The news would not be good.
Pamela Delacroix knew that before her fingers even closed around
today’s Chronicle. She stared at the newspaper that had just been
tossed on her walkway. She considered ripping off the plastic shroud
that covered it like an ill-fitting condom and racing directly to the
offending article. She considered shredding the damn thing into a
million pieces, marching straight across town, and tossing it all into
the bay. She considered legal action—no, a personal attack—against
the executive editor, that smug SOB she dated a million years ago.
Instead, she did nothing but walk back into the house. This called for
coffee. Strong coffee.
An hour later, a perfectly coiffed Pamela stood in line at the Blue
Bottle kiosk. The offending newspaper, still in its condom, was tucked
into her Prada tote. There weren’t enough yoga classes in the world to
take down her ire at this point; she knew that. Jock lay down at her
feet and yawned as she leaned toward the java boy.
“An espresso,” she hissed. “Make it a double.” The dog would
help her get through this.
Ten minutes later, Pamela was seated on a bench at Patricia’s Green, a
heart-healthy walk from her house on Alamo Square. She took a slug of
espresso and steeled herself. Then she opened the paper and began to
“The Society Dom Lands in SF in Strategic Career Move”
trumpeted the headline. Pamela felt a flame of white-hot anger surge
through her body. Those fuckers. When she had refused an interview, she
had no idea just how far they would take this. She read on.
Pamela Delacroix—the socialite-turned-dominatrix known as the
‘Society Dom’—recently arrived in San Francisco to rebuild a new
life after her widely publicized divorce from New York philanthropist
Linton J. Delacroix. Friends say she is hoping to return to a simple
life, which explains the purchase of a 1.6-million-dollar house in Hayes
Valley, as opposed to the much bigger manse she might have purchased in
Pac Heights had she won in court.
But, alas, winning is hard to do when you’re caught in bed with the
husbands of your friends. Especially when you’re serving as their
amateur dominatrix. So it is with open arms that San Franciscans have
welcomed the Society Dom, who declined to be interviewed for this piece
. . .
Pamela slammed the paper shut and stuffed the offending newspaper into a
nearby trashcan. She would be forever tarnished for the rest of her life
for one, well, okay, six indiscretions. A young man passing by looked at
her and smiled. Does he know me? she wondered. Has he heard of the
She didn’t have to answer that question for herself. Everybody had.
Pamela cradled her cell phone, staring intently at it. She would try one
more time. Obviously. Why wouldn’t she? Mothers loved their daughters.
Mothers needed their daughters. She needed Peyton even if Peyton
didn’t appear to need her.
It was a phase, of course. Twenty-somethings always moved to their own
rhythm, didn’t they? Some were slower than others to embrace their
parents. Like Peyton (who was actually pushing thirty, but who was
counting?). Wasn’t it plausible she was having a late-in-life teenage
Pamela pushed her daughter’s number on speed dial and waited,
smartphone shoved up tight to her ear. It rang, rang, and then rang
again. Peyton’s carefully modulated voice came on as usual. “It’s
Peyton. Can’t talk now. Call you later?” Pamela hung up without
leaving a message.
She had called her daughter nearly every day for eighteen months . . .
ever since the crisis began. And always there was no answer. Perhaps
there never would be.
She shoved the thought out of her mind.
Instead, Pamela thought about the night before she left Manhattan, when
she went to Peyton’s apartment and rang the buzzer. A Food Emporium
delivery guy had let her slip in right behind him. Her heart pounded
wildly as the elevator ascended. She walked to her daughter’s door and
pressed the buzzer. She could hear Peyton talking on the phone behind
the door. “Hold on a second, someone’s here.” Footsteps
approached, the doorknob turned, and there was her daughter.
She looked at her mother in shock.
“Peyton—honey . . .” Pamela began the carefully rehearsed speech.
She hadn’t seen her daughter since the night her father threw Pamela
out. “I just want you to know that I love—”
The door slammed shut. “Peyton! Peyton . . . Please. Just listen to
me. For one moment. Please . . . Please . . . honey . . . shit.”
Pamela stopped pounding on her daughter’s apartment door.
Now she understood; there was nothing more she could say. Sliding down
the wall beside her, Pamela crumpled into a small ball on the floor and
wept, a broken doll, a crushed moth. A star descending. She really
didn’t remember how she got home, or to California for that matter.
I will call my daughter again tomorrow, Pamela thought. One day Peyton
was going to answer, because she had to.
Pamela contemplated the billowy white dress bag from Nordstrom with that
old sinking feeling—the one that said, you don’t belong here and you
never, ever will.
Pamela had no idea why, and she didn’t care. She only knew that she
couldn’t put on the dress again; in fact, she wouldn’t. She would
pass on tonight’s benefit for Guillain-Barre research . . . or was it
Lou Gehrig’s disease? Whatever. It was yet another plunge into a world
in which she seriously no longer belonged. Yet if she never went to
another benefit . . . where would she go?
Where would she ever find any friends?
Fuck, Pamela thought miserably. She pulled the offending dress bag off
its hook, wadded it up, and stuffed it into the back of her closet.
Screw the whole damn thing, she thought. Then, yanking open her bureau
drawer, she pulled out her black leather corset, her leather garter
belt, and a handful of sheer black hosiery. She retrieved her six-inch
high stiletto boots. Immediately she felt better.
Moments later, Pamela inhaled sharply, gave a final yank to the corset,
and knotted it expertly behind her. An explosion of warmth surged
through her body, settling into a small pulse in her groin. She
inspected herself in the mirror, gave a little turn, and smiled. She
still had it, whatever “it” was, didn’t she? Even at fifty-two,
she still looked good.
All those hours and hours of working out and starving herself during her
in-corset training had paid off. And then there were the stilettos,
nothing less than boot camp for the feet. If the whole thing, painful as
it was, hadn’t given her a gut-deep satisfaction, she would never have
tried it. Pamela regretted nothing. Instead, she stood admiring herself.
She gave her black riding crop a little slap against her hand.
The “Society Dom,” indeed, she thought. Then she pulled the rejected
dress out of the trashcan. Who said you couldn’t wear black leather
under Halston . . . along with six-inch stilettos? Chuckling to herself,
she slipped the dress on over her leatherwear. Maybe she’d even bring
her riding crop along.
Electra is in the house, she thought with satisfaction.
Excerpted from "Transformed" by Suzanne Fatler & Jack Harvey. Copyright © 2016 by Suzanne Fatler & Jack Harvey. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.