“Lovely again demonstrates a talent for creating wacked-out women determined to kill their lovers…Readers witness the relationship become totally dysfunctional and eventually turn into a deadly Hitchcock-type psychological thriller.” —Library Journal
She’s smart, gorgeous, and mysterious. For business executive Nathan Carver, a man with everything, Jessica Bolton is the first woman he can’t simply charm, buy, or seduce. And even before Jessica gets a taste of his luxurious lifestyle and irresistible moves, she’s determined to eliminate the competition and become this handsome bachelor’s one and only.
But Jessica’s deceptive allure is just the beginning. With every move, every tantalizing lie, Jessica lures Nathan and his close-knit family into a trap that will dismantle everything they treasure most. Because when it comes to loyalty and love, blood is thicker than water—and no amount of revenge is ever too much…
About the Author
Lutishia Lovely burst onto the literary scene with Sex in the Sanctuary and now, more than a dozen books later, hasn’t even thought about slowing down. When not writing contemporary fiction, she lends her muse to her alter-ego, Zuri Day, and writes steamy romances. But all work and no play makes Tish a dull girl, so she knows how to put down the pen and pick up a good time—which isn’t hard to do in Las Vegas, where she now lives. Lutishia loves to hear from readers, so visit her online at LutishiaLovely.com, or on Facebook and Twitter @lutishialovely.
Read an Excerpt
The Perfect Deception
By Lutishia Lovely
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2014 Lutishia Lovely
All rights reserved.
Several months later ...
A beautiful couple walked up the immaculately landscaped entrance to a large home in a tony Alexandria, Virginia, suburb. The woman, Jessica, was nervous. It was Thanksgiving, which, for various reasons, was one of her least favorite holidays, second only to Christmas. More importantly, it was the first time she was meeting her boyfriend's family, the amazing man with whom she'd enjoyed a whirlwind courtship for the past two months. Life had turned out better than she could have dreamed when shortly after moving to Atlanta she'd spotted the handsome stranger among a happy-hour crowd and made a bold move. If she played her cards right and impressed his next of kin, who knew what type of sparkly bauble Santa might place under the Christmas tree and change her feelings about holidays?
He knocked on the door and after a moment, it swung open.
"Nathan!" An attractive woman dressed in black stretch pants and a colorful sweater opened the door.
"Come on in!" She stepped back so the couple could enter the massive foyer with a high vaulted ceiling and chic chandelier.
The siblings hugged. Nathan Carver turned and beamed at the woman standing by his side with a hesitant smile and downcast eyes. "Sister, this is Jessica Bolton. Baby, this is Sherri Atwater, my sister and best friend."
A genuine smile lit Sherri's face. "I've heard so much about you." They shared a light hug. "You're as pretty as my brother bragged that you were."
"It's a pleasure to meet you." Jessica's eyes darted behind them to the hallway from which jovial voices traveled.
"That's my crazy family," Sherri explained, "and a few of our friends. They're pretty lively, but no one bites."
Nathan put his arm around Jessica and gave her shoulder an affectionate squeeze. They started down the hall. Halfway to their destination a handsome man rounded the corner and walked their way.
"I thought I heard the doorbell." He reached them and gave Nathan dap and a shoulder bump.
"Hello, Bro." Again, introductions all around.
"Where are you from?" Randall Atwater asked Jessica once they'd been introduced. "You look familiar."
Private by nature, Jessica's brow arched in surprise. "Me?" She quickly added, "I live in Atlanta but am from California." This was basically true. She had lived in California for many years, before her divorce.
"Southern California?" Randall inquired as they continued down the hall into the great room where the adults had gathered.
They stepped into a comfortably decorated space where Nathan's mother, Elaine, was recounting a funny incident from when Randall and Sherri first began dating. Listening were Randall's mother, her male companion, Randall's brother and sister-in-law, Sherri's best friend, Renee, and a few others.
"It was thoughtful for him to buy me a bouquet," she finished. "He went on about how he'd searched the city for just the right type of flowers. I didn't have the heart to tell him that the price tag was still on it from the store where he worked part-time, along with the receipt that was time-stamped to show he'd bought them right after finishing his shift!"
Various responses echoed around the room, laughter sprinkled among them. "Come on, Mom Elaine." Randall stopped just inside the door. "Haven't I lived that one down by now?"
"Yes, but it's worth retelling." She'd answered him but her eyes were on Nathan and his date, as were all other eyes in the room. "Hello, Son."
"Happy Thanksgiving, everybody." Nathan gave a general wave before crossing over to give his mom a hug. "Hello, Mom." He reached back for Jessica's hand, bringing her forward. "Mom, this is my friend, Jessica. Jessica, this is the best mother in the world, Elaine Carver."
"Hello, Mrs. Carver." Jessica's outstretched hand reached Elaine's. "It's wonderful to meet you."
"Nice meeting you too, darling. Congratulations on making it to a family function." With a side glance at Nathan, she continued, "It's been awhile since my son has invited a guest."
Jessica split her smile between Nathan and Elaine. "I'm happy to be here."
Nathan then addressed the room. "Everybody, this is Jessica."
With a nervous giggle, she scanned the room. "Hi, everyone."
"We'll make the rounds for a personal hello," he said, still holding her hand. "But don't worry about remembering everyone's name."
"I was hoping there wouldn't be a quiz once we're done."
He lowered his voice. "I'll definitely test something later ... but not your memory."
"What are y'all drinking?" Randall asked. They followed him over to the bar.
And with that, conversation resumed, more drinks were poured, soft music played, and Nathan and Jessica made their way through the rest of the personal greetings.
"This is a beautiful home," she commented after they'd circled the room.
"Come on. Let me give you a quick tour."
Nathan was a perfect guide as they navigated the large yet cozy abode. Upon seeing the upscale setting and a grouping of plaques, certificates, and photos that filled almost an entire wall in the downstairs office, Jessica was even more impressed with her honey's in-laws than when he'd told her about them. Randall, his brother-in-law, was a prominent scientist who'd won awards for his groundbreaking research. A picture of him with President Barack Obama placed the man in very high company. The day was already overwhelming and now she felt intimidated, too.
Nathan immediately noticed her change in attitude. "What's wrong?"
"Tell me about nothing."
She smiled. His sensitivity and astute observational skills were just two of the many things that she both loved—and feared—about him. "Your family is so ... accomplished."
"You already knew that."
"Yes, but to be here, to meet them. I just hope that I'm not ..."
"Shh. Don't even go there. Yes, there are those in my family who are highly successful. But we don't judge people based on awards and degrees. We're more interested in a person's character, their integrity, their family values." He reached over and pulled her into his arms, gave her one kiss, and then another. "So you don't have anything to worry about."
Jessica nodded, and entwined her arm in his as they walked toward French doors that led to a solarium. She knew that Nathan meant what he said when he told her not to worry. He'd meant to be soothing. Little did he know it was exactly his upstanding views on character, integrity, and family values that worried her most of all.CHAPTER 2
"What do you think?"
Dinner was over. Various family members had broken off into smaller groups. Nathan and Sherri were in the kitchen, sitting at the island, eating second slices of sweet potato pie that neither needed but couldn't refuse.
"She's cute, I'll give you that." Sherri took a sip of cold milk. "But she's so quiet, Nate, and"—she paused, searching for the right word—"reserved. Not the type of woman you usually date."
"She is different from anyone I've dated in the past. That's part of what attracted me to her."
"How did you guys meet?"
"I told you, remember? At the sports bar in Buckhead where I like to hang out."
"Was she a friend of a friend, someone's sister ...?"
"No. She was at the bar, alone. We'd noticed each other throughout the evening and at one particular point, when my friends and I were in a heated debate, she walked up and said, 'I don't know what you guys are arguing about, but you win,' looking at me."
Sherri gave her brother the side eye. "Really? You win? That was the line that did it?"
"It wasn't so much what she said as the way she said it: sincere and straightforward, with the merest twinkle in her eye."
Sherri finished her pie, pushed back the plate. "And then she whipped out the card containing her phone number."
Nathan shook his head. "And then she walked back to her bar stool and pulled out her phone."
"And waited for the bait to take hold."
"Not at all. In fact, if one of the guys hadn't observed her leaving, I would have missed my chance. She was almost out the door when I caught up to her. I liked her style. Considering the types of bold and aggressive women out there and the lame, tired, and insulting ways I've been approached, her compliment delivered with no ulterior motive was refreshing." Nathan finished his pie as well. "See, you've been out of the game too long to know what it's like out here right now. Married for fifteen years and with Randall for what, three or four years before that? Hell, I think the Cabbage Patch doll was all the rage the last time you had to flirt with someone not your husband. That or the Model T." He dodged Sherri's punch. "I'll admit that men in Atlanta have women coming at us every way and every day; beautiful, successful, educated. It's easy to get jaded, to tell you the truth. Which is probably why I find Jessica so intriguing. She's never tried to impress me by being anything other than herself."
"Where'd she go to school?"
"No degree?" Nathan shook his head. "Wow. That's different, too."
"If you'll remember, your dual-degreed brother was temporarily unemployed not so long ago."
"Only because your company downsized and could no longer afford you. And only because you could afford to be selective in choosing your next job, which if I remember correctly is netting you a cool six figures." She looked around, lowered her voice. "Does she know this? That you own your own home, and how much you're making?"
"I know your nose is wide open and all, but you haven't known her long. I'm just throwing up the caution sign. That's what big sisters do."
"I know a gold digger when I see one and trust me, I've seen plenty."
"You're a good judge of character, baby bro, and normally I wouldn't be concerned. But given what happened to me and Randall last year ..."
"You have every right to be skeptical, and I have every intention of listening to your advice. I'll be careful. But it's been a long time since I've felt about someone the way I feel about Jessica. That's why I wanted her to meet the people most important to me."
Sherri stood and hugged her brother. "I want nothing more than to see you happy, Nathan. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that this one works out and that Jessica will be everything you desire ... and more."
On the other side of the tastefully appointed home and one level up, a conversation similar to what Nathan and Sherri were having was happening with Jessica and Sherri's best friend.
"Nathan is like a brother to me," Renee said as the two ladies watched the dancing flames in the sitting room's fireplace. "He's one of the good ones. So if you mess with him, then you're going to have to deal with more than his family." Her tone was light, she chuckled even, but there was something in her eyes that suggested she was as serious as a brain tumor.
Jessica's response was guarded. "I see."
Renee's eyes narrowed a bit as she eyed the attractive woman with flawless sun-kissed skin, luscious lips, mesmerizing eyes, and hourglass figure. It was easy to see why Nathan would have been tempted by the package. However, considering the type of women he usually dated—vivacious, outgoing, and supremely confident—Renee couldn't understand why he'd fallen so hard for the contents inside this pretty wrapping. Wanting to find out, she tried to lighten the mood.
"How did the two of you meet?"
"At a sports bar."
"You're into sports? I am too, mainly because of the fine men who play them." This time her light laughter elicited a brief smile.
"Honestly, I barely know a layup from a field goal. But I like the establishment's ambiance. Plus, they make the best martinis in town."
"I love a good drink. I'll have to make sure and go there the next time I'm in Atlanta. You do live in Atlanta, correct?"
"For how long?"
Jessica took a sip of the spiced tea that the two ladies were drinking, except that Renee's had been enhanced with a liberal shot of brandy. "Renee, it's understandable that you're curious about me. But I'm an extremely private person and your interrogation is making me uncomfortable."
Renee reared back, incredulous. "Interrogation? Girl, that's a strong word for simple chitchat."
"Don't take it personally." Jessica stood. "It's not you. It's me. Nice meeting you, but it's been a long day. I'm going to find Nathan."
With that, Jessica turned and left the room. Renee watched her exit, her mind whirling with questions from front to back. For this Chi-Town to Sin City transplant, life was pretty much an open book. There was very little about her that friends didn't know. On one hand, Jessica had every right to not answer Renee's questions. But on the other, the woman's response left her feeling uncomfortable and just a tad pissed. Yes, she was very attractive. Yes, she seemed nice enough. But there was something about her that made Renee's brow crease. She slowly sipped her brandy-spiced tea and tried to figure out why.
She was still pondering the conversation when a short time later Sherri walked in. "Hey, Sis. What's got your face all scrunched up?"
"An interesting conversation I just had with Nate's friend." She put emphasis on the last word. "Are they gone?"
Sherri rushed over and took a seat beside Renee. "Girl, yes. And I couldn't wait to get your take. What happened?"
Renee told her. "I am direct and straightforward, as you know. But it wasn't like I asked for the girl's birth date and social security number, just making conversation. It was odd that she was so guarded."
"I thought it was me. Throughout the day—while setting up the dessert table, when I found her and Nathan alone in the solarium, after the guys had come back from playing ball—I went out of my way to engage her. She was nice enough, and seems genuinely taken with my baby bro. But ..."
"Who wouldn't be?" Renee fluttered her lashes.
"Stop it! You've never been interested in Nate!"
"Before, he seemed too young and immature, but brother man is growing up nicely. He's what, seven or eight years younger than me?" Sherri nodded. "Hmm ..."
"You know good and darn well you're not going to step to my younger brother."
"Never say never."
"I think you're serious." Renee raised a brow. "Well, good luck in getting past Jessica. All day that girl stuck to him like wet on water." They were both silent a moment. A log broke, causing the fire to pop and flare as the wood rearranged itself in the large hearth. "Do you think I'm overly paranoid because of all the drama that happened to my family last year?"
"Probably," Renee said with a sigh, an involuntary shudder accompanying the memories of that unspeakable event. "None of us will ever look at strangers quite the same way again. But that doesn't mean we're not picking up on something, either."
"That's true. But you know what? Nathan is intelligent. And he's grown. So I'm going to trust his instincts and give Jessica the benefit of the doubt until or unless she does something that causes me to think otherwise."
"I don't know. A man's thinking isn't always straight when he's using the other head. And trust me, one look at that girl's cute bubble booty and you already know. His other head is getting a workout."
"Nay, really? I needed that information? It's my brother we're talking about!"
Renee answered, nonplussed. "Like you said, we're all grown and we both know what grown men do with asses like that."
The women continued talking well into the night, their conversation going from Nathan to Renee's latest boo possibility, to Sherri's new part-time teaching job, to Randall's upcoming trips. In the back of both of their minds, however, was the topic that had begun this latest chat. The guarded, private Jessica ... and what was up with that.CHAPTER 3
She'd failed the test. The signs weren't glaring like they'd be on a school paper, when one expected a gold star and instead received red marks and a minus sign. They were subtle, like the way Sherri gave her brother a big bear hug and Jessica's arm a little squeeze. Or how Sherri's friend Renee offered a skeptical smile when Jessica said it had been good to meet her. Nathan's mother, Miss Elaine, was definitely the kindest of the bunch and probably the nicest as well. The men, especially Nathan's brother-in-law, Randall, had been cordial but kept their distance. The other wives and girlfriends were friendly enough. Not that she cared about them. The ones she wanted to win over were Miss Elaine and Sherri. In this instance, one out of two wasn't good enough. Especially given what was at stake, and what she'd promised.
Excerpted from The Perfect Deception by Lutishia Lovely. Copyright © 2014 Lutishia Lovely. 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Perfect Deception was a nail-biting, edge of your seat read just like The Perfect Affair, book one of this trilogy. This book had my heart racing as if I was an actual character. Just when you think you have it figured out, Ms. Lovely adds another twist. If you're looking for suspense, this is definitely the book. I'm looking forward to the third book!
The series will have you wanting more. From the first book, you are hook in the lives of these fictional characters. At one point in this book I wanted to throw it across the room because of the way the main character was acting.
The second story in THE SHADY SISTERS TRILOGY, is another page turner that does not disappoint. Like a bad penny, diabolical Jacqueline is back! "Blood is thicker than water", but when you stir in a bit of crazy, you end up with two seductive psychopaths. This story will have you shaking your head all the way through!
Once again Lutishia Lovely has written a novel that surpasses the first book of the Perfect series. Drama, mystery, and seduction make for an excellent story. I can hardly wait for The Perfect Revenge to see what she has in store for us. Submitted by Toni Glasscoe
The Perfect Deception, the second in the Shady Sisters trilogy, was just as suspenseful as The Perfect Affair. Jessica Bolton is desperate for love-of her sister, of a man. But what happens when you have to choose between one and the other? There are many twists and turns as Jessica and Nathan navigate a relationship, while jessica tries to satisfy the request of a sister who she has not seen in years, desperate for her approval. This book was a thrill ride, a definite page-turner. I can't wait for the next book to find out the conclusion to the story!
The Perfect Deception is the second installment in the Shady Sisters trilogy and this book did not disappoint. In this segment Nathan Carver thinks he has met the woman of his dreams in Jessica Bolton. He realizes Jessica is not easily swayed by his accomplishments, charm or seduction. In his heart he believes he has found the love of his life and pursues a relationship with Jessica. Jessica portrays the shy, aloof damsel but as the title states all of it is a plot to lure Nathan and his family into a sense of falsehood to render a blow that will ultimately destroy everything he cherishes. She is seeking revenge and readers are left to wonder what Nathan did to incur her lies and deceit. Readers will need to pick up a copy of The Perfect Deception to find out. Again Ms. Lovely does an outstanding job with character development. Readers will fall in love with Nathan and at times will shake their heads in amazement at how Jessica is able to wrap Nathan around her finger. Readers will also learn to hate Jessica’s character but in certain points of the storyline emphasize with the dilemma she had between loyalty and love. There are a few twists and turns in this story that will have readers on the edge, turning pages, to see the outcome. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this installment and look forward to seeing what’s next in the last installment of the Shady Sisters Trilogy. Hats off to Ms. Lovely for another great read.