The Replacement Wife Sneak Peek

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                                                                   Prologue

             Chloe scanned the incredibly packed sanctuary and groaned. The only seats available were in the balcony, and that just wouldn’t do. Chloe wanted to kick herself for not gassing up her Benz the night before. That extra fourteen minutes at the gas station had probably made all the difference. Now, instead of sitting close enough to her next husband that he could smell her Chanel No. 5, she would be in the rafters with the unimportant attendees . . . unless she could convince one of the ushers to seat her in front, where she so obviously belonged.

Chloe weighed her choices. One of the center aisles was being guarded by a white-haired woman with a body like a Baltimore Ravens lineman and a glare to match. Chloe immediately decided against her. She was likely immune to any of Chloe’s charms and would probably have her removed from the sanctuary for trying to sidestep the rules.

The other center aisle was being handled by a distinguished and handsome man of about fifty years. Every few seconds he wiped tears from his eyes. He probably knew the recently departed Chandra Chambers personally. Had probably dined with the family in that gigantic mansion off West Paces Ferry Road, right smack in the middle of Atlanta’s old money. He was, without question, Chloe’s mark.

Chloe stumbled down the aisle, tears flowing freely, and soft sobs escaping every few seconds. The sensitive usher approached her and touched her arm.

“I’m so sorry, miss, but there are no more seats in the main sanctuary. You’ll have to sit in the overflow.”

Chloe nodded and placed one hand on her chest. As she’d hoped, the usher’s gaze followed her hand to her slightly surgically enhanced, sufficiently heaving and bronzed bosom.

“I know,” Chloe said in a throaty whisper, “but I just want to look at Chandra one more time. We were roommates at Spelman, and she was just like a sister to me.”

The usher looked unsure, so Chloe went in for the kill. “When she was sick, she asked me to look after her babies for her. How can I do that from the balcony?”

This settled it for the usher. Chloe was sure he believed every word of her emotional speech. And why wouldn’t he? Who would lie at a funeral about the wishes of the deceased?

Only a desperate person.

And as much as Chloe hated to admit it, she was desperate, and her socialite status was in severe jeopardy. She had just a couple hundred thousand dollars in the bank, which enabled her to strategize without getting a nine to five, but it wouldn’t keep her in the society circles she’d infiltrated with her late fiancé. Walter had been a billionaire. She’d met him on the beach in St. Bart’s one holiday. Although he was seventy-eight, Walter was spry and sexy, and he’d given Chloe everything her heart had desired. Well . . . almost everything. He’d never made her his bride, and when he died suddenly of an aneurysm, Walter’s children unceremoniously threw Chloe out on her behind. All she had left was the sum of the gifts he’d given her—a fully furnished townhouse, several large diamonds and other jewels, and a car.

Chloe tried not to draw too much attention to herself as she followed the usher down to the front row. She wanted to be remembered by only one person—Quentin. The lineman usher scowled, but Chloe’s friendly usher made room for her on the aisle. None of the family paid attention to the extra person in their pew. In fact, the family seemed to be in a tearful haze. Quentin looked especially hopeless, but even still, his incredible good looks made Chloe’s heart skip a beat. His caramel skin seemed to glow as tears coursed down his face.

Chloe wanted to reach out and comfort him, pull him to her saline plumped breasts and caress his pain away.

Yes, Chloe did believe she would have her some of Quentin Chambers. And his millions.

                                                             Chapter One

Five years later . . .

Chloe walked into the packed nail salon for her weekly pedicure with her best friend, Lichelle. The Nail Spot was always crowded and always cost just a little bit extra. Maybe it was because it was owned by an ex-rapper turned entrepreneur. Or maybe it was because gossip was on the menu, just like the paraffin wax and the acrylic tips.

Lichelle waved Chloe to the back of the salon—the VIP area. She’d saved Chloe a spot, which was darn near impossible to do, but Lichelle, -the wife of a wealthy real estate broker, -was a regular. And a good tipper.

Chloe slid into the luxurious chair and leaned back, careful not to muss her freshly perfected hairdo. Her short tresses were expertly sculpted, and they framed her face perfectly, softening the potentially strong features created by her excessive workouts.

“Girl, I thought I was gonna have to fight that queen over there. He kept eyeballing your chair like he was about to snatch it,” Lichelle said, as she blew Chloe a kiss.

“I am not thinking about him.”

Chloe cut her eyes at the man, who gave her much attitude. She didn’t have time to exchange words with him, nor did she want to ruin her mood. She was going to Lichelle’s yacht party later with Quentin, and it was going to be a blast.

But first she was about to get her feet rubbed and mashed by her favorite nail tech, Trey. He was fine and buff, and his foot massages took her to the mountaintop.

Trey slid over in front of Chloe on his little stool. “Hey, ma. How’s your day going?”

Chloe grinned as Trey cracked his knuckles and took her foot into his hand in a miniature caress. “It’s going great now, babe. Do your magic!”

“I am telling Quentin,” Lichelle said.

Chloe lifted Lichelle’s left hand and touched the enormous rock on her ring finger. “You’re the only one married. I am still very unmarried.”

“But not unattached. You’ve been with Quentin for an eternity.”

Chloe winced at the word. It had been a long time. Five years, to be exact. Quentin didn’t seem the least bit interested in marriage. She didn’t think he loved her, but he enjoyed her company enough to foot the bill for her every need. He even gave her a small shopping allowance.

Admittedly, she wanted more. Not necessarily marriage, but at least a commitment. A bit of assurance that the fun times were more than temporary.

“Five years is not an eternity. Especially since we got together after he buried his wife.”

“How long are you going to wait for him to marry you?” Trey asked.

“I’m not waiting for him to marry me. I’m enjoying what we have. Savoring the moments.”

Lichelle sucked her teeth and shook her head. “What if he wakes up tomorrow and decides he’s ready to trade you in?”

“You do have quite a few miles on you, and you are definitely fine— I wouldn’t kick you out of bed. But you’re not a twentysomething anymore,” Trey said.

“Is this attack Chloe day? I’m not’ feeling this.”

Trey laughed. “Sorry,ma. Let me squeeze that stress away.”

Chloe closed her eyes and moaned. It was as if Trey had some secret road map that led straight from the middle of her foot to her unmentionables.

“Seriously, though,” Lichelle said, invading Chloe’s ecstasy, “have you thought about a backup plan?”

“What do you mean?”

“You need to make sure you’re financially okay in case Quentin decides you are not his final resting place.”

“You could always have Quentin’s baby,” Trey said.

“Ugh. No! Low-rent women have babies for a paycheck. I do not do that.”

Trey shrugged. “Sorry. It was just a thought.”

“If you’re not going to give Quentin a love child, then you really need to think about your future. Why don’t you ask Quentin to help you start a business?”

Chloe considered this. The problem was, she had no idea what kind of business she’d want to start. She didn’t want to work that hard.

She wanted to continue to give Quentin what he needed, and she wanted him to continue giving her what she needed.

“Look, Quentin cares about me. He’s not going to leave me high and dry. And maybe one day he will ask me to marry him. And maybe I’ll say yes.”

“Maybe you’ll say yes?” Lichelle asked.

“Yes, maybe. Not every girl needs a husband. I’m happy being a sugar baby.”

“You a little old to be a sugar baby,” Trey said. “You’re just a woman of ill repute.”

Lichelle and Trey burst into laughter, and Chloe rolled her eyes at them both. She and Quentin were in a good place, and she had no intention of rocking the boat. And as long as she kept rocking Quentin’s world, she wouldn’t have to.

                                                   Chapter Two

Estelle watched in silence as chaos unfolded in her living room. These children, her grandchildren, were out of control. Her son treated them with kid gloves because they’d lost their mother, but after five years they were no longer mourning—just taking advantage of their daddy.

The worst of the bunch was the oldest girl, Deirdre. From sunup to sundown she was on the phone talking to random thugs. The all-girls private school they spent thousands a year in tuition for did not seem to curb Deirdre’s taste for all things hood.

Completely exasperated, Estelle snatched the phone from Deirdre. “Grandma!” Deirdre screamed.

“Deirdre is busy right now,” Estelle said, ignoring her granddaughter’s pleas. “She will call you back later . . . What do you mean, who is this? It is her grandmother. And as a matter of fact, she will not be calling you back.”

Estelle disconnected the call and handed it back to Deirdre. The teenager’s angry scowl didn’t faze Estelle one bit, although the young girl did in that moment look exactly like her mother. That tugged Estelle’s heartstrings a little, but not enough for her to tolerate foolishness.

“Grandma, that was my boyfriend.”

“He sounded like a thug. You can do better.”

“I don’t want to do better.”

Estelle shook her head and frowned. “Your mother would be . . .”

“Turning over in her grave! I know, Grandma. But since she’s gone, she doesn’t really get a say on my boyfriends, now does she?”

“Maybe not, but I do.” Quentin had entered the room. Estelle grinned when he kissed her on the cheek.

Deirdre rolled her eyes. “Well, if I left it up to you and Grandma, I’d never have a boyfriend.”

“A boyfriend shouldn’t be your priority, Deirdre. You’ve got your mind on the wrong thing.”

“Nobody complains about your girlfriend . . .”

Quentin raised an eyebrow at the insolent teenager, but Estelle stifled a giggle. It was no secret that neither Deirdre nor the other children were fans of Chloe, Quentin’s lady friend. Estelle had gotten a bad taste in her mouth about the woman on the day of her daughter-in-law’s funeral. She claimed to be Chandra’s college friend, but no one had ever heard of her. Nevertheless, she’d hung around just enough to get Quentin interested in her, and to Estelle’s dismay he’d taken a liking to her; he was seen all over town with her on his arm.

Quentin said, “That’s the great thing about being an adult. You don’t have to answer to anyone about your romances.”

“Grandma says we all have to answer to God.”

Before Quentin got an opportunity to respond to that statement, eleven-year-old Danielle skated through the living room at breakneck speed. In hot pursuit were the fourteen-year -old twins, Madison and Morgan.

“Give me my iPad!” Morgan screamed.

Danielle laughed and eluded capture by twirling around a very expensive antique credenza. Estelle inhaled sharply at the thought of that family heirloom being harmed by horseplay.

“I think Daddy should know that you are Skyping boys on here!” Danielle said.

Madison said, “She is not! We’re trying to do a homework assignment.”

Quentin caught Danielle on her next orbit of the room and took the tablet from her. “What kind of homework assignment?” he asked.

“It’s a social experiment,” Morgan explained. “We’re trying to figure out what would happen if a totally z-list boy got attention from an a-list girl.”

“The ramifications of such a thing are epic. It could change the whole sociopolitical landscape of middle school,” Madison said.

Deirdre laughed out loud. “Enjoy the boys while you can! Next year you’ll be brutally forced into a world of all girls.”

“No! Daddy said we could go to Reese’s high school!” Madison said.

Deirdre’s jaw dropped. Estelle knew Deidre was going to have an issue with allowing the twins to go to the high school where their brother, Reese, was a graduating senior. Deirdre had been sent to the all-girls school because of her boy-crazy shenanigans in middle school. There was no reason to subject the twins to the same fate because of her actions. Deirdre hated St. Mary’s Preparatory School for Girls with a passion saved for first loves and chocolate.

“Is this true, Daddy?” Deirdre asked.

“I haven’t made any decisions one way or the other,” Quentin said, but his facial expression told a different story.

Madison and Morgan gave Deirdre smug looks, and she sent the twins daggers with her eyes. Estelle knew this battle wasn’t over, especially since Deirdre was dead set on seeing boys after school every day.

“Girls, give me a moment with your father, please,” Estelle said, as she directed the roller-skating Danielle toward the double staircase, though she wondered how that child navigated the mansion on wheels.

The twins followed their little sister upstairs, but Deirdre remained on the couch, flipping through a magazine.

“You too, Deirdre. Go find something to do that doesn’t include boys.”

Deirdre gave her grandmother a deadpan gaze. “Well, Grandmother, I have no idea what that would be.”

“Deirdre, stop antagonizing your grandmother,” Quentin said.

Deirdre stomped toward the entrance to the downstairs game room. “She should stop antagonizing me!”

Estelle shook her head as Deirdre exited. “That girl!”

“I know, Mother. I know! What do you want me to do about it?”

“Maybe if you spent more time with them . . .”

Quentin sighed. “You’re right. I’m going to make a plan to take Deirdre on a daddy/daughter date right now. Deirdre!”

Deirdre appeared at the top of the stairs with an annoyed look on her face. “Yes?”

“I was thinking that you and I should go to a concert and to dinner. How’s Saturday sound?”

Deirdre shuddered. “Or you could just give me money and I could go to a concert with my friends.”

Quentin looked at Estelle. “Sure, honey. We’ll chat about it later.”

Deirdre rolled her eyes and went back down the stairs. Estelle shook her head and frowned.

“That didn’t prove anything,” Estelle said. “You’re not off the hook.”

Quentin sighed. “Is this a lecture about the church or about the foundation?”

“It’s actually a lecture about neither. I’d like to talk to you about getting a nanny for the youngest three.”

“A nanny? The twins will be going to high school next year, and Danielle is nearly old enough to be left alone. They don’t need a nanny.”

Estelle said, “Not a preschool nanny, but someone who can help them with homework, be here when they have questions about being young ladies, and maybe . . . a friend.”

“Isn’t that what their grandmother is for?” Quentin asked. “Besides, they’ve got Chloe if they want to talk to a younger woman.”

Estelle burst into laughter at the mention of Chloe. The children couldn’t stand her. “I’m quite busy with the church, and I’m not even going to comment on that woman.”

“They don’t need a nanny, Mother. Deirdre can watch the younger three.”

“And then who is watching Deirdre? Last week one of the sisters at the church thought she saw her in a movie theater slobbering all over that boyfriend of hers.”

“Your church snitches are rarely accurate. Last I heard they were saying I’m gay because I haven’t remarried.”

“This has nothing to do with your marital status.”

“Well, what brought all this on, Mother? Are you concerned with that check I had Tippen write to the foundation?”

Estelle stared at her son and gave him a stern expression. The half-million-dollar check Quentin had had his lawyer write to his pet project, the Transitions Foundation, was somewhat disconcerting. The cause, though, a group home for terminal cancer patients without the necessary resources to ease the pain at the end of their lives, was really important to Quentin.

“I would like to be aware of you spending my grandchildren’s inheritance, but no, that is not what brought this on. I think it is time for things to get back to some semblance of normalcy. Just how long are you going to stay away from the church? The music ministry isn’t the same without . . .”

“Say it. Without me and Chandra. There is no way I can sit at that keyboard without Chandra directing the choir. I can’t play. I can’t write. I can’t sing . . . all of it reminds me of her. So I work with the foundation, and I enjoy my time with Chloe. I’m trying to live.”

“And what about the children? Don’t they deserve to live too? They need someone around them who isn’t grieving.”

“Mother, do whatever you want. Get a nanny. I don’t care.” There was defeat and resignation in Quentin’s tone, but at least Estelle had a victory, albeit a small one.

Ms. Levy, the family housekeeper, entered the room with Chloe. Although it wasn’t required of her, Ms. Levy acted as butler, cook, staff manager, and close personal confidante to Estelle. Ms. Levy also chose her own uniform—all black with a straight skirt that came down to the middle of her calf. She was just showing off with the severe bun at the nape of her neck. It pulled her face back so tightly that she looked Asian.

“Ms. Brooks is here to see you, Mr. Chambers,” Ms. Levy said.

Chloe’s appearance was a stark contrast to Ms. Levy’s. Estelle took in her ensemble—a knee-length, tan, vintage Dolce & Gabbana sundress. It was perfect for the warm, Atlanta spring day, and it flattered Chloe’s perfectly sculpted body. There were a lot of things Estelle could say about Chloe, but she could never take issue with the woman’s appearance. She certainly looked the part of a high-society lady, even if her past exploits, spoken of in whispers at the country club, told a completely different story.

Chloe gave Ms. Levy a dismissive wave of her hand. “When are you going to stop announcing me every time I come over? I’m practically a member of the family. We’re on our way to a yacht party, for crying out loud. He’s expecting me.”

“I will stop announcing you when you are an official member of the family,” Ms. Levy said, without a moment’s hesitation.

“Uh, thank you, Ms. Levy,” Quentin said.

Estelle said, “Come on, Ms. Levy. We’ve got a nanny to find.”

“Will I be allowed to interview her?” Ms. Levy asked.

“Of course!”

Chloe walked over to Quentin and threw her arms around his neck. She planted soft kisses on his face and lips. Quentin leaned back and smiled.

“Are you sure you’re trying to go to a party? You sure you’re not starting something else?”

Chloe laughed. “We can always go upstairs and have our little party inside.”

“Upstairs? Nah, but we could go to the Four Seasons.”

“Why go to a hotel, when my man has a mansion?”

Quentin untangled himself from Chloe’s grip. “You know, babe. The kids.”

“Right, the kids. The kids who need a nanny. Aren’t your children a little old for a nanny?” Chloe asked.

“Yes, but my mother won’t rest until she’s got Mary Poppins flying around my home with an umbrella in her hand.”

Chloe stared blankly at Quentin, as if she didn’t get the reference.

“Don’t tell me you haven’t seen Mary Poppins.”

She cocked her head to one side. “Is that one of those cutesy movies where everyone is sweet, and the sweet sappiness continues until they’re happily sappily ever after?”

“Pretty much,” Quentin said.

“Yeah, no. I’ve never seen that, Sweetheart.”

“Never mind, Chloe. My mother is going to do whatever she wants to do. No one says no to her.”

Chloe didn’t voice her response to this with words, but if Quentin had been paying attention, he would have noticed the grimace on her face. In her opinion,
someone should say no to Estelle. Those girls didn’t need a nanny; they just needed an all-girls boarding school. Far, far away. So she could spend time with her man in his home and not at a hotel.

“I’m not sure I agree with your mother, not that anyone asked my opinion. The girls have entered puberty, for crying out loud.”

“That’s exactly what I said,” Quentin replied. “Maybe if you spent some time with them, my mother would change her mind.”

“Or m-maybe your mother is right. Who am I to question their grandmother?”

Quentin burst into laughter at Chloe’s reaction to spending time with his children. In all the years they’d been enjoying each other’s company, she’d never once mentioned becoming his children’s stepmother.

“Is this what you’re wearing to the yacht party?” Chloe asked.

Quentin looked down at his outfit. “Right, the party. What do you want me to wear?”

“Something that makes you look incredibly hot.”

Quentin shook his head. “You’re starting again.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” Chloe giggled.

“While I’m getting dressed, I want you to think about my fund-raiser for the foundation. I’d love to talk about it tonight with Lichelle and her band of millionaires. They should want to support this cause.”

“Where’s the fund-raiser going to be again?”

“The Georgia Aquarium.”

“The Aquarium? Why can’t you have it right here? That ballroom is just waiting to have a party.”

Quentin considered this idea for a moment. They hadn’t entertained in years—since before Chandra had died. There was a time, though, when his mother had thrown legendary parties, and he and Chandra had enjoyed them immensely. What better reason for a party than the foundation that was started in Chandra’s honor? Plus, having the party at their mansion would ensure that more of the donations went directly to the foundation.

“That might be a great idea.”

Chloe’s eyes lit up. “And I could coordinate it! It will be incredible.”

“Maybe you could work with my mother on making it spectacular.”

Chloe looked annoyed at this statement, but Quentin was just trying to prepare her for the inevitable. There was no way Chloe was planning a party in Estelle’s home without Estelle having the final say on every phase of the plans. The Chambers estate was Estelle’s queendom, and she was the only queen.

“I suppose that would be a way for your mother and me to get a little bit closer. I’m not sure if she likes me very much.”

“She likes you because I like you.”

That declaration made Chloe smile and erased any looks of concern regarding working with Estelle. And Quentin needed the peace. He was allergic to drama, and for the most part Chloe didn’t seem to come with it. She wanted to enjoy life, and he was trying to learn how to enjoy it again. It had been five years since he lost the love of his life, and he was still in a haze. But Chloe helped.

“Hurry and get dressed!” Chloe admonished. “And wear something pastel, but not white. It’s not quite white season yet.”

Chloe watched Quentin rush out of the room and then sat down on the couch with a satisfied grin on her face. Her boyfriend was nearly a billionaire. He didn’t even need to hold a fund-raiser for his foundation. She knew he did it because he wanted everyone to care about his cause. She admired him for that. At times she felt herself falling in love with him for that, but she stopped short. There was no way she was going to give her heart to Quentin when his heart wasn’t available to her. As long as his money was available, she would be okay. The Chambers family had built an empire of chemical products for the African-American woman’s hair. Chloe had never used any of their greasy gels or sprays. She giggled at the irony of how she enjoyed spending that money.

“What’s so funny?” Deirdre asked.

Chloe rolled her eyes. The girl had interrupted her thoughts. “Nothing. An inner musing.”

“Whatever that means. You and my daddy going somewhere?”

“Yes, sweetie. Your father is taking me to a dinner party on a yacht and probably to see some friends for dessert and coffee.”

Deirdre looked Chloe up and down. Unintimidated, Chloe returned the look. The girl did not bother her one bit—or worry her. Deirdre had no idea what she was up against.

“Did my daddy have to pay for this party?”

“No, it’s nothing like that. There’s no charge for this. A friend is having a birthday party. They love to entertain.”

“It’s free? Wow! I’m surprised because you usually cost my daddy lots of money.”

Chloe tossed her head back and gave a throaty laugh. “Trust and believe, I do not have any problem spending your father’s money. That is one of the perks of having a rich boyfriend.” Did she say that? Yes she did! “Remember that, honey . . . that advice was free.”

As if Deirdre would ever have to worry about a man with money. It annoyed Chloe that this girl had no idea how fortunate she was. She’d never have to wonder if the man she was dating would ever marry her. Deirdre would have more suitors than she could count, because she was an heiress to a ridiculous fortune.

Danielle entered the room and plopped down on the couch next to Chloe. Chloe’s lips became a thin line. She guessed it was annoy Chloe time.

“Hello there,” Danielle said. “Do you want to play with me?”

“Play? Play what?”

Danielle said, “We could play dolls or Dance Revolution on my Wii.”

“It’ll have to be some other time, honey. I’m afraid I’m all done up for a party.”

Danielle took in Chloe’s appearance. “I think you’re pretty. I really like your makeup. Did you do it yourself?”

“Oh, no, sweetie. This look, right here, takes an entire team,” Chloe replied, as if it was the most ridiculous question she’d ever heard.

“Can you show me how to do it?” Danielle asked. “I want to look glamorous too.”

“Daddy said no makeup until you’re sixteen,” Deirdre said. “You might as well forget about that.”

“Sixteen! That’s preposterous,” Chloe said. “I’ve known how to properly apply lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow since I was twelve. A woman needs this in her arsenal.”

“What’s an arsenal?” Danielle asked.

“It’s all the tricks that women use to trap their husbands,” Deirdre said.

Danielle looked confused. “You have to trap them? I thought the prince comes along and finds his one true love and marries her! Trapping them seems scary. What if they don’t want to be caught?”

“No man wants to be caught, honey,” Chloe explained. “They’re like wild animals that want to roam free. But if a woman is beautiful enough, and skillful enough, they will give in. They don’t have the will to fight it.”

Danielle gave Chloe a blank stare. Apparently all of this knowledge was too much for her.

“Um . . . can we play now?” Danielle asked. “Tag! You’re it!”

Danielle tapped Chloe on the shoulder and skated away from the couch. Chloe didn’t move a muscle. Was the girl lacking in cognitive skills? Didn’t she say she wasn’t going to ruin her yacht party look? After a couple of orbits around the room, Danielle gave up trying to engage Chloe in her game of tag and skated out of the room, probably in search of someone else to harass. Chloe sighed with relief when the child had gone elsewhere.

Deirdre laughed out loud. “You do know you’re going to have to play with her if you ever finally trap . . . I mean, marry my dad.”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

“We’re a package deal, you know,” Deirdre continued. “You’re going to have to get used to five children.”

Chloe laughed. “I don’t have a problem at all with motherhood. As long as it includes some very expensive, very elite boarding schools.”

“I’m going to tell my father you said that.”

“Don’t be silly, Deirdre. You’ll find that I make a much better ally than an enemy.”

As if on cue, Quentin returned, now ready for the yacht party in a dapper, sky-blue jacket and gray slacks. Chloe stood to her feet and kissed Quentin on the cheek.

“Look at you! Don’t you clean up nicely?”

Quentin smiled and seemed to melt at the attention. “Thank you.”

Chloe looked over at Deirdre stealthily and winked. Deirdre seethed and rolled her eyes.

“Deirdre, we’re going out for a while, and we’ll probably be out late, so don’t wait up for us.”

“Okay, Daddy, I won’t,” Deirdre said.

Quentin leaned in and inhaled Chloe’s scent. “What is that perfume you’re wearing? I just can’t get enough of it.”

“Oh, it’s nothing, love. Just something in my arsenal.”

Chloe gave Deirdre another wink as she and her date left the house. She had meant what she said about being a better ally than an enemy. Deirdre would do well to get on her good side, because she intended to have Quentin and everything that belonged to him, and there wasn’t a teenager, roller-skating little girl or sour-faced mother that would stop her.

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