Page Six sizzled with hot items about a grisly murder, a premature birth, and a public meltdown.
Faye Hudson of North Bay Lane in East Hampton devoured the main gossip headlines, amazed that all of them involved the three girls who signed last year’s summer share lease on the very property she called home nine months of the year.
Liza Pike, Kellyanne Downey, and Billie Shelton.
Faye rarely remembered the young singles who made their invasion of the Hamptons a summer ritual, hitting the streets and beaches like locusts on crops. Year after year, a new set would come and go. The names and faces were sketchy, as the previous season’s residents often blurred into the next. Usually, they were just cash to her, a way to finance her de cadent summers in the south of France. But this last group had been different. Sin by sin, their sordid lives were played out in the traditional columns and online gossip sites. Scandal. It seemed to be the new generation’s proof of life.
Tossing the New York Post
aside, Faye pushed through the French doors and stepped out onto the balcony. She would read the rest later. The sun shone a bright, mellow glow, every Hollywood lighting director’s dream. Eastern Long Island was magical that way.
The clatter of men at work boomed louder and louder from the living room. They were replacing the hardwood floors, stripping the walls, carting away the furniture. Thank God. She could not look at those ghastly bloodstains one more day.
But it would take more than an extreme home make over to get the place in proper shape for the rental season. Once upon a time, her house had been Pottery Barn perfect. Now she wondered if anyone would show an interest in occupying it this year, even at a drastically cut rate.
These days, her home radiated a certain Amityville quality. People cruised by slowly in their cars, windows down, fingers pointing, no doubt re-creating the brutal scene in their voyeur is tic minds. Fifteen stab wounds. And they said she had put up a ferocious fight.
Faye banished the image from her mind as a slight mist began to form in her eyes. The newspaper beckoned. She stepped back inside to consume all the details. It was a heady realization to vividly recall the way those girls had been in the beginning, before everything had gone so wrong. No one ever could have imagined that it would all come down to this.
Suddenly, last summer…
Excerpted from Tan Lines by J. J. Salem
Copyright © 2008 by J. J. Salem
Published in 2008 by St. Martin’s Press
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher