The Next Ex [NOOK Book]


Linda L. Richards takes readers on another rousing ride in The Next Ex, her second novel to feature “recovering stockbroker” Madeline Carter. Like Sunset Boulevard meets Boiler Room, with elements of classic Hollywood -- both old and new -- plus the high-paced, high tech high jinx of the contemporary financial world.
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The Next Ex

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Linda L. Richards takes readers on another rousing ride in The Next Ex, her second novel to feature “recovering stockbroker” Madeline Carter. Like Sunset Boulevard meets Boiler Room, with elements of classic Hollywood -- both old and new -- plus the high-paced, high tech high jinx of the contemporary financial world.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940011344916
  • Publisher: Linda L. Richards
  • Publication date: 6/8/2011
  • Sold by: Smashwords
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 501,789
  • File size: 400 KB

Meet the Author

Linda L. Richards is the editor and co-founder of January Magazine and a regular contributor to The Rap Sheet. She is the author of several book-length works of both fiction and non-fiction. A faculty member of the Simon Fraser University Summer Publishing Program, she maintains a busy lecture and festival schedule and enjoys working with new writers. When she isn’t writing books, writing about books, teaching or reading, Richards enjoys hiking the wild beaches near her home, quite often thinking about her current work in progress.
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Read an Excerpt

The Next Ex

By Linda Richards


Copyright © 2005 Linda Richards
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0778322408

I'll always remember her eyes. They still haunt me in my sleep. Eyes the color of topaz, bright and rare. In that first instant, I thought about a beautiful doll I'd had when I was a child. These eyes were vacant and staring, just like that doll's. And though I didn't want to believe it, I knew in that first moment she was dead.

Though it's sometimes difficult to recall the major thrust of events, horror can make the smallest details jump into your mind with astonishing accuracy. It would, for example, be impossible for me to tell you how long I stood there as what I saw filled my conscious mind, or even to tell you in proper detail what I'd been doing in the moments just before. But the image of her there is imprinted. I've tried to erase it, bury it. I can't.

I could see that she lay where she had fallen, the highly glossed marble that covered the bathroom floor reflecting the curve of her hand, the bend of her leg, the glow of her cinnamon skin.

Her dress was the color of blood and because of it I identified her easily. It was a daringly cut Balanciega gown I'd admired when I'd arrived at the party several hours earlier. Then it had clung to her surgically enhanced curves like a second skin. Now there seemed to be more fabric — it was everywhere! — as though the loss of the essential something that had been her had caused this overabundance of cloth.

When I moved closer I discovered what should have been obvious from the start: the puddle that the gossamer fabric made on the floor was amplified by her own blood. There seemed to be gallons of it; more than I would have thought could fit into her slight frame.

That's when I heard the screaming: a textbook horror-movie sound, the kind that follows nightmares out of the dark. It reverberated, that scream. It echoed through flesh and walls, and rent, almost, the fabric of my reality. It was only later I realized that this world-ending sound had come from me.

I'd met Keesia Livingston a few weeks earlier. It was not a chance encounter. Our lives would never have intersected at a place that would have made that happen.

I'd been renting the guest house in the Malibu home of the director Tyler Beckett and his wife, the actress Tasya Saranova, since I'd moved to Los Angeles from New York. It was a good arrangement for all of us. Tyler was a friend of my old boss, Sal. Sal liked having me at Tyler and Tasya's. It made him feel as though he could keep an eye on me even though I was three thousand miles away and didn't work for him anymore. Distance hasn't stopped Sal from wanting to watch out for me. He'd been my mentor at the brokerage firm where I worked in New York, and he'd stepped into part of the void left when my father died. And old habits can die hard.

Tyler, my landlord, has a teenage daughter from a previous marriage, and he liked having someone — me — around the place to keep an eye on things when he and Tasya were out of town, which was fairly often. I wasn't expected to do anything besides paying my reasonable rent and being there. Since the "there" in question was lovely — an apartment tucked under the deck of a palatial ocean-view home overlooking Los Flores Canyon in Malibu — and the kid, Jennifer, was generally sweet and mostly kept herself out of trouble, the arrangement was never onerous.

So when Tyler knocked on my door one sunny afternoon just as the markets had closed for the day and I was settling in to do a bit of relaxing, I had no reason to be suspicious. It was only later that I'd attribute the grin he wore when I opened the door to sheepishness.

I should, I suppose, have been alerted by his manner. Tyler embodies California casual, right down to his working wardrobe of chinos and golf shirts, but he's a busy guy and gets to the point fairly quickly. Usually. On this day, however, he seemed inordinately interested in...stuff.

"The place looks great, Madeline," he enthused.

"You've really made it homey."

I looked around the not-many-square-foot apartment, unchanged since the last time Tyler had been there. My desk and computer setup dominated the window wall in the living room. The view over the canyon was spectacular, but I couldn't think of any way it could be accredited to my decorating skills. I had a big, comfy chair that looked as though it was waiting for the imminent arrival of the sofa and coffee table that should have complemented it. I had some art on the walls, but while it was colorful, none of it was noteworthy. I had a little eating area — a small table, a couple of chairs — right outside the tiny kitchen, but they were purely functional. At a glance, it was fairly obvious I wasn't set up to do a lot of entertaining.

"Thanks," I muttered, on gentle alert now. "It's amazing what a computer and desk will do."

At the sound of Tyler's voice, his dog, Tycho, had come padding out of my bedroom, where he'd spent my workday snoring gently on my bed: a fairly usual occurrence. I worked at home and the various Becketts and Saranovas did not. Probably for that reason Tycho adopted me not long after I moved in. Though he scared the bejeebers out of me the first time I met him, the large, hairy beast quickly became a fixture in my life and — when I wasn't using it — on my bed. I kept food and water for him on my little deck, he would run with me in the morning, go for the occasional car ride when I was going somewhere even mildly interesting to a canine and usually watched me while I slept. I guess you could say that Tycho and I had an arrangement, though he was the only one who seemed absolutely certain of the details.

Now Tyler scratched the big dog's head affectionately. "You know, I hardly see this big lump anymore."

I grinned at the big lump description. It seemed so apt. "Well, you always know where he is," I said.

"Yeah. Don't know what I'd do if you moved. Probably have to give him to you and get a new dog."

Though it was a funny thought — and Tyler was clearly trying to be funny — I'd had enough. "Look, Tyler, much as I'm always pleased to see you, I'm pretty sure you didn't drop by today to talk about your dog."

What was my clue? Maybe just that I knew Tyler was one of the most in-demand directors in Hollywood and that he was currently working on at least two important projects. His wife and daughter had been waving to his shadow for the last couple of months, and the most I'd seen of him for a while was his SUV racing up and down the canyon: we'd beep and nod when we passed each other on the road. Tyler didn't have time to breathe right now, never mind stop by to chat with his tenant about decorating and dogs.

Tyler had the grace to look slightly embarrassed, as though he'd been caught at something, which put me further on alert. Then he took a deep breath, shrugged and plunged right in. Once you get him going, he's a pretty forthright guy.

"See, here's the thing. I'm this close —" he held his hands a couple of inches apart " — to getting a green light on the Race the Dawn project. I mean, I've really polished the script, Alastair Reynolds's people say he's almost a sure thing for the lead, and Vancouver is looking super good for locations."

"That's good," I mumbled vaguely, wondering why in hell he was telling me any of this. I have no kind of stake in the film industry, though I did know that Race the Dawn was Tyler's pet project. He was known as a director, not a screenwriter, yet this was a script he'd written himself and had been trying to get backed for years. He'd put a lot of his own resources into it to get it as far as he had. But he'd known all along that wouldn't be enough.

"And I'm this close —" he held up his hands again, this time even less distance apart " — to getting Maxi Livingston to agree to produce."

Maxi Livingston. Even I knew that name. Livingston Studios has had some piece of some aspect of Oscar for almost twenty years. Maxi Livingston was not just one of the most important producers in Hollywood, he was it: the cat's ass, the big kahuna. The twinned hyacinths of the Livingston Studios logo were the final seal of approval: even audiences were aware of that and knew what it meant.

Tyler was no schmuck, no slouch: he'd made some wonderful films. But there had been whispers about Race the Dawn — to get it made the way Tyler wanted was going to cost a lot of money. The kind of money Maxi Livingston could pony up without even beading the wax on his Bentley. If he produced Race the Dawn, Tyler would be able to make it into the kind of film he wanted.

And I found all of this interesting. I really did. I was born and raised in Seattle, the daughter of a golf course manager and an insurance agent. I have a business degree from Harvard and I've spent most of my career as a stockbroker. I've been around a lot of cool stuff. But to me the film industry is separate. Magic. So it still seemed really special to be this close to it. This far inside. I liked hearing about it. I just didn't know why I was hearing about it now.

That's what I said to Tyler. "Why are you telling me this?" I'm not one to beat around any bushes.

Tyler sighed. Ran his fingers through his sparse hair. Sighed again. "You see, Madeline." A beat. A pause. "It's like this." Another sigh. Then a sense that he was just going to rush in and let things fall where they may. "I kinda told Maxi you'd teach his wife about the stock market."

I didn't say anything. I mean, what could I say? I just looked at Tyler. Closely. Tried not to enjoy it too much when he squirmed under my glance. Finally I said firmly, "You did not."

"She doesn't want to be a broker or anything," he said quickly, as though assuring me of something vast. "She just wants to play the market a bit. Like you do." Tyler filled the space quickly with words when he saw my face. "Well not, of course, just like you do. I just meant from home. With a computer. Herself. Without a broker."

"Tyler, I am a broker." I hesitated. Went back a few steps. "Well, I was. It's what I did for ten years. It's not like you can just fall out of bed one morning and say, 'Ooh. I think I'll play with stocks."

Except, of course, that you can. Ever since the Internet had become so accessible, millions of people had been doing just that. Some of them with incredibly horrible results: buying stuff they hadn't meant to buy, sometimes losing hundreds of thousands of dollars. I told Tyler this now.

"See, that's the beauty, Madeline. Livingston has a pile of money. And his wife wants to do this. Instead, I guess, of opening a dress shop or a gallery. I dunno why, really. Maxi just mentioned it to me and I..."

"...rushed in to be helpful," I said with a little more venom than I'd intended. After all, it was my services he was offering here. "And it's not like it's something I can do, Tyler."

"You can't?" he looked genuinely perplexed. The thought obviously hadn't occurred to him.

"Well, I'm not a teacher, for one. I don't know the first thing about instructing someone."

Tyler looked relieved. "Oh, that. Madeline, I've seen

you with Jennifer. You're a terrific teacher. She really listens to you and respects you."

"It's not the same thing."

"No, of course not." Tyler was in heavy placate mode, yet I could see he was determined to get what he'd come for. "Still, I know it's something you'd be great at."

"Tyler, it's just not that simple. I'm not even licensed in California. I can't go around giving financial advice."

Tyler brightened. "See, I knew that, so that's not what I promised. Of course. I just thought you could teach her the mechanical end of things. Online brokerages and how to — you know — physically buy and sell stocks from her computer. Not what to buy," he assured me. "Just how to do it."


"And I wouldn't expect you to do it for free, of course."


"I'd pay you for your time."

"Tyler don't be an idiot. It's not the money."

He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his chinos, a sheepish look on his face. Again. "I know that, Madeline. Believe me, I know you well enough for that. It's just that it's so important."

Tyler, usually strong and in charge in every situation, looked so dejected — so desperate — I got a sense of how important this really was to him. And I thought about it. It was something I was capable of doing. Not so different, really, from when I'd shown my mom how to do the same thing when I was last in Seattle. Yet it felt different, somehow. More official when it was a stranger.


Excerpted from The Next Ex by Linda Richards Copyright © 2005 by Linda Richards. Excerpted by permission.
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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 36 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fun amateur sleuth

    In Los Angeles, former stockbroker turned day-trader Madeline Carter lives in the guesthouse owned by married couple movie director Tyler Beckett and actress Tasya Saranova. Tyler asks Manhattan transplant Madeline to teach day-trading techniques to Keesia, the fifth wife of film producer Maxi Livingston, as a favor, the most prevalent means of exchanging services in town. Thus Madeline teaches Keesia day-trading while Maxi will produce Tyler's newest film project and Madeline receives additional kitchen and bathroom privileges --- Keesia proves to be a fast learner and the teacher and student become friends. That is until Madeline finds her pupil¿s corpse at a party hosted by Maxi. Not long afterward, other spouses of Maxi are murdered with Madeline considered by the police a prime suspect. Realizing that the cops are looking at her as a possible killer, Madeline investigates the murder of her buddy figuring she did very well in clearing her name to a degree in her previous Hollywood adventure (see MAD MONEY). --- This is a fun amateur sleuth tale in which Madeline once again is a magnet for murder in which she must prove her innocence as her ¿record¿ as well as opportunity makes her a prime suspect. The key to this intelligent who-done-it is that Linda Richards lays out the clues yet most of the audience will not ¿read¿ them as they instead follow the stumbling ¿Mad¿ detective fumble her way on the case. Fans will enjoy this fine Hollywood mystery starring a likable protagonist struggling to find who made Keesia THE NEXT EX of multiply married Maxi. --- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013


    Enjoyable with nice plot twists and well developed, sympathetic characters. Reccommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Eds just ok

    Just ok

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    Very good read!!

    Enjoyed this one more than the first
    ,,,,,,both great!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    Best free ebook ive read!

    Out of the 10 free ebooks ive read since getting my nook, this one was by far the best. A body is discovered on the first page so you are hooked right away. Then the author gives you some background leading up to the discovery of the body and then they work on solving the murder (similar to the format of a csi episode). My only complaint is that it leaves a couple loose ends-everything isnt tied up neatly with a bow at the end of the book. Maybe the author is hoping that will get you to buy book 3 in the series, which i am definitely considering since i enjoyed this one so much.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Attention grabber!

    Very interesting. It should be made into a movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Ok book

    The begining was slow, but the middle picked up the pace & started to to turn into a pretty good mystery.
    The author started to have leads that made no sense or tried to explain them.
    The ending was terrible, no explanation or.connection to the various story lines. It seemed the author had no idea how to end the story & wrap up the loose ends.
    This book had a good idea for story line, but was in need of a good editor & a re-write
    Give 21/2 stars if they had 1/2 stars in the rating

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 5, 2012

    Pretty good

    I thought this was a pretty good read. It had some surprizes along the way.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    good puzzle, fair writing

    went a bit long, some of the parts were overdone, but on the whole a good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 27, 2012

    very good read.

    Very good crime/thriller novel. Character development and plot line are both excellent. A definite page turner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    not very exciting

    would not recommend this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    No ending

    Easy read, but the author leaves you hanging in the end. I wanted to know what happened to the characters, and I don't believe there is a sequel to find out the answer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2005

    Terrific author.

    Former stockbroker Madeline Carter is now a daytrader in Los Angeles. She lives in the guesthouse of movie director Tyler Beckett and his wife, the actress Tasya Saranova. Tyler asks Madeline to tudor the current wife of the famous film producer Maxi Livingston in daytrading. Hollywood thrives on doing favors and cashing in on favors. Favors are, in a way, a currency among the elite social set. Madeline teaches Keesia Livingston the basics on stocks. Maxi agrees to do Tyler's film. Tyler updates and expands Madeline's kitchen and bathroom. See how it works? ......................... Madeline knew almost nothing about the Livingstons until she began teaching Keesia about the market. Surprisingly, Keesia is very smart and picks things up quickly. Madeline and Keesia are on the way to becoming very good friends. But the friendship ends when, during on of Maxi's parties, Madeline comes across Keesia's dead body. This is not all, Keesia was Maxi's FIFTH wife. Shortly thereafter, Maxi's previous wives are being murdered - and Madeline is one of the top suspects. ...................... ***** When Madeline finds Keesia's body on page one, the author makes sure that she stabs the hook so quickly into her readers' guts that they never even feel it. The story is told in such a way that I, as the reader, felt able to get into Madeline's head. I could actually see the wheels in her mind working. I could tell what path 'Mad' was going down and why. All the clues needed to solve the mystery were available to me, but the author never insulted my intelligence. She even gave me the opportunity to figure it out before the main character did. But will you be able to? Keep your eye on this author. She will go far! *****

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews

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