The Lonely Girls Club

The Lonely Girls Club

by Suzanne Forster

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Overview

At an exclusive California prep school,
four young girls form a bond that will
endure over two decades—a bond built
on secrets, scandal and murder…a bond
about to be broken.


Mattie, a federal judge…Breeze, a wealthy
entrepreneur…and Jane, the first lady of the
United States, have all enjoyed a meteoric rise to
success since their days at the Rowe Academy
for Girls. But now the truth behind the suicide of
their friend Ivy and the murder of their
headmistress twenty years ago is no longer
safely hidden.


The man imprisoned for the murder has
been exonerated, and a true crime reporter
is relentlessly pursuing a loose thread in the
decades-old cover-up, one that threatens to
unravel the women’s pact of silence. But
none of them anticipated the twisted depths
of the secrets about to be exposed—or how
the truth could shatter all their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460364697
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 07/15/2014
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 747,468
File size: 2 MB

Read an Excerpt

The Lonely Girls Club


By Suzanne Forster

MIRA

Copyright © 2005 Suzanne Forster
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0778322017

Rowe Academy for Girls Tiburon, California Winter 1980

The cotton camisole was too small. It acted like a binder to reduce her breasts to a tidy A cup. She slipped on a crisp white blouse and buttoned it up, leaving just a bit of milky throat exposed. Her ticking pulse could still be seen.

She could see his reflection, too, watching her, totally absorbed in her ritual before the full-length mirror. Dressing for sex had always struck her as odd, but this was the way he liked it. Was he caught yet? Ensnared by his own racing heart?

The pleats of her plaid stitch-down skirt just reached her knees. The skirt opened like a kilt, and the flap flew as she twirled on one foot. She was joyous now, childlike. Her dark French-braided hair danced with pleasure. Surely he could see that she was transformed. She didn't look in the mirror as she bent to draw knee-high cotton stockings on over her bare feet. She preferred silk, but everything had to be totally authentic. No makeup was allowed, only freshly pinched cheeks and lip gloss. No jewelry. That would be trashy.

He was no longer in the mirror. She turned, hoping to see him lying on the bed, awaiting her, fully aroused and trembling with shame. That was how she controlled him, and it had to go right today or their relationship wouldn't survive. She had something important to tell him. But hope faded as she saw him standing by the window, looking down at the courtyard three stories below her bell tower apartment, where her finishing school students took breaks between classes.

The academy, a U-shaped structure, designed in the manner of the ivy-covered Victorian castles of old England, was more than a school, it was her family home, donated through a foundation to the cause of education when her grandmother died, fifteen years ago. Right now it felt like her prison.

She joined him, but he didn't acknowledge her presence. He was transfixed by an exquisite creature with cascading red curls and the pensive smile of a Sistine Madonna. The young woman stood near the fountain in the courtyard's center, seemingly unaware of the mist from the water that hovered around her like a communion veil. Brisk weather had kept most of the students indoors today, but this one must have wanted to be alone with her thoughts.

"Is it her then?" the headmistress asked him. "One of my girls? You want a child?"

Her bitterness could have drawn blood, but he seemed oblivious.'she isn't a child," he pointed out.'she's fully grown, but still in the first flush of womanhood. She's fresh and lovely, untouched."

Rage foamed into the headmistress's throat. Not yet thirty, and she was being tossed aside for a simpering virgin? After everything she'd done for him? She had planned her whole life around him, but there was no way she could tell him her news now. He would think her ridiculous.

Instantly her anger turned cold. She was subzero, molten ice. He would get what he wanted, and he would pay the price for it. He was a powerful man. He could easily ruin her.

But he had crossed the line, and they both knew it. Yes, he would get what he wanted. Yes, he would pay.

San Quentin Prison Summer 2005

Haze shrouded the sun, turning it into a silvery moon as the main gate clanged open. A tall, thin ghost of a human being hovered in the entrance. He took a few steps, although it looked more like floating than walking. The dark suit he wore swung loosely on his fence-slat frame, and his heavy blue-black hair fell forward, shuttering the light from his eyes. What could be seen of his face was all jawbones and cartilage. He was a death row inmate, but he was walking free, the only prisoner scheduled for release that day.

He didn't seem aware of the road ahead, only of the medieval fortress behind him. After a few steps, he stopped and turned, swaying like a spindly, overgrown tree. He raised one hand and curled back all of his fingers except the middle one. It might have been less an act of defiance than a test of his constitutional rights. Was he really a free man? A car door banged in the distance, and he ducked, clearly expecting to be shot.

Another man stood across the road by a gleaming black SUV with darkened windows. Jameson Cross was as tall as the ex-con, and his jet hair had the same shimmering blue lights, but that was where the resemblance ended. In every other way than the physical, the two men were profoundly different. They could have been alter egos.

"William Broud? Can I give you a ride?" Cross stepped forward cautiously, offering his hand -- and his car. "It's a long walk to civilization."

Broud did not look up or acknowledge Cross in any way. Cross could have been invisible, except that he knew the other man had heard him. This was deeply deliberate. William Broud had been ignoring Jameson Cross since before Broud went to prison. They weren't enemies. It was worse than that.

Cross began to walk with him. "I'd like to talk to you about the finishing school murders. You're going to need a job now that you're out, and I can pay you for your time."

Cross was a bestselling true crime writer, and his stake in this case went beyond the book he might write. Broud had been a gardener and handyman at an exclusive finishing school in Tiburon. He'd spent twenty-three years in prison, most of it on death row for the murder of Millicent Rowe, the school's headmistress. But Broud had been recently exonerated by DNA evidence, and Cross didn't understand the man's reluctance to talk about an injustice of that magnitude. When they'd arrested him, he'd professed his innocence, babbling about conspiracies and cover-ups, a sex ring involving the students. But he'd had drugs in his possession, a record of priors and B-negative blood had been found at the scene, which was his type.

"Who are the 'lonely girls'?" Cross asked. "You claimed they killed the headmistress. Were they students at the finishing school?"

Broud continued walking, head bowed, face buried in hair. Frustration burned through Cross. This had to stop. "You rotted in jail for twenty-three years and no one cared," he said. "They would have let you die. Whoever did it should pay for putting you through that hell."

Black hair flew, exposing Broud's tortured visage. He glared at Cross. "You're right. No one cared. Why should I? Leave me alone."

"It doesn't have to be like that. Billy -- "

"Don't call me that," Broud ground out savagely. "Billy's gone. He doesn't exist anymore."

Cross came to a halt, watching Broud lumber away. If he'd continued, they might well have come to blows. Billy Broud might be gone, he thought, but if zombies existed, this man could have been one. His face was a howling Halloween skull. He'd been spared execution, but any part of him that had been human was dead now. Only the pupils of his eyes burned with terrifying life. And Jameson Cross would not soon forget them.

Continues...


Excerpted from The Lonely Girls Club by Suzanne Forster Copyright © 2005 by Suzanne Forster.
Excerpted by permission.
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 Lonely Girls Club 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
At the Rowe Academy for Girls in Tiburon, California, nothing is as it appears to be. The outside might look like a Victorian castle you would find in England, but on the inside, under the control of headmistress Millicent Rowe, the Academy is nothing more than hell for four young girls forced to do things that are truly abhorrent. For Ms. Rowe, the Academy is her life, and she'll do anything to make sure the school stays intact. That includes providing young girls for the wealthy men who have sexual tastes that differ from the norm.

Matilda "Mattie" Smith, Jane Mantle, Breeze Wheeler, and Ivy White were four troubled girls who were at the Academy for different reasons. Thrown together by the sick desires of Millicent Rowe, however, forced to "pay" their way through school by doing the bidding of Ms. Rowe and the men who paid her handsomely, the four girls formed the Lonely Girls Club. Brought together by their sad fates, not allowed to be normal teenagers, these girls had a bond stronger than that of sisters. Although totally different in their personalities, Mattie, Jane, Breeze, and Ivy were joined by their hatred and fear of Millicent Rowe, by their own guilty consciences, and by the terrible men who forced them to become women before they were ready.

The Lonely Girls Club ended, however, when Millicent Rowe was murdered by William "Billy" Broud-or so the girls thought. Twenty years have gone by, and Broud has been exonerated through DNA evidence, proving he wasn't the one who killed the Academy's headmistress. At the time of his arrest so long ago, he'd been trying to tell authorities about Ms. Rowe, about her sex-ring involving students, about conspiracies and cover-ups involving men of power. No one was inclined to listen then, when Billy had a prior record, drugs in his possession, and had the same blood type as that found at the scene of the crime. Now that he's released, the only one who is inclined to look back on that past, to follow a string of clues reaching back to the Rowe Academy for Girls and its headmistress, is Jameson Cross, a true crime writer, who just so happens to also have a heavy interest in proving Billy's innocence. The wrongly-convicted man wants no part of Cross and his book, however, and after a short stint outside prison walls, ends his life to avoid a past that just won't leave him alone.

Jameson Cross is obsessed with finding out who really murdered the headmistress of the Academy, and discovering who the Lonely Girls are. He knows that Ivy White is no longer alive, having committed suicide years ago, but what about the other mysterious members of the Club? As clues come to light, as he finds the three remaining women in positions of authority and prestige-one a judge, one a businesswoman, one the First Lady of the United States-Jameson realizes that finding out what happened so long ago is about more than just solving a crime. Because one of these girls-or even all of them-may very well have murdered someone. And even now, the Lonely Girls Club is gathering steam, trying to keep their secrets hidden and lock away the part of themselves that was abused so long ago.

Suzanne Forster has once again managed to write a suspenseful story of danger, intrigue, sex, lies, and murder that takes you into the world of the rich and powerful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At the Rowe Academy for Girls in Tiburon, California, nothing is as it appears to be. The outside might look like a Victorian castle you would find in England, but on the inside, under the control of headmistress Millicent Rowe, the Academy is nothing more than hell for four young girls forced to do things that are truly abhorrent. For Ms. Rowe, the Academy is her life, and she'll do anything to make sure the school stays intact. That includes providing young girls for the wealthy men who have sexual tastes that differ from the norm. Matilda 'Mattie' Smith, Jane Mantle, Breeze Wheeler, and Ivy White were four troubled girls who were at the Academy for different reasons. Thrown together by the sick desires of Millicent Rowe, however, forced to 'pay' their way through school by doing the bidding of Ms. Rowe and the men who paid her handsomely, the four girls formed the Lonely Girls Club. Brought together by their sad fates, not allowed to be normal teenagers, these girls had a bond stronger than that of sisters. Although totally different in their personalities, Mattie, Jane, Breeze, and Ivy were joined by their hatred and fear of Millicent Rowe, by their own guilty consciences, and by the terrible men who forced them to become women before they were ready. The Lonely Girls Club ended, however, when Millicent Rowe was murdered by William 'Billy' Broud-or so the girls thought. Twenty years have gone by, and Broud has been exonerated through DNA evidence, proving he wasn't the one who killed the Academy's headmistress. At the time of his arrest so long ago, he'd been trying to tell authorities about Ms. Rowe, about her sex-ring involving students, about conspiracies and cover-ups involving men of power. No one was inclined to listen then, when Billy had a prior record, drugs in his possession, and had the same blood type as that found at the scene of the crime. Now that he's released, the only one who is inclined to look back on that past, to follow a string of clues reaching back to the Rowe Academy for Girls and its headmistress, is Jameson Cross, a true crime writer, who just so happens to also have a heavy interest in proving Billy's innocence. The wrongly-convicted man wants no part of Cross and his book, however, and after a short stint outside prison walls, ends his life to avoid a past that just won't leave him alone. Jameson Cross is obsessed with finding out who really murdered the headmistress of the Academy, and discovering who the Lonely Girls are. He knows that Ivy White is no longer alive, having committed suicide years ago, but what about the other mysterious members of the Club? As clues come to light, as he finds the three remaining women in positions of authority and prestige-one a judge, one a businesswoman, one the First Lady of the United States-Jameson realizes that finding out what happened so long ago is about more than just solving a crime. Because one of these girls-or even all of them-may very well have murdered someone. And even now, the Lonely Girls Club is gathering steam, trying to keep their secrets hidden and lock away the part of themselves that was abused so long ago. Suzanne Forster has once again managed to write a suspenseful story of danger, intrigue, sex, lies, and murder that takes you into the world of the rich and powerful. The men and women associated with the Rowe Academy for Girls will do anything and everything to keep themselves from being exposed, up to and including murder. With an intense plot, strong characters, and the twists and turns of a true mystery, THE LONELY GIRLS CLUB is a book not to be missed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mystery readers will love this one. The fact that all the 'lonely girls' are now women with prominent careers--one a judge, one the First Lady, and one a 'spa owner'--increases the suspense. A real page turner. I stayed up all night reading it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1980 at the exclusive Rowe Academy for Girls in Tiburon, California, the four unpopular scholarship coeds forged friendships as the Lonely Girls Club. The schools headmistress Millicent Rowe pimps the foursome as prostitutes. However, someone murders Rowe while one member of the quartet Ivy commits suicide. The three survivors (Mattie, Breeze, and Jane) agree to a vow of secrecy. William Broud was convicted of the homicide. In 2005 at San Quentin, true crime writer Jameson Cross picks up just released William who spent over two decades as the convicted finishing school murderer; DNA proved he did not commit the crime. Jameson offers to pay William if he helps him follow clues as to what happened a quarter of a century ago. The three female survivors are all successful in their chosen endeavors with Mattie as a federal judge, Breeze a business woman entrepreneur and Jane as the First Lady. They do not want exposure that could devastate their respective careers, but Jameson is digging while William feels someone owes him a life. --- THE LONELY GIRLS CLUB is an electrifying romantic suspense thriller that grips the audience from the moment that Broud is released from prison and never lets up until the final meeting between Jameson and the Judge. The story line is action-packed, but it is the reaction of the characters to Jameson¿s inquiries that makes the tale as each of the three prime suspects has reasons to hide even ¿edit¿ the Rowe incidents. Thus the audience keeps on reading while wondering which of the former coeds killed the headmistress. --- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
When a stay of execution frees a convicted killer, the 'lonely girls' get nervous. As teens, many young women were forced to 'pay their way' at an exclusive girls' school, being pimped out by their insane headmistress. Beyond the sexual torture they endured, the woman was abusive on other levels as well. Yet, before they could carry out a planned execution, the woman is murdered, freeing them in one sense, in another imprisoning them in a cage of secrets. The truth is about to be revealed; that could destroy their carefully crafted lives of prestige and power with one word. .......................... *** Although the story shifts between the past and present quite often, the flashbacks have a necessity that lends a logic to them. Holding true to Christie's belief that the victim should deserve to die, the one here truly does. At times, the book is a bit graphic, so gently minded readers, be wary. However, it is a first rate suspense drama. ***