To Die For (Blair Mallory Series #1)

( 151 )

Overview

Blair Mallory lives the good life. She’s pretty, confident, and the owner of a thriving up-scale fitness center. But in the shadow of success, a troubled member of the club develops a strange fixation on Blair, imitating her style and dress. Matters take a darker turn when the look-alike is shot dead–and Blair witnesses the horror.

As the media speculates on the tawdry details of the homicide and pushes Blair into the harsh spotlight, she locks horns with police lieutenant Wyatt...

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To Die For (Blair Mallory Series #1)

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Overview

Blair Mallory lives the good life. She’s pretty, confident, and the owner of a thriving up-scale fitness center. But in the shadow of success, a troubled member of the club develops a strange fixation on Blair, imitating her style and dress. Matters take a darker turn when the look-alike is shot dead–and Blair witnesses the horror.

As the media speculates on the tawdry details of the homicide and pushes Blair into the harsh spotlight, she locks horns with police lieutenant Wyatt Bloodsworth. He wants to lead an investigation without interference, while Blair is determined to probe the dead woman’s life on her own. But when someone begins to menace Blair with mounting threats, Wyatt takes notice: Was this murder indeed a lethal case of mistaken identity–and was Blair the intended victim?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“LINDA HOWARD IS A SUPERBLY ORIGINAL STORYTELLER.”
–IRIS JOHANSEN
Library Journal
Simultaneous with the Ballantine paperback. The latest suspense novel by the New York Times best-selling author (Open Season, Mr. Perfect). Exclusive rights in the United States. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345476258
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Series: Blair Mallory Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 362,760
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Cry No More, Dying to Please, Open Season, Mr. Perfect, All the Queen’s Men, Now You See Her, Kill and Tell, and Son of the Morning. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Most people don’t take cheerleading seriously. If they only knew . . .

All-American girl, that’s me. If you look at the pictures in my high school yearbooks, you’ll see a girl with long blond hair, a tan, and a wide grin that shows off her perfect white teeth, courtesy of thousands of dollars spent on braces and fluoride washes. The teeth, that is, not the hair and the tan. I had the effortless confidence of the upper-middle-class American teenage princess; nothing bad could happen to me. After all, I was a cheerleader.

I admit it. Actually, I’m proud of it. A lot of people think cheerleaders are both brainless and snooty, but that’s only people who have never been a cheerleader. I forgive them their ignorance. Cheerleading is hard work, a demanding blend of skill and strength, and it’s dangerous. People frequently get injured, sometimes even killed, doing the cheers. Usually it’s girls getting injured: guys are the tossers; girls are the tossees. Technically we’re called “flyers,” which is really silly because of course we can’t fly. We’re tossed. The tossees are the ones who fall on their heads and break their necks.

Well, I never broke my neck, but I did break my left arm, and my collarbone, and dislocated my right knee once. I can’t count the sprains and bruises. But I’ve got great balance, strong legs, and I can still do a backflip and the splits. Plus, I went to college on a cheerleading scholarship. Is this a cool country, or what?

So, anyway, my name is Blair Mallory. Yes, I know: It’s a fluff name. It goes with the cheerleading and the blond hair. I can’t help it; it’s what my parents named me. My father’s name is Blair, so I guess I’m just glad they didn’t tag me as a junior. I don’t think I would have been Homecoming Queen if my name had been Blair Henry Mallory, Jr. I’m happy enough with Blair Elizabeth, thank you. I mean, show-business people are naming their kids things like Homer, for God’s sake. When those kids grow up and kill their parents, I think all the cases should be ruled justifiable homicide.

Which brings up the murder I saw.

Actually it doesn’t, but at least it’s kind of logical. The connection, I mean.

And bad things do too happen to all-American princess cheerleaders. I got married, didn’t I?

That kind of ties in to the murder, too. I married Jason Carson right out of college, so for four years my name was Blair Carson. I should have known better than to marry someone whose first and last name rhymed, but some things you learn only from experience. Jason was big into politics: the student council, campaigning for his dad the state congressman, his uncle the mayor, blah blah blah. Jason was so good-looking he could literally make girls stutter. Too bad he knew it. He had thick, sun-kissed hair (that’s poetic for blond), chiseled features, dark blue eyes, and a body kept in excellent shape. Think John Kennedy, Jr. The body, I mean.

So there we were, the poster couple for blond hair and white teeth. And my body was pretty fine, too, if I do say so myself. What else could we do but get married?

Four years later, we got unmarried, to our mutual great relief. After all, we had nothing in common but our looks, and I really don’t think that’s a good basis for marriage, do you? Jason wanted to have a baby so we’d look like the all-American couple while he campaigned to become the youngest state congressman, which really, if you want to know, irritated the hell out of me because he’d refused to have a baby before and now all of a sudden it was a campaign plus? I told him to kiss my ass. Not that he hadn’t kissed it before, but the context was different, you know?

I made out like a bandit in the divorce settlement. Maybe I should feel guilty; I mean, it isn’t exactly a feminist thing to do. Stand on your own two feet, make it with your own accomplishments, that kind of stuff. And actually I do believe in all that; I just wanted to make Jason suffer. I wanted to punish him. Why? Because I caught him kissing my youngest sister, Jennifer, on New Year’s Day while the rest of the family was in the den totally zonking out on bowl games. Jenni was seventeen at the time.

Well, being furious doesn’t slow me down any. When I saw them in the dining room, I tiptoed away and found one of the disposable cameras we’d been using that day to record the occasion for Jason’s campaign album—family stuff, celebrating a holiday, pigging out around a table loaded with all sorts of artery-clogging goodies, watching football. He liked to have pictures of my family get-togethers because my family is so much better looking than his. Jason used any edge he could get in a campaign.

Anyway, I snapped a really good picture of Jason and Jenni, with flash and all, so he knew I had him by the short hairs. What was he going to do, chase me down and tackle me in front of my father, and wrestle the camera away from me? Not likely. For one thing, he’d have to explain, and he knew he couldn’t count on me to go along with his story. For another, my father would have drop-kicked him over the televison for daring to harm a hair on his namesake’s head. Did I also mention that I’m Daddy’s girl?

So I filed for divorce, and Jason gave me everything I asked for, on one condition: that I give him the photograph and negative of him and Jenni. Well, sure, why not? It isn’t as if I hadn’t had more than one copy made.

Maybe Jason thought I was too stupid to do that. It never pays to underestimate how dirty your competition will play. For that reason, I really don’t think Jason will do well in politics.

I also told Mom that Jenni had let Jason kiss her. You didn’t think I’d let the backstabbing little hussy get away with it, did you? Not that I don’t love Jenni, but she’s the baby of the family, and she thinks she should get anything and everything she wants. Occasionally she has to be shown differently. I’ve also noticed that her name rhymes, too: Jenni Mallory. It’s really Jennifer, but she’s never been called that, so it doesn’t count. I don’t know what it is about rhyming names, but they’re bad news for me. The difference is, I forgave Jenni, because she’s blood. No way in hell was I forgiving Jason.

So Mom took care of Jenni, who tearfully apologized and promised to be a good girl or at least show better taste, and my middle sister, Siana, who was in law school, handled the negotiations with Jason. The name “Siana” is supposedly the Welsh form of “Jane,” but take it from me, the name really means “man- eating shark with dimples.” That’s Siana.

With the Mallory women in action, the divorce went through in record time without Daddy ever finding out exactly why we were all mad at Jason. Not that he cared; if we were mad, then he was mad, too, on our behalf. Wasn’t that sweet of him?

What I got from Jason in the divorce settlement was a very nice little chunk of change, thank you. I also got the red Mercedes convertible, of course, but the money was the most important because of what I did with it. I bought a gym. A fitness center. After all, you go with your strength, and I know all about staying in shape. Siana suggested calling it “Blair’s Beautiful Butts,” but I thought that would limit the clientele and maybe give people the impression I also did liposuction. Mom came up with “Great Bods” and we all liked it, so that’s what the former Halloran’s Gym became.

I blew a bundle on remodeling and refurbishing, but when I was finished, the place practically screamed “high class.” The mirrors were polished; the equipment was the best available; the bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers were completely redone; two saunas and a lap pool were added, plus a private room for massages. A member of Great Bods had a choice of yoga, aerobics, Tae Bo, or kick-boxing classes. If the yoga didn’t mellow you out, then you could go kick ass without ever leaving the building. I also insisted all of my staff be trained in CPR, because you never know when an out-of-shape executive with high cholesterol will hit the weight machines in an effort to get back his teenage body overnight so he can impress his new secretary, and there you go: heart attack for the asking. Besides, it was an impressive thing to see in an ad.

All the money and the CPR training was worth it. Within a month of opening our doors, Great Bods was going great guns. I sold memberships by the month or by the year—with a discount if you paid for a year of course, which was smart because it hooked you in and most people will use the facility then because they don’t want to waste their money. Cars in the parking lot give the perception of success, and, well, you know what they say about perception. Anyway, success breeds like a bunny rabbit. I was thrilled all the way down to my leg warmers—which some of those not in the know consider passé, but they’re seriously out of touch with what makes your legs look great. High heels top the list, but leg warmers are a close second. I wear both. Not together, of course. Puh-leeze.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 151 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(84)

4 Star

(34)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 151 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    OH NO!

    Linda Howard has always been my number one favorite author. Unfortunately, not this time. I dislike books written in the first person. 'Blair Mallory' IS the biggest ditz since 'Clueless'. Usually I can't put her books down. This one I can't seem to keep in hand. I sincerely hope all future books live up to the usual standard.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2005

    A Quick Read

    I'm a huge Linda Howard fan and enjoyed this book; however, the suspense part of the plot is a little thin and because it's told in the first person, we don't really know the hero as well. A nice, easy read but I'm eagerly awaiting her next hardback.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2005

    Great Read

    I was surprised and dismayed when I saw that this book was written in first person. I usually hate books that use this narritive form but I gave the book a try because I usually love Linda Howard's books and trust me it was great! The chemistry between the main characters was great and I laughed several times out loud at some of the crazy dialouge between the two. The story line was kinda predictable but the characters more than made up for it. I would recommend this book to everyone!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    VERY ROMANTIC

    I was very scared to read this book considering some of the bad reviews from other customers...but I love Romance book where it deals with some kind of detective work so I went ahead and bought it.....and am I glad I did....it was one of the most romantic books ever...the main couple is so cute and the banter between them as well as the chemistry is amazing...ok yes the main character is a little dumb at times...but the love story makes up for it....trust me and give it a chance. This was my first Howard book and won't be my last!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2011

    Funny but readers voice was shrill, old sounding and fake southern accent

    Very different from authors other books. Very entertaining. I'd like her to continue the series with pre-quel on Blairs mom and books on Blairs sisters. Do not like the voice of the audiobook reader for this book. Accent is fake, shrill and has the character of an older woman.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Ultimate in the Romance Genre

    Business savvy club own Blair Mallory finds herself in trouble after witnessing a murder in her parking lot. The killer has no way of knowing that Blaire didn't see his face, and therefore she needs police protection.

    Having had an intense but short relationship with Blair years ago, when Lt. Wyatt Bloodworth hears that Blair's club is the crime scene of a murder he rushes to the scene to take over. After serious reflection on walking way from her once, Wyatt is game on. Blair? Not so much. Wyatt takes the challenge head on using their intense chemistry-that Blair scowls at throughout the book-to his advantage. It's testosterone verses estrogen, and there is no battle of the sexes like Blair Mallory and Wyatt Bloodsworth.

    Watching these two compromise, rebuild trust, and learn how to understand each other is the best part of this story. Blair is full of wit, charm, and was taught by her momma that when a man comes back, he does it crawling. Wyatt is masculine, determined, protective and sensitive when it counts. It's impossible not to love this couple, particularly Blair. She's pure, cheerleading fluff. An All-American girl with a no nonsense attitude, and confidence to kill for. A pink hammer? Of course, tools don't have to be ugly. A cheerleader? Hard work, dangerous, and can you say college scholarship?

    You simply cannot go wrong with this book. It's light. It's sexy. It's out right FUN.

    -Posey, Everybody Needs A Little Romance

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2010

    The Chick Is Off the Wall

    This chick is everything she says she is in the first chapter or more. You will love her or you will hate her. And she will will remind you of someone you actually know. I had to love her because I know someone un-apologetically just like her. And the guy is OK too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2005

    To Die For

    I struggled through this book and I'm not sure it was worth the effort. My bookshelves are clogged with Linda Howard books, but I've been disappointed with the last two I've read--To Die For and Kiss Me. Hopefully the next release will redeem her.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Funny! Laugh out loud funny

    I hope she does another book in this series after these first two, i am just starting her second one, but can already tell it to will be a keeper! The mother is funny too (apple from tree saying) Enjoy--i did

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    Humor, romance and mystery are combined for a great read!

    This is one of my favorite books. You need to read the sequel Drop Dead Gorgeous to get the full Blair story. I hope Linda Howard does more books because Blair's sisters need
    Stories of their own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    Loved this book!

    Loved this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2012

    I couldn't put down!

    I enjoyed this book so much. Blair was so funny. I just couldn't believe the things she said and did. I loved it.

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  • Posted March 30, 2012

    a must read

    I love to read Linda Howard, her books are usually serious mystery and romance. I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 books of the Blair Mallory series . (2nd book is Drop Dead Gorgeous). Mystery, romance and hilarity. What a combo! Enjoy......

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    A fun read

    A fun read that got a few laughs out of me. She writes a lighthearted mystery and throws in some humor and a bit of steamy romance. I love this author though.

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

    Posted September 26, 2011

    New Side to LH!

    Laughed out loud! It was a nice change of pace from her darker or more intense suspense novels. Lighthearted romantic comedies are usually not my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed this one. LH, you are one talented lady!

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    Love this side of Howard.

    Smart fun sexy ride that gets me every time.

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    Surprisingly Hilarious

    I did not expect to like this book, for several reasons. The main two were that I don't like books written in first person, and I don't like southern, blonde, self-centered, women as the heroine. (I get enough of that last one in real life.)This book really surprised me though. It was so good that I started the book a 9:30 pm and finished it at 3:15 am. I couldn't put it down, and I also couldn't stop laughing. It was one of the funniest suspense novels I've ever read, and true to the genre, it was also chock full of romance. I would definitly reccommend this book to anyone, and I also reccommend Mr. Perfect, another great book by Mrs. Howard. Those are the only two I have read by her so far, but if the rest are this good, then Mrs. Howard is going to be a winner in my book!

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved this book

    I could not put this book down. One thing that I liked about this book is that the main character was a very strong independant women. The plot was very good. It kept you entertained. I have read it several times over again. It's too bad there aren't more Wyatts around. I also really liked the follow up book Drop Dead Gorgious. I hope that Linda Howard decides to write more about these characters in the future.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    A FUN READ

    A REALLY CUTE BOOK. I LOVED WHAT A BLONDE BLAIR IS. THIS BOOK CAN MAKE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD. MY ONLY DISAPPOINTMENT IS THAT THE AUTHOR DIDN'T INCLUDE THE ACTUAL RECIPE FOR THE BREAD PUDDING!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2008

    Loved it

    I loved this book...very easy reading and kept my attention until I was finished.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 151 Customer Reviews

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