Excerpt from A False Sense of Well Being by Jeanne Braselton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A False Sense of Well Being

by Jeanne Braselton

A False Sense of Well Being
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2001, 352 pages
    Oct 2002, 368 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"You're using condoms? I mean, that's what people do these days, don't they?" I can't believe I'm even asking the question, that the question even needs to be asked. Sheltered suburbanite that I am, safely married in an era when safe-sex commercials no longer shock, my fear of any wayward step outside monogamy is all wrapped up in latex.

"Most of the time."


"Well okay, so we did the first time. But I told you. He's married. It's not like we have to worry about that."

"That doesn't-"

"That's the best part. Like I said, safe." And with that, she turns and does a little backward jog away from me, loose brown curls bobbing around her sweatband, a tight Cheshire Cat smile spreading across her face.

By the time we reach the light of Shadowwood Lane and make a sweaty path to the kitchen in my own cookie-cutter Georgian, where we pour out two large glasses of bottled water with a twist of lemon, Donna tells me all the details, a few of which I'm not comfortable knowing. Like the fact that Perry Ferguson has a fondness not only for suspenders but also for silk ties that, in the heat of passion, he winds around Donna's thin tennis player's wrists. I picture her preparing for this as her last act of undressing--sitting on the hotel bed, carefully unhooking the safety chains and heavy engraved clasps of her collection of gold bracelets, placing them in a shimmering stack on the nightstand alongside his wristwatch, then holding her hands up to him, penitent and willing.

"C'mon, Jessie. Haven't you ever thought about what it'd be like to be with another man after all these years?" she asks, grinning at me because she already knows the answer to her own question and is lost in some private memory of a recent rendezvous. "And don't lie to me. I know you have."

Just two months earlier, Donna and her husband David celebrated their tenth anniversary by taking a weeklong cruise to what the glossy brochure described as "exotic, picture-postcard ports of call in the Caribbean." She'd seemed happy then. I couldn't imagine what had happened to make things go so wrong.

"Hell, I'd forgotten what great sex feels like. But this man? This man is just so yummy." She actually licks her lips.

She has me on that one. I feel like a twelve-year-old at a slumber party, eager to ask her best friend's older sister what it's like to French-kiss a boy. I want her to tell me exactly what it feels like to be held in an unfamiliar way, to be touched by unfamiliar hands, but in the end, I lose my nerve. I'm beginning to be embarrassed by this whole conversation, as if Donna has removed her sweatshirt and paraded topless down the middle of Shadowwood Lane.

Donna, on the other hand, seems to take a certain pride in savoring the moment, as if she's just been named Infidelity's Woman of the Year and is glad that I, friend and confidante, am there to witness it. She sits in my kitchen and drinks her water in big, noisy gulps, then slams the glass on the table. She stares dreamily at my ceiling while sucking her lemon slice.

I study the view from my kitchen window. The dogwoods the Lawn Doctor planted last year are just beginning to bloom. Beyond them, with the first rays of cloud-filtered sunlight, the shiny brass heads of the automatic sprinkler system pop up like so many ground-hogs, spraying a rainbow-tinted mist across the row of thin trunks with every rotation.

"I've been dreaming that Turner will be killed in some kind of accident. That he'll, well, that he'll die," I say, all too conscious that my husband, even on a Saturday, stays true to his daily routine and must be standing in front of our bathroom mirror upstairs, razor in hand. "What do you think that means?"

Funny thing is, she acts like she doesn't even hear me. She's tying her shoe, the shrunken lemon slice still stuck between her teeth.

Copyright 2001 Jeanne Braselton; all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Ballantine Publishing Group.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.