Read The Replacement Wife Online

Authors: Tiffany L. Warren

The Replacement Wife

Also by Tiffany L. Warren
Don't Tell a Soul
Published by Dafina Books
L. W
Kensington Publishing Corp.
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
Writing this book has been such a journey! I want to thank God, first and foremost! I love that He keeps giving me stories, and I am blessed to continue writing them. Lord, I thank you.
I thank God for my family. My husband, Brent, who continues to be a positive force in my life, thank you for your support and prayers. Continue to walk in destiny.
I must thank my children with every release, Briana, Brittany, and Brynn—you all did a wonderful job as Morgan, Madison, and Danielle in the stage-play version of this book. You are wonderful actors and singers! Brent II and Brookie, thank you for being my babies. You are getting so big that I won't be able to say that soon.
To Mercedes, Adeola, and the entire team at Kensington—thank you for your tireless efforts. To my wonderful agent, Sara Camilli—welcome to my world of crazy. Thank you for supporting the art!
Thank you to all the book clubs that have supported me over the years. There are too many to name, but I'd like to give a special shout-out to Pastor Marguritte Johnson and the Godly Girlfriends book club in Mesquite, Texas. (I forgot them last time I was giving shout-outs!)
To the writers I admire and call friends, thank you for your advice and kind words. You know who you are. To my true blues, my homies, my ride or die (why somebody gotta die) chicks—Shawana, Leah, Rhonda, and Brandi! You all know exactly how to pray for me, so let's get to it.
Shout-out to the Lunch Bunch: Margie Faye, Jay, Misty, Lee Lee, Olivia, and Brandi. (Thanks for showing up at my book signing and acting like I was a celebrity.) Much love to Myron Butler and the Potter's House Choir of Dallas. (I know y'all sick of my testimonies, but oh well.)
I know I am forgetting lots of folk, so please charge it to my head and not my heart!
hloe scanned the incredibly packed sanctuary and groaned. The only seats available were in the balcony, and that just wouldn't do. Chloe wanted to kick herself for not gassing up her Benz the night before. That extra fourteen minutes at the gas station had probably made all the difference. Now, instead of sitting close enough to her next husband that he could smell her Chanel No. 5, she would be in the rafters with the nonim-portant attendees . . . unless she could convince one of the ushers to seat her in front, where she so obviously belonged.
Chloe weighed her choices. One of the center aisles was being guarded by a white-haired woman with a body like a Baltimore Ravens lineman and a glare to match. Chloe immediately decided against her. She was likely immune to any of Chloe's charms and would probably have her removed from the sanctuary for trying to sidestep the rules.
The other center aisle was being handled by a distinguished and handsome man of about fifty years. Every few seconds he wiped tears from his eyes. He probably knew the recently departed Chandra Chambers personally. Had probably dined with the family in that gigantic mansion off West Paces Ferry Road, right smack in the middle of Atlanta's old money. He was, without question, Chloe's mark.
Chloe stumbled down the aisle, tears flowing freely, and soft sobs escaping every few seconds. The sensitive usher approached her and touched her arm.
“I'm so sorry, miss, but there are no more seats in the main sanctuary. You'll have to sit in the overflow.”
Chloe nodded and placed one hand on her chest. As she'd hoped, the usher's gaze followed her hand to her slightly surgically enhanced, sufficiently heaving and bronzed bosom.
“I know,” Chloe said in a throaty whisper, “but I just want to look at Chandra one more time. We were roommates at Spelman, and she was just like a sister to me.”
The usher looked unsure, so Chloe went in for the kill. “When she was sick, she asked me to look after her babies for her. How can I do that from the balcony?”
This settled it for the usher. Chloe was sure he believed every word of her emotional speech. And why wouldn't he? Who would lie at a funeral about the wishes of the deceased?
Only a desperate person.
And as much as Chloe hated to admit it, she was desperate, and her socialite status was in severe jeopardy. She had just a couple hundred thousand dollars in the bank, which enabled her to strategize without getting a nine to five, but it wouldn't keep her in the society circles she'd infiltrated with her late fiancé. Walter had been a billionaire. She'd met him on the beach in St. Bart's one holiday. Although he was seventy-eight, Walter was spry and sexy, and he'd given Chloe everything her heart had desired. Well . . . almost everything. He'd never made her his bride, and when he died suddenly of an aneurysm, Walter's children unceremoniously threw Chloe out on her behind. All she had left was the sum of the gifts he'd given her—a fully furnished townhouse, several large diamonds and other jewels, and a car.
Chloe tried not to draw too much attention to herself as she followed the usher down to the front row. She wanted to be remembered by only one person—Quentin. The lineman usher scowled, but Chloe's friendly usher made room for her on the aisle. None of the family paid attention to the extra person in their pew. In fact, the family seemed to be in a tearful haze. Quentin looked especially hopeless, but even still, his incredible good looks made Chloe's heart skip a beat. His caramel skin seemed to glow as tears coursed down his face.
Chloe wanted to reach out and comfort him, pull him to her saline plumped breasts and caress his pain away.
Yes, Chloe did believe she would have her some of Quentin Chambers. And his millions.
Five years later ...
hloe walked into the packed nail salon for her weekly pedicure with her best friend, Lichelle. The Nail Spot was always crowded and always cost just a little bit extra. Maybe it was because it was owned by an ex-rapper turned entrepreneur. Or maybe it was because gossip was on the menu, just like the paraffin wax and the acrylic tips.
Lichelle waved Chloe to the back of the salon—the VIP area. She'd saved Chloe a spot, which was darn near impossible to do, but Lichelle, the wife of a wealthy real estate broker, was a regular. And a good tipper.
Chloe slid into the luxurious chair and leaned back, careful not to muss her freshly perfected hairdo. Her short tresses were expertly sculpted, and they framed her face perfectly, softening the potentially strong features created by her excessive workouts.
“Girl, I thought I was gonna have to fight that queen over there. He kept eyeballing your chair like he was about to snatch it,” Lichelle said, as she blew Chloe a kiss.
“I am not thinking about him.”
Chloe cut her eyes at the man, who gave her much attitude. She didn't have time to exchange words with him, nor did she want to ruin her mood. She was going to Lichelle's yacht party later with Quentin, and it was going to be a blast.
But first she was about to get her feet rubbed and mashed by her favorite nail tech, Trey. He was fine and buff, and his foot massages took her to the mountaintop.
Trey slid over in front of Chloe on his little stool. “Hey, ma. How's your day going?”
Chloe grinned as Trey cracked his knuckles and took her foot into his hand in a miniature caress. “It's going great now, babe. Do your magic!”
“I am telling Quentin,” Lichelle said.
Chloe lifted Lichelle's left hand and touched the enormous rock on her ring finger. “You're the only one married. I am still very unmarried.”
“But not unattached. You've been with Quentin for an eternity.”
Chloe winced at the word. It had been a long time. Five years, to be exact. Quentin didn't seem the least bit interested in marriage. She didn't think he loved her, but he enjoyed her company enough to foot the bill for her every need. He even gave her a small shopping allowance.
Admittedly, she wanted more. Not necessarily marriage, but at least a commitment. A bit of assurance that the fun times were more than temporary.
“Five years is not an eternity. Especially since we got together right after he buried his wife.”
“How long are you going to wait for him to marry you?” Trey asked.
“I'm not waiting for him to marry me. I'm enjoying what we have. Savoring the moments.”
Lichelle sucked her teeth and shook her head. “What if he wakes up tomorrow and decides he's ready to trade you in?”
“You do have quite a few miles on you, and you are definitely fine—I wouldn't kick you out of bed. But you're not a twentysomething anymore,” Trey said.
“Is this attack Chloe day? I'm not feeling this.”
Trey laughed. “Sorry, ma. Let me squeeze that stress away.”
Chloe closed her eyes and moaned. It was as if Trey had some secret road map that led straight from the middle of her foot to her unmentionables.
“Seriously, though,” Lichelle said, invading Chloe's ecstasy, “have you thought about a backup plan?”
“What do you mean?”
“You need to make sure you're financially okay in case Quentin decides you are not his final resting place.”
“You could always have Quentin's baby,” Trey said.
“Ugh. No! Low-rent women have babies for a paycheck. I do not do that.”
Trey shrugged. “Sorry. It was just a thought.”
“If you're not going to give Quentin a love child, then you really need to think about your future. Why don't you ask Quentin to help you start a business?”
Chloe considered this. The problem was, she had no idea what kind of business she'd want to start. She didn't want to work that hard.
She wanted to continue to give Quentin what he needed, and she wanted him to continue giving her what she needed.
“Look, Quentin cares about me. He's not going to leave me high and dry. And maybe one day he will ask me to marry him. And maybe I'll say yes.”
“Maybe you'll say yes?” Lichelle asked.
“Yes, maybe. Not every girl needs a husband. I'm happy having a sugar daddy.”
“You a little old for a sugar daddy,” Trey said. Lichelle and Trey burst into laughter, and Chloe rolled her eyes at them both. She and Quentin were in a good place, and she had no intention of rocking the boat. And as long as she kept rocking Quentin's world, she wouldn't have to.

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