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Authors: Jackie Collins

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Women

Lovers & Players

Jackie Collins
is one of the world’s top-selling writers, with more than four hundred million copies of her books sold in more than forty countries. Her twenty-five bestselling novels have never been out of print, and have all been
New York Times
bestsellers. She lives in Beverly Hills, California. Visit her website at
www.jackiecollins.com

 
PRAISE FOR JACKIE COLLINS
 

‘Jackie Collins is the queen of the bonkbuster–I’m simply the scullery maid’ Jilly Cooper,
Telegraph

‘Sex, glamour and big hair and more sex, Jackie Collins’s dissection of Tinseltown is as razor sharp as ever’
Daily Mail

‘Her style is pure escapism, her heroine’s strong and ambitious and her men, well, like the book, they’ll keep you up all night!’
Company Magazine

‘A generation of women have learnt more about how to handle their men from Jackie’s books than from any kind of manual…Jackie is very much her own person: a total one off’
Daily Mail

‘Bartender, pour us a dirty martini and keep them coming. This is vintage Jackie Collins and we’ll be here ’til closin”
Heat

‘Jackie is still the queen of sexy stories. Perfect’
OK
!

‘Cancel all engagements, take the phone off the hook and indulge yourself’
Mirror

‘The Proust of nips and tucks’
Daily Telegraph

Also by Jackie Collins

 

Lethal Seduction

Hollywood Wives–The New Generation

Deadly Embrace

Hollywood Divorces

Thrill!

L.A. Connections–Power, Obsession, Murder, Revenge

Hollywood Kids

American Star

Rock Star

Hollywood Husbands

Lovers & Gamblers

Hollywood Wives

The World Is Full Of Divorced Women

The Love Killers

Sinners

The Bitch

The Stud

The World Is Full Of Married Men

Married Lovers

THE SANTANGELO NOVELS

 

Lady Boss

Lucky

Drop Dead Beautiful

Dangerous Kiss

Vendetta: Lucky’s Revenge

Chances

First published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2005
First published by Pocket Books UK, 2006
This edition published by Pocket Books UK, 2009
An imprint of Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
A CBS COMPANY

Copyright © Chances Inc, 2005

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. Pocket Books & Design is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster Inc.

The right of Jackie Collins to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
1st Floor
222 Gray’s Inn Road
London WC1X 8HB

www.SimonandSchuster.co.uk

Simon & Schuster Australia
Sydney

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN-13: 978-1-84739-887-1
ISBN-10: 1-84739-887-1

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

For all the Lovers & Players I have known
.

Names not necessary!

Contents
 
Prologue
 

‘Y
our father wants to see you immediately.’

‘Huh?’ Jett Diamond mumbled, rolling over in bed, almost dropping the phone as he groped in the dark for his watch.

It was four a.m. in Milan. Four a.m., cold and raining. He could hear the rain pounding down on the skylight in the bathroom.

The beautiful girl lying next to him stirred. ‘Who is it,
carino
?’ she murmured, flinging her arm across his chest.

‘Go back to sleep,’ he ordered, sitting up and automatically reaching for a cigarette.

Lady Jane Bentley was on the phone, his father’s long-time girlfriend, and she sounded like she meant business.

‘Do y’know what time it is here?’ he said gruffly, lighting up and taking a long, deep drag.

‘Yes, Jett,’ Lady Jane replied evenly. ‘And I repeat, your father needs to see you at once. There is a plane ticket for New York waiting for you at the concierge’s desk at the Four Seasons Hotel. Be here at the house in New York at nine a.m. on Friday.’ A long, meaningful pause. ‘And, Jett, make absolutely sure you do
not
let him down. It is to your advantage.’

Before he could say anything, she hung up.

Man! He’d never liked her. Lady Jane Bentley with her phoney English accent and so-called impeccable manners. She’d been his father’s constant companion for the last six years. The scandal was that she’d left her titled British husband, Lord James, for Red Diamond, the rambunctious, powerful, controlling, four-times-married media billionaire. It had caused quite a few lurid headlines at the time.

Red Diamond. Jett’s father.

Christ! What the
fuck
did he want?

 

 

Max Diamond, real-estate mogul, was in the middle of a dinner party when his cell vibrated. Max never went anywhere without his phone switched on. His team of trusted associates knew they could reach him at any time with any problem: that was the way he liked it. Besides, right now he was financially over-extended, and he needed to be available twenty-four-seven to deal with the crisis.

Discreetly he checked his cell to see who was calling him at eleven p.m.

Lady Jane Bentley. His father’s paramour. What did
she
want? He hadn’t spoken to either of them in months, even though they all lived in the same city. As a family they were not exactly close.

Intrigued, he excused himself and hurried into the library where he called her back.

One thing about Lady Jane, she was precise and to the point. ‘Your father wishes to see you at the house. Nine a.m. on Friday,’ she said. ‘It’s extremely important, Max.’

‘Concerning what?’ he asked curiously.

‘Be here and you’ll find out.’

Max nodded to himself. ‘I suppose I can make it,’ he said grudgingly.

‘Both your brothers will be flying in.’

Now it sounded serious. Was the old man dying?

If he is
, Max thought grimly,
it won’t be a moment too soon
.

 

 

Chris Diamond was working out in his home gym when he got the call. Home gyms were a definite status symbol in L.A. If you didn’t have a Cybex-equipped home gym, you actually had to mix with the sweaty masses at the L.A. Sports Connection, and that meant you simply hadn’t made it. Chris Diamond liked to think that, as one of the most sought-after entertainment lawyers in town, he had definitely made it. Hence, his state-of-the-art gym with a spectacular sound system, high definition TVs on three walls, while the fourth was a huge sheet of glass overlooking the glittering lights of L.A.

He’d purchased the house at the top of Coldwater Canyon, perched on the edge of a magnificent hillside, because of the incredible views. Then he’d proceeded to redo and rebuild until it was exactly the way he wanted it. Chris was a perfectionist: he liked things organized and in the right place. It gave him a feeling of security, something he’d never had while growing up.

‘Nine a.m. on Friday,’ Lady Jane said.

‘Can’t do it,’ he replied, jumping off the Lifecycle and reaching for a pristine white hand-towel, which he threw round his neck.

‘Why not?’

‘I’ve got an important meeting in Vegas I can’t break.’

‘I strongly suggest you do,’ she said calmly. ‘Your brothers will be here, and your father expects you.’ A long beat. ‘I’m sure you wouldn’t wish to disappoint him.’

Chris digested her words. ‘Is he sick?’ he asked at last.

‘Be here. It is to your advantage,’ she said mysteriously, and hung up.

 

 

Red Diamond reached for a dark-coloured cigarette with his gnarled right hand, and lit it with a gold Dunhill lighter.

He was seventy-nine years old and looked every year of it. His craggy face was lined and wrinkled, his sunken blue eyes faded and darkly shadowed. An aquiline nose and strong jaw-line gave hints of the imposing-looking man he had once been.

‘Are they coming?’ he demanded, his eyes raking over Lady Jane Bentley as the impeccably groomed woman entered his bedroom.

She nodded, wondering what he was up to this time, for Red Diamond never did anything unless he had an agenda.

‘You’re sure?’ he barked, blowing a stream of acrid smoke in her direction.

‘Absolutely,’ she said, waving away the smoke with a pained expression.

‘All three of them?’ he rasped.

‘Yes,’ she answered coolly. ‘I contacted them as you requested, and they
will
be here.’

‘Excellent.’ A crafty smile spread across his weathered face. ‘And so it begins…’ he muttered, almost to himself.

Lady Jane nodded again. When Red Diamond wanted something, nobody dared argue, not even her.

What was he up to now? That was the question.

She was curious to know, but smart enough not to ask–Red never revealed anything until he was good and ready.

Like everyone else she would simply have to wait and see.

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