Three anticipated summer books. Which will be the CBS New York Book Club’s next read?

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Vote now for the next read for Club Calvi! 

The CBS New York Book Club is starting summer with “Top 3 FicPicks”  that are among the most anticipated releases of the season. The books feature stories of intrigue and mystery, money and culture clashes. 

Your choices are: “The Next Mrs. Parrish” by Liv Constantine, “All the Summers in Between” by Brooke Lea Foster, and “The Winner” by Teddy Wayne.

Dive into the excerpts below and cast your vote! 

The CBS New York Book Club focuses on fiction with plots and/or authors connected to New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.  These books may have adult themes.  

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“The Next Mrs. Parrish” by Liv Constantine

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Bantam


 

From the publisher:  Amber Patterson Parrish has come a long way. Hard work and immaculate planning turned her from invisible wallflower to prominent socialite, though there have been bumps along the way. Less than a year after her husband Jackson’s tax-evasion scandal, Amber reigns supreme over the Bishops Harbor community. But with Jackson being released from prison, Amber’s free time-and money-is vanishing.

Meanwhile, Daphne Parrish left Bishops Harbor after her divorce from Jackson, swearing she would never go back. But when one of her daughters runs away from home, desperate to see her father, Daphne agrees to return for the summer for their daughters’ sake. Jackson swears he’s a changed man, but Daphne knows all too well that he can’t be trusted.

When a ghost from Amber’s past emerges looking for revenge, these three figures find unlikely allies in one another. But who is playing who? When all is said and done, they’ll have to fight tooth and nail for everything they have left in this zero-sum game. 

Liv Constantine is the pen name of sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine who live in Connecticut and Maryland respectively.

“The Next Mrs. Parrish” by Liv Constantine (Hardcover) $27

“The Next Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine (Kindle) $14


“All the Summers in Between” by Brooke Lea Foster

all-the-summers-final.jpg

Gallery Books


  

From the publisher:  When wealthy, impulsive summer girl Margot meets hardworking and steady local girl Thea in the summer of 1967, the unlikely pair become fast friends, working alongside one another in a record store and spending every spare moment together. But after an unspeakable incident on one devastating August night, they don’t see one another for ten years…until Margot suddenly reappears in Thea’s life, begging for help and harboring more than one dangerous secret. Thea can’t bring herself to refuse her beloved friend-but she also knows she can’t fully trust her either.

Unfulfilled as a housewife, Thea enjoys the dazzling sense of adventure Margot brings to her life, but will the truth of what happened to them that fateful summer ruin everything? Testing the boundaries of how far she’ll go for a friend, Thea is forced to reckon with her uncertain future while trying to decide if some friends are meant to remain in the past.

Brooke Lea Foster lives in New York.

“All the Summers in Between” by Brooke Lea Foster (Hardcover) $29

“All the Summers in Between” by Brooke Lea Foster (Kindle) $15


“The Winner” by Teddy Wayne 

winner-hc-book-jacket.jpg

Harper


From the publisher: Conor O’Toole has never been anywhere like Cutters Neck, a gated community near Cape Cod. It’s a sweet deal for the summer: in exchange for tennis lessons, he receives free lodging in a luxurious guest cottage, far from the cramped Yonkers apartment he shares with his diabetic mother.

In this oceanfront paradise, however, new clients prove hard to come by, and Conor has bills to pay. When Catherine, a sharp-tongued divorcée, offers double his usual rate, he soon realizes she is expecting additional, off the court services for her money, and Conor tumbles into a secret erotic affair unlike anything he’s experienced before.

Despite his steamy flings with a woman twice his age, he simultaneously finds himself falling for an artsy, outspoken girl he meets on the beach. With cautious, strategic planning, Conor somehow manages this tangled web-until he makes one final, irreversible mistake. 

Teddy Wayne lives in Brooklyn.

“The Winner” by Teddy Wayne (Hardcover) $27

“The Winner” by Teddy Wayne (Kindle) $15


Excerpt: “The Next Mrs. Parrish” by Liv Constantine 

Safe is not a word I would ever associate with Jackson. I don’t want him here, contaminating our lives. I can’t abide the thought of him in my house, seeing where we live, knowing the intimate details of our lives.

“I’m not even sure if he’s been released from prison yet. Plus, I don’t know if he can leave the state.”

“Why did Tallulah try to go see him if he’s still in prison?”

I blow out a breath. “I never told her he was in prison.”

“Well, what if you took the girls there?”

My stomach tightens. There. The place I fought so hard to escape.

“I can’t go back.”

“Well, if Jackson can’t come here, I don’t see any other options. Are you willing to risk her running off again? Or even hurting herself?”

“No, of course not. Do you think she’d actually . . .” I can’t complete the sentence, I’m so horrified by the thought. “There must be another way.” Alarm twists my stomach.

She cocks her head, her face full of understanding. “I don’t see how if Jackson can’t come here.”

I sigh and think for a moment. “Maybe we could go next month when the girls are out of school. Rent something for the summer. But I need support. Can you recommend someone for us to see in Connecticut?”

“Yes, of course.” She gives me a sympathetic look. “I realize this is the last thing you want to do. But legally he has no right to the children, so he has to play by your rules.”

I scoff. “Jackson doesn’t play by anyone else’s rules.” Then I shrug. “Maybe these months in prison have mellowed him.” But I don’t believe that for a minute.

Dr. Marshall leans back in her chair, tapping her pen on a pad. “Both girls are curious about their little brother, Jackson Junior. What are your thoughts about allowing them to meet him?”

It’s a question I’ve wrestled with since he was born. He’s innocent in all this, only two years old. I know how precious siblings are; I still miss my sister after all these years. If Tallulah and Bella have the chance to have a relationship with a brother, I don’t want to stand in the way.

“The problem is Amber. She and I are not exactly on good terms. I absolutely don’t want her having anything to do with my girls. She’s devious and scheming, a liar who plays mind games and will stop at nothing to get her own way. I won’t have them subjected to her manipulation. But she’ll never let her son be a part of our lives unless we include her.”

“Well, perhaps Jackson can persuade her to allow him to bring little Jackson with him.”

“There’s no way—”

She puts up her hand. “You know what, one step at a time. Let me find you a therapist to work with. Give him or her all the background, and you can navigate these issues then. And of course, you can talk to me any time while you’re away. The main thing is to help Tallulah and Bella come to terms with living apart from their father.”

I know she’s right, but a sense of dread fills me, nonetheless. “Okay. I’ll get in touch with him as soon as I can.”

“Have you filled the prescription Dr. Parker sent to the pharmacy?”

I shake my head. “I don’t need anything.”

“Just fill it and take it with you. If you get too anxious, the Klonopin can help.”

I nod. “All right, I will.”

On the drive back home, I rehearse what I’ll say to Jackson, how to appeal to his better self on behalf of Tallulah. I would go to hell and back for my children, but with Jackson involved, there may not be a way back. He’s a master manipulator, capable of assuming whatever persona is most advantageous to him at the time. He swept into my life like a hero, making me believe he was the answer to everything I needed. After we were married, Jackson’s behavior seemed controlling at times, but I rationalized it away, thinking I was perhaps being too sensitive. It wasn’t until after Tallulah was born that he showed his true colors, knowing my love for her was my Achilles’ heel. He would go from being loving and attentive to cold and critical in the blink of an eye, and I never quite knew what provoked him. I tried my best to please him and to make it work but when he threatened the safety of our child, I took her and left. He was one step ahead of me, though, and after making me appear unstable and having me committed to a sanatorium for months, there was little I could do once I returned home, without losing my child. I shiver when I think back to the first night he became physically violent with me. Tallulah had been almost two years old. We’d gone out to dinner with clients and the waiter complimented me on my choice of an appetizer, saying it was his favorite. We must have exchanged only a few words, but Jackson barely spoke to me on the way home. I kept asking what was wrong, but he claimed nothing was. In the middle of the night, I felt like I was suffocating. I began coughing and suddenly realized he was holding a pillow over my head. I struggled against him, and he finally let go. My relief was short-lived. He flicked the lamp on, and I saw that he held a knife in his hands, its blade gleaming close to my face. He pushed it against my neck.

“Were you dreaming of the waiter, slut?” “Jackson, please. Put the knife down!”

“You humiliated me. Flirting with him like I wasn’t even there.” He nicked my neck, and I felt the burn. He put his finger on the blood, then smeared it on my cheek. To this day, I still wake up in the middle of the night, breathless, worried that there will be a knife at my throat or a gun at my head, until I remember that I’m free of him. And now I have to go back.

Excerpted from The Next Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine. Copyright © 2024 by Liv Constantine. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  

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Excerpt: “All the Summers in Between” by Brooke Lea Foster

           After that summer when Margot disappeared from her life and East Hampton in general, Thea had heard things about her comings and goings in the gossip columns. She certainly read the snippets published around the time she’d married William Crane, a restauranteur in Manhattan who the FBI had once investigated for having ties to the mob. Thea also knew that Margot’s mother had gotten her daughter a job in the Fashions & Styles section at the New York Herald newspaper, only to be embarrassed when Margot stopped showing up for work. Thea had seethed with jealousy from afar at how easily Margot had thrown it away. Thea had even seen a photograph of her in Vogue. She was in the background of a party in Cannes, wearing a sunhat, a long floral sundress, and aviator sunglasses, the photo capturing her wide smile with her perfect row of teeth. She’d flitted through a carefree, glamorous life in New York, while Thea had settled into the shadows of a quiet town and spent mornings with other housewives, drinking Earl Grey.

             Still, no one knew the kinds of things that Thea knew about Margot, the lies that Thea had caught her in.

            “What about Willy?” Thea turned on the radio, needing a break in the quiet.

            Margot folded her hands on the table. “Well, Willy is in deep. I need your help, but . . .”

            “But you feel bad asking for it considering you haven’t tried to contact me in all these years.” Thea plated a few shortbread cookies, walking the biscuits over to the table. “Well, I agree. It’s pretty lousy showing up like this.”

            Margot stared into her coffee. “You were my best friend, Thea. Do you know that I drove out here once? I parked in front of your house, watching you cradle Penny in your arms on the porch. But I couldn’t get out of the car. Why would I mess all this up for you? Remember what my mother used to say about me?”

            If there was fire, Margot would find it. Of course Thea remembered. But she never saw her as calamitous as that. Other than that one fateful night, she’d had nothing but fun with Margot, and she imagined Margot approaching her porch steps years ago. How much she could have benefited from the reemergence of an old friend during those lonesome early days of motherhood when her only company was Joni Mitchell’s album Blue.

            Oh, I wish I had a river . . .

            “You left, Margot. You left me alone after everything that happened.”

            They sat in the quiet drone of the radio. Thea rose to wash the breakfast dishes, keeping the water on a weak flow so she could hear Margot’s eventual response.

            “I treated you badly. You’re right. But you’re not innocent. You share the same story.”

            Thea switched off the water, turning and resting her back against the sink, wiping her hands dry on a clean white dishcloth. The back of her throat began to burn. “I thought none of it ever happened,” Thea said, watching Margot as she sat up straighter against the rough cane of the chair. “Isn’t that what your mother told us?” Margot held her gaze. “Sometimes it feels like that summer didn’t happen at all.”

            The song on the radio ended, and an announcer’s voice roared on. Thea moved to turn the volume down but caught Margot’s name in the headline. The tin speaker crackled. “Dubbed the ‘Ink Heiress’ due to her mother’s storied career, Mrs. Lazure vanished from her Manhattan apartment just as authorities went to question her about her husband’s mysterious disappearance. While the millionaire socialite isn’t considered dangerous, she is wanted by police for questioning. Please contact authorities if you see her at Studio 54.”

            The announcer broke into laughter. Thea locked her gaze on her friend, just as Margot’s deep-blue irises narrowed and darkened. If Thea stretched out her arm, she could lift the earpiece of the wall phone. She could call the police in seconds.

            Margot pulled a small, shiny locket from her pocket, dangling it from the delicate chain, the familiar hummingbird silhouette engraved in black on the face. Margot’s family heirloom. The identical one she’d once given to Thea as a gift.

            A part of Thea wanted to reach out and take it, hold it in her hands and clasp it to her heart. Was the picture of the two of them still inside? The photo had been no bigger than a thumbprint: two girls basking in the orangey glow of sunset, posing in a lifeguard chair with sweaters over their sundresses since there had been a chill in the air.

            Margot unclasped the necklace and put it around her neck. “Do you still have yours?”

            It was terrible to think of what Thea had done with it, that it was gone. “It’s upstairs,” she lied.

            Margot nodded. “Please, Thea. I wouldn’t come to you if there was anyone else.”

            Thea stopped thinking about picking up the phone. She folded her trembling fingers behind her back. “What did you do that authorities are looking for you?”

            “It’s not what it seems.” Margot shifted in her seat. “Let me stay in your barn. Just for a night or two. Please, Thea. I’m afraid someone is going to find me in the darkness.”

            Thea kicked at one of the square table legs, and Margot looked away, like she couldn’t take the sight of Thea’s frustration. She needed Margot to leave. It was that simple. Felix wouldn’t want the law to follow them home. Thea turned her coffee cup in circles on the table and a memory wrestled its way into her thoughts. She and Margot working at the record shop one afternoon when they were twenty, Margot urging her to say hello to Felix. Would she have met Felix at all without Margot nearly pushing her headfirst into the path of her future husband? Margot had done things for her. Big things.

From All the Summers in Between by Brooke Lea Foster.. Copyright © 2024 by the author and reprinted by permission of Gallery Books.

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Excerpt: “The Winner” By Teddy Wayne lde” by Tia Williams

As he was about to set down the gin in favor of sparkling water, a voice behind him, low but distinctly feminine, asked, “Are you going to pour that bottle or cradle it to sleep?”

The woman was tall, close to Conor’s height. Oversize sunglasses reflected the setting sun, and the wide brim of a straw hat shaded a bloodlessly pale face whose pointed features carved the air before her like the prow of a ship. Her medium-length hair was almost as yellow as that of the ubiquitous children. A network of blue veins peeked through the nearly translucent skin of her sinewy arms.

“Sorry,” he said. “Did you want— May I pour you some?”

She held out her quarter-full glass as if he were a caterer. “Don’t be shy,” she said, crooking her finger after he made a modest pour. “I’m not driving.”

He obliged and topped her off with a splash of tonic, then, when she nodded at the ice bucket, plunked in two cubes with a pair of tongs.

“So,” she said. “I don’t recognize you. Are you a bastard?” 

“Excuse me?” He was thrown off enough by the obscenity that he wasn’t sure if he’d misheard her.

“A bastard is someone’s illegitimate son. I’m asking if that’s the reason I don’t recognize you.”

Her odd question, delivered without the inflection of a joke, made him momentarily forget why he was there. “No, I . . . I’m the tennis . . . pro.” Technically, he was certified only as a recreational coach, not a pro, but his former boss had recommended he stretch the truth to get this job.

“The tennis . . . pro,” she repeated robotically. “Do you go by your vocation, or do you also have a name?”

“Conor. O’Toole.”

“Oh, yes. There was an email about lessons.” She cocked her chin up; behind her sunglasses she was probably squinting with suspicion. “You’re not trying to con us all, are you, Conor O’Toole? You’re not a con man impersonating a tennis pro for some nefarious purpose?”

The woman said this without a smile and took a drink, training her sunglasses on him the whole time. Women rarely made Conor self-conscious, but within a minute of talking to her he felt fidgety and diffident, as though a clutch of pedestrians were watching him parallel park.

“Just here to give lessons,” he said.

“Quite utilitarian. Well, then, how does one receive a lesson from the very serious Conor O’Toole?”

“All my info’s in the email John sent around.” When she didn’t respond, he added, “It’s a hundred and fifty dollars for an hour-long lesson.” (Conor had initially proposed a hundred dollars per lesson, the going rate at his old tennis club, but John had said he would attract more takers if he charged a hundred and fifty, as “no one here will think you’re worth it if you don’t cost enough.”)

“It’s gauche to talk money,” said the woman.

This line was spoken more cuttingly than the rest of her teasing. He’d always believed transparency was for the benefit of the customer, but at the moment it was apparent that he’d grossly overstepped one of this world’s unspoken lines of conduct, exposing himself as every bit the impostor she’d labeled him.

“I’m so—rry,” he said.

A few weeks into eighth grade, Conor had developed a stammer, seemingly overnight. It began innocuously, a brief pause inserted into words here and there. But within a couple of months it invariably appeared if he spoke more than a few sentences, the delay extending tortuously; his mind would know what the next sound was, yet his tongue and lungs refused to cooperate.

His mother assured him that it would eventually go away on its own, but he was terrified it wouldn’t. He’d heard that Joe Biden, then soon to become vice president, had overcome a childhood stutter by reciting Irish poetry for hours in front of the mirror. Conor decided to do the same, but with the medical journals his mother brought home from the gastroenterologist’s office where she worked. He figured if he could negotiate the arcane jargon, then he could handle everyday speech.

It was almost comic in hindsight, a thirteen-year-old boy studiously enunciating until bedtime upper endoscopy and management of anal fissures from back issues of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, but it had worked. By the time he entered high school, he’d conquered it—almost completely. The key was to stop thinking about it as soon as it happened, because if you didn’t, if you kept worrying it was coming back at full strength, it had a chance of taking root.

The woman’s sunglasses remained locked on him, as if privately documenting the existence of a defect, a marker of some innate inferiority. His body’s thermostat spiked, his hairline prickling with sweat. “I’m available Tuesday at five o’clock.” It sounded like she was setting the time, not asking if he were free.

“Sure,” he said, keeping his syllables to a minimum.

“I’ll see you then, Conor O’Toole,” she said and walked away.

Only later, when he was brushing his teeth at home, did he realize he hadn’t gotten her name.

“Con man with some nefarious purpose,” he said to himself in the mirror.

He would be making six hundred dollars off these people his first week. If he was a con man, then he was a low-rent one.

From THE WINNER by Teddy Wayne. Copyright © 2024 by Chico and Chico Inc. Published on May 28th, 2024 by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Excerpted by permission.

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