by Patrick Sanchez

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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This wickedly witty, urbane novel tackles the ups and downs of female friendship, and the ultimate question for every young woman searching for the perfect job, apartment, and man—or woman—in the big city: What's a nice girl like you doing with a life like this?

Gina knows there are worse things than being dateless for her ten-year high school reunion—for example, being dateless at yet another wedding. But after witnessing one lavish nuptial too many, she wonders if it's time to give up on Mr. Right, and settle for Mr. Maybe. . .. A chic, African-American woman, Cheryl loves the diversity of city life. But despite her open mind and free spirit, she still longs for a husband. And she's willing to break every rule of online dating to find him. . .. When Linda meets Rosa, she's sure the beautiful Latina is her future—even though she's soon reminded that everyone has a past. . .

Between personal misadventures and professional mishaps, all three women will find that when the going gets tough what you need most is your sense of humor—and your girlfriends. . .

"Clearly taking his cue from Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City) and Helen Fielding (of Bridget Jones fame), Sanchez's style is light and entertaining." —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781575669243
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 08/05/2014
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

Patrick Sanchez grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., in both Clinton, Maryland, and La Plata, Maryland. After surviving 12 years of Catholic school, he attended George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he majored in psychology (with a minor in naps, The Price is Right, and The Young and the Restless). In addition to penning novels, Patrick has written for The Washington Post and other publications. He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia. 
You can e-mail him at and visit his Web site at

Read an Excerpt

Always the Bridesmaid

Gina Perry was uncomfortable in the hard church pew. Damn Catholics, she thought. Their weddings are just too fucking long. She'd take a quickie Protestant or Jewish ceremony over this foolishness any day. And what was the deal with all that kneeling and standing and kneeling again? If she'd known there was going to be a whole Mass along with the wedding ceremony, that would've done it--she definitely wouldn't have come. And to top it all off, Linda didn't show. At least as far as Gina could tell, Linda wasn't there. The church was so damn packed, Linda may have been somewhere in the crowd, but Gina wasn't able to find her.

Gina's mind wandered a little while a friend of the groom's read the Bible story about God taking Adam's rib to create Eve, blah, blah, blah. She'd heard it too many times over the last few years as, one by one, virtually all her friends took the plunge and became MOHs (married old hags). It was like all her friends had joined a club that she couldn't. She didn't even see most of them anymore. She hated going out with couples and feeling like a third wheel. It had been nearly ten years since high school, a fact she was recently reminded of when she received the invitation to her reunion a few weeks earlier. She couldn't believe ten years had gone by already, nor could she believe that virtually all her friends had gotten married, and some had even started families.

The classic church was decked out in white and pink roses--white and pink roses on the altar, white and pink roses in the sanctuary, white and pink roses on every windowsill in the God bless-ed church. Earlier, when Gina spotted the bridesmaidsgetting out of the limo, she was quite taken aback. They were all wearing pink dresses (the same shade of pink as the roses) with white bows on the sleeves and a big white bow on the bustle. Penelope had asked Gina to be a bridesmaid, but Gina couldn't bear being the bridesmaid one more time. She had enough pastel puffed-sleeve dresses in her closet to clothe a cross-dressing army, and she wasn't eager to add to the depressing collection. Besides, she was tired of being paraded down church aisles looking like Glenda, the Good Witch. She just lied to Penelope and made up a lame excuse about how she was out of vacation time and wasn't sure if she would be able to get off from work the day of the wedding.

The whole idea of Penelope having a church wedding was so ridiculous. Penelope barely knew Jesus Christ from Jesus Jones. But, like many of Gina's wedded friends, who hadn't stepped foot in a church in years, Penelope suddenly returned to her Catholic roots when she needed a place to have her wedding ceremony.

The entire scene should have been unbelievably tacky, but to Gina's surprise, the pink-and-white display was stunning. It was a pleasant summer morning, and the pastel colors gave the church a soft, warm feel, which just added to Gina's disgust with the whole thing. Penelope had been a good friend to her, and Gina really did care for her, but Gina couldn't help wishing some disaster would happen. Maybe Penelope would get overly nervous and vomit all over her wedding gown. Or, better yet, Donny would have second thoughts right in the middle of the ceremony and walk off. That way, at least Gina wouldn't be the only straight girl she knew without a relationship.

Gina looked around and saw couples everywhere. She seemed to be the only single person in the church.

God! There is nothing more pathetic than a dateless girl at a wedding, Gina thought to herself as a middle-aged woman slid into the pew next to her. The woman was wearing a tight navy blue skirt and a cropped sleeveless top. She looked old beyond her forty-six years. With her thin, dry hair, raspy voice, and fine lines all over her face, she could have easily been the poster child for an antismoking campaign. Fresh from the salon, her hair was an even brassier shade of auburn than usual.

"Shirley," Gina whispered. "Why are you so late? You probably should have stayed in the back until the ceremony is over."

"I had a hair appointment. It took forever. Did I miss anything?"

"Just the whole wedding."

"Good. Weddings are a drag. Just show me the way to the open bar."

"Mother!" Gina droned. The only time Gina called Shirley "Mother" was when she was aggravated with her.

As the service came to a close, Gina contemplated going home and skipping the reception. She was considering potential excuses as she watched Penelope and Donny glide arm in arm down the center aisle while joyous music blared from the church organ.

Gina followed the crowd outside. The wedding party had already scampered around to the rear of the church and back inside to begin taking pictures. With Shirley in tow, Gina walked toward her car after giving one final sweep for Linda. She sat in the car, trying to decide what to do. She wasn't thrilled about going to the reception with just Shirley, looking like the only escort she could get was her mother. Not that Shirley was Gina's escort at all. Shirley was chums with almost all of Gina's friends, at least the ones Gina would let her get near, and was an invited guest as well. Shirley certainly lacked maternal inclinations, but she was always good for a few laughs at a high school slumber party or college barbecue.

Gina's neighbor and former boyfriend, Peter, had agreed to be her date for the wedding but called the day before to say he was a little under the weather and wouldn't be able to make it. After he canceled on her, Gina figured she would just hang out with Linda and drink wine and make fun of the bridesmaids all afternoon. She eventually decided she would get through the introductions and the entrée, then sneak out after congratulating the happy couple.

When Gina and Shirley arrived at the Marriott on 14th Street, they proceeded to the ballroom and stopped at the gift table. As Gina added her gift to the table, a place setting that Penelope had registered for at Hecht's, Shirley whipped a card out of her purse.

"Gina, sweetie, you got a pen?"

Gina rummaged through her purse and handed a pen to Shirley, who signed the card. Shirley then gave the table a good once-over and snatched the card off one of the larger gift-wrapped packages, crumpled it up, and replaced it with her card.

"Oh, no, Mother! You are not doing that again."

"Oh, please, I do it all the time. Saves some major cash."

"Look, just sign my card, and my gift can be from both of us. Okay?"

"What did you get her?"

"A place setting. It's the one she registered for."

"Hell no. You think a place setting is as good as what's in that big ole box?"

"Whatever, Shirley," Gina said, raising her hands at Shirley and walking away.

Gina entered the ballroom and walked up to the bar. She ordered a glass of wine and took a sip. Gina didn't recognize anyone at the reception. Other than Linda, Gina and Penelope didn't really have many friends in common. After college, Gina and Penelope grew apart, especially when Penelope started dating Donny about three years earlier.

Gina stood close to the bar and slowly drank her wine. While the crowd waited for the bride and groom to make their grand entrance, a mature woman approached Gina and tried to make small talk.

"Lovely ceremony, wasn't it? The church was just beautiful."

"Yes, it was," Gina paused. "Looked a little like the Easter bunny threw up, but it was quite beautiful."

The woman laughed at Gina's little joke. "Yeah, all that pink was a little overwhelming. Penelope always did like to go overboard. Are you a friend of hers?"

"Yes, we went to college together. I'm Gina."

"Nice to meet you. I'm Sally, Penelope's aunt. I just got in from New Jersey this morning."

"Oh ... how long does it take to get to D.C. from New Jersey?" Gina asked, already bored with the woman but appreciating her company. It beat standing there alone.

"Just a little over three hours. It's not too bad, but doing it alone can be a little tiresome."

"Alone? Are you married?"

"Oh, no, dear. I never married."

Before Gina could inquire any further, the room quieted, and the deejay asked the crowd to welcome the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Donald Weils.

Gina watched Penelope and Donny stride into the ballroom while everyone stood up and boisterously clapped their hands. Penelope was certainly not what one would consider a pretty girl, but, like most brides, she did look radiant on her special day. As Gina eyed the couple walking toward the head table, she wondered what was running through Penelope's head. She looked so happy and confident, but most of all, Gina figured she must be relieved--relieved that she had gotten married and didn't have to worry about growing old alone.

Gina hated the way she felt as she stood next to Sally, clapping for the couple, a forced smile on her face. A big part of her really was happy for Penelope. But, God, Gina would have been so much happier for Penelope if she were in a relationship herself. Here Gina was, on the verge of thirty, and she hadn't had a serious relationship since her long stint with Peter about five years earlier.

"Is there one of those dumb seating plans, or can we sit wherever we want?" Shirley asked Gina, approaching her from behind.

"We're seated over there at Table Eleven," Gina said, part of her glad Shirley was there, so she at least knew someone at the wedding. Her other half worried that Shirley might do something to embarrass her.

"Do you know who else is seated with us? Anyone good?"

"No, Shirley. I don't. Why don't we just go over there and take our seats."

After Gina excused herself to Sally, she and Shirley made their way over to the table and introduced themselves to the four other people who were sitting there as well. They were distant relatives of the groom, who drove up from North Carolina and were a total bore.

Over lunch the group discussed some benign topics, learning each other's connection to the newlyweds, what they did for a living, how lovely the weather was for the ceremony.... As Gina began to wonder if it really was possible to die of boredom, the photographer approached their table and requested a group shot.

"Sure, hon," Shirley said, trying to fluff her hair.

"Smile," the stocky, middle-aged man said as he clicked the shutter on the camera.

"Thank you," he said to the group and turned toward the neighboring table.

"Is that it?" Shirley asked. "You know, I just got back from the salon. You could take a few more."

"Sure, miss," the man said politely.

"Hold on just one sec," Shirley said, reaching for her purse and pulling out a tube of lipstick and a compact. She applied some lipstick and dabbed some powder on her nose and forehead.

"Okay, I'm ready," she said, and put one hand behind her head and gave the camera a seductive smile.

"Nice!" the photographer said, clicking the shutter as Shirley put both hands behind her head and puckered her lips for the camera.

"Shirley! How much have you had to drink?" Gina asked her mother. She knew it was too early for Shirley to be drunk, but Gina was hoping the rest of the table might think too much alcohol was to blame for Shirley's behavior.

"Oh, I'm just having fun, sweetie," Shirley said as she continued to pose. Realizing that the photographer was shooting only Shirley, the rest of the guests at the table leaned back in their chairs and got out of the way--except for Gina, that is. She got up from the table altogether and walked back to the bar just to get away from the whole scene.

After Gina ordered another glass of chardonnay, she searched the crowd for a familiar face but wasn't able to locate anyone she recognized from college or even Penelope's family. Lunch was finishing up, and the guests were starting to disperse around the room. When she got back to the table, it was empty. Everyone was on their feet and mingling.

Gina sat down, thankful Shirley was done with her impromptu photo session. She decided she would finish her wine and then make her way over to Penelope and Donny. She would wish them well and get the hell out of there.

As Gina sat at the table, sipping her wine, she saw Penelope and Donny walking toward her.

"Hi, Gina!" Penelope said with more glee than Gina could stand. "I'm so glad you're here."

"Me too," Gina said with as much enthusiasm as she could muster and gave Penelope a quick hug. "You look beautiful."

"Thank you."

"Congratulations," Gina said, turning to Donny and giving him a hug as well.

"Thanks, Gina," he replied before turning to Penelope. "He must be around here somewhere."

"Who?" Gina asked.

"The photographer. We're going to start the dancing soon, and he seems to have disappeared. We've cased the whole room for him."

"He was over here just a few minutes ago," Gina said.

"Well, we had better go hunt him down. Thanks again for coming, Gina. I'm glad you were able to get the day off."

"Sure," Gina said as the couple departed.

Gina set her wineglass down on the table and started off for the bathroom. She would run to the ladies' room, then fetch Shirley and be on her way. As she strode toward the restroom, she heard some voices coming from behind the coat-check counter, which was unattended during the summer. She poked her head over the edge and saw two pairs of legs sticking out on the other side.

"Shirley!" she shrieked, recognizing her mother's shoes.

Shirley hurriedly hopped up from behind the counter and began rebuttoning her blouse.

"What are you doing? Who's back there with you?"

"Just me," the photographer said, stumbling on his feet and fiddling with his loosened tie.

"I'd better run," he said to Shirley, gathering his camera and awkwardly touching her on the arm. He nodded to Gina and hurried back toward the ballroom.

"Shirley! What the hell were you doing?"

"He was taking a little break from photographing the reception."

"A little break? On the floor behind the coat-check counter?"

"Oh, loosen up, sweetie. We were just having a little fun."

"We're leaving, Shirley," Gina said curtly. "You've embarrassed me enough for one day."

"Oh, please! No one saw us."

"I saw you! We're leaving, Shirley," Gina said again. "Now!"

"All right, all right. Let me get my purse."

"I've got to run to the ladies' room. I'll meet you back here in a minute if you can manage to behave yourself for that long," Gina told Shirley, not bothering to lecture her mother any further. Gina was annoyed and embarrassed by her mother's inappropriate conduct at the reception, but, truth be known, it wasn't that big of a deal. Shirley had behaved far worse in her time, and Gina had come to expect such behavior from her mother. She was just thankful no one knew about this particular incident.

"Let's go," she said to Shirley in a cool voice as they met in the hallway.

Gina was silent as they walked out of the hotel toward the car.

"Is that it?" Shirley asked as they got inside the car.

"Is what it?"

"No lecture? No reprimand?" Shirley asked.

"Why? It obviously doesn't do any good."

"Yeah, but it's so fun to see you get all riled up."

"Shut up," Gina said, cracking a smile. One thing about life with Shirley--it was erratic, unpredictable, and often embarrassing--but never boring.

"Hand me the phone, would you?" Gina asked Shirley, who was lighting a cigarette. "And put that thing out the window, would you? You know I don't like you smoking in here."

Shirley retrieved the phone from the glove compartment and passed it over.

"So where were you?" Gina said into the phone as soon as Linda answered.

"I had one of my killer migraines, Gina. I'm sorry. Was the wedding bearable?"

"I guess, until Shirley ended up on the floor with the photographer," Gina added, looking over at Shirley and grinning.


"I'll tell you about it later," Gina said. Linda was probably the only person Gina didn't mind knowing about Shirley's antics. That was the kind of relationship she had with Linda. Gina knew she could always count on Linda and confide in her.

"Are you feeling better?" Gina asked. "Maybe we can go out tonight and have a few drinks. I'll tell you all about the wedding."

"Yeah. I'll probably be up to it by the evening. Why don't I meet you around nine or so. I'll come by your place."

"Sure," Gina said, and hung up the phone and handed it back to Shirley.

Shirley lowered the antenna and put it back in the glove box.

"I'm sorry if I embarrassed you, sweetie. I'll try to behave myself from now on."

Gina turned to her mother "You do that, Shirley," she said, both of them knowing full well it wasn't going to happen.

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