The new Mrs. Rashad Eason can't believe it. She dreamed, schemed, and seduced her way to media adoration and a fairy-tale wedding to the lover she stole from his wife. But the honeymoon phase turns into something more shattering when the groom begins to reminisce about his ex, Kiara, and devises a plan to win her back. No way is Nicole going to stand for this. If she can't be the picket-fence wife, she'll be the picture-perfect, very rich widow. And sexing her ex-con first love will ensure his help—and keep her hot and satisfied through those lonely grieving nights . . .
But in the game of love and revenge, everyone has a score to settle. And when karma rears its ugly head, no one can stay safe . . .
Praise for If Your Wife Only Knew
“A dramatic tale of betrayal.” —Booklist
“Secrets, scandal, betrayal and revenge—there are no clean hands in the first book of this saga.”
—RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Born and raised in Detroit, Cydney graduated from Cass Technical High School and earned an undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University. She resides in Houston. Visit her online via Facebook, www.cydneyrax.com, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read an Excerpt
Revenge of the Mistress
By Cydney Rax
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Cydney Rax
All rights reserved.
Nicole Kelly Greene marched into the church foyer wearing a floor-length Afrocentric gown. Her sequined heels clicked across the stone surface. She abruptly stopped and adjusted her selfie stick. "Mmm, gorgeous." She took a few shots until she was content.
Nicole had never looked more stunning in her entire life. It was Saturday, March 12, the day she was going to wed Rashad Eason, the man to whom she'd been engaged since last fall.
Nicole resumed walking and scampered into a tiny room for last-minute preparations. Shyla Perry-Fallender, Nicole's matron of honor, raced behind her. The two women huddled in front of a wide mirror and waited for the ceremony to begin.
"By all outward appearances, you look fine." Shyla carefully examined Nicole's fabulous dress and makeup. "And not too long ago, girl, I remember thinking I was flawless on my wedding day. But inside I was a bundle of nerves."
Nicole did have jitters, but she wasn't about to totally admit it.
"So, my friend ... how are you really feeling?"
"Booya!" Nicole shouted.
"Sorry to disappoint you, sweetie, but you won't find a bundle of nerves inside this woman. It's all pure, positive energy. In fact, I feel like I'm in a freaking Tyler Perry movie, or some romance novel. I want to weep with happiness, to laugh because I know I'm winning, to dance like I'm in a Chris Brown video."
"Why are you sounding so different and weird? You don't even talk like that."
Nicole sashayed back and forth and swung her arms around in jubilation.
"Oh, really? All of that?"
"I'm talking different, Shyla, because I feel different. Nicole Greene getting married? This is surreal. And you want to hear something else? I'm floored at the way everything turned out at the last minute — because you know we were on some ridiculous CP time trying to pull this wedding together. And I honestly don't give a care if you think I'm acting weird. Don't try to catch me because I'm floating on a cloud ... a very high cloud."
In some ways Nicole wasn't lying about her jubilant feelings. The fact that she was about to marry Rashad Eason was nothing short of a miracle on a biblical scale.
"Think about it, Shyla. Years ago, I came this close to marrying Ajalon."
"Yeah, you told me all about your little drug-dealing ex-boyfriend. Good thing that situation didn't work out."
"I know, because even though Rashad isn't perfect, I think he's perfect for me," Nicole concluded.
She opened her cell phone and reviewed the most recent photos she had taken of Rashad.
"Look at this handsome-ass piece of chocolate."
"Mmm-hmm," Shyla murmured. "He looks good enough to eat. Yum!"
Nicole giggled. "I dodged a motherfucking bullet, because the smartest thing I ever did was to dump Ajalon and convince Rashad to make me official."
"If you say so."
"Girl, when I compare those two, hell, there is no comparison. I mean, I was happy when I learned that my ex-boyfriend left Birmingham to come find me here in Houston."
"But didn't it feel awkward, since you were, like, living with Rashad?"
"Well, yes, but still ... a teensy part of me was curious about Ajalon."
"Yeah, you told me." Shyla frowned. "You were as curious as a nosy little cat. And you allowed yourself to get caught right back up with your ex. I still can't believe that shit."
"Girl, I needed to be sure." Nicole frowned, too, feeling a little ashamed of the fact that she'd briefly snuck around with Ajalon. But when he came back around and made her feel wanted again, she was so tempted. She couldn't forget how good he used to love her before he'd messed up their lives by getting himself locked up.
And when Nicole made up her mind and found the courage to dump Ajalon one last time, she'd hoped that Rashad was still feeling her enough to marry her. And last October, when Rashad had agreed to be her husband, with Shyla's help, the two ladies had coordinated her wedding in record time.
"And look at me now, here in the church, about to do it up," Nicole said.
She stepped away from the mirror and calmly observed her surroundings. They were in Fifth Ward Houston, inside a stone church that had a huge cross and stained-glass windows.
"First of all, I'm glad we are getting married in a house of God and not at the justice of the peace, or worse, in Las Vegas. Doing it in this building gives me the confidence I need to believe I'm making a solid decision for my future."
"I'm glad, too, boo. This place feels more real. Much more spiritual," Shyla told her.
Being in church was soothing to Nicole, yet she felt a little guilty, because she'd knowingly slept with Rashad when he was still married to her boss, Kiara. And as Nicole stood there in the church, it seemed like she'd been offered another chance. And that opportunity helped to ease her conscience.
"I have no idea what the Lord even thinks about me. He has been good to me, because as bad as things have been they could always be worse. I could be a single mom for the rest of my life. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I want to raise our child with Rashad. And I want God to know I take my vows seriously," Nicole said. "I am not playing with nobody's pastor."
"Nobody's pastor? Dang, that sounds like you don't even know the man who is marrying y'all."
"Of course I don't know him personally, silly woman. But does it really matter? As long as the Lord knows him, then that's cool with me."
"Ha! That's completely obvious," Shyla said jokingly. She was happy for her friend, but at the same time, she felt some kind of way about how perfectly everything had ended up for Nicole and Rashad. A frequent jokester, Shyla grew surprisingly thoughtful. "This is truly a great day for you, Nicole. Yet, as a newly married woman myself, Nicole, I wish y'all could have at least gone to marital counseling a few times so you would truly understand what you're getting yourself into." She thought of her own marriage to Wesley Fallender. He was a good man, but that didn't keep their relationship road from being bumpy. He liked his space, whereas she preferred to be up under him all the time. And when unexpected bills came their way, so did the loud arguments and slamming doors.
Shyla gasped with great emotion at the painful memories. "Counseling helps you to put everything on the table and forces you to discuss potential issues that are hard to talk about, or things that can cause you to have hurt feelings. But it looks like you ain't got time for that ... you found you a nice little bootleg minister who only cares about —"
"Shhh, don't say that. This preacher man might not be Joel Osteen, who was my first choice, but it's alright. It has to be. And forget a marriage counselor. We don't need anyone trying to tell us how to live our lives. We got this." Nicole shut down the subject. Shyla was giving her a weird vibe, but she concluded it didn't really matter what the woman thought. Nicole was minutes away from getting legally yoked to Rashad, premarital counseling or not.
"Change of subject, girl ... do I really look alright?"
Shyla could not lie. "What can I say? You're a beautiful bride. When he sees you, you're going to make Rashad very happy."
Shyla smoothed back a flyaway piece of Nicole's hair and returned it to its place. Nicole's hair was upswept and secured by floral hairpins. Her fresh manicure consisted of a beautiful gel nail color. For once in her life, Nicole felt like a princess, and she couldn't wait to begin her new life without any problems.
"I'm so nervous I could scream."
"Wait till the honeymoon, boo."
"I know that's right." Nicole hugged herself. "Can you believe my family is out there waiting on me? They're going to die when they see me looking like a beauty queen. I hope their jealous asses enjoy themselves, because this woman is marrying up and they never thought it would happen."
"Some families can be such haters, but they'll get over it. Have you enjoyed them visiting you so far?"
"Yeah, it hasn't been too bad at all, especially since Rashad was nice enough to pay their airfare and hotel expenses." Rashad had flown in her mother, Evelyn, and younger sister, Mimi, and set them up at a Marriott for several days. "Rashad didn't have to do that, but he did. He's a good man. I feel like the most blessed woman in the world. I'm not even used to amazing things like this, and sometimes I can't believe it."
"Mmm-hmm. You're starting off real good, girl." Shyla moodily stared into space. "On the real, the average newlyweds lack the funds to do what you're doing, Nicole. They are struggling to pay for the wedding, let alone having a nice reception and a decent honeymoon. But, child, I'm assuming you won't have any worries when it comes to all that. There's that luck of yours again, working out every detail for you." Shyla gave Nicole a sad expression that disappeared quickly as she decided to play off her resentment by touching up her own makeup.
"I know, right. Plain dumb luck."
Poverty was a condition that Nicole had suffered from during her formative years. Her mother held down two jobs and hustled to provide for her family. But just because you grew up with financial struggles didn't mean you had to keep living that way.
"I'm telling you, Shyla, I'm not used to having money to pay for the things I want. Shit, my mother used to put furniture, school clothes, birthday presents, and Christmas toys on the layaway. I always had to wait months to get the stuff I wanted. It would just kill me. And all while growing up, the struggles were real. Sometimes I wore my cousin's hand-me-downs. Mama couldn't even afford to send me to my prom or our graduation trip to Nassau. And I resented not being able to participate. It hurt like hell when my classmates showed me photos of their pretty gowns. And on the night of the prom, some of my friends even got the works: They rented Hummer limos, ate at nice restaurants, or rented luxury hotels for all-night parties." Nicole's voice caught in her throat at the painful memories. "But I can't forget how I was stuck at home that Friday night. My mother was working that night, Mimi and my cousins went skating, and I sat alone on the front porch watching my friends drive down the street with their prom dates. They looked like they were having the time of their lives. They even blew their horns and waved at me. When I couldn't stand it anymore, I went inside the house and started watching Good Times reruns."
"Are you serious, girl, or are you joking, because if it's true, then it sounds completely messed up." After hearing Nicole's sob story, Shyla felt ashamed of herself for even feeling a little envious of her friend.
"Yeah, all of it is true! And it perfectly explains why I'm so very happy today. Every woman wants to know how it feels to be Cinderella. I don't deserve it, yet I am so blessed."
Shyla's feelings of compassion rapidly disappeared. She could not forget that Nicole had slept with a married businessman and that's probably why she was so-called blessed.
"Um, are you serious?"
"Shyla, because of how I was raised, it was normal for me to dream about how it would feel to win the lottery ... be a millionaire ... and now I know."
Shyla had had enough. Her friend's new fortunes were almost more than she could bear. "Wait a second, Nicole! Sorry to burst your bubble, but I simply cannot believe that Rashad is a millionaire. I mean, how can he be, when he's fresh off a divorce with two babies by his ex-wife, plus another daughter from his baby mama? Isn't he paying some baller-type child support?"
Nicole laughed, then sighed. "Girl, stop. Rashad was a little bit hurt financially by the divorce, but no, he's not flat broke."
"But still, Nicole, he gotta be paying his ex a grip."
"Look, he's not like that silly Ochocinco with his four baby mamas, or that ridiculous Ray Lewis with his six baby mamas. My man's got a good head on his shoulders; he's generous, but he also knows how to manage his money, even with the child support he's forced to pay. That much I know."
"Or else you wouldn't be marrying him?"
"Oh, goodness, Shyla, really? Look, I'm marrying Rashad Eason because we are soul mates." Shyla uproariously laughed, but Nicole ignored her and continued. "And I truly believe that with his smarts and strong work ethic, my man will rise up and do even better than before. We're a team. I consider myself part-owner of Eason and Son. And with my PR background, I can help promote the company the way it should have been done years ago. I've got huge plans for us, regardless of ex-wives and baby mamas and any other type of drama."
Shyla quietly listened to her friend as she went on and on about her goals for her soon-to-be husband. "I hope your plans include all three of his children."
"Ouch, that stings."
"It should. You're only twenty-six, and you've already had stepmama duties before you could even say 'I do.'"
"You ain't ever lied, girl." In truth, at times Nicole wished she could forget Rashad had two kids with his ex-wife, Kiara. There was his oldest, Myles, who was almost nine, and eleven-month-old Jazzy. And she couldn't forget Hayley, the three-year-old daughter of her coworker Alexis McNeil.
"You know what, Shyla? I could let all the baby-mama drama make me completely avoid this man. But nope, I won't do it. I mean, look at us. I feel like I'm winning already, because we are about to be official. As far as I'm concerned, we can all live together and have a good time — me, Rashad, and all of his kids. So yeah, they all are definitely included in my master plan."
"You have a game plan. Good for you, Nicole, but I still haven't heard you say that you are deeply or hopelessly in love."
"Shyla, don't even go there. You of all people should know that I love me some Rashad with a deep passion, and I have felt that way almost from the beginning. From the time we met, Rashad treated me like a person and not just a piece of ass. When he came to my house to do my renovation work, he acted like he cared about me as an individual, and he made me feel like much more than just a client."
"Mmm-hmm, from what I've heard, he sure did." Shyla rolled her eyes and cackled.
"Stop playing. We were friends, genuine friends, long before we started smashing."
"From friends to bed buddies, from bed buddies to spouses. Wow!" Shyla gave Nicole a knowing look. "And the fact that this man already had a wife didn't seem to faze you one bit. Did it?"
"Look, I am not a home wrecker."
"Ha, says the home wrecker." Shyla laughed uncontrollably, unable to help herself.
Shyla was Nicole's friend, but she wasn't going to sugarcoat the situation. Plus, she felt that Nicole should be honest about what she was getting herself into and see things from a different perspective.
"I'm suddenly getting a nasty vibe from you, Mrs. Perry-Fallender, and I don't get it. Why are you saying such crazy shit to me on my wedding day?"
"Look, I am happy for you, baby girl, but you gotta consider that you are about to marry someone that you know had a couple of affairs on Kiara. And you better hope that what you did to his wife is not something that may get done to you. That's just keeping it real."
Nicole threw up her hands and sighed. "That's the past, alright?"
She looked into her friend's eyes, and for the first time ever, she saw they resembled the appearance of a green-eyed monster. Nicole knew that some women would begrudge her marrying Rashad, but she didn't want to think that her closest friend could feel that way.
"Why are you predicting that bad things are going to happen in my marriage? Whose side are you on, Ms. Matron of Honor?"
"You already know I'm on your side, boo, that's why I'm giving it to you straight. A person who did not care about you for real would tell you the fairytale shit that you want to hear. But that type of thing only lasts for so long. And if you want to make it for the long haul, you got to look at things the way they really are, and not just the silly way you hope they will be."
"Ouch. Well, damn." The truth really stung! Nicole felt as if a knife had just dug into her soul.
Temporarily speechless, she wiped away a tiny tear that formed in the corner of her eye.
"Oh, great. Now it looks like the Blind Boys of Alabama applied my makeup."
"Let me fix that."
Shyla expertly touched up Nicole's mascara until she looked perfect again.
"Don't pay me any mind," Shyla told her. "I'm shooting off at the mouth because, hell, I'm nervous, like I'm the one who's about to get married. Weddings always make me unhinged." She let out a hearty laugh. "And I'm sorry for sounding shady as hell, Nicole. But it's coming from a place of love. Because I really am glad for you in spite of everything, or else I wouldn't even be here."
"Ha!" Nicole sniffed. "Your ass is here because you are as nosy as that talk show hoe Wendy Williams, and sometimes you're as cruel as her, too."
"Talk show hoe? Not host?"
"I said it how I meant it. Talk show hoe!"
"Oooh, that's so cold. I love Wendy. Yet" — she giggled — "you are so right. We are both some nosy-ass, opinionated bitches."
The women fell out laughing, giggling until they both felt better, till their hearts felt lighter.
"Aww, I know the whole thing may sound nuts. Yet I know you want what's best for me, Shyla. And I can admit I've traveled a rocky road to get here. So I've already asked God to forgive me for doing anything that might have hurt Kiara."
"You seriously asked God to forgive you for all the hell you put that woman through?"
"'All the hell,' Shyla? You're exaggerating. It really wasn't that much."
"Hmm, I guess going around the office bragging about your boss's husband and being openly happy about getting pregnant by him wasn't 'that much'?" She smiled as she tossed her wild accusations.
"Not really." Nicole's voice grew shaky. "Not to me."
Excerpted from Revenge of the Mistress by Cydney Rax. Copyright © 2017 Cydney Rax. 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.
Table of Contents
Part 1 - Love Is Stronger Than Revenge,
Part 2 - Revenge Is Stronger Than Love,
A READING GROUP GUIDE - REVENGE OF THE MISTRESS,
If Your Wife Only Knew,