Skinny-Dipping (Au Pairs Series #2)

Skinny-Dipping (Au Pairs Series #2)

by Melissa de la Cruz


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Mara, Eliza, and Jacqui are back in the Hamptons for another summer of beaches, boys, and—oh, yeah—babysitting in this second book in the Beach Lane series.

Back in the Hamptons for another summer, Mara, Eliza and Jacqui have to deal with the fallout of how they spent their winters.

Mara dumped Ryan, but now wants him back. Unfortunately, he may have moved on. To Eliza.

Eliza is worried about Mara finding out about her recent fling—but also about what Jeremy will think.

And Jacqui is eyeing the Perrys’ new au pair, Philippe. Too bad she’s sworn off boys…

If the girls want to keep their jobs, they have to get their love lives under control—or they’ll be on the first bus out of the Hamptons.

The Beach Lane series is created by Alloy Entertainment, producer of bestselling teen and middle grade series including The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars.

Originally published as part of the Au Pairs series.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442474109
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Series: Au Pairs Series , #2
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 289
Sales rank: 974,290
Product dimensions: 5.72(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.82(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 bestselling author of books for readers of all ages, including the Witches of East End, Blue Bloods, and Descendants series.

Read an Excerpt


  • IT DIDN’T LOOK LIKE MUCH, BUT THEN THAT WAS PROBABLY because it was three o’clock in the afternoon, and Seventh Circle, the newest, soon-to-be-hottest club in the Hamptons, wouldn’t get going until after midnight. A potato barn in its former life, Seventh Circle was a large, brown-shingled, rambling wood building set back in the Southampton woods. Only a discreet sign off the highway (seven circles posted to a tree, natch) let the initiated know they had arrived at their destination.

    Eliza Thompson steered her black Jetta into the parking lot, feeling at once pleased and apprehensive. She examined her makeup in the rearview mirror, applied a thick layer of lip gloss, stuck two fingers inside her mouth, and pulled them out slowly, just like Allure suggested, in order to avoid a grandmotheresque lipstick-on-teeth situation.

    She checked for detritus of Chanel Glossimer. Nothing. Perfect.

    Eliza grabbed her bag—the season’s covetable metallic leather Balenciaga motorcycle clutch. Eliza had bought it in Palm Beach, during the week she’d spent as a vacation au pair for the Perrys last winter. Inside was a rolled-up resume that listed her sparkling attributes: a Spence education (up until her parents’ bankruptcy last year and their subsequent move to Buffalo, that is), an internship at Jane (which had entailed fetching nonfat soy lattes and alphabetizing glitter nail polish), and a reference from her longtime friend and Manhattan boy-about-town, Kit Ashleigh.

    Life was almost great again for Eliza. Okay, sure, the Thompsons were still living in Buffalo—a far, far cry from the posh life they’d left behind in New York City—but they had moved from a sordid little rental to a proper three-bedroom condominium in the only luxury high-rise in the city. With a little help from some old friends and loyal clients, her dad was slowly getting back on his feet, and there was money for such things as thousand-dollar handbags again. (Well, there was credit at least.) With her grades and SAT scores (top 99th percentile—Eliza was no dummy), there was a good chance she would be able to wing financial aid and get into Princeton after all. This summer her parents were even renting a little Cape Cod in Westhampton. It had the smallest pool Eliza had ever seen—it was practically a bathtub!—but still, it was a house, it was theirs (for the summer), and it was in the Hamptons.

    The only thing keeping Eliza off balance was the Big Palm Beach Secret from last winter. Something had happened while she was there that she’d rather forget, but news traveled fast in the Hamptons and Eliza knew she’d have to come clean soon enough. She brushed aside the thought for now—it was time to focus on the task at hand: getting a job in the hottest new club in the Hamptons and recapturing her title as the coolest girl in town.

    Before Buffalo and bankruptcy, Eliza had been famous for being the prettiest, most popular girl on the New York private school circuit. Sugar Perry, who now ruled in her stead, had been a mere wannabe when Eliza was on the scene. Eliza was the one who set the trends (white-blond highlights), knew about all the best parties (Tuesdays at Butter), and dated the hottest guys (polo-playing Charlie Borshok, who was now Sugar’s boyfriend as well). Being “outed” as a poor au pair last summer had changed all that, but this was a new year, a new summer, and a new Eliza—who just happened to look a lot like the old Eliza, the girl everyone wanted to know and all the other girls wanted to be.

    It was still drizzling, the end of a typical early June East End rainstorm, as Eliza slid quickly out of her Jetta, which she’d begged her parents to lease her for the summer, and checked her cell phone for any missed calls from Jeremy. Last summer, Eliza had fallen in love with Jeremy Stone, the Perrys’ hunky nineteen-year-old gardener, but they’d broken up over the winter since they lived so far away from each other. Now that summer was here, Eliza was dying to see him again. She wasn’t exactly sure where Jeremy would fit in with her plans for getting back on top of the social scene, since he wasn’t rich or famous (although he was very, very cute), but she did know her plans included him, and she hoped that would be good enough. With no missed calls or new texts, Eliza stuffed her phone back in her clutch and headed toward the club.

    The door was hanging open, so she let herself inside. Seventh Circle was supposed to be the place to be this summer, but here it was, a week after Memorial Day, and it hadn’t even opened yet. There was a thick layer of fresh sawdust on the floor, and a full construction crew was barking orders at one another. The barn had been retrofitted to accommodate a U-shaped zinc bar, and against the back wall stood a built-in glass liquor cabinet almost twenty-five feet high. The guys looked up when they spied Eliza. Several whistled at the sight of her tanned legs underneath her pink smocked Juicy tube dress. It was the kind of dress that made everyone else who wore it look fat or pregnant, but on Eliza it looked cute and sexy.

    “Hi, I’m here to see the owners—Alan or Kartik?” Eliza said, pulling her long blond hair into a high ponytail.

    One of the hard hats grunted and pointed a finger toward the back of the club. Eliza stepped over a paint tray delicately, picking her way past the sawhorses and a couple of dusty potato sacks, toward two guys yammering into their cell phone headsets.

    They were the self-styled kings of Manhattan nightlife, and while their press clippings might reach to the ceiling, neither was taller than five-five, and Eliza towered over both of them in her four-inch Louboutin platforms. Alan Whitman was balding and dough-faced, but he’d been legendary since ninth grade at Riverdale, when he’d begun his career selling pot at the Limelight. He’d oozed his way up a string of downtown hot spots until he’d raised enough money to open his trio of celebrity playgrounds—Vice, Circus, and Lowdown. He liked to say that before he’d gotten his hands on Paris Hilton, she was just a cute little Dwight sophomore in a rolled-up uniform skirt. He’d been the one who’d waived Paris past the ID check and had personally alerted gossip columnists when she was dancing on the tables—or falling off them—on any given night. His partner, Kartik (one name only), a Miami transplant, had been friends with Madonna back when he was still a teenager and she was still a dog-collar-wearing pop icon, not a dowdy children’s book author who answered to the name Esther.

    “What do you mean the liquor license is delayed? Are you serious?” Alan whined into his receiver.

    “Babycakes, of course we’ve got the permits in hand,” Kartik smoothly promised on his cell. “We’re ready to roll. We’re all set for the after-party, no problem!”

    Eliza stood aside patiently, watching the guys tell two different stories on their phones. It was inspirational, really: If Alan Whitman could transform himself from some geeky kid who sold oregano dime bags out of his Eastman backpack into New York’s most sought-after nightclub promoter, then surely she, Eliza Thompson, could find a way to reinvent herself from fallen Manhattan It Girl into Hamptons royalty. After all, Eliza had always wanted to be a princess.

  • Table of Contents

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    From the Publisher

    "Hot Beach Reading!"



    Speaking with Melissa de la Cruz about The Au Pairs

    Did you spend a lot of time in the Hamptons as "research" in order to write your book?

    MC: Yes. My husband and I shared a house on Shelter Island for a couple of years with several friends. We spent every weekend of the past several summers there. It was an amazing retreat from the city -- and we loved the slower pace, the country, and of course, the beach. When I wrote the book, I wanted to capture all the wonderful places we loved, like the Snowflake ice-cream shop, the secluded Two Mile Hollow beach, and the lobster rolls at "Lunch." Also, I wanted to capture the crazy New York social-climbing world that was out there -- the huge palatial homes, the jockeying for the best beach spot with your Hermes towel, the scene at Citarella, and the beautiful people with their gorgeous vintage cars. It's another world out there; the Great Gatsby come to life. Also, P. Diddy's white parties -- which are insane. Pretty girls, sexy clothes, good's a summer playland.

    Are any of the characters in the book based on real people?

    MC: I think each of the characters have a little bit of me in them. Eliza's background is closest to mine, as my family lost our fortune when we moved to America from the Philippines. (My dad didn't embezzle though!) So I know what it's like to go from the Queen Bee popular girl to someone who has to work and count her pennies. Eliza's compulsive shopping is also a lot like mine! I definitely had a problem with credit cards when I was a teenager. I also find her so likable and funny. I always like characters with a bit of an edge to them. Mara is also a lot like me. She is me when we moved to the States: this self-conscious, small-town girl who doesn't feel she deserves good things. She has a big heart, and she doesn't know how great she is. I loved it in Skinny-Dipping when she has a little fun and gets caught up in the celebrity lifestyle. As a lifestyle and fashion journalist in New York, I've covered that scene and I've seen that happen to so many people. Jacqui is based on my best friend in high school, who was this gorgeous Italian girl who had the body to die for and who was always trying to prove she was more than just her great looks. Several of my friends have actually told me they were a little like Jacqui when they were in high school -- very precocious and knew their way around men. Jacqui is also really fun to write, she gets in the most scandalous scrapes! I love that about her.

    What does working as an au pair really entail?

    MC: I worked at a day care center at my really exclusive high school, so I know about rich kids and their parents. A friend of mine in college worked as an au pair in Westchester, and she basically was a full-time babysitter; you do whatever the family asks, but you're treated as a "friend of the family" and not like the help, which is what Anna tells them in the first book -- they want the girls to have fun too. The term "au pair" technically only means the foreign girls who work as nannies for a year in the States. You get the "au pair" visa. I'm using the term loosely in the book, but then "The Babysitters" doesn't quite have such a fab ring to it, right? On a funny side note, my friend the au pair, actually did date the rich, cute older brother of her charge, and they ended up getting married! They have a kid now. But that's not what I was thinking about when I was writing about Mara. But it goes to show, it definitely happens!

    Do you have any advice for people who would like to get an au pair job?

    MC: I know there's a website,, where you can sign up. I met some au pairs while I was on book tour in the Hamptons, and they were telling me that they got their jobs so easily-they just sent their resumes to the family, and without even an interview, they got the gig. (I don't think it pays as much as we say in the book though.) One of the au pairs was a girl from Utah, who said she had five younger brothers, and that's what got her the job. She mostly liked the work, she said the family was really nice, and really, it's just watching the kids and making sure they are entertained. Her employers heard about my book and they told her to go to the reading since "it's about people like you." Which is SO Hamptons!! I can just imagine it!

    What is your favorite and least favorite thing about the Hamptons?

    MC: My favorite thing about the Hamptons is how beautiful it is out there -- it's really this stark, New England landscape, and the beaches aren't even that nice (I live in LA now, and the beaches here put the Hamptons to shame). But there's something really cool about the Atlantic Ocean, and I really like the New York-on-the-beach vibe. I love New Yorkers; I love how neurotic they are, and how everything has to be just-so, like the BEST sushi, the BEST clambake, the BEST flip-flops. There's nothing casual about New Yorkers. And I love that -- I love people who picnic with champagne and caviar. I think life should be more like Absolutely Fabulous all the time! Now that I live in the suburbs (which is what I call LA -- NY's suburb), I really miss it. I think my least favorite thing is the traffic. Sometimes it takes five hours to get there. Terrible. And part of what is making New York not so fun anymore is also seeping into the Hamptons: the whole attitude-y, PR-blitz, where there's always a list, always some VIP bull. That's all fun but sometimes it gets out of hand. When I moved to New York in 1989, you got in the nightclub door because you looked cool -- it was all about how you put your clubbing "outfit" together. You could be nobody but there you would be dancing next to Madonna at a club. It's just not that easy anymore. Because now New York is all about those damn velvet ropes, and $500 vodka bottles for a table. Ridiculous. But then maybe I'm just getting old. I used to be the girl dancing on the table, out until 10 a.m., going to the diner for breakfast with glitter in my hair but now I'm in my thirties and I'm home by midnight.

    What's up next for Eliza, Mara, and Jacqui? Is there a sequel?

    MC: I just did the deal for the sequel, so yes, their story will continue! I'm so excited to see what happens next. Right now, I can't tell you more details, but I know there will be more romantic entanglements, more cute boys, more girl-bonding and lots and lots of shopping!

    Customer Reviews

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    Skinny-Dipping (Au Pairs Series #2) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
    Jean2012 More than 1 year ago
    My FAVORITE summer series yet!!!! The girls are on all new adventures this time. Their stories are captivating.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    this book was so good i read it in one day and didnt stop reading it once i started it is the best book i ever read
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book so much! I think this series is sooooo amazing and I read them all so fast! I love Mara and Ryan and I think they are so cute together! I hope she continues writing more!
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This book was a good book, it kept me entertained. There was so much drama, though. so much that I almost couldn't keep up with it. Mara changed completely, she is so different. I found that Jacqui's life was so boring in this book. Nothing really ever happened to her. I was expecting Eliza, Jacqui, and Mara to become closer as friends, but they just got further apart, and they didn't act like 'the best friends ever'. It is a good book, it wasn't bad, but it isn't a book that I would read again. I only finished it because it because it wanted to find out how it ended.
    melwil_2006 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    For a sequel of a book called 'The Au Pairs' there's very little about the children. This book tells the story of Eliza, Mara and Jacqui - three girls who had been au pairs together the summer before this story begins. Only Mara and Jacqui are au pair-ing this year. Eliza has a shiny job with a nightclub, which she thinks will be her ticket to fame and a place with the good people in the aftermath of her father's bankruptcy. However, it's Mara who claims the it-girl status this year. Meanwhile Jacqui is left with the dysfunctional Perry children. There's also boys (of course) and alcohol, and a peep at the debauched Hampshire lifestyle they apparently all lead. And an approach to teenage sex which seems a little too flippant and easy to me.This wasn't an easy book to want to read. The main characters are basically repulsive - really only in it for themselves. The secondary characters really are repulsive. Overall, though, the stories are weaved together well, and everyone learns their lesson by the end of the book.
    stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Our beloved au pairs are back for another summer in the smokin¿ hot Hamptons. This summer, however, things are going to be a little different. Eliza¿s not working with Jacqui and Mara anymore for the Perrys; instead, she¿s gotten herself a bad-paying but prestigious job at the hottest new nighclub, and Philippe, a sexy French guy, is the new au pair, one that Jacqui can¿t seem to keep her hands away from, despite her No Boys rule.Mara broke up with Ryan because she feels like she doesn¿t deserve him, but seeing him with other girls still hurts. Luckily, there¿s Garrett Reynolds, who likes her because she¿s fun, which is what Mara decides to be in order to make Ryan jealous.Little does she know that over winter break, Eliza hooked up with Ryan. They¿re not officially seeing each other, more like friends with benefits, seeing as how both are still stuck on different people: Ryan on Mara, and Eliza on Jeremy, her ex-boyfriend-slash-gardener-turned-businessman. But Jeremy seems distant, and her parents are acting like snobs because he¿s not in the same class as them.With all the secrets and unspoken words going around, is it any wonder that these love triangles and friendships are poised to explode? SKINNY DIPPING keeps up the same rapid, fun pace that Melissa de la Cruz set in the first book of this addictive series.
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    curlyloulou More than 1 year ago
    Okay, so I am starting to really like these au pair books by De La Cruz. It took me a while to get into the groove of everything, but I am slowly becoming addicted to all the snotty, posh, designer stuff. I finished this book and ran downstairs to grab the next one in the series.
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