The Devil in the Junior League: A Novel

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9780312354978: The Devil in the Junior League: A Novel
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Former Junior Leaguer Linda Francis Lee has crafted a scandalously delicious novel that takes you deep into the heart of Texas blue-blood society.

The Junior League of Willow Creek, Texas, is très exclusive. Undesirables need not apply. Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware (Frede to her friends) is a member beyond reproach...until her life begins to unravel. When her husband betrays her, steals her money, and runs off to places unknown, it's something Frede would prefer to keep under wraps. The last thing she needs is to become fodder for the JLWC gossip mill. And to make matters worse, there's only one person in town who stands a chance at helping her get revenge―Howard Grout, a tasteless, gold-chain-wearing lawyer who has bought his way into Frede's tony neighborhood. But there's a price: She has to get his tacky, four-inch-stiletto-and-pink-spandex-wearing wife, Nikki, into the Junior League.

The crème de la crème of Southern royalty should sit up and take notice, and hang on tight for this irresistible tale of getting in and getting even.

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About the Author:

Linda Francis Lee is a native Texan who now lives in New York City with her husband. She is a graduate of Texas Tech University, a former Texas debutante, and once competed for the Maid of Cotton crown. (It seemed like a good idea at the time.) After serving on a very real New Project committee, she became a seriously seasoned Junior Leaguer. She is the author of several romance novels, which have been nominated for numerous awards, including the prestigious RITA.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One 
The Junior League of Willow Creek, Texas, is très exclusive, one of the oldest and most elite women’s societies in the country. And we work hard to keep it that way. Outsiders need not apply.
 
I know it sounds terrible. But really, if I don’t explain everything exactly, in all its unvarnished truth, how will you ever understand how it was possible that I got myself into what I now call the “unfortunate situation” and how all the gossip about moi got started.
 
So yes, it’s true that we at the Junior League of Willow Creek are all about being made up of the crème de la crème of society. Do you believe the richest of the rich in Texas would donate money, weeks on their sprawling ranches, or lunches in their elegant mansions to just anyone? I think not. And how do you think we raise all those bundles of money that we turn around and give away to the needy?
 
From the above-mentioned rich.
 
I am Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware, and despite the antiquated sound of my name, I’m only twenty-eight years old. My friends call me Frede—pronounced Freddy. My husband calls me “Fred.”
 
I like to think of the collective members of the JLWC as a sort of female Robin Hood (though better dressed since, God knows, not one of us would be caught dead in tights) who cajoles money out of her rich husband and indirectly out of his rich company as she lies in bed at night rubbing her perfectly manicured toes up against his leg.
 
It goes something like this:
 
Laying the groundwork.
 
“Sweetie, if Basco, Branden, and Battle donates a trip on their private jet for the League’s Christmas Fair Silent Auction, whisking the lucky winner away to Aspen for a week of skiing, I’m sure it would be one of the top money earners, if not the top earner at the Fair.”
 
Framing the competition.
 
“Of course you heard, didn’t you, that Robert Melman has offered up his company yacht for a Caribbean cruise? Mindy Melman, bless her heart, gloated all through the last General Meeting when she got to announce the news.”
 
Closing the deal.
 
“You know it’s tax deductible, sugar. And after Basco got in that tiny little tiff with the State Bar Ethics Committee last month, I’m certain if the firm donates to a charity of our stature it will certainly give Basco a big gold star. Besides, you remember, don’t you, that the Ethics Committee chairman is Jim Wyman, Cecelia Wyman’s husband?”
 
Sex follows some of the time, though the donation is guaranteed.
 
To be completely honest, not every member is married, and certainly not every member of the JLWC is fabulously wealthy. Mind you, no one is headed for the poorhouse—well, maybe a few are who invested badly, pretended they had more than they did, or got tangled up with nasty habits that cost beaucoup amounts of m-o-n-e-y to support. And really, who wants that sort of member anyway, so the sooner they get to the poorhouse and can’t pay their dues, the better. Why prolong their misery, I say.
 
I know, I sound even worse than terrible now, but truly, it’s the charitable thing to do to give a gentle nudge out the door so they don’t keep spending what they no longer have in an ill-fated attempt to save face.
 
As I mentioned, the JLWC is made up of the crème de la crème of Willow Creek society, no question, but within the League, there are different tiers.
 
Tier One: Wealthy members with socially prominent names, which trumps . . .
 
Tier Two: Members with socially prominent names but no significant wealth, which trumps . . .
 
Tier Three: Members with m-o-n-e-y but no name.
 
To secure a place at any level in the JLWC, a woman’s reputation must be beyond reproach, she must gain the full endorsement of six members in good standing who have known her for a minimum of five years—be they active members or “retired” members called “sustainers”—and pass the interview process with the membership committee. It’s not so unlike the president of the United States trying to get an appointee approved by Congress.
 
You are probably wondering where I fit into this caste system. It just so happens that I’m one of the few members with my own wealth and my own good name, which is how I get away with having a j-o-b and no one blinks an eye.
 
Yes, a job.
 
You see I own an amazing art gallery with a full-time staff that thankfully does most of the work. I provide the good taste and the (endless stream of) funding. I feel it’s my duty to support poor starving artists (as long as their art is fabulously chic and never tacky), plus the write-off makes my husband and accountant beyond happy.
 
To put me in an even higher stratum, my husband is Gordon Ware, the youngest son of the Milburn Smythe Ware family. You may have heard of him.
 
The Wares have a fine old Texas name, even if they no longer have the fine old Texas wealth their patriarch gained when he struck black gold in his backyard at the turn of the last century. Sometimes I think Gordon has never gotten over this, and if everyone didn’t say that I was the most beautiful woman in Willow Creek—which isn’t entirely true since Anne Watson is a former Miss Texas . . . though she is in her thirties now—I would fear my husband married me for my bank account.
 
Even though the wealth is mine, Gordon manages it, which means I still do the toe dance to convince him that “our money,” as he now calls it, is put to good use.
 
Not that anyone I know ever discusses the toe dance. How could we since we at the JLWC never talk about sex. Instead, my friends and I talk about the usual:
 
1.         Their kids because their husbands never listen
 
2.         Trends in hair, clothes, and household staff
 
3.         Who is losing or has lost their m-o-n-e-y
 
We have a few other topics that we discuss regularly, which need a bit more explanation:
 
1.         Anna—the type of anorexic woman who swears she eats everything in sight, but darn it all, just can’t gain weight. I say it would help if she stopped sticking her finger down her throat so she can maintain her size-four figure.
 
2.         Blue Light Special—having nothing to do with Kmart. In this case, BLS would be those unfortunate souls who bleach their teeth so white they look blue. This sort of woman is usually seen with a cup of coffee in her hand at all times, only drinks red wine, and more often than not comes from places like California.
 
3.         BJ—stands for “breast job,” not “blow job,” since Junior Leaguers really aren’t the blow job sorts. Too messy.
 
4.         Jolie—fake lips.
 
5.         NC—a person with No Class, pronounced Nancy. Using it in a sentence would go something like this: “There’s a Nancy with a Blue Light Special, a really bad BJ, and Jolies the size of inner tubes.”
 
Next comes our favorite topic, Categories of Men. There are three varieties:
 
1.         Rich, good-looking men—otherwise known as “Pay Dirt,” because just about every rich man in Texas has made his money from oil, land, or cattle
 
2.         Poor, good-looking men—commonly referred to as “A Shame”—for the waste of good looks
 
3.         Poor ugly men—well, frankly, why bother giving them a name
 
I can just hear all those feminists in the blue states having a fit over the things we talk about, not to mention the modus operandi of using our wiles to get donations from our husbands. As it turns out, it was some of those feminist types who threw very public fits, forcing the Junior League’s national office to establish democratic guidelines for admission.
 
Texas has not succumbed, with varying degrees of success, and still fights against weakening our exclusive ramparts just as our ancestors fought against the Spanish, the French, and eventually the Union Army. In the Lone Star State it is still easier to gain entrance to the Governor’s Mansion than it is to gain membership to the Junior League of Willow Creek.
 
Now, rest assured, the Junior Leagues in Texas, and even the JLWC, have complied to the letter of the new law by removing the age-old blackballing process, and applying “democratic” standards for admission. Perhaps those standards are a tad on the high side (see above) and only the most prominent women in town can meet them. However, if standards are met, she’s in. I swear.
 
It’s all very democratic. How can we be blamed if a woman hasn’t known six JLWC members for a minimum of five years who would be willing to put their reputations on the line to get her in?
 
I’ve ruffled feathers, I know. But really, I had to give you a little background so you can fully appreciate how the Junior League of Willow Creek works and how the “unfortunate situation” got started.
 
What amazes me is that on the day my life went awry, I woke up in the most fabu mood. I got out of bed early and all of the sudden I realized I felt queasy. Sic...

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Book Description St. Martins Press-3pl, United States, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Former Junior Leaguer Linda Francis Lee has crafted a scandalously delicious novel that takes you deep into the heart of Texas blue-blood society. The Junior League of Willow Creek, Texas, is tres exclusive. Undesirables need not apply. Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware (Frede to her friends) is a member beyond reproach.until her life begins to unravel. When her husband betrays her, steals her money, and runs off to places unknown, it s something Frede would prefer to keep under wraps. The last thing she needs is to become fodder for the JLWC gossip mill. And to make matters worse, there s only one person in town who stands a chance at helping her get revenge--Howard Grout, a tasteless, gold-chain-wearing lawyer who has bought his way into Frede s tony neighborhood. But there s a price: She has to get his tacky, four-inch-stiletto-and-pink-spandex-wearing wife, Nikki, into the Junior League. The creme de la creme of Southern royalty should sit up and take notice, and hang on tight for this irresistible tale of getting in and getting even. Seller Inventory # BZE9780312354978

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Book Description St. Martins Press-3pl, United States, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Former Junior Leaguer Linda Francis Lee has crafted a scandalously delicious novel that takes you deep into the heart of Texas blue-blood society. The Junior League of Willow Creek, Texas, is tres exclusive. Undesirables need not apply. Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware (Frede to her friends) is a member beyond reproach.until her life begins to unravel. When her husband betrays her, steals her money, and runs off to places unknown, it s something Frede would prefer to keep under wraps. The last thing she needs is to become fodder for the JLWC gossip mill. And to make matters worse, there s only one person in town who stands a chance at helping her get revenge--Howard Grout, a tasteless, gold-chain-wearing lawyer who has bought his way into Frede s tony neighborhood. But there s a price: She has to get his tacky, four-inch-stiletto-and-pink-spandex-wearing wife, Nikki, into the Junior League. The creme de la creme of Southern royalty should sit up and take notice, and hang on tight for this irresistible tale of getting in and getting even. Seller Inventory # APC9780312354978

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Book Description St. Martins Press-3pl, United States, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Former Junior Leaguer Linda Francis Lee has crafted a scandalously delicious novel that takes you deep into the heart of Texas blue-blood society. The Junior League of Willow Creek, Texas, is tres exclusive. Undesirables need not apply. Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware (Frede to her friends) is a member beyond reproach.until her life begins to unravel. When her husband betrays her, steals her money, and runs off to places unknown, it s something Frede would prefer to keep under wraps. The last thing she needs is to become fodder for the JLWC gossip mill. And to make matters worse, there s only one person in town who stands a chance at helping her get revenge--Howard Grout, a tasteless, gold-chain-wearing lawyer who has bought his way into Frede s tony neighborhood. But there s a price: She has to get his tacky, four-inch-stiletto-and-pink-spandex-wearing wife, Nikki, into the Junior League. The creme de la creme of Southern royalty should sit up and take notice, and hang on tight for this irresistible tale of getting in and getting even. Seller Inventory # APC9780312354978

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