Annabel Jayquith and Daniel Ransom meet at a party. They fall instantly in love, unaware that their lives are inextricably bound together by the crime that shocked a nation.
Daniel is the high-profile son of a slain US senator who had presidential ambitions. Annabel is the daughter of a billionaire businessman. Like Daniel, Annabel is haunted by the discovery of her family history—a past she never knew existed.
Annabel is rich and beautiful, but eighteen-year-old Jade O'Keeffe is poor and alone. She hates her mother, the fabulously successful TV talk-show host Theodora Jayquith, for giving her up for adoption. But most of all, she hates Annabel, Theodora's spoiled, much-loved niece. And Jade is going to make them all pay.
As Daniel's search for the truth about his father's unsolved murder puts him in the crosshairs of Jade's revenge, a killer slips from the shadows. Now a secret that could bury two powerful families could also destroy Annabel and Daniel's growing love.
|Publisher:||Open Road Media|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||6 MB|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Caroline B. Cooney (b. 1947) is the author of nearly a hundred books, including the famed young adult thriller The Face on the Milk Carton, an international bestseller. Cooney's books have been translated into several languages, and have received multiple honors and awards, including an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults award and a nomination for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. She is best known for her popular teen horror thrillers and romance novels. Her fast-paced, plot-driven work often explores themes of good and evil, love and hatred, right and wrong, and moral ambiguity. Born in Geneva, New York, Cooney grew up in Connecticut, and often sets her novels in dramatic New England landscapes. She has three children and four grandchildren and currently lives in South Carolina.
Read an Excerpt
By Caroline B. Cooney
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1993 Caroline B. Cooney
All rights reserved.
It was the fourth week in June.
In Manhattan, the jet set gathered. Among the rich and famous, one eighteen-year-old girl was also truly beautiful. Annabel Jayquith was rarely alone and was accustomed to having every eye upon her.
In southern Ohio, another eighteen-year-old girl sat by herself in a dull and shabby row house in a dull and shabby town, watching television. Jade O'Keeffe was always alone, and nobody ever watched her.
Instead, she watched them.
Jade was looking at the Late Night News. She had recorded it, as she had been recording the news ever since she found the papers in the lockbox. She had tape after tape of evening news. This was one of her favorites.
"Hello, Theodora," said Jade.
The nation's best-known anchorwoman smiled out of the television set. Theodora's smile was famous for its cruel edge. Theodora liked to pry the truth out of people who wanted to keep it hidden.
"This time," said Jade, taunting, "I'm the one with the smile, Theodora. And you're the one trying to hide the truth."
She practiced holding her head like Theodora. Then she worked on her laugh. Theodora Jayquith's laugh was often compared to gunfire. People said that being laughed at by Theodora Jayquith was like standing in front of a submachine gun: It was metallic and it hurt.
On television, Theodora interviewed Jade's favorite rock band. Jade owned six of their releases. She'd never even been able to afford a general seating ticket at one of their famous concerts. And there was Theodora Jayquith, calling the men by their first names. Touching the drummer's shoulder intimately. Theodora's famous laugh spilled over like a bronze waterfall.
The remote control shook in Jade's hand. "I hate you, Theodora."
At first, talking to the face in the television, Jade had whispered. One-way conversation seemed evil and twisted. She had not wanted to risk being overheard.
But there was no one to hear. Jade's parents were dead. Jade did not particularly miss them. The suddenness of the car accident shook her, but tears never came, and grief never surfaced.
"Theodora! Look at me!" Jade knew the tape by memory and timed her demand, so the woman on the screen did look at her. "While you are wearing your designer gowns," said Jade, "do you know what I am wearing? Clothes from K Mart, Theodora. While you dine at famous restaurants with famous chefs, do you know what I eat? Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Theodora. When you laugh with your fabulous stars, do you know who my friends are? High school dropouts. My so-called boyfriend works at a car wash." Jade's heavily lipsticked lips twitched.
Jade often reran Theodora's interview with the British prime minister. Jade cared nothing about politics. But in that interview, Theodora said easily, as if it were an everyday thing, "When Princess Diana and I were shopping in Switzerland "
"I could have had that life!" cried Jade. "I could have visited castles in England and mansions in Beverly Hills with you! I could have known a princess and a rock band. You cheated me out of them."
The advertising break came on the tape. Jade examined her reflection in the hand mirror she kept by the VCR. Jade shared Theodora's body and bones, but not her face. She had the same thin straight hair, cut exactly the way Theodora did, a sleek cap frosted like champagne. Jade had colored contact lenses, too, and now her eyes were the same glittery green.
Theodora returned to the screen, uttering one of her viciously amusing remarks. Everybody in the newsroom threw back their heads and laughed.
"You discarded me as if I were a paper wrapper off fast-food you finished eating, Theodora," said Jade. "You were sixteen. A year younger than I am now. You decided I was nothing but a mistake. I was just an unfortunate turn of events. The best thing to do with me was forget about me. So you gave me away, Theodora Jayquith! And what is worse, you gave me away to ordinary people."
Jade was no longer able to sit. She was on her feet, looming above the television. She looked ready to stomp on it, or put her fist through it.
"Would you like to know how I grew up?" she shouted at the television. "I, your daughter? Your only child? The one you have never mentioned on television or anywhere else? In poverty, Theodora. In dull, dingy poverty."
"Good night," said Theodora to the world. She was perfectly centered in the television, her glittering hair a halo around her face. Her earrings were immense; she never wore the same pair twice; she was famous for her earrings. These looked like torn watercolor paper dusted with diamonds.
The camera panned over the broadcasting room. Theodora swiveled, addressing the sports announcer.
The sportscaster knows her, thought Jade. While I, her daughter, do not.
She punched the television off as if shoving an ice pick into its heart.
"You and I, Theodora, are about to meet." Jade's smile was a perfect replica of the famous Jayquith smile, full of the relentless cruelty that uncovers lies. "You're going to pay, Theodora," she whispered, shivering with desire. "Everything you have will be mine!"CHAPTER 2
People "collected" Annabel Jayquith. Strangers clipped stories about her out of celebrity magazines, keeping scrapbooks and chatting about her as if they were old friends. Annabel didn't mind the photographs. It was the print that made her queasy. Since Annabel's father did not permit her to talk with reporters, the papers had to make things up. Nothing was too ridiculous or exaggerated for the tabloids. They would write anything to sell copies.
A billionaire's daughter is always at risk. It was not unknown for Hollings Jayquith to hire guards for Annabel, who would watch for the gate crashers, the crazies, or the homicidal.
Her eighteenth birthday party had taken place in the Mirror Hall of a French palace. Guests were flown in from around the world, every one in royal French court costume. The men and boys were as glorious in their peacock satins as the women. In this gathering of "the beautiful people," most were rich or famous or both. But Annabel really was beautiful. In her iridescent dress with its frosting of flowers, she was as haunting as an unobtainable jewel. Her skin was alabaster white, her hair an avalanche of pure black. To the public fascinated by her, Annabel equaled romance.
Her birthday portrait, in which a hundred lovely Annabels seemed to dance within the mirrors, ended up on the cover of Famous, and from that issue, she became famous. Overnight there was an Annabel look in fashion, Annabel hairstyles, even Annabel figures. She expected to be famous like an Olympic skater or gymnast, her star eclipsed in a few years. But her friends pointed out that while athletes slipped from first place, Jayquiths would always be rich.
At that night's charity ball, she did not remotely resemble the Famous photograph. The fundraising dance was held in the Egyptian Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Annabel could not resist the chance to be an Egyptian princess. She and her hairstylists spent a wonderful afternoon sorting through color photographs of Nefertiti and Ankhesnamun, deciding how to braid Annabel's black cloud of hair. Somebody had been sent out to get gold cords and bright stones to weave like a bejeweled harness into a hundred thin braids. Annabel arrived at the ball dressed like Pharaoh's daughter in pleated white linen. Her jewelry shone with beaten gold, brilliant blue lapis lazuli, and deep red rubies. Her eyelids were painted like Cleopatra's. She looked stunning, but she did not look like Annabel Jayquith.
Usually Annabel would be with her father at such an event, but he was in Japan on business, and instead she was with the Bruce-Newcombes, whom she barely knew and did not want to know better. Mrs. Bruce-Newcombe wore black, the color in which New Yorkers specialized. She was adorned with a famous necklace, whose history she told Annabel twice.
Annabel disappeared into the shadows before she had to dance with Mr. Bruce-Newcombe. Luckily, since the Temple of Dendur was lit by torchlight for the occasion, there were plenty of shadows. She had no guards. She was, after all, with the Bruce-Newcombes.
The vast room in which the ancient Temple of Dendur had been rebuilt echoed with the clatter of twentieth-century shoes on stone. Annabel held herself tall and regal, and sometimes even sideways. Walk like an Egyptian, she sang to herself, pretending to be Queen Nefertiti painted on a pyramid wall. But Nefertiti had had her king. Annabel had only strangers to dance with. Don't think about it, Annabel told herself. Princesses are not lonely.
She danced for an hour. Annabel never tired of dancing but she certainly tired of partners her father's age. Time to retreat.
She slid into the darkness, easing down behind a floor vase large enough to hold a mummy. A stone ledge let her sit with her knees drawn up, her gold sandals half-tucked under the sharp creases of her gown.
Before her was the reflecting pool, black and ghostly in the torchlight, decorated with papyrus as if it were the Nile. Guests who possessed millions of dollars—guests who had given twenty-five thousand of them to come here tonight—threw pennies into the pool, making wishes.
There is nothing, thought Annabel, that they cannot buy. Nothing they don't already own. And look at them! Finding a penny, holding it tight, making a wish, watching it sink.
I know what they wish for what I wish for what we all wish for to love and to be loved.
Every one of us here is hoping that tonight will be the night.
Loneliness hit Annabel like a smart bomb. No! No! She actually held up a hand against it. I don't want to feel lonely tonight.
But loneliness, which has a mind of its own, came anyway, programmed to attack the vulnerable corners of her heart.
She had been lonely at Wythefield Academy, which never seemed possible even when it was happening. There would be her roommate Emmie Pearse giggling in the next bed, reading aloud from celebrity magazines. (Emmie adored Annabel's fame. Emmie subscribed to the magazines the Jayquiths hated, like People and Us and Famous and Personality. Then she liked to visit Annabel in New York and listen to Annabel's Aunt Theodora tell what the celebrities were really like.) There would be Annabel, cross-legged on the floor, studying Milton or physics, two subjects that very nearly ruined her senior year.
And there would be loneliness, joining them like a third roommate. Of all the subjects they discussed in their four years as roomies, they never once talked about loneliness. How could you sit with your closest friend, and admit that in spite of her friendship, you were lonely?
Besides, the Wythefield girls had voted Annabel's father Most Attentive, Most Willing to Have the Entire Class Visit. How could you claim loneliness with a father who showered you with phone calls, faxes, and jewelry? She was in school with girls who, after ugly divorces, hadn't heard from their fathers in years. With girls whose fathers hardly remembered their names.
Hollings Jayquith was ferocious, and a little frightening, and the most interesting man on earth. People could say what they wanted about Hollings—and they did; his reputation was not angelic—but not one of the four hundred girls at Wythefield had a father as wonderful as Annabel's, though he was rarely home. His business covered the globe, and he liked to materialize at every office, every factory, and every mine. He had great energy, and found it unbearable to sit around doing nothing. Or even sit around doing something. His private jet had Nautilus equipment so he could work out during long flights. He was always on the telephone to Annabel, or sending her presents, or expressing a piece of jewelry he had spotted in a shop window in Switzerland or Singapore.
As for Aunt Theodora, her home was the television studio. She loved dealing with the eternally famous, or the temporarily famous. She loved knowing that one of the definitions of fame was whether or not you had been on Theodora Jayquith's show. Theodora passed through Annabel's world tossing glamor like confetti.
Hollings and Theodora loved Annabel. They told her constantly that she was the center of their lives.
But Annabel knew their work was.
If Mama had lived, Annabel liked to tell herself, I would have been at the center of her life.
Of course she couldn't prove that. Her mother had painted and collected paintings. Maybe as the years went by, the center of Mama's universe would have been art, and not Annabel. Maybe Annabel was lucky Mama had died young, because she never had to face the truth that she could be second even for her mother.
It was Annabel's dream to be the center of somebody else's life. She did not tell that to Aunt Theodora, who believed that your inner core of strength should be enough. You should enjoy other people, but enjoy yourself most.
Even though Jayquith women had gone to Wythefield for four generations, every now and then loneliness undercut Annabel's faith in Hollings and Theodora. Had they sent her to Wythefield so she would be somebody else's responsibility? So they could schedule the motherless child for vacations only?
Annabel wanted to spend her life with one man who would think his entire existence was a vacation because he was with her.
Dim and insubstantial in the flickering light, a once famous actress and her elderly husband dropped pennies into the pool. They had been married for four decades. How lucky, thought Annabel, to grow old together.
Annabel was a closet grave-visitor. When she turned sixteen and was given her own cars, the first journey she took by herself was to the cemetery where her mother had been laid to rest when Annabel was nine. She had had great expectations. Here, by the quiet stone, with three words and two dates, she hoped to hear her mother speak. But Eleanor Taft Jayquith remained silent. The answers Annabel wanted, she had to compose herself.
And yet it was extraordinarily peaceful to visit her mother's grave. If Annabel went weeping, she left serene. If she went happy, she left joyful.
She had not been there in weeks. Too busy. Final exams, graduation from Wythefield, shopping for the perfect dress for each summer event, bridal showers for her roommate Emmie's older sister Venice. Emmie would be maid of honor and Annabel was one of the ten bridesmaids. By far the nicest thing about Venice's wedding was that Venice's mother was enjoying it so much. Annabel loved seeing Mrs. Pearse, because Mrs. Pearse was seeing only love.
True love, thought Annabel. I'd like to know where mine is and what's taking so long. If I had a mother, we'd talk about love. We lost it all, Mama and I. No hugs, no good-night kisses. We shared no pain, told no stories. She won't help plan my wedding and she won't weep when I come down the aisle.
Sometimes when Annabel went to her mother's grave, she wondered if her mother had had enough love. With Daddy so frequently away, so deeply involved in the financial empire he had built, had Mama been loved enough?
Would Venice and Michael, getting married next Saturday, have enough love to go around?
Venice had actually wanted one of those athletic weddings where the bride and groom compete first in the New York Marathon, with a priest waiting at the finish line, and then celebrate by bungee jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Michael said his wedding would be in a church on a village green, with the usual flowers, long gowns, and champagne. Venice gave in. If that wasn't true love, Annabel didn't know what was.
I could be like Aunt Theodora, thought Annabel. She never married. Domestic life bores her. She likes conversation, fashion, jewels, and jets. The men in her life aren't even handsome or tall. They're powerful. Like Daddy.
Annabel's father-adoration worried Aunt Theodora. "What man will measure up to Hollings?" she would say. "Who will we ever find for you?"
If Aunt Theodora—to whom prime ministers and presidents, rock stars and movie moguls, trendsetters and late night comics came begging for screen time—couldn't find the right man for Annabel, then who could?
Excerpted from Forbidden by Caroline B. Cooney. Copyright © 1993 Caroline B. Cooney. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really liked the book Forbidden,by Caroline B. cooney. The relationship between the two main characters, was very intriguing. This book is not all love, though. There is much controversy between the billionare, and his daughter's boyfriend. Both of their families have had many disagreements in the past. The book has many unseen turns in it, and is very suspensful, both with love and action. I highly recomend this book.