The Cheater

The Cheater

by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429938907
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 05/25/2010
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 205,644
File size: 336 KB

About the Author

Nancy Taylor Rosenberg spent fourteen years in law enforcement, including affiliations with the Dallas Police Department, the New Mexico State Department, the Ventura Police, and the Ventura County Probation Department, where she was a superior court investigator. Her first novel, Mitigating Circumstances, quickly became a New York Times bestseller, as have Rosenberg's subsequent novels, including Interest of Justice, First Offense, California Angel, Trial By Fire, Abuse of Power, and Buried Evidence.


Nancy Taylor Rosenberg spent fourteen years in law enforcement, including affiliations with the Dallas Police Department, the New Mexico State Police, the Ventura Police, and the Ventura County Probation Department, where she was a superior court investigator.  Her first novel, Mitigating Circumstances, quickly became a New York Times bestseller, as have Rosenberg's subsequent novels, including Interest of Justice, First Offense, and Buried Evidence.

Read an Excerpt

The Cheater


By Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2009 Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-3890-7


CHAPTER 1

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA


Stan Waverly looked good for a dead man.

With the unwavering stare of a predator, she watched the tall, dark-haired man in the Tommy Bahama floral print shirt and green slacks make his way through the crowd of people in baggage claim. The expressions on her victims' faces never failed to amaze her. Waverly had flown to Los Angeles to have a two-day fling with a woman he had only recently met. He was about to commit adultery, break one of the most sacred vows, and to look at him, you'd think he'd just won the lottery. She doubted if he'd been this happy on his wedding day.

Stan had always had women on the side, or so he had boasted the last time they'd had dinner at Lorenzo's, a small Italian restaurant located on lower Greenville in Dallas. Since Stan was contemplating making a run for the state senate next year, he'd been forced to curtail his extracurricular activities. Lorenzo's was seldom frequented by the rich and powerful, but Stan still considered it too risky. When she provided him with a seemingly foolproof solution, she had gone from sexy to downright irresistible.

The short blue dress she was wearing was one of her favorites, as it made her waist look small and accentuated her breasts. Her hair was a tousled mass of auburn curls, her lips a shimmering movie-star red. On her feet was a pair of matching blue heels. Wearing them in an airport was perilous, and for her, painful. Men loved heels, the higher the better. They didn't care if a woman was miserable.

Stan saw her and headed her direction, grabbing her around the waist and pulling her tight against his body. "Feel that," he said, referring to his erection. "That's Texas-size, sweetie pie."

She tilted her head to one side, causing the hair on the right side of her face to fall forward and obscure one eye. He was pumped up on something, probably Cialis, which was referred to as the "weekender" because it lasted several days. She doubted if he had a legitimate problem with erectile dysfunction, more a need to have a larger and longer-lasting erection. Obviously, he had wanted to impress her. How sweet, she thought facetiously. "How was your flight?"

"You look fantastic," Stan commented, stepping back so he could check out her body. "Better than I remembered, actually."

She wanted to tell him it was because he was sober. "You look great, too, baby." She clapped her hands lightly like a teenager. "I'm so excited, Stan. We're going to have a super time. I can't believe you're really here."

Stan noticed a middle-aged man in a brown jacket watching them. "Maybe we should get out of here," he said, placing his palm in the center of her back. "I doubt if anyone will recognize me here, but I can't take a chance. I do business all over the world, remember."

She gave him a wide-eyed girlish look. "I don't know why you want to go into politics, Stan. Being an international attorney sounds so exotic. You get to travel to all these great places. Do you go to Paris very often? I adore Paris. Rome is terrible in the summer. I visited the Tivoli Fountain in August and almost got sick. It was like a giant dust bowl full of smelly people." Men expected idiotic chatter from pretty women, so she had incorporated it into her routine.

"I don't have any clients in Paris," he said, disinterested. "I go to China and Japan frequently. All I do is work. Where did you park?"

"Across the street," she told him. As they headed toward the exit, she walked several feet behind him so no one would notice they were together. She had no intention of hurting his wife. Before making her final decision, she had met Belinda Waverly and even talked to several of her friends. Stan's wife was a beautiful, gracious woman, who seemed to do everything possible to please her husband. She ate like a squirrel, worked out every day, and was already busy organizing Stan's campaign. A good woman like that didn't deserve a man like Stan.

They were outside of the terminal, waiting for the light to change. Cabs and cars were lined up at the curb, people excitedly waiting for friends and loved ones, children jumping up and down, businessmen pacing and talking on their cell phones. Families were clustered together in colorful clothing, more than likely headed to Disneyland. Los Angeles was the best place to be in August. Even if it warmed up during the day, it always cooled down in the evenings. At present, it was midday and the temperature was in the low eighties. Compared to the triple-digit heat in Texas, Los Angeles was paradise.

"Did you check into the Hyatt like I told you?"

No one told her what to do, but he would learn that lesson later. "Hotels are so impersonal, Stan. I've arranged for us to use my uncle's cabin."

His face muscles tensed. "We're staying in a damn cabin? This is L.A., for God's sake. How far away is this place? I've been on a plane for three hours. I thought we were going to spend the next two days in the sack, not cooped up in a car."

"It's not far," she said with the same cheerful tone. The light changed and they crossed the street to the parking garage. "It's only two o'clock, Stan. We shouldn't have to worry about traffic this time of day. My uncle's cabin overlooks a lake. We can even skinny-dip if we want. There's not a soul within thirty miles." He still had an annoyed look on his face. Spoiled prick, she thought, knowing he was used to getting his way. "You'll love it, I promise. I stocked the kitchen with food and bought us two bottles of Dom. Don't worry. I didn't forget your Jack Daniel's. I bought enough to fill a bathtub." She halted among the rows of cars. "Are you sure you feel comfortable about this? If you're not, we can call it off right now."

Stan had just been presented with the biggest decision of his life. If he displayed even a flicker of hesitance, she might reconsider killing him. But she knew he wouldn't. None of them did. A man never refused a piece of ass, particularly one he'd never had before.

"Trust me," he said, smiling playfully, "I'm not going anywhere. I've been fantasizing about you for weeks." He paused, trying to remember something. "By the way, that company you turned me on to is terrific. Whoever came up with the idea is brilliant. I don't say this very often, but they could double their prices. I know guys who'd pay a fortune for what this operation offers."

Tell me something I don't know, she thought, stopping and unlocking the door to a black Hummer. "There's other people out there providing these kinds of services, Stan," she told him. "You have to be extremely cautious about who you use in a delicate situation like this. You might be an attorney, but I know you're also a businessman. There's a right and a wrong way to do things. The company I referred you to doesn't rely on other members. Their employees seem both discreet and professional." She stopped herself. For one thing, she sounded too intelligent, and for another, Stan would be dead soon, so there was no reason to pitch him. It was as foolish as throwing bait to a fish you'd already reeled in. Giggling, she said, "Gosh, they acted like they were the CIA or something. All this secret stuff turns me on."

He came up behind her and squeezed her breasts. "Forget the cabin," he said lustily. "Let's go to a damn motel."

She stepped forward and broke his grip, then hoisted herself into the driver's seat. "Don't be impatient, baby." Time for more chatter, she told herself. "Isn't this car fun? This is a baby Hummer, or at least that's what I call it. I didn't rent one of the big ones because I was afraid I'd be tempted to ram something just for the hell of it." Her fingers trailed around the steering wheel. "I've always wanted to drive one of these things. Besides, the road to the cabin isn't paved. They're not predicting rain or anything. I thought you'd feel safer in this than some cheap rental." Before she started the ignition, she reached into the backseat and retrieved two bottles of strawberry-flavored water from an ice-filled cooler, wishing she could pry open his mouth and pour it down his throat.

Stan removed the cap on his water and took a long swig, then smacked his lips. "This is delicious. I love a woman who takes care of things. My wife doesn't take care of shit. We have a full-time maid and she still complains. She doesn't even know how to put gas in the car."

"I'd rather you didn't talk about your wife." Belinda was an exceptionally attractive woman, but she didn't seem all that bright. She suspected it was one of the reasons Stan had married her. Women like that were easier to dominate. It chapped her that men never gave their wives credit for raising their children. Belinda had three young kids and scores of commitments in the community. She probably worked twice as hard as Stan, and he had an office full of employees to do his bidding.

"Why? You're always asking me about Belinda."

She reached into her purse to pay the parking attendant, handing him the ticket stub and a ten-dollar bill. If Stan had been a gentleman, he would have offered to pay for it. She'd leased the car, bought the booze, and saved him the cost of the hotel room. Many times it was the little things that showed a person's character. Stan had failed every test. The asshole hadn't even opened the car door for her. "Committing adultery might be a common practice for you, Stan," she said, "but it isn't for me."

"We're not going to get into a heavy conversation, I hope?" he said, finishing his water and tossing the bottle into the backseat. "If I wanted that, I could have stayed home." He turned sideways in his seat. "Just so you won't feel sorry for her, Belinda lives like a queen. She has a gorgeous home, a new Mercedes, jewelry fit for a queen, and an unlimited spending budget. So what if I get a little action on the side? I'm not a monogamous person. I was cheating on my first wife when I started sleeping with Belinda. It's not right for her to expect me to be faithful. She knew what she was getting into before she married me."

Stan pulled a small package out of his jacket pocket and handed it to her. "I got you a little present. Well, actually, it's the same perfume Belinda wears." He stopped speaking, his jaw dropping. "Shit, I can't believe I said that."

"Don't worry," she told him. "I don't wear perfume."

"You're not mad, are you? There are certain precautions I have to take. It's not like I'm unhappily married. I adore my wife."

She gave him a stiff smile. "I know the rules, Stan. Don't forget, I have a family, too." The Versed she had placed in his water was beginning to take hold. She dropped the tiny bottle of perfume into her purse, thinking it was probably one of those gift-with-purchase items that the cologne and cosmetic companies gave out periodically. Stan must have swiped it from Belinda. Not only was he an adulterer, he was cheap. She despised cheap men, especially if they had money, and Stan was a millionaire many times over. Of course, poor people didn't become senators. Politics was a playground for the wealthy.

One guy had gone so far as to ask her to change her hair color to match his wife's. Cheating was a game to them, and they loved every minute. Men wanted to be boys forever with secret decoder rings and tree house hideouts. Former cocaine addicts had told her how they missed using their credit cards to separate the white lines, or rolling up a hundred-dollar bill to snort it. The ritual seemed as addictive as the drug. When it came to men, the same appeared to be true of adultery.

Men didn't want to get caught, but this fear wasn't there for the right reasons. They didn't want their wives to discover they were having an affair because that would make it harder for them to get away with it the next time.

Versed was such a dynamite drug that she could say or do anything to Stan right now and he wouldn't remember it. Doctors and anesthetists used it for minor surgery, generally referring to it as conscious sedation. The person might fall asleep, depending on the dosage administered, but could be easily awakened to talk and interact with the physician conducting the procedure. The drug caused an individual to experience amnesia, so when he awoke, he had no memory whatsoever of what had occurred.

Stan might have chosen his words more carefully if she hadn't dosed his water. She'd given him just enough of the drug to relax him, make him oblivious to his surroundings. Without traffic, the trip from LAX to San Bernardino took close to two hours. If he knew, he'd pitch a fit. Once they reached the cabin, she would put enough Versed in his Jack Daniel's to render him unconscious. She couldn't do that now because she wasn't strong enough to carry him, at least not in one piece. She took the ramp for the 101 freeway south and began searching for Interstate 10.

"I can't believe how good I feel around you," Stan said, a goofy grin on his face. "It's like getting stoned without the grass. I haven't been this turned on for years, not since I banged my best friend's wife. I can't wait to get you in the sack." He pulled her hand over the center console and raised his hips so it would reach his genitals.

"Get your fucking hands off of me," she snarled, yanking her hand away. A moment later, she tempered her anger. Stan wouldn't remember the things she said later, but he would react to them now, and she wasn't in the mood to wrestle a guy while navigating the freeway. "You don't want me to crash the car, do you? Then your wife would find out and you wouldn't get to be a senator."

"Ah, don't be mean, baby."

She smiled at him, surprised he was so alert. He had a strong constitution, which she would have to compensate for later. "Traveling is such a hassle today," she said. "You look tired, Stan. Why don't you take a nap? I'll wake you as soon as we get to the cabin."

"Good idea," he said, sprawling out in the seat and closing his eyes. In no time, he was snoring. He continued that way until she turned onto a bumpy dirt road and reached over and shook his arm. "Man, I must have been exhausted. Where the hell are we?"

"We're almost there, sleepyhead." She rolled down the window and held her hand outside. "Isn't it beautiful up here? I hate cities in the summer. The smog becomes unbearable." They were in the forest now, surrounded by tall trees and lush foliage. The streaks of sunlight looked like flashlights shining down from the sky. She inhaled a heady mixture of greenery: earth, moisture, and various natural elements. "Smell the air, Stan. And the temperature is perfect. We don't even need air-conditioning."

The effects of the drug had worn off. Stan rubbed his chin, and then pulled out his cell phone. "Jesus, there's no reception. How am I going to keep in touch with my office?"

"My cell works, or at least it does from the cabin. I was up here with my uncle about three months ago. Can't you handle your business later? This was supposed to be our time."

Once they reached the cabin, Stan calmed down, although he still had that dazed, what-the-hell-happened look on his face. She got out and went to unlock the front door, asking him to bring in her suitcase from the trunk of the Hummer. Dropping the keys on the kitchen counter, she grabbed two glasses and opened the refrigerator to get some ice. She then removed a small bottle from her purse and poured a few drops of the Versed syrup into the glass she had just marked with a black Magic Marker. She then plunked an ice cube into each glass and filled them up with Jack Daniel's.

"Here we go," she said, handing him the drink as soon as he sat her suitcase by the door. "Cheers."

Stan sipped his drink as he glanced around the room. The cabin was an A-frame, so the room had a pitched ceiling, and there were two sofas with fabric displaying hunting scenes and a well-worn brown leather recliner. Next to one of the sofas was a large rattan basket filled with magazines and newspapers. The fireplace was made out of stone and reached to the ceiling. A stack of wood and kindling rested beside it. "Cozy place," he said, downing the last of the liquor. "Where's the bedroom? I think you owe me an appetizer. I've been riding around in one box or the other all day."

She left her drink untouched on the kitchen counter. The glasses were marked, but she had confused them once and passed out. The son of a bitch she'd been with had dropped her off at the emergency room and taken off. She'd thought of tracking him down to finish what she had started, but it wasn't worth the effort. She hoped he would be the only man to ever survive her. She thought of herself as a disease. You couldn't fault a disease for doing what it was created to do. If she didn't kill men like Stan, she would be defeating her purpose.

Removing her clothing as she headed toward the bedroom, she put on a short striptease for him. She threw her belt over her shoulder and kicked off her shoes. "Be a doll and bring my bag to the bathroom for me, will you?"

"Later," Stan said, seizing her arm and pushing her down on the bed. Something crinkled and he sat up, feeling the bed with his hand. "What in the hell is this? Shit, it's plastic or something. I don't want to sleep on a damn plastic sheet. Is your uncle incontinent? Why didn't you rent us a room at a Hyatt like I said? I didn't go to all this trouble to —"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Cheater by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg. Copyright © 2009 Nancy Taylor Rosenberg. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
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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The Cheater 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
DFWDavid More than 1 year ago
I rarely read thrillers. Apart from a handful by Thomas Harris, John Grisham, and a few others, they're not usually my thing. "The Cheater" is my first Nancy Taylor Rosenberg novel. But it definitely won't be my last. Rosenberg grabbed me on page one and refused to let go. I imagine her long-time fans will already be familiar with Lily Forester, but "The Cheater" was my introduction to this remarkable lady. Unlike some genre authors, one can't help but feel Rosenberg cares deeply and passionately about her creations. Or perhaps they all care, but Rosenberg wears her heart closer to her sleeve? Whatever the explanation, she made it all too easy to become personally invested in the fate of these characters. The author embraces the immortal words of Heraclitus: "Character is destiny." The action plays out like a modern Greek tragedy. These characters are very human, looking for the same things we all desire - love, companionship, understanding, and perhaps most of all answers to life's toughest questions. And like all of us they find themselves undermined by their mistakes and frailties. Not unlike real life, the consequences are rarely predictable and always engaging. Count on plot twists you don't see coming - a highly addictive experience! With less than 50 pages to go, I found myself dreading the inevitable final one, when I'd have to say goodbye to these kindred spirits. Thankfully, Rosenberg never shoves the moral(s) of her yarn down our throats. But beneath this "light" read lies an ocean of unexpected depth and resonance. The climax alone probably already has filmmakers forming a queue at the author's door. Cast Julia Roberts as Lily, hire a sure handed director - and get ready for a box office smash.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The premise is outstanding and unique. The characters were fully drawn out and individualized. However, Ms. Rosenberg's usual research and attention to details failed her miserably in her latest outing. When Lily is remembering the details of the night her daughter's rapist is murdered by her, she ends up saying the police dropped all charges against her daughter, who said she was the one who killed him. However, her daughter was 13, it was the middle of the night, and she went home to her father's house. So how did she get to the (mistaken) rapist's house? Lily also mentioned she threw up after she shot Hernandez. There was no mention of the CSI's examining the vomitus to see if DNA could be extracted. She also stated she left the "ejected shells" from the old shotgun. If I remember correctly, the old shotguns didn't eject the shell casings. Unless there is to be a sequel to this book, there were too many ends that weren't tied up at the ending of the novel. Did leave me wondering about those characters involved. There are a few other discrepancies in the book that I found rather glaring, but won't get into. Overall, the premise and the delivery were wonderful. But whether the lapses mentioned above were done by the author, or in the editing of the manuscript, I'm sure I am not the only one to question why they were there. This author is a fantastic writer. Hopefully, in her next novel, a bit more attention to detail will make it the super-seller that I know she's capable of writing.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Lily Forester has come a long way from when she killed her daughter's rapist (see Mitigating Circumstances) as she is now a Ventura County judge. She even survived killing the wrong man at that time and her daughter killing the right male (see Buried Evidence).-------------- Recently Lily and lawyer Anne Bradley have become friends. However, Anne has accused Lily's husband Bryce Donnelly of rape in Vegas. Meanwhile FBI profiler Mary Stevens has begun finding a pattern of a female serial killer murdering cheating spouses. She is unaware who even as Alibi Connection inadvertently helps Anne locate cheaters in order to kill them.------------------------ THE CHEATER is a fascinating cat and mouse serial killer investigation. The story line is fast-paced and gripping though the readers know who the killer is early on and that man-eater is a zillion kilometers over the top of the Sierras as a psychopath. Mary is a terrific support character as she struggles to profile a female predator while Lily remains tormented and remorseful though she does not prevent her internal demons from doing her job. Fans will enjoy her return and want more profiling from Mary.------------ Harriet Klausner
Anonymous 8 months ago
Great detective story with so many twists and turns, you lose track of who’s who. Keep reading till the last word.....you won’t be disappointed.
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