Hollywood Divorces / Hollywood Wives: The New Generation

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-six 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 Collin’s dissection of Tinseltown is as razor sharp as ever’
Daily Mail

‘Her style is pure escapism, her heroines 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’
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

Also by Jackie Collins

Poor Little Bitch Girl

Married Lovers

Lethal Seduction

Hollywood Divorces

Hollywood Wives – The New Generation

Deadly Embrace

Thrill!

Lovers & Players

L.A. Connections – Power, Obsession, Murder, Revenge

Hollywood Kids

American Star

Rock Star

Hollywood Husbands

Lovers & Gamblers

Hollywood Wives

The World Is Full Of Divorced Women

The Love Killers

Sinners

The Bitch

The Stud

The World Is Full Of Married Men

THE SANTANGELO NOVELS

Lady Boss

Lucky

Drop Dead Beautiful

Dangerous Kiss

Vendetta: Lucky’s Revenge

Chances

This edition published by Pocket Books UK, 2010
An imprint of Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
A CBS COMPANY

Copyright © Chances Inc, 2001, 2003

Hollywood Wives – The Next Generation
first published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2001
First published by Pocket Books UK, 2002

Hollywood Divorces
first published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2003
First published by Pocket Books UK, 2004

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 Inc.

The right of Jackie Collins to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act,
1988.

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
1st Floor
222 Gray’s Inn Road
London WC1X 8HB

www.simonandschuster.co.uk

Simon & Schuster Australia
Sydney

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

eBook ISBN: 978-1-84983-210-6

With thanks to the artists for permission to quote from the song
Copacabana
– Barry Manilow / Bruce Sussman / Jack Feldman

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.

For all the Hollywood Wives
Old and new…male and female…
Gay and straight…
A constant source of inspiration!

And for Arnold Kopelson,
who told me much more than I
ever wanted to know!

And for my darling Frank,
Always…

Contents
Prologue

E
ric Vernon walked into Sam’s Place, a seedy topless bar in the valley, and immediately fixed his gaze on Arliss Shepherd.

Arliss was not a pretty sight as he leaned against the bar, nursing a half-full bottle of beer. Long-faced with pale, pock-marked skin, and lank, shoulder-length yellow hair, he was skinny as a starving coyote and just as skittish. Nervous habits surrounded him–he chewed his straggly hair, picked his teeth, rarely changed his underwear, and smelled of stale onions.

In spite of his shortcomings, Arliss was not lacking in friends: a group of similar misfits hung out at Sam’s Place, with Arliss leading the pack. Sam, an obese man famous for only having one ball, ran his bar like a friendly club for losers. Regulars included Davey ‘The Animal’, Little Joe, and Big Mark Johansson. They were a motley crew, drawing solace from each other’s company and the fact that there was strength in numbers. Together they could kick ass. Alone they were useless, nothing more than a bunch of loud-mouthed failures. Which, as far as Eric Vernon was concerned, was a good thing, because men with no self-esteem were far easier to manipulate than men with balls. He’d discovered that in prison when he was doing time for manslaughter.

Manslaughter my ass,
Eric thought as he approached Arliss at the bar.
I hit the scumbag with a two-by-four until he dropped dead in front of me. And not a moment too soon.

Eric Vernon was a nondescript man of medium height and slight build, with bland features and sandy brown hair cut short. He had the kind of face that blended in–the kind of face that nobody ever remembered.

Except that skanky bitch remembered me all right,
he thought sourly.
Oh, yes, she remembered me so well that I served six miserable years in prison because of her
.

The first thing he’d done when he’d got out of the joint was taken care of her. Smashed her pointy face until it was no more than pulp. Then he’d burned her house down.

The best revenge is deadly. Eric had learned that at an early age.

Immediately after dealing with the tattling bitch he’d adopted a new identity and moved to California, eventually settling in L.A. where he’d taken a job with a computer company–a skill he’d mastered in jail.

All this had taken place two years earlier, and no one had ever questioned who he was or where he came from. Which is exactly the way he’d planned it.

A person does not sit in jail for six stinking years without making plans. And Eric had an agenda, an agenda he was getting ready to pursue.

Chapter One

‘Y
ou look
fantastic!’

‘You think?’

‘I
know.

Lissa Roman narrowed her eyes as she studied her reflection in the large, lightbulb-studded makeup mirror. She saw perfection, and so she should, considering she worked like a long-haul truck driver to look as good as she did. And it wasn’t easy. It took real dedication and non-stop action. Yoga, Pilates, starvation, ice-cold showers, Brazilian waxing, hair colouring, jogging, swimming, weight training, fasting, aerobics, spinning–you name it, Lissa did it. Everything except plastic surgery. She was too scared of the knife. Too petrified that the surgeon would make her look like somebody else–take away her identity, her personality. She had seen it happen to numerous people in Hollywood, men
and
women. Besides, she was only forty–younger than Madonna and Sharon Stone, for God’s sake. And, anyway, she didn’t need it.

‘You’re
sure
I look as good as it gets?’ she questioned, forcing Fabio, her faithful makeup and hair artist, to repeat his compliments.

‘Divine. Beautiful. The works,’ Fabio assured her, tossing back his luxuriant mane of expensive hair extensions.

And he meant every word of it, because although Lissa
Roman was not a classic beauty, she had that indiscernible something that made her a superstar. It was a combination of blatant sex appeal, fiery energy and a body to die for. Not to mention blazing blue eyes, high cheekbones, and full, pouty lips. Fabio
loved
basking in her aura.

‘All thanks to you and your magic fingers,’ Lissa murmured, smoothing her shoulder-length platinum hair.

‘That’s what Teddy told me last night,’ Fabio said, with a self-satisfied smirk.

‘Lucky you,’ Lissa said, rising from the makeup chair.

‘No,’ Fabio said, wagging a beringed finger at her. ‘Lucky
Teddy.

‘You have some ego!’ Lissa teased, heading for the door.


Almost
as big as yours,’ Fabio retorted crisply, following her out to the studio where the photographer from
Maxim
magazine waited.

Lissa and Fabio had worked together for eight years and enjoyed an excellent relationship. Fabio actually
liked
Lissa Roman. For someone of her stature she was not an egocentric bitch. She was warm and friendly and quite funny at times. Of course, she had appalling taste in men–but living in Hollywood there was hardly a vast pool of eligible men to choose from. And as far as Fabio was concerned, all the good ones were gay–thank
God!

Her second husband, Antonio, the man who’d fathered her only child, sounded the best of all. Not that Fabio had ever met him, but he’d seen photos, and Antonio was a magnificent specimen: all dark sexy eyes, impressive physique, and broodingly handsome features. Fabio often wondered why she’d let that one slip away.

‘Antonio had a wandering cock,’ was Lissa’s only explanation.

Fabio didn’t get why straight people were so uptight about sex. After all, sometimes a wandering cock could be a good thing.

 

Nicci Stone gazed unblinkingly at her kickboxing instructor’s crotch. It was quite a package, and so was he. His name was Bjorn, and he was tall and blond in the Nordic style, with subtle muscles and sinewy bronzed thighs. He was over six feet tall with large Chiclet teeth and a gleaming smile.

I bet he gives great tongue,
Nicci thought, with a secretive smile.
He’s Scandinavian. Scandinavian men rock.

Not that she’d had that many. Sven, the Swedish facialist. Marl, the Danish rock ’n’ roller. And Lusti, the Norwegian personal trainer. Actually, that was a lot. Enough to make her realize that European men were far more inventive in bed than their American counterparts.

She wondered how Bjorn, with his quite commendable package, would stack up. Maybe she should give him a try…

No!
a stern voice in the back of her head commanded.
You are currently engaged and there will be no more screwing around.

Damn! Who came up with
that
rule?

Mommy, of course. Lissa Roman, mega movie star, singer and legendary sex symbol–currently on her fourth husband.

Yeah. That’s right. Four.

Nicci hoped it was Lissa’s lucky number. The next wedding was
hers,
and she did not take kindly to competition, even though she had lived with it forever.

Growing up with Lissa Roman as your mother was no day trip to Disneyland. Whenever possible, Nicci had kept the identity of her famous mom a deep, dark secret. Although keeping it to herself never lasted long, because somebody always managed to find out–blowing her chance of a normal (
what’s that anyway
?) relationship.

Nicci was, at nineteen, a spirited kind of beauty. Unlike
her mother’s platinum blond sexiness, Nicci had inherited her exotic gypsy looks from Antonio Miguel Stone, her Spanish father–Lissa’s husband number two–a drop-dead handsome philanderer with no money to speak of and a somewhat shaky pedigree. His mother, Nicci’s grandma, was supposedly a third cousin to the King of Spain–although they’d never been invited to tea.

Nicci knew the story. Lissa had fallen for Antonio when he’d arrived in Hollywood to liaise with a gorgeous redhead. Five days after their first meeting, the redhead was history, and Lissa and Antonio were on their way to Vegas in a chartered plane where, after two days of gambling and incredible sex, they’d got married.

Nine months after that, Nicci was born.

One passion-filled year later, Lissa caught Antonio cheating with her so-called best friend and promptly divorced him. Shortly after that he’d returned to Europe to continue his career as an ace playboy and sometime racing-car driver, roaming around the best resorts and the most beautiful women.

At age ten Nicci had started demanding to know more about her father–a man she had only seen pictures of. Reluctantly Lissa had instructed her lawyer to contact her ex and remind him that he had a daughter. Surprisingly, over the next few summers, Antonio had rallied and sent for the little girl. Nicci’s visits were a big success. She was pretty, sassy and smart, and Antonio was quite entranced. So much so, that over the following years she began spending months at a time with her charismatic dad, until, at age fifteen, she dropped out of Beverly Hills High School and enrolled at the American school in Madrid. Lissa didn’t seem to mind. Lissa had a career to take care of.

Nicci was thrilled, freedom at last! She soon discovered that Antonio was far more exciting to live with than her mom. He acted more like an older brother than a father
figure, full of devilish doings. He taught her what he considered to be all the good things in life–such as how to smoke pot, drink martinis without getting too wasted, and handle men with the right combination of flattery and disinterest. One of his many exotic girlfriends had given her a crash course in birth control. How cool was
that?
What more could a young, eager-to-learn teenager ask for?

By the time Nicci was sixteen she was wise way beyond her years, certainly wise enough to realize that her father was incorrigible–a bad boy with a fun-loving disposition and a big heart. He adored his daughter, she was his one link to normality. And Nicci adored him back, even though she knew he was a rogue and somewhat spineless. So what? He was her dad and she loved him.

The only downside to living with Antonio was his mother, Adela, a fierce-faced woman who dressed only in black and screamed at her son whenever the opportunity arose. Antonio didn’t seem to mind, he gave as good as he got, raising his voice back with no concern about anyone listening. Nicci soon realized it was a game between the two of them. A competition. Their deal was who could scream the longest and loudest. Grandma always won. Grandma was a determined woman. She was also the keeper of the family money, and much to Antonio’s annoyance, she doled it out on
her
terms.

Adela owned the house they inhabited in Madrid, plus a luxurious villa in Marbella, both properties left to her by her late husband who’d suffered a fatal heart attack when Antonio was only ten. Since that time Adela had drummed it into her handsome son that he was now the man in the family, and therefore had to look after her. Then she’d promptly sent him off to a military academy, where he’d had the crap beaten out of him on a regular basis.

When Antonio had finally got out, he was ready to party, and in spite of Adela’s objections, party he did, winging his
way across Europe bedding a constant procession of sleek women. Along the way he’d become interested in racing cars. As soon as Adela found out, she’d thrown a fit. To appease her, Antonio made it a hobby instead of a career, a move he’d always regretted.

Now he split his time between his mother’s two residences, carefully planning to be wherever she wasn’t.

Adela was no push-over–she kept tabs on her son. She considered it enough that he’d married a cheap American movie star when he’d ventured out of her range, and she certainly had no intention of allowing that kind of madness to happen again.

Nicci had a strained relationship with her strict grandmother. Adela professed to care for her half-American granddaughter, but at the same time she was forever disapproving of Nicci’s behaviour. Nicci soon learned how to deal with her–whenever the criticism and muttering got too much to take, she flew back to L.A. and hard-working Lissa, who was so caught up in her career that she didn’t seem to mind
what
Nicci did.

And Nicci did plenty–for she had inherited her mother’s passion for breaking barriers and her father’s wild ways. She was into experimenting, seeing how far she could go without actually doing
IT
. In spite of her lessons in birth control, she was nervous about going all the way–that is, until back in Europe she met Carlos, Antonio’s distant cousin.

She was seventeen and ready for the big deal.

Carlos was twenty-five, self-assured and extremely good-looking.

It didn’t take him long to break down her inhibitions, and then, shortly after, to break her heart.

Unfortunately, like his cousin, Carlos was a serial philanderer who could not resist a pretty face. Furious and hurt by his rejection, Nicci had travelled the revenge route,
jumping into bed with as many men as possible, while harbouring the vain hope that Carlos would become hopelessly jealous and beg her to come back to him.

He didn’t.

With a great deal of prompting from his mother, Antonio eventually got on her case, pointing out that if she wasn’t careful, people would start calling her a slut and a whore.

‘And what are
you?
’ she’d yelled at her father–a man who found it impossible to keep it in his pants. ‘A goddamn
virgin?

‘No. I am a man,’ he’d replied, with a small, superior smile. ‘And men can do anything.’

They’d argued bitterly for most of the night, both saying things they would grow to regret.

The next morning Nicci had boarded a plane to L.A. and had not been back to Europe since.

That had been almost two years ago, and now she was engaged she couldn’t help wondering if she should call Antonio and tell him. ‘Hi, Daddy,’ she’d say sweetly. ‘I’m no longer a slut and a whore. Will you come to my wedding and give me away?’

Mr Double Standard. He should’ve called her, and he never had. Oh, well, Lissa had always claimed Antonio was a big disappointment; perhaps she was right.

Nevertheless, Nicci still loved him, although she certainly did not respect him, for his casual way with women had coloured her view of all men, forcing her to adopt the motto
Use them before they use you
. Until now she’d run her life that way, unlike dear old Mom, who kept falling in love or lust–depending on how one looked at it.

Nicci admired the professionalism and achievements of her mother. However, she did not feel particularly close to her. How could she, when Lissa always seemed to put her career first, love life second, and trailing a poor third, came
Nicci, her only child, to whom she’d given birth when she was twenty and on the brink of becoming very famous indeed?

Nicci often considered it a good thing that Lissa had not had more children: she was hardly mother material.

No, Lissa Roman was a true superstar, destined to be worshipped by millions.

 

Lissa Roman worked a camera like nobody else. She had all her moves down, and enjoyed making love to the lens. Creating dynamic photographs was one of her strengths, and the camera adored her.

Hard work had never bothered Lissa. In fact, hard work was the way her parents–a strict, Midwestern couple–had raised her. ‘Work hard and don’t expect no thanks,’ her father had drilled into her. He was an austere man incapable of giving affection. She’d worked her brains out at school, achieving top grades, and getting no words of praise from her distant parents. Even when she was voted top of her class, they’d refused to acknowledge that she’d achieved anything. Finally, at sixteen, after a horrible fight with them, she’d run away to New York with her high-school boyfriend and never gone back. As far as she knew, they’d never come looking, and she didn’t give a damn.

‘Do you need anything, honey-child?’ Fabio asked, standing on the sidelines sipping green tea from a leopard-print mug.

‘Put on the Nelly Furtado CD,’ she requested. ‘Track four, ‘Legend’. I can’t get enough of that song.’

She always made sure to bring a selection of favourite CDs to every session. Today it was Nelly, Sade, and Marc Anthony. She was very into soul and Latin sounds and was currently planning her own CD which would incorporate plenty of both. She was also working on a book, sitting with a ghost writer whenever she had the time to produce a
glossy coffee-table book to be titled
A Week in the Life of Lissa

Like Madonna and Cher, she was known by one name.

Apart from the CD and the book, there was also a movie she might do, a remake of
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Nothing signed yet, she was waiting for the right script. And in her immediate future was a one night stand in Vegas at the opening of an incredibly lavish new hotel, the Desert Millennium Princess, which would pay her three million dollars for the pleasure of her company for one night only. Quite an achievement. And then there was her daughter’s upcoming wedding, which Nicci had assured her she could deal with herself.

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