Authors: Rebecca Chance
About the author
Born in London, Rebecca Chance spent her twenties in Tuscany and her thirties in Manhattan before returning to London with a handsome American husband in
tow. Rebecca’s interests include gymnastics, trapeze and pole-dancing, watching
America’s Next Top Model
is her first novel.
First published in Great Britain by Pocket Books, 2009
An imprint of Simon & Schuster UK
A CBS COMPANY
Copyright © Rebecca Chance, 2009
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
Pocket Books & Design is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster
The right of Rebecca Chance to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act,
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Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
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A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Typeset by M Rules
Printed by CPI Cox & Wyman, Reading, Berkshire RG1 8EX
With many thanks to my fabulous and always utterly supportive agent, Anthony Goff; to my editor Kate Lyall Grant, who is thankfully not at all a diva, but a total professional;
to Caroline Harris, copyeditrix supreme; to Rob Cox and everyone in marketing and sales at Simon and Schuster, without whom this book wouldn’t be in your hands right now.
Thanks also to Polepeople, who taught me a whole raft of pole tricks and whose classes are a ton of fun; to my trapeze teachers Natalie and Simone; to my gymnastics teacher Randy; and my trapeze
partner Randon, who has never dropped me on my head yet. Thanks to my adorable husband Greg, who is always on my side, and who reaps the benefits of all my exercise classes . . .
And finally, thanks to Katharine Walsh and Kirsten Ferguson, two great hotel PRs who have kindly arranged stays for me in some of the most fabulous places in the world so that my heroines can
live it up in the manner in which we would all like to become accustomed!
arin Fitzgerald was sitting naked in front of her dressing-room mirror, cutting her hair. It fell in white-blonde swatches over her shoulders, and
as she cut, she shook each lock off contemptuously so it slid to the floor. She was using a big pair of scissors, impatient for it to be done, cutting it short to her head. Frédéric,
her hair stylist – he was too expensive to be called a hairdresser – could tidy it up later today. But she couldn’t wait for him. She wanted to do it now. Before she killed her
She surveyed herself in the mirror. Her short fair hair, her translucent white skin, made her look eerie, otherworldly, especially with the gleam of intent in her pale blue eyes. The haircut
suited her more than any she had ever had before. She’d always wanted to cut it this short, but when she was modelling, they’d told her no one would book her with boy-cut hair. And then
her husband, that tub of lard, had insisted that short hair was unfeminine. She rolled her eyes and stood up, pushing back the upholstered stool, wiping off stray hairs from her shoulders as she
crossed the room, pulling on a white velvet robe as she went.
She loved white. It was so simple, so pure.
Double doors connected her dressing room to her bedroom. She took hold of the handles and pulled them open, enjoying, as always, the drama of the doors soundlessly sliding apart. Barefoot, she
strode through her bedroom and into the huge bathroom, with the sunken bath that her husband no longer used and the wet room, so large even his bulk could fit into it comfortably. She had chosen
the Brazilian slate flooring and Carrara marble walls herself, but she might have it all stripped out later on today, just because she could. She might remodel the whole house.
She was smiling at the thought as she exited the bathroom.
Her husband was lying in his gigantic bed, snoring faintly. The heavy curtains had been drawn, but the perfect New York spring morning outside – bright sunlight, clear blue sky – had
failed to wake him. She wasn’t surprised. It took a great deal to wake him these days, apparently. The room, large and opulent, was the complete opposite to hers: brocade hangings, swagged
velvet curtains, Oriental carpets. Everything that would catch and hide the dust. Revolting. She had never spent any time in here, so she had had no interest in redecorating it to be calm and
serene like her own suite, with its white carpeting and blond wood furniture, its elegantly simple, though extraordinarily expensive, Japanese lighting.
Beside the bed stood Joe Scutellaro, the day nurse. He looked nervous, which didn’t surprise her. In fact, she preferred it: had Joe been nonchalant, that would have indicated he
wasn’t taking this whole business seriously enough. As it was, his quivering lower lip, the frequency with which he was clearing his throat, showed that he had fully taken in exactly what
they were about to do.
‘He’s still asleep, ’ he said unnecessarily of the snoring bulk in the bed.
‘Good, ’ she said. ‘Just as we planned. Is it ready?’
Joe reached down to the small metal trolley that stood next to the bed, and held up a syringe in a hand that was shaking a little. His dark eyes were wide with strain, his mouth taut, but he
still looked very handsome. It had been his looks, as much as any other factor, that had got him the job as her husband’s primary nurse. Italian men, in her opinion, should always be pretty.
Some races – the Celtic ones particularly – could be more stocky, more brutal-looking, which she liked just as much, in a different way; but Italians only worked if they were pretty.
She surveyed Joe’s long lashes, his carefully groomed dark curls, with great approval. Oh yes, it was definitely time to do this. She was tired of sneaking around, tired of pretending to be
an ice queen so that her husband wouldn’t pester her for sex because he thought she wasn’t interested in the entire proceeding. She’d made sure he didn’t suspect she had any
passions at all, let alone how much she was enjoying herself with most members of the household staff.
She preferred to have sex with men she employed. She always had.
‘I’ll do it, ’ she said, taking the syringe from Joe.
His eyes widened still further.
‘Are you sure?’
‘Absolutely.’ She smiled at him. ‘My hand’s much steadier than yours.’
Joe had already rolled up the sleeve of the pyjama-clad arm closest to them. The skin – mottled with ill health and faint fading needle marks – was so unpleasant to her that she
could hardly bear to look at it, but she took the syringe from Joe, motioning him out of the way so that the daylight, pouring through the high window of their townhouse, illuminated her field of
activity. In one swift, confident motion, she put the thumb and second finger of her left hand into the crook of his elbow, stretched the skin taut so she could see the old puncture marks, and
inserted the tip of the needle into the centre of one, pressing the plunger down. As she slipped the needle out again, her task accomplished, she noted that she had left no new mark at all, nothing
to indicate that an injection had just taken place.
She handed the needle back to Joe.
‘Good, ’ she said, smiling at him. ‘That was easy.’
He nodded, his eyes still wide, his hand still shaking a little.
This wasn’t good. Joe would certainly be questioned, at least by the doctor, perhaps by others. Now that it had been done, she needed to take the edge off his fear. Some nervousness would
be more than understandable, of course: but too much would raise a red flag.
Oh, who was she fooling? Certainly not herself. She was dying for it. That had been one of the most exciting things she had ever done in her life, and now she was on fire to celebrate.
Not that she’d ever needed much excuse for this kind of activity.
‘Now, ’ she said to Joe. ‘Take your clothes off, and fuck me.’
She slipped off her robe and stood there naked, slim and pale, almost six foot tall, her physique flawless. The sight of her nude body was all the encouragement Joe needed; he was already
fumbling with the waistband of his trousers, his rising excitement making the task of unzipping himself harder than usual.
‘And make it quick, ’ she said, turning away from the body on the bed. The last thing she wanted to see as she came was her husband’s face. ‘I’ve got a long list of
things to take care of today.’
iss Fitzgerald?’ The receptionist was so apologetic it sounded as if she were about to cry. ‘I’m really sorry but your
card’s been declined.’
But Lola Fitzgerald wasn’t listening: she was too busy examining her face in the huge gilt-framed mirror that hung in Dr Block’s reception area. The mirror was tactfully placed so
that Dr Block’s clients had to take a few steps to approach it. This avoided them having to catch more than a glimpse of themselves if they didn’t want to.
If you came in with a burgeoning spot that needed cortisone injected right into the middle of its nasty little swelling white cyst to kill it dead, or lines around your mouth that seemed to have
deepened overnight and were desperate for some collagen to fill them up, you could swoop past the mirror without turning your head to see your shame. But if, like Lola, you had just had vitamin C
injected all over your face in a stinging series of tiny needle pricks, you couldn’t help wanting to see if this apparently miraculous new treatment did actually make you look like you had
the glowing skin of a fourteen-year-old who had been brought up on a purely organic diet, gone for long healthy walks every day, and didn’t even know what alcohol was.
Any observer would have been amazed at how critically Lola was staring at herself in the mirror. But though Lola Fitzgerald was twenty-nine and naturally drop-dead gorgeous, she was as obsessed
with her looks as someone twice her age with a fraction of her own lucky genetic inheritance. Lola Fitzgerald was as beautiful as a shiny gold coin, new-minted and perfect. And it took a walletful
of shiny gold cards to keep her looking that way.
Dr Block, the most famous and most expensive dermatologist in London, kept Lola’s skin smooth and buttersoft, while glamorous blonde Abigail, the owner of BeauBronz fake tan, had visited
Lola’s dinky little Mayfair mews house earlier that afternoon to spray Lola from head to toe with a perfect gilded sheen. The golden colour, custom-blended for her by Abigail, matched
Lola’s hair, artfully highlighted by a colourist whose phone number was one of London’s most closely guarded secrets.