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Authors: Judith Krantz

I'll Take Manhattan

BOOK: I'll Take Manhattan
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MAXI STRIKES GOLD

 

“What’s in that pile?” Justin, Maxi’s brother, asked.

“I call them the ‘so what else is wrong with you?’ magazines,” Maxi said. “Their premise is simply that things are going so badly that you’re desperate for help.”

“Ma’s overreacting,” Angelica whispered to him.

“The hell I am,” Maxi snapped. “All they do is undermine your self-confidence; they make you feel that it’s impossible for your body to ever be attractive
enough
, that you should be doing better, better,
better
, in the kitchen, the bedroom, the boardroom—what, you mean you haven’t been promoted yet? Oh, thank them—thank the good editors for making you feel better about that heel you married, the seventeen different things you do wrong in bed; all of which are your fault, bad girl. Guilt!
If I read one more article about bulimia I’ll throw up
. Isn’t there a single magazine a woman can buy that loves her just the way she is? What did I just say?”

“You’d throw up if,” Angelica cried hysterically.

“No, after.”

“Doesn’t any magazine like women?” Justin ventured.

Maxi jumped up and down. “THAT’S IT! The magazine that loves you and doesn’t try to change you, the magazine that exists for your pleasure. FUN. The magazine that doesn’t care if you eat too much or can’t find a guy. Fun, I say! Did you hear me? FUN!”

“We heard you, Ma. Everybody in Trump Tower heard you.”

“What is this fun book going to be called?” Justin said.

“It’s already got a name.
Buttons and Bows
. But times have changed. I’m shortening it to
B and B.


B and B
? What kind of name is that?” Angelica said.

“Does it matter? Bread and Butter, Bosoms and Bottoms, whatever suits your fancy. It’s called
B and B
and that means F-U-N!”

Bantam Books by Judith Krantz

Ask your bookseller for the books you have missed

SCRUPLES

PRINCESS DAISY

MISTRAL’S DAUGHTER

I’LL TAKE MANHATTAN

TILL WE MEET AGAIN

DAZZLE

SCRUPLES TWO

LOVERS

This edition contains the complete text of the original hardcover edition
.
NOT ONE WORD HAS BEEN OMITTED
.

 

I’LL TAKE MANHATTAN
A Bantam Book / published by arrangement with Crown Publishers

 

PUBLISHING HISTORY

 

Crown edition published May 1986
Bantam edition / February 1987

 

Grateful acknowledgment is given for permission to reprint lyrics from “Manhattan” copyright 1925 by Dorothy F. Rodgers, Mary Guettel, Linda R. Breckir, and Estate of Lorenz Hart, Marlin Enterprises and Lorenz Hart Publishing Co., owners of publication and allied rights in the U.S. Made in U.S.A. E.B. Marks Music Corporation owners of publication and allied rights in the rest of the world
.

 

All rights reserved, including public performance for profit. Any copying, arranging or adapting of this composition without the consent of the owners is an infringement of copyright. Every effort has been made to contact the copyright owner of material reproduced in this book. Omissions brought to our attention will be corrected in subsequent editions
.

 

All rights reserved
.
Copyright
©
1986 by Falk Publishing Co
.
Library of Congress Catalogue Number: 85-22403
.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher
.
For information address: Crown Publishers
.
201 East 50th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022
.

 

eISBN: 978-0-307-76644-1

 

Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, New York 10036
.

 

v3.1

 

For Steve, who knows why I keep dedicating books to him.
With all my love, always
.

 

I am grateful to these friends who generously told me things I needed to know.

Helen Gurley Brown of
Cosmopolitan
Alexandra Mayes Birnbaum of
Good Food
Amy Gross of
Vogue
Cathie Black of
USA Today
Mark Miller of Hearst Magazines
Ellen Levine of
Woman’s Day

 
Contents
 
 
 
1
 

Maxi Amberville, with characteristic impatience and a lifelong disregard for regulations, sprang out of her seat in the moving Concorde that was taxiing to a stop, and raced along the narrow aisle toward the forward exit. Her fellow passengers sat in the aloof tranquility of those who have paid twice the price of a first-class ticket to travel from Paris to New York and felt no further pressure to hurry. As she flew by a few eyebrows were elegantly raised at the sight of such an unpardonably pretty girl in an undignified rush.

“What’s taking so long?” she demanded of the stewardesses.

“We have not yet arrived, Madame.”

“Arrived? Of course we’ve arrived. Damn these things—they spend more time on the ground than in the air.” Maxi quivered in fury and every inch of her body, packed with nervous energy and intensity of purpose, expressed disapproval of Air France.

“If Madame will please return to her seat?”

“The hell I will. I’m in a hurry.” Maxi stood her ground, feet planted in the flat boots she always wore for travel. Her short, dark hair was ruffled in seven different directions, here standing straight up and there covering part of her forehead with thick bangs that fell over her indignant face. She would have been riveting in a room full of beautiful women, for she made mere beauty seem not only irrelevant but uninteresting. In the subdued daylight of the cabin she was as alight with anticipation as if she were about to enter a ballroom. Maxi was wearing an old, tightly belted cognac-colored suede jacket and well-worn jeans tucked into her boots, a shoulder bag slung like a Sam Browne belt from one shoulder to the opposite hip, and as she pushed her bangs back impatiently she revealed the thick blaze of
white hair with which she had been born, a streak that sprang out of her hairline over her right eye.

The Concorde whispered to its final stop and the stewardess, with dignified disdain, observed Maxi as she stomped through the exit door before it was fully open, clutching an American passport in her free hand.

Maxi came to a full halt at the closest Immigration booth and thrust her passport at the inspector. He opened it to her picture, studied it casually, and then looked at it intently.

“Maxime Emma Amberville?” he asked.

“Right. Isn’t it a god-awful photo? Look, I’m in a hurry. Could you just stamp that thing and let me get out of here?”

The inspector looked at her with noncommittal scrutiny. He calmly punched up some keys on his computer.

“Who,” he asked her finally, “is Maxime Emma Amberville Cipriani Brady Kirkgordon?”

“I know. I know. An unwieldy name at best. But it’s not against the law.”

“What I mean, miss, is why don’t you have your full name on this passport?”

“My old passport expired during the summer and I renewed it at the Embassy in Paris … you can see that it’s new.”

“Did you change your name legally?”

“Legally?” Maxi said, offended. “All of my divorces were perfectly legal. I prefer my maiden name so I returned to it. Do you want to hear the whole story of my life? Everyone on that blasted plane is going to get ahead of me. Now I’ll have to wait at customs!”

“The baggage isn’t off the plane yet,” he remarked reasonably.

“That’s the whole point! I don’t have any baggage. If we weren’t haggling about my lurid past I’d be in a taxi right now. Oh, bloody,
bloody
hell!” she complained, ardent in her fury.

The inspector continued to study the passport. The photograph didn’t manage to convey her quality of electric vitality and as accustomed as he was to bad pictures he had not, for a brief moment, been convinced that the snapshot
was legitimate. It showed mostly bangs and a neutrally smiling mouth, but the woman standing wrathfully in front of him, her hair looking like the feathers of an outraged bird, had a boldness, an audacity, that would have forced him to notice her, as if a flare had been sent up in front of his nose. What’s more she didn’t look old enough to have had more than one husband, much less three, in spite of the date of her birth, twenty-nine years ago.

Reluctantly the inspector stamped her passport with the day’s date, August 15, 1984, and gave it back to her, but not before he’d made a special illegible notation on the back of her customs declaration.

Moving with the tadpole agility of the born New Yorker Maxi slapped her shoulder bag down on a customs table and looked around impatiently for an inspector. At this early hour they were still gathered in one corner of the big room finishing their morning coffee, not anxious to start the day’s work. Several of the customs men caught sight of Maxi at the same time and each of them put down his mug of coffee abruptly. One of them, young and redheaded, broke from the pack and started off toward Maxi.

“What’s your hurry, O’Casey?” asked another inspector, catching him by the arm.

“Who’s in a hurry?” he asked, shaking off the arm. “This pigeon just happens to be mine,” he announced, walking quickly toward Maxi, outdistancing the closest of his fellows by several yards, in his determination.

“Welcome to New York,” he said. “The Countess of Kirkgordon, unless my eyes deceive me.”

“Oh, cut out the countess nonsense, O’Casey. You know I dumped poor Laddie a while ago.” Maxi looked at him with a trace of unease, her hands on her hips. Just her bad luck to fall into the hands of cocky, freckled, far-from-unattractive Joseph O’Casey who fancied himself some kind of throwback to Sherlock Holmes. There should be a law about civil servants like him molesting decent citizens.

BOOK: I'll Take Manhattan
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