Undercover Angels (Sweet Valley University)

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9780553506716: Undercover Angels (Sweet Valley University)
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Murder, country club style...

Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield have each been investigating the same murder at the Verona Springs Country Club.  They've kept their undercover schemes a secret from each other...and their true identities a secret from the club.  When  their paths cross, will their looks be a dead giveaway?

Scott Sinclair is madly in love with Elizabeth.  He'll do anything to take her far, far away from her lovesick ex-boyfriend, Tom Watts.  But will Scott try to take her too far?

Lila Fowler and Bruce Patman have all the fun money can buy, including an exclusive membership at Verona Springs.  But when the Wakefield twins hit the scene, will Lila and Bruce wind up exiled from the land of the young, rich, and fabulous?

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

"Mack the Hack!"  Bruce Patman fumed over breakfast.  "That's what Anderson called me yesterday afternoon.  Mack the Hack!"

Bruce put on his Ray-Ban sunglasses, not to shield his eyes against the Wednesday morning sunlight that streamed through the University Center windows but to get himself into the character of supersnob Anderson Pettigrew.  He slouched over, letting his broad shoulders droop like Anderson's thin bony ones.  "Oh, Paaahhhtman," he drawled, imitating Anderson's been-there-done-that-rich-kid voice.  "Have you heard what the VIPs are calling you?  'Maaahhhck the Haaahhhck.'"

Bruce punctuated his irritation with a long, drawn-out whinny of a giggle.  Proud of his impersonation, he removed his sunglasses with flair and waited for Lila Fowler's appreciative laugh.

But the love of Bruce's life looked less than amused.

"Oh, shut up," Lila snapped as she flipped through the pages of her red leather-bound address book.  "I am so sick of listening to you obsess over this."

"Obsess!"  Bruce yelped, stung.  "Considering that I was willing to make a total fool of myself for your sake--correction.  Considering that you were willing to make a total fool out of me on the off chance that the Verona Springs Country Club VIPs might let you join their elite little circle, I'd think you could at least show me a tiny bit of sympathy."

"I don't have time for sympathy, and you don't have time for self-pity.  Now sit down and make yourself useful.  Help me address these thank-you notes."  She pushed a little stack of cream-colored monogrammed envelopes across the table.  "Since Pepper Danforth chose me to organize the Verona Springs VIP Mixed Doubles Tournament, I want to send one to every person who participated.  And I want to do it on my stationery so they'll know exactly who was in charge."

"If you think you were in charge," Bruce retorted, "you're kidding yourself.  I'll tell you who was in charge--Paul Krandall and Bunny Sterling, that's who.  They're the ones who walked off with that cheap trophy last night--just like they do every year.  And besides, the Verona Springs Snob Squad should be thanking you.  You went to a lot of trouble to organize their crummy tournament.  You went to a lot of trouble to make sure I threw the match so Paul and Bunny could win.  And you set me up so Paul could hustle me later."  He let out a snort of disgust.  "They should give you the VIP Medal for Exceptional Finkery, Lila."

"Stop being so snide.  Organizing that tournament was a big job.  It was an honor to be asked to do it.  Pepper said it was a test of my organizational ability."

Bruce rolled his eyes.  "If you ask me, it was a test of your kiss-up ability."

Lila's brown eyes sizzled.  "Take that back!"  she demanded.

"No!  That tournament was a farce.  You know it and I know it.  And the funny part is, I was actually looking forward to playing in it.  What a laugh!"  Bruce smiled weakly.  "That was before I knew you were going to beat me black and blue by swiping at my ankles and...and anything else you could reach with your racket."

"What else could I do?"  Lila squeaked.  "You kept scoring points.  I had to stop you.  We were going to win, and beating Paul Krandall is certain social suicide.  How many times do I have to tell you?"  She let out an exasperated groan.

"I wonder if Pepper was in on Paul's hustling scam," Bruce muttered.  "I still can't believe I fell for it.  The oldest trick in the book.  He walks around pretending he's got the IQ of an eggplant and the serve of a C-minus player, and the whole time he's setting up marks."

"So you're an easy mark," Lila murmured.  "What's new?"

"I should have smelled a rat when he challenged me to that private rematch yesterday morning--on the back court--so we could play 'privately.' What he really meant was with no witnesses."  Bruce shook his head remorsefully.  "There I was, thinking I was heading for an easy win, and suddenly he started slamming aces like Pete Sampras!  Do you have any idea how much money he won off me?"

Lila shrugged as if she really didn't much care.  "Paul made fools out of both of us.  You don't hear me complaining, do you?  Besides, when you went out with Bunny, you treated her like dirt.  Paul's her fiancé.  He had a duty to avenge her.  He did.  So take it like a man and quit whining."

Bruce got up and paced around the table, his hands shoved down into the pockets of his khakis.  "Gee, thanks.  I appreciate your sympathy.  The entire country club thinks Bruce Patman can't return a serve now--but hey, don't worry.  Whatever makes you happy, darling."

"Obsessing," Lila sang under her breath as she scratched the nib of her expensive fountain pen across a thick note card.  "He's obsessing."

"I'm not obsessing!  I'm venting.  There's a difference."

Lila put down her pen and turned in her chair to look at him.  A smile played at the corner of her mouth, and Bruce's heart thumped.  It was amazing that Lila Fowler could do that to him.  They'd known each other since the sixth grade and hated each other until this year.  He was a college sophomore.  She, a freshman.  When she had turned up on the Sweet Valley University campus, they had seen each other through new eyes and fallen for each other--hard.  They were perfect for each other too.  Lila Fowler was one of the richest girls in California.  Bruce had come into his trust fund this year and had almost as much--maybe more?--money than she did.  They both loved expensive things and could both afford the best.

But just because Bruce had a lot of money didn't mean he wanted to be cheated.  It didn't mean he wanted to join some dorky country club for well-to-do college couples either.  For the life of him, he couldn't figure out what Lila saw in that crowd.  "What are you smiling at?"  he asked grumpily.

"You," Lila answered, lowering her eyelids flirtatiously.  "You're so cute when you're being unreasonable and childish."  Her eyes shone behind dark fringes of expensively tinted eyelashes.  She had them dyed once a week at The Eyes Have It, a salon for eyebrows and lashes only.  Lila had a standing appointment once a week to which Bruce accompanied her in case something hurt and she wanted her hand held.  Bruce teased her about it, but it was time and money well spent.  Her eyes were incredibly beautiful.

Bruce threw himself into the chair beside hers.  Even though she was looking aggressively tempting, he wasn't quite ready to be teased out of his tantrum.  He was having too much fun ridiculing her "friends"--Pepper Danforth, with her fried platinum blond hair and plastic fingernails, and her too-jaded boyfriend, Anderson.  And all the other overdressed, underclassed Verona Springs VIPs.  "I'm not being child--"

"Yes, you are," she said abruptly.  "You complain that the VIPs are rich snobs.  But you're a rich snob too."

"Am not," he retorted.

"Are too," she insisted.  "I'm not judging.  Who am I to judge?  I'm a rich snob and happy to be one.  And I want to be in the Verona Springs VIP Circle too.  It's my goal, OK?  You're my boyfriend.  You're supposed to help me achieve my goal.  So stop 'venting' and help me."

"Lila!  A goal is putting a man on the moon or increasing productivity twenty percent.  Getting into the Verona Springs VIP Circle is not a goal.  It's...it's..."  He racked his brains, searching for the right word.

"It's what I want," she said simply.

Bruce sighed and stared down at the toes of his beige-and-sand-colored nubuck oxfords.  Well, that was that.

Game over!

Checkmate!

Bingo!

Gin!

Meeting adjourned!

Because on Planet Lila, that was just the way things were.  If Lila wanted it, it was Bruce's job to see that she got it.

Lila leaned close until her eyes and lips were less than two inches from his.  Bruce's heart began to hammer in his chest.  "You want me to be happy, don't you?" she asked in her low, throaty voice.

He closed his eyes.  Why did he ever try to argue with Lila?  It was futile.  Pointless.  He loved her madly and insanely.  She drove him up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side.  But he always came back for more.

He felt the pressure of her lips against his, and a slow flutter of electricity moved up and down his spine. ...

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