Fatal Beauty - Nazarea Andrews

Chapter 1

If she could look at it, with the hindsight of everything that had happened, she would say that it all began six months before Wallace Bryce Talbert went missing. The day Ella Jane Munro sold Llewellyn Koonts a hit of blow in the locker room of her father's country club.

Of course, if she had the luxury of hindsight, she might have changed everything by simply going to lunch at the Greenhouse instead of tennis at the club.

Then again. Charlotte never had much use for hindsight and even less for regrets.


Charlie Brooks was an institution at the Buringtree Country Club. She had grown up in the halls, played tennis early and well, swam in the summer and pranced around the greens in tiny shorts, her blonde hair bobbing in a signature braid.

She was a perfect debutante. Sweet as sugar when it suited her, and an utter bitch when it didn't. The staff at the club lived in fear of her temper. HR had to step in when she was in high school because they couldn't keep a staff--Charlie either terrorized them into quitting or demanded they were fired over minor infractions.

And because she was Travis Brooks only daughter, she usually got her way.

Ella Jane Munro was different from Charlie. Just as bitchy, just as demanding. Filthy fucking rich. But Charlie revelled in who and what she was born to. She never wanted to be anything but the queen bee at her private school, at the club, and Vanderbilt. Everything she did was carefully calculated for how it would reflect on her and how people viewed her.

It’s why she and Ella Jane had never gotten along, despite being in the same circles.

From the outside, they would have made the perfect frenemies. Self-destructive, the kind of too-close back-stabbing that would fuel the wet dreams of high school boys with visions of love-hate sexcapdes.

Ella Jane and Charlie didn't cooperate. Ella was bored to death with country club life and everything expected of a Deb. And she might be an It girl, in her blasè way, but she never aspired to steal Charlie's crown.

They existed for most of their life, in a kind of live-and-let-live dètente.

No one could explain why that changed. It was whispered about, of course. Two of Charleston's favorite daughters, suddenly inseparable? Everyone had a theory. No one knew the truth, though.

No one would have ever believed the truth.


The door to her office opened and closed again, in the kind of way that was an announcement. She swallows a smirk and layers another coat of pale pink on her nails.

Most girls would pay for a manicure, but she had always found the ritual of nail care to be soothing.

The cash slaps down on her desk and she blinks at it slowly before letting her gaze slide lazily up to the woman across from her.

Sharp green eyes, long jet black hair with a single streak of magenta in bangs cut across her forehead. A pair of designer skinny jeans and a loose, sheer black tank top scattered with polka dot skull-and-crossbones, lace-edged cami under it showing off her amazing tits.

Only Ella Jane could stalk into her office in designer jeans and a Walmart clearance top and look perfect instead of ridiculous.

“Your half.” She says.

Charlie finishes her last finger, admiring it briefly before screwing the lid on her nail polish and giving the other woman her attention. “When are you meeting with Jacobs?”

“Tomorrow. Don’t be impatient, greedy girl.”

She bites down on the acidic response that wants to rise, and arches an eyebrow silently. EJ stares at her for a long moment, before she huffs a sigh and drops into the high back leather chair across from her.

“You can’t do anything until Monday anyway. Isn’t your engagement thing tonight?”

It’s posed as a question, but she knows damn well when it is. Charlie goes still and her gaze clouds for a heartbeat.

“Do you want me to come?” EJ asks, quietly.

The offer startles a laugh from Charlie and she grins, a dry, mocking thing. “And how the hell would I explain that? No. Stay on your side of the club, and I’ll stay on mine. I’ll be fine.”

There’ a tense moment, as they stare at each other, and Charlie wonders just how much EJ suspects.

They weren’t supposed to become friends—it was a business arrangement. One that benefited them both and made EJ’s supplier happy. But it had evolved.

It made her nervous, and nothing made her nervous. She didn’t like it.

“Don’t be a bitch, Charlie,” EJ says coldly.