Sally is big, blonde and pampered. She's married to Richard. But she loves Jerry. Jerry loves Sally in return, but he's also still in love with his wife Ruth. Who's been sleeping with Richard ... As a hot, feverish summer of snatched weekends, secret phone calls and illicit lovemaking on the beach comes to a head, it turns out everyone knows more than they've been letting on. And that no one knows quite when to stop. This book is a Penguin Red Classic. To see other Penguin Reds, visit the minisite by clicking here. Choose me your valentine, Next, let us marry – Love to the death will pine If we long tarry. Along this overused coast of Connecticut, the beach was a relatively obscure one, reached by a narrow asphalt road kept in only fair repair and full of unexplained forks and windings and turnings-off. At most of the ambiguous turns, little weathered wooden arrows bearing the long Indian name of the beach indicated the way, but some of these signs had fallen into the grass, and the first time – an idyllic, unseasonably mild day in March – that the couple agreed to meet here, Jerry got lost and was half an hour late. Today, too, Sally had arrived ahead of him. He had been delayed by the purchase of a bottle of wine and an attempt, unsuccessful, to buy a corkscrew. Her graphite-grey Saab sat in a far corner of the parking lot, by itself. He slithered his own car, an old Mercury convertible, close to it, hoping to see her sitting waiting at the wheel, for ‘Born to Lose’, as sung by Ray Charles, had come onto his car radio. Every dream Has only brought me pain . . . She brimmed in this song for him; he had even framed the words he would use to call her into his car to listen with him: ‘Hey. Hi. Come quick and hear a neat record.’ He had grown to affect with her an adolescent manner of speech, mixed of hip slang and calf-love monosyllables. Songs on the radio were rich with new meaning for him, as he drove to one of their trysts. He wanted to share them with her, but they were rarely in the same car together, and as week succeeded week that spring the songs like mayflies died from the air. Her Saab was empty; Sally was not in sight. She must be up in the dunes. The beach was unusually shaped: an arc of flat washed sand perhaps half a mile long was bounded at both ends by congregations of great streaked yellowish rocks, and up from the nearer sets of rocks a high terrain of dunes and beach scruff and wandering paths held like a vast natural hotel hundreds of private patches of sand. This realm of hollows and ridges was deceptively complex. Each time, they were unable to find the exact place, the perfect place, where they had been before. He climbed the steep dune before him hurriedly, not taking the time to remove his shoes and socks. His panting under the effort of running uphill seemed delicious to him; it was the taste of his renewed youth, his renewed draft on life. Since the start of their affair he was always running, hurrying, creating time where no time had been needed before; he had become an athlete of the clock, bending odd hours into an unprecedented and unsuspected second life. He had given up smoking; he wanted his kisses to taste clean.