Dating Game (Limited Edition)

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9780385336918: Dating Game (Limited Edition)
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In her 57th bestselling novel, Danielle Steel brilliantly chronicles the roller-coaster ride of dating the second time around—and tells a captivating story of the surprises one woman encounters when she’s thrust into the terrifying, exhilarating world of the Dating Game.

Paris Armstrong never saw it coming. With two grown children and a lovely home in Connecticut, Paris was happy with her marriage, her family, her life. So when her husband of twenty-four years said they needed to talk, Paris couldn’t imagine what he was about to say.

“I want a divorce,” Peter tells her. Just like that, the husband she adored had dumped her for a younger woman. And just like that, Peter and his thirty-one-year-old lover had made their plans for their future, leaving Paris to pick up the pieces of a shattered life. Within days, Peter was gone. And Paris was left to figure out how she intended to get through the next day, let alone the rest of her life.

The task could not have been more painful. First came the tears. Then the excruciating attempts by well-meaning friends to “fix her up” with men who paled in comparison to Peter. Worse yet, she still loved him. Finally, Paris realized she was in a fight for her very survival. Drastic measures were called for. Even her shrink agreed. It was time to move—as far away as possible, just after Peter remarried. Paris had never felt, or been, more alone.

Saying good-bye to the world she knew and loved, Paris heads west, to San Francisco, and discovers being single in a world full of men who were too young, too old, too married, or too good to be true. For Paris, the list seemed endless...the charming commitment-phobe...the drunken Neanderthal...the young Frenchman—so adorably sexy she almost forgot about his age, and did, for a while. With her dating track record veering between disappointing and disastrous, and her daughter now engaged to a man Paris’s age, Paris finally comes to the conclusion that romance is not in her future. That’s when her small circle of offbeat, loving friends becomes more important than ever before. And a decision Paris makes only for herself changes her life once more. The secret, she discovers finally, is in finding the gifts in life’s unexpected twists and turns, and turning despair into freedom and loss into joy.

In a poignant, wickedly funny novel about getting dumped and getting over it, about tackling life with both courage and laughter, Danielle Steel explores what it means to start over, whether you wanted to or not, and finding something better than you had before.

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About the Author:

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 560 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Sisters, H.R.H., Coming Out, The House, Toxic Bachelors, Miracle, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One


It was a perfect balmy May evening, just days after spring had hit the East Coast with irresistible appeal. The weather was perfect, winter had vanished literally overnight, birds were singing, the sun was warm, and everything in the Armstrongs' Connecticut garden was in bloom. The entire week had been blessed with the kind of weather that made everyone slow down, even in New York. Couples strolled, lunch hours stretched. People smiled. And in Greenwich that night, Paris Armstrong decided to serve dinner outside on the flagstone patio they had just redone near the pool. She and Peter were giving a dinner party on a Friday night, which was rare for them. They did most of their entertaining on Saturday, so Peter didn't have to rush home from work in the city on Friday night. But the caterers had only been available on this particular Friday. They had weddings booked for every Saturday night through July. It was harder for Peter, but he'd been a good sport when she told him about the Friday night plan. Peter indulged her most of the time, he always had. He liked making life easy for her. It was one of the myriad things she loved about him.

They had just celebrated their twenty-fourth anniversary in March. It was hard to believe sometimes how the years had flown by and how full they had been. Megan, their eldest, had graduated from Vassar the year before, and at twenty-three, she had recently taken a job in L.A. She was interested in all aspects of film and had landed a job as a production assistant with a movie studio in Hollywood. She was barely more than a gofer, as she admitted openly, but she was thrilled with just being there, and wanted to be a producer one day. William, their son, had just turned eighteen, and was graduating in June. He was going to UC Berkeley in the fall. It was hard to believe that their kids were grown. It seemed only minutes before that she had been changing diapers and carpooling, taking Meg to ballet, and Wim to hockey games. And in three months he'd be gone. He was due in Berkeley the week before the Labor Day weekend.

Paris made sure that the table had been set properly. The caterers were reliable and had a good eye. They knew her kitchen well. She and Peter liked to entertain, and Paris used them frequently. They enjoyed their social life and over the years they had collected an eclectic assortment of interesting friends. She set the flowers that she had arranged herself on the table. She had cut a profusion of multicolored peonies, the tablecloth was immaculate, and the crystal and silver gleamed. Peter probably wouldn't notice, especially if he was tired when he got home, but what he sensed more than saw was the kind of home she provided him with. Paris was impeccable about details. She created an atmosphere of warmth and elegance that people flourished in. She did it not only for him and their friends but for herself as well.

Peter provided handsomely for her too. He'd been generous with her and the children. He had been very successful over the years. He was a partner in a lucrative law firm, specializing in corporate accounts, and at fifty-one, he was the managing partner. The house he'd bought for them ten years before was large and beautiful. It was a handsome stone house, in one of the more luxurious neighborhoods in Greenwich, Connecticut. They'd talked about hiring a decorator, but in the end she had decided to decorate it herself, and loved doing it. Peter was thrilled with the results. They also had one of the prettiest gardens in Greenwich. She'd done such a great job with the house that he had often teased her and told her she should become a decorator, and most people who saw the house agreed. But although artistic, her interests had always been similar to his.

She had a solid respect and understanding for the business world. They had married as soon as she graduated from college, and she had gone to business school and graduated with an MBA. She had wanted to start a small business of her own, but got pregnant in her second year of business school, and had decided to stay home with their children instead. And she'd never had any regrets. Peter supported her in her decision, there was no need for her to work. And for twenty-four years, she had felt competent and fulfilled, devoting herself full time to Peter and their children. She baked cookies, organized school fairs, ran the school auction every year, made costumes by hand at Halloween, spent countless hours at the orthodontist with them, and generally did what many other wives and mothers did. She didn't need an MBA for any of it, but her extensive understanding of the corporate world, and her lively interest in it made it a lot easier when talking to Peter late at night about the cases he was working on. If anything, it even made them closer. She was, and had been, the perfect wife for him, and he had profound respect for the way she had brought up their children. She had turned out to be everything he had expected her to be--and Paris was equally pleased with him.

They still shared laughter on Sunday mornings, as they snuggled beneath the covers for an extra half-hour on cold wintry days. And she still got up with him at the crack of dawn every weekday, and drove him to the train, and then came back to take the kids to school, until they were old enough to drive themselves, which had come far too quickly for her. And the only dilemma she had now was trying to figure out what she was going to do with herself when Wim left for Berkeley in August. She could no longer imagine a life without teenagers splashing in the pool in summer, or turning the house upside down as they overflowed the downstairs playroom on the weekends. For twenty-three of the twenty-four years of her marriage, her life had entirely and unreservedly revolved around them. And it saddened her to know that those days were almost over for good.

She knew that once Wim left for college, life as she had known it for so long would be over. He would come home for the occasional weekend, and holidays, as Meg had while she was at Vassar, only less so because he would be so far away, on the West Coast. Once Meg had graduated, she had all but disappeared. She had gone to New York for six months, moved into an apartment with three friends, and then left for California as soon as she found the job she wanted in L.A. From now on, they would see her on Thanksgiving and Christmas, if they were lucky, and God only knew what would happen once she got married, not that she had any plans. Paris knew only too well that in August, when Wim left, her life would be forever changed.

After twenty-four years out of the job market, she couldn't exactly head for New York and go to work. She'd been baking cookies and driving carpools for too long. The only thing she had thought of doing so far was volunteer work in Stamford, working with abused kids, or on a literacy program a friend of hers had started in the public schools for underprivileged high school students who had managed to get most of the way through high school and could barely read. Beyond that, she had no idea what she was going to do with herself. Peter had told her years before that once the kids left, it would be a great opportunity for them to travel together, and to do things they had never been able to do before. But his work hours had stretched so noticeably in the last year, she thought it unlikely he would be able to get away. He rarely even made it home for dinner anymore. From what Paris could see, for the moment at least, both of her children and her husband had busy, productive lives, and she didn't. And she knew she had to do something about it soon. The prospect of the vast amount of free time she was about to have on her hands was beginning to frighten her. She had talked to Peter about it on several occasions, and he had no useful suggestions to make. He told her she'd figure it out sooner or later, and she knew she would. At forty-six, she was young enough to start a career if she wanted to, the problem was that she didn't know what she wanted to do. She liked things the way they were, taking care of her children and husband, and attending to their every need on the weekends--particularly Peter's. Unlike some of her friends, whose marriages had shown signs of strain over the years, or even ruptured entirely, Paris was still in love with him. He was kinder, gentler, more considerate, in fact he was more sophisticated and seasoned, and even better looking than he had been when they got married. And he always said the same about her.

Paris was slim and lithe and athletic. Once the children were older and she had more free time, she played tennis almost every day, and was in terrific shape. She wore her straight blond hair long, and most of the time wore it pulled back in a braid. She had classic Grace Kelly good looks, and green eyes. Her figure was noteworthy, her laughter easy, and her sense of humor quick to ignite, much to the delight of her friends. She used to love playing practical jokes, which never failed to amuse her children. Peter was far quieter by nature, and always had been. By the time he came home at night after a long day and the commute on the train, more often than not, he was too tired to do much more than listen to her, and make the occasional comment. He came to life more on the weekends, but even then he was quiet and somewhat reserved. And in the last year he had been consumed with work. This was, in fact, the first dinner party they had given in three months. He had worked late every Friday night, and gone back into town some Saturdays, to clear things off his desk, or meet with clients. But Paris was always patient about it. She made few demands on him, and had a profound respect for his diligence about his work. It was what made him so good at what he did, and so highly admired in business and legal circles. She couldn't fault him for being conscientious, although she missed spending more time with him. Particularly now, with Meg gone for the past six months, and Wim busy with his own life and friends in the f...

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