Betrayal, p.1
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       Betrayal, p.1

           Martina Cole
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  About the Book


  It’s all down to who you trust.

  Aiden O’Hara has been head of the family since he was kid, and he’s going to keep it that way.

  Jade Dixon is the one who watches his back. Mother of his son. The one who makes him invincible.

  But Jade’s been in the game a lot longer than Aiden. She knows no one’s indestructible.

  And when you’re at the top, that’s when you’ve got to watch the hardest.

  Especially the ones closest to you . . .

  About Martina Cole

  Martina Cole was just 18 when she got pregnant with her son. Living in a council flat with no TV and no money to go out, she started writing to entertain herself.

  It would be ten years before she did anything with what she wrote.

  She chose her agent for his name – Darley Anderson – and sent him the manuscript, thinking he was a woman. That was on a Friday. Monday night, she was doing the vacuuming when she took the call: a man’s voice said ‘Martina Cole, you are going to be a big star’.

  The rest is history: Dangerous Lady caused a sensation when it was published, and launched one of the bestselling fiction writers of her generation. Martina has gone on to have more No. 1 original fiction bestsellers than any other author.

  She won the British Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year with The Take, which then went on to be a hit TV series for Sky 1. Four of her novels have made it to the screen, with more in production, and three have been adapted as stage plays.

  She is proud to be an Ambassador for charities including Reading Ahead and Gingerbread, the council for one-parent families. In 2013, she was inducted to the Crime Writer’s Association Hall of Fame, and in 2014 received a Variety Legends of Industry Award.

  Her son is a grown man now, and she lives in Kent with her daughter – except when she chases the sun to Cyprus, where she has two bookshops.

  Her unique, powerful storytelling is acclaimed for its hard-hitting, true-to-life style – there is no one else who writes like Martina Cole.



  ‘The stuff of legend. It’s vicious, nasty . . . and utterly compelling’

  Mirror on FACELESS

  ‘Her gripping plots pack a mean emotional punch’

  Mail on Sunday on THE RUNAWAY

  ‘A blinding good read’

  Ray Winstone on THE KNOW

  ‘Intensely readable’

  Guardian on FACELESS

  ‘Right from the start, she has enjoyed unqualified approval for her distinctive and powerfully written fiction’

  The Times on BROKEN

  ‘An extraordinarily powerful piece of family drama’

  Daily Mirror on THE BUSINESS

  ‘The acknowledged mistress of the insanely readable gangster thriller, Cole has delivered another addictive tale of men of violence and the women who love them . . . brutally compelling’

  Sunday Mirror on GET EVEN

  ‘We always get excited when a Martina Cole novel drops on our desk, and she continues to maintain her reputation as one of the best fiction authors around with this gritty and unforgettable story of a family immersed in a world of violence and revenge. Spectacular’ 5*

  Closer on THE LIFE

  ‘Martina tells it like it really is and her unique, honest and compassionate style shines through’

  Sun on THE TAKE

  ‘The queen of crime’

  Woman & Home on HARD GIRLS

  ‘Dark and dangerous’

  Sunday Mirror

  ‘Thrilling, shocking and exceptionally written, you’ll get lost in this gritty novel, which proves there really is only one Martina Cole’

  Closer on REVENGE

  ‘The undisputed queen of British crime thrillers’

  Heat on GET EVEN

  Copyright © 2016 Martina Cole

  The right of Martina Cole to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

  Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of the publishers or, in the case of reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency.

  This Ebook edition was first published by Headline Publishing Group in 2016

  All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

  Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library

  Mother Courage and Her Children © Bertolt Brecht, 1939

  eISBN: 978 1 4722 0106 5

  Cover photography © Larry Rostant


  An Hachette UK Company

  Carmelite House

  50 Victoria Embankment

  London EC4Y 0DZ


  Title Page

  About the Book

  About Martina Cole


  Copyright Page

  Also by Martina Cole


  Book One

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Book Two

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One

  Chapter Thirty-Two

  Chapter Thirty-Three

  Chapter Thirty-Four

  Chapter Thirty-Five

  Chapter Thirty-Six

  Chapter Thirty-Seven

  Chapter Thirty-Eight

  Chapter Thirty-Nine

  Chapter Forty

  Chapter Forty-One

  Chapter Forty-Two

  Chapter Forty-Three

  Chapter Forty-Four

  Chapter Forty-Five

  Chapter Forty-Six

  Chapter Forty-Seven

  Chapter Forty-Eight

  Chapter Forty-Nine

  Chapter Fifty

  Chapter Fifty-One

  Chapter Fifty-Two

  Chapter Fifty-Three

  Chapter Fifty-Four

  Chapter Fifty-Five

  Chapter Fifty-Six

  Chapter Fifty-Seven

  Book Three

  Chapter Fifty-Eight

  Chapter Fifty-Nine

  Chapter Sixty

  Chapter Sixty-One

  Chapter Sixty-Two

  Chapter Sixty-Three

  Chapter Sixty-Four

  Chapter Sixty-Five

  Chapter Sixty-Six

  Chapter Sixty-Seven

  Chapter Sixty-Eight

  Chapter Sixty-Nine

  Chapter Seventy

  Chapter Seventy-One

  Chapter Seventy-Two

  Chapter Seventy-Three

Chapter Seventy-Four

  Chapter Seventy-Five

  Chapter Seventy-Six

  Book Four

  Chapter Seventy-Seven

  Chapter Seventy-Eight

  Chapter Seventy-Nine

  Chapter Eighty

  Chapter Eighty-One

  Chapter Eighty-Two

  Chapter Eighty-Three

  Chapter Eighty-Four

  Chapter Eighty-Five

  Chapter Eighty-Six

  Chapter Eighty-Seven

  Chapter Eighty-Eight

  Chapter Eighty-Nine

  Chapter Ninety

  Chapter Ninety-One

  Chapter Ninety-Two

  Chapter Ninety-Three

  Chapter Ninety-Four

  Chapter Ninety-Five

  Chapter Ninety-Six

  Chapter Ninety-Seven

  Chapter Ninety-Eight

  Chapter Ninety-Nine

  Chapter One Hundred

  Chapter One Hundred and One

  Chapter One Hundred and Two

  Chapter One Hundred and Three

  Chapter One Hundred and Four

  Chapter One Hundred and Five

  Chapter One Hundred and Six

  Chapter One Hundred and Seven

  Chapter One Hundred and Eight

  Chapter One Hundred and Nine

  Book Five

  Chapter One Hundred and Ten

  Chapter One Hundred and Eleven

  Chapter One Hundred and Twelve

  Chapter One Hundred and Thirteen

  Chapter One Hundred and Fourteen

  Chapter One Hundred and Fifteen

  Chapter One Hundred and Sixteen

  Chapter One Hundred and Seventeen

  Chapter One Hundred and Eighteen

  Chapter One Hundred and Nineteen

  Chapter One Hundred and Twenty

  Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-One

  Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Two

  Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Three

  Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Four

  Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Five


  Martina Cole’s 22 bestsellers (so far) – in order of publication. All available from Headline.

  Dangerous Lady (1992)

  The Ladykiller: DI Kate Burrows 1 (1993)

  Goodnight Lady (1994)

  The Jump (1995)

  The Runaway (1997)

  Two Women (1999)

  Broken: DI Kate Burrows 2 (2000)

  Faceless (2001)*

  Maura’s Game: Dangerous Lady 2 (2002)*

  The Know (2003)*

  The Graft (2004)*

  The Take (2005)*

  Close (2006)*

  Faces (2007)*

  The Business (2008)*

  Hard Girls: DI Kate Burrows 3 (2009)*

  The Family (2010)*

  The Faithless (2011)*

  The Life (2012)*

  Revenge (2013)*

  The Good Life (2014)*

  Get Even (2015)

  On Screen:

  Dangerous Lady (ITV 1995)

  The Jump (ITV 1998)

  Martina Cole’s Lady Killers (ITV3 documentary 2003)

  The Take (Sky 1 2009)

  Martina Cole’s Girl Gangs (Sky Factual documentary 2009)

  The Runaway (Sky 1 2011)

  *Martina Cole’s No. 1 bestsellers – at time of press she has spent more weeks at No. 1 than any other author

  For Freddie Mary and Lewis Clark

  Still my kahuna burgers, even all growed up!

  And for Debbie in the Karakum shop!

  You’re a lifesaver!

  Book One

  Behold my mother and my brethren!

  Matthew 12:49

  When lovely woman stoops to folly

  And finds too late that men betray,

  What charm can soothe her melancholy,

  What art can wash her guilt away?

  The Vicar of Wakefield, Oliver Goldsmith (1728–74)

  Chapter One


  Reeva O’Hara’s voice was loud and harsh as it always was when she had what she considered to be an audience. Even at 8.15 a.m. in her local Co-op, Reeva never failed to entertain. Her saving grace was she could be very funny when the fancy took her.

  ‘So I said, “Go and find your fucking fathers and get some sweet money off them!”’ She screeched with laughter at her own wit and a few of the other mothers in the busy shop joined in.

  Reeva’s ever-present cigarette was dangling from her red-stained lips and her distended belly told anyone who cared to look that she was nearly on her time.

  Jack Walters, the manager of the Co-op, liked Reeva. She wasn’t a bad girl really – she had just been badly used in her time by the many men she seemed to attract. She attracted him. She was a good-looking young woman with a warm and generous personality and clearly a healthy attitude towards sex – unlike his wife, Doris, who thought it should take place in the pitch dark and as fast as humanly possible. Jack kept that gem of wisdom to himself though; Doris was as narrow-minded as she was skinny. It was like shagging a skeleton.

  Doris Walters was looking at Reeva with barely disguised contempt. Reeva was everything she thought was wrong with the modern world.

  ‘Can I help you, Reeva?’ Doris’s voice said it all and no one was in any doubt that Reeva understood the tone completely.

  Reeva smiled a big encompassing smile that completely transformed her face and said loudly, ‘Whatever happened to service with a smile? You’ve got a boatrace on you that could stop a fucking clock!’ Reeva leaned forwards as if they were alone before she bellowed, ‘Caught him with his cock out again, have you?’

  Jack Walters closed his eyes in distress as the shop erupted into gales of good-natured laughter.

  ‘Don’t worry, Doris, it happens to the best of us, mate!’ someone shouted from the queue behind.

  Doris looked at the young woman who she loathed with all her being. Hearing the laughter around her, she turned and walked into the back of the shop, as Reeva screamed out once more, ‘I’ll take that as a yes, then, shall I!’

  She turned to Jack Walters and said kindly, mimicking his wife’s voice, ‘One will have ten No. 10, my good man!’

  The laughter started up again. Jack served her silently, but everyone could see that he was trying hard not to laugh with her.

  That was Reeva O’Hara; she was like Marmite – you either loved or hated her.

  Chapter Two

  Doris Walters felt sick with humiliation. Trust the whore to bring that up in front of the other customers.

  Her eyes were burning with unshed tears. She had to swallow the urge to go back out front, pick up a piece of wood and fell that painted trollop to the floor. That’s exactly what she was with all those bloody kids! All different colours, all with different fathers! Yet Reeva O’Hara walked around like she was someone. Hair done, make-up on, attracting attention – Doris saw her own husband looking at her – even though she was ready to drop another bastard on the Welfare State.

  But that was it these days: have kids and let everyone else pay for them – honest, hard-working people like herself. They got a council house and furniture provided. It was disgraceful the way these young girls carried on. Whereas people like Doris, who had finished her education, worked, and done it right, were left childless, having to watch as the Reevas of the world dropped chavvies like it was nothing. Which it was to her, obviously. What was this one? Doris screwed up her eyes in concentration for a few seconds. It would be Reeva’s fifth child in twelve years. She had had the first one when she was fourteen years old! Brazen as you like, she’d been – belly on display like she had done something good. She had given birth to four handsome sons, one after the other – and even Doris had to admit in her more charitable moments they were always clean and well turned out. They were polite too which was amazing considering what they had to listen to on a daily basis; that girl had a mouth like a city docke


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