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The Next Mrs. Parrish

A Novel

Author Liv Constantine On Tour
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Daphne and Amber Parrish are thrust back into each other’s lives upon the resurgence of a long-forgotten threat, forcing a vicious game of cat and mouse where everything is on the line, in this thrilling sequel to the million-copy-bestselling Reese’s Book Club pick The Last Mrs. Parrish.
 
“Delicious and shocking, The Next Mrs. Parrish is an incredibly entertaining and compulsive tale of revenge and deception you won’t want to miss.”—Jeneva Rose, New York Times bestselling author of You Shouldn’t Have Come Here

Amber Patterson Parrish has come a long way. Hard work and immaculate planning turned her from invisible wallflower to prominent socialite, though there have been bumps along the way. Less than a year after her husband Jackson’s tax-evasion scandal, Amber reigns supreme over the Bishops Harbor community. But with Jackson being released from prison, Amber’s free time—and money—is vanishing.

Meanwhile, Daphne Parrish left Bishops Harbor after her divorce from Jackson, swearing she would never go back. But when one of her daughters runs away from home, desperate to see her father, Daphne agrees to return for the summer for their daughters’ sake. Jackson swears he’s a changed man, but Daphne knows all too well that he can’t be trusted.

When a ghost from Amber’s past emerges looking for revenge, these three figures find unlikely allies in one another. But who is playing who? When all is said and done, they’ll have to fight tooth and nail for everything they have left in this zero-sum game.

With shocking turns and entertaining characters, The Next Mrs. Parrish will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about duplicity and betrayal.
– 1 –

Amber


Amber Patterson Parrish hated visiting her husband at Camp Fed. Jackson had been living at the correctional facility for the past seven months. Fortunately for her, he didn’t expect her to stay long, just long enough to give him the maximum allowable cash, thirty dollars, and time to bitch to her about the conditions he was forced to endure—the crap food, the flooding and ceiling leaks every time it rained, and the unending noise boomeranging off metal and concrete inside the grimy old building. Sometimes the visits went smoothly, other times the guards did something to screw with you.

Last week, she’d been sent home. Told that her outfit was too revealing. It was bullshit. She was proud of how great her toned abs and long legs looked in her Alex Perry jumpsuit, but what did the guards know about fashion? The only thing revealing about her outfit was what it brought out in their character. One of the other inmates’ wives suggested Amber run over to Walmart and get a sweater to wear on top. Please. At least it had given her a chance to skip the visit that week. She despised sitting in the overcrowded room with the masses; unkempt, rude women who elbowed their way past her to grab seats first. The smells of cheap perfume and sweat that made her want to hold her breath. Everything about it was disgusting—the long rows of hard plastic chairs bolted together, the cold linoleum floor and stark white walls with prison regulations posted everywhere, the random pat searches that weren’t at all random. She was pretty sure Jackson hated the visits as much as she did because he couldn’t stand for Amber to witness him being vulnerable—wearing orange instead of his normal designer attire, at the mercy of the prison guards barking orders at him. He was no longer the all-powerful mogul, now just another inmate, no more special than anyone else. Thankfully it was only a forty-five-minute drive to Danbury, Connecticut, so she didn’t have to waste her entire day.

Amber had worried at first that the scandal would make her persona non grata in Bishops Harbor, but apparently tax evasion was a crime that didn’t garner much antipathy among the one-percenters. They were likely counting their blessings that they had avoided getting caught themselves. Besides, anyone who knew Jackson knew that he’d soon be back on top and didn’t want to risk alienating him by shunning his wife. Thus, Amber was still able to enjoy her days at the country club, her weekly tennis matches, and a board position with the Bishops Harbor Historical Society.

Her days passed pleasantly enough, especially with no demanding husband at home to please. There were a few, the old guard, who turned up their noses at her, but then again, they’d rebuffed her from the beginning. She’d get them back when the time was right. The one fly in the ointment was that funds were running very low, and she’d had to let some of the household staff go. For the past month, she’d had to cook her own meals and drive herself everywhere. Plus, she hadn’t bought a new outfit in over two months. If she didn’t get an influx of cash soon, the nanny and housekeeper would have to be let go, she would have to forgo her salon visits and even let their club membership lapse. There were no secrets in Bishops Harbor. Word at the club would spread like wildfire. She wasn’t about to let that happen.

Amber had a plan, though. She’d sell the boat. She knew the sixty-five-foot Hatteras was worth at least a million and a half, maybe more, so she’d put an ad in Boat Trader and on Boats.com. She already had three interested parties. Pretty soon their bank account would be overflowing once more, and she could go back to the life she’d become accustomed to.

Well, almost. Jackson would be home in a month, but she wasn’t afraid of him anymore—not since she had laid the trap that gave her something to hold over his head. A few months after their marriage, when he’d found out that there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest in Missouri, he’d used that as leverage and became verbally abusive and debasing in the bedroom. She could have left him and owned up to what she’d been arrested for back home. She’d probably serve only a year or two for jury tampering, perjury, and bail jumping, but she’d sooner be dead than go back to the small-minded town she’d grown up in. She would not eat crow. It was far easier to put up with Jackson. His first wife had silently borne all his cruelty, but Amber was no Daphne.

She smiled, remembering the night she’d provoked him. It was the first time he hadn’t been able to sustain an erection. She’d laughed and told him he was part of the Viagra crowd now, that maybe she should hire a new pool boy. He’d been furious. Furious enough to make the mistake of pushing her down on the bed and choking her, spewing obscenities. She’d recorded it all from the camera she’d hidden on the nightstand. That was the night she found equal footing. Jackson cared much more about his reputation than he did about having the upper hand. So, he’d wisely agreed to her terms: a marriage in name only, no more sex, no more demands. He’d have the arm candy he wanted, she the lifestyle, and their lives would go on. But that didn’t mean she was looking forward to seeing him every day.

She sat in the drab waiting room now, impatient for them to bring Jackson in so she could get the visit over with. She looked up as the door opened and he walked in. She conceded that he looked none the worse for wear. In fact, he looked very fit, like he’d been working out. But then again, federal prison wasn’t exactly Attica. He gave her a sardonic smile and when he sat down, she noticed that his thick dark hair was a little longer than he normally wore it. She had to admit that even in his prison garb, Jackson looked more like a movie star playing a role than a real inmate.

“How’s my devoted wife today?”

She returned a smile—her sweetest—and shrugged. “Missing you, of course. But only one more month, and you’ll be home.”

“I’m sure you’re counting the days.” He leaned forward and clasped his hands together. “On that note, I want you to throw a party for my release. It’s important that we get in front of this. Let everyone know I’m back and ready to start something new. I’ve met an investment broker who has some great contacts. We’re developing a new business plan.”

Amber wondered what the banker was in for.

“Here’s the guest list.” He slid a piece of paper across the table.

Amber glanced at it. Was he serious?

“Jackson, there’s only fifty thousand left in our accounts. That barely covers our monthly expenses. I told you I’ve already had to let Edgar and Margarita go. There’s not enough to throw you an elaborate party. I’m having to cut corners all over the place. I’m tired of making sacrifices.”

His eyes blazed. “Only fifty? There was close to half a million between both accounts when I came here. Where the hell did it go?”

“Come on. You can’t have forgotten what things cost. It’s been seven months; the money’s running out.” She leaned back and appraised him. “But I do have an idea. If we sell the boat, we can get at least a million and a half for it. Not to mention saving ten thousand a month in slip fees, electricity, maintenance, and insurance. Besides, it’s seven years old. When you’re back on top, you can buy a bigger one.” And one that was named after her, and not his ex-wife and kids, she thought.

Jackson’s face turned white. “Absolutely not!”

“Why not? It’s not like anyone’s using it. What’s your attachment to a seven-year-old boat? We need the money.”

He leaned in closer, giving her a piercing look. “Listen to me. Under no circumstances are you to sell the boat. Do you understand me? I promise you, there’ll be plenty of money when I get out, but I need that boat.”

“You must be dreaming. The company’s gone; all that money went to pay back the IRS. The only assets we have are the house and that boat. Do you have a job waiting for you when you’re released?”

“Look, I can’t get into it here.” He glanced up at the corner of the room where a camera was positioned, then back at her. “Just trust me on this. We’ll be fine once I’m out. But not if you get rid of the boat.”

Interesting, she thought. What did the boat have to do with it? “Okay, okay. I get it. It’s your good luck charm. Fine. I won’t sell it. But I certainly hope you’re not lying to me. I’ve got my eye on the new Oscar de la Renta coming out in a few weeks.”

He blew out a breath. “You’ll have everything your greedy little heart desires. Just hold out for one more month. Got it?”

“If you say so. I’d better get going. Tennis at three.” She smiled. “See you next week.”

“Hold on. You said you’d bring pictures of my son with you.”
“Delicious and shocking, The Next Mrs. Parrish is an incredibly entertaining and compulsive tale of revenge and deception you won’t want to miss.”—Jeneva Rose, New York Times bestselling author of You Shouldn’t Have Come Here

“A brilliant page-turner where nothing (and no one) is what it seems . . . Pour a glass of wine and settle in for the ride.”—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before She Disappeared

The Next Mrs. Parrish sizzles with devious characters, head-spinning twists, and a breathless game of cat and mouse. Constantine fans are in for a treat—and one hell of a ride!”—Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author of The Spare Room 

“The players are about to get played. You’ll devour this juicy, twisty psychological thriller in one sitting!”—Lisa Scottoline, #1 bestselling author of The Truth About the Devlins

“Get ready for a roller coaster of suspense. . . . Delightful and addictive, I loved this riveting read!”—Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation

The Next Mrs. Parrish is to die for!”—Vanessa Lillie, USA Today bestselling author of Blood Sisters

“Masterful. Enthralling. Diabolical.”—Michele Campbell, internationally bestselling author of The Intern
© Bill Miles
Liv Constantine is the pen name of sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. Lynne and Valerie are nationally and internationally bestselling authors with more than one and a half million copies sold worldwide. Their books have been translated into twenty-nine languages, published in thirty-four countries, optioned for development in both television and film, and praised by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, People, Good Morning America, among many others. Their debut novel, The Last Mrs. Parrish, was a Reese’s Book Club selection. View titles by Liv Constantine

About

Daphne and Amber Parrish are thrust back into each other’s lives upon the resurgence of a long-forgotten threat, forcing a vicious game of cat and mouse where everything is on the line, in this thrilling sequel to the million-copy-bestselling Reese’s Book Club pick The Last Mrs. Parrish.
 
“Delicious and shocking, The Next Mrs. Parrish is an incredibly entertaining and compulsive tale of revenge and deception you won’t want to miss.”—Jeneva Rose, New York Times bestselling author of You Shouldn’t Have Come Here

Amber Patterson Parrish has come a long way. Hard work and immaculate planning turned her from invisible wallflower to prominent socialite, though there have been bumps along the way. Less than a year after her husband Jackson’s tax-evasion scandal, Amber reigns supreme over the Bishops Harbor community. But with Jackson being released from prison, Amber’s free time—and money—is vanishing.

Meanwhile, Daphne Parrish left Bishops Harbor after her divorce from Jackson, swearing she would never go back. But when one of her daughters runs away from home, desperate to see her father, Daphne agrees to return for the summer for their daughters’ sake. Jackson swears he’s a changed man, but Daphne knows all too well that he can’t be trusted.

When a ghost from Amber’s past emerges looking for revenge, these three figures find unlikely allies in one another. But who is playing who? When all is said and done, they’ll have to fight tooth and nail for everything they have left in this zero-sum game.

With shocking turns and entertaining characters, The Next Mrs. Parrish will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about duplicity and betrayal.

Excerpt

– 1 –

Amber


Amber Patterson Parrish hated visiting her husband at Camp Fed. Jackson had been living at the correctional facility for the past seven months. Fortunately for her, he didn’t expect her to stay long, just long enough to give him the maximum allowable cash, thirty dollars, and time to bitch to her about the conditions he was forced to endure—the crap food, the flooding and ceiling leaks every time it rained, and the unending noise boomeranging off metal and concrete inside the grimy old building. Sometimes the visits went smoothly, other times the guards did something to screw with you.

Last week, she’d been sent home. Told that her outfit was too revealing. It was bullshit. She was proud of how great her toned abs and long legs looked in her Alex Perry jumpsuit, but what did the guards know about fashion? The only thing revealing about her outfit was what it brought out in their character. One of the other inmates’ wives suggested Amber run over to Walmart and get a sweater to wear on top. Please. At least it had given her a chance to skip the visit that week. She despised sitting in the overcrowded room with the masses; unkempt, rude women who elbowed their way past her to grab seats first. The smells of cheap perfume and sweat that made her want to hold her breath. Everything about it was disgusting—the long rows of hard plastic chairs bolted together, the cold linoleum floor and stark white walls with prison regulations posted everywhere, the random pat searches that weren’t at all random. She was pretty sure Jackson hated the visits as much as she did because he couldn’t stand for Amber to witness him being vulnerable—wearing orange instead of his normal designer attire, at the mercy of the prison guards barking orders at him. He was no longer the all-powerful mogul, now just another inmate, no more special than anyone else. Thankfully it was only a forty-five-minute drive to Danbury, Connecticut, so she didn’t have to waste her entire day.

Amber had worried at first that the scandal would make her persona non grata in Bishops Harbor, but apparently tax evasion was a crime that didn’t garner much antipathy among the one-percenters. They were likely counting their blessings that they had avoided getting caught themselves. Besides, anyone who knew Jackson knew that he’d soon be back on top and didn’t want to risk alienating him by shunning his wife. Thus, Amber was still able to enjoy her days at the country club, her weekly tennis matches, and a board position with the Bishops Harbor Historical Society.

Her days passed pleasantly enough, especially with no demanding husband at home to please. There were a few, the old guard, who turned up their noses at her, but then again, they’d rebuffed her from the beginning. She’d get them back when the time was right. The one fly in the ointment was that funds were running very low, and she’d had to let some of the household staff go. For the past month, she’d had to cook her own meals and drive herself everywhere. Plus, she hadn’t bought a new outfit in over two months. If she didn’t get an influx of cash soon, the nanny and housekeeper would have to be let go, she would have to forgo her salon visits and even let their club membership lapse. There were no secrets in Bishops Harbor. Word at the club would spread like wildfire. She wasn’t about to let that happen.

Amber had a plan, though. She’d sell the boat. She knew the sixty-five-foot Hatteras was worth at least a million and a half, maybe more, so she’d put an ad in Boat Trader and on Boats.com. She already had three interested parties. Pretty soon their bank account would be overflowing once more, and she could go back to the life she’d become accustomed to.

Well, almost. Jackson would be home in a month, but she wasn’t afraid of him anymore—not since she had laid the trap that gave her something to hold over his head. A few months after their marriage, when he’d found out that there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest in Missouri, he’d used that as leverage and became verbally abusive and debasing in the bedroom. She could have left him and owned up to what she’d been arrested for back home. She’d probably serve only a year or two for jury tampering, perjury, and bail jumping, but she’d sooner be dead than go back to the small-minded town she’d grown up in. She would not eat crow. It was far easier to put up with Jackson. His first wife had silently borne all his cruelty, but Amber was no Daphne.

She smiled, remembering the night she’d provoked him. It was the first time he hadn’t been able to sustain an erection. She’d laughed and told him he was part of the Viagra crowd now, that maybe she should hire a new pool boy. He’d been furious. Furious enough to make the mistake of pushing her down on the bed and choking her, spewing obscenities. She’d recorded it all from the camera she’d hidden on the nightstand. That was the night she found equal footing. Jackson cared much more about his reputation than he did about having the upper hand. So, he’d wisely agreed to her terms: a marriage in name only, no more sex, no more demands. He’d have the arm candy he wanted, she the lifestyle, and their lives would go on. But that didn’t mean she was looking forward to seeing him every day.

She sat in the drab waiting room now, impatient for them to bring Jackson in so she could get the visit over with. She looked up as the door opened and he walked in. She conceded that he looked none the worse for wear. In fact, he looked very fit, like he’d been working out. But then again, federal prison wasn’t exactly Attica. He gave her a sardonic smile and when he sat down, she noticed that his thick dark hair was a little longer than he normally wore it. She had to admit that even in his prison garb, Jackson looked more like a movie star playing a role than a real inmate.

“How’s my devoted wife today?”

She returned a smile—her sweetest—and shrugged. “Missing you, of course. But only one more month, and you’ll be home.”

“I’m sure you’re counting the days.” He leaned forward and clasped his hands together. “On that note, I want you to throw a party for my release. It’s important that we get in front of this. Let everyone know I’m back and ready to start something new. I’ve met an investment broker who has some great contacts. We’re developing a new business plan.”

Amber wondered what the banker was in for.

“Here’s the guest list.” He slid a piece of paper across the table.

Amber glanced at it. Was he serious?

“Jackson, there’s only fifty thousand left in our accounts. That barely covers our monthly expenses. I told you I’ve already had to let Edgar and Margarita go. There’s not enough to throw you an elaborate party. I’m having to cut corners all over the place. I’m tired of making sacrifices.”

His eyes blazed. “Only fifty? There was close to half a million between both accounts when I came here. Where the hell did it go?”

“Come on. You can’t have forgotten what things cost. It’s been seven months; the money’s running out.” She leaned back and appraised him. “But I do have an idea. If we sell the boat, we can get at least a million and a half for it. Not to mention saving ten thousand a month in slip fees, electricity, maintenance, and insurance. Besides, it’s seven years old. When you’re back on top, you can buy a bigger one.” And one that was named after her, and not his ex-wife and kids, she thought.

Jackson’s face turned white. “Absolutely not!”

“Why not? It’s not like anyone’s using it. What’s your attachment to a seven-year-old boat? We need the money.”

He leaned in closer, giving her a piercing look. “Listen to me. Under no circumstances are you to sell the boat. Do you understand me? I promise you, there’ll be plenty of money when I get out, but I need that boat.”

“You must be dreaming. The company’s gone; all that money went to pay back the IRS. The only assets we have are the house and that boat. Do you have a job waiting for you when you’re released?”

“Look, I can’t get into it here.” He glanced up at the corner of the room where a camera was positioned, then back at her. “Just trust me on this. We’ll be fine once I’m out. But not if you get rid of the boat.”

Interesting, she thought. What did the boat have to do with it? “Okay, okay. I get it. It’s your good luck charm. Fine. I won’t sell it. But I certainly hope you’re not lying to me. I’ve got my eye on the new Oscar de la Renta coming out in a few weeks.”

He blew out a breath. “You’ll have everything your greedy little heart desires. Just hold out for one more month. Got it?”

“If you say so. I’d better get going. Tennis at three.” She smiled. “See you next week.”

“Hold on. You said you’d bring pictures of my son with you.”

Reviews

“Delicious and shocking, The Next Mrs. Parrish is an incredibly entertaining and compulsive tale of revenge and deception you won’t want to miss.”—Jeneva Rose, New York Times bestselling author of You Shouldn’t Have Come Here

“A brilliant page-turner where nothing (and no one) is what it seems . . . Pour a glass of wine and settle in for the ride.”—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before She Disappeared

The Next Mrs. Parrish sizzles with devious characters, head-spinning twists, and a breathless game of cat and mouse. Constantine fans are in for a treat—and one hell of a ride!”—Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author of The Spare Room 

“The players are about to get played. You’ll devour this juicy, twisty psychological thriller in one sitting!”—Lisa Scottoline, #1 bestselling author of The Truth About the Devlins

“Get ready for a roller coaster of suspense. . . . Delightful and addictive, I loved this riveting read!”—Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation

The Next Mrs. Parrish is to die for!”—Vanessa Lillie, USA Today bestselling author of Blood Sisters

“Masterful. Enthralling. Diabolical.”—Michele Campbell, internationally bestselling author of The Intern

Author

© Bill Miles
Liv Constantine is the pen name of sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. Lynne and Valerie are nationally and internationally bestselling authors with more than one and a half million copies sold worldwide. Their books have been translated into twenty-nine languages, published in thirty-four countries, optioned for development in both television and film, and praised by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, People, Good Morning America, among many others. Their debut novel, The Last Mrs. Parrish, was a Reese’s Book Club selection. View titles by Liv Constantine