Haywood Smith Wife-in-Law: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781250013897

Wife-in-Law: A Novel

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9781250013897: Wife-in-Law: A Novel

From The New York Times bestselling author of The Red Hat Club―two friends never imagined they'd end up married to the same man

Neighbors Betsy Callison and Kat Ellis were oil and water when they met thirty-five years ago. Betsy was a prim, neat-freak, Republican wife, and Kat was a wild, irreverent, hippie Democrat. But they soon discover common ground that creates a bond that lasts for decades.

Until Betsy's husband, Greg, leaves her for his secretary, then comes sniffing back around two years later and convinces newly widowed Kat to marry him! Not that Betsy wants him back, but it's hard to move on when the newlyweds are flaunting their love right across the street. But there's trouble brewing in Paradise, and no one knows philandering Greg better than his ex-wife, Betsy. Can Betsy get involved in her best friend's marriage―even if it means helping her wife-in-law figure out the same man she shared a bed with for thirty years?

Told with Haywood Smith's inimitable southern voice, Wife-in-Law provides loads of laughter, insight, and plenty of heart.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

HAYWOOD SMITH is The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Waking Up In Dixie, Ladies of the Lake, Wedding Belles, Red Hat Club and The Red Hat Club Rides Again.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Wife-in-Law
OneSomebody once asked me how I pick my friends, and I just laughed, because God usually does the picking for me, and believe me, He has a wicked sense of humor. So when it came to my best friend in the world, never in a million years would I have chosen Kat Ellis. And never in a trillion years would I have ever imagined that we'd both end up married to the same man--or that one of us would kill him.Los Angeles, California. July, three years agoThe drive from my daughter's house in Fullerton to the L.A. airport was like a tour of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. Smog bathed "paradise" in pollution, while the huge refineries we passed just belched out even more, along with the endless, suicidal traffic that filled the freeway twenty-four/seven.Wonderful jobs had brought my elder daughter Amelia and her husband Sonny to Tinseltown, but my poor little granddaughters ... How they could escape getting emphysema before kindergarten was beyond me. But being the good mother-in-law that I am, I'd held my peace all week and not insisted that Sonny move the family to a nontoxic environment. I waited till I kissed him and the children good-bye, then announced that I'd be sending them all respirators, as soon as I could find some in toddler sizes.I wasn't kidding, but Sonny just laughed. Sigh.Now, on the way to LAX for my flight back to Atlanta, Amelia turned her eyes from the insanity on the freeway to shoot a brief frown of concern my way. "Mama, are you okay?""I'm fine, honey." As fine as a dumped housewife could be. At least Greg paid my alimony and health insurance on time, thanks be to God. "How about you?"All week, Amelia'd been holding something back, shooting me sad looks when she thought I couldn't see her, but we'd both been so busy with Macy, three, and Madison, one, that we hadn't had much time to talk in private. But Amelia never could keep a secret, so I wasn't surprised when she'd announced that Sonny would be keeping the kids while just the two of us went to the airport. "You've seemed so preoccupied all week," I prodded.She scowled at the traffic ahead. "I ... I'm fine, Mama, really.""Really?" I nudged. "Everything okay with you and Sonny?"She nodded rapidly, eyes ahead. "Fine. Fine."Right in front of us, a flame-bedecked lowrider--bass throbbing--started to "hop" at sixty miles an hour, and I slammed my foot to the floorboard at the same instant Amelia, along withall the other drivers in the vicinity, braked to give him wide berth.Heart racing, I gasped out, "People are crazy in this town."Amelia grinned. "Yep. That's one of the things I like best about it."She'd always been the artistic one in the family--flamboyant, dramatic, marching to a different drummer from the other suburban kids back in our Atlanta suburb, Sandy Springs. Then she'd aced prestigious Parsons School of Design and started doing costume work for Broadway, so I'd reconciled myself that she wouldn't be coming home. Her current success designing and coordinating wardrobes for TV and movies was a dream come true, but was it too much to ask for my grandbabies to be able to breathe?I bit back the question before it escaped, saying instead, "Is everything okay with work? Really?"There was a recession, after all. It cost a fortune to live in L.A. And even though Sonny was one of the most sought-after young cinematographers in town, they weren't making movies at the rate they used to. Plus, bargain-basement reality series were slowly eating up time slots on TV."I already told you, Mama, we're fine financially," Amelia said with a hint of annoyance, stomping the brakes to avoid hitting a car that cut right in front of her, which set off a series of screeches behind us. I flinched, waiting for the crunch of metal that never came, but Amelia just kept right on with our conversation. "Business is great. Did you think I was lying when I told you?""No, honey. Of course not," I said, breathless from the close call, "but obviously something's bothering you." I knew it wasn'tthe kids. Both Amelia and Sonny were calm, adoring parents who rolled with the punches. "If it's not Sonny and it's not work, what is it?"A pinch of pain flashed across her strong profile."I'm your mother, honey. You know you can tell me anything."She risked letting go of the steering wheel with her right hand long enough to grip my left one briefly. "I know, Mama. I know."Just then, some idiot on his cell phone in a Land Rover with DRECTER plates swerved over on us, so we had to swerve over on somebody else, setting off another chain reaction that prompted my sweet, precious Southern daughter to blare her horn and let loose a stream of profanity that would scorch the paint off an army tank."Amelia Harcourt Wilson," I gasped out in shock, "wash your mouth out with soap!""Sorry," she said without conviction.Like an EEG settling down after a petit mal seizure, the traffic around us smoothed back to its steady pace as if nothing had ever happened, but I was still floored by Amelia's language. "I hope you don't talk that way in front of my precious grandbabies!"Amelia chuckled. "Only when I'm alone, Mama." She signaled for the turn into LAX."Alone? What am I, chopped liver?" Jolted back into mother mode, I jabbed a finger her way. "This place is corrupting you."My daughter responded with her favorite phrase from adolescence: "Oh, Mama, lighten up." She headed into short-term parking. "Nobody can drive in this traffic without cussing sometimes.It's legally required. Anyway, a little private profanity is good for the soul.""Yours wasn't private," I reminded her."Sorry," she repeated, then scanned the crowded rows of parked cars for an open space. "Don't you ever cuss?""Only when I'm alone. Really alone."I'd cussed a lot when her father ran off with his secretary two years before, but it hadn't helped. Only time and therapy had helped. And a shipload of antidepressants and antianxiety drugs.Good old drugs. They'd definitely gotten me over the hump. I planned to wean myself off them, but not just yet.Amelia spotted an empty space and pulled in. She turned off the ignition and paused as if she was going to say something, then changed her mind and opened the door with a too bright, "Well, here we are. I'll get your luggage.""You don't have to go in with me, honey," I said for the third time. "I promise, I can manage.""Mama, we went over this. I want to be with you till the last minute. We only see each other once a year." Avoiding eye contact, she gathered my things and led the way into the terminal. After I'd checked my bag, she kept glancing around the concourse, anxious, as if she was looking for something. "Are you hungry, Mama?" she asked. "Why don't we find someplace to eat?"At the airport, paying three prices for everything? "We just finished that lovely breakfast you made," I reminded her.There was that look again. I stopped short. "Amelia, I wish you'd just come out and tell me what's bothering you.""Mama, I ... Not here. It's so public."Good Lord. What on earth was it?All kinds of dire possibilities flooded my brain. My heart dropped to my bladder and bounced. "Oh, God. You're not sick, are you? Or the children? Or Sonny?""No, no," she hastened to assure me. "Please don't faint." She hustled me to a nearby bank of worn chairs. "It's nothing like that. Here. Sit." Leaving the seat between us empty, she sat too. "Mama, I didn't mean to upset you. I'm so sorry. We're fine.""Thank God." I pressed my hand to my racing heart. "You scared the life out of me."She shot me that pained look of pity for the fortieth time.I'd had enough of this pussyfooting around. "Then what is it? Spit it out, before I have a heart attack."Her eyes filled with tears. "It's Daddy." She pressed her left fist to her chin as if to block what she was saying. "He and Kat are getting married."Oh, that."Duh!" No surprises there. "I figured they would. Your daddy never could take care of himself."Poor Kat. Desperately lonely after Zach died of ALS, she'd been a perfect target when Greg had come back to Atlanta looking for somebody to nursemaid him. Thanks to therapy, I'd known better than to encourage him when he came sniffing around, but Kat ..."Mama," Amelia protested, "she's your best friend! I can't believe she'd even date Daddy, much less marry him!""Oh, honey, it's okay." Why did everybody want me to be madat Kat, anyway? She'd had nothing to do with the breakup of my marriage.Frankly, I felt sorry for her. Lord knows, she'd seen what Greg had done to me, and I'd warned her that he would probably just do it again, but she'd simply stopped calling me. Word on the grapevine was, Greg had told her I was just jealous. And frigid. And a prescription-drug addict. All bald-faced lies, and Kat knew it, but Greg was so charming, he could make you believe your mother was a monkey.Kat also knew how selfish he was--and I'd done my share of making him that way--but she'd been so lonely since Zach died that I guess she'd convinced herself Greg had really turned over a new leaf.Who knows? Maybe he had. For Kat's sake, I hoped so. I only knew I didn't want to be his mother anymore. Taking care of my own kept me plenty busy.But how could I explain all this to Amelia without saying anything bad about her father? She still wouldn't speak to him or let him see the girls, even though he'd moved his mistress to L.A. after our breakup, ostensibly to be near Amelia and her family. As it turned out, the mistress thing hadn't worked for him either. Women our daughter's age don't wait on ...

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