Newly repackaged—classic novels from New York Times bestselling author Jackie Collins!
Power. Sex. Money. Fame. The new Hollywood wives have it all. And if they don’t have it—they want it. And whatever these women want—they get. Ambitious, young, smart, and lethal, the Hollywood wives are back with a vengeance, pushing their way to the forefront. Forget shopping—they’re into achieving everything their famous husbands have and more, and they don’t care how they do it.
Three talented, ambitious dreamers have struggled for super-stardom—and lived hard and fast in a mind-bending whirl of parties, drugs, and sex. Now their fates collide at the plush Los Angeles estate of a powerful music industry magnate, where one man’s secret vendetta will trap them in its sudden, murderous heat....
Nick and Lauren can never forget each other. Teenage small-town lovers—he from the wrong side of the tracks, she the prettiest girl in town—their love was the town scandal, forbidden, sizzling and unforgettable, ending abruptly in a tragedy that sent them into separate orbits. As Nick and Lauren both rise to fame, haunted by the secret they share, they try to live without each other—only to find they can’t.
It was a perfect cloudless Los Angeles day. The Santa Ana winds had driven off the smog, and Saturday, July 11th, dawned crisp and clean, settling into a seductively lazy heat.
Kris Phoenix awoke early. Unusual for him, but he had flown in from London the previous afternoon and gone straight to bed. Fourteen hours later he surfaced in his oversize California King bed, in his oversize palatial Bel Air mansion, and rolled over to find that his Los Angeles girlfriend, Cybil Wilde, had joined him sometime during the night. Fortunately for her, she had not tried to wake him. Sex was great, but woe betide anyone who came between Kris and his jet lag.
Cybil slept on, her nineteen-year-old body smooth and naked, long, honey-blond hair fanning out around her wholesomely pretty face.
Cybil Wilde was a highly paid, extremely visible commercial model. Not quite Christie Brinkley, but on her way. Recently she had appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in a revealing one-piece swimsuit. Now the offers were pouring in, but Cybil never accepted anything without deferring to Kris's superior judgment. And he preferred having her at home -- whether he was there or not.
He debated waking her; after all, it was several weeks since they'd seen each other. Then he remembered the concert tonight, and decided he could wait. Astrid, his London live-in, had not exactly let his motor idle. In fact, Astrid was a maniac in the sack, she never left him alone.
Astrid, the clothes designer. They'd met four years ago in Paris, when his manager hired her to design some leather pants for him, and she'd ended up feeling a lot more than the material. At twenty-eight, Astrid was nine years older than Cybil, but she had the requisite long blond hair and knockout body, plus she was Danish, and everyone knew about Scandinavian women. He liked his women blond and long-legged, with a big bosom and an amiable disposition. What more could any man ask?
Silently Kris stepped from bed, making his way into his black, mirrored, high tech bathroom.
Fortunately he'd managed to stay sober on the flight from London. It was amazing the difference it made -- he actually felt like a human being. And on close inspection in the mirror above his black marble sink, he actually looked like one.
Kris Phoenix was thirty-eight years old. He had intense ice-blue eyes, longish dirty-blond hair subtly streaked by the sun (and if the sun wasn't around, an English hairdresser called Spud took care of it), and rakish good looks. Neither tall nor short, he hit a comfortable five feet ten inches -- and since taking up weight training he was all dynamic body power and rippling muscles. Hardly Arnold Schwarzenegger -- more Bruce Springsteen fused with Mick Jagger.
Kris Phoenix was a rock star. A very famous rock star indeed.
In fact, some said, Kris Phoenix was a rock legend.
All that talk never bothered him. As far as he was concerned he made music, sang songs, and played a mean guitar. So did a lot of other guys. Kris reckoned he had a hold on reality. Just because he divided his life between two fantastic mansions, made millions of dollars a year, owned seven cars, and kept two beautiful live-in females, that didn't make him any different inside. He would always, deep down, be plain Chris Pierce from Maida Vale, London. There was no getting away from the fact that his mother once scrubbed other people's floors, and his stepfather drove a bus.
"... my...God! You... are...sooo...sexy!" Cybil barefooted her way into the bathroom, and it wasn't only her feet that lacked coverage. "I've really missed you, Kris!" she sighed, throwing her arms around him.
Suddenly Astrid the maniac began to fade from his thoughts.
"You too, kiddo," he replied, kissing her warm, inviting lips.
She rubbed her full breasts against his bare chest, knowing full well what that would do to him.
One snag. Sex was out on the day of a performance. Only somebody should tell the massive hard-on growing in his pajama pants.
Regretfully he pushed her away. "Leave it out, Cyb. Y'know the rules, and tonight's that goddamn private gig for Marcus Citroen."
Snaking her arms around his waist, she rocked him back toward her. "How about a private gig just for me?" she whispered in her best sexy voice. "After all, I am asking nicely. And I promise I'll be good." A meaningful pause. "Very good."
There was no way Kris would break his rule. And nobody -- not even the gorgeous Cybil Wilde -- could make him. On the day of a performance he was like a fighter entering the ring, he needed every ounce of his precious sexual energy. Not one drop got spilled until it was all over.
"Later," he promised, disengaging himself and moving purposefully toward the shower.
Cybil pulled a disappointed face.
"I said later, luv," he repeated, flashing his famous crooked grin as he stepped under the icy needles of water and grabbed a bar of lemon soap.
Lathering his chest, he decided the shower felt good. Freezing water. Freezing out the old sexual urges. Making him feel alive and alert, ready for anything.
Anything except a private performance for Marcus sonofabitch Citroen.
Coldly Kris reflected on how much he loathed the powerful record magnate.
And with dull resignation he realized there was nothing he could do about it.
Not yet anyway.
Rafealla alighted from Marcus Citroen's private jet and entered Marcus Citroen's personal Mercedes stretch limousine waiting on the tarmac. She nodded curtly at the driver, and was relieved to see upon entering the limo there was no welcoming committee to greet her.
Great, she thought, no one to bother me until I reach the hotel.
pardShe was wrong. As soon as she settled back, the driver requested that she pick up the car phone. "Mr Citroen on the line," he said reverently.
"Thanks." Her voice was flat. Marcus Citroen followed her every move. She. couldn't go to the bathroom without his knowing about it.
"Hi, Marcus," she said listlessly.
"Mr. Citroen will be with you in a moment," replied the velvet-toned voice of his ever-so-efficient secretary, Phoebe.
Rafealla waited. Marcus liked to keep people waiting; she had seen him do it countless times. "Builds character," he would say dryly, with just a hint of the European accent he had never quite managed to get rid of.
Nervously she leaned forward and asked the driver if he had a cigarette.
"I gave it up," the man said with an apologetic shrug. "Would you like me to stop and get you a pack?"
"No," she said, shaking her head vigorously. She too had given up the dreaded habit, although right row she was prepared to kill for the chance of one long deep drag on anything.
"Rafealla?" Marcus's voice. The slight accent. The oily thickness.
Of course I am, you summoned me, didn't you? "Yes."
"Was your flight comfortable?"
"Good, good." He cleared his throat "I have booked you into a suite at L'Ermitage. I'll call you as soon as you get there."
Yes. Probably the moment I walk through the door. "Fine," she said coolly.
"You won't regret your decision.
Ah, but I will, Marcus. I will.
He had given her no option, she thought, running a hand despairingly through her long, dark hair. With a deep sigh she slumped back against the plush leather seat.
Rafealla. She was known by just one name.
When she sang, her voice evoked magic. Sultry nights and smoky nightclubs, for she did not sing of virgins and fresh young love, she ventured back to Billie Holiday territory and the blues. At twenty-seven years of age she knew plenty about the blues. More than she ever should have known.
Rafealla was an exotic beauty. Green-eyed, with sharply etched cheekbones, a wide, luscious mouth, and a deep olive complexion. Her dark hair, straight and shining, swept in a curtain to her waist. She was slight of build, not voluptuous -- but her body was still quite something in the oversized man's suit and thin silk top she wore.
Rafealla had risen to the heights from nowhere, it seemed. Eighteen months ago she had been unheard of. Now she was a star. Burning bright. A meteor streaking her way to the top of every record chart in the world. And whereas she had imagined stardom would bring her freedom, exactly the opposite had happened. Stardom had brought her Marcus Citroen. And she hated him with a deep and burning passion.
"Bobby Mondella, do you have any idea how much you are loved?" the pretty black woman crooned affectionately as she perched on the edge of a large circular desk. Her name was Sara.
Bobby, sitting in a comfortable leather chair next to the desk, reached out to touch. "Tell me, girl, tell me good."
Bobby Mondella gave new meaning to the word "handsome." In his thirties, he was tall, well over six feet, with dark-chocolate skin, curly jet-black hair, and a great body.
"I'll do better than tellin' you, honey," Sara said enthusiastically, grabbing a random pile of press clippings from the desk. "I'm gonna read you some of the reviews comin' in on Mondella Alive. We are talkin' dy . . na. . . mite!"
Bobby reached for the dark glasses covering his unseeing eyes, took them off, put them on again. He made the same gesture about a hundred times a day. It was impossible for him to accept the fact he would never see again.
"Yeahhh. Dy... na . . . mite!" Sara repeated excitedly.
"I know 'bout the reviews," Bobby said patiently. "The album's been number one on the soul charts for five weeks now."
"Six," Sara corrected matter-of-factly. "Six straight weeks an' still goin' strong." She paused for breath. "Oh, sure, Mister Mondella. I know you've heard all about the Billboard rave, an' Rollin' Stone, not to mention the L.A. Times, Blues an' Soul, an'--"
"What's happenin'?" Bobby interrupted. ""Whyn't you just get to the train station an' save me the trip?"
"What's happening," Sara said importantly, "is that all across the country, in this great land we call America-"
"Cut it, babe."
Ignoring him, she continued her speech. "In every little hick town-they are lovin' you, honey, but I mean lovin' you." She paused triumphantly, shuffling the stack of press clippings, "Want me to read you some of this stuff?"
"Sure," he said casually, not wishing to appear too eager, although hiding anything from Sara was almost impossible; she knew him too well.
"Ridgeway, PA," she read crisply. "Bobby Mondelia is King Soul.
Buy Mondella Alive an' really get down, for Bobby Mondella puts more meaning into a lyric than anyone out there." She paused, then said, "'You like?"
"Hey -- listen to Mister Conceited!"
"Bring your cute ass over here, I wanna play basketball."
"Will you stop?" she scolded. "Here's another one. The Duluth Herald, The return of Bobby M. makes for the finest soul album of the last decade. Since his unfortunate tragedy the Mondella magic is hotter than ever.
Sara's sweet voice droned on, heaping praise upon praise, superlative after superlative.
Listening carefully, Bobby couldn't help being delighted by all the extravagant praise. It was good to be number one again. Real good. Especially since everyone had counted him out, said he was finished, written him off as a has-been.
And Marcus Citroen. Damn him.
Bobby felt the hate envelop him like a noxious cloud. He loathed the man, and for good reason. But he had to admit that Marcus Citroen was the only one who had given him a chance to come back -- and back he was, with a vengeance.
"Enough, Sara," he interrupted quietly. "I want to get some rest. before tonight"
"I don't know why you agreed to do this dumb fund-raiser," she grumbled. "Marcus Citroen and his rich friends don't deserve to be entertained by the likes of you. Especially your first live appearance since the accident".
How come everyone -- including Sara -- referred to his loss of sight as an accident? It was no accident, goddammit It was a crime. And one day he would find out who was responsible.
"It's for an interesting event," he said shortly.
"Her event," Sara sneered, taking his arm and guiding him toward the door of his bedroom.
Her event. Bobby hadn't seen her since it happened. Nor had he heard one word from the coldhearted bitch.
Nova Citroen. Marcus Citroen's wife. The thought of being in her company excited and disgusted him, He wondered what she would do...say...
Oh, Christ. Don't tell me I'm still hung up, he thought I can't be. I mustn't be...
As if sensing his thoughts of another woman, Sara withdrew Her voice became cool and businesslike. "The limo will be here at three o'clock. What time shall I wake you?"
"Make it one-thirty." His hand reached for her smooth cheek. "An' I'll have a bacon sandwich with all the trimmings. Okay?"
"I'm not your resident cook," she said stiffly.
"I know baby. But nobody -- like I mean nobody -- makes a better bacon sandwich than you."
Letting out a deep sigh of resignation, she realized she would do anything for Bobby Mondella, and he knew it Whether he appreciated it or not was another matter.
Left alone, Bobby made his way over to the bed, took off his shirt, unzipped his pants, and lay down.
Nova Citroen. Now that he had started, he couldn't stop thinking about her.
Removing his dark glasses, he realized with a dull feeling of hopelessness he would never be able to set eyes on her again.
Nova Citroen could not decide which important piece of jewelry to wear that night The Harry Winston emeralds were inviting, so green and rich-looking. A single huge stone surrounded with diamonds for her neck, matching earrings, outrageous ring, and a magnificent bracelet. But she had worn that set in February to the great annual Niven-Cohen-Moss Valentine party, and again to Irving and Mary's Oscar event. Twice in one year was enough, so she discarded the emeralds, moving on to the Cartier rubies.
Ah, such nice bright baubles, but a touch too jazzy for her requirements tonight.
Without hesitation she turned to the deep burgundy box that housed her new diamond necklace, bracelet, and earrings. No contest. She had known all along the evening cried out for nothing less than dazzling diamonds to complement her upswept whiteblond hair and the stylish Galanos dress she planned to wear. So appropriate for a simple summer evening by the sea.
Nova Citroen's idea of a simple summer evening by the sea and the rest of the world's might possibly differ. Nova and her husband, Marcus, lived part of the year on Novaroen, a magnificent twenty-five-acre estate perched on the top of a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean a few miles past Malibu. The estate boasted two separate mansions -- one especially for guests, an Olympic-size swimming pool, three north-south tennis courts, a recording studio, a fully equipped gym, a luxurious movie theater, stables for their expensive Arabian horses, and garage space for Marcus's collection of immaculately restored antique cars.
They called it their weekend hangout. Only this particular weekend a little more than hanging out was taking place. Nova and Marcus Citroen were hosting a fund-raiser for Governor Jack Highland -- the fund-raiser of the year. An exclusive black-tie affair for fifty couples, each of whom had paid a hundred thousand dollars per couple for the privilege of being there. It was called protecting their future. And a very select group they were too. Nova had been ruthless in her choice of whom she would allow to attend. Once word got out that it was an impossible ticket, everyone clamored to part with his money. After all, those in the know felt that Governor Highland was a sure thing for the next President.
Nova was suitably pleased with her final guest list. Only the creme de la creme. The richest, the most powerful, the most talented, and the most famous. She had not wanted too much Hollywood -- her desire was to attract the real power, with just a scattering of rare stardust. And she had succeeded. They were flying in from all over the world.
The evening she had planned for her guests was spectacular. A five-course open-air dinner catered by the ultrachic Lilliane's restaurant. Followed by a surprise concert, where three of the biggest recording stars in the world would appear. The legend -- Kris Phoenix. The comeback -- Bobby Mondella. And the rising star -- Rafealla.
One night five million dollars raised for Governor Highland's forthcoming campaign, and that was before the silent auction and raffle, where anyone, for a thousand dollars a ticket, could win prizes ranging from a case of Cristal champagne to a Mercedes coupe.
Clasping the magnificent diamond necklace to her throat, she decided it would be perfect for later, and carefully replaced it in its velvet-lined box. After all, she had a certain reputation to live up to. She was known for her fabulous jewelry collection.
Nova Citroen was an elegant-looking woman in her early forties, with lightly tanned skin, fine aquiline features, and mesmerizing violet eyes. Men got lost in Nova's eyes. They were her greatest asset She was not beautiful, but seductively attractive, with a body slim to the point of anorexia. It suited her, enabling her to look wonderful in clothes.
"Excuse me, Mrs. Citroen." Discreetly, Norton St. John, her personal assistant, entered the room. "Mr. Citroen would like to speak to you. He's on your private line."
"Is he?" For a moment she considered telling Norton to inform Marcus he could go to hell. It was a pleasurable idea, but one she thought better of. Marcus Citroen was her continuing ride to the top, and much as she detested him, she was aboard for the entire trip.
Speed liked money. Only one snag. Money didn't seem to like him. Every time he made a bundle -- something happened. He'd win at the track and some big-boobed bimbo would take it all from him. He'd score in Vegas. Whammo! A showgirl or two would step into the picture and it was all over. When he worked legitimately, which wasn't a steady activity, his ex-wife's lawyer was on his case within hours of his first paycheck. What was it with him and his freakin' luck? He just couldn't figure it out.
And then, one day, a meeting came to pass with a dude named George Smith, and Speed finally knew his fortunes were about to make a drastic U-turn. There was a big job going down, and George Smith wanted him in, because goddammit, Speed was the best freakin' driver in the whole of Southern California, and let nobody forget it.
There had been several meetings since the first one, and now today was D-Day, and Speed knew exactly what he had to do.
Dressing carefully in the gray chauffeur's uniform he had hired from a Hollywood costumer, he admired his reflection in the long hall mirror of his one-room apartment.
So he wasn't very tall. Big freakin' deal. Nor was Dustin Hoffman.
So the hairline was receding. Big freakin' deal. Mr. Burt Reynolds had the same problem.
So he had the features of an inquisitive ferret. Was Al Pacino a matinee idol?
Speed creamed over the way he looked. As far as he was concerned he was a real lady-killer. And when he had the money to back up his imagined charm, he was a hotshot with women. All women except his ex-wife -- a platinum-blond stripper with bazoombas to break a man's heart, and nagging to break a man's balls.
Speed thought the uniform looked pretty ritzy on him. He admired himself for quite a few minutes before turning to other matters at hand. There were things to do before the evening's big caper.
He nodded to himself knowingly. This was the big score he had been waiting for all his life, and there was no way he was going to blow it.
Vicki Foxe had a strong urge to kick the grinning jackass security chief in the balls. Men. Sex. That's all they ever thought about. Most of them, anyway. There were exceptions -- few and far between, and those always turned out to be the ones who played hard to get.
For a moment Vicki allowed herself to think about Maxwell Sicily -- now he was an exception. Of course he'd crap in his pants if he ever thought she knew his true identity -- but who the hell did he think he was dealing with anyway? Some dumb dingbat with big tits? Oh, no. When Vicki Foxe got involved in a business caper, she knew what it was all about.
George Smith my ass, she'd thought, when he first contacted her. And it didn't take her long to find out his real name. It never took Vicki long to find out anything.
"Are y'all wearin' a bra, sweetie?" The beefy man leered, staring bug-eyed at her greatest assets.
Up yours, dickhead, she thought. What a cretin!
If he ever saw her at her best he would go into cardiac arrest without pausing to make a will. Right now, skillfully disguised as a maid, she looked her worst. Her bright-red hair was scraped back in a bun. She wore little makeup on her face. And her truly sensational body (39 D cup, small waist and accommodating hips) was mostly concealed beneath a drab maid's uniform.
"Don't be so nosy, Tom," she scolded, flirtatiously batting her eyes at him, forgetting that she was not wearing the sweeping false lashes she usually favored. "It's none of your business, big boy."
Tom was chief of security on the Citroens' vast oceanside estate, and already, after Vicki had worked there for only six weeks, he was hot to do anything she might ask in exchange for a sexual favor or two.
"I'd sure like ta find out," he drooled.
"Well..." Suggestively licking her lips, she gave him a little body brush. "Whatcha doin' later?"
They both had a good laugh at that one. Later was the big concert -- the giant event Tom would be up to his eyebrows handling massive security arrangements.
"If only we could watch the concert together," Vicki sighed, deliberately popping a button on her uniform, and then another, and then -- very slowly, another.
"Tom almost choked on his coffee. "You've got great ti--" he began.
Somebody walked into the service kitchen and he shut up.
Vicki quickly turned away, doing up her buttons. She could hear Tom's heavy breathing all the way out the door. And when the time came to take care of him, it would be no problem. Absolutely no problem at all.
Across town, Maxwell Sicily reported for work at Lilliane's, the exclusive Beverly Hills restaurant. Maxwell Sicily was twenty-nine years old, five feet eleven, one hundred and forty pounds, and of Sicilian origin. His hair was patent-leather black and greased back, his eyes brooding and close-set. His nose was too long, and his mouth too thin. But the overall effect was of a certain cold handsomeness. He looked like the son of a mob boss.
He was, in fact, the son of the infamous Carmine Sicily -- one of the top drug kingpins in Miami.
Father and son did not speak. Maxwell had come to California to make it on his own. He'd certainly had the right training.
"Hiya, George," greeted Chloe, the pudgy supervisor who sat behind the desk at Lilliane's, answering the phones and keeping a sharp eye on the waiters as they punched in.
Maxwell nodded. At work they knew him only as George Smith
-- a suitable pseudonym.
"Hot today, isn't it?" Chloe said, coquettishly fanning her drooping bosom with a copy of People magazine.
Maxwell ignored her, thought better of it, and nodded a curt yes.
"I never got to ask you before," she said quickly, glad of an opportunity to chat with the handsome waiter whom she'd had her eye on ever since he started work there. "You're an actor, aren't you?" She gazed at him hopefully. "I'm right, huh? I can always spot em.
Maxwell repeated his nod. Thank God this was the last day he had to put up with this. Tomorrow he would be on a plane to Brazil with a king's ransom supplied courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Citroen.
There have been many imitators, but only ever one Jackie Collins.
The iconic British author has been called a “raunchy moralist” by the director Louis Malle and “Hollywood’s own Marcel Proust” by Vanity Fair.
With millions of her books sold in more than forty countries, and with thirty-one New York Times bestsellers to her credit, she is one of the world’s top-selling novelists.
From glamorous Beverly Hills bedrooms to Hollywood move studios; from glittering rock concerts in London to the yachts of Russian billionaires, Jackie Collins chronicled the scandalous lives of the rich, famous, and infamous from the inside looking out.
“I write about real people in disguise,” she once said. “If anything, my characters are toned down—the truth is much more bizarre!”
Her first novel, The World is Full of Married Men, was published in 1968 and established Collins as an author who dared to step where no other female writers had gone before. She followed it year after year with one successful title after another, including Chances, the first installment of a sprawling nine-book saga introducing the street-smart, sexy, and dynamic Lucky Santangelo. The eighties saw Jackie hitting her stride with the seminal blockbuster, Hollywood Wives, as well as Lucky, Hollywood Husbands, and Rock Star. In recent years she kept fans entertained with Poor Little Bitch Girl, The Power Trip, and her final novel, The Santagelos, never wavering on her commitment to take her readers on a “wild ride”!
Six of her novels have been adapted for film or TV and Universal Pictures has recently optioned the Santangelo series with a view to bringing Lucky to the big screen.
Jackie was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the Queen of England in 2013 for her services to literature and charity. When accepting the honor she said to the Queen, “Not bad for a school drop-out”—a revelation capturing her belief that both passion and determination can lead to big dreams coming true.
Jackie Collins lived in Beverly Hills where she had a front row seat to the lives she so accurately captured in her compulsive plotlines. She was a creative force, a trailblazer for women in fiction and in her own words “A kick-ass writer!”