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When PR pro Anna Wallingham gets dumped by her last client, she finds herself running out of options in LA, where looks trump experience. Desperate to prove she is still relevant, the fiftysomething accepts a shady job offer from Pierre Barton, secretive billionaire owner of Barton Pharmaceuticals. Isolated in a facility outside London, she agrees to test a new top-secret product guaranteed to make her look thirty years younger. Anna is starting to look on the outside the way she feels on the inside: ageless. But she soon discovers that her predecessor died under mysterious circumstances, leading her to research just who stands to gain—and lose—with this miraculous product. When Pierre drops dead in front of her, she takes off on a dangerous journey across Europe hoping to stay alive long enough to uncover the truth.
With the hard-won knowledge that younger isn’t always better, Anna is determined to escape and reclaim her life before it’s too late.
couldn’t have done that. It’s one thing when the carpets don’t match the drapes, but when the upper story’s been renovated while the foundation’s crumbling . . .” “Mmmm. Lovely house, though. Let’s see if the door—” His hand stopped sliding up her thigh as the phone rang. He reached for the receiver and Anna sat up, the spell broken. “Right . . . right . . . okay. Do you want to speak to her?” He handed her the phone, mouthing the word Barnes. She spoke briefly, then hung up. “My
had left, Anna ate lunch at the desk, wishing the week were almost over rather than just started. She wanted to get on with it. She was bored with reading Twitter and Facebook, sick of scanning gossip columns, weary of watching movies with women in their midtwenties cast as comic-book vixens. The films were never memorable; the gossip was cattier than she remembered from thirty years ago. What happened to actresses as role models? Now, the rage was mocking them for tight pants that showed their
David. Thank you.” She wrote her new iPhone number on the back of a Barton Pharmaceuticals card, turning away as she did it so he wouldn’t see her hand tremble. “It’s best to call or text me on this number.” “Will do. Can I walk you to the Tube?” She shook her head as she got to her feet. “Thanks, no. Call me uptight, but I really don’t like people from work knowing my business.” He laughed ruefully. “You like secrets? You know, you may be like Anna in more ways than looks.” Her
bought, and carefully copied all her files. She’d opened a safe-deposit box at the bank the week before; she’d take this there now, first getting more money from a cash point or two. She’d been withdrawing her Tanya salary in bits and pieces on a regular basis, storing it up in the envelope, almost £2000 of it already converted to euros, that she’d left in the box with all her real ID. If she ever had to flee London, she couldn’t risk leaving a trail of bank card transactions. She spent the
remain hidden and alert. She’d planned to read the other book she’d picked up in Prague, Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night, on the way. But when she opened it in her tiny sleeping compartment on the Milan–Paris express, she was unable to get past the introduction, where Vonnegut stated the moral of the story: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. She hadn’t cried much during this whole lunatic, ludicrous experience. But tears fell when she read