In this sexy page-turner from Lutishia Lovely, a conniving seductress embarks on a spectacular finale as her need for revenge—and for the object of her obsession—reaches a boiling point…
After a nightmarish two years, Nathan Carver thinks he can relax. His sister, Sherri, and her husband, Randall, are once again enjoying life and time with their family. Then they get bad news. Jacqueline Tate, the woman who’s been a walking, talking tornado of trouble in all of their lives has been released from prison. They decide to take reasonable precautions and let God take care of the rest. But Jacqueline hasn’t changed one bit, and she has plans of her own…
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The Perfect Revenge
By Lutishia Lovely
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Lutishia Lovely
All rights reserved.
Where to, pretty lady?"
Jacqueline knew exactly where she wanted to go. She also knew she wouldn't travel there in a straight line; one of the reasons for walking two miles from the prison she'd just been released from to a gas station and getting the attendant to call her a cab.
"That's a good question."
The taxi driver viewed his passenger from the rearview mirror and was rewarded with a genuine smile. Two years, eight months, four days, and seven hours ago, Jacqueline would have ignored this stranger, maybe even cursed him out for attempting to flirt. But after so long with so little contact with people in general and men in particular, she allowed herself a moment to relax, and feel grateful to breathe free air.
It wouldn't last long.
"You new in town?"
"Just passing through. You?"
"Raleigh, born and raised."
"So you probably know where I should go to get a good meal."
The driver's smile increased. "I know all the places you can go."
"Do you like soul food?"
"Love it." Actually, she could take it or leave it. But for her plans it was the location, not the food, that mattered most.
"What do you want? Ribs, fried chicken, pork chops, greens, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese ..."
"Please stop! You're making my mouth water."
"There's this place tourists like to visit. It's in the heart of downtown. The food's good there."
The last place Jacqueline wanted to be was in a heavily populated area filled with cameras to chart her moves.
"Is that where you go when you want a good meal?"
"Naw, baby. I go to my mama's house."
"Well, I wouldn't dare think of bothering your mom. Where's the next best place?"
"It's a little hole in the wall in the hood but I don't think you want to—"
"That's exactly where I want to go."
The driver nodded, reached the corner, and turned left. Jacqueline noticed how the driver kept glancing at her through the mirror. He was obviously smitten. Good. "I like your hat."
"Ah, yeah?" He pulled the ball cap off his head and looked at the logo. "Got so many of these things I forgot who I put on this morning."
"The Carolina Panthers are my favorite team."
They'd been so for a whole minute or two, since seeing a billboard a few miles back.
"You like football?"
Not at all. "Don't know much about it but, yes, I'm a fan. I'm only going to be here until the morning. Maybe I can find a Panthers cap somewhere besides the airport. Everything's so expensive there."
"I'd give you this one if it weren't so dirty."
"Really? That's so sweet of you. I'd love to have it!"
"Oh no, darling. A woman as pretty as you don't deserve to wear a cap holding this much of a working man's sweat."
"I'll wash it before I wear it." She reached for her bag and eyed him through the mirror. "How much?"
At the next light the driver removed the cap, brushed it against his pant leg in a failed attempt to remove grime, and handed it to her. "You've just paid for it with that pretty smile."
Jacqueline made a big deal of admiring the cap. "Thank you."
After a cab ride made shorter by the driver's running commentary on the place he'd only left a handful of times since birth, they arrived at the aptly described eatery located on a corner marred by trash and weeds. Jacqueline paid the driver and went inside. It was early. The place was almost empty. Though her stomach growled at the smells that assaulted her, she ordered a glass of tea, waited ten minutes, and called another cab. After walking out of the eatery, she casually donned the dirty ball cap. Once in the cab she just as casually braided her hair and stuffed the twists beneath it. That the driver had spent the entire ride on his cell phone, engaged in what seemed to be a heated conversation (not knowing the language he spoke, she couldn't be sure), worked to her advantage. If asked, she doubted he could give anything other than the most basic description of the passenger he'd dropped off at the post office five miles away.
While behind bars, Jacqueline had eventually cut ties with all but three people. Phillip was a longtime fellow Canadian friend with whom she'd stayed during a three-month US-based assignment. She'd reconnected with him several months ago, right before he'd moved to Europe and just before the illegal cell phone she'd used was discovered and confiscated. The first call was mere chitchat. Thereafter, the reasons for their communication became crystal clear. She'd laid them out with the precision of a general planning a sneak attack on a terrorist group. By the time she'd finished giving Phillip her side of why she'd been sent to prison, the only side of the story that mattered, he'd been more than willing to help her. As she retrieved the items from the post office box, the calculated decision to trust her old friend with a secret or two proved to be a wise one. Now she had what she needed for the games to begin.
Four hours later, a casually dressed woman possessing an understated elegance and pulling a small carry-on bag approached the counter of a five-star hotel, one of only a handful in Raleigh.
One of the employees, a tall, good-looking Black man around twenty-five, straightened his posture and flashed a dimpled smile as the guest approached. A pronounced Southern accent added to his charm.
"Good evening, ma'am, and welcome to our hotel. How may we provide you with quality service this evening?"
"You're off to a good start." The woman gifted the smitten young man with a pearly dazzle of her own while reaching into an oversized designer bag and retrieving a driver's license and credit card. "I have a reservation." Her clipped British accent was flawless.
The young man took the cards and entered the information into the computer. "Ms. Smith ... Alice?" He looked up.
"It shows here that you've prepaid for the room, so your credit card will only be charged for incidentals." He quickly finished the reservation and handed Jacqueline two card keys. "We're fairly light this evening, so I've provided you with a complimentary upgrade to one of our suites."
"I appreciate that, but it wasn't necessary."
"It's just our way of thanking you for your business and hopefully leaving you with a favorable impression that you will share with others when you return to England."
"I certainly shall."
Jacqueline scanned the lobby, but her steps did not slow until she reached the elevator. Moments later, she placed a key card into the double-door entrance. Once inside, she shed "Alice," a persona created with a short blond wig and black reading glasses that resembled the picture on the best fake drivers license money could buy. Tossing them on a table, she removed the clothes she'd donned in a mall public restroom, and after ordering room service, took a long, hot shower. Not long enough to wash away the memories of prison, but enough to make her feel more like herself.
While she was blow-drying her hair, room service arrived. Wrapping her luscious black locks in a towel and donning the black glasses, she welcomed in the sumptuous feast she'd ordered. With a satiny nightie caressing her skin, Jacqueline enjoyed her first meal of the day: radicchio salad with pears, pomegranate and ham; seared foie gras, and a Kobe beef rib eye, perfectly medium rare. As the news hour approached, Jacqueline turned the television to a local channel. There was a breaking news story.
"Police have no leads and are asking for the public's help in determining the cause of death for Charlotte Stockton, known as Charlie to her friends, a guard who held various positions within the North Carolina Corrections system for the past ten years. Stockton was discovered by a concerned neighbor after the guard's beloved dog exhibited highly unusual behavior, and seemed to be locked outside of the home, something that according to the neighbor Stockton would never do.
"'That dog was her child,' the neighbor said, still clearly shaken. 'He kept barking and running between their yard and mine. I knew something was wrong.'
"While Stockton's sudden death seems suspicious, police have no theories as to what might have happened, and no suspects or persons of interest. Anyone with information is asked to call the number that appears on the screen."
Jacqueline picked up the bottle of champagne she'd ordered along with her meal, popped the cork, and filled a crystal flute. "One down, seven to go." She lifted her glass.
She drained the flute and reached for one of three burner phones she'd purchased at the mall. It was time to contact the other two people with whom she'd kept in touch, and begin the next phase in the big payback.CHAPTER 2
Carroll, New Hampshire
Laughter mixed with flurries of snow as four waterproof-nylon-clad skiers removed their skis, stomped the snow from their feet, and entered their private Snow Ridge home, where a blazing fire was the perfect welcome.
"That was fun!" The twelve-year-old boy rubbed his hands together, still basking in the aftermath of his successful run down a pretty tough hill.
His fourteen-year-old sister gave him a playful shove that sent the unsuspecting lad tumbling to the floor. "Ha! You conquered a snow-covered mountain but can't handle a hardwood floor!"
The boy jumped up, ready to defend his honor and give his sister a taste of her own medicine.
Their parents intervened at once.
"Albany, stop it."
"All right, Aaron, cut it out."
The Atwaters—Randall, Sherri, Albany, and Aaron—were enjoying an impromptu yet much-needed vacation at the Bretton Woods Ski Resort, a trip born out of a dinner discussion about whether more fun could be had in snow or sun. The men said snow offered more opportunity, while Sherri and Albany said it was sun, hands down. This trip had been planned immediately so that Randall and Aaron could prove their point. Later in the year, when the family went to their home in the Bahamas, the women would get their turn.
Aaron removed his shoes and began peeling out of his snow suit. "I'm hungry, Mom."
Randall laughed. "You're always hungry."
"I think that ski slope worked up an appetite for everybody. Y'all go on up and shower and change. By the time you come back downstairs, I'll be well on my way to a killer pot of chili."
Aaron punched the air with his fist. "Yes! That sounds good."
"That does sound good, baby," Randall agreed, pulling off his snow pants before padding over in his sock feet to give Sherri a kiss.
Albany walked to the wall mirror by the door, checking to make sure the woolen cap she'd worn to protect her shoulder-length locks hadn't smooshed her fluffy hairstyle to the point of no return. "Will it be made with ground turkey?"
"No, sweetie, ground round."
"Then could I have baked chicken, please? I've given up red meat and pork."
"Since when?" Aaron's face was a mask of disbelief.
"I guess since she finished that bacon she gobbled up this morning," Randall replied.
Albany gasped. "Stop teasing, Daddy. That was turkey bacon. Right, Mom?" Her eyes begged Sherri to agree.
"Sorry, sweetheart. That was good old thick-sliced oink."
Aaron snorted rhythmically as he strutted toward her.
"Eewww, I'm going to be sick!" She rushed out of the room and up the stairs, with Aaron the Irksome Pig hot on her trail.
Randall watched Sherri retrieve peppers, onion, and garlic from the refrigerator and walk over to the cutting board on the counter. He let her get in a few good slices before easing over to embrace her from behind and nibble her neck.
"Ooh, that feels good. But if you want to have chili in an hour, you should probably follow your children upstairs and take a nice hot shower."
He ground himself into her and mumbled, "Right now, I need a cold one."
"There's beer in the fridge."
"Ha!" With one last kiss on her neck, Randall leaned against the counter and continued to watch Sherri slice and dice.
"Are you going to stand there until everything is in the pot?"
"I like watching you. I like this ... you in the kitchen fixing our dinner, the kids bonding upstairs. Quality family time, with just the four of us. Life has been so busy the past couple years. We need to do this more often."
"I agree." Sherri poured a generous amount of olive oil into a pot before adding the peppers, onions, and garlic. She walked over to the refrigerator and retrieved the ground beef. "And as much as I believe Mama loves living with us, and we love having her there, I think she's enjoying her time in Raleigh, visiting her former church members and catching up with Miss Ridley."
"I think you're right. You want a glass of wine?"
"That sounds good."
Randall walked over to the cabinet, retrieved two wine glasses, and grabbed the corkscrew from a nearby drawer. "It's good to see Aaron playing around and being silly again," he said as he pulled the cork from the wine bottle and poured two full glasses. "The therapy sessions have definitely helped."
"I'm just thankful his teacher was astute enough to recognize what we didn't, or as she and the therapist said, what he'd kept mostly hidden. That incident traumatized him more than any of us realized, and continued even after the handful of family therapy appointments we set up. Trying to hurt us is one thing, but what Jacqueline did to my kids makes her the lowest type of human being that I can imagine."
Randall looked up in surprise, looked toward the stairs and back at his wife. "We're speaking her name now? Since when did this become okay? I remember a conversation as recent as a couple months ago when I forgot your rule and got punched in the chest."
"That may have been an overreaction."
Sherri reached over and gave him a quick peck on the lips. She stirred the meat mixture that was gently sizzling in the pot before opening a cabinet door and pulling out a chili seasoning packet and a jar of tomato sauce. "Mom and I were talking the other day. What she said made me realize that my demanding that her name not be uttered reflected the fear and hatred I still harbored against her. She pointed out that as long as these feelings remained, Jacqueline was still controlling a part of my life. She suggested I forgive her, not for anything I owed Jacqueline but for what I owe myself. So while I pray there will be little reason to mention her name in the future, the rule against doing so is gone. Jacqueline is in prison, where she belongs, and where she will be for a very long time. I have no need to fear her, or that name. And by the way, I didn't hit you that hard."
"You did, but it's okay. Later tonight, I'm going to punch a part of your anatomy with something hard. So we'll be even."
"I look forward to it." Sherri added the rest of the ingredients to the pot, then lowered the fire so the chili could simmer. She picked up her glass of wine and reached for Randall's hand. "I'm going to let that simmer about thirty minutes and in the meantime, go take a shower. You want to join me and start delivering a few of those punches you promised?"
A sexy smile crept onto Randall's face. "Oh yes, I most definitely want to do that. Or, as the kids would say, mos def."
"Kids don't say that anymore, Randall. Men trying to hang on to youth long gone say it"
"Ha! I love you mos def, Randall"
He placed his arm around her shoulders as they mounted the stairs. "I love you, too."CHAPTER 3
Hey, baby. You about ready to get out of here?"
Jessica Givens looked up into hazel-brown eyes set in a pretty-boy face. On a day like today, when hormones gone wild had kept her mind locked in the past and brought on a pity party, that the owner of this gorgeous face was her husband felt surreal.
"I've been ready to leave since I arrived this morning." She switched the company phone lines to the night answering service, placed the file she'd been working on in a drawer, and reached for her purse. "All right, let's go."
The elevator arrived. Vincent held the door, allowing his wife to enter first. As the door closed, he used his body to maneuver Jessica against the back wall, and sent his mouth in search of hers.
Excerpted from The Perfect Revenge by Lutishia Lovely. Copyright © 2015 Lutishia Lovely. 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading the last book in this series and I think that the series was wrapped up well.
This was the third book in the series and you could tell. It seemed as if the author was reaching with too much techno-spy junk and nothing really was 'jaw dropping'. The book held my attention but I expected more from this seasoned author. I'm glad the series is over. Next storyline please! I hope this crazy chic is done.
This story has more twists and turns than a roller coaster! You have GOT to ride this rollercoaster of a book. I was in suspense the entire time. Ms. Jacqueline keeps me guessing every time. This is the last installment of The Shady Sisters Trilogy. You MUST read the entire series, but make sure you've taken your heart medicine. This book will have you on the edge of your seat. Another great story by Lutishia Lovely!
THE PERFECT REVENGE This is the final book in THE SHADY SISTERS TRILOGY. Diabolical Jacqueline is on the warpath and out for revenge. Absolutely, no one is safe, no-holds-barred. This story starts with a bang and ends with an even bigger bang! Ms. Lovely pens and spins this story to keep you on the edge of your sheet all the way through. No S.M.H this time, but rather O.M.G. all the way! THE PERFECT REVENGE This is the final book in THE SHADY SISTERS TRILOGY. Diabolical Jacqueline is on the warpath and out for revenge. Absolutely, no one is safe, no-holds-barred. This story starts with a bang and ends with an even bigger bang! Ms. Lovely pens and spins this story to keep you on the edge of your sheet all the way through. No S.M.H this time, but rather O.M.G. all the way! Definitely worth more than 5 stars, but five is as high as the scale allows.