With her trust fund and coveted job at Christian Dior, Fanny Moreau believes she has it all. But when her best friend finds a fulfilling new career abroad—and a dreamy relationship with a great guy, Fanny’s fabulous life suddenly feels empty. Inspired to find her true purpose, she trades her cushy lifestyle in San Francisco for an adventure in the Alaskan wilderness.
Everyone thinks Fanny has gone off the deep end. What’s a girl with a Ph.D in Prada doing teaching in an Inuit village? Even Fanny is wondering, especially when she comes face to face with Calder MacFarlane. The Scottish search and rescue pilot is everything Fanny is not—selfless, heroic, and used to living on the edge. He’s also the man who once loved her best friend. Yet something in Calder’s sexy gaze has her believing that she’s a woman capable of great things—a woman who might just find her own happily-ever-after, in a place where she least expects it…
“Leah Marie Brown has a wily way of bringing her stories to life with sharp dialogue and drop-dead sexy characters.” —Cindy Miles, National Bestselling Author
“When it comes to crafting clever, intelligent, wonderful escapist fiction with a heroine every woman wants to know, Leah Marie Brown is a new voice to watch. Prepare to fall in love!” —Renee Ryan, Daphne du Maurier Award-Winning Author
About the Author
leahmariebrown.blogspot.com, and follow her on Twitter @18thCFrance and @leahmariebrown.
Read an Excerpt
A It Girl Novel
By Leah Marie Brown
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Leah Marie Brown
All rights reserved.
A Stinky Pussycat
The worst day of my life started with an unfortunate spritz of perfume.
Every tragedy can be traced back to one fatal mistake, one seemingly insignificant miscalculation that sets into motion a series of small blunders resulting in utter catastrophe.
Take James Cameron winning the Oscar for Titanic over Gus Van Sant for Good Will Hunting. If the Titanic's wireless operator had known how to work the Marconi efficiently, he might have translated the warning messages about ice in the area, the unsinkable ship would have remained afloat, and James Cameron wouldn't have won the Oscar for a hopelessly insipid movie.
If Christian Lacroix had added jet beads to his pared-back coat dresses and peplum skirts, his '09 Fall Collection might have been the buzz of the season; instead, fashion editors and snarky bloggers lamented the loss of his talent.
One seemingly insignificant snowball-sized mistake starts its journey down the mountain, and before you know it, a shit avalanche is descending upon you.
My best friend, Vivian — her name is Vivia, but I call her Vivian because it's more glam — coined the phrase "shit avalanche." It's an unpalatably graphic and overblown phrase and not one I use often, but it superbly describes my situation.
My shit avalanche started with an unwelcome spritz of Kitty Kat's Purrfect. Kitty Kat, the bubblegum pop singing phenom, might know a thing or two about writing hit songs, but she doesn't know a thing about the delicate art of blending scents to create an intoxicating perfume.
How could a spritz of perfume cause a disaster?
I will start at the awful beginning, but only because I hope my tragic story will serve as a cautionary tale. The Titanic. James Cameron. Christian Lacroix. Stéphanie Moreau. The world has suffered enough disasters. Read and learn, mon amie.CHAPTER 2
Moonlight as a Tranny Hooker
Text to Vivia Perpetua Grant:
Help! I am wrapped in an unfashionable cloak of ennui. Bored with my job, my nonexistent love life, myself ... San Francisco isn't the same since you left.
Text from Vivia Perpetua Grant:
Girl, you need to shake up your life like a snow globe.
"What is that ghastly stench?"
Several of my subordinates perform discreet pit checks, sniffing their shoulders, but I keep my gaze fixed on my boss. I am the offender, and I know it. It's only a matter of time before my boss knows it, too.
My boss, Nicola Salupo, is the Executive Vice President for Aurèle L'Heure, Inc., North American Division. She's chic, clever, driven, and a complete salope — that's French for bitch. She thrives on humiliation — not her own, mind you, but on the utter mortification of her subordinates. Nicola feeds on humiliation the way vegans feast on tofu burgers.
She begins walking around the Lucite conference table, slowly, like a vulture circling road kill. People shift in their seats, a timid intern dabs beads of perspiration from her upper lip, but I keep my chin lifted and my gaze fastened on the vulture in couture.
"Someone reeks of" — she lifts her cosmetically sculpted nose high in the air and sniffs — "dimestore desperation."
She stops walking directly across from me and pierces me with her glacial blue gaze.
"Either you've been moonlighting in the Tenderloin or you have grossly neglected your personal hygiene this morning." She sniffs again and wrinkles her nose as if catching a whiff of a putrefied cadaver. "What is that stench?"
"Kitty Kat's Purrfect."
"Kitty Kat's Purrfect?" She looks around the conference table with wide eyes. "Did I miss the memo? Has L'Heure Cosmetics created a line of fragrances for tranny-hookers?"
I consider telling her my miserable tale — about how a snotty kid on the bus dropped his backpack on my foot and broke the transparent heel of my thirteen-hundred-dollar Dior calfskin pumps, how I had to superglue the heel while standing at the cosmetics counter in Walgreens, and how the salesgirl spritzed me with Purrfect — but Nicola is more of a bullet points person.
"I had an unfortunate collision with an overeager salesgirl in Walgreens this morning."
"Walgreens?" Nicola gasps. "I always thought your makeup looked a little ... I had no idea you purchased your cosmetics at Walgreens."
Salope. Salope. Salope.
"I don't purchase my cosmetics at Walgreens."
"Anyway," Nicola continues as if I haven't said a word, "it is a violation of corporate policy to wear competitor's fragrances."
I snort. "I would hardly call Kitty Kat a competitor of Aurèle L'Heure."
The nervous intern chuckles.
Nicola narrows her gaze.
"You have violated corporate policy. I have no choice but to draft a formal letter of reprimand and attach it to your personnel file. In the meantime, you are relieved of your duties today."
"But, I am presenting my projection report to Monsieur Henri this afternoon."
"I'll present your report."
Of course you will.
Monsieur Henri Bousson is a veritable god in the L'Heure Universe. Impress Monsieur Henri, and your future in fashion is as solid gold as Louboutin's lock on the luxury high heel market. Since he is based out of Paris and rarely makes it to California, this might be my only opportunity to impress him.
"I worked hard on my presentation. I conducted independent market research, gathered supportive data for my forecasts...."
I don't bother saying that impressing Monsieur Henri is just one more step in my climb up the career ladder toward a position at my dream house, Christian Dior, and I would shank Nicola with L'Heure's Divine Eyeliner before I would let her knock me off my wrung.
Nicola stares at me coldly, unmoved by my appeal.
"What about my sketches?"
"Email them to me along with your presentation."
In the last few months, I have logged over two hundred unpaid overtime hours, working on sketches of shoes, purses, coats — original designs — in the hopes of impressing Monsieur Henri enough to offer me a position on his Parisian-based design team. Now, a stupid Walgreens employee and her tawdry perfume sample are threatening to knock me out of the running as I make my final lap toward the finish line. A promotion at L'Heure would pretty much guarantee me a position at Dior, and working at Christian Dior's head offices in Paris has been my dream since I was old enough to play dress up in my grandmère's closet.
"Go home and clean up, Mademoiselle Moreau."
"This is ridiculous. It was one spritz."
"Be gone, Mademoiselle." Nicola waves her hand in a dismissive gesture. "Be gone."
I consider snapping my translucent heel off my shoe and repeatedly jamming it into her eye socket until she stops looking at me with her patronizing expression, but I have sacrificed too much to risk an assault and battery charge. So I gather my notebook, stand, and walk out of the conference room with my head held high.CHAPTER 3
Thirty minutes later, I have returned several phone calls, drafted a memo, and grudgingly emailed my presentation to Nicola. I am standing outside the sleek frosted glass Aurèle L'Heure Flagship Store in Union Square, staring up at a vertiginous network of scaffolds. The ten thousand-square-foot store is still under construction, but when it opens later this year, it will contain luxury items from one of the most iconic couturiers in the world.
It's a jewel box of a building, and it's my job to fill it with treasures to delight discerning fashion-savvy consumers.
I shift my gaze to the crane hoisting a shiny gold "L'Heure" sign onto the roof, and a coagulated lump forms in my throat.
What is the matter with me? Why am I letting Nicola Salope and her petty maneuverings get in my head?
Because you worked your ass off to become the Regional Director of Aurèle L'Heure Boutiques and she just marginalized you in front of your new staff.
And because, deep down, you're not as happy as you thought you would be.
My Blackberry begins vibrating. I pull it out of my trench coat and stare at the small photograph above the words Incoming Call from Vivian. The image is of my best friend standing in a stream in Scotland, the water spilling over the tops of her pink Wellies, a beaming grin plastered across her pretty freckled face. The lump in my throat thickens.
"Coucou, Vivian." I have always called her Vivian because I think she is as glamorous as an old-time movie star and Vivia Perpetua is just not glam. "Comment ça va?"
"En français, Vivian!"
"Voila." I try to laugh, but the lump makes it come out as a croak. "Now, you're speaking French."
"French-schmench. What's up? You sound sad."
"Bull merde. You don't fool me —"
The line crackles and I lose some of her words.
"— about your presentation. Chill, girl. You got this one. You got this one like Andrew Neiman had 'Caravan.'"
"Yeah, I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Whiplash." She exhales audibly. "Academy Award -Winning film about Andrew Neiman, an ambitious, talented young drummer attending a prestigious music school who is harassed by his professor."
"The professor kept making Andrew play this difficult piece of music — 'Caravan' — and even though he mastered it, the D-bag rode the kid like Kim Kardashian riding Kanye in the Bound2 vid."
I shake my head and blink my eyes. I feel as if I have just tumbled down the rabbit hole and am lost in Wonderland. It's a sensation I experience often when I listen to Vivian speak. I head west down Post Street, toward Union Square Park.
"Fanny? Are you still there?"
"Oui," I say, rubbing my temples. "I am trying to get my bearings in this conversation, but I fear I am hopelessly lost, way back on Andrew Newman."
"Neiman," she sighs. "I am saying you have mad skills, girlfriend. You pick up those drumsticks and bang your little heart out because you got this one. Okay?"
"Thanks, but ..." My voice catches and I pause to swallow the ever growing lump.
"What's going on? You're starting to freak me out."
I enter the park, take a seat on an empty bench, and tell my best friend about my mangled heel, the rancid spritz girl, and Nicola's bitchy attack.
Vivian whistles. "Man, I was on target with my Whiplash analogy. You've got a Fletcher."
"No more movie analogies, Vivian, s'il vous plâit."
"Fletcher, the brutal professor," she says, ignoring my heartfelt plea. "Nicola the Salope is a Fletcher. She's abusing her power to subjugate and humiliate you, because she is secretly threatened by your brilliance."
"Or she's just a salope."
"Or she's a salope. A soulless plastic-nosed über-salope who probably spends her free hours cruising the Tenderloin in Forever 21 daisy dukes. Mama's gotta pay for the Botox somehow, right?"
"Ouch. That's brutal."
"Sorry, nobody fucks with my best friend. You're Type-A, got it all together, competitive, self-contained Fanny. It's freaking me out to hear you so ..."
I inhale and square my shoulders. "I am not vulnerable."
"You sound vulnerable."
"Well, I'm not."
Yes, I am.
"Yes, you are," she astutely argues. "You worked your size-two Armani-clad ass off on your Monsieur Henri presentation because you hoped it would gain you the recognition you deserve, and your boss just took that hope, squatted down, and shat all over it. You're allowed to be sad, Fanny."
And that, Mesdames et Messieurs, is why Vivian Perpetua Grant is my best friend. Her colorful, free-flowing language, often peppered with random pop-culture references, and open, affectionate nature is in complete contrast to my reserved speech and manner. Vivian views every stranger as a potential friend and every friend as family. She smiles, laughs, and hugs freely. She has a bonhomie that is infectious. I grew up in an affection vacuum and am, by nature, more reserved. Vivian is the yin to my yang.
"I'll be fine." I glance at my watch. It's only 8:46. What am I supposed to do for the rest of the day? "That is, if I can figure out what to do now."
"Where are you now?"
"Union Square Park."
"Ooo! I know!" Vivian half murmurs, half moans into the phone. "Go to Bitchin' Baklava!"
"Bitchin' Baklava, on Balboa. They make the best dark chocolate almond baklavas. One bite and you will forget all about Nicola the Salope."
"Do you know how many calories are in baklava?" I stretch my legs out in front of me and flex my calf muscles. "I don't want to be miserable and fat."
I have never told Vivian that I was overweight as a child, that the girls at my boarding school called me Éléphanny, and made stomping sounds whenever I walked by. Boom. Boom. Some secrets must be kept hidden away, like a bad boob job, even from best friends.
"Okay, no baklava." Vivian sighs. "You could go to Tuescher Chocolatier and have one-eighth of a champagne truffle."
"I could go to the gym. I think they offer a noon-time Body Combat —"
"Boring," Vivian interrupts. "Go see the new Colin Farrell movie, hang out in that music café near Leaning Tower of Pizza, or get a massage so you're nice and relaxed for your date tonight."
"Putain! I forgot about my date. I am going to cancel."
"You can't cancel this late. It would be rude."
"Look, Vivian, even on my best days I am woefully inadequate when it comes to small talk."
"True, but meaningful relationships start with small talk. Luc and I started out talking about fast food and cowboy movies."
Vivian is engaged to her dream man, Jean Luc de Caumont, a witty, kind romantic literature professor and former Tour de France cyclist. We met Jean-Luc on a bike tour through Provence and Tuscany. Actually, it was supposed to be Vivian's honeymoon, but her priggish ex-fiancé dumped her after he found out she had lied about her virginity. Vivian is the only woman I know who could go from jilted bride to long-distance lover in two weeks. She's the absolute master at flipping the script, and I envy her for it. She is overdramatic — über-dramatic is the word she would use — and moans about every setback as if it were fatal and final, yet she always manages to turn it around.
"I wish you were here" — I sigh — "or I were there. I miss France."
"What? I thought you loved California."
"I loved it when you were here and we could get into mischief."
"You mean I got into mischief and you got me out."
I laugh because Vivian has never said a truer statement. She does have a penchant for misadventure.
"It will all work out, Fanny. I just know it. You are too organized, talented, and driven not to succeed."
"I don't feel driven." I lean back against the park bench and exhale. "My internal drive mechanism seems to be malfunctioning. You think I have it all together. I thought I had it all together. But I am not so sure anymore. I don't know what I am doing with my life."
"You could always move back to France. I'll bet Philippe would hire you as one of his bike guides."
We laugh. Philippe is Jean-Luc's brother, and he owns a thriving bike tour company.
"Enough about me. How are you? How's nearly-married life? Get the minivan yet?"
"Ha-ha. Actually, I bought a zippy little Fiat convertible ..."
I only half listen as Vivian tells me about the article she is writing for her magazine column, her hunt for the perfect "muffin top -concealing" wedding gown, and her struggle to adapt to life in France, because I am brainstorming ways to make the store's grand opening the most successful in L'Heure history. That would surely net me another shot at impressing Monsieur Henri.
"... Hello? Fanny? Damn mobile connection."
"I'm here! The line just dropped off for a few seconds."
I lied because I can't exactly tell my best friend that listening to details about her happy life is making me feel worse, that I would prefer to talk to someone with a crappy life so I can feel better about my own.
"This call is going to cost you a fortune." I look at my Blackberry screen. "We've been talking for thirty-six minutes already."
"Shit! Are you serious? I better go, then. Cheer up and have fun on your date. Text me when you get home tonight, unless you invite him back to your place. If that happens, skip the text and send me selfies instead."
"Au revoir, Vivian."
"Hasta la vista, baby!"
The line goes dead. Ten seconds later, I get a text.
Text from Vivia Perpetua Grant:
I forgot to tell you. Fiona and Angus are coming to the wedding. If Calder comes, you could be his date. Think about it.
Fiona and Angus operate the sheep farm Vivian and I visited when we went to Scotland last year. Calder is Angus's slightly sexy, completely arrogant brother.
Text to Vivia Perpetua Grant:
So not gonna happen. He was into you, remember?
Excerpted from Working It by Leah Marie Brown. Copyright © 2016 Leah Marie Brown. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the third book in the It Girls Series. Fanny is such a loyal and good friend. This story was full of humor and wit. It is a must read series!
Leah Marie Brown makes you feel part of the story from the get- go. Her ability to draw you in to her characters is immediate. The continuing saga of Vivia and her friend Stephanie (Fanny) , make you laugh, cry and empathize. I have so enjoyed this series! From the last few words in Fanny's story, it appears there will be more. Please hurry, Leah! I can't wait! Must be read in order- Working it comes third, after Faking It and Finding It.
Fanny's loneliness is my loneliness. Reading her story made me realize I have to stop feeling sorry for myself because I don't have alot of friends and a good family. Fanny made her family. I am going to do the same. Thank you for writing Working It, Ms. Brown. It is such a funny and hartwarming story.
Falling in love is always in fashion…. With her trust fund and coveted job at Christian Dior, Fanny Moreau believes she has it all. But when her best friend finds a fulfilling new career abroad—and a dreamy relationship with a great guy, Fanny’s fabulous life suddenly feels empty. Inspired to find her true purpose, she trades her cushy lifestyle in San Francisco for an adventure in the Alaskan wilderness. Everyone thinks Fanny has gone off the deep end. What’s a girl with a Ph.D in Prada doing teaching in an Inuit village? Even Fanny is wondering, especially when she comes face to face with Calder MacFarlane. The Scottish search and rescue pilot is everything Fanny is not—selfless, heroic, and used to living on the edge. He’s also the man who once loved her best friend. Yet something in Calder’s sexy gaze has her believing that she’s a woman capable of great things—a woman who might just find her own happily-ever-after, in a place where she least expects it…. Review: I really enjoyed this fun, clever book by new-to-me Author Leah Marie Brown. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out who this Author reminds me with regards to her writing style but nothing. Anyway. I found the writing very fun to read with the right amount of witty dialogue, sarcasm, interesting characters and romance. I know it sort of reminds me of the old show Northern Exposure. Fanny is a fish out of water in this small Alaskan town as she tries to "find herself" and work as a teacher. Of course, there is a love interest, Calder who is a search and rescue pilot with a delicious Scottish accent. I would have liked to get to know more about Calder. There are bumps in Fanny's new life plans and romance when she is offered a very prestigious job in Paris. Fanny at first comes off a little one-dimensional, but as the story goes on and she grows she becomes more well-rounded and so much more interesting. The romance with Calder has a little spice to it, but if you are looking for an erotic romance this is not it. This is the third book in the series and at no time was confusing to have not read them in order. Though Vivia who is the main character of the first two is Fanny's best friend and they are so fun together I want to go back and read more about them. This is not a particularly long story, so it would be great afternoon laying in the sun read. Light, fun read, perfect for summer. 4Stars *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*
This is a great book; this is the third book in The It Girls series written by Leah Marie Brown. This book can be read as a standalone, but once you read this one you will want to go back and read the other books in this series. I was so excited to get this book, it has it all romance, adventure and humor. Fanny Moreau believes she has it all, a trust fund and a coveted job at Christian Dior. Until she makes a drunken mistake which ends her fired from her job. She ends up taking on a job in the Alaskan wilderness teaching girls about fashion. When Fanny comes face to face with Calder MacFarlane, the Scottish search and rescue pilot. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. If you are looking for a great book, then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.