Lucy Price is living the American dream. She has been married to her successful husband and businessman, Edward Price for a year and couldn’t be happier until she learns that Eddie is a dangerously ruthless man, heavily involved in illegal activities that threaten not only her marriage, but her life. Eddie abruptly disappears, but not before warning Lucy that if she wants to keep breathing she'd better keep her mouth shut. Six months later, word of her husband surfaces when she learns that he is presumed murdered in a small Texas town, apparently killed by his “wife”, Marlowe Price.
Marlowe is no stranger to trouble. An outcast in her own community for being one of those "hoodoo women," who can curse you or cast you under her beguiling spell, Marlowe is shunned at every turn. Six months ago, a whirlwind romance in Mexico led Marlowe to marry the man she thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. For Marlowe and Eddie, there is no such thing as trouble in paradise. But late one night, when Marlowe witnesses her husband putting the body of a dead man in the trunk of his car, the illusion comes crashing down around her and she knows she has to move fast before the devil comes calling once again.
Now, Lucy and Marlowe must come together to find out where and who Eddie really is, and help each other through the threat he poses. There's nothing more dangerous than a woman scorned...except for two women scorned who are willing to put their pasts behind them and band together to take one bad man down...
About the Author
J.D. MASON is the author of Crazy, Sexy, Revenge; Drop Dead, Gorgeous; Beautiful, Dirty, Rich; Somebody Pick Up My Pieces; Take Your Pleasure Where You Find It; That Devil's No Friend Of Mine; You Gotta Sin To Get Saved; This Fire Down In My Soul; Don't Want No Sugar; And On The Eighth Day She Rested; and One Day I Saw A Black King. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her two children.
Read an Excerpt
The Real Mrs. Price
By J. D. Mason
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 J. D. Mason
All rights reserved.
Drowning on Dry Land
And just like that, the fragile concept of what he believed was his reality snapped like a twig. His wife, Lucy, had destroyed him with three little words. "You killed Chuck."
The dominoes were falling, one by one, creating a chain effect, and everything he'd held dear was crumbling around him. A nauseating knot twisted in his gut.
"Don't look at me like that, Lucy."
God! Why did she have to say it? Why did she have to look at him like that — like he was a stranger? Or evil? Like she was mortified by him. Disgusted. It pissed him off because she didn't understand. Not everything. Lucy didn't know what Ed had been going through, how he'd been suffering and had been derailed by the unexpected direction his life had taken because of Chuck.
"You killed him," she said accusingly. "I know you did it, Ed. Don't lie. Don't try to deny it. You did it. Nothing you can say ..."
She stopped. Stared. Her blue eyes widened, and her lower lip quivered. Lucy's body quaked, and it was as if all of a sudden, she realized the magnitude of what it meant to confront him. Ed realized it, too.
Never hit a woman. Never, ever hit a woman. But he couldn't help himself. This time, this one time, Ed's emotions erupted like a volcano, and his fist seemed to be separate from his body as it landed hard against the side of her face. Impulse. He regretted it as soon as he'd done it, but the pressure had been building in him for days, even weeks, and Lucy had brought it to the surface with this accusation of hers.
"No!" he shouted, reaching for her as he watched her fall back onto the floor.
For some reason, Ed's thoughts and his blame circled back to his friend. Chuck had started all of this, putting his gotdamn nose into Ed's business. His noble ass had threatened to turn Ed in.
"It's not too late, Ed," Chuck had told him. "If we get on top of this thing now, you can turn it around. I can make this go away. Disappear."
Ed had gotten selfish, sloppy, and cocky. Still, Ed had had this whole thing under control before Chuck's meddlesome ass stepped in and fucked it all up.
Lucy lay flat on her back at his feet, moaning, rolling her head from side to side with blood oozing from one corner of her mouth and staining her teeth. His beautiful Lucy. What had he done? Ed dropped to his knees on the floor beside her, then crawled and hovered over her with tears flooding his eyes. He stretched out on top of her, lowered his body onto hers, sobbed like a helpless, remorseful child, and tenderly stroked her hair.
"I'm sor — sorry, baby. Lucy? I didn't mean to."
Ed had snapped, the threat looming over him like a storm cloud pressed down on him until he could hardly breathe. In the beginning, he'd been so careful, so diligent, but somewhere along the way, he'd gotten careless.
This was not right. Ed wasn't right. Money had meant everything. The lure of it, the promise of it had made him do things that he'd have never dreamed of doing, jeopardizing his career, his marriage, freedom, and now his life and hers. He loved her so much. Even now, he loved her more than he ever dreamed that it was possible to love another human being.
"Baby? Sweetheart, can you hear me? Lucy?"
Her eyes fluttered desperately, and then she fixed her unsettled gaze on him, grimaced, and struggled to get free of him. His Lucy. His beautiful wife. Ed couldn't believe what he'd done to her, but she shouldn't have said anything. Even if she knew, she should've kept her mouth shut. Ed had crossed a dangerous line. Without realizing it, Lucy had crossed it, too. She thought that this was just about Chuck Harris, but he was just a small piece of a much bigger and more complicated puzzle.
"They're calling Chuck's death a homicide, Ed," she'd blurted out as soon as he'd walked in the house a few weeks after they'd found the body.
She was so smart, too smart for her own good sometimes. He'd always loved that about her. He'd tease her that she had too much time on her hands and that she needed other hobbies besides him. In the year that the two of them had been married, she'd fixated on Ed, watching his every move, hanging on his every word. It was like living under a microscope, and whenever he mentioned it, she would get defensive.
"You knew that I was an overachiever when you married me, sweetie," she'd reminded him once. "You're my husband, Ed. I'm supposed to pay attention to you, just like I expect for you to pay attention to me."
Chuck had been his friend and colleague, and ever since his body was discovered near the cabin he owned in Cripple Creek, she'd been obsessed with finding out what had happened to him. Ed had told her to back off and let the police handle finding Chuck's killer, but Lucy wouldn't let it go. Ed had to let it play out and pretended to be as concerned as she was.
"This is so terrible," she'd say, watching the story unfold on the local evening news. "Who'd want to kill Chuck? Why?"
Ed would shake his head in dismay. "I have no idea, Lucy. He was a good man."
"Get — off — me — Ed," she said, spraying blood in his face. Tears ran down the sides of her face. "Get off!"
"Shhhh," he said, his lips trembling as he stroked her hair. "You keep your voice down and I'll get up. We can talk about this, Lucy. We have to talk about it."
Lucy wouldn't stop shaking. She wouldn't stop crying.
"Shut up," he said, his voice quaking.
She recoiled like she was afraid of him, and she had every reason to be, because Ed's thoughts collided dangerously together in his head. He was afraid of himself and of what he was capable of. He was afraid for her.
It took several moments, but eventually, Lucy managed to calm down.
Ed carefully lifted his body off her and tried to help her up, but Lucy withdrew like he was infected, drew her knees to her chest, and scooted on her bottom across the floor away from him. She swiped her mouth with the back of her hand and whimpered at the sight of her own blood.
Ed felt helpless and sick to his stomach over what he'd done to her. "Lucy," he said hoarsely, desperate to connect with her again on this one thing. He took a step toward her and squatted. "Baby, we can fix this," he reasoned. The irony was that there was nothing repairable about any of this. "I know you're scared, and I don't blame you. I shouldn't have hit you, but —" Ed reminded himself that he hadn't meant to hurt Lucy. "It won't happen again," he promised. It felt as empty as it sounded. "There's a lot that you don't know or understand. I've been under a great deal of pressure lately, and —" He had to make her understand the gravity of this situation. "This doesn't have to derail us, Lucy."
How did she know about Chuck? If Ed was going to try to fix this with her, he needed answers. How could she possibly know?
"Who told you, baby?" he asked as carefully and as tenderly as he could. "How'd you know?"
She shook her head back and forth and pinned her back up against the wall as if she were trying to disappear inside it to get away from him. Lucy suddenly rolled over on all fours and started to crawl away from him. Ed caught her, grabbing her by the hem of her cardigan, but when she slipped out of it, he grabbed a handful of her hair.
Lucy cried out, and to shut her up, he wrapped his hand around her throat and squeezed. "Shut the fuck up," he growled in her ear. "You need to calm the fuck down, Lucy. I'm not going to hurt you. Just calm down and tell me how you know."
She clawed at his fingers around her throat and scratched at his hand grabbing her hair. Then it dawned on him that he was squeezing too tight.
"I'm sorry, Lucy," he said, easing his grip around her neck. "You need to stop fighting me. If you'd stop fighting, I wouldn't have to do this. Tell me how you know." He carefully let her go. "It's important, sweetheart."
Lucy fell down to the floor, drawing her knees to her chest again and coughing and gasping for air. Suddenly, Ed heard a knock at the door, and his heart jumped into his chest.
"Shhhh, Lucy," he said, desperately trying to quiet her. "I need you to be quiet," he warned her. "I never meant to hurt you, and I don't want to have to —"
The knock came again. Reluctantly, he left her sitting there and went to answer the door.
"Hi, Ed." It was his neighbor Bruce from next door. It took all of his willpower to compose himself, but inside, Ed was screaming.
Lucy could be heard coughing at the door.
"Is everything all right? Barbara thought she heard something."
Barbara was Bruce's wife.
"Is that Lucy?"
Ed forced a smile. "Yeah, she choked on an almond. I did the Heimlich, and she's all right, but I think we need to go to the emergency room just as a precaution. You know. Make sure everything's where it should be." Ed could only hope that the alarm in Bruce's expression faded at Ed's lame attempt at a joke.
"Sure," he said, glancing over Ed's shoulder. "Well, is there anything I can do to help?"
"No, thanks, Bruce. I think I can handle it, but I really should get her to the hospital," Ed said, quickly shutting the door.
Ed hurried back into the room, but Lucy wasn't there. Instinctively, he raced through the dining room, into the kitchen, and found her pulling open the back door.
"No ... no ... no, sweetheart," he said, rushing over to her, wrapping his arms around her waist, and carrying her back to the living room.
Ed didn't like the look on Bruce's face, and he didn't want to take any chances that Bruce might decide to play hero and call the police.
Lucy fell limp in his arms and started to cry. He gently sat her down on the sofa and knelt at her feet. Ed shook his head. Shit was about to hit the fan. Ed had no more time. Bruce looked too concerned to just let this pass.
"It's a mess, Lucy," Ed muttered. "You have no idea what you've done. I can't stay," he said tearfully. Ed's life was now forfeit, and time was certainly not on his side. He had no choice but to go. "But I can't just leave you," he told her, putting his hand underneath her chin and turning her face to his. Lucy had to understand, fully, the gravity of her actions. She had to know just how serious this was, and he had to make it clear just how far she'd pushed him. "If I kill you, they'll never stop looking for me," he said unemotionally, speaking more to himself than to her. Ed was processing out loud, thinking of how such a scenario could play out and the consequences, unaware of the chilling effects his words were having on his wife. "They'll know it was me. And they'll pin Chuck's murder on me, and they'll never stop looking. There are worse things than going to prison, Lucy," he murmured with hot and angry tears filling his eyes. "There might even be worse things than dying." Ed swallowed. Hope began to wane in him, and adrenaline ran high. "It's over, Lucy," he whispered, pressing his forehead to hers. The bitterness of this moment rose to the back of his throat as bile. Nothing in his life would ever be the same. And as far as his marriage to her was concerned, it truly was over. "You can't tell anybody, Lucy." He held her face between his hands and stared desperately into her eyes. "I can leave, and you can get on with your life, but you can't tell anybody about me — about Chuck."
She blinked back tears. Lucy was so afraid, but she needed to be. That's the only way this plan of his had any possibility of working. Fear was his greatest weapon against her, and it would save both their lives.
"Understand this, sweetheart, that if you ever tell anyone about Chuck and I find out, I will come for you, and I will snatch the life right out of you, baby, and I mean that. I mean it, Lucy." Ed's own tears streamed down his cheeks. "I fucking mean it."
Could he do it? If he said it, then he'd have to mean it.
"Killing's easier than you think, Lucy." Ed said it. And yes. He did mean it. "My God, it's so damn easy. And if it comes down to my life or yours," he swallowed. "I'll take yours."
Ed quickly went upstairs and packed the things he knew he couldn't easily replace. He was literally getting ready to run for his life because of her. A few minutes later, he came back downstairs and saw Lucy slumped on the sofa, staring straight ahead at nothing, numb and trembling. His beautiful Lucy was a shell of the woman he'd married. But she should've minded her own fucking business.
He had two choices. He could stay and be arrested, or he could get as far away from here and this life as he could, as quickly as he could, and hope that he would never be found. On his way out the back door, he stopped and looked back at her one last time. Ed thought that maybe he should tell her that he would always love her. But saying something like that would just be silly.CHAPTER 2
Six Months Later ...
"Be mindful of me. And watch. Wait. Come," he said.
Was she naked? Of course. Of course she was. Bare outside and in. Vulnerable. And fragile, anticipating and needing. Him.
A light shone over her, but the space around her was dark. It was as if she were on display, but only for him. Marlowe raised her knees to her chest and let them fall open from her thighs. Was she afraid? Yes. But she wanted him more than she feared him. Inside. He was close. She didn't have to see him to know it. Marlowe scented him, she felt his presence in that room, the air warming as he drew nearer.
"No rules. Only lust. And come. And us."
His hand emerged from the darkness, black as tar, planting on the bed between her legs, leaving a print. Marlowe sucked in her breath and held it. Her heart raced, chasing fear and desire. Her nipples hardened at the thought of the warm caress of his lips.
He could hurt her. Kill. It's what he did. He could break her. Make her beg. Want.
The dark space at the foot of her bed transformed into him, his frame. Broad. Long. Without an end or beginning. He had no face. And yet, she loved him. Her body convulsed in anticipation of him. He pushed his fingers between the lips of her pussy, through the folds of her vagina, and fucked her. Slowly. Deeply. Rivers flowed from her, soaking the sheets. Filling the cup of his palm. Marlowe cried out in ecstasy and agony. It was so good that it hurt. And her desire for him became maddening.
He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth ... A biblical testament that erupted from her memories.
He was killing her in his own sick way. Tormenting her. Torturing her with his fingers. Teasing.
"Come on!" she growled in frustration at him as he brought her to orgasm with his touch. Marlowe's body rocked. She cried out, and she reached for him, but her hand passed through him. He wasn't real. But he was.
He pulled his fingers from her and raised them to the place where his mouth would be. They disappeared into him, and he moaned.
"My sweet love," he whispered.
Waves of orgasms rippled through her body long after he'd removed his fingers. And then he mounted her. Marlowe cried out in anticipation and terror. The warm and thick tip of his dick pressed against her opening. He balanced himself on his elbows, braced on either side of her. His broad and powerful chest pressed down on her until she could hardly breathe. He pushed inside her. Pulled out of her. Pushed deeper. Pulled out again. He did this over and over again, until the full length of him, which felt endless, was inside her.
"Scream, Marlowe. Scream for me."
She opened her mouth, but no scream came. He pummeled her, fucked her, licked and kissed her. He covered her with all of him, until the light above her dimmed. There was no name for what he was doing to her. Marlowe lay slathered in him, filled with him, consumed by him, in glorious throes of passion so fantastic that she dreamed they would never fade. She belonged to him, mind, body, and soul.
"Yessssss," he hissed, bucking slow and hard and deep at his own orgasmic waves. "I claim you. And you claim me, too. Yessssss."
She was his. He was hers. And the bond was unbreakable. Sealed.
* * *
Marlowe had been sleeping restlessly when the phone rang next to her bed. "Hello?" she asked, half-awake.
She'd been dreaming. Goodness gracious! Marlowe's eyes widened as she scanned the space in her room.
"It's me," Shou Shou said without apology. Shou Shou was Marlowe's aunt. "I had an intuition," the old woman told her.
Marlowe sat up in bed. The last time Shou Shou had had an intuition, Marlowe's twin sister, Marjorie, died.
"What it look like?" Marlowe asked anxiously.
"It look like you," Shou Shou told her. "I want you to do something for me."
"Say it," Marlowe responded. "You know I'll do it."
"I want you to read the bones, Marlowe. Don't wait 'til sunup. Get up and read 'em now."
Marlowe could count on two hands how many times she'd read the bones in her lifetime. But if Shou Shou was asking her to do this, then it had to be important.
"Yes, ma'am," she said nervously. "You want me to call you back and tell you what I saw?"
"No," she said simply. "It ain't for me. It's for you. Do it now, before midnight. Don't go back to sleep, Marlowe."
"No, ma'am. I won't."
Excerpted from The Real Mrs. Price by J. D. Mason. Copyright © 2016 J. D. Mason. 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.
Table of Contents
Drowning on Dry Land,
Six Months Later ...,
The Ritual Begins,
Shaking This Tree,
To Be Well,
Sharpen Your Knife,
Never, Ever Break Down,
Hold Back the River,
Where You Hide,
Can't Buy a Thrill,
Belly of the Whale,
Clear a Space,
Open Your Eyes,
It's Still Burning,
When I'm Alone with You,
Then I'm Cool,
You Go Hard,
Life Got in Between,
In the Stable,
Taking in the Shape,
Tell You My Sins,
Like a Dog,
Against the Tide,
Wash Out the Pain,
Go Through Hell,
Evil Coming Through,
The One You Need,
You Go Hard,
Keeps Me Awake,
But Your Ghost,
To the River,
Close to Me,
Keeps Me Awake,
I Never Learned,
Let Us Wander,
In Another You,
One Month Later ...,
Let Me Give You My Life,
Also by J. D. Mason,
About the Author,