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Guilty Wives
Guilty Wives
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 031609756X
$27.99/U.S.
448 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 1455506664
$14.99/U.S.
480 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Mass Market
ISBN: 0446571881
$10.00/U.S.
528 pages
Grand Central Publishing

No husbands allowed

Only minutes after Abbie Elliot and her three best friends step off of a private helicopter, they enter the most luxurious, sumptuous, sensually pampering hotel they have ever been to. Their lavish presidential suite overlooks Monte Carlo, and they surrender: to the sun and pool, to the sashimi and sake, to the Bruno Paillard champagne. For four days they're free to live someone else's life. As the weekend moves into pulsating discos, high-stakes casinos, and beyond, Abbie is transported to the greatest pleasure and release she has ever known.

What happened last night?

In the morning's harsh light, Abbie awakens on a yacht, surrounded by police. Something awful has happened—something impossible, unthinkable. Abbie, Winnie, Serena, and Bryah are arrested and accused of the foulest crime imaginable. And now the vacation of a lifetime becomes the fight of a lifetime—for survival. GUILTY WIVES is the ultimate indulgence, the kind of nonstop joy-ride of excess, friendship, betrayal, and danger that only James Patterson can create.

Guilty Wives
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 031609756X
$27.99/U.S.
448 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 1455506664
$14.99/U.S.
480 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Mass Market
ISBN: 0446571881
$10.00/U.S.
528 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Book One | THIRTEEN MONTHS EARLIER: JUNE 2010

Chapter 1

JUST OVER THIRTY minutes after leaving Bern's airport, the jet touched down on the tarmac in Nice so smoothly it felt like we'd landed in butter. Or maybe it was the Champagne, already numbing my senses, coloring everything wonderful. Wonderful is what I had been promised. Wonderful is what all of us, for different reasons, needed. We needed to bathe ourselves in luxury. We needed a four-day dream.

"I am officially on vacation!" I announced to the group, taking the last swallow of my Champagne.

"It's about bloody time, love!" Winnie reached across the aisle and grabbed my arm.

Serena, seated across from me in the small cabin, raised her empty glass and tossed her long blond hair. "Bonjour, Monte Carlo. And that, my friends, is the limit of my French."

"Don't forget Chardonnay and Merlot," I added.

"Touché," she said.

"See, your vocabulary's getting better by the second."

I looked around at my friends. How did I get so lucky? Serena Schofield, the Amazon blonde—a former U.S. Olympic skier who placed fifth in the downhill at Lillehammer. Bryah Gordon, born in Johannesburg under the oppression of apartheid, the youngest of our clan at thirty-one and the smartest by far, our resident encyclopedia on topics large and trivial, a beauty in her own right with flawless coffee-colored skin and kinky African hair cropped at her chin. And Winnie Brookes, of course, the exotic Brit, the Diva, we called her, as breathtaking as any runway model working today, who, most of the time, seemed utterly oblivious to her beauty.

Then there was me. Abbie Elliot. What these interesting and gorgeous women were doing with me was anyone's guess. For all the complaints I had about leaving the States and moving to Switzerland, all I had to do was look around at these women to find a silver lining.

"I think for the rest of this trip, I'm going to speak with a British accent." I turned to Winnie. "Bloody good show, love," I tried, doing my best Monty Python imitation.

"And I'm going to be an American," she replied. "Hey, how ya doin'? You got any countries we can invade?"

We got off the private jet—thank you, Serena—bathed in the rays of a welcoming, lowering sun. An SUV drove us to the area of the Côte d'Azur Airport marked PRIVATE AVIATION, where our bags were waiting for us inside.

"Do we have a car?" Winnie asked.

"A car? Cars are so pedestrian, dahling," said Serena in her best Zsa Zsa voice, with a wink at all of us. None of us was poor by any stretch of the imagination, but Serena lapped us several times over. To know her, you'd have no idea how rich she was. She was as sweet and down-to-earth as anyone I knew. But this weekend would be different. She had money, and she clearly planned on spending it.

We followed Serena through a door that led out to a large landing pad—and a large, sleek, silver-and-gray helicopter.

"Serena, really!" said Bryah, with maybe a hint of nervousness. Bryah didn't get out much. Her husband, Colton, was what you might call controlling if you were being polite. If you weren't being polite, you might call him something else. The long and short of it was, Bryah had never been on a girls' weekend like this.

"Why drive when we can fly?" Serena ran over to the helicopter and climbed in. I couldn't believe it—but then again, I could. Money was no object, and Serena wanted us to live a fantasy for four days.

"You couldn't find anything bigger?" I asked.

Once we were belted in, the helicopter lifted quickly, causing a minor rebellion in my stomach. But soon we were soaring over Monaco, and nothing else mattered but the sloping hills of the French Riviera, the blue expanse of the Mediterranean, dotted with yachts and sailboats heading back to port for the evening, and the pink-green sky, against which the sun was beginning its descent toward the horizon.

"Did you know that Monaco is the second smallest country in the world?" Bryah asked.

"Fascinating," said Winnie. She and I made eye contact, suppressing smiles.

"Bryah, honey," I said, patting her leg, "we're going to have fun. Don't be nervous."

A mere seven minutes later, we were landing on a helipad by the beach. We unstrapped our restraints and waited for the pilot to open the door.

"Wait," said Serena. She reached into her bag and removed three overstuffed envelopes, handing one to each of us. I opened mine and found a thick wad of euros.

"What is this?" Winnie asked.

"That's fifty thousand euros each," she said. "Gamble with it. Shop. Do whatever you want. Just promise me you'll spend it."

"Can I buy a car?" I asked. "A small island?"

"How about a movie star?" Winnie asked. "Think I can rent Brad Pitt for the weekend?"

"Brad Pitt? Too old, Win," I said. "One of those younger boys. Zac Efron, maybe."

"You want an athlete," Serena suggested. "David Beckham. Rafa Nadal."

"Rafa, maybe," Win agreed.

We looked over at Bryah, who had remained silent. She considered the money, looked at Serena, and allowed a wry smile to play on her face. "You could get into a spot of trouble with this bit of money," she said.

We all looked at each other, giddy and slightly intoxicated, relaxed and eager, and broke into laughter. Outside the window of the helicopter was Monte Carlo, the playground of the rich and famous. We were all stifled in our own way, mothers and wives living in our adoptive Swiss city, and these four days would be our chance to escape. To live someone else's life.

"Bryah," I said, "I think that's the idea."

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Guilty Wives
Fiction/General
Audiobook (Unabridged CD)
ISBN: 1607884682
$34.98/U.S.
Hachette Audio
Read by January LaVoy

January LaVoy is a New York-based voice, stage, and television actress. She has performed on and Off-Broadway, and appeared extensively in regional theaters across the country. She is best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz on the long-running ABC daytime drama, One Life to Live.

Guilty Wives
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 031609756X
$27.99/U.S.
448 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 1455506664
$14.99/U.S.
480 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Mass Market
ISBN: 0446571881
$10.00/U.S.
528 pages
Grand Central Publishing

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