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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31





Chapter Three

            Anton Couch gave great party. A stickler for detail, he hosted dinners that were always the best. Two table of twelve - twenty-four people who were either glamorous, talented, witty or extraordinarily rich. A New York mix with flavour.

            As Madison entered Anton's fire-red living room she immediately checked out the group. Once she'd seen John Gotti there-before his incarceration. And there were often movie stars, politicians and rock stars in attendance.

            Tonight she spotted the legendary Kris Phenix - rock icon supreme, with his trademark spiked hair and intense blue eyes. Although past fifty, he still had a magnetic quality. Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton, he never seemed to change. Kris was deep in conversation with music mogul Clive Davis. Since she knew Clive, she began heading in their direction, only to be stopped by Jamie's husband, Peter, who stepped in front of her, martini glass in one hand and silly grin on his somewhat bland face. Peter had that 'just-came-back-from-a-weekend-in-the-Hamptons' look. Like his wife, he was tall, with a light year-round tan, aquamarine eyes and tousled blond hair. He and Jamie made a spectacular couple.

            'How's my wife's best friend?' he asked, favouring her with a lascivious leer.

            'Fine, thank you,' she said, thinking, Uh-oh, one more martini and he's over the edge.

            'I hear you and my gorgeous wife had lunch today,' he remarked.

            'We certainly did.'

            'Talk about me, did you?' he asked, flirting.

            'We always talk about you,' she answered lightly. 'Surely you know you're the most interesting subject in our universe?'

            'Wish I was,' he said ruefully, sipping his martini. 'Truth is, I think my wife's going off me.'

            'Why would you say that?'

            'I don't know . I sort of sense it.'

            Madison shrugged. 'What can I say?'

            'Nothing. If she does go off me and throws me out, I'll simply have to come live with you.' 'That'll be fun,' Madison said drily. 'You can sleep with the dog.'

            'You know I've always had my eye on you,' he said, edging closer.

            Oh, God, she hated it when Peter drank. He invariably came out with the same tired old lines, and nobody ever complained to Jamie because they all knew he didn't mean it.

            'How's the stock market?' she asked, hurriedly changing the subject. 'You wanna talk stocks with me?' he said, licking his lips. 'You want me to investigate your portfolio?'

            'Excuse me, Peter,' she said, backing away. 'I ,must find Anton.'

            'You know, Maddy, I don't get it,' he said, coming after her. 'What's a beautiful woman like you doing all by herself?'

            'My choice, Peter,' she said coolly.

            'David was a fool.'

            'We simply had different agendas.'

            'Yeah.' He laughed scornfully. 'Have you seen David's agenda? Big tits and no brains.' 'When did you see?' Madison asked, frowning, unaware that Peter and her ex-boyfriend were still in touch.

            'We had dinner one night when Jamie was out of town. He'd been calling, bugging me to get together with him and his new bride.'

            'Bugging your?' Madison said, remembering David's less than flattering opinion of Peter. He'd once invested in the market with him and lost a bundle. This did not sit well with David, who expected to win at everything he did.

            'I said yes. Had nothing else to Doctor.'

            'What was she like?' Madison couldn't help asking, furious with herself for doing so.

            'Bimbo, you know the type.'

            'No, actually, I don't,' she said coldly.

            'He was crazy to give you up,' Peter said, getting so close she could smell his boozy breath.

            'Where's Jamie?' she asked abruptly, once more backing away.

            'Met Kris Phoenix and had a total melt-down. What is it with you women and these rock stars?'

            'We grew up watching him, Peter. In college he was our idol, the best of the older rock stars.'

            'Really? First sexual stirrings and all that?'

            'Wouldn't you like to know.'

            'As a matter of fact I would.'

            'Well, you're not going to.'

            'Hmm.' he said, rocking on his heels. 'Since you lunched with my wife today, isn't only fair that you lunch with me tomorrow?' Another deeply horny look. 'I could examine your portfolio in detail.'

            She knew he wasn't serious, it was only the booze talking- or was it, in view of Jamie's suspicions? 'How about not ordering another martini tonight, Peter,' she said gently. 'You know Jamie hates it when you drink.'

            'How about minding your own business?'

            She looked around for someone she knew. This conversation was going nowhere and it time to escape. 'I really Doctor have to go find Anton,' she said. 'See you later.'

            'I hope we're sitting together,' he called after her.

            Yeah. Right. She was just about to make sure that they weren't.

            Anton was pleased to see her. He was a diminutive man with inquisitive eyes, a spontaneous smile and expansive gestures - he had a warm about him that was most appealing. Somehow he and Jamie had turned out to be a great business mix, much in demand to decorate the homes of the rich and frivolous - homes that eventually appeared between the covers of Architectural Digest and In Style. Anton usually came up with an innovative concept for their clients, and Jamie followed through. Since putting them in business together, Jamie's father had more than recouped his original investment.

            'Amazing turn-out, as usual,' Madison said, surveying the room and spotting the powerful agent, Mort Janklow, talking to publishers Sonny Mehta and Michael Korda in one corner, while across the room, Betsy Bloomingdale, visiting from California, dominated the conversation with a group of New York wives- including a striking Georgette Moschbacher.

            'I always try to mix it up,' Anton said modestly.

            'And you always succeed,' Madison said. 'I wish you'd let me write about you.'

            'No personal publicity - that's why all my ladies trust me. You'd be amazed what they tell me when I'm suggesting a new fabric for their dinning-room walls.'

            'Knowing you, I wouldn't be surprised if you stashed a little microphone in the wall,' Madison said, grinning. 'You love hearing all the gossip.'

            'I certainly Doctor, my dear,' Anton replied. 'However, my strength is that I don't repeat it - not even to you.'

            They both laughed.

            'If I were looking for Jamie, where would I find her?' Madison asked.

            'In the guest bathroom,' Anton replied. Lowering his voice, he added, ' I think Kris Phoenix propositioned her. She's run off to recover.'

            'And what was Peter doing while all this was going on?'

            'Getting drunk,' Anton said. 'Haven't you noticed?'

            'I'll try to keep an eye on him for you.'

            'Do,' Anton replied. 'If there's one thing I crave, it's peace and harmony.'

            'Sure,' Madison said, disbelievingly. 'If you liked peace and harmony, you wouldn't throw such incredible dinner parties every month.'

            'One's got to have a social life,' Anton said, with a sly smile. 'By the way, your mother called me.'

            'My mother?' she said, surprised.

            'You do have a mother, don't you?' Anton said crisply. 'You didn't just spring from the streets of New York with a pen in your hand.'

            'Of course I have a mother, but why would she call you?'

            'Stella, isn't it?'

            'Yes, the beautiful Stella.'

            'If she's anything like you, she must certainly be very beautiful.'

            'Oh' c'mon,' Madison said, embarrassed by his compliment. 'My mother is a real beauty. Marilyn Monroe in her herday.'

            'How exciting,' Anton said. 'I would've loved a mother who resembled the divine Marilyn.'

            'What did Stella want?'

            'To inquire about a design concept for their new apartment.'

            'What new apartment?' Madison said, puzzled. 'My parents live in Connecticut. They haven't lived in New York for ten years.'

            'Apparently they're moving back.'

            'I don't get it,' she said, completely bewildered. 'First of all, why would Stella call you and not Jamie? And secondly, how come I don't know about this so-called apartment?'

            'Maybe they're planning to surprise you.'

            'Yeah, sure - that'll be the day. The only surprise my mother ever gave me was when she once complimented a piece I wrote on Eddie Murphy.'

            'Eddie Murphy?'

            'Yeah. Can you believe it? I write about politicians and all these other fascinating people, and the only one she was anything to say about is Eddie Murphy.'

            'Maybe she likes them black and bold,' Anton said with a chuckle.

            'Have you seen my father? He's the best -looking man walking.'

            'Really?' Anton said, perking up. 'How old is he?'

            'Fifty-eight. Too old for you. Rumour is you don't like'em over twenty-five.'

            'Oh dear,' Anton said, feigning dismay. 'My reputation's out.'

            Madison laughed. 'I'm finding Jamie. I need to talk to someone sane.'

            Jamie wasn't in the guest powder room.

            'Miss Jamie is in Mr Anton's bedroom,' Anton's Filipino housekeeper informed her. 'Thanks,' she said, still wondering about Stella calling Anton. What was that all about? Her parents loved Connecticut, why would they consider moving back to New York? Especially without telling her.

            Oh, well..she'd find out tomorrow.

            Jamie was sitting in front of Anton's Art Deco mirrored vanity, applying lipstick with a trembling hand and a long, think brush.

            'What's up with you?' Madison asked, perching on the edge of the tub.

            'Kris Phoenix wants me to meet him at his hotel,' Jamie said, her voice husky.

            'What?'

            'You heard. He asked me to meet him.'

            'When?'

            'Later.'

            'Are you kidding?'

            'No.'

            'What about Peter?'

            'What about him?' Jamie answered defiantly.

            'He thinks you're going off hi.'

            'Ha!'

            'This is crazy,' Madison said.

            'Why?' Jamie said stubbornly. 'I know he's screwing around on me.'

            'You don't know, you merely suspect. You can't go running off in the middle of the night to meet with some ageing rock star.'

            'I can if I want to.'

            'Did you and Peter have a fight?'

            'No.'

            'Then why are you acting like this?'

            'To see if he cares.'

            'Of course he cares,' Madison said, quite exasperated. 'He wouldn't be with you if he didn't.'

            'People stay together for many different reason,' Jamie said mysteriously, applying a touch of blush to her already glowing complexion.

            'Anyway,' Madison said, 'I have the number of a private investigator, and I think you should meet with him.'

            'Me? What about you?' Jamie wailed.

            'Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it you with the might-betraying husband?'

            'Yes, but you're going to help me, aren't you?' Jamie said pleadingly.

            Madison sighed. 'If you insist,' she said. Jamie always had been the champion at getting her own way.

            'I can't do it alone, Maddy. Will you make the appointment and come with me?'

            'Okay, okay,' Madison said impatiently, wishing she could learn to say no. 'But only if you stop all this Kris Phoenix crap. He's a horny old rock star, for Crissakes. Definitely not for you.'

            ' I promise,' Jamie said, Anton angelic expression on her lovely face. 'However, I swear to you, if I find out that Peter is screwing around, I'll track Kris phoenix down and fuck him in the middle of Times Square!'

   


Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62