Three years ago, when his mother announced that she was flying to Moscow to adopt a seven-year-old girl, Stewart did his best not to react. His mother had always been the kind of person who made threats, who cajoled and coerced, until she got her way. For years, she’d been threatening to adopt one of the children she sponsored in Mexico and Guatemala and Romania, to bring a child home to live with her in Ventana Beach, so she would have someone in her life who loved her, who appreciated her.
The friendship is both tender and antagonistic, deeply intimate and full of spite, and Elena reflects on the difficulty of telling her own story without Lila in it. There is Lila’s story and there is Elena’s story, but Elena realizes the two are inextricable.
The plan was to torch the rose patch. We could, at this point, see no other way. Flickerdot, our beloved hybrid, was a complete bust. But one couldn’t blame us for being fooled: the first and second generations were so thick with blooms that Jamie could put a book — an Oxford dictionary, no less — on the plant and the dense flowers would hold it up.
Clarissa had a deal for a one-time transaction with the Kitty Cup Ranch outside of Virginia City, Nevada, twenty-six hundred miles away from her home in Maryland. In recent months she and Bitsy, the ranch owners, and the ranch’s legal team had been drawing up the contract. If all went well, Clarissa would choose a man from among the highest bidders and complete the auction by mid-August, before she started college.
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