Where the Grass Is Green and the Girls Are Pretty: A Novel384
Where the Grass Is Green and the Girls Are Pretty: A Novel384
“Goes down like an ice-cold guilty pleasure on a hot beach-reading day.”—USA Today
A seat at the anchor desk of the most-watched morning show. Recognized by millions across the country, thanks in part to her flawless blond highlights and Botox-smoothed skin. An adoring husband and a Princeton-bound daughter. Peyton is that woman. She has it all.
Until . . .
Skye, her sister, is a stay-at-home mom living in a glitzy suburb of New York. She has degrees from all the right schools and can helicopter-parent with the best of them. But Skye is different from the rest. She’s looking for something real and dreams of a life beyond the PTA and pickup.
Until . . .
Max, Peyton’s bright and quirky seventeen-year-old daughter, is poised to kiss her fancy private school goodbye and head off to pursue her dreams in film. She’s waited her entire life for this opportunity.
Until . . .
One little lie. That’s all it takes. For the illusions to crack. For resentments to surface. Suddenly the grass doesn’t look so green. And they’re left wondering: will they have what it takes to survive the truth?
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|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Hometown:New York, New York
Date of Birth:March 28, 1977
Place of Birth:Scranton, Pennsylvania
Education:B.A. in English, Cornell University, 1999
Read an Excerpt
Spinning for Boys
“I think the reservation is under Marcus,” Skye told the statuesque, Nordic-looking blonde who grudgingly acknowledged her at the door of Le Bilboquet. Presumably the hostess at this A-list restaurant didn’t see a lot of people come in wearing maxi skirts and Birkenstocks.
“Mmm,” the girl said, gazing at the screen in front of her, the kind that couldn’t be read unless someone was standing at exactly the right angle. “Is that so?”
Skye flushed. An hour earlier she’d been happily sharing coffee with her old teacher friends in Harlem, but here she was nothing but an aging hippie. “It would be under Peyton Marcus, from ANN?” She hated the way she sounded as she said it.
The hostess’s head shot up. “Oh! I’m sorry, did you say Peyton Marcus? All News Network?”
Skye forced a smile. “She’s my sister.”
“Of course!” The girl beamed. “We normally don’t seat anyone until the full party has arrived. And naturally, we don’t hold reservations for more than seven minutes, but please, follow me.”
She led Skye past a cluster of tightly packed tables to a two-top positioned perfectly between the dining room and the sidewalk. With unobstructed people-watching on Madison Avenue, it was the type of table Skye would never, ever have been shown to on her own.
The hostess placed two menus on the table. “How funny,” she said, smiling at Skye. “There isn’t even a hint of a family resemblance.”
“Yes, I hear that a lot,” Skye replied.
“I mean, Ms. Marcus is just so fair! Her hair, her skin, her eyes . . .” “Mmm, isn’t that true.”
“Well, anyway! I’ll send her over as soon as she arrives,” the young woman said before finally leaving.
Skye maneuvered herself into the seat with the inferior view and dropped her bag on the ground next to her. Instantly a uniformed waiter produced a tiny wooden stool and proudly placed the worn suede bag on it. Then, in either a bad fake French accent or a completely charming authentic one—Skye could never tell—he dramatically revealed a champagne flute and filled it with a bubbling, golden liquid. “With our compliments,” he crooned, before sashaying away.
Skye tasted the champagne: dry and unbelievably delicious. The fizz went to the back of her nose, the warmth hit her stomach, and she sat back to enjoy the all-too-rare feeling. She wondered why she didn’t drink more. Every now and then she’d pour herself a glass of wine on a random Tuesday night and feel rebellious and crazy, but then she’d inevitably fall asleep or get a migraine or both, and her freewheeling drinking would end for another couple weeks.
Skye felt a tap on her back and jumped. At the adjacent table, a blond woman with bass lips smiled. “Pardon me,” the woman said. “But is your bag Saint Laurent?”
It took Skye a moment to understand. “Oh, this?” Skye pulled her imitation suede bag from its throne. “No, it’s actually from Urban Outfitters.”
The woman raised her eyebrows and forced a chuckle. “Oh! My. Well, irregardless, it’s lovely.” She turned back to her dining companion, a man half her age who had used the fifteen-second interaction to check his phone.
It’s “regardless,” Skye thought, feeling the blush cover her neck. And you should get a full refund for those lips.
Finally, her sister hurried in. “Hello, darling!” she said, smiling and leaning across the table to kiss Skye’s cheek. Twice.
“Seriously?” Skye asked.
“What? We’re French, at least for the afternoon!” Peyton pulled out her AirPods. “How long has it been since you’ve heard ‘Don’t Know What You Got’? Twenty years?”
“Is that Cinderella?” Skye laughed. “Way more than twenty. I made out with Harry Feldman in the temple coat closet at Samantha Weinstein’s bat mitzvah to that song.”
“Life was so much easier in the time of power ballads.”
Skye laughed. “There was no emotion Whitesnake couldn’t quantify.”
“Exactly.” Peyton sipped her champagne. “Now everything’s gone to shit. My life is a hot mess.”
Her sister looked more put together on a casual Saturday morning than Skye did ever. Peyton’s coral-colored jacket, likely Chanel, topped a white silk T-shirt, skinny crop jeans, and peep-toe Louboutins in a gorgeous nude patent. Her blond hair looked freshly cut, colored, and blown straight so that the slightly turned-out ends grazed her chin and disguised her oversized ears, the one fault that Peyton hadn’t yet corrected. She pulled off her Tom Ford sunglasses and tossed them into her bag, which was, of course, the authentic white leather Saint Laurent version of Skye’s cheap imitation.
“Yes, I can see that. Remind me how, exactly?”
“The usual,” Peyton said breezily. “The higher our ratings go, the more everyone freaks out trying to protect them. Jim, my very favorite sexual-harassing co-host, is being even more of a dick than usual. I’ve been working on keeping a list of really excellent on-air experts—I don’t always love the ones the producers book—and that’s been challenging to navigate. And there’s so much to do to get Max ready for school. I mean, who would have thought my own daughter can’t so much as book herself a hair appointment?”
“There’s a difference between ‘can’t’ and ‘doesn’t care.’ ”
The waiter swept in to refill Skye’s champagne glass and swoon over Peyton, who asked for a bottle of pinot grigio.
“A bottle? It’s eleven-thirty,” Skye said.
“Thanks for the time check, Mom.” Peyton turned to the waiter. “I’ll have the Niçoise, please. Dressing on the side.”
“Of course, Ms. Marcus.”
He turned to Skye.
“I’ll have the same, please. And also an order of fries.”
The waiter nodded and disappeared. Peyton wrinkled her nose. “Fries?”
“You don’t have to eat them.”
Another waiter materialized, this one a young woman who was trying very hard not to stare at Peyton while she struggled to open the bottle of wine. Her fingers slipped. “Ohmigod, I’m sorry. I’m new, and . . .”
Peyton made a motion for the girl to give her the bottle and opener. “Here, let me.” She expertly inserted the corkscrew, twisted it, and pulled it straight out with a refreshing pop. “I used to wait tables, when I was first starting out.” She handed the bottle back.
“Thank you,” the girl said. “That’s so nice of you.”
While she was pouring, a heaping plate of fries landed on their table. Crispy and hot, they were topped with sea salt, and Skye immediately popped two into her mouth. “Apparently, only brunettes with shit-brown eyes would ever order fries around here,” she said through bites. “The hostess was very taken with our lack of physical resemblance.”
“You may have gotten the shit-brown eyes, but I’d trade my baby blues in a heartbeat for the genetic aberration that allows you to eat like you’re eighteen every day of your life. Do you even realize how rare that is after forty? I will gain a pound today by simply sharing a table with those fries,” Peyton said, watching Skye chew.
Skye laughed. “I turned forty less than a year ago. You only have nine months to go. May as well enjoy them while you can.”
“Dreading it. My metabolism is shot, just like my vagina,” Peyton said, taking a long drink of the wine. “Have I mentioned that?”
“Only a thousand times.”
“One lousy, completely uncomplicated childbirth all those years ago and still, it’s never recovered.”
Skye held up her hand. “Do not. The last time you likened it to the hanging slabs of deli meat at Gold’s, I couldn’t eat for two days.”
“I won’t, I won’t,” Peyton said, waving her hand. “I found a new physical therapist, who gave me a set of weights. Did I tell you this? You’re supposed to start with the smallest one and work your way through the whole set. Apparently, by the time you can hold in the heaviest one, you’re not peeing when you sneeze anymore.”
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