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Jackie Collins is one of the world’s top-selling writers, with more than four hundred million copies of her books sold in more than forty countries. Her twenty-five bestselling novels have never been out of print, and have all been New York Times bestsellers. She lives in Beverly Hills, California. Visit her website at www.jackiecollins.com

PRAISE FOR JACKIE COLLINS

‘Jackie Collins is the queen of the bonkbuster–I’m simply the scullery maid’ Jilly Cooper, Telegraph

‘Sex, glamour and big hair and more sex, Jackie Collins’s dissection of Tinseltown is as razor sharp as ever’ Daily Mail

‘Her style is pure escapism, her heroine’s strong and ambitious and her men, well, like the book, they’ll keep you up all night!’ Company Magazine

‘A generation of women have learnt more about how to handle their men from Jackie’s books than from any kind of manual…Jackie is very much her own person: a total one off’ Daily Mail

‘Bartender, pour us a dirty martini and keep them coming. This is vintage Jackie Collins and we’ll be here ’til closin” Heat

‘Jackie is still the queen of sexy stories. Perfect’ OK!

‘Cancel all engagements, take the phone off the hook and indulge yourself’ Mirror

‘The Proust of nips and tucks’ Daily Telegraph

This book is dedicated to everyone who lost their lives in the American tragedies of 11 September 2001. And to the incredible bravery and tenacity of the firemen, policemen and emergency workers, who toiled way and above the call of duty.

New York, Washington and in the skies. Heroes and heroines every one.

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

Chapter Thirty-two

Chapter Thirty-three

Chapter Thirty-four

Chapter Thirty-five

Chapter Thirty-six

Chapter Thirty-seven

Chapter Thirty-eight

Chapter Thirty-nine

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-one

Chapter Forty-two

Chapter Forty-three

Chapter Forty-four

Chapter Forty-five

Chapter Forty-six

Chapter Forty-seven

Chapter Forty-eight

Chapter Forty-nine

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-one

Chapter Fifty-two

Chapter Fifty-three

Chapter Fifty-four

Chapter Fifty-five

Chapter Fifty-six

Chapter Fifty-seven

Chapter Fifty-eight

Chapter Fifty-nine

Epilogue

Chapter One

Tuesday, 10 July 2001, Los Angeles

The American Airlines plane from New York was three hours late arriving in L.A., and Madison Castelli was not pleased. She’d planned on going straight to her best friend Natalie De Barge’s house. However, Natalie had informed her they were meeting her brother, Cole, in a restaurant at eight, and since the plane was so late, Madison decided she’d better go directly to Mario’s–a small Italian restaurant on Beverly Boulevard.

‘I’ll see you there,’ she said, speaking to Natalie on her cellphone as she strode through the airport.

She was looking forward to getting together with her friends. The truth was that she couldn’t wait to hash out the ruins of her life. Over the last few days everything had fallen to pieces. Her father, Michael, had been accused of a double murder. His estranged wife, Stella (Madison’s stepmother) and Stella’s live-in lover, had been shot execution-style. Now there was a warrant out for Michael’s arrest, and he’d mysteriously managed to vanish.

As if that weren’t enough to worry about, her boyfriend, Jake, was also on the missing list. Her wonderful, sexy, smart Jake–an ace photographer who’d been covering a drug cartel in Colombia with a couple of colleagues–had not been heard from in ten days, which was pretty damn worrying. Kidnapping was rife in Colombia, and so was murder.

All of this was on her mind as she collected her luggage, hailed a cab, and headed for the restaurant. This visit west was exactly what she needed to get her head straight. A few days of hanging with her friends doing nothing was her plan. No work. No hassles. And then she’d fly back to New York refreshed and ready to deal with anything.

Cole was already at the restaurant when she arrived. A personal trainer, Cole was an extremely good-looking, tall black man in his twenties, with a well-toned powerful physique and a killer smile. He was also gay, and proud of it.

They kissed and hugged. ‘You’re lookin’ hot, babe,’ Cole said, checking her out.

‘Not me,’ she said ruefully. ‘And you’re sounding very L.A.’

‘Could be ’cause I live here,’ he said, escorting her to their table in the corner.

‘So that’s how the men in L.A. speak to their women,’ she teased.

‘No,’ he said, grinning. ‘That’s how I speak to the guys–keeps ’em comin’, if you get my meaning.’

‘You’ll have to teach me,’ she said, sitting down.

Madison was, at thirty, a striking-looking woman: tall and slender with full breasts, a small waist, and exceptionally long legs. She usually attempted to play down her good looks, but her green, almond-shaped eyes, sharply defined cheekbones, full seductive lips, and clouds of black hair marked her as a beauty. A very smart beauty, because she was a well-respected journalist, who specialized in insightful profiles of the rich, famous and powerful. She worked for a magazine called Manhattan Style, she’d recently had a book about relationships published, and she was currently working on an investigative piece about old, notorious New York crime families. Over the last year she’d discovered that her father’s past wasn’t exactly the way it seemed. In fact, she wasn’t sure she knew him at all. She’d decided that if she wanted to find out the real truth, she had to dig for it.

‘Where’s Natalie?’ she asked, glancing at her watch.

‘Late as usual,’ Cole responded. ‘What else is new?’

‘I miss her,’ Madison said wistfully.

‘She misses you, too. It’s a real shame you don’t live in the same city. Think of the trouble you two could get into.’

‘How’s her radio show going?’

‘It’s a big deal. She loves puttin’ her voice out there. You know our Natalie–gets off on the attention.’

Minutes later, Natalie rushed in, looking glowingly pretty as usual. She was short and sassy with a curvaceous body and

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