Jealousy

Jealousy

by Nancy Bush

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Overview

HATRED LEADS TO OBSESSION . . .

It’s taken time for the plan to unfold, years spent waiting, watching, hating. . . . And after the first victim, the killing gets easier and easier . . .
 
OBSESSION LEADS TO JEALOUSY . . .

The Crissmans, owners of Crissman & Wolfe department store, were once one of Portland’s most powerful families. There’s still enough fortune left to sow mistrust between Lucy, her bohemian sister Layla, their brother Lyle, and his grasping wife Kate. When a charity event at the Crissman Lodge ends in a fatal poisoning, Lucy becomes a prime suspect. But the truth is even more twisted, and Lucy can’t be sure which of her family is being targeted . . . or who to fear.
 
AND JEALOUSY LEADS TO MURDER . . .

Renowned defense attorney Dallas Denton has been hired to clear Lucy’s name, unaware of the secret that ties them together or of the deep cracks in the Crissman legacy. Someone is ready to eliminate every obstacle to get what they most covet, and prove that envy runs deeper than blood . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420142914
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 260,667
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.76(h) x 1.26(d)

About the Author

NANCY BUSH is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Dangerous Behavior, The Killing Game, You Don’t Know Me, Nowhere Safe, Nowhere to Hide, Nowhere to Run, Hush, Blind Spot, Unseen, Wicked Ways, Something Wicked, Wicked Game, and Wicked Lies, in the Colony series co-written with her sister, bestselling author Lisa Jackson. She is also the co-author of Sinister and Ominous, written with Lisa Jackson and New York Times bestselling author Rosalind Noonan. Nancy lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. Readers can visit her website at www.nancybush.net.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

One month earlier ...

Lucy Linfield pressed herself into the back of the padded, oxblood-red booth and sipped her vodka martini, her gaze on the good-looking bartender with the strong jaw and the five o'clock shadow as he moved from one end of the bar to the other, pouring drinks and offering up little ecru napkins. His shirt's white sleeves were pushed up his forearms, and she liked the look of his skin on his arms and the underlying muscles. She also liked the look of his face and his neck above the unbuttoned vee of smooth, hard flesh. She imagined his eyes were blue. She was a sucker for blue eyes.

Narrowing her eyes for a better look — she really should get those long-distance glasses she'd been putting off — she watched him pour a cosmopolitan into a triangular glass and push it toward the server whose breasts were trying to escape the white, ruffled bodice of her wench outfit. This was part of the Pembroke Inn's theme decor, which, if asked, Lucy would label medieval men's club. It was one of the few Portland restaurants that had been open over a hundred years and had been a favorite of her grandfather, Lyle Abbott Crissman Jr., called simply Junior, and her father, Lyle Abbott Crissman III, called simply Abbott. She'd never asked if her great-grandfather, the original Lyle Abbott Crissman, called simply Criss — the construct of Criss, Junior, and Abbott made to keep their names straight over the years, apparently — had been a patron.

In any case, she was glad to be here today, idly imagining what it would be like to kiss the bartender's firm lips. Mark. His name was Mark, she thought. She'd never seen him before — unlike the male counterparts in her family, she wasn't a Pembroke Inn regular — but she thought she'd heard someone call him by name.

I'll have to ask Kate when she gets here.

Her sister-in-law, married to her brother, Lyle Abbott Crissman IV, simply called Lyle, which was the sanest answer to the family name thing, Lucy firmly believed, had been the one to set up this afternoon meeting. Kate had said she had something she wanted to discuss with Lucy and her sister, Layla, and she'd invited them both to a four o'clock soirée on Tuesday afternoon; well, more like a command performance, knowing Kate, which was why Lucy was here drinking martinis in the first place.

And, well, Mark.

"Mark," she uttered softly, trying it out.

She was in dangerous territory even thinking about him. She'd had crushes before, if you could call them that. Little naught-mentioned obsessions about one man or another: the buff, dark-haired son of the head gardener at Stonehenge, the family's pet name for their estate above the Columbia River; the actor on the drama about that wealthy Southern family whose name she could never remember — she'd watched his episodes over and over again until John had teased her about him and she'd abruptly stopped, embarrassed; the UPS worker with the really muscular arms, the one before the older guy who delivered to them now; and then, of course, lastly, the true lover whom she would not name, sort of like Voldemort, who'd given her Evie and who sometimes, even now, occasionally entered her darkest dreams, and she would remember that night and the pain and the choking shame that came after.

She tossed back the rest of her martini in one swallow, coughing a little. Nope. Not going there again. She knew better. She'd made up way too many scenarios and excuses and reasons, and all of them were lies to explain the unexplainable.

Pushing those thoughts firmly aside, she turned her attention to the massive oak and stone fireplace at the far end of the room, the firebox huge enough that you could practically stand in it, the andirons impossible to move without a forklift. A number of white-haired gentlemen Lucy recognized as friends of her grandfather were congregated by the mullioned windows that opened onto a grassy forecourt. During the day, the restaurant looked like an English country home, but this afternoon, with rain puddling on the walkways and the box hedges glimmering wetly in the fading light, it seemed more like a lodge in the far backwoods of Sherwood Forest, not a bustling restaurant on the east side of the Willamette River, a stone's throw from Portland's city center.

The Pembroke's one bar waitress was leaning across the bar, giving Mark a good, long look at those bursting breasts. He was saying something to her and she nodded, and in that moment one of the male patrons reached over and slapped her lightly on the butt, just above her short little ruffled hem.

Lucy sucked in a breath in surprise as the waitress reared back and gave Mr. Grab-ass a glare that could cut through steel. Lucy glanced at Mark, who seemed to be assessing the situation, wondering, maybe, whether to jump into the fray. But the waitress was clearly holding her own. Lucy read her lips: Touch me again and die. The guy was much younger than the group by the fireplace; thirties, she guessed. Drunk, he grinned up sloppily at the waitress, lifted his hands in surrender, and tried to maintain his seat on the barstool with limited success. His friend collared him and sat him back down, then leaned past him to apologize. In the process, he copped a very long, lascivious look at the waitress's burgeoning boobs himself.

Drama. Well, huh. Lucy had new respect for the waitress, whose name was Kitty, she believed. She was pretty sure that was what Mark had called her, though from across the room she wasn't entirely sure she'd heard correctly, and her lip-reading skills weren't that refined. Kitty had a great body, but her face was as stern and humorless as a prison matron's, and the continued stare she gave Mr. Grab-ass was enough to give a sober person fair warning.

When Kitty finally broke focus to glance around the room at the other patrons, Lucy signaled her, pointing to her own drink, then lifting a finger to indicate she needed another. Kitty raised her chin in an I-got-you motion, and said something to Mark, who looked Lucy's way.

Lucy felt a frisson of awareness shoot through her and did a moment of serious soul-searching. Would she go there? Would she? If he was interested? Would she?

Yes. Maybe ...

Her heart pounded at the thought.

It was utterly depressing to realize how little spark there was left in her own marriage.

A few minutes later, Kitty plopped an icy-cold martini with two olives skewered on a red toothpick in front of Lucy. "On the tab?" she asked, already gazing back at another group of men at the far end of the bar from Mr. Grab-ass and his friend, who seemed to be collecting themselves and getting ready to leave.

"Yes, thanks."

One of the men in the new group was signaling her, and Kitty drew a breath and dutifully walked toward him, standing back on one hip to take his order. He seemed to be having a hell of a time deciding as he smiled up at Kitty in that too-friendly way, like he'd gotten by on charm for way too much of his life. He, too, was all hands, touching Kitty's arm, sliding fingers around her elbow, leaning in just as she turned in the hopes of brushing her magnificent rack.

They were all assholes.

Except Mark.

Well, maybe him, too, but fine. She'd do him anyway. It wasn't like she planned on marrying him. She'd made that mistake already, and though she'd been faithful to John and tried her best over the last four years — well, at least mostly her best — she was suffering beneath the law of diminishing returns. Even when she tried harder, John almost never responded or noticed.

Were they really edging toward divorce?

Yes.

Lucy closed her eyes, sighed, then opened them again. She picked up her drink, took a sip. She had a nice little buzz going and she didn't want it to stop. Besides, if she had to put up with Kate, better to be somewhat trashed. Whatever her sister-in-law wanted, alcohol would make it more bearable.

It occurred to her that she hadn't told John she was meeting Layla and Kate, so he would run right into the babysitter: her neighbor's daughter, who was sliding from fresh-faced cheerleader into gothic pseudo-intellectual, much to John's horror and Lucy's private amusement.

Plucking her cell phone from a side pocket of her purse, she texted her husband: With Layla and Kate. Bella is babysitting Evie.

There. She dropped the phone back in the pocket and turned to her drink once more. She knew this wouldn't go over, but she'd deal with the fallout later. She'd left the office early with no explanation. Lately, she hadn't been a model employee at Crissman & Wolfe, her family's department store, but she didn't much care. Though she hadn't wanted to meet Kate, she was happy to walk out and let the other employees figure out their jobs, for once. She wasn't going to earn any points with her brother, her father, or her husband, all connected to the business in one way or another, but sometimes being the mother and decision maker to everyone else just plain sucked.

She heard a text come in just as Layla blew through the heavy oak door, followed by a swirling, cold January wind that made everyone in the bar sit up a little straighter and glare at her as if the weather was her fault. Her sister was a couple of inches taller than Lucy and her curves were more pronounced. She wore a long, dark blue skirt and black boots beneath a thigh-length black coat, a matching blue scarf with dark symbols that looked like runes from where Lucy sat. Layla saw Lucy and nodded to her, her blondish hair touched with rain, the ends sparkling like diamonds.

"You're drinking a martini," she said as she approached, sliding the scarf from around her neck and beginning to unbutton the coat.

"Yes, I am. Grey Goose straight up." She lofted the glass and nearly spilled some.

"Your first?"

"My fourth," Lucy lied. "But who's counting?"

Layla gave her a sharp look, then realized Lucy was putting her on. She shrugged out of her coat to reveal a brick-red peasant-style blouse and hammered, dull gray metal earrings with a matching, looping necklace in a vaguely Native American design. Layla was nothing if not colorful, though she'd never learned the art of makeup, for some reason.

"Since when are you the booze police?" Lucy asked her. Layla was a teetotaler after a traffic accident that, though it hadn't involved drinking at all, had resulted in a young woman's death and robbed her child of a mother. Still, she rarely made judgment calls.

"I don't care if it's your tenth, except I don't want you to die of alcohol poisoning. I need to talk to you before Kate gets here, and I want you to remember it."

"I'll remember." Lucy thought this might be close to an untruth, so she forced herself to focus hard.

"I'm ..." Layla inhaled, held it a moment, then exhaled. "I'm in flux."

This wasn't exactly breaking news. Layla was always in some kind of a situation, it seemed. "What kind of flux?"

"Maybe I should wait till Kate gets here, so I don't have to go through this twice," she said, changing her mind. Again, true Layla. She could switch gears so fast, you'd suffer vertigo.

"Sounds dire."

"Not dire ... but life changing."

"Okay. Now you've got my attention."

Layla shook her head, apparently having made up her mind to wait for Kate. "Tell me about Evie. How's it going?"

Lucy's daughter was nine and the apple of her Aunt Layla's eye. "She's being watched by Bella Stromvig, who lives down the street. You remember her?"

"The cheerleader?"

"Yeah, well ... yes, though she seems to be entering a new phase. Evie thinks she's the greatest, no matter what, so that's good. Sitters are just a challenge; you have no idea. Or maybe it's just me. Other people seem to manage them without a problem, but I find them needy. Luckily, we're nearly out of the babysitting phase and it's just a couple of hours after school these days. And I've been shortening my hours." By simply leaving work.

A frown line was forming between Layla's brows. Afraid she might actually have heard of Lucy's new work plan, she added before Layla could speak, "Evie's piano lessons are coming along. Luckily, we have that old monster upright from John's mother, and we barely use the living room for anything else, so now it's a music room."

"I hated piano," Layla said on a sigh.

"I remember. Dad made Mom stop giving you lessons because you cried like you were being beaten."

"I've never been good about hiding my feelings."

"Amen." Lucy nearly slopped her drink. "At least they didn't make me take lessons."

"That's because you were so bullheaded, no one wanted to fight with you."

That struck Lucy surprisingly hard. She had been bullheaded. "But I'm not that way any longer," she said before she could stop herself.

"You try harder now," Layla agreed, though that wasn't quite the same thing, in Lucy's opinion. Layla, the oldest of the three Crissman siblings, had always been more laid-back than Lucy, who was only a year behind her. In that way, they'd seemed to skip the traditional roles. It was Lucy who was the more responsible ... or at least she had been. Layla was artier and generally considered the nicer of the two sisters, though they'd certainly had their fights growing up. Lyle, the youngest, had been a pleaser when he was a kid, and the way he kowtowed to his wife these days, that personality trait still seemed to be going strong.

"You changed when you had Evie," Layla added to Lucy's silence.

I changed when Evie was conceived, Lucy thought. She had a moment of remembrance before she pulled herself back from that precipice. "Why don't you tell me your big secret before Kate arrives and sucks all the air out of the room?"

"Well ..." Layla said, hesitating.

Before she could go further, the inn's front door opened again, and Kate appeared in a hooded white rain jacket. She glanced toward the bar, then looked around with a lifted chin in that way Lucy found distracting and annoying, as if she were royalty surveying her kingdom.

"As soon as she sits down, you're spilling," Lucy warned her sister, her gaze fixed on Kate.

She really couldn't stand her sister-in-law for a whole host of reasons. Kate was single-minded, humorless, and mean-spirited. She didn't like women at all, in Lucy's experience. Men, well, men with money, now they interested her, and whenever they were in a social situation that involved males, Kate zeroed in on the wealthiest, usually older guy in the room and beelined toward him. Said older gentlemen always ate up the attention. It was a marvel that men never seemed to see through her, or maybe they just didn't care. Maybe it was just nice to have someone hang on your every word, no matter that you were boring as dirt. And Kate was certainly pleasant enough to look at. Lucy would never have been able to suffer through it, whereas Kate, always on a mission, appeared attentive and interested.

But, man, was she a sour pill to her sisters-in-law. Maybe to all women, come to that.

Not for the first time, Lucy almost wished Kate would cheat on her brother. Maybe then Lyle would see she was only in it for the family money, of which he, being the only male heir, would get the lion's share, an antiquated part of the will they'd all been made aware of, though no one had seen fit to change it. It was great-grandfather Lyle Abbott Crissman, Criss's wish, and it had remained in place throughout the years. Ironically, dear old dad, Abbott, and her grandfather, Junior, had helped themselves to Great-grandfather's wealth without adding anything to the pot. After a long stretch of profligate spending and bad investments, the once-vaunted Crissman wealth had sorely diminished, and by the time Junior died, after a long stay in a private-care nursing home — a drawn-out misery that had ended the year before — the Crissman fortune was mostly a thing of the past. All, again, according to what she'd heard. Neither Lucy nor Layla had asked for a running account and, as their father was still alive and the sole heir, it also wasn't their right.

Kate spied them, lifted a palm in recognition, then pulled back her hood and headed their way. She wore her blond-streaked hair in a sleek bob and her cherubic face was split by an insincere smile. Kate swung into the chair opposite Lucy and next to Layla. She had icy-blue eyes that never showed the least bit of warmth or humor. Her coldness put Lucy's teeth on edge. Lucy tried very hard to keep a smile on her face whenever they were together, but it was difficult.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Jealousy"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Nancy Bush.
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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Jealousy 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous 10 days ago
I thought it started out a bit slow but definitely picked up speed. There were more than a few twists and turns. An enjoyable read.
Anonymous 8 months ago
keeps+your+interest.+nice+ending
Anonymous 12 months ago
I kept coming back to read it as the plot twisted and turned. I think I will read more by this author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finished the book but I really didnt care how it ended. The story was long and boring. Didn’t care for the characters. Wouldn’t recommend you waste your money buying this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By the last third of the book, enjoyed it & satisfying, surprising ending. Earlier, almost stopped reading because I really didn't like any of the main characters. I found them to be grasping, self centered & secretive. Ultimately understand them better & some honest & caring characters show up so glad I finished the book!
sarah53121 More than 1 year ago
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC of Jealousy by Nancy Bush that I read and reviewed. I just could not get into this book as much as I wanted too. I am usually a huge fan of Nancy Bush but this book just moved to slow for me and I could not connect with the characters like I usually do. Overall, this book was just okay for me. Nothing really stood out and grabbed me and made me fall in love with it. I am giving this book three out of five stars. thank you NetGalley for the ARC of Jealousy by Nancy Bush that I read and reviewed. I just could not get into this book as much as I wanted too. I am usually a huge fan of Nancy Bush but this book just moved to slow for me and I could not connect with the characters like I usually do. Overall, this book was just okay for me. Nothing really stood out and grabbed me and made me fall in love with it. I am giving this book three out of five stars.
sarah53121 More than 1 year ago
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC of Jealousy by Nancy Bush that I read and reviewed. I just could not get into this book as much as I wanted too. I am usually a huge fan of Nancy Bush but this book just moved to slow for me and I could not connect with the characters like I usually do. Overall, this book was just okay for me. Nothing really stood out and grabbed me and made me fall in love with it. I am giving this book three out of five stars. thank you NetGalley for the ARC of Jealousy by Nancy Bush that I read and reviewed. I just could not get into this book as much as I wanted too. I am usually a huge fan of Nancy Bush but this book just moved to slow for me and I could not connect with the characters like I usually do. Overall, this book was just okay for me. Nothing really stood out and grabbed me and made me fall in love with it. I am giving this book three out of five stars.