READ EXCERPT: 'The Debutante Divorcee,' by Plum Sykes


"Stop overreacting. It's not that bad," interjected Lauren. "At least you've got a husband. This is an exercise in ego-loss for you and you're indulging yourself."

Ego-loss? What about husband-loss?

"You're the first person I've told," I admitted as tears suddenly flooded my eyes. "It's such a ghastly start to a marriage. I'm bloody furious, and so angry with Hunter. I know he has to make money, and work, but ... oh, God."

"Here," said Lauren, rummaging in her tote. She handed me a lace-trimmed, white silk handkerchief with her initials embroidered on it.

"Thanks," I said, taking it. It was criminal to wipe one's nose on such an exquisite item, but I went ahead. "This is so pretty."

"You get them at Leron. Special order. They fly to Chicago to see my mother. It's all by appointment only. You should see the linens. Blissful. Why don't I order some for you next time? Would that cheer you up?"

"I guess," I said. That was sweet of Lauren, I thought. If I was destined to spend my marriage in tears, I supposed white lace would be much more pleasant to weep into than Charmin toilet paper.

"Look at it this way: most marriages start with an incredible honeymoon and go downhill from there. At least this way the only place you can go is up. I mean, it can't get any worse, right?"

I dabbed at my eyes with Lauren's handkerchief. Through my tears, I somehow managed a laugh.

"Don't obsess about this, or you'll really ruin things. Honeymoons are seriously overrated. They're just so pressured, like birthdays. You're supposed to wake up excited every morning, and feel crazy in love and all floaty every minute of it, and guess what? You've got menstrual cramps that day, or you've been eaten alive by mosquitoes, and the last thing you feel like is fucking each other like mad, like you're supposed to want to."

"Hey, Lauren," came a girlish voice from behind us. Tinsley Bellangere, ex-wife of the mislaid Jamie, appeared at the archway to the sunken drawing room. She was outrageously pretty, like a milk-fed farm girl with class. She was twenty-eight years old, had flat blonde hair to her elbow, a few perfectly located post-laser freckles, and sky-blue eyes. Her skin was evenly tanned, and she was wearing a fitted yellow satin cocktail dress with a slashed skirt that streamed beautifully about her legs in the breeze. She wasn't dressed for the beach; she was dressed for a benefit. Lauren made the introductions and then said, "Sylvie just got married." She patted the seat beside her."You always look so pretty, Tinsley."

"You look better," said Tinsley as she flopped down, all legs and satin and hair. Then she looked at me and said, "You want to hear my secret of a happy marriage? Agree with your husband on everything. Then do whatever you like. It worked really well for Jamie and me. We separated very amicably."

With that Tinsley stood up and made her way over to the drinks tray in the corner. "I'll be having a neat tequila. Anyone else?"

"Love one," I said. Maybe being drunk in the afternoon would improve my non-honeymoon.

"Everyone thinks I'm crazy when I drink these in the tea area at The Carlyle at noon," said Tinsley, handing one each to Lauren and me. Then she tossed her blonde mane back and downed her shot in one.

"Let's go for a swim," said Lauren. "I'm baking."

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