New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels spins an emotionally charged and surprising tale of two very different brothers and the one woman who loved them both and holds the key to a legacy of family secrets.
Ricky Lam had it all -- a thriving film career, the adoration of countless fans, incredible wealth, and a cocaine and alcohol problem that was about to destroy him. Luckily, he also had a business manager -- his straight-arrow older brother Philip -- who strong-armed him into an addiction clinic.
But not even the passage of fifteen years, Ricky's rehabilitation, and undreamed-of worldly success for both men can mend the rift that erupted between the brothers during those dark days. Now all that remains is a business relationship, although Ricky yearns for more.
When tragedy strikes, erasing Ricky's dreams of winning Philip's forgiveness, Ricky resets his priorities. He turns his back on Hollywood, invites his two illegitimate sons into his life, hoping to become a real father to them, and dedicates himself to his brother's dream -- the construction of a unique resort in South Carolina called the Crown Jewel. But when Ricky steps into his brother's shoes he encounters unsettling surprises and contradictions, as well as an amazing woman, his sister-in-law Roxy Lam, who leads him to the mystery at the center of his brother's life and into a love affair far richer and more challenging than any he has experienced before.
As Ricky attempts to discover the brother he loved but never truly knew, he must settle a grave injustice committed decades ago, even if it means risking his fame, his fortune, and his life.
In a dazzling story that holds readers engrossed until the final page is turned, Fern Michaels explores the complex emotional bonds that exist between brothers, parents and children, and lovers. Written with the keen insight, grace, and humor that have made Fern Michaels one of the world's best-loved storytellers, here is a novel that shows us the importance of forgiveness, the possibility of new beginnings, and the incalculable value of familial love.
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December 29, 2003
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Excerpt from Crown Jewel by Fern Michaels
He was a tall man, immaculately dressed. At any time of the day or evening, he could have passed for a Wall Street banker or a Madison Avenue type. His hair had just the right amount of gray at the temples, his skin was burnished just enough to make him look distinguished. His Savile Row suit added the last touch. At the moment, he looked angry.
"It's not negotiable, Ricky. Either you agree, or I'm out of here, and you're on your own."
Hollywood's Platinum Boy stared across the room at his brother. He wasn't so stoned that he didn't feel the chill racing up and down his arms. He did his best to focus, to look contrite, and knew he was failing miserably. This was where the rubber was going to meet the road. Not trusting himself to speak, he reached out for the arm of the leather sofa to sit down. Instead, he fell forward. Shit!
Philip Lam, older by two years, felt sadness and disgust when he looked across at his handsome movie star brother. On other occasions, he would have rushed to his brother's aid, but not today. Today, yesterday, and the day before yesterday were what had brought him to this point in time.
The Platinum Boy struggled to speak. "You promised Mom..."
"Don't go there, Ricky. You screwed that up, too. You couldn't be bothered with going to see her, so don't bring up 'promises' to me. You've used up all your markers. Either you check into the clinic, or I'll dissolve the partnership. I'm not just talking to hear my own voice this time. You will pack your stuff, and you will get to the clinic on your own. All the arrangements have been made. They're expecting you by ten this evening. One second past ten, and you're down the tubes. You have finally brought me to the end of my rope. I won't be here to pick up the pieces. Make sure you understand that, little brother."