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Guilty Wives
Guilty Wives
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 031609756X
$27.99/U.S.
448 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 1455506664
$14.99/U.S.
480 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Mass Market
ISBN: 0446571881
$10.00/U.S.
528 pages
Grand Central Publishing

No husbands allowed

Only minutes after Abbie Elliot and her three best friends step off of a private helicopter, they enter the most luxurious, sumptuous, sensually pampering hotel they have ever been to. Their lavish presidential suite overlooks Monte Carlo, and they surrender: to the sun and pool, to the sashimi and sake, to the Bruno Paillard champagne. For four days they're free to live someone else's life. As the weekend moves into pulsating discos, high-stakes casinos, and beyond, Abbie is transported to the greatest pleasure and release she has ever known.

What happened last night?

In the morning's harsh light, Abbie awakens on a yacht, surrounded by police. Something awful has happened—something impossible, unthinkable. Abbie, Winnie, Serena, and Bryah are arrested and accused of the foulest crime imaginable. And now the vacation of a lifetime becomes the fight of a lifetime—for survival. GUILTY WIVES is the ultimate indulgence, the kind of nonstop joy-ride of excess, friendship, betrayal, and danger that only James Patterson can create.

Guilty Wives
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 031609756X
$27.99/U.S.
448 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 1455506664
$14.99/U.S.
480 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Mass Market
ISBN: 0446571881
$10.00/U.S.
528 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Book One | THIRTEEN MONTHS EARLIER: JUNE 2010

Chapter 3

LE GRAND CASINO'S exterior displayed the triumphant, ornate architecture of royalty, a palace of gold. We passed a number of sleek foreign cars parked at the entrance and showed our passports at the door. (Citizens of Monaco, Bryah informed us, were forbidden from gambling in the casino.)

The atrium was adorned in gold; it had marble columns and sculptures in glass enclosures, and the double-height ceiling was open to the second floor. It felt like we were at the opera, not a casino. (The person who designed this casino, Bryah explained, also designed the Paris Opéra. We had to get some liquor in her fast.)

We paid our way into a private gambling room that had frescoed ceilings, lavish molding, and sculptures and paintings everywhere. The attire was jacket and tie for the men, gowns and cocktail dresses for the ladies. All of us except Bryah were wearing black cocktail dresses—Serena's and Winnie's were strapless. Bryah, on the other hand, opted for something gold and more conservative.

Bryah always covered up more than the rest of us. I thought I knew why.

Anyway. We were among Monte Carlo's elite, the world's elite— movie stars and athletes and speculators and Fortune 500 CEOs, wagering staggering sums of money, most for the pure sport of it.

"Roulette," said Serena. "You can't come to Monte Carlo and not play European roulette."

This was something I knew. I didn't gamble much, but when I did, it was always roulette.

The European roulette wheel had thirty-seven individual pockets, numbered zero through 36. Half the numbers were red and half were black. The bettor simply had to guess in which space the bouncing ball would stop. You placed your bets on a board. You could bet on individual numbers; on a block of two or four numbers; on the first twelve, second twelve, or third twelve; on numbers 1 through 18 or 19 through 36; on an odd number or even; on a black number or red. The payout varied with the degree of risk. Winning on an individual number obviously had the biggest payout, thirty-five to one, whereas betting that a number would be red, for example, was only a two-toone payout because you had a fifty-fifty chance.

Serena took a seat and put down fifty thousand euros, which drew the attention of the other three players and a small crowd behind them. Each of the players—an Indian in a tuxedo, a heavyset Italian with a beard and ponytail, and a young woman who appeared to be American—looked at Serena, trying to place her. A movie star? An heiress?

"She's an international drug smuggler," I told the woman with the Italian, a bleached blonde with a long, curvy body.

The croupier—the dealer—gave Serena fifty yellow chips, each chip representing a thousand euros. Serena placed five of them on the number 5, her finish in the downhill in the Winter Olympics.

A straight bet. A bad bet. Terrible odds. The Indian bet reds. The Italian took 1 through 18. The American placed a corner bet, centering her chip at the intersection of squares 31, 32, 34, and 35.

The croupier spun the roulette wheel clockwise and said, "No more bets." He dropped the ball into the wheel in the opposite direction of the spin. The ball bounced against the tide as the wheel spun, finally landing in the pocket for 19.

"Nineteen, red," said the croupier. The Indian doubled his money. Everyone else lost. Serena lost five thousand euros—roughly six thousand American dollars. That was a trimester of boarding school in New England for one of my kids.

"Place an outside bet," I said to her. "Bet a column, or odds or evens or a color."

"Bor-ing." Serena put another five chips on 5.

"You have less than a three percent chance of winning," said Bryah.

"Oh, let her play. Best of British, Serena!" Winnie said.

"No more bets," said the croupier.

Our drinks arrived. Cosmopolitans for each of us. To me, the vodka tasted better than the Champagne. The bubbly goes to my brain too quickly.

"Eleven, black." Good news for everyone but Serena.

"You can't keep putting five thousand down on a single number," I said.

"You're right." Serena winked at me. She put ten chips down on the 5.

"No more bets."

Serena raised her glass to me in a toast.

"Twenty-two, black."

Serena put another five down on 5.

"No more bets." The ball tripped and danced around, ultimately settling in the pocket numbered 6.

"Six, black."

"I'm getting closer," said Serena. I'm sure that was great consolation after having lost twenty-five thousand euros in the space of ten minutes.

The Italian put two chips down on square 5 as well and smiled at her, his eyebrows dancing. But then he put five chips on reds to cover his stupid inside bet.

"No more bets." The croupier did his thing and the small ball did its little jig.

"Thirty-four, red."

A crowd had begun to gather behind our table. The blond American, throwing money away on thirty-seven-to-one odds, dropping five thousand euros a pop on the number 5.

Soon, Serena had depleted her fifty thousand euros and laid out another fifty for the croupier. People behind us mumbled. I doubt it was flattering talk.

This was classic Serena, always seeking a competition, always sizing herself up against others, never shrinking from a dare. This, I knew, was what she wanted from this weekend, something wild and risky.

I stood behind her. Winnie was talking with a tall man who looked Spanish. Bryah was on her next Cosmo and lightening up, now cheering Serena on instead of explaining the crappy odds to her.

"Sticking with five, then," I said, my hand on her shoulder. It was her money. Who was I to tell her what to do?

"Sticking with five." Serena reached back and patted my hand.

It didn't get any better for her.

"Seventeen, black."

"Twenty-four, black."

"Seven, red."

People began to applaud with each bet Serena placed. I didn't know if it was encouragement or ridicule, but she had drawn quite a crowd.

"You think I'm crazy." Serena looked back at me.

I bent down and kissed her cheek. "I think you're wonderful."

"Love you, sweetie." She was down to her last ten chips, her last ten thousand euros. She put five down on 5.

"Fourteen, red."

The crowd reacted with audible disappointment. I'd been wrong. They admired her spirit, if not her strategy. They were doing the same thing we were doing on this trip, living vicariously through others, watching this woman take wild risks.

Down to her last five chips. "Do I change?" she asked me.

"Do you believe in it?"

She paused. "I believe in us."

I leaned down to her. "Then bet on us. The four of us." "Madame?" the croupier asked. Serena looked at me and smiled. She bet her last five chips. On the number 4. Another audible reaction behind me. What was she doing? Why

change now? The roulette wheel spun. "No more bets." The ball danced one last

time for us. The crowd went up in a roar. "Four, black," said the croupier.

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Guilty Wives
Fiction/General
Audiobook (Unabridged CD)
ISBN: 1607884682
$34.98/U.S.
Hachette Audio
Read by January LaVoy

January LaVoy is a New York-based voice, stage, and television actress. She has performed on and Off-Broadway, and appeared extensively in regional theaters across the country. She is best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz on the long-running ABC daytime drama, One Life to Live.

Guilty Wives
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 031609756X
$27.99/U.S.
448 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 1455506664
$14.99/U.S.
480 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Mass Market
ISBN: 0446571881
$10.00/U.S.
528 pages
Grand Central Publishing

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