Illusions of Love

By: Michelle Betham

PROLOGUE



LAS VEGAS



10:40pm





There was no better time to do this. He couldn’t have wished for anything more convenient, every single one of them in one place at one time. He couldn’t have planned it better if he’d tried, and he’d been planning this for some time, although, never in his wildest dreams had he ever thought it would turn out this perfect. But she’d practically given it to him on a plate by running here. That had been her first mistake. Well, no. It hadn’t. Not really. Her first mistake had been a long time ago. He’d just had to be patient and wait for the right time to collect payback. But now it was happening, bigger and better than he could ever have imagined. Now it was happening, and soon it would be over. Soon she’d realise what he’d known all along. There was only one thing she was ever going to be, and when he’d finished she’d have no choice but to accept that. It was what she deserved, after everything she’d done to him.

Soon it would all be over. And he’d finally have what he’d come here to get; what he’d waited too many years for. Revenge.





CHAPTER 1



‘Sometimes I think I’m cursed.’ India stared into the huge floor-to-ceiling mirror as she readjusted the long dark wig she’d placed over her own light-blond hair.

‘Cursed? In what way?’ Charley asked, leaning back against the counter, folding her arms as she watched her beautiful best friend try on wig after wig.

India swung round in her chair and looked at Charley. ‘Men. As far as men are concerned, I’m cursed.’

Charley smiled, turning India back around to face the mirror as she ran her fingers through the jet-black wig that made her look twice as gorgeous as she had done before. But that was the thing about India. She could adapt to any look, any style. It all came so easy to her.

India Walsh – movie star; and Charley loved her like a sister. Considering what they’d been through in the past there was no way those events could have made them anything other than close, even if – at first – it looked as though they would tear them apart.

‘You’re not cursed, India.’

How could you be cursed when you had the life India had? A life that had, over the years, included some of the hottest men in Hollywood. Oh yeah, India had certainly had her fair share of those. She’d even married a couple of them. So Charley wasn’t entirely sure “cursed” was the right word to describe India’s situation.

‘I’m not particularly lucky though, am I?’ India went on, pulling off the dark wig and shaking out her own hair, and Charley couldn’t help but be amazed at the way it just fell into place around her shoulders. ‘I really thought me and JJ… I thought we were forever, y’know? I thought that was it, that I’d finally found my soul mate…’

Charley watched India as she stopped talking and started fiddling with the leather cuff bracelets on her wrists. It certainly did seem that, as far as men were concerned, India just couldn’t seem to find the right man to settle down with, although it wasn’t for the want of trying. It was just that so many things had happened over the years, and India had obviously found it hard to move on from some of those events. Even though she had tried. It was just so sad that she couldn’t have found that happiness she really deserved with JJ, because they’d had it all. Or, at least, that’s what everyone had thought.

As a couple they’d had everything. A successful TV series, a gorgeous daughter; they were two of Hollywood’s most beautiful people and everyone had thought they were forever. But Charley suspected that forever was a word that India feared, and that was something which was stopping her from moving forward in a lot of ways.

‘Is it definitely over then?’ Charley asked, gathering together her brushes and curling irons as she tidied up her work station, ready for her next client.

India nodded, standing up and shaking her hair out once more, running her fingers through it.

JJ Foster. Joe. Her handsome, talented, sexy-as-hell soon-to-be-third-ex-husband. A man who’d done nothing but love her and yet still she couldn’t love him back the way he deserved to be loved. She’d tried, she really had, she’d tried harder than anyone could have imagined. After all there was Ellie, their totally gorgeous two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to think about, so India really had tried. But ever since her character in ‘Covert One’ – the extremely successful TV series she and Joe had worked on together – had left the show, it just seemed as though her heart wasn’t in her relationship with JJ anymore. Some people thought it was because she was still in love with another man, but that wasn’t the case. She’d moved on, no matter what people thought she might be feeling. She was stronger now, a different person, and maybe that was the reason she hadn’t been able to make it work with JJ. Maybe she needed a whole new start, a brand new beginning, and she just hadn’t been able to find that with him. Her fault, not his.

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