The Palm Beach Post
Reviewed by Marilyn Murray Willison
Before too long Jane Heller is sure to be named one of Florida’s statewide treasures. Her first book, Cha Cha Cha, is a classic of well-done humorous fiction. Her follow-up novels — The Club, Infernal Affairs, and Princess Charming — were good, serviceable, but flawed books that hinted at the author’s talent.
Finally Heller has given us a worthy follow-up to the flawless Cha Cha Cha and it has been well worth the wait.
The main character is an endearing but confused Manhattan CPA. Meet Crystal Goldstein: “Happy? Who’s happy? Life isn’t about happiness anymore. It’s about finding a half-hour in the day to read a magazine or call a friend or just put your feet up and do absolutely nothing. I’m so busy being busy, so consumed with getting everything done and crossing everything off the list, that I don’t have time to be happy. I’m too tired to be happy.”
The dramatic tension of the book emerges as Crystal’s job as a CPA is threatened, her almost-fiance begins to lose interest in her, her widowed father won’t even turn the TV off when she travels to visit him, and she is forced to admit that she simply doesn’t have a life. What she does have is an ex-husband whom she hasn’t seen in 20 years.
Crystal’s life takes a turn when her secretary, Rona, urges her to travel to Sedona, Ariz., to get her aura cleansed and search for some spiritual fulfillment. The unlikely combination of a New York CPA searching to find a higher meaning in the Arizona desert is a perfect setup for Jane Heller’s insightful wit. Crystal mulls over her secretary’s suggestion.
“Rona was, hands down, the most evolved person I knew. She meditated in the office every morning in one of the stalls in the ladies room, was a heavy user of the Psychic Friends Network, and quoted frequently and liberally from The Celestine Prophecy.”
Crystal finds herself in Sedona with a grab bag of unusual personalities, all of whom are there for their own reasons. Particularly amusing is Amanda Reid, who is intent upon becoming the Martha Stewart of metaphysics.
In the midst of Crystal’s search for the perfect vortex, who should turn up as her tour guide but her long-lost ex-husband, Terry. A single father who has – finally – developed a sense of responsibility, Terry has evolved into the man Crystal once wished he could be.
In the midst of this unlikely blend of unique personalities, Heller manages to intersperse a missing person mystery that rings true.
An heiress disappears and Terry’s best friend finds himself accused of murder.
Crystal, who had been fascinated by this particular member of the tour, finds herself involved in solving a case that the police are too jaded to investigate.
It’s gratifying to watch Crystal evolve from a frantic, overworked urban professional into a woman who is willing to take a few illogical chances when they come her way.
Heller does a splendid job of capturing the pressures of modem life — as well as the potential for pleasure — in this concise, entertaining novel.
Washington Sunday Times
Reviewed by Judith Kreiner
Chilled by all that time in Alaska? Warm up with Jane Heller’s Crystal Clear, set in Sedona, Ariz. Crystal Goldstein has little use for New Age beliefs, but she agrees she could use a vacation – and, hey, a little transfusion of psychic energy couldn’t hurt..
But she begins to wonder when she finds herself sitting alongside the ex-husband she hasn’t seen or heard from in 20 years. It’s quite a reunion, especially when a friend of that ex-husband’s is accused of kidnapping and killing a wealthy wacko who is making a spirit quest in search of inspiration for a new line of clothing.
This one is as airy and delightful as a meringue, a froth of mystery and mayhem whipped with a large dose of romance and seasoned with some New Age spice.
January 1, 1998
More frivolous, flaky fun from Heller, who’s quickly becoming the master of the slick urban modern woman’s getaway romance. Crystal Goldstein is a Manhattan stereotype: a working woman (in this case, a CPA) of a certain age (about 40) who has no time for anything resembling a life. Her first marriage–to the charming but lazy Terry Hollenbeck–lasted only a matter of months. Now, when she learns that the man she’s been dating for years, an unbelievably boring and uptight attorney, has been cheating on her with the ex-wife he’s married and divorced twice, Crystal takes the news as a wake-up call. With the help of her New Age-y but loving friend and secretary Rona Wishnick, Crystal (who, in spite of her name, is as pragmatic as you can get) decides to take a vacation at a resort called Tranquility in Sedona, Arizona. Once there, she signs up for the apparently obligatory (according to Rona) Sacred Earth Jeep Tour, a weeklong drive through Sedona’s spiritual sites that turns out to offer plenty of forced interaction with the driver/tour guide and the other six tour groupies. To Crystal’s shock, she immediately recognizes the driver she’s been assigned to–it’s Terry, of course, looking better than ever at 43. Worse yet, several calls from Rona reveal that attorney Steven is hot on her trail, vowing to give up his ex-ex-wife forever if Crystal will marry him. Crystal’s touring companions, meanwhile, aren’t much help: Amanda Reid is a socialite with an attitude as big as her bank account, and the rest of the group includes her entourage (cook, p.r. agent, physical therapist, personal assistant) and a reporter doing a story on Amanda’s writer husband, who’s penned his first book in decades. What ultimately happens in the desert comes as a surprise only to Crystal. A modern spin on a good old-fashioned Cinderella story.
Copyright 1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
A phone conversation with a friend triggered the idea for Crystal Clear, my fifth novel. I was chatting with Judy Martin, the former community relations director at a local Barnes & Noble store, about what I might write about next when she said, “I think your next heroine should go to an ashram.” I paused, letting the idea sink in, then said, “Maybe not an ashram but what about Sedona, Arizona? Isn’t that the mecca for those searching for inner peace?” “It sure is,” she said. “Haven’t you ever been there?”
The answer was no. I hadn’t been to Sedona, but I had heard what a fascinating place it was and had seen photographs of its majestic red rocks. Before I knew what hit me, I had called America West Airlines and booked round-trip flights for my husband and me. And then I cooked up a plot for a book called Crystal Clear, in which a harried New York accountant named Crystal Goldstein journeys to Sedona in search of inner peace. What she finds instead is the ex-husband she hasn’t seen in two decades. It’s a spoof about how commercialized the New Age Movement has become (there really are psychics and numerologists and channelers on every corner handing out business cards!), but it’s also a story about second chances at love … whether two people who couldn’t make a marriage work when they were young can grow and change and find happiness later in life.
Kensington published Crystal Clear in hardcover in 1998 and in paperback in 1999. Readers tell me it’s the next best thing to visiting Sedona. I hope you’ll agree.
When you travel to Sedona, you absolutely must have your aura cleansed! Here I am, having mine cleansed by our Lakota Sioux guide, who took us to Sedona’s famous vortex sites and Indian ruins and made the trip so much more than merely “research.”
Read the First Chapter
It all started when my secretary, Rona Wishnick, told me I needed my aura cleansed.
“My what cleaned?” I asked, then glanced down at my navy blue suit and inspected it for stains. It was 7:30 on a Friday night and Rona had come into my office to say she was going home. Or so I’d thought.
“I didn’t say cleaned. I said cleansed,” she explained as she stood beside my desk, fingering the angel pendant wedged between her “heat-seeking missiles,” as one of the more sophomoric men in the office had nicknamed her large breasts. “And I was referring to your aura, not your outfit.”
I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. I was a CPA, for God’s sake — a down-to-earth, practical-to-a-fault, nose-to-the-grindstone accountant. I was a whiz at preparing income tax returns but totally out of my element when it came to making sense of New Age-speak, Rona’s second language. By telling me that my aura needed cleansing, was she suggesting that I should switch perfumes? Underarm deodorants? What?
“I’ve been wanting to talk to you about the problem for a while,” she said as I popped two Bufferin, a NoDoz, and a Pepcid AC into my mouth and washed them all down with an Ensure Plus. My dinner.
“Oh, I get it now,” I said, nodding. “You want a raise. Or is it more vacation time?”
She shook her head, marveling at my obtuseness. “You’re the one who needs more vacation time.”
“A trip on the astral plane, right?” I laughed.
“Go ahead. Make jokes. But I’m worried about you, about the pressure you put on yourself. Sure, there’s a lot of work to be done around here, but it’s Friday night and, once I’m out the door, you’ll be the only one left in this office. Even the housekeeping people went home hours ago. The point I’m trying to make is that you’re in complete denial of your . . .” She stopped, grasping for the right word, then gave up after several seconds when she wasn’t able to seize on it. Rona and I are both in our mid-forties-that age when grasping for the right word and not being able to seize on it starts to become embarrassingly routine. “Look, you’re this close to total burnout, okay?” Rona said finally, holding her thumb and index finger about an eighth of an inch apart.
“You’re sweet to care, Rona, but I think you’re exaggerating,” I said, polishing off the rest of the Ensure.
” Oh, really?” she said, tapping her foot on the white Berber carpet that had recently been installed in all the partners’ offices. “Then why the canned milkshakes instead of a nice, home-cooked meal?”
“I like the taste of them,” I said. “The chocolate one’s terrific.”
“I’ll bet,” she said. “What about the headaches, the heartburn, the insomnia? You’re telling me you’re not stressed out?”
“Of course I’m stressed out. Who isn’t?”
“Who isn’t? People who have found their center, that’s who. People who have achieved balance in their life. People who have evolved.”
Rona was, hands down, the most evolved person I knew. She meditated in the office every morning in one of the stalls in the ladies room, was a heavy user of the Psychic Friends Network and quoted frequently and liberally from The Celestine Prophecy. Recently, she announced that she was considering changing her first name to Raven because it sounded Native American and, therefore, more “spiritual.” I didn’t tell Rona this, of course, but there was nothing remotely raven-like about her; she was a platinum blonde with a body that more closely resembled a bison than a bird.
“What I’m saying” Rona went on, — “and I’m saying it with love in my heart, okay? — is that this place has become your entire universe, Crystal, and it’s sad.”
By “this place,” Rona meant the Manhattan accounting firm where we worked, Duboff Spector. By “Crystal,” she meant me, Crystal Goldstein. Rona liked to think my name was linked in some paranormal way to the chunk of rock she kept on her desk to ward off negative vibrations, but it was simply the name my parents had given me in memory of my maternal grandmother, Crystal Schwartz.
“Look, hon,” Rona said tenderly. “You and I have been together for seven years and in all that time I’ve seen you successful but I’ve never seen you happy. Really happy.”
“Rona,” I sighed, patting her massive arm. She was so much more than an employee to me; she was the closest thing I had to a best friend. “You’ve been reading too many of those magazine articles about baby boomers who have all the trappings of success but are still searching for Meaning in their lives. Well, I don’t have time to search for Meaning or anything else. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Besides, I hate people who sit around whining about whether or not they’re happy. I’m happy enough.”
“Oh, sure,” she said skeptically. “You work like a dog, and when you do take ten seconds off, you either shlep up to Larchmont to see your father, who’s too busy watching that big-screen TV you bought him to notice you’re even in the room, or you grab a few hours with Steven, the man you say you’re going to marry but never do. That’s not my idea of bliss, Crystal.”
I smiled. Rona’s idea of bliss involved bathing in aromatherapeutic essences with her husband, Arthur, a manufacturer of doorbells.
“I appreciate your concern, Rona, and I promise I’ll think about everything you’ve said. But right now the IRS is breathing down Jeff Jacobson’s neck, and I’m the one he hired to straighten out his books. In other words, instead of searching for Meaning tonight, I’m gonna be searching for a way to keep this guy from an audit. Now, am I excused?”
She nodded grudgingly, then blew me a kiss. “Have a good weekend.”
“You, too. Say hi to Arthur.”
Rona was about to exit my office when the phone rang, making both of us jump. Instinctively, she reached across my desk and picked it up.
“Crystal Goldstein’s office,” she said. “Oh, Steven. Yes, she’s still here. I’ll put-”
I tugged on her sleeve and mouthed the words: “Tell him I’m busy.” I hadn’t made a dent in Jeff Jacobson’s tax problems. Steven would have to wait.
Rona did as she was instructed and hung up the phone. “He said he’ll be in his office for another fifteen minutes or so if you want to call him back.” She shook her head disapprovingly as she moved toward the door. “You and Stevie, ” she snorted. “You communicate through secretaries, answering machines, and E-mail. Is that what you call true love, Crystal?”
Before I could answer, she was gone.
Alone at last, I sank back in my chair and fanned myself with a legal pad. It was an unseasonably warm September night in New York, and since the air conditioning in the building automatically shut off at six o’clock and the windows were hermetically sealed, my office was as fetid and airless as a sauna and I felt weak, light-headed. Still, there was work to be done. I pulled up Jeff Jacobson’s file on the computer and tried to focus on the numbers on the screen. But for some reason, Rona’s comments kept floating through my mind, haunting me, taunting me, and before I knew it I wasn’t concentrating on Jeff Jacobson’s tax problems at all; I was asking myself the sort of insipid, self-indulgent questions I swore I’d never ask.
Was I on my way to total burnout? Was all my hard work worth it? And what was an aura, anyway?
The latter question suddenly inspired me to reach inside the top drawer of my desk, pull out the little mirror I kept there, and scrutinize my reflection. I had expected to see a sort of dingy cloud hovering over my head — wasn’t that what an aura that needed cleansing would look like? But what I actually saw was a woman with dark circles under her eyes and dark roots along her hairline.
I continued to study myself in the mirror, and the more I studied, the more startled I became. I was still pretty at forty-three — big brown eyes, a straight nose, a strong chin with a little cleft in it, full lips — but I was no longer a dish by any stretch of the imagination. A dishrag was more like it. My once-bouncy auburn hair hung limply at my shoulders, my skin had taken on a sickly pallor, and the full lips men had always found so sexy were cracked and peeling where I’d been gnawing on them, another unfortunate habit I’d picked up during the last tax season, along with nail biting. I seemed to myself to have a sort of parched, dried-up look. The look of a woman who needed her aura cleansed.
I shoved the mirror back in the drawer and shuddered. Was that what Rona and everyone else saw when I walked into a room? The drabness? The brittleness? The pallor? Had my so-called “success” robbed me of all my juice?
My success, I scoffed. I wasn’t exactly some big shot mogul. Please. I was just a professional woman who had put my career ahead of everything else in my life, mostly because there was nothing else in my life. Well, nothing except a boyfriend I rarely slept with, due to the fact that I was either too busy or too tired, and a father I rarely bonded with, due to the fact that I wasn’t born a boy. My mother hadn’t minded that I wasn’t a boy, but she died when I was twelve, taking whatever warm and fuzzy feelings my father had with her. So I worked and worked and worked, making partner at Duboff Spector before I was thirty, buying a co-op on East End Avenue, tooling around in my BMW, squirreling away plenty of money for my Golden Years. I had “made it.” I was in the right tax bracket. I felt good about myself.
Or did I? Was there Meaning in my life? Was I even in touch with my real feelings? Was I happy?
I gagged. Talk about self-indulgent. Talk about a cliche! I reminded myself of the “boomers” quoted in those nauseating magazine articles.
Maybe I’ll give Steven a call back, I thought, hoping to snap out of my funk. I dialed his private line at the office and got his voice mail. Apparently, he had already left for the day.
He must be running off to have dinner with a client, I mused, or heading home with a briefcase full of paperwork. An attorney, Steven was as consumed by his career as I was by mine, which was how we had managed to stay together for three years. Neither of us made demands on the other. Neither of us minded the other’s long hours. Neither of us mentioned the word “marriage,” although I was relatively certain we’d get to the altar eventually. Only Rona thought otherwise. She had done our charts and maintained that we were incompatible astrologically.
I leaned back in my chair and recalled my first date with Steven Roth — a blind date arranged by his mother, an extraordinarily pushy but well-meaning client of mine. I hadn’t wanted to go on the date, figuring that if a guy has to depend on his mother for fix-ups there has to be something really wrong with him. But I hadn’t been out with a man in months and decided it was probably a good idea to keep my hand in, so to speak.
“So, you’re an accountant” was Steven’s opening line at dinner that fateful night. He had chosen a Pakistani restaurant in an attempt, I assumed, to demonstrate how worldly and sophisticated he was. His mother had already filled me in on his extensive trips abroad. She had also warned me that he did not like it when people called him “Steve.”
“Yes, Steven,” I said. “I’m a partner at Duboff Spector.” But then he already knew all that. Mommy Dearest had to have told him.
“Accounting. Of all the professions to go into,” he said dismissively, as if I’d just told him I delivered pizzas for a living.
“What do you mean by that?” I asked, trying not to get my back up. I didn’t care for his remark-or his tone.
“Just that it can’t be very fulfilling,” he said smugly.
“Actually, being an accountant is about as fulfilling as being a medical malpractice attorney,” I said with a definite edge. According to Mrs. Roth, that’s what her son was. A forty-six-year-old “med mal” lawyer. A goddam ambulance chaser. And I was the one who was supposed to feel inferior?
“You sound a little defensive, Crystal,” said Steven, who was patronizing but not bad looking. He had dark hair and green eyes — an attractive combination-and, for the most part, his features were quite pleasing. I say “for the most part” because his ears protruded from his head at ninety-degree angles. Okay, forty-five-degree angles. They weren’t the stuff of Dumbo but they were there in a way that made me wonder why Steven hadn’t had them “pinned back,” as they used to call the procedure when I was a kid. On the other hand, maybe he did have them pinned back and the doctor screwed up the operation. Maybe that was why he’d gone into medical malpractice!
“You’re right. I am being defensive,” I said, “because you seem to be putting accountants down. We get enough of that during the day. We don’t need it at night. On blind dates, for example.”
Obviously, things weren’t clicking right from the get-go. We were at that awful juncture in Blind Datedom when you’re only minutes into the date yet you’ve already sized the guy up and decided that there is not now nor ever will be any chemistry between you.
“Look, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you,” he said as he scanned the menu. Earlier, I had suggested that he order for both of us. I was not familiar with Pakistani food. I was a connoisseur of Ensure Plus. ” I don’t know why I said what I said about accountants. ”
“I do,” I replied, sighing with resignation. “You said what you said because accountants are the Rodney Dangerfields of the business world-we never get any respect. Bean Counters, they call us. Number Crunchers. Anal Retentive Drudges. And do you know why they call us these things?”
Steven shook his head. I had his full attention now.
“Because we’re like domestic help, hired to clean up people’s messes,” I continued. “Everyone thinks we’re humorless nerds until presto-we save a client money. Then all of a sudden we’re heroes and are spoken of in the same hushed tones usually reserved for doctors or, at the very least, dentists. And if we save the client a lot of money, we get invited to his kid’s bar mitzvah. But most of the time, we’re the butt of jokes. On national television, no less. The minute the accountants from Price Waterhouse walk onto that stage during the Academy Awards ceremony, it’s one big ‘Ha ha ha.’ ”
“I see your point,” said Steven with a slight smile, his first of the evening, “since lawyers are the butt of jokes, too.”
“Yes, but lawyer jokes hinge on the premise of lawyer-as-shark. Accountant jokes hinge on the premise of accountant-as-shlemiel.”
He laughed. “I promise I’ll never put accountants down again.”
“My colleagues and I appreciate that,” I said, feeling better after having vented my spleen.
“You mentioned the Academy Awards,” Steven said, eager to change the subject, it seemed. “Are you a movie fan?”
” Yes, actually I am,” I said after a deep breath. “Although I don’t have much time to go to the movies anymore. I end up renting the video a year or two after the fact.”
Steven nodded ruefully. “I understand,” he said. “I still remember when I used to see a film the day it opened. But that was before I became a lawyer and essentially said goodbye to leisure time.”
“Do you like being a medical malpractice lawyer?” I asked, suddenly curious about the man sitting across from me. He was better looking when he wasn’t scowling.
“I love it. Getting multimillion-dollar settlements for people who’ve been screwed by big companies gives me a pretty good feeling.”
“You mean, it’s fulfilling,” I teased.
“Exactly.” He laughed in a self-deprecating way that made me think I had probably misjudged him. Perhaps he wasn’t smug, just shy. “I feel fulfulled when the firm wins a 20-million-dollar award for an out-of-work electrician who had the wrong leg amputated by an intoxicated surgeon,” he went on, then told me about some of his other recent cases before turning the focus of the conversation back onto me. “I gather that you like being an accountant,” he said, smiling again.
“I don’t know that I like being an accountant exactly,” I said. “Part of me would rather be a backup singer for, say, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, but I’m good at my job, so I must enjoy the work. According to my secretary, I enjoy it a little too much.”
“Ah, the proverbial workaholic,” said Steven. “I guess we’ve got that and movies in common.” He chuckled, then gave the waiter our dinner order.
During the meal-don’t ask me what we were eating; suffice it to say it was light brown-Steven spoke animatedly about his work, which apparently involved an incredible amount of research as well as travel. He was one busy guy. And smart, too. The more he talked, the more the memory of our bumpy beginning receded, and I found myself being drawn in by his anecdotes, excited by the very fact that I was out for dinner with a man for a change. By the time dessert and coffee rolled around, I had forgotten all about Steven’s ears.
And we didn’t just discuss business. No, we chatted about personal matters, too, discovering that we had several things in common. Steven was born in Manhattan and I was born in Manhattan. He was conflicted about his relationship with his widowed mother and I was conflicted about my relationship with my widowed father. And to top if all off, we were both allergic to mold spores, cat dander, and dust mites!
We were getting along so well that when Steven invited me up to his apartment for a nightcap, I surprised myself and said yes.
Steven, it turned out, lived on the penthouse floor of a gleaming, forty-story building on East Seventy-ninth Street. Unlike my place, which was sparsely furnished and looked as if no one lived there, his apartment was a Ralph Lauren showroom — a positive paean to paisley.
He poured us each a glass of cognac and we picked up where we’d left off in the restaurant, sharing little factoids about our lives. At one point, he confessed that he’d been married twice-to the same woman. Something his mother had neglected to mention.
“She’s out of my life now,” Steven pledged, referring to the ex-wife, his voice heavy with conviction. A little too heavy, if you ask me.
He didn’t volunteer any further details but I could tell by how red his ears had gotten that the subject of this ex-wife was still a loaded one.
“How about you, Crystal?” he asked. “Have you ever taken the plunge?”
“Just once,” I said. “Very briefly, when I was practically a kid.” I’d been married right out of college, for only a year, and hadn’t seen or heard from my ex in nearly two decades. Sometimes, when people asked me the “Have-you-ever-been-married” question, I actually said no, figuring the marriage hadn’t lasted long enough to count.
Steven and I spent about an hour in his apartment that evening. A very chaste hour. At about ten-thirty — just after I had tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn — he rose from the paisley sofa on which we’d been sitting and said, “Well. This has worked out better than I thought it would. I feel very comfortable with you, Crystal. I’d like to see you again. Would that be all right with you?”
I considered the question. Steven Roth hadn’t exactly lit the fires of passion within me, but he seemed like a decent enough guy. Since I knew there was a terrible shortage of decent enough guys, I thought: What the heck.
“Sure it would be all right with me, Steven,” I said. “I’d like to see you again, too.”
“I’m glad,” he said and walked over to his briefcase. He pulled out his date book and studied it for a minute or two. “I’ll be out of town on business for awhile,” he said finally. “What about two weeks from Sunday? We could have lunch, then see a movie.”
“Sunday is my father’s birthday,” I said. “I’ll be spending the day with him.” Why, I didn’t know. I visited my father every Sunday, and every Sunday the routine was the same. Hello, Dad, I’d say. How are you feeling today, Dad? Would you like to hear about my busy week? You’d rather watch television? That’s fine, Dad. I’ll just sit here for the next few hours with my tongue hanging out in case you decide to acknowledge my existence. I assumed the Sunday of his birthday wouldn’t be a radical departure from this torture, except that I’d probably bring a cake, cut him a piece, and then he’d tell me he didn’t want any. Rona said I was a glutton for punishment when it came to my father and that I should let the old geezer sit by himself on Sundays. But I was determined to work as hard at getting his love as I did at straightening out people’s tax problems. “I should be back in the city by six or so,” I told Steven. “Maybe we could do something that evening instead.”
Steven shook his head as he ran his finger over the entries in his date book. “I’m tied up that Sunday night with a client and my weeknights are a disaster. What about the following Saturday night?”
“Are we talking about three weeks from tonight?” I didn’t have my calendar with me.
“Yes. I can do a seven o’clock, seven-thirty, or eight. Do any of those times work for you?” said Steven, sounding like a doctor’s receptionist.
“Off the top of my head, they’re all fine,” I replied. “If I have a scheduling conflict, I’ll get back to you.”
So. That’s how it began with Steven and me-two people slotting each other in. And we’d been going along in that vein ever since, without so much as a harsh word between us. From my vantage point, the relationship was a good one-steady, dependable, like a Maytag washing machine. Who needed fireworks? I’d had those with my ex-husband and they’d blown up in my face.
Rona never let up about how wrong Steven was for me, as I’ve mentioned. But I kept telling myself that I knew better; that he and I met each other’s needs perfectly; that, despite Rona’s supposed higher state of consciousness, she didn’t have all the answers. After all, she claimed that in a former life she was the wife of one of the kings of England, but she had no idea which wife or which king!
No, I don’t need my aura cleansed, I smiled as I dismissed my friend’s New Age mumbo-jumbo and refocused on Jeff Jacobson’s tax problems. My life is fine and dandy.
No one craves order more than Crystal Goldstein does. Partner at one of New York’s finest accounting firms, doting daughter to her aging father, and loyal girlfriend to her boyfriend, Steven, her life is completely under control. But when Crystal discovers that Steven has been cheating on her with his ex-wife, that her father has spent his gruff silent years yearning for a brother she never knew she had, and that – thanks to downsizing – her job may be in jeopardy, she is brought up really short. Suddenly, the 43-year-old nose-to-the-grindstone bean counter has to consider that maybe her best friend Rona – a New Age junkie – is right! Maybe her aura does need cleansing. Maybe her chakras do need balancing. Though never one to follow fads or trends, Crystal unexpectedly finds herself on the ultimate long-overdue vacation in mystic, metaphysical Sedona, Arizona. Amanda Wells Reid, the international jet-setter, consummate party-goer, and darling of the society columnists, is to be Crystal’s companion, along with Amanda’s personal assistant, personal chef, personal trainer, and personal publicist. And when the tour driver appears, he is none other than Terry Hollenbeck, the irresistibly handsome, infallibly charming, totally irresponsible husband Crystal tossed out so many years ago. It doesn’t take a psychic to know that the mix of a reappearing ex-husband whose appeal has only ripened and a millionaire heiress who suddenly vanishes is going to add up to some pretty steamy doings.