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The Secret
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The Secret

by Harold Robbins

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The world's bestselling novelist is back with Secrets, a steamy novel chronicling the rise of a lingerie chain. Jerry Cooper of The Predators is back to launch his new empire of intimate women's apparel. He now has a son, Les Cooper, a streetwise young lawyer who slowly uncovers the family's mob involvement, a secret which Jerry has desperately tried to conceal


The world's bestselling novelist is back with Secrets, a steamy novel chronicling the rise of a lingerie chain. Jerry Cooper of The Predators is back to launch his new empire of intimate women's apparel. He now has a son, Les Cooper, a streetwise young lawyer who slowly uncovers the family's mob involvement, a secret which Jerry has desperately tried to conceal until he finds himself in need of a lawyer. Combining the grit of his early work with the glamour of his later novels, Robbins once again provides readers with a pantheon of street-raised hustlers and anti-heroes who would use their hard-won knowledge to claw their way up the ladder of success.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
Robbins' books are packed with action, sustained by a strong narrative drive, and given vitality by his own colorful life.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A sequel to The Predators, Robbins's second posthumous novel opens with a flawless scene. Len Cooper is drinking gin and playing poker in his prep school dorm while two of his buddies masturbate over copies of Hustler. Comes a knock on the door, and grim news: Len's beautiful and adored French mother, Giselle, is dead, and his forbidding father, Jerry, is on his way to the school. The mix of comedy and tragedy, grossness and tender feelings, are described in vivid language at perfect tempo. Alas, the rest of the book is a long, slow downward slide, giving rise to suspicion that Robbins, who died in 1997, never revised the final draft. Alternately told from Len's and Jerry's points of view, the narrative chronicles the spectacular rise of the naughty lingerie empire Cheeks. The "secret"? Just ask Len's second wife, Vittoria, n e Castellano, daughter of a capo, widow of tough guy Louie Luchese. Scanty as to motivation, obsessively covering (and baring) breasts and buttocks, Robbins's roman clef is more catalogue than story. Subplots explore sweatshop conditions, trade relations with China and technology millionaires, but all roads lead to nipple clips and crotchless panties. Empire-builders, fathers, husbands: the men in Robbins's world are, at heart, still teenage boys masturbating to Hustler. Perhaps that's Vicky's real secret. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Following his death in 1997, Robbins's hard-driving, spiritually empty The Predators (1998) turns out not to be his farewell novel. Is The Secret? Who knows? But he will be hailed as the same old Harold by his billions of new readers on whatever uncertain plane he happens to be spending the afterlife. For readers eager for the juice only he can pump into scene, Robbins opens page one at a boys' prep school with the lads playing poker, reading Hustler, and fondling themselves, talking about "bare tit," "curly crotch hair," "pussy hair," then being startled by a knock at the door just as one of them reaches the logical conclusion of such activities. Where can you go from there? Well, into a business novel about sexy lingerie and a chain of stores called Cheeks (the kind you sit on in your undies). And the "secret" of the title? Think of Victoria's. Sure to work for those sex-starved, homesick, hungry ghosts Robbins now writes for, who can grab only steam, not their cheeks or other parts, when the novel ends with "a first-class blow job."

From the Publisher
"Robbin's dialogue is moving . . . his people have the warmth of life."-The New York Times

"Robbins' books are packed with action, sustained by a strong narrative drive, and given vitality by his own colorful life."-The Wall Street Journal

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Read an Excerpt

The Secret

By Robbins, Harold

Forge Books

Copyright © 2001 Robbins, Harold
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780812571790

We were not supposed to play cards for money in our dorm rooms. We were not supposed to drink or smoke. We were not supposed to have copies of Playboy or Penthouse. We were not supposed to jerk off. We were not supposed to sit around in our underwear, without robes.
In fact, we were not supposed to gather in groups of more than three.
When the loud knock sounded on the door, this is how we were--
--I was playing poker with Joe and Lou and Bill, which was not allowed, even if we had almost no money on the table, and we sat in our T-shirts and shorts, without robes.
--Gus and Ted had their cocks in their hands while staring at a copy of Hustler. They were talking about how far they had gotten with girls the last time they were home--lying, of course, but making it sound very exciting, how they had touched this one's bare tit and that one's curly crotch hair. Ted claimed he had some pussy hair in an envelope at home but had not brought it to school. When they heard that awful knock, Ted had just come and had to jam his spurting cock down in his underpants.
--A bottle of gin sat on the poker table.
Knock! The gin went out the window. Hustler went under the mattress. Robes were tossed in all directions, one in mine, fortunately.
* * *
Bill opened the door, confronting Brad, the dorm monitor for our floor.
"Cooper.Headmaster's office, on the double. Get your goddamn clothes on."
Called so abruptly to the office of the headmaster, I knew something was terribly wrong. I went over in my mind what I might have done this time but couldn't think of anything so bad as to have me called from the dorm to confront the headmaster.
I mean, having been reported for masturbating in a toilet stall would not have produced such a summons. Besides, I had put a dark blue lump on the forehead of the last boy who had pretended he had seen me doing that. The word had gone around--beware of your back if you make bad words about Len Cooper; don't bend over the faucet when brushing your teeth; you may find your forehead slammed hard against the plumbing.
I was in my final year at Lodge. It was a boarding school, good enough I guess, but not in a class with schools like Choate, Groton, and Andover-the famed New England prep schools that my father held in contempt. Some Lodge graduates claimed the title "preppie." Most didn't. I didn't and wouldn't.
Anyway, the headmaster liked to be called Dr. Billings. He also liked to appear in academic regalia for chapel and assemblies--gaudy hood and mortarboard with gold tassel.
Chapel. That I was a Jew didn't excuse me from compulsory chapel. It was an excuse, though, for reading during the prayers. I had made peace with Episcopal Christianity, and Episcopal Christianity had made peace with me. So long as I read textbooks and not novels. Catcher in the Rye was okay classroom reading but not chapel reading.
I arrived at the walnut-paneled office of Dr. Billings, a big fellow with a square face and looming eyebrows. He tried to affect a mixed persona of kind and understanding, plus stern and disciplining. He did not entirely succeed in affecting either, much less the difficult mixture.
He wasn't wearing his academic gown now but only a dark gray suit spattered with cigarette ash. He came out from behind his desk and shook my hand: also an ominous sign.
"My dear boy," he said. "I am afraid I have the most terrible news for you." That oversized old man was on the verge of tears. He handed me a telegram:
Lodge School kept a VIP suite on the second floor above the commons. Officially it was for the bishop when he made his occasional visit. Mostly it was for distinguished commencement speakers and for generous contributors. But it had a more ominous use. When a boy suffered the death of a parent, or both parents, he would be moved into the VIP suite, where he could cry alone, absent his roommates. We called it the funeral parlor.
I was moved into the funeral parlor. My masters came. My friends came. The boy whose head I'd banged on the bathroom faucet came. I had to hold back my tears, which was no easy thing to do; I was genuinely devastated by the death of my mother, which would force me to live with just one parent: my forbidding father.
I was in shock. My mother couldn't be dead! I was young. I should have been more sensitive. I should have understood the symptoms that had been there for me to see.
I should have read them more in my formidable father man I read them in her. Formidable. Yes, he was. She weakened before my eyes, but she was brave and did not let it occur to me mat I was about to lose her. He was brave, but this required more than courage. When they went off to France on that final visit, I had no idea it was a final visit to her homeland and her family.
I suppose it was something my mother and father meant to spare me. I would learn of it soon enough, and it would be bad enough when it came; no need for me to suffer until it was necessary.
"Got somethin' for ya, Len."
He had something for me, all right. His name was--God help him!--Beauregard, of course called Bo. He was not one of my roommates, but he was the only boy I ever mutually jerked off with. You know what I mean? Boarding-school ha-ha. Boys thinking they were being bad.
Anyway, Bo had brought me something. It looked like a bottle of hair tonic. It wasn't. It was a little bottle of Scotch! And, God, did I need that!
Old Dr. Latrobe came. The school chaplain. He was an Episcopal divine and offered to pray with me--and took no offense when I said thank you, no. He was well meaning but I couldn't take him right now. His doctorate, as I learned later, was phony. He was a D.D., doctor of divinity.
He had brought a tray with a pot of tea, cups and saucers, sugar and cream. I hadn't drunk my Scotch, but I was compelled to sit there and listen to that old man talk about life and death. I shouldn't be too hard on him. He was inoffensive.
"Death, you see, is only a part of life. It awaits us all. Mourning is painful. Sometimes it seems more than we can bear. But think of this--there is a certain way that we can avoid the agony of mourning, and that is never to love. Because we don't mourn because our loved one is dead; we mourn because we loved that person. So, if you would never mourn, you can escape it easily. All you have to do is never love. But, you know, we will go on loving and go on mourning, and we wouldn't have it any other way."
I thanked him when he left. It was the only decent thing to do.
Copyright 2000 by the Estate of Harold Robbins


Excerpted from The Secret by Robbins, Harold Copyright © 2001 by Robbins, Harold. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author

Born in 1916 in New York City, Harold Robbins was a millionaire by the time he was twenty. He lost his fortune by speculating on the price of sugar before the outbreak of World War II. Later, his fabulously successful career as a novelist, with many of his books turned into movies, would once again make him incredibly wealthy. For many years, Robbins enjoyed the high life among the rich and famous; he owned a huge yacht and had houses on the French Riviera and in Beverly Hills. His novels often mirrored his own experiences and were often people with the characters he had met. He died at the age of eighty-one, survived by his wife, Jann, and his two daughters, Caryn and Andreana.

Born in New York City, HAROLD ROBBINS is one of the world's bestselling authors, writing novels that often mirrored his own experiences and that were peopled by characters he had met. He is the author of The Carpetbaggers.

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