Marsh Steel grew more impatient waiting for his wife, Wendy, to finish saying goodnight to their two children. He waited by the door, an angry expression on his face, while she gave the baby sitter some last minute instructions.
 
“Come on,” said Steel roughly. “We don’t want to be late for the Jones’.” There was a touch of sarcasm in his voice, for the Jones’ were the new people next door, and next door was the largest and most expensive property in the neighbourhood.
 
“You weren’t in such a hurry just now,” complained Wendy, remembering that less than half an hour ago she had badgered him into the shower to get ready, when all he wanted to do was watch football on television.
 
As they left the house, they saw another couple making their way towards the Jones’ residence. “Hi, Marilyn,” shouted Steel, ignoring the woman’s husband. “You’re looking beautiful tonight.”
 
“Hi, Marsh. Hi, Wendy,” the smiling woman replied.
 
Marilyn Pritchard was attractive and in her late twenties. One of these days I’m gonna’ make a serious play for her, thought Steel, and she’ll come across. I’ve seen it in her eyes. Probably do her a favour. After all, I shouldn’t think that airhead husband of hers is up to much. Some sort of university professor, he should get himself a real job. Steel fell in beside Marilyn, while Wendy opened a conversation with her husband, Greg, as they walked towards the Jones’ estate.
 
They were welcomed into the house by their host, Harry Jones, a man in his sixties and independently rich. He enjoyed music and the arts, but what he had actually done to make his money, nobody on the block had yet found out. He showed his guests into a back room where a number of other couples were already gathered. The French doors were wide open, allowing access to a conservatory that housed the pool.
 
Steel greeted one or two of his golfing buddies. A quick slap on the back and an exchange of stories, and then he gravitated towards Marilyn. She would probably be the best chance of a good time tonight - and then he saw Delia.
Excerpt from: The Perfect Woman
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