Payback (Sisterhood Series #2)

Payback (Sisterhood Series #2)

3.9 89
by Fern Michaels
     
 

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SOME WOMEN GET ANGRY...THE SISTERHOOD GETS EVEN.

Meet the Sisterhood—seven very different women who found one another in their darkest days and formed an indelible friendship, strong enough to heal their pasts and bring laughter and joy back into their lives. In Myra Rutledge's beautiful Virginia home, amid hugs and fresh iced tea, shrimp fritters

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Overview

SOME WOMEN GET ANGRY...THE SISTERHOOD GETS EVEN.

Meet the Sisterhood—seven very different women who found one another in their darkest days and formed an indelible friendship, strong enough to heal their pasts and bring laughter and joy back into their lives. In Myra Rutledge's beautiful Virginia home, amid hugs and fresh iced tea, shrimp fritters and shell-pinl tulips, the friends have gathered to embark on their second mission of sweet revenge for one of their own. Julia Webster's husband, a U.S. Senator, has used his wife's gracousness and elegance to advance his career even as he's abused her trust at every turn and left her dreams for the future in tatters. Now, on the eve of his greatest political victory, he's about to learn a serious lesson in payback. Because the senator crossed the wrong woman...and there are six more where she came from...

"Revenge is a dish best served with cloth napkins and floral centerpieces...fast paced...puts poetic justice first." —Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Once the hallmark of macho fantasy, payback moves to the heart of modern romance in the spotty second installment of Michaels's Revenge of the Sisterhood series, as the heroines of Weekend Warriors regroup for mission number 2. Revenge is a dish best served with cloth napkins and floral centerpiece, according to the Sisterhood members: heiress Myra Rutledge; her adopted daughter, Nikki; Kathryn, the truck driver; Alexis, the African-American broker turned personal shopper; Julia, the plastic surgeon; Isabelle, the psychic; and Yoko, the nursery owner. It's vigilante justice for Julia this time: she's "contracted AIDS from her philandering senator husband." Frail Julia gets strength from her friends and guidance from Myra's lover, Charles, an ex-MI6 British operative and gourmet cook who plays a different kind of Charlie to Myra's Angels. ("Now, girls," says Myra, "let's devour this wonderful luncheon Charles has so wonderfully prepared so we can get to work and do what we do best: going after the scoundrels who have turned your worlds upside down.") Charles arranges invites to an exclusive Washington party where the gorgeous avengers kidnap the senator, but a good-looking assistant district attorney threatens to interfere with their plans (if only he and Nikki weren't out to right past wrongs, they could rekindle their old passion!). Michaels grinds out bestsellers by concocting videogenic plots filled with strong heroines and effortless costume changes. Her fast-paced, sentimental, occasionally silly novel puts poetic justice first; romance must wait for the next installment. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821778760
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
09/06/2005
Series:
Sisterhood Series, #2
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
4.34(w) x 6.92(h) x 0.91(d)

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Payback


By FERN MICHAELS

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2005 Fern Michaels
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4201-2712-6


CHAPTER 1

Alexis Thorn frowned as she looked around her small apartment. There was nothing about the tiny place to suggest permanency of any kind. There were no knickknacks, no green plants, no family pictures. It was a place to sleep, a place to come home to at the end of the day, nothing more. How could it be anything else when her name wasn't even Alexis Thorn? Alexis Thorn was an alias. She'd taken a new name with the help of her lawyer, Nicole Quinn, when she got out of prison for a crime she didn't commit. She didn't want to think about why she was living in this run-down apartment but she had to think about it, like it or not.

Without Nicole Quinn she didn't know where she'd be. Nikki had gotten her a job as a personal shopper to some of Virginia's older, wealthy residents. It was a far cry from being a high-powered securities broker in her other life, that was for sure. Nikki had helped her with a new identity, too. Who in their right mind would hire a jailbird? No one, that's who. These days she was Alexis Thorn and she liked it but someday when the time was right, she'd go back to being her real self.

Today, in just minutes, she had to climb into her little Mini Cooper and head out to McLean, Virginia. There at Nicole's adopted mother's palatial estate, she would join the other members of the Sisterhood. She'd joined a year ago, again, with Nicole Quinn's help. The Sisterhood wasn't just any organization. Myra Rutledge had formed the organization after her daughter was run down and killed by a diplomat's son. With the aid of Nikki's legal expertise, Myra formed the Sisterhood to help women get the justice and the revenge they deserved, even if it meant going outside the law to get it.

The Sisterhood consisted of six women, seven if you counted Myra, all recruited by Nikki. They'd gone on one mission so far and it had been successful. At the end of that successful mission, they'd drawn names to see whose case would be next. Alexis's name — not her real name of course — had been drawn from the cardboard shoe box.

But she wasn't ready yet to seek the justice she deserved. She needed more time to wallow in her misery, and to build up her strength and resilience. She didn't know why that was, it just was. She would have to tell the sisters they needed to choose someone else for the second mission. She knew in her gut she was still too fragile, too broken with her thirteen-month stint in the federal pen. She tugged at her lavender dress, straightening it over her slim hips. The dress was one she'd chosen from her pitiful wardrobe and was a knock-off to boot. It went well with her brown skin and dark hair. She'd chosen the dress because she thought she looked best in pastels. The days were long gone when she didn't think twice about buying high-end designer clothes. Everything from her past was gone. Every damn thing she cared about. Even her dog.

Alexis started to shake when she tried to imagine what the other sisters would say when she told them she wasn't ready for her mission. Kathryn, the most verbal, and the toughest of them all, in her opinion, would narrow her eyes and tell her to grow up and get with the program. Isabelle, who saw things other people didn't see, meaning, of course, that she was psychic, would shrug and close her eyes, maybe in the hope of conjuring up the reason for Alexis's pass on the mission. Julia, a retired plastic surgeon, who had contracted AIDS from her philandering husband, the senator, would stare at her as if she were a speck under a microscope. She'd say, "You need to make those bastards pay for what they did to you and get on with your life because you have a life to get on with." Yoko would nod and say she understood whether she did or not. Nikki would use logic to try to convince her to take the bull by the horns, and Myra, sweet, gentle woman that she was, would smile wanly and say, "Honey, if you aren't ready then you aren't ready and we'll choose one of the other sisters." At which point she'd feel like a fool and probably start to cry. The others would look at her with disgust and she'd cry harder. They might even become so disgusted with her they'd try to drum her out of the Sisterhood.

She'd done so well with Kathryn's mission. It couldn't have succeeded without her expertise. She could take nothing and transform it into something wonderful and exciting. She was a master with a makeup brush and she knew it. Costume design was something she loved doing. Nikki said she was a master at that, too. She'd been so proud when Nikki had said that. All the sisters had complimented her. Life after prison. She owed this new life to Nikki and the sisters. And she was happy. So, what the hell was her problem?

Alexis eyed her suitcase by the front door, and then let her gaze go to what the sisters called her Red Bag of tricks, complete with everything she needed to alter a person's being. Makeup, spirit gum, latex, costumes, wigs, glasses. She had the talent to take an ordinary person and transform him or her into a movie star. Where she'd come by this particular talent, she had no idea. Everything in the Red Bag had been updated or replenished by Myra.

Alexis looked at her watch. Time to get on the road. The Sisterhood's hosts, Myra Rutledge and Charles Martin, didn't like to be kept waiting. She smiled when she thought of Charles, Myra's right hand man, and the one who planned each mission. Charles was an ex-British MI6 operative who had once worked for the queen on the other side of the pond until he'd been compromised. In the spook world, according to Charles, the bad guys had found out who he was and steps had to be taken to keep him safe. Now he worked and lived with and for Myra. Charles always said being a super spy for Her Majesty had equipped him to head up the Sisterhood. On top of all his other accomplishments, Charles was a gourmet cook. Alexis felt her mouth start to water at some of the wonderful meals he'd cooked for all of them. Today, she hoped, would be something just as wonderful.

Suitcase in one hand, the Red Bag of tricks in the other, Alexis still somehow managed to lock the flimsy door of her apartment. She didn't look back because there was nothing to see except a bunch of shabby, secondhand furniture. She hadn't seen the need to buy new furniture, preferring to bank all her money until she was sure where she was going with her life. A new life, a new name without the stink of ex-con attached to it. What more could a girl want?

Alexis tossed her suitcase into the back of the Mini Cooper, then climbed behind the wheel. Before she turned the key in the ignition, Alexis looked around the ratty-looking neighborhood and the building she lived in. They should just demolish the entire three blocks. Once she'd lived in a pretty little house with window boxes and flowers on her front porch. She had furniture that she saved for, beautiful linens, fine dishes and crystal. And she'd had a dog she'd loved dearly. It was all gone now, sold to pay her legal fees. She'd been told that one of the officers who arrested her had taken her dog.

If anyone should be ready for revenge, it was she. She knew in her heart of hearts, deep in her gut, that the two partners who framed her for their own crime did it because she was a black securities broker. She'd been careful not to play the race card in her defense. Now, she wished she had. Maybe her problem was she couldn't come up with a suitable revenge that would make her whole again. Nothing she could come up with was bad enough, horrible enough, ugly enough to make her whole. Death was the only thing she could come up with but that wasn't an option. She had no desire to go to prison again.

Ever.

The engine of the Mini Cooper turned over and Alexis drove down the road to the highway. Another glance at her watch told her she had just enough time to make it to McLean. A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. It would be good to see the sisters again.

As she drove away, Alexis noticed for the first time that spring had really arrived. The trees were dressed in their fledgling greenery and here and there she could see flower buds. Spring. A new beginning. She crossed her fingers the way she had when she was a child. Maybe this spring would be a new beginning for her.

As the miles ticked by, Alexis settled herself more comfortably in the driver's seat. She felt better already.


Myra Rutledge, Charles at her side, stood under the portico and watched as the cars inched their way through the open gates. Her smile rivaled the sun. "They're here, Charles! Every single one of them. I was so afraid they might have second thoughts. They look wonderful, don't they? I love the way they poke one another and make each other laugh. I am so relieved that they all get along just like real flesh and blood sisters."

Charles beamed. "Love, they are beyond wonderful. Julia looks particularly good, don't you think?"

"For now, she's in remission, but yes, she looks wonderful, just awfully thin. Look how they're all smiling, Charles. That means they're glad to be here. Turn off the power to the gate. We don't want any intruders today." Myra's voice dropped to a whisper when she said, "Nikki didn't say anything about ..."

"No, Nikki didn't mention Assistant District Attorney Jack Emery at all. I didn't want to open any old wounds by asking. They broke off their personal relationship and Nikki is touchy on the subject of Jack Emery."

"A district attorney prowling around here with binoculars makes me worry, Charles. I know Nikki is still in love with him. I also know Jack Emery is not going to give up. He suspects that we were responsible for Marie Llewellyn's disappearance, a case that had nothing to do with the Sisterhood. He told Nikki so. That's why the two of them are estranged. They were on opposite sides of that case. He's trying to ... to ... get the goods on us, Charles."

Charles patted Myra's hand. "Not to worry, my dear. That will never happen. I want you to trust me."

Myra stared into Charles's bright blue eyes. God, how she loved this man, her daughter's father. "I do, Charles. I do. Now, let's welcome our new little family.

"Girls! Girls! Welcome back to Pinewood! Charles prepared lunch for all of us and we'll have it on the patio. Oh, how I've missed you," she said, opening her arms wide to gather all the young women close.

Murphy, Kathryn's dog, barked sharply for attention. Myra laughed. "You, too, Murphy. Charles fixed you a special treat." The big shepherd literally purred at her words.

CHAPTER 2

"Listen to them, Charles!" Myra said, pointing to the ceiling. "They sound so happy. This old place is alive again. I love to hear them laughing and poking fun at one another. And, did you see Murphy? I love the way he cozies up to you because he knows what a good cook you are." She paused, and a frown replaced her smile. "Things are going to work out for Alexis, aren't they?" she asked.

Charles Martin stared at the love of his life and smiled as he expertly turned over the shrimp fritters in the frying pan. Alexis's favorite food was shrimp fritters and since they were here to plot out her mission, it was only natural for him to cook her favorite food. On more than one occasion he'd boasted, shyly of course, that he'd personally prepared beef Wellington for the queen. He always followed up that statement by saying, of course, that was in my other life. "We'll just have to wait and see. Let her tell us. We'll take it from there." He hugged her.

"There's a glow about you today, my dear. You look like spring itself in your flowered dress. And" — he leered — "you smell heavenly!"

Myra patted Charles's hand. "Thank you, dear. Charles, how can I be so happy when we do ... when we ..."

"Make things come out right for our friends?" Charles said, finishing her question. "We committed ourselves, Myra, to right old wrongs, to settle old scores and to fight for those who fell through the cracks while the law was looking the other way. Let's not worry about the dark side today. You're happy, I'm happy, the girls are happy, and we're about to embark on our second mission. As they say in the business, 'I got it covered, lady.'"

Myra burst out laughing as she started to set the table. She looked down at Murphy, who was watching Charles's every move. "It's time for lunch, Murphy, fetch the girls."

Murphy raced to the bottom of the magnificent spiral staircase and barked, then raced back to the kitchen. Myra patted his big head and smiled. "He's a wonderful animal, isn't he, Charles?" Not bothering to wait for a response she said, "I feel so much better knowing he's with Kathryn when she drives that big rig of hers cross-country."

"Darling, you're jittery. Calm down. I hear them coming down the steps. For all our sakes, I want you to look and sound positive."

Myra held her regal gray head even higher. "Whatever you say, Sir Charles!" She smiled, referring to his knighthood. Charles grimaced. He hated discussing anything about his old life.

Charles beamed when the women swooped into the kitchen jabbering a mile a minute.

Myra hugged them one at a time before they all sat down.

"Shrimp fritters! My favorite soul food," Alexis said.

Yoko reached to the middle of the table and said, "The tulips are real! They are so beautiful! My own at the nursery are just starting to bud."

Isabelle shaded her eyes with her hand and said solemnly, "I see acres and acres of tulips and they're all purple ... I see ..."

Kathryn turned in her seat and swatted Isabelle. "Then, oh mighty seer, you must be in Holland, you jerk!" Everyone laughed at Kathryn's reference to Isabelle's clairvoyant capabilities, which were iffy at best.

"Spring is my favorite time of year," Nikki said as she shook out her linen napkin. "The tulips are gorgeous. Are they the ones Barbara and I planted when we were little?"

Myra squared her shoulders, her eyes bright at the mention of her dead daughter. "No, dear, those are long gone. These are a new variety. Charles and I planted them last year. The colors are remarkable so that means the seed catalog didn't lie. The golden yellows are my favorite. Barbara loved the shell pink ones and those are just starting to bloom."

Julia, her eyes as bright as Myra's, said, "I don't know about the rest of you but I am so glad to be here. I feel ... I feel like I've come home. I don't mean to sound maudlin or anything but I feel like you're all my family. So, let's make a toast to the Sisterhood."

"Hear! Hear!" Charles said, raising an exquisite crystal pitcher of sweet tea. He poured it into matching goblets before he took his seat at the table. As one, the women raised their glasses. Charles did the honors and said, "To all of us. To the Sisterhood and their lone brother!"

Myra was the first to burst out laughing. "That's my Charles," she said fondly. "Now, girls, let's devour this wonderful luncheon Charles has so lovingly prepared so we can get to work and do what we do best: going after the scoundrels who have turned your worlds upside down, so we can give you back your lives."

Midway through the meal, Murphy reared up next to Kathryn and let out a bloodcurdling howl. The women looked at one another in alarm. Kathryn got up and went to the kitchen door and opened it. Murphy raced outside, the hair on the back of his neck straight up. Nikki got up and followed Kathryn. "Easy girl, easy," Kathryn said, placing a hand on Nikki's arm. "It might be a squirrel or a rabbit. It doesn't have to mean it's Jack Emery out there spying on us."

"Yes, it does, Kathryn. He's been stalking me when I go into the city. I never see him but I know he's there. He's on a mission now just the way we are. He's got himself convinced we all helped to spirit Marie Llewellyn away after she killed the man who murdered her only daughter. He's never going to give up, that's why he's such a good district attorney. I hate to say this but he's better at tracking than a herd of bloodhounds. He's out there somewhere watching and waiting. I'd stake my life on it."

"Then I guess it's time we did something about Assistant District Attorney Jack Emery," Kathryn said flatly. "Come back to the table, Nikki, we can't let Charles's dessert go to waste."

Myra's voice was hushed when she asked Nikki, "Is it ...?"

"Jack? Yes, I think so, Myra. I think he's been stalking me. I also think he's got some of his people watching the rest of you, too. I don't know where he's getting the manpower unless he's calling in favors from his friends and they're doing it pro bono. D.A.'s do that all the time. Let's face it, he's got us staked out. We have to find a way to work around that or else we have to ... do something drastic where he's concerned."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Payback by FERN MICHAELS. Copyright © 2005 Fern Michaels. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood series, Mr. and Miss Anonymous, Up Close and Personal, and dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over seventy million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is apassionate animal lover who has outfitted police dogs across the country with special bulletproof vests. She shares her home in South Carolina with her four dogs and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Summerville, South Carolina
Place of Birth:
Hastings, Pennsylvania
Education:
High School

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Payback (Sisterhood Series #2) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
yayaAO More than 1 year ago
loved it and want to read the rest of the sisterhood series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story. In the beginnig I did catch one editorial error but the story was great and am already going to order the next one in this series.
scrappinwiz More than 1 year ago
I have always read Fern's books....I just didnt start to read her Sisterhood Series until 3 weeks ago.....there are 20 books in the series and i am on book # 19 cant put down the books. they are great!!!! The sisters are wonderful in what they do but the men in the their lives crack me up....i laugh so hard when Jack & Harry are together...then add Bert, Ted,& Joe its just great. I will really miss all of them when I am done with the series. Fern you cant stop !!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed reading this book. I would highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Payback by Fern Michaels Reviewer: Pamela Ackerson author Home of the Braves trilogy Eh, it was ok Nothing to rant and rave about. We have a group of female vigilantes, running around revenging wrongs that have been done to people. The last few chapters, basically the climax of the story was worth reading. Not a lot of explanations which left me wondering, often. Like who is Willie? A ghost named Barbara keeps talking about him. No clue as to who he is. Also, I finished reading the book and didn't realize I was done. I went back to finish the novel and poof. I was already done. I didn't even realize I finished the story. I know I saw 40 pages of previews for books already written but I didn't feel as if I finished with the one I was reading. Absolutely, no desire to read the previews. It just didn't do at all. At least not for me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Laural Merlington proffered an aces reading of 'Weekend Warriors,' the first novel in Fern Michaels's celebrated Sisterhood series. She delivers again with a robust, easy to listen to telling of what these seven dauntless women are up to now. Many will recall that the women are bonded not only by deep friendship but also by a desire to right wrongs. And, when this group gets together over sparkling iced tea and shrimp fritters, someone better look out. In 'Payback' that someone is Julia Webster's husband, a U.S. Senator. Turns out that the politico isn't all his press office says he is. Julia has suspected this for a bit, realizing that her partnership with him has advanced his career to the detriment of her own. But, now that she knows he's also a philanderer it's time for revenge. In her case revenge will be mighty sweet. The cast of characters becomes even more endearing with the second in Michaels's series, especially Charles, who is not only Myra's lover but also a gourmet cook, and Isabelle who is blessed with psychic powers. Justice has never been so entertainingly done - give a listen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm loving the Sisterhood series. This one wasn't as good as Weekend Warriors but anything of Fern Michaels is good. Can't wait for the rest of this series
Guest More than 1 year ago
When the Sisterhood chooses to help Julia, the assistant DA gets in the way, but not for long. Myra, Charles and Nikki show that revenge is sweet if approached correctly. Taking care of business is the Sisterhood's goal, and that they do. From the first minute of this book to the last, you want more, more and more. A tribute to Fern Michael's and her incredible writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought book two would be better than book one. I paid $5.50 plus tax for what turned out to be 140 pages of pitiful crap. The rest of the book was the author's bragging rights and talk of her other books. I am not buying any more of this 20 book set. The plot reads like a very undistingushed play. Act one was bad, act two, ( this book) was worse. It is completely off the wall unbelievable, poorly executed and not very well thought out. My recommendation is to skip this asanine, inane and stupidly written book. It is not worth the $ value for the lack of entertainment provided. If it was not an e-book, I would put it down Granny's outhouse hole, because it belongs in there with the rest of the crap. Chick lit. Micheals can and has done done much better than this very old and outdated series. Chick lit. Ages 18 and up. AD
JCraneJC More than 1 year ago
I was okay.  I am still trying to decide if I want to continue the series.  
kizabee More than 1 year ago
Another great book in this series, keep them coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is so entertaining; just can't put the books down. Would highly recommend.
Anonymous 27 days ago
She's not a sl.ut and is better in bed then u Andie
Anonymous 28 days ago
Walks in wearing a tank top and leggings. "Okay i cant promise how good this will be. After all your brother did teach me."
Anonymous 11 months ago
The book seems to have been written by a high school student as an assignment. Not enough character development and muddled thoughts and plots. It was terribly written and not interesting enough to finish. Reading just a few chapters was painful.
Anonymous 12 months ago
This book is.......strange
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first book for free through the library. I liked it so much that I was willing to buy this book (because the library didn't have it) and I don't pay for books anymore unless I really a series. This is worth paying for to see what is next. A must read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never write reviews, but this book is the absolute worst. The plot line, while somewhat cheesy, had potential but the writing is terrible. I can't finish this book and I always finish books.
JanFromOhio More than 1 year ago
Number #2 of the series. I liked this story. Those gals don't mess around. If you're thinking of reading this series, it would help to start with Weekend Warriors. Which is the first book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chariot7 More than 1 year ago
The series is about helping each other make right what was done to them. Some of them are pretty graphic in what is done - however, moving beyond that, this is about life and what is really happening to people in our country, society, how things are covered up. So I say continue on Fern Michaels and know from the first book, to this second book I got excited for each one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keeps you ready & waiting on the next book.
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basketball_lover_14 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing.  As soon as I started the book I could not put it down.  I would suggest this book to anybody.