, but she does find a black floaty blouse that no one needs to know was $15.95 from Marshalls. As long as you didn’t look too closely, you might think it was silk organza rather than the eminently more practical polyester.

There. A shake of her hair, a brush of mascara, a slick of gloss. She looks good, she thinks, without looking as if she is trying too hard. Unlike some of the others, in their plunging blouses and glittery jewelry, Gabby looks as if she is out to have fun with the girls, men be damned.

*   *   *

Gabby orders a second martini, knowing she won’t be able to leave anytime soon, wishing she had turned down the invitation to go out, was tucked up warmly in bed, watching a movie, her husband by her side.

When Ella invited her to a girls’ dinner, Gabby had looked forward to a large table of fun women in the corner of the Grey Goose, but when she and Claire arrived, the women had already established themselves at the bar, and were lapping up the attentions of a swarm of eager, older lotharios, flicking their hair back as they gave the men flirtatious smiles, punctuating every sentence with loud and, to Gabby’s ears, slightly forced laughter.

The energy these women are giving off, their overt flirting, is making Gabby uncomfortable. Used to seeing them with their husbands, or occasionally during the day by herself for walks around the beach or lunch, she is unused to this transformation. It is discomfiting to see these women, who she had assumed were just like herself, turn into the seductive, provocative creatures who are here tonight. Married to Elliott for eighteen years, Gabby no longer has the desire or inclination to flirt. Even if she did, she’s pretty sure she’s forgotten how to do it.

Although, she thinks, examining herself in the mirror lining the back wall of the bar, it would be nice if someone, anyone, looked at her these days. Lately she has felt more and more invisible. Last week she went into New York, and noticed that as she walked up Park Avenue, during what was clearly lunch hour, all the men passing her flicked their eyes to the two younger women flanking her, in miniskirts and high-heeled boots. She didn’t blame them particularly, but surely one would catch her eye, look her up and down. Even an old one. Someone. Anyone.

Her growing handful of grey hairs was subsequently banished this week with a chestnut brown dye, and she has made an uncharacteristic effort tonight, but it is nothing compared to the effort her friends have made. It is because I am English, she often thinks. I may have lived here for years and years, but I simply can’t pull off high maintenance. It’s just not me. Look at Ella, with her springy curls, her chiffon blouse that displays more than a hint of cleavage, her high-heeled sandals bouncing prettily at the end of a tanned leg.

Look at the tanned older man—attractive if you like a touch of lechery—now whispering in her ear as she laughs, her body tilted toward him, looking up at him through thick lashes.

What are all these women doing? wonders Gabby. Why are they behaving like this? I know these women, know their families; my children go to school with their children. How have I not seen this side of them before, and what does it say about them? About me?

“Is this as much of a scene as I think it is?” murmurs a voice next to her. Gabby turns, finding herself facing a young man. He gestures at her friends with a shake of his head. “I feel like I’m in a cattle market.”

“I know,” Gabby says with a polite smile. “I haven’t been here before. It’s pretty … intense.”

“That it is. And not my scene. I’m Matt.” He offers his hand as Gabby shakes it, noting his rolled-up blue sleeves, his strong arms, remembering for a moment how it felt to have the bloom of youth, for he must be in his late twenties. At forty-three she is almost … almost old enough to be his mother, and it is this that causes her to relax, smile as she introduces herself.

“I’m Gabby.” She settles into her chair, relieved to have someone to talk to, someone who has no ulterior motive, who has not come here to pick up women. Even if he had, he would definitely not be interested in her.

She looks at him curiously. He is, by any definition, gorgeous. Dark hair, blue eyes, a twinkle and a kindness in his eyes that were she twenty years younger and single, she would find utterly disarming.

“So why are you here, Matt? Particularly if it’s not your scene.”

“Good question.” He grins, showing straight white teeth, raising his glass and toasting her. “I’m here on business. One night only. I’m staying across the street, but I thought I’d grab a drink here before I check in.”

“Business?”

“I have a social media website.”

“Like Facebook?”

He laughs. “I wish. Maybe one day.”

“Would I know it?”

“I don’t know,” he says, naming a website that Gabby knows well; that everyone knows well.

“That’s you?” She looks at him again, reassessing, for she has read about this company, knows it was started by two young men, the heirs apparent to the Facebook throne. She was mistaken in thinking he was just some kid. He is an accomplished businessman—she recalls articles about him, how they built the company, and she is impressed. And excited.

“You’re huge!”

He cocks an eyebrow, as Gabby blushes and starts to laugh. “Sorry. I mean, I know exactly who you are. I’ve read about you.”

“It’s such a weird thing, that I have this strange kind of celebrity that isn’t. No one would have any idea who I am, but as soon as I mention the company, everyone knows.”

“At least you’re able to sit anonymously at bars. And I bet you have an amazing house.” She peers at him with a teasing smile.

He snorts with laughter. “It’s true. I do have an amazing house.”

“Is it in LA?”

“Better. Malibu.”

“Oh, God.” She groans. “Do you step outside your living room onto a beach?”

He grins as Gabby prods him for a description of the kind of house she has always dreamed about.

They keep talking, Matt telling her about some of the more glamorous parties he’s been to, including providing her with celebrity gossip that is better than any issue of People magazine. Gabby hangs on to every word, everyone and everything in the room dropping away as she notices nothing other than the fun she is having.

“And it was Lil Wayne,” he says, finishing his story. “Sorry. You probably don’t—”

“Know who Lil Wayne is?” Gabby scowls. “Believe it or not, despite being a middle-aged mom, I know exactly who he is.”

She stops, midsentence, as Matt lays a hand on her arm.

“You’re hardly middle-aged,” he says, frowning. “You’re, what? In your thirties?”

Gabby looks down at his hand on her arm, noting how beautiful his hands are, how smooth and strong. Briefly she wonders why he has not removed it, before looking back up at him with a burst of laughter, enjoying herself.

“Right,” she says. “Ten years ago, perhaps. I’m forty-three, and yes, that definitely classifies me as middle-aged.”

Matt shakes his head in genuine bemusement. “I swear I’m not just saying this, but you really don’t look it. I thought you were around thirty-four.”

“I think I may love you.” Gabby grins. “Although your point of reference probably stops at thirty-five. At your age you can’t imagine there is anyone older.”

“Bullshit.” He grins. “And I’m not that young. There’s hardly anything between us.”

“Let me guess.” Her eyes run over his face, taking in the smoothness of his skin, the lack of lines around his eyes. She thinks of Elliott, his hair now more grey than brown, the deep lines around his eyes when he smiles, his physique, once so toned, now soft and cuddly; comfortable.

Everything about Matt shouts youth. His jeans, his scuffed-up brown boots. His blue shirt tucked into his jeans, with hints of intensive working-out rather than the paunch she is used to seeing in Elliott, in most of the men she knows.

“I think you’re twenty-seven,” she says.

“I knew you thought I was younger. For your information, I’m thirty-three. See, we’re not so far apart.”

“You may think that now, but wait until you’re forty-three and you look back at how much you changed over that ten years.”

He gazes at her over his glass. “How have you changed over ten years?”

“Seriously?”

He nods, calling the bartender over and ordering another martini for her, giving her pause to think.

For the truth is, not much has changed in the last ten years. Ten years ago she was married to Elliott, as she is now, only with smaller children. They lived in a different neighborhood. She drove an old Cherokee. Her life was preschool and playdates, coffees with women she hardly sees anymore. She had less lines, less grey hair, was fifteen pounds lighter.

Ten years ago she cared about dressing up and going out. Ten years ago she made an effort, wanting to be popular, pretty, invited to people’s houses for dinner. She and Elliott would go camping, up in Vermont. They hiked, and skied. Now it is all she can do to take the dog for a walk.

What has happened in the last ten years? she thinks. When did life become so … she won’t use the word “dull,” chooses instead to use “pots and pans.” How did she and Elliott drift so seamlessly into middle age, and where did all that energy go?

She can’t tell all that to this stranger, choosing instead to share the positive.

“I am more comfortable in my skin. Turning forty was a turning point. I stopped needing to prove myself to anyone. I probably ought to make more of an effort”—she gestures to her friends, all of whom now make more of an effort, at the other end of the bar with a new group of men—“but I love that it doesn’t matter to me anymore.”

“I think you look great,” Matt says evenly. There is not a hint of flirtation in his voice, and yet, as he says it, he holds her gaze until she blushes and looks away, feeling something inside her give a slight jolt.

Don’t be ridiculous, she tells herself. There is no way in hell this lovely young boy is flirting with you. I have no idea what just happened, other than that it is in my imagination.

Gabby covers her embarrassment with a forced bark of laughter. “My friends over there?” She gestures toward them. “They look great.”

He glances over before turning back to Gabby with a dismissive shake of his head. “No. To me they all look overdone. Too much makeup, too much hair, too much flounce. I prefer my women natural. Like you.” There it is. That gaze again.

Grateful for the darkness, Gabby flushes as she says thank you, jumping as the phone in her back pocket starts to vibrate. She pulls it out to see Elliott’s name on the screen.

“I have to get this,” she says, hopping off the stool. “I’ll be right back.”

Threading through the crowd, she breathes a sigh of relief. Even if she was imagining it, she has not led him on. She told him she is married. That should put him off, if, indeed, there is anything to put off. Which there couldn’t possibly be.

“Hi honey!” She sits down on a low stone wall outside, aware suddenly that she is not as sober as she had thought. “Are you having fun?”

“Not as much fun as it sounds like you’re having!” laughs Elliott as Gabby starts. What does he mean? How does he know she’s talking to Matt? But it’s only talking. How does he know?

“What do you mean?” she says slowly, attempting to sound as sober as possible, knowing Elliott will know.

“First of all, it was noisy as hell when you picked up, secondly, I know you’re having a girls’ night out tonight, and third, you’re drunk, and don’t try to deny it because I always know. I can hear it in your voice.”

Gabby laughs. “You’re right. I’m stopping now.”

“What are you drinking?”

“Martinis.”

“Aha! Just remember, martinis are like a woman’s breasts: one is too few, three is too many.”

“I’m on two and done.”

“Who’s driving?”

“Ella. How’s the camping? How are the girls?”

“They’re having the best time. They tried going swimming in the lake with Sasha and Jolie, but it was too cold. They’re dying to get to the s’mores later. This was a great idea, even though we miss you.”

“I miss you, too,” Gabby says, out of habit, although she hasn’t thought about Elliott for a second since he left early this morning.

“And you were right to suggest I do this with Tim. Not that we wouldn’t have had a great time, but I know you feel a bit done with sleeping bags and tents.”

“Damn right,” laughs Gabby. “What time are you home tomorrow?”

“Not until midafternoon, I think. You go and have fun with the girls. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

*   *   *

Gabby walks back inside, seeing Matt through the crowd, her stool next to him empty, and as she moves back toward the bar he turns and watches her, smiling, and she feels another jolt.

Don’t be pathetic, she thinks. Don’t think this is something other than a nice guy who’s bored and lonely, eager to have a friendly face to talk to. Not that I wouldn’t be enormously flattered if he were flirting, but look at you! Look at him, now look at you. Even if he were flirting, which he isn’t, there would be no point. I’m happily married to the loveliest man in the world. But if he is flirting, even though he’s not, it would be nice to feel attractive again. It would be nice to feel that I still have it, even if it’s only for three more minutes.

“Gabby?” Her arm is grabbed as she spins to find herself face-to-face with Claire. “Who is that adorable guy at the bar? I can’t believe you’ve been flirting with someone all evening! We haven’t even seen you!”

“I’m not flirting,” Gabby says, certain that she is not. “I don’t flirt. I don’t know how to flirt anymore. I’m just having a really interesting conversation with a sweet young guy.”

“He’s not sweet.” Claire glances at him. “He’s a stone-cold fox!”

“Right.” She nods. “And he’s twelve.”

Claire squints as she looks across the room. “He’s not twelve. He’s at least twenty-seven. Old enough to know what he’s doing.…”

“Claire!” Gabby reprimands. “First of all, he’s ten years younger than me, and secondly, hello? I’m married. Remember?”

“We’re all married.” She winks. “Doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun.”

Gabby doesn’t ask her what she means by “fun.” She shakes her head with a laugh as if Claire’s suggestion is ridiculous, then moves toward the bar, where Matt is waiting with a big smile.

On the way there, Gabby is aware she is standing straighter, smiling more widely, giving off an aura that is causing the other men to turn and look at her in admiration.

Because tonight, thanks to this younger man who is paying her attention, Gabby feels beautiful. Despite her incredulity that he may be flirting, deep down she is aware of a connection between them. She has no plans to do anything about it—Gabby would never be unfaithful—but it has been years since she felt desirable; years since she felt sexy, beautiful. It is a powerful, heady feeling, and once tonight is over, it will be gone. Once tonight is over, she will once again be a middle-aged suburban housewife, caught up in the pots and pans of life.

What’s the harm in dragging it out just a little bit longer? She isn’t going to do anything.

Absolutely not.

*   *   *

“Everything okay?” Matt flicks his eyes to her phone.

“Just my husband. Checking in.” Now she has said it. She has a husband. “He’s with our girls, camping in Vermont.” She breathes a sigh of relief, knowing she is safe now the information is out there. There is no pretense at being available anymore, and what man would not respect the presence of another?

“What’s your husband like?”

This was unexpected. “You’d love him,” she says. “Seriously. The two of you would get on like a house on fire.”

“I’m sure we would. He’s a man of excellent taste.” Matt grins, as Gabby teasingly smacks him on the arm.

“Flatterer,” she giggles.

“Truth teller.” He grins back. “So what is he like?”

How does she describe Elliott? From the moment she met him, both of them sitting at the same table, at the same time, at a coffee shop in New York, she knew he was exactly the kind of man she had been waiting for. She was twenty-three, working at a bookstore in the city; he was five years older, a doctor, doing his internship at New York-Presbyterian.

He had asked if he could share her table, even though there were several empty ones; he spent the next two hours distracting Gabby from her work, and making her laugh with his impromptu stories about the people waiting in line, so that eventually she shoved her sketchbook and pencil into her bag and gave up any attempt at drawing.

The next day she met him at Central Park for a walk. He showed up with a basket that had belonged to his grandmother stuffed full of badly made sandwiches and packets of chips in every flavor because he didn’t know which flavor she’d like, and didn’t want her to be disappointed.

“I am married to the most wonderful man in the world.”

Matt smiles. “What makes him wonderful?”

“He’s brilliant,” she starts. “And kind. He’s curious about everyone and everything, and is the kind of man that everyone feels instantly relaxed with. He’s warm, and caring. And a great father. We have two girls, and they’re the apple of his eye. He’s a great husband. I’m lucky.…” She trails off, aware she is doing a hard sell, unsure suddenly of who she is doing the hard sell for.

“He sounds wonderful.”

“He is.”

“What does he do?”

“He’s a doctor. Gastroenterologist. So, obviously, the good bedside manner helps.”

I am a doctor’s wife, she thinks. Which is exactly what it sounds like. Stable. Safe. And just a tiny bit dull.

For a second she indulges in a fantasy. What if she were a dot-com billionaire’s wife? What then? She sees herself padding around a glass house in Malibu, in one of Matt’s shirts, her legs having suddenly become miraculously tanned and toned, her hair a good six inches longer than it could ever be, given that she has been trying to grow it for ten years and it still doesn’t reach much farther than her shoulders.

Imagine the parties they would go to! She and Matt, laughing together as they lean on a deck overlooking the ocean, the wind blowing her very long hair around, no sign of cellulite, children, or ex-husband, no sign of anything from her former life.

She shakes her head. What are you doing? she thinks. Are you completely mad?

“Another martini?” Matt is about to gesture the bartender over.

“God, no!” she says. “A martini is like—”

“A woman’s breasts.” He smiles. “I know.”

“I should probably think about leaving,” she says regretfully, not wanting to leave, but feeling as if they have reached the end. What is the point in staying, after all. There is a ripple of danger just below the surface of her consciousness, and she knows she has to go home.

“How are you getting home?” Disappointment is in his eyes. “You can’t drive.”

Gabby laughs. “Trust me, I know that. One of the girls is driving.” She looks over to where her friends are, were, but there is no sign of them. “Oh shit,” she mutters. “Where are they?”

Matt is amused. “They deserted you? What kind of friends are they?”

“Crap ones,” Gabby says, annoyed, as she gets her phone out to text them. Matt laughs.

WE DIDN’T WANT TO DISTURB YOU ;) TELL US EVERYTHING TOMORROW!

“They’ve gone?” Matt doesn’t see the text, but he sees the look on Gabby’s face.

“I can’t believe they left without me. That’s just awful.”

“Tell you what,” Matt says. “Why don’t you come to the hotel. We can have some coffee and they’ll call you a cab.”

Gabby studies his face. There is no ulterior motive; it is just a coffee, and she could do with a coffee right now.

He pulls notes out of a wallet and lays them on the bar, refusing to let Gabby contribute, then stands up as Gabby does the same. He is tall, much taller than her, and her heart does a small flip as she sizes him up.

Despite being twelve, he is unutterably gorgeous. Oh if only this were several lifetimes ago. She looks up at him, at the thick brown hair, the strength and breadth of his shoulders.

Matt checks in to the hotel while Gabby curls up on a sofa in the lobby, feeling, suddenly, unsure. Why is she here? Why is she having coffee in a hotel with a stranger while her husband is away? Of course she’s not going to do anything, but hasn’t this gone far enough? Wouldn’t it be so very much better if she went home now?

Matt turns round and smiles at her from across the room, and her heart does that thing again, that flip. Not because she’s planning on doing anything, but because being with him makes her feel beautiful again. It’s been so long since anyone has noticed her; so long since Gabby has been seen.

She will not be unfaithful, she would never be unfaithful to Elliott, who she loves with all her heart and soul. But her self-esteem, already so fragile, can treasure this evening, this gentle chemistry, this feeling of someone as gorgeous as Matt being interested in her, for years to come.

And what would be the harm?

*   *   *

“I’ve really had fun tonight,” Gabby sighs, a couple of hours later. Coffee became Irish coffee, and she is aware that her sobriety said goodbye a very long time ago.

“For the record,” Matt says, “I don’t make a habit of sitting at bars and flirting with lovely looking ladies. Especially when I’m traveling for work. You have made a boring business trip completely delightful.”

Gabby says nothing, too busy twisting the words he just used over and over in his mind. “Flirting!” “Lovely looking!” I wasn’t imagining it!

“I’ll have them call you a cab.” He doesn’t move.

There is no one else in the hotel lounge. It is now the early hours of the morning. One receptionist is there, the lights dim.

Matt and Gabby stare at each other, as Gabby wills herself to move, to get up, to get out and go home before … before it’s too late. But she can’t move. Her heart is pounding, an unfamiliar heat is coursing through her body, and she knows she has to go, but she can’t do anything other than stare into the eyes of this man as she lets out a deep sigh.

“Why are all the women I like unavailable?” he whispers, as Gabby’s heart threatens to jump out of her body. She doesn’t know what to say. She wants to leave, knows she has to leave, but oh how she wants to stay.

“I should go.” Her voice is a whisper, and mustering all the strength she can manage, she reluctantly climbs to her feet.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Jane Green

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 57 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A Winner! Loved it!

    Jane Green is at the TOP of her game with “Tempting Fate” and so deserving of 5 stars- loved it!

    It was divine, delicious, and absolutely difficult to put down. It was well worth the time, putting off work to curl up for the weekend to finish this incredible book. It grabbed me from the first page, holding the suspense through the ending!

    Wow! This was one of the best books I have read by Jane, and if you are a fan of Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin, Amy Hatvany, and Sarah Pekkanen, I highly recommend. This is an emotional read, about temptation, family, betrayal, and love - packed with twists, turns, surprises, and explores raw feelings from different perspectives of the man and the woman.

    What an engaging story, well written, with great character development. This is a book for single or married women of any age (especially middle age). You will become mesmerized by this thought-provoking story; one which will leave you thinking long after the epilogue. Oh, so loved the intense banter of tasteful but sexy emails and flirting!

    Some parts are just too funny and so realistic; even though am single, recall these intense feelings you get when you are in your mid to late forties (the last big kick of hormones turning you into a 25 yr. old); attracting and dating a younger man with all the intensity before the big menopause change of life (leaving you with wanting NO part of any man or sex) thereafter. The storm before the calm, in other words.

    You will smile, laugh, and cry and oh . . . surprised as in true love, there is always room for forgiveness, strong family bonds, and second chances! Movie worthy – can envision the cast now!

    A special thank you to St. Martin’s Press, via NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an unbiased honest review.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    Why???

    So many people who reviewed this book are so selfish!!! WHY RUIN IT FOR OTHER PEOPLE AND THE SAME PEOPLE DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. I enjoyed reading the book and recommend it to others, good book, well worth the time, that is all people want to hear, so those of you who feel you must write a book report, DON'T.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Uncomfortable plot I received an advance reader edition of this

    Uncomfortable plot

    I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

    3.5 Stars

    I had a really hard time deciding on a rating for this book. The book was well written but I did not really care for the story that was being told. In fact, I found that I was very uncomfortable while reading this book, especially the first half. I wanted to reach into the book and just slap the main character, Gabby, repeatedly. The fact that the writing could bring out strong feelings is good but the feelings that were brought out were not so good.

    The story focuses on 43 year old Gabby. Gabby and Elliott have been married for quite some time. They have 2 daughters together and their marriage appears to be solid. Gabby goes out on the town with some of her friends while the rest of her family are on a camping trip. She ends up spending most of the evening talking to a younger man, Matt. Afterwords, Gabby and Matt stay in touch through email and decide to meet again. As you may suspect, things eventually do get out of hand and lines are crossed.

    Throughout the first half of the book, I wanted to slap Gabby. Why would she jeopardize everything good in her life for this younger man? The second half of the book focuses on the aftermath or her choices. I actually liked this section of the book much better. I guess I found it more appealing to watch the characters try to make things right than watching them destroy theirs lives with bad choices. I did think that the conclusion of the book was quite optimistic and unrealistic.

    I do love Jane Green's writing and felt that the writing was solid in this book. I just found the story to be uncomfortable and depressing. I do plan to continue reading works by this author.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    From page one I related to Gabby. We are both women of a certain

    From page one I related to Gabby. We are both women of a certain age, live in the suburbs, happily married for twenty years, still very much in love, stay-at-home moms and may not always feel as good about ourselves as we once did. I liked her right off the bat. I liked how she wanted to look nice with her girlfriends, but wasn't looking to spend a ton of money. She felt so genuine. Then on her night out she meets a young guy who flatters her and she likes it and oh by the way he's a hottie! It builds her confidence. I got it. I even got the emails. Jane Green made Gabby real. The wife who goes too far. I was mad, I was angry. Let me say if I could have I would have given Claire a high five for being a good best friend and giving Gabby some perspective.




    The fall out for Gabby's "one reckless moment" changes everything for everyone around her. Jane Green really showed the ugly side, the side where it falls apart, the hurt of not only others but your own pain. I found myself crying over the broken family.




    I didn't necessary feel bad for Gabby and in moments I didn't like her, but deep down she just made a really bad decision with repercussions that everyone felt. I loved how those repercussions were explored. The only negative for me was the ending...it felt a little over the top. Had it been a little less it would have been perfect.




    I can't say TEMPTING FATE is an enjoyable book, because of the story line...but it was a really really great read. A story line that really makes you realize how unexpectedly those lines can be crossed and what you can lose. I am highly recommending it!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2014

    One mistake, one bad decision can change everything.  Gabby &

    One mistake, one bad decision can change everything.  Gabby & Elliot have been married for 18 years and have 2 teenage daughters.  Gabby always wanted one more child, but Elliot had a vasectomy, making his stance on the matter very clear.  If you were to ask Gabby or Elliot, they both would say they were happy, that they were still in love. But sometimes things happen which mess with reality, and change the course of the future.  The characters are so real you feel as if you know them, and you will get caught up in the storyline and be eager to see how it plays out.  This is defnitely a must-read!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Doesn't everyone sometime or another in their life feel like a l

    Doesn't everyone sometime or another in their life feel like a little attention from a newcomer would be most welcome. Be careful what you wish for.
    I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Jane Greens new book and found myself immediately sucked into it. Gabby is the main character and at 43 she seems to have the perfect life...perfect husband, two beautiful children, great friends...however, when a younger man shows some interest in her she spins out of control and her life is turned upside down. Great book to spend reading with a cup of tea by the fireplace or this summer at the beach. Don't miss this one!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    First book i have read by this author, Very well written ,  good

    First book i have read by this author, Very well written ,  good story depth, good story development

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Incredible

    As a woman in her forties, this situation hit home. Beautifully written, touching many emotions within. I would love to see a follow up book from Matts perspective. Why was he drawn to Gabby, was it loneliness, mostly fantasy, or true feelings?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Highly recommend!

    Good book! I am a new fan. This is the second book I have read written by this author. You don't know how things will be resolved until the end, which is unusual with many books on the market.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2014

    The story drew me in immediately. So many women can feel the wo

    The story drew me in immediately. So many women can feel the wonder and amazement that a younger man would even notice them. Yes, Gabby has an ideal life with her husband and 2 daughters, but as a woman we sometimes need a little excitement. Does this mean that the sane, comfortable life needs to be discarded and all caution thrown to the wind? Do we all hold secrets of past indiscretions that might threaten our balanced existence? Do we need to cross the line in the sand and commit a faux pas? I enjoyed the book; the many of the relationships seemed unrealistic.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2014

    Good book to read when you have lots of time!

    This is an entertaining book as far as romance novels go. It is a book that you want to keep reading. The ending could go in several directions and the author does a good job of holding your interest.
    I would definitely read and have read other books by this author. They are all romance with different plots. Good book for book club who likes light romance.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2014

    Zoranyę

    The tall figure stands haphazardly on a tree bough, craning their neck to watch with a serene expression.

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2014

    I loved this book. There were numerous emotions felt while read

    I loved this book. There were numerous emotions felt while reading it....Excitement, sadness, happiness. I can definitely relate to how Gabby felt. Just going through the day to do motions and not appreciating what is right in front of you until it is gone.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2014

    I have read some really good books lately, but this one, I'm sor

    I have read some really good books lately, but this one, I'm sorry to say did not appeal to me. It was far-fetched and seemed too immature for adult readers. it did not hold my interest at the beginning, even though I did keep reading to the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted June 22, 2014

    i'm not sure jane green wrote this novel. it was flimsy, vapid a

    i'm not sure jane green wrote this novel. it was flimsy, vapid and extremely difficult to read. i stopped multiple times and had to force myself back to the book over and over again. in the end, i couldn't bring myself to finish it. the writing was poor, the characters one dimensional and boring, and there was very little story within the pages. i was sad to see a book like this come from one of the my favorite writers and someone whose work i adored in the past.

    skip this one and try mr. maybe or jemima j. both of those books are wonderfully created with great characters, comedic touches and an engrossing story. all of which were lacking in this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Awful.

    I made it to page 47. Not usually one to bail on a book, but it's bad. Repetitive, indulgent, boring. Nothing about the charcters or setting rings true. Formula and lots of tell, tell, tell - don't show. Have been a fan in the past, but this is a clunker.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    Maybe I'll finish this book one day. Right now, I want to slap

    Maybe I'll finish this book one day. Right now, I want to slap Gabby and tell her to stop acting like my 13 year old granddaughter: will he text me?, why won't he text me? sitting in the bathroom in the middle of the night waiting for a text. Sorry, just can't relate so I stop reading. Maybe I just missed something.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    What if an innocent night out with girlfriends changes the cours

    What if an innocent night out with girlfriends changes the course of one woman’s life for the rest of her life thanks to temptation? Jane Green presents an intriguing story that dissects and answers this very question in her latest novel, Tempting Fate.




    Gabby is forty-three. She has arrived at that moment in a woman’s life when she questions her desirability. Happily married to Elliott for eighteen years, they have the proof of their wonderful life together in their two teenaged daughters. Yet, Gabby wonders if her husband Elliott still sees her through the eyes of desire. Not too thrilled to be going out on a girls’ night out, she is practically forced into the excursion by her best friend Clare. The last thing Gabby has on her mind is the possibility of catching the eye of a man—any man at the trendy bar the girls settled upon for their night out.




    Gabby was more than uncomfortable watching the display before her. The women—half of them ‘happily married,’ were behaving like a gaggle of college girls at their first mixer—overly flirtations in their provocatively plunging necklines. Their debauchery was more than awkward for Gabby’s conservative British background. Of course, even though she didn’t know how to flirt, the thought did cross her mind more than once that it would have been nice to be noticed perhaps by one or two of the many men in the bar. When the extremely handsome man nearly ten years her junior takes an interest in her and saddles up next to her at the bar, unbeknownst to Gabby, she has arrived at her crossroads. Matt is engaging and charismatic and for all intents and purposes, truly seems like a gentleman who is merely looking for light conversation. He is on business and fate has deposited him next to her at the bar. He is confident and polite and immediately shows interest in talking with Gabby. It would seem he is the young, powerhouse owner of a renowned social media company and Gabby can’t understand how someone so young can be so successful, let alone interested in talking with her.




    Deep in conversation, when Gabby surfaces for a moment and realizes her friends have abandoned her, she has no choice but to make alternate arrangements to get a ride home. Matt is all too willing to assure her she can follow him across the street to his hotel while he checks in. It will give them a chance to continue their conversation and he can call her a cab from his hotel. Innocent enough or perhaps not. After their chance encounter, as the days ahead unfold, Gabby realizes the choices she will make as a result of that girls’ night out will not only change her life, but may very well destroy everything she held so dear and loved.




    Jane Green portrays a confident comfort and familiarity in the story she has written. Tempting Fate is easy to read and the topic has appeal to many women when it comes to questioning their own desirability. While there may be some predictability to the story, I enjoyed the fact that Ms. Green quashed obvious outcomes with a consistent element of surprise. I admire an author who knows the audience she is targeting and is sensitive to delivering a solid story. Ms. Green has mastered wonderful conversation and dialogue throughout Tempting Fate which breathes credibility into this work of fiction. Overall, this book is a read that is enjoyable and manages to keep the reader engaged.




    Quill says: Think long and hard about temptation. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2014

    great read

    Great book! I think that most women would be able to relate to how the main character feels. Loved how it ended.

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

    Posted November 30, 2014

    Teddy

    Blueh...?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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