Broken hearts. Broken promises. Deadly consequences.In glitzy Lake Tahoe, couples break up every day. But few are as successful as Lindy and Mike Markov, who built a $200-million business together--before Mike took up with a younger woman. Now he's claiming he doesn't owe Lindy a dime since they never married.Attorney Nina Reilly, struggling to make a living in her one-woman office and raise a young son alone, agrees to take Lindy's case. Nina knows winning is a long shot, even with a brilliant jury consultant and a palimony expert on her side. It's the kind of case--full of passion and explosive secrets--that could make a fortune for a young lawyer. Or drive someone to commit murder--for love, money . . . or the right verdict.
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December 31, 1997
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Excerpt from Breach of Promise by Perri O' Shaughnessy
At ten years old, over a breakfast of tepid oatmeal, I read my first newspaper article, a story designed to grab you, a squib on page two, where they put the sensational stuff. My aunt ripped it out and thrust it in my face. A guy on his way home from the movies fought with a mugger, shot him dead, and died of stab wounds.
All for sixty dollars.
So two fools died for sixty bucks, and two fools killed for it. Sad, wasn't it? My aunt sure thought so. So did I. I knew one of the dead men.
There was a lesson in it for an impressionable ten-year-old, just like there is for you when you read the same story a couple of times a year. Look at that! you say. He's dead, and for what?
Why, that's not even enough to buy a decent meal in a restaurant these days. Not enough to pay rent on a cardboard box. Not enough to die for!
That morning, while my aunt preached in the background, I read the story again and felt like someone in a tree house watching ants marching up the trunk. Young as I was, listening with half an ear to her interpretation, I realized the meaning of what had happened better than she did.
Now I understand it even better.
That mugger didn't take time to question the wisdom of his actions. He was too busy trying to quiet the nerve-wracking din of his body needing things. Like Billie Holiday once said, "You've got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body's sermon on how to behave."
Sixty was enough for him. Enough to feed him and the family for a couple of days. Enough for a fix. Enough to get somebody else off his back. Enough to make any risk worth it. Enough to strike out at another miserable soul and take his precious life away.
Now that I'm an adult, I see the brief struggle between two ants for a crumb even more clearly. And, like you, I'm everlastingly surprised at the meanness of people's aspirations. I wouldn't risk my life for sixty dollars; I've been sophisticated by my culture. Plus, I have what I need.
Unfortunately, there's a vast, arid wasteland between what I need and what I want. And I've discovered something else.
I have to have what I want.