Authors: Lulu Taylor
About the Book
Fame, fashion and scandal, the Trevellyan heiresses are the height of success, glamour and style.
But when it comes to …
… WEALTH: Jemima’s indulgent lifestyle knows no limits; Tara’s one purpose in life, no matter the sacrifice, is to be financially independent of her family and husband; and Poppy wants to escape its trappings without losing the comfort their family money brings.
… LUST: Jemima’s obsession relieves the boredom of her marriage; while Tara’s seemingly ‘perfect’ life doesn’t allow for such indulgences; and Poppy, spoiled by attention and love throughout her life, has yet to expose herself to the thrill of really living and loving dangerously.
… FAMILY: it’s all they’ve ever known, and now the legacy of their parents, a vast and ailing perfume empire, has been left in their trust. But will they be able to turn their passion into profit? And in making a fresh start, can they face their family’s past?
About the Author
Lulu Taylor lives in London. She adores perfume and has enjoyed researching her first novel on the subject. She is currently hard at work on her new novel.
To Helen Robertson
WHAT A DAY
for a bloody funeral
, Jemima thought, narrowing her eyes at the sight of the grey drizzle that had been falling all morning from charcoal-coloured clouds.
It’s going to bloody well ruin my Philip Treacy hat
At the sign for the village, Harry signalled left and drove the Jaguar smoothly down the narrow lane towards the church. They’d driven all the way from Dorset without a word between them. Briefly, after Tara had called to say that Mother was dead, Harry had softened a little towards her. He’d embraced his wife for the first time in months.
‘God, Jemmie, I’m so sorry,’ he’d said hoarsely. She knew that he was thinking of his own mother, the darling mama who’d died when he was only twelve. He’d never got over it and, what was more, no woman had ever been able to live up to the icon of perfection that gazed down from the portrait in the drawing room.
Harry had eased her into an armchair, brought her
stiff drink and then stayed with her while she sat, white-faced and shocked. She hadn’t cried, though. All she could say incredulously was, ‘So she’s finally gone. I can’t believe it …’
But the next morning, it seemed that things between them were back to the way they always were, cold and distant and she had a sense of foreboding that open hostilities were not far away.
Jemima glanced over at her husband as he drove. He looked handsome today, and smart in a way she had forgotten he could be when he made an effort. He’d put on his only black suit, the one he always brought out for funerals or when he had to go to London for a business meeting with the family lawyers. It was an ancient suit, made for Harry’s father by a Savile Row tailor some time in the fifties, a little musty now but still obviously excellent quality. It was beautifully cut and the rich dark fabric had a fine, velvety finish.
Like so much of what we have
, she thought.
Inherited. That’s all he cares about – the things passed down to him. I want something new, something fresh in my life. That’s the difference between us
As they pulled round the small village green, they saw the church. Long black limousines were parked nearby, and the hearse was outside, the coffin laden with flowers. People were milling about in the front, some going into the church, others chatting on the grass verge. It was the great and the good of the county, all of whom had known her mother well, along with some withered old society hostesses who had thrown
parties in the distant past and knew her mother from their debutante days. Then there were the expensive London cars, sleek and polished, looking like carefully reared pedigrees suddenly let loose in the wild. Jemima knew to whom those belonged: the ones who made their money from her family.
Harry parked the car and then turned to her. ‘All right?’
‘As much as you’d expect,’ Jemima said coolly. ‘It is my mother’s funeral after all.’
She pulled down the visor and inspected herself in the mirror. Her golden blonde hair, expertly highlighted, was perfectly styled in a demure French twist. Against its shimmering lights, her little black hat and its one curling black feather looked adorable. It went exquisitely with the vintage style, dark grey tweed Vivienne Westwood suit that made the most of her tiny waist and curves. Jemima blinked her large blue-grey eyes at her reflection, making sure her make-up was immaculate and her lashes free of mascara blobs. Then she pulled out her Chanel lipstick and reapplied a slick of bright red while Harry got out and put up the huge black umbrella. He came round to her side and opened the door.
‘How thoughtful of you,’ Jemima said.
He shrugged at her and held the umbrella close to the car to protect her from the rain.
Nothing will come between Harry and his sodding good manners
, she thought.
Not even the fact that he hates my guts. I can’t believe he’s sorry that the old witch is dead. It’s because of her that we’re in this mess, after all
‘Mimi!’ Tara came tottering up, looking fabulous in a Dior pencil skirt, pussy-cat bow blouse and black cashmere V-neck, notable for the enormous diamond brooch in the shape of a dragonfly that sparkled on one shoulder. She hugged her sister and then stood back to look at her. ‘Darling, I’m so glad you’re here. My God, this is all so
She blinked moist blue eyes at her sister. Unlike Jemima, she was dark haired with the kind of classic cut and restrained low lights suited to a woman with a high-powered professional career that took her into the most prestigious boardrooms in the City.
‘Hello, darling.’ Jemima kissed her older sister on both cheeks. ‘It’s certainly a sad day. I think
might be pushing it, though. When old ladies with weak hearts drop dead after a full and active life spent fucking everyone else over, it’s hardly the end of the world.’
‘Oh, please, Mimi, not today. Try and think the best of her.’ Tara blinked hard again, holding back tears.
Harry stepped forward. ‘Hello, Tara, I’m terribly sorry about your mother,’ he said gruffly and kissed his sister-in-law. ‘I’ll leave you two to it and find a place in the church.’
‘How are things?’ whispered Tara as they watched him go.
Jemima shrugged. ‘Oh, the usual. It’s like being married to a block of stone. Where’s the family?’
‘The children are inside with Gerald.’ Tara nodded towards the church.
‘I bet they don’t have the first clue what’s going on,’ Jemima said.
‘They do seem a bit subdued. I’ve tried to explain to them that their grandma is dead but they’re too young to really understand what it means.’
‘Poor little sausages. I’ll go and say hello.’
Tara gave her a grateful look. ‘Listen, I must rush. I’ve ended up organising this whole thing, of course. I need to talk to the vicar. He’s wheeled the most ancient old canon you’ve ever met out of retirement to perform the service. Apparently he knew Mother and Daddy when they were first married, but he can barely stand up. Have you seen Poppy?’
Jemima shook her head.
‘Well, watch out. You may need to hold her up. She’s almost hysterical, poor love.’
Tara tip-tapped away on her Louboutin heels up the path towards the vicar.
Harry had gone. Jemima waved at some relations and made a quick escape into the church. She went over to her nephew and niece, who were sitting with their father.
‘Hello, sweeties.’ She kissed Edward and Imogen who looked up at her with timid expressions. They were too young for this sort of thing. She couldn’t help but wonder at Tara’s sense in bringing them, though she suspected Gerald had more to do with it.
‘Jemima.’ Gerald nodded at her, his bald head glowing in the light from a ring of ancient light bulbs above. ‘A sad day. A very sad day.’ He had a sonorous voice with a melodic South African accent. ‘We will miss your dear mother.’
‘If you say so, Gerald.’ She grinned at him. One of
pleasures in life was pricking the pomposity of her ridiculous brother-in-law. ‘I don’t know if she’ll be missing you over the other side. After all, she couldn’t bear you, as I’m sure you know.’
‘A funeral is hardly the time for such remembrances,’ Gerald said in his snuffly, arrogant way. ‘It is fitting that we remember your mother’s good qualities.’
‘I’ll do my best. Let me know if you can think of any.’ She heard a muffled sob from the front pew. ‘Do excuse me. I think I’m needed elsewhere.’
She swung round on a heel and approached the front pew where a green velvet opera coat, dark plum beret and masses of dark hair glittering with chestnut lights were scrunched up together into a small hillock.
‘Poppy?’ Jemima ventured.
Her sister looked up, her face ashen and her eyes swollen and red-rimmed. ‘Mimi!’ She burst into tears again and buried her face in her handkerchief. ‘Oh God, Mimi, isn’t it terrible? Isn’t it awful? I’ve been in pieces since I heard. I can’t believe she’s gone. I can’t believe we’re orphans.’
‘Oh, darling.’ Jemima slid into the pew beside her younger sister and put her arms around her. ‘Mother was going to die some time, you know. We all knew about her heart. And we’re hardly orphans in the abandoned little things in rags heading for the orphanage and bowls of gruel way. Tara’s well over thirty, I’m nearly there and you’re almost twenty-six.’