Jackie Whitman, Washington DC's "It Girl." She's drop-dead gorgeous, brilliant and dating the President's son. Under 24/7 media scrutiny, she never makes a mistake…but there's a new guy on the scene with all the right moves. Suddenly, being bad has never looked so good.
Taylor Cane, blonde bombshell and wild child extraordinaire. She's the leader of the pack and the glue that binds the four of them together. Reckless adventure is her specialty, flirting with danger her drug of choice, no matter the consequences.
Lettie Velasquez, she's all brains and blind ambition. Her goal: Princeton. Though money and privilege elude her, she's counting on hard work to pay off one of these days. So long as her heart doesn't lead her astray.
Laura Beth Ballou, poor little rich girl and a real southern belle. She dreams of Julliard and the bright lights of Broadway. She's sweet as pie…until the new girl in town starts messing with her friends.
Capital Girls forever…But when one of them dies in a mysterious accident, their once impenetrable bond is shaken. And as secrets long kept rise to the surface, the future of their friendship hangs in the balance. One thing's for certain, though: Washington DC will never be the same again.
About the Author
ELLA MONROE is the pseudonym for the Washington, DC based, debut writing duo Marilyn Rauber and Amy Reingold. Maz Rauber is a former reporter who covered national politicsand all its scandalsfor the New York Post. The Australian-born writer lives in the DC area with her husband and, on occasion, their two college-aged children. Amy Reingold is a writer, a textile artist, and a classically-trained Cordon Bleu chef. Raised in small-town Illinois, she has lived in London and Hong Kong. But her favorite by far is the nation's capital, where she and her husband have raised two daughters and assorted pets.
Read an Excerpt
There was something about cemeteries. Something eerily calming. As she always did, Jackie felt the urge to hold her breath as she pulled into Oak Hill Cemetery. A futile attempt to silence the whirlwind in her mind.
* * *
“Quick, hold your breath! Quick!” Taylor said, nudging me. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes and pursing her lips—Dior Addict Scarlet Siren. Even at twelve, she had a signature color. And I was stuck wearing clear gloss until I was thirteen. I was jealous as hell.
She opened her eyes and shook my arm. “Hold your breath until we pass a white house!”
I did. We all did, holding our breath until our cheeks burned and we felt light-headed. Afterward I asked her why.
“Because you have to!” Laura Beth answered, as if I’d been asking her. “People always hold their breath when they pass a cemetery. It’s to keep from breathing in the spirits. If you breathe them in, they could possess your soul.”
“I just thought it was to be nice,” Lettie said, blushing the way only she could. “Since dead people don’t breathe, you have to hold your breath for them.”
Taylor laughed. “I just wanted to see if you’d do it!”
* * *
Jackie shifted the bouquet of gardenias and calla lilies in the passenger seat next to her and tried not to gag at the overwhelming perfume. She preferred subtle scents, like Coco Mademoiselle. Her flowers of choice would have been long-stemmed roses, freshly cut, in a white box with a red bow. The kind Cary Grant would have given to Katharine Hepburn.
But this wasn’t about her. It was about Taylor, who collected perfume and La Perla lingerie the same way she collected guys. And Taylor’s favorite flowers were gardenias.
It took a week to get permission to cut these blooms, but it was worth it. They were from the White House garden where Taylor always stole a single gardenia on her way out. She’d put it behind her ear or twirl it through her long fingers, showing it off for the rest of the day, like everyone would know, just by glancing at her, where she’d gotten it—would know she could get behind the most guarded gates in D.C. And that was so Taylor, to want the most unattainable flowers even if no one knew just how exclusive they were. She would’ve loved these.
Jackie bought the purple callas separately, just for color, because putting plain white flowers on Taylor’s grave wasn’t right.
When she parked the car and turned off the ignition, she felt fine. But one second later, it was like she was going to pass out if she didn’t get fresh air right now. She swung the door open, and fled the cool air-conditioning into the sauna of D.C.’s summer humidity. The sun beat down on her and she shifted her Chanel sunglasses to avoid the glare, leaning against the car until she had her breath back. Anxiety attacks, her doctor told her yesterday. They were happening more and more. This one was quick though, and aside from the inescapable heat, she felt fine again. Or as fine as she could, considering where she was.
The heels of her strappy sandals sank a few inches into the ground, and she wished for a moment that she were at Laura Beth’s, lying flat on her back on one of the pool floats, letting her long blond hair trail in the water while she worked on her tan. That’s how she and Laura Beth—and Taylor—had spent most of their summers since elementary school. But instead of her hot pink bikini and a day at the pool with nothing on her mind, Jackie chose a navy blue sundress and a trip to the cemetery. To see Taylor.
Because even if she’d gone to Laura Beth’s, just like I did yesterday and the day before and the day before that, she wouldn’t have been able to have nothing on her mind. If only.
She recognized Taylor’s headstone instantly by the little yellow daisies at the base. Someone had left a fresh bouquet every week since Taylor’s death, but Jackie didn’t know who. She’d asked Taylor’s twin brother, Daniel, if they were from him. His response? “Taylor thought daisies were practically weeds.”
The marble headstone itself was nondescript. No color. No details that said Taylor! It was just … ordinary.
Jackie frowned as she stepped closer. Taylor doesn’t belong here. It was a familiar thought that always came with a tightening in her chest and a shortness of breath. Her eyes burned a little as she leaned over and placed the bouquet in front of the headstone, wishing she’d brought candles or a picture or something to go with it.
Straightening her back and lifting her chin, Jackie composed herself, fingering the silver charm bracelet on her wrist until her breathing evened out. She focused on the reason she was here. The thing she could only talk to Taylor about.
She couldn’t stop thinking about him. The flirty grin he’d given her when they first met the other day at the White House. His perfect, but not too perfect, white teeth. The way his brown hair curled at the back of his neck. She could practically feel the faint stubble on his cheek. Their kiss …
Oh my God, the kiss!
The way his lips had come down on hers, forcefully, like he needed her kiss to survive. The touch of his tongue against her own—the way he had sucked on her bottom lip, reluctantly pulling away, like he didn’t want to stop.
Jackie brought a hand up to her lips, almost feeling the way he’d lingered. Just remembering it made her hot. It wasn’t just the sun. Glancing around to make sure she was alone, she knelt down, leaning forward as if she could still whisper in Taylor’s ear and tell her all her secrets.
“Tay, you wouldn’t believe it,” she breathed, a conspiratorial smile coming to her lips. “I’ve been dying to tell you. I met a guy. Eric Moran. He’s a lawyer—a top aide to a senator! And he’s into me.
“You wouldn’t have believed Laura Beth when I told her. She was so jealous! And Lettie was mortified, of course. Her eyes almost popped out of her head.”
And that’s why Taylor was the one person she had to tell about Eric. None of her other friends would want to hear the details. Taylor would. Tay would love it. Taylor would understand.
Jackie bit her lip to keep from letting her smile get away from her. “Oh, Tay, you’d love him. I was outside the Oval Office, waiting for my mom to come out of a meeting with Aunt Deborah and Senator Hampton Griffin. You know, he’s that sketchy Republican from Texas—who’s of course an old family friend of Laura Beth’s.”
She stuck out her tongue and shuddered at the thought of the senator’s gaudy pinky ring with its oversized diamond. “Anyway, Eric was waiting outside Aunt Deborah’s door. I thought he was some cute new intern, so I offered to take him on a tour of the West Wing. I know, lame, right? But the entire time, he was flirting like crazy, saying stuff like, No wonder Deborah Price’s first term has been charmed if she has an angel on her side.” Jackie giggled. “Okay, so I know that’s a line. And on another guy it would have been totally cheesy and lame, but he smiled when he said it, like he knew it was ridiculous, but he had to say it anyway.
“And when we got to my mom’s office, we went inside, and within thirty seconds half our clothes were off.
“He’s older and so hot. Swoon-worthy. And he was so hot for me. It was like he’d die if he couldn’t have me.” She’d never felt like that before. Of course, she’d seen guys fall all over Taylor like that. But no guy had ever wanted Jackie like that. Not even her boyfriend.
At the thought of Andrew, Jackie sighed. “But I couldn’t exactly tell Lettie and Laura Beth the details—or that no one’s ever kissed me like that before. I started to, but they both freaked out. Lettie did one of those gasps she always does, and Laura Beth just asked, ‘What about Andrew?’ And you know the whole time she was thinking we might break up and she could have him. And she can have him. I’m so sick of Andrew. He’s always so careful and predictable—always worrying about his public image. Nothing like Eric.”
She leaned in closer, lowering her voice again to a whisper. “And who knows how far we would’ve gone, but we heard Senator Griffin and Mom coming down the hall.” Okay, so that was only partly true. She couldn’t really be sure she would have let him take things much further. But Taylor would have done it in a heartbeat.
She remembered the surprised look on her mom’s face when she and Eric came out of her office together. No wonder Taylor was always taking risks. Even just thinking about it made Jackie’s heart race a little faster—made her feel a little more alive.
She leaned back and fingered her charm bracelet again. “Oh, Tay, I wish you were here. I need your advice. I mean, Eric’s not even a Democrat! If Andrew and I broke up it’d be all over the tabloids. Can’t you see the headlines: ‘Top Democrat’s Daughter Dating Republican’.”
Jackie giggled. “Okay, well actually it might be more like, ‘Underaged Daughter of Presidential Aide Mauled by Republican Sex Maniac’ because you know how the tabloids exaggerate everything. And my birthday isn’t for another eight days. Eight days! I can’t possibly go eight days without seeing Eric. What am I going to do?”
What am I going to do? She was so used to asking Taylor that question. So used to throwing herself on Taylor’s king-size water bed, burying her face in the satin pillows and waiting for a slice of no-bullshit advice to cut through what everyone else wanted her to do.
Only now it was a more loaded question. Because even though she was here asking what she should do about Eric, there was a much deeper sense of restlessness in the back of her mind. One she had been swallowing down with each lump in her throat and pushing back into a tiny corner of her heart for the last six months.
Jackie got to her feet and brushed the top of the headstone, almost like saying good-bye. Taylor had always had her own gravitational force. She was infuriating, but impossible not to like. Just when you wanted to strangle her for flirting with your boyfriend, or being high in front of your parents, or skipping school then demanding you give her your class notes, she’d redeem herself. Like the time she accidentally-on-purpose dumped her Coke and tray of marinara pasta on Christie Haggart’s new white Dior pants to get back at her for spreading a rumor about Jackie. Or when she snuck into Dan Hayman’s house and stole his journal and photocopied the especially sensitive entries and passed them out to people at school after the girls found out he’d only asked Laura Beth to prom because his friends bet he couldn’t score with a sophomore. She didn’t think twice about cheating on guys yet she was absolutely loyal to her three best friends. They could totally count on her when they really needed her. And as lame as it might sound, she gave great advice.
She never took her own advice, of course. “Hey, do as I say, not as I do,” she would say with a shrug and a laugh. And God, her laugh. It was infectious. When Taylor laughed, everyone laughed.
And right when Jackie felt completely lost, as if coming here had only made her feel more alone rather than help her figure things out, a light breeze played over her shoulders and ruffled the bouquet of flowers. No. She knew what she had to do. She’d take a page out of Taylor’s playbook and not worry about Andrew or her mom or even political allegiances. Eric was hot. He wanted her.
And maybe it was time she went after what she wanted for a change. Consequences be damned.
Copyright © 2012 by Marilyn Rauber and Amy Reingold
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hi, I'm a 30-something that loves young adult dramas - like Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and whatever other one may be on the market right now! THIS book was right up my alley! I won it through a Goodreads Giveaway and finished it quickly. I was a little irritated at the ending...only because it left me wanting more!! It's Gossip Girl with political ties. Yes, the characters are stereotype typical...but I think that's what makes it a good "can't put down" read...I love the catty drama tied in with a little mystery/secret! It's like reading the game of clue. You are reading about each character and then are constantly trying to figure out what each of them is thinking/feeling...including their loyalty to one another. The books starts with the death of one of their own "click" and seems like it starts breaking down from there - due to a "new comer". I can not WAIT to read the second one! Look for my review on that one as well. flag
I absalutly love this series best ever i would deffinealy tell someome about it or lend it to someone
I love all the dinamics of this book! Great story line with realistic qualities! I've read book 2 and waiting on 3!!
Just like pretty little liers. Without the stalker.
After reading the summary, I thought this book would be awesome. Full of their dirty little secrets with a riveting story line. Sadly, for me, this book didn't live up to my expectations. While it was well written, I didn't feel the pull to go back to it whenever I put it down. Four girls. One dead. Washington, DC's "It Girl" has a lot going on. Between managing her relationship with the President's son, her guy on the side, and the mess she makes for herself, she is still trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of her best friend. Little does she know there are dirty little secrets that could shatter her world. The four best friends featured in Capital Girls are your classic, everyday, high society, rich girls. Jackie is still trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of her best friend. She lives in a planned out bubble which impacts some of her foolish decisions. Laura Beth would love to have Jackie's boyfriend. She was drooling over him for most of the book. Lettie is the only one of the group who works for what she has and doesn't care about labels. She doesn't mess around with boys because she actually has goals in life that she wants to achieve. Then you have Taylor. The girl who doesn't care what the consequences are. Live life to the fullest, right? Finally, in walks a gossip columnist daughter, Whitney. She was forced to move to DC her senior year of high school to get the low down on Jackie. Then things get interesting. In the end I was left with mixed feelings. When I first began reading, I could only take so much before I had to put it down or I got distracted by something shiny. I just wasn't into it. The girls were into designer labels, which I don't have a problem with, but it seem like designers were being dropped left and right and it started to annoy me. However, once I got about 2/3 of the way in, it started to pick up and I didn't want to stop reading. Secrets began to spill, I lost track of time, and stopped counting pages, but I never got really attached to the characters. I couldn't relate or they weren't someone I would want to hang out with. They were privileged and spoiled and acted like it. Overall, Capital Girls wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't a great read either. Will I be picking up book 2, Secrets and Lies? More than likely. Would I recommend it? Sure, but I wouldn't race out to buy it. If anything, borrow it.
What can I say about this book… I did not like this book one bit. I had to force myself to read /finish. I have a daughter who is an avid reader and I would not even let her come close to reading this book. In the first 3 chapters I knew I would not allow her. I don’t think this is a very appropriate book for YA. The content of this book is worse than some adult books. This book made getting high, drinking and casual hook-up with strange men fun and a way to escape the pressure of being under the media and parents. I really disliked that the parents used their kids and friends to better themselves in their jobs or media. This was not a book for me and I won't be continuing on with this series.