The Perfect Couple





  Copyright

  The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

  Copyright © 2018 by Elin Hilderbrand

  Cover design by Mario J. Pulice

  Cover photo-illustration by Debra Lill

  Author photograph by Nina Subin

  Cover © 2018 Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  Hachette Book Group supports the right to free expression and the value of copyright. The purpose of copyright is to encourage writers and artists to produce the creative works that enrich our culture.

  The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book without permission is a theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like permission to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), please contact [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

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  First ebook edition: June 2018

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  ISBN 978-0-316-37524-5

  E3-20180502-JV-PC

  Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 5:53 a.m.

  The Chief

  Friday, July 6, 2018, 9:15 a.m.

  Greer

  Karen

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 6:45 a.m.

  The Chief

  Saturday, October 22, 2016

  Celeste

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 7:00 a.m.

  Friday, May 18–Saturday, May 19, 2018

  Tag

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

  The Chief

  Friday, July 6, 2018, 4:00 p.m.

  Karen

  Greer

  Monday, October 24, 2016

  Celeste

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 9:30 a.m.

  Nantucket

  Friday, July 6, 2018, 8:30 p.m.

  Karen

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 10:20 a.m.

  Wednesday, May 30–Tuesday, June 19, 2018

  Tag

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 12:00 p.m.

  Nantucket

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 12:30 p.m.

  The Chief

  Thursday, June 22–Friday, June 23, 2017

  Celeste

  Friday, July 6, 2018, 11:15 p.m.

  Karen

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 12:45 p.m.

  Nantucket

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 2:00 p.m.

  The Chief

  Saturday, August 12–Monday, August 21, 2017

  Celeste

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 1:12 p.m.

  Nantucket

  Karen

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 2:47 p.m.

  The Chief

  August 2017

  Celeste

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 3:30 p.m.

  Greer

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 4:00 p.m.

  Nantucket

  Tag

  Sunday, June 10, 2018

  Celeste

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 5:15 p.m.

  Nantucket

  Karen

  Greer

  Tuesday, July 3–Friday, July 6, 2018

  Celeste

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 5:45 p.m.

  The Chief

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 6:55 p.m.

  Nantucket

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

  Greer

  Sunday, July 8, 2018, 2:47 a.m.

  Nantucket

  Acknowledgments

  Discover More Elin Hilderbrand

  About the Author

  Also by Elin Hilderbrand

  For Chuck and Margie Marino

  There’s no such thing as a perfect couple, but you come pretty close.

  Forever love xo

  Saturday, July 7, 2018, 5:53 a.m.

  THE CHIEF

  A phone call before six on a Saturday morning is never a good thing, although it’s not unheard of on a holiday weekend. Too many times to count, Chief Ed Kapenash of the Nantucket Police Department has seen the Fourth of July go sideways. The most common accident is a person blowing off a finger while lighting fireworks. Sometimes things are more serious. One year, they lost a swimmer to the riptide; another year, a man drank ten shots of Patrón Añejo and then did a backflip off the roof of the Allserve building and hit the water in such a way that his neck snapped. There are generally enough drunk-and-disorderlies to fill a sightseeing bus, as well as dozens of fistfights, a handful of which are so serious that the police have to get involved.

  When the call comes in, Andrea and the kids are fast asleep. Chloe and Finn are sixteen, an age the Chief escaped easily with his own children, he now realizes. Chloe and Finn—who are properly the children of Andrea’s cousin Tess and Tess’s husband, Greg, who died in a boating accident nine years ago—are proving to be more of a challenge. Finn has a girlfriend named Lola Budd, and their young love is turning the household upside down. Finn’s twin sister, Chloe, has a summer job working for Siobhan Crispin at Island Fare, Nantucket’s busiest catering company.

  The Chief and Andrea have divided their concerns about the twins neatly down the middle. Andrea worries about Finn getting Lola Budd pregnant (though the Chief, awkwardly, presented Finn with a giant box of condoms and a rather stern directive: Use these. Every single time). The Chief worries about Chloe getting into drugs and alcohol. The Chief has seen again and again the way the food-and-beverage industry leads its unsuspecting employees into temptation. The island of Nantucket has over a hundred liquor licenses; other, similar-size towns in Massachusetts have an average of twelve. As a summertime resort, the island has a culture of celebration, frivolity, excess. It’s the Chief’s job to give the annual substance-abuse talk the week before the high-school prom; this year, both Finn and Chloe had been in attendance, and afterward, neither of them would so much as look at him.

  He often feels he’s too old for the enormous responsibility of raising teenagers. And impressing them is most certainly beyond him.

  The Chief takes his phone out onto the back deck, which looks west over protected wetlands; his conversations here are private, overheard only by the redwing blackbirds and the field mice. The house has a great view of sunsets but not, unfortunately, of the water.

  The call is from Sergeant Dickson, one of the best in the department.

  “Ed,” he says. “We have a floater.”

  The Chief closes his eyes. Dickson had been the one to tell the Chief that Tess and Greg were dead. Sergeant Dickson has no problem delivering disturbing news; in fact, he seems to relish it.

  “Go ahead,” the Chief says.

  “Caucasian female by the name of Merritt Monaco. Twenty-nine years old, from New York City, here on Nantucket for a wedding. She was found floating facedown just off the shore in front of three-three-three Monomoy Road, where the wedding is being held. The cause of death appears to be drowning. Roger Pelton called it in. You know Roger, the guy who does the expensive weddings?”

  “I do,” the Chief says. The Chief is