Read An Excerpt

DIVA
by Jillian Larkin

Genre: Historical, Young Adult

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Oh, how Lorraine had missed slipping into the perfect party dress!

Her fingers hungrily climbed over the gold lamé, deep green satin, pale rose silk chiffon, sparkling silver sequins, and fluffy black feathers that lived inside her closet. . . .

In the end she pulled out a fire-engine-red number covered entirely in tiers of fringe. The bodice dipped into a low V in the front and back, and the skirt barely reached her knees. It was one of the more scandalous dresses Lorraine owned and was perfect for her brief return to the wild life she’d missed so much these past weeks.

She barely recognized the raven-haired, oxblood-lipped, sophisticated flapper who greeted her in the mirror. She loved the way the light caught her dangling diamond earrings, how her bob curved against her cheek and softened the sharp angles of her face. Lorraine still had it after a few weeks of forced retirement. She could hardly wait to see the reactions of the boys at the party.

Becky was adorable in a vanilla silk chiffon dress. Rhinestones dripped along the dress’s neckline and dropped waist. Ho hum! Her roommate was cute, but she was certainly not the sultry vixen Lorraine saw when she looked at herself in the mirror. Becky would get all the dull, wholesome suitors, while the more intriguing boys would be entranced by Lorraine’s irresistible mystique.

Or that was the plan, anyway.

The two girls stood in front of the wide mirror to put the finishing touches on their makeup, and Becky glanced at Lorraine. “I can’t wait!” Becky said, settling a pearl headband over her short hair. “Do you have some pearl earrings to go with this?”

“Top right drawer of my desk.”

Becky opened the drawer and began to search through it. “You should really try to organize your things better, Raine. How do you ever find anything?” She pulled a pair of antique opera glasses out of the drawer. “And what on earth are these for?”

Lorraine laughed. “My parents practically forced them on me, along with their season tickets to the Met. I never could understand why people get so excited about watching a boring musical.”

“Ah, here they are,” Becky said, holding a pair of pearl studs triumphantly. “I hope we find some fellows with shiny hair tonight. How about you, Raine? What do you like most in a man?”

“A pulse,” Lorraine answered, making Becky laugh.

But it was true. After weeks of no one but Melvin for male company (and he barely counted), any of the upper-class party guests would do for a bit of necking. Besides, Forrest Hamilton was a rich, handsome man. It stood to reason that his friends would be rich and handsome as well. For a second, she thought of Hank—how he’d kissed her underneath the overturned boat in Central Park, told her she was beautiful.

But that had all been one big lie.

Lorraine glanced at the photo invitation on the bulletin board one more time. If what Becky said was true, Marcus couldn’t know his fiancée very well. Maybe this was how she would get him to forgive her. If she saved Marcus from a sham marriage, he’d be so grateful he’d have to be her friend again, right?

Lorraine missed the days she, Gloria, and Marcus used to spend walking through Astor Square Park or lounging around the Carmody mansion, gossiping and joking. She might never get Gloria back, but there was still hope for her and Marcus.

And once the Barnard girls and Columbia boys saw her palling around with Marcus, they would want—nay, beg to be her friend!

She would find out the dirt on this Anastasia woman as soon as she got back to New York. But now was the time for fun, at long last.

“Are you ready to go, Raine?” Becky asked.

Lorraine snapped her black beaded purse shut. “Ready?” she asked with a smile. “I think the better question would be: Is this party ready for me?”