The highly-anticipated follow-up, Nanny Returns (Atria Books, $25), takes readers back to the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the Nanny Diaries' beloved cast of characters, including lovable, spirited Nan and the X family. Nan is now 33-years-old and she thought she had escaped the dysfunctional X family and Park Avenue -- but suddenly she is sucked back in.
Grace barks sharply, jerking me awake from a dead sleep as she flip-twists onto all fours.
"Grace," I grumblingly reprimand, squinting through the darkness to where she peers out the bedroom doorway like our night is about to go Lifetime. I stretch to the microwave-serving-as-night-table—1:23 am—fumbling for my cell. She resumes barking with a ferocity that lifts her front paws in little jumps. Ears ringing, I flip open the phone and it glows to life, illuminating a text informing me that my husband is currently tucked in at the D.C. Radisson and not locked out three floors down. I put my finger over the nine, primed to dial for help, when I hear—
ZZZZZZZ . . . ZZZ . . . ZZZZZZ.
"GRACE!" I scream with exasperation and, momentarily stunned, she turns to me. "It's the doorbell," I explain, as if this should reassure us. I pull on yoga pants, tug Ryan's sweater over my nightie, and feel my feet around for my Adidas.
Grace is squared protectively in the doorframe and, seeing me dressed and in motion, she scrambles for her throw rope and barrels to the stairs. "This is not a walk. We are not walking." She wags her tail with blind optimism. Holding my cell, primed to call 911, I feel for the light switch. The bare bulb comes to life, illuminating the hall, the second story landing and the vestibule below.
"Crap," I mutter, nearly felled by my flopping laces as I descend the final two steps into the once grand, now puke-green and linoleum-ed foyer. I pull back the crispy, yellowed lace covering the narrow side window. A glimpse of a long ashed cigarette smoking in a man's fingers jerks me back to the wall. Grace pants around her frayed rope as she stares intently at the bottom of the door, waiting for it to be opened. Not a chance. I glance at the deadbolt to confirm it's bolted, and, with a dully-clattering heart, back up to the railing.
ZZZZZZZZZZ—fitz! The light two stories above goes out. Bringing us to a last pair of working fuses. Fabulous.
"F***," I hear from the front stoop. I stare at the door's peeling paint with an intensity rivaling Grace's.
"Look, just open up," he speaks in a plaintive a slur. "I left my wallet in the cab . . . and I just . . . I heard you . . . I know you're—f***." I hear a thump and then something sliding heavily down the other side of the door.
Grace drops her head to sniff the jamb. I take a tentative step and ever so slightly lift the curtain. The street lamp illuminates splayed khaki pants ending in shiny loafers. I lean to the far side of the rectangular pane and make out slender fingers drifting open, releasing their grip on a black iPhone. My well-attired assailant is now slipping into unconsciousness? Death?
"Hey," my voice surprises me and sets Grace barking. "Stop." I put my hands around her muzzle to listen . . . nothing. "Hey!" I slap the door.
"Yeah?" he coughs. "You're home."
"Who are you looking for?"
"Um . . ." I hear a scuffle of him attempting to stand up. "I'm looking for a . . . Nanny?"
My throat goes dry. I peer through the frayed lace covering the glass between us. "What?"
"Yeah, Nanny. Are you—"
"Stand in front of the window. On the right." I step around where Grace sits, ears squarely perked.
Whipping the lace back, I look out—nothing. "Hey!"
"The other right."
Suddenly my view of the stoop is filled with a swerving face—a man—boy—somewhere in between. Beneath the mussed blonde hair, atop the faintly freckled nose, are two blood-shot blue eyes. They look out at me from the striking bone structure that unmistakably conjures his mother. I push my forehead into the cold glass, feeling at once a hundred years old and twenty-one.
Up next...chapter two!
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