The Trophy Wives Club: A Novel of Fakes, Faith, and a Love That Lasts Forever

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-03
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps "was" is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty years old back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon. When Jay first turned his eye to Haley, she was putty in his slender, graceful hands. No one ever treated her like she was important, and on the arm of Jay Cutler, she became someone people listened to and admired. Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, her Prince Charming seems to belong to the Henry the XIII line of royalty. When Haley loses Jay, she not only loses her husband, she loses her identity. With her first independent decision, Haley leaves LA and moves home to Northern California. Feeling freedom just within her grasp, Haley learns that her settlement payments must go through one of Jay's financial advisors, Hamilton Lowe. Haley believes he's nothing more than a spy. And the feelings of distrust are mutual. Yet somehow, Hamilton finds himself handing over the monthly checks in person, and Haley can't deny that there's a kind of tenderness and protectiveness in Hamilton that she's never experienced in a man before. But before Haley can even consider another relationship, she must learn to accept her inherent worth, and what it is to be loved for who she is, not what's on the outside.


The Trophy Wives Club
A Novel of Fakes, Faith, and a Love That Lasts Forever

Chapter One

"You'll keep the house?" Anna asks me. Anna is Anna Lynchow of Cutler & Lynchow, the producing partnership that garners tons of cash and few Hollywood accolades. Our husbands are the "lowbrow" entertainers of Middle America. If there is money to be made on bathroom humor, our husbands have found the key to its success.

I shake my head. "No, not keeping the house. Just the Porsche Cayenne." We both look at each other, understanding the comedy of a Porsche minivan. Or SAV, as they call it. Sport activity vehicle. Like that isn't a Carrera. "He bought the house through the business, and I only got a portion of it if we made it to ten years. I imagine your husband has more rights to it than I do."

Anna rolls her eyes, and in her New York drawl says, "Knowing Craig, he probably does. I don't think he drinks a latte without figuring out how he can make money on it. But God love him, I can spend it with the best of them, so I'm all for his making money." Anna straightens out of her smile. "Not at your expense, of course."

"I'm entitled to $10,000 per year of marriage."

Anna stares blankly, unable to do the math.

"Which, being just short of eight years until the separation, if you call it that, puts me at about $70,000." Less than my husband's annual golf fees, I want to add. "But it's not the money, you know, Anna? He won't even discuss this. He claims that I know exactly why he left me." Two months of hotel living and still no answers.

"What's to discuss? He left you, Haley. It happens every day. It isn't right. It isn't fair, but men get bored. Jay got bored."

Even for Anna that's a heartless question. "What's to discuss? Our marriage. We made vows!"

"In Hollywood you made vows," she says in the same tone as duh! She leans back into her vibrating pedicure chair.

There are times when it's painfully obvious I didn't grow up here. I know I come from a boring, middle-class background, but I never will understand the lack of emotions here when it comes to marriage and their coming to an end. Whatever the statistics might be, I got married for the same reason she did. She was in love. She only gets credit because her husband was poor when they married, and mine wasn't.

I know in certain circles, it seems kind that Jay packed up my things neatly and arranged for me to stay at the Wilshire, but it's only kind to someone who has never seen their life belongings left on a front porch. To one who looks at a mansion and says, This is it, all I've earned for the last decade, it's devastating. A Porsche and a porch with three suitcases. And he left the Vuittons in the house.

I found myself paralyzed, unable to understand how my life had changed. I still had the credit cards, I was still officially married and driving the Porsche. What exactly was different?

"It's a good settlement, Haley. I mean, you did pretty well considering there's no kids." She turns her hand over and looks at her nails, "Can you make them more rounded?" Anna asks the manicurist before turning her attention back to me. "That money will help you get started again, buy the right clothes, get you to the right parties. You'll be back in no time."

"Back? I haven't even left yet, and I don't want to come back." I'm tired of playing house. I want to be loved, not worshipped like a forgotten treasure from the past. That's not true either. Right now I'm Garbo. I just want to be left alone.

"If the money runs out, you can sell the Cayenne and get a Prius, you know? This is L.A. Get something practical for crying out loud, now that you don't have to worry about Jay's colleagues thinking he's cheap. Or heaven forbid, a Republican who has money to burn. Not that round!" she snaps at a poor Vietnamese girl, who might not understand her words but recognizes the tone immediately. There's a rash of pressured conversation in Vietnamese.

"Anna, take it easy. You're scaring her."

"I'm not scaring her. She's screwing it up, and I'm asking her to correct it. I'm a paying customer! Look at them, they're plotting how to take revenge out on me this very minute. Listen." She narrows her eyes toward the poor girl. "Wicked manicurists. Someday I'm going to employ my own at the house and not bother with this. I'm probably getting some dangerous fungus as we speak."

Most days, I think Anna is a dangerous fungus. "Oh, I bet they'll jump at the chance to work for you," I say sarcastically. "Your picture is probably plastered as a warning at the beauty schools throughout L.A."

"Just because you let everyone walk all over you—I come in here for a manicure; they do it my way. It's that simple. That's something you never understood, Haley. This town will walk all over you. You're letting Jay walk all over you now."

One thing I've learned in my years as Jay Cutler's wife: There's no sympathy garnered for a trophy wife. We are, by our very nature, hated entities. We get what we deserve, or so they say. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I have yet to meet a trophy wife who married for money. Life as a trophy wife evolves. Any good woman in L.A. becomes what her husband desires—plays the part, if you will. Some men are just more shallow than others.

We married for the same reason most women marry; we were hopelessly, devotedly in love with Prince Charming, who swept us off our feet and made us feel cherished. He would provide the security we needed, the unconditional love . . .

The Trophy Wives Club
A Novel of Fakes, Faith, and a Love That Lasts Forever
. Copyright © by Kristin Billerbeck. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from The Trophy Wives Club: A Novel of Fakes, Faith, and a Love That Lasts Forever by Kristin Billerbeck
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