She, Myself & I - By Whitney Gaskell


The world of publishing remains a mystery to me. I sit in my office and type up what eventually becomes a messy pile of pages, send it off to Bantam, and there they somehow magically turn it into a real, honest-to-goodness book. And so, were it not for a great many people—including my talented and always gracious editor, Danielle Perez, my terrific agent, Ethan Ellenberg, and the hardworking team at Bantam—you would not be holding this book in your hands. I owe them all my deepest gratitude for their support, their enthusiasm, and their unparalleled talent.

Many thanks also to my husband, George, who puts up with my moaning and obsessing, patiently reads and rereads my manuscripts, and holds my hand every step of the way. Without him cheering me on, I very much doubt if I’d ever have had the courage to write a single word.

Thank you to my mother, Meredith Kelly, who took Sam on countless afternoon walks so that I could fit in an extra hour of work, and to my father, Jerry Kelly, for his never-ending interest and support.

Thank you also to all of the readers who have taken the time to write me. Your kind e-mails mean more to me than you’ll ever know.

And finally, a world of thanks to our son, Sam. Without him in my life, this book would doubtlessly have been completed sooner, but I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun along the way.


Chapter One

I don’t know why I got that squirmy-stomach feeling when Scott knocked on the door. It was just Scott after all—the one person who couldn’t possibly surprise me any more than he already had. I took a few deep breaths to center myself, and, once I felt sufficiently calm, opened the door.

“Hi, Paige,” he said.

I stared at him. Since we’d divorced, Scott had apparently stumbled onto someone else’s fashion taste. Gone were the plain-front khakis, the slightly too-long floppy brown hair, the preppy tortoiseshell glasses, the quintessential boy-next-door whom most women—like me—don’t notice until they hit their late twenties and start looking around for husband-type material. Now his clothes looked expensively hip, and his hair was cropped short. The tortoiseshell glasses had been replaced with sleek silver metal frames. The once soft body was now lean and muscular. He looked amazing, far better than he ever had when we were together . . . but his new look was also unmistakably gay.

Okay, I was wrong. He was still capable of surprising me.

“Hey. Come on in,” I said, stepping out of his way.

I wasn’t sure what the greeting protocol was supposed to be, and I could tell by the way Scott was clasping his hands together that he didn’t know either. Were we supposed to hug? To exchange cheek kisses—mwah, mwah—like a pair of socialites? Maybe I should have written Miss Manners for the etiquette guidelines on greeting your gay ex-husband.

Dear Gentle Reader, I imagined she would reply. What a trying situation! But now, more than ever, Miss Manners would stress the importance of conducting yourself gracefully. To wit: it is always socially acceptable to clasp hands in a firm and congenial handshake. Do not feel it necessary to engage in gratuitous kissing and grappling.

I stuck my hand out awkwardly, and Scott stared at it just long enough to make me feel like an ass. But just as I was withdrawing my hand—stupid Miss Manners—Scott grabbed it and swung our arms between us.

Is there anything weirder than shaking hands with the man who once promised to love, honor, and cherish you for the rest of his life?

“Thanks for letting me visit our apartment,” Scott joked, pulling his hand back and pocketing it. “I suppose this counts as a supervised visit by the noncustodial parent?”

“You agreed to the settlement,” I reminded him.

“Hey, I was just kidding. And don’t worry, I’ve learned my lesson—never divorce a divorce attorney.”

Scott looked at the apartment, his expression wistful. We’d bought it together four years earlier, just after our wedding. It’s located in a converted downtown warehouse, and is roomy and airy and has a fabulous view of Town Lake out of the floor-to-ceiling windows on the far side of the living room. We’d snapped it up just before the real estate prices exploded in Austin, and there was no way either one of us would be able to afford it now. But Scott’s landscape architecture firm—which he’d started up after we got married, with a loan from me—had been successful. So as part of our