One Way or Another: A Novel

One Way or Another: A Novel

by Elizabeth Adler

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One Way or Another: A Novel by Elizabeth Adler

What begins as a beautiful evening at a party on a yacht ends with attempted murder...and a quest for revenge...

One moment Angie Morse is standing on the deck of a large luxury yacht and the next she feels a stinging blow to her head, a champagne bottle welded by a beautiful woman. And then a push. She is in the water. She can see people on the yacht, but they don't seem to notice that she is gone, and all seem to have deliberately turned their backs as the yacht begins to slowly pull away from her. These are her friends and one is her love. Each one had a reason for getting rid of her, though she would never have thought it would come to this. Until now.

Revenge burns so deeply inside her that she knows she will survive somehow. She will get them. Each one of them-three men and one woman. She will get them all. One way or another.

Told with Elizabeth Adler's trademark attention to luxurious detail of people and places, One Way or Another is a glamorous, twisty novel of vengeance and vindication.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250058201
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/28/2016
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 509,289
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

ELIZABETH ADLER is the internationally acclaimed author of more than thirty novels, including The Charmers. She lives in Palm Springs, California.

Read an Excerpt

One Way or Another

By Elizabeth Adler

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 Elizabeth Adler
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-6225-8


Fethiye, Turkey

Marco Polo Mahoney sprawled happily in a listing sun-lounger whose webbing straps would certainly not last much longer. Still, it was a comfortable spot to rest and sip every now and again from a bottle of arak, a bit acrid but it gave him a peaceful buzz. Pleasant for the time of the evening. Sixish? It had to be sixish, didn't it? A man certainly could not be found drinking earlier; people might think badly of him.

He reached out to stroke his dog's ears. What the hell, he was on holiday and he liked a drink or two. Maybe more. Sometimes. But drinking alone was not supposed to be good for you; he should stir himself, go out and find some company in the village. He got to his feet and stood surveying his own small part of the southern Turkish coast: a strip of white beach, a turquoise sea turning azure where it met the deeper blue of the sky now darkening with storm clouds, all set against a green, foresty background.

Marco was a well-known portrait artist. He was thirty-five, attractively craggy, currently bearded because he never shaved on holiday; brown hair brushed straight back and salty-stiff from swimming in the sea; dark blue eyes narrowed against the sun, eyes which seemed to see everything. At least that's what his sitters said, and it was true. He saw all their flaws, something they also said made them uncomfortable. But of course he was worth it.

Marco was in good shape though he never worked out. He'd played basketball in his youth; tennis too, but more often he was the one on the sidelines, charcoal in hand, sketching the action. The girls had been flattered, the boys called him a wuss. He'd laughed, but that passion was what made him who he was today, sought out by the rich, the famous; a man who knew how to play the social game but, when on his own, wore old shorts and went barefoot, like now. He was also a man who enjoyed solitude.

He was taking a short vacation, alone but for his dog, renting a cabin and sailing a small wooden boat known as a gulet out of the Turkish port of Fethiye. He was sun-brown and naked but for his bathing shorts — surfers' shorts, baggy-legged, hanging low on his lean hips — a scuffed pair of ancient flip-flops dangling from his toes.

He lifted his face to catch the last of the sun, welcoming its warm caress. He knew he should have remembered about the sunblock; had his girlfriend been with him it would not have been forgotten. The daughter of an English lord, the Honorable Martha Patron was consistent, persistent, and insistent. You knew exactly what you were getting with Martha; slightly severe beauty of the straight nose, high cheekbones, tightly pulled-back blond hair variety. It would have been worn in a ponytail on vacation, but in what Martha would surely have termed "real life" she would have worn it in a neat bun sitting low on her long neck. In bed though, it hung loose and soft over her shoulders.

On vacation too, Martha would have worn a designer bikini with a designer cover-up, which Marco knew from experience would probably be of some chiffonish material in a gentle green or blue, with rope-sole wedge heels, the real thing, made of canvas in Spain or somewhere like that. Martha was the kind of woman who always knew where they made things and where to get them, how to be first with them. With everything, actually.

Which was why Marco was still surprised she would go for a guy like him, a bit of a scruff really, his light streaky brown hair too long, always in shorts or jeans; he didn't own a real shirt other than the ones she bought him, and which were mostly still in their plastic wrappers. He did own a pair of shoes, though. They had belonged to his grandfather, handmade by Berluti in Paris many moons ago. Marco kept them polished to a rich gleam in respect for that grandfather who had raised him, and also in case he might one day have to wear them to a stylish event in some international city where shoes were the expected norm, though in any case he usually got away with sneakers.

In "real life," which this vacation most certainly was not, Marco was "an artist" as Martha kept on reminding him. "A portrait artist, in fact," she would add, pleased because Marco's clients included some of the top international CEOs, men whose likenesses Marco painted to keep the wolf from his door, enabling him, financially, to slip away from that reality into the glorious reality of this vacation, where he could be alone. Apart, that is, from his dog, Em, who went everywhere with him.

Long story short, he'd reply when strangers were curious about the grizzled mutt always at his heels, always at his side in cafés, always tucked under his arm when he traveled. Small and un-beauteous, Em lived in a part of Marco's heart that understood the loneliness from which he had rescued her.

When he'd found her, a few years ago, he'd been alone on a terrace café in Marseilles. The place did not even have a view and he'd stopped there solely for the purpose of a quick caffeine fix, served in one of those short, dark green cups with the gold rim all French cafés seem to use; plus, of course, a glass of wine made from vines grown up on a hill near St. Emilion and an almond croissant made with enough butter to die from. That's when he saw the animal-catcher van with its wire cage drive slowly by. The dog sat, small, grayish/brownish, youngish, a street survivor. Until now. The van stopped. A man got out on the passenger side, strode across, reached for the dog. Marco got there first.

"Oh no you don't," he said, or words to that effect, quickly scooping the mutt from under the man's hands. "This dog is mine." And so of course, from then on it was.

He named the dog Em, for the St. Emilion he'd been drinking when he saw her. It seemed to fit and she responded to the name from first go. Now, of course, that's who she was. Em. Marco's dog. She ate anything, which was useful since he took her everywhere. He would not visit a country that would not accept his dog, not fly an airline where she would be made to fly in the hold, would not stay at a hotel that did not welcome her as well as him. He was, Martha told him, more in love with that bloody dog than with her. Marco did not admit it but it could be true. And that was why the dog was with him now, on this beautiful southern Turkish coast, sharing the small, whitewashed plain slab of a one-room house with the bright blue wooden doors and shutters he'd painted himself, and the even smaller boat, the old wooden gulet, as well as the orange inflatable from which he fished every day.

If he was lucky and caught something bigger than six inches, big enough not to throw back in, that evening Marco would grill it over hot coals on an improvised barbecue made with stones and a piece of wire mesh. He'd share it with the dog, sitting outside under the stars, moving on from the arak to that odd Turkish wine with the slight fizz that caught in his throat but which he enjoyed. Other evenings, they'd walk to the village café/bar where they'd sit under the spreading shade of the ancient olive tree and devour roast goat and couscous flavored with lemon, or a sandwich on thick crusty bread with sweet tomatoes picked that very moment from the garden, with sliced onion and crumbly feta cheese.

The proprietor, Costas, a lean, haunted-looking man in his forties with a springy mustache, very white teeth, and deep blue eyes, knew them by now, and there was always something special for Em: a bone that might have come from a dinosaur it was so big and which made Marco pause to think twice about what he might be eating; or a bowl of fishy stew complete with heads and tails, of which Em seemed particularly fond.

Anyhow, of an evening and sometimes deep into the warm night, Costas's café/bar became their place, where they were known and there was always company and conversation, and where there was always somebody who spoke enough English to make sense of it all. It was a good, simple life, quite separate from Marco's life in Paris, and the cities where he painted rich men's portraits and their wives in pearls and diamonds and small, superior smiles. Still, he made a good living at that, and despite the drawbacks he enjoyed it. And it paid for all this. This kind of life, this village, this coast. This, he loved.

Sprawled in his sagging lounger, he swapped back to the arak, took another swig, pulling a face. He told himself he really should go a bit more upmarket, spring for the extra couple of bucks and drink something that did not make his eyes water. He turned to watch as a yacht chugged slowly out of the harbor, its black hull cutting smoothly through the waves. The sky had darkened, the air was tense with the threat of thunder, and lightning flickered quick as a blink. A storm was approaching and pretty fast too, as Marco knew from experience they did in this area. The storms could be severe and in his opinion the boat would have been better off waiting it out in the harbor, or at least moored close to shore.

The boat was a hundred yards away by now, and picking up speed. Marco got to his feet, hitched up his baggy shorts, and picked up his binoculars. It was a modern yacht. This one, though, was bigger, smarter, faster.

As he watched, a woman emerged from the cabin and ran along the deck. Her long red hair caught in the wind that was coming with the storm, clouding around her in a coppery halo where the sun's final gleam lit it momentarily. She was wearing a blue dress that, as she balanced at the very stern, whipped back from her slender body. She put a hand up to her head, her neck drooped in a gesture of what seemed to Marco to be pain. Shocked, he caught a glimpse of a gaping, bloody wound, her white skull. And that's when he saw her fall.

Marco stared at the place where she had gone under, waiting for her to come back up. The yacht chugged on. There was no sign of her in its wake. No one had come running to help, no one on the yacht seemed to know she had gone. It had been maybe thirty seconds too long and Marco knew she was in trouble. He ran for the old orange inflatable, dropped it into the waves. The outboard started at first go. In a few minutes he was where he'd seen her go in. He circled, staring deep into the sea, but the water was less clear here, disturbed now by his boat. He stilled the engine and jumped over the side.

It was like falling off a cliff. He went so deep his lungs were bursting when he finally popped back up next to the dinghy. The sea was kicking up, the sky dark, the storm was getting closer. And then he saw her hair, long, copper hair floating upward toward him. He was there in a second.

But he could not find her. He dived, and dived again, but the storm had moved in and turbulence shifted the waves, shifted him. He had lost her.

And now the past came back at him, bringing memories he never wanted to relive.


The dog cowered in the dinghy, ears flattened by the rain coming down in a single sheet as Marco clambered back onboard. He could not see so much as a foot ahead. Cell phone reception, never good in this remote area, was impossible; he could not even call the coast guard station or the harbor. Thanking God he always put a life jacket on Em, he snapped on her lead and wrapped the end around his wrist. If the boat capsized he would be able to hang on to her.

Green waves sloshed them upward into a froth of foam, then slid them steeply back down again. The outboard sputtered then died. Marco scanned all around, searching for the horizon, for land, for anything but the sea that had already claimed one victim. He wondered if he and Em were going to be next. If so, nobody would ever know about the red-haired girl in the blue dress with the bloody wound on the side of her head. If they ever found her, that is. Nobody would know that wound had been made before she fell, that someone on that big black-hulled gulet had struck that blow. It was something only Marco knew. Now, though, was not the time to think of that; he just prayed he could get himself and his dog out of there.

With a final quick flick of lightning and a diminishing boom of thunder the sky began dramatically to change. In minutes a blade of sunlight shone through and the sea fell back into a blue-green swell, lifting them smoothly toward land.

Marco unwrapped the dog leash from his fingers. Water dripped off the points of Em's ears, dripped off Marco's head, ran down his chest. He put a hand over his eyes, searching all around, but did not see the girl.

Other boats appeared, heading fast for the harbor. Marco flagged down a small fishing boat and hitched a lift, hunkering down amongst the scaly catch as they towed his disabled dinghy to the wharf. Both he and Em smelled strongly of fish when they finally walked along the harbor to the coast guard office, something which pleased the dog more than it did Marco.

The office was a square room with two desks, each with a large leather chair, one of which was occupied by a self-important man in a gray uniform and heavy dark glasses which he did not remove as he inspected the still-dripping Marco, up, then down, then back up to his stubble-bearded face. The man's glance swiveled to take in the wet dog, who proceeded to give a great rolling shake, sending drops of water flying all over him.

"Sorry," Marco apologized. "It's a bit wet out there."

Giving him a disdainful look, the officer brushed off his uniform with a large, well-manicured hand and asked abruptly what he wanted. Marco got the impression he didn't much care. He'd probably interrupted him on his way to the café for a glass of wine and a chat; soaking-wet vacationers and their even worse dogs who came in messing up his office and his outfit were unwelcome.

He smoothed back his hair and tried to arrange himself so he looked more presentable, difficult when you were that wet and wearing only bathing shorts, but he had more on his mind than mere appearance. "I came to report a drowning."

The officer gave him a quick glance from behind the dark glasses. "Who?"

"I don't know. A woman. Young. She fell off a large yacht."

"How do you know she fell?"

Marco resisted the temptation to roll his eyes. "I saw her."

The officer took off his glasses and stared at Marco. He obviously distrusted him. "So? Why did you not save her from this drowning?"

"Sir," Marco knew politeness was the only way to success with bureaucracy, "I tried. I dived many times but the sea was in turmoil. I could not find her. All I know is she fell from a large yacht, black, and very fast. It took off, she was left in its wake. ..."

The officer sat back in the leather chair. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously at Marco. "What was the name of this yacht?"

Marco said he didn't know, he had not had time to look.

"And what were you doing out there in the storm? What boat were you on?"

Marco explained he was a vacationer, about his dinghy, that a fishing boat had towed his small boat back to shore. "She was young, though," he said, then stopped himself. He had spoken in the past tense. "She had on a blue dress, not exactly what you would wear if you meant to go for a swim off a boat."

The man eyed him coldly, waiting.

"She had — has red hair," he remembered. "A great cloud of coppery hair, kind of wavy, if you know what I mean. ..."

The officer said nothing. He turned away and flicked on his computer. He clicked around silently for a few minutes. "Nobody is reported going overboard. Nobody missing," he said. "The storm is over. She probably went for a dip." He shrugged dismissively. "Foreigners on vacation think everything is safe everywhere. On vacation, they become immortal."

Marco watched him write a message on a yellow Post-it, then walk over to the empty desk next to his own and stick it on the counter. "My assistant will keep an eye on it," the man said, buttoning his jacket, already heading for the door, which he opened for Marco and the dog.

And that was that, Marco thought, as he squelched toward the café, where Costas greeted him with raised brows and a quick demitasse of boiling hot espresso from his fancy new Gaggia machine, his pride and joy.


Excerpted from One Way or Another by Elizabeth Adler. Copyright © 2015 Elizabeth Adler. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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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One Way or Another 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story begins with an attempted murder of a young women. A wealthy man, a wicked female assistant, an artist and his decorator girlfriend. Lots of twists and turns. The ending could have been stronger.
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
One Way or Another .... Normally a very good author. This was definitely not her best. Kept waiting for something dramatic to happen and it didn't. Had a lot of potential for a good plot - but instead just drug on and on and on. If nothing else to read - ok.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
I just finished One Way or Another by Elizabeth Adler. Angela (goes by Angie) Morse got involved with the wrong guy and is now floating in the middle of the ocean off the coast of Turkey. Marco Polo Mahoney is a portrait artist (prefers to call himself a painter) who is vacationing in Fethiye, Turkey (has a little ramshackle cottage/shack) with his dog, Em (Em goes everywhere with Marco). Marco is looking out at the ocean when he sees a girl stumbling on a yacht (The Lady Marina). He gets his binoculars and sees the girl with a very bloody, open gash on her head (can see skull). The girl then drops in the ocean and the boat speeds away. Marco rushes out to rescue her, but he cannot find her. Marco reports it to the police who do not believe him. Poor Angie does not drown. She is rescued by Apollo Zacharias, the captain of the Zeus. Unfortunately for Angie, Zacharias calls it in on the radio and guess who answers the distress call—The Lady Marina! Once again Angie is back in her killers clutches. Marco calls his girlfriend, Martha Patron about the incident. She does not really believe him either (thinks he saw something). Marco keeps looking. He comes upon a clue when he sees a local bar owner’s wife with a gold necklace. It was Angie’s necklace. Marco knows something happened to the girl (he calls her the girl with the beautiful red hair) and is determined to find out what happened to her. Ahmet Ghulbian is a billionaire and the owner of The Lady Marina. He is controlling, mean, and a cold blooded killer. His assistant, Mehitabel (only one name) is cold, vicious, and a killer. They are well suited. Ahmet was born poor, but he made something of himself (thanks to the help of a woman that he killed). Since Angie did not drown, Ahmet decides to hold her captive. He plans to have some more fun with her before killing her. Ahmet meets Lucy Patron, Martha’s younger sister (and a real flibbertigibbet). He decides that she is the person he wants to marry. She is seventeen and a virgin (Lucy has decided to be an actress). He slowly draws her in along with Martha (whom he gets to redecorate his creepy house in the marshes) and Marco (whom he commissions to paint his portrait). Will Marco be able to find Angie and rescue her? Will Ahmet get Lucy? One Way or Another sounded like a great mystery/thriller. The book, though, dragged on and on and on. I did not think it would ever end (and I really wanted it to end). It took me two tries to get through the whole book. Instead of being a thrilling page turner, it puts you to sleep. This book needed severe editing and rewriting. It had some good bones (the basic idea), but the final product was severely lacking. I give One Way or Another 1.5 out of 5 stars (because the basic premise was decent). The writing is lackluster and the book contains a lot of unnecessary descriptive paragraphs. I received a complimentary copy of One Way or Another from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.