A Dangerous Glamour

A Dangerous Glamour

by Marc Olden

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When a dispute between modeling agencies turns to all-out war, beautiful people get ugly

Annie Laurie’s modeling career has been dead since the day she turned thirty, but she is not through with that life. Now an agent, she plans to dominate the business as completely as she once did the nation’s billboards. Only one person stands in her way: her ex-husband Byron Terry, super-agent. Lucky for Annie, he taught her how to play dirty.

She uses every trick she knows to steal models from Terry’s stable, making his girls more successful than he could ever dream. But when both set their sights on signing premier supermodel Karen Dial, Terry calls in the mob for help. From here out, scorched earth is in vogue. The model wars have come to New York, and the jet set is about to witness the most stylish bloodbath in history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781453260012
Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road
Publication date: 07/17/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 436,654
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Marc Olden (1933–2003) was the author of forty mystery and suspense novels. Born in Baltimore, he began writing while working in New York as a Broadway publicist. His first book, Angela Davis (1973), was a non-fiction study of the controversial Black Panther. In 1973 he also published Narc, under the name Robert Hawke, beginning a hard-boiled nine-book series about a federal narcotics agent.  

A year later, Black Samurai introduced Robert Sand, a martial arts expert who becomes the first non-Japanese student of a samurai master. Based on Olden’s own interest in martial arts, which led him to the advanced ranks of karate and aikido, the novel spawned a successful eight-book series. Olden continued writing for the next three decades, often drawing on his fascination with Japanese culture and history. 

Marc Olden (1933–2003) was the author of forty mystery and suspense novels. Born in Baltimore, he began writing while working in New York as a Broadway publicist. His first book, Angela Davis (1973), was a nonfiction study of the controversial Black Panther. In 1973 he also published Narc, under the name Robert Hawke, beginning a hard-boiled nine-book series about a federal narcotics agent.

A year later, Black Samurai introduced Robert Sand, a martial arts expert who becomes the first non-Japanese student of a samurai master. Based on Olden’s own interest in martial arts, which led him to the advanced ranks of karate and aikido, the novel spawned a successful eight-book series. Olden continued writing for the next three decades, often drawing on his fascination with Japanese culture and history. 

Read an Excerpt

A Dangerous Glamour

By Marc Olden

MysteriousPress.com/Open Road Integrated Media

Copyright © 1982 Marc Olden
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-6001-2


He sat in the back seat of the chauffeured Rolls-Royce Corniche and stared through the window as they drove past the Place de la Concorde. Even on a hot August night the center of the square was packed with empty tourist buses waiting while their passengers photographed the Egyptian obelisk, a stone column seventy-five feet high, and the illuminated cascading fountains that flanked it. He looked down the Champs-Elysees, which was lined on either side by parks, palatial hotels, sidewalk cafes, and, unfortunately, automobile showrooms, movie houses, and fast-food restaurants. The broad avenue ran like an arrow directly from the Place de la Concorde to the floodlit Arc de Triomphe clearly visible a half-mile away. This was the Paris he loved, a city that nightly became an ocean of multicolored lights.

He sipped from a small glass of Remy Martin cognac, then brought a black stiletto of a cigar to his mouth, ignoring the talk and laughter going on around him in the car. He was relaxed, assured, with the bearing of a man who knew where he was going and what to do when he got there. That was inherited from his Scots father, a hard man who had taught his son, a first-generation American, never to suffer fools gladly. But from that same father he had inherited a hidden blackness that he himself hardly understood and sometimes feared. The blackness, however, was relieved by a charm often dazzling in its calculated effectiveness.

At forty-two, he had thick, silver hair, a strong, tanned face with a Roman nose and alert gray eyes hidden behind smoked glasses. He was six-four, thin, and filled with a nervous energy that meant he needed only four hours' sleep a night. He was aware that his height, coupled with an almost regal bearing, was a form of intimidation to be used to his advantage. The Rolls was filled with music from a Donna Summer tape and the harsh-sweet smell of a joint being passed among three giggling models and Prince Saddem al-Rahman. But Byron Hardy Terry, named for Kenneth the Hardy, the first king of a united Scotland, was thinking about yesterday's meeting with Bergman in New York.

"You owe us one hundred and fifty thousand dollars," Bergman said, swiveling around in a high-backed leather chair to look at the Raoul Dufy on the wall behind him. "You've paid a month's interest at two percent a week but the principal remains where it remains. Unpaid."

Bergman swung around to face him. "And today, my friend, you arrive here in my office to ask a favor. People up to their hips in debt, which you surely are, usually don't ask favors of their creditors. Then again, Mr. Terry, you are a law unto yourself. May I hear this favor?"

"I'd like you to set fire to Annie Laurie's office for me."

A frowning Bergman shook his head. "What is this world coming to? Here I am, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School and a successful lawyer with season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera and a daughter who wins medals and cups for showing horses, and on a nice day like today I get this strange request from another so-called respectable businessman. What am I to do, Mr. Terry?"

"Burn down her office for me, if you'd be so kind."


"Because the situation between us has become what you might term unpalatable. This morning I found out that two more of my models have gone over to my ex-wife. That's forty thousand dollars a year in commissions lost to me."

Leaning back in his chair, Bergman linked his fingers together in his lap. "Annie Laurie has opened her own agency and is stealing models from everybody, concentrating specifically on the most successful model agency in America, the Byron Terry agency, because it appears she loathes Mr. Terry. Mr. Terry has also lost money in the stock market, in loans to undependable friends, in poor business investments, and of course he has been hit by the rising cost of living and doing business here in Manhattan. Mr. Terry also lives well, with a Long Island country home, a Manhattan town house, and a well-staffed office. Question, Mr. Terry: Why does Annie Laurie hate your guts?"

Byron Terry lit a long, black cigar, snapped a finger-thin gold lighter shut, and blew a spear of smoke toward the ceiling of Bergman's huge Sixth Avenue office. "Why? Well let's skip that, shall we?"

A grinning Bergman kept his eyes on the tall, silver-haired man who was in no mood to be stared down. Despite his education, manicured nails, country-club membership, and English secretary, Bergman was the underworld, a hood with high gloss. He wasn't Sicilian, but he made a lot of money for the mob, which was what counted.

Leaving his chair, Bergman walked over to the window and looked down at Radio City Music Hall fifteen stories below. "You realize I can't give you an immediate answer, Mr. Terry. I'll have to pass your request on to a certain faction, which will consider it and render a decision. What do you hope to gain by this? It seems to me that a fire would only yield your wife—sorry, ex-wife—a lucrative insurance payment and the chance to shop for new drapes and carpets. What's in it for you?"

Byron Terry tapped cigar ashes on Bergman's thick gray carpet.

"My ex-wife's files."

Bergman turned around.

"Annie's clever," said Byron Terry. "She's industrious, likable, inventive. With her files I can read her mind, so to speak. I can find out which girls she's after, what sort of deal she's offering, whether or not she's taking less commission in order to entice certain models. I can find out which Paris and London agencies she's contacting in order to represent their girls here in New York. Rumor has it that she's planning to expand, to represent photographers and professional athletes. That's something I'd really like to know for sure. I suspect that she's planning to push her models into merchandising—tee shirts, posters, beauty columns, even syndicated television shows on exercise, nutrition, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Modeling offers more financial opportunities than ever before. The money doesn't necessarily have to come from a photographer's studio. Annie's a successful agent and I'd like to know how she was able to do it so fast. It goes without saying that I simply can't call her up and ask her."

Bergman said, "You fascinate me, Mr. Terry. I know that somewhere in your well-tailored soul lies a certain amount of contempt for me—Oh, you hide it well."

Byron Terry smiled and crossed his legs. "Not well enough, obviously."

"Let's say you hide it well enough for us to tolerate each other. But, I was going to say that when it comes right down to it, despite that twelve-thousand-dollar Cartier watch and tailored Giorgio Armani suit you're wearing, you, my friend, are just like the rest of us. Just like the rest of us, and I'm sure you know what I mean by that."

To hide his sudden discomfort Byron Terry rubbed his eyes. Not only was the cost of his watch and his tailoring known by Bergman, but Bergman also knew what lay beneath Byron Terry's good looks and carefully cultivated image of elegance and glamour. Bergman knew what lay in the shadowy corners of Byron's soul, that destructive side of Byron that had caused him to betray Annie Laurie, the only woman he had ever loved. Money borrowed from the wrong people and an ex-wife who had vowed to destroy him. For Byron Terry the sky was black with chickens come home to roost.

The Rolls-Royce Corniche turned off the Pont de la Concorde, a small bridge dotted with thin lamp posts casting a pale yellow glow in the night, onto the Quai Anatole France. The Left Bank avenue ran between the River Seine and a row of old buildings which, despite plain, bare fronts, housed some of the most expensive and luxurious flats in Europe. The Rolls belonged to one of the world's richest young men, Prince Saddem al-Rahman of Bahrain, who was taking Terry and three American models to dinner at Lapérouse, a two-hundred-year-old restaurant on the Quai des Grands-Augustins. Because the Bahraini chauffeur spoke only Arabic and didn't know Paris, the slim, bearded Saddem had hired a taxi to lead the Rolls everywhere.

Byron Terry looked toward the shuttered wooden bookstalls that lined the embankment for miles. He hadn't come to Paris to buy musty books or chase empty cabs through dark, cobbled streets, however. He was in Paris to get his hands on $800,000, which was what he stood to make in commissions, provided he could steal America's highest-paid model from her agent.

The model was Karen Dial, now sitting in front of him in the Rolls, singing along with Donna Summer and getting high on some of the strongest hashish ever smuggled into France from Tangiers. A tall, beautiful dark blonde, Karen Dial had a crooked smile that was both sexy and vulnerable and a round face with clear skin pulled tightly over high cheekbones that made her photograph younger than her twenty-nine years. She was the supermodel of supermodels, earning $500,000 a year and receiving thousands of fan letters a month. A pop poster of her in a wet tee shirt and black bikini panties had sold almost three million copies. Cover stories in Time, Newsweek, and People magazines, as well as a piece in the New York Times, had lifted her celebrity status.

Byron Terry wanted her signature on a four-year contract that could yield her a million dollars a year. Karen Dial was a star, but with Byron's help she could become a universe. By helping her, he of course would be helping himself. Eight hundred thousand dollars was his twenty-percent agent's commission on four million dollars and it would buy a lot of Cartier watches, Giorgio Armani suits, Mercedes 450 SL's, and winters at the carnival in Rio de Janeiro. It would wipe out his debt to Bergman and, most important of all, help him to fight Annie for control of modeling in New York. There was no room for compromise between him and his ex-wife; to survive one would have to destroy the other.

To talk to Karen Dial, Byron had flown on the Concorde from New York to London where Karen was filming a television commercial for Morgan-Knox, a new American company that made what it called "The Crown Jewel of Cameras." The company had arranged for her to be photographed with England's Crown Jewels, now stored in a tight security cavern beneath Waterloo Barracks in the Tower of London. But when Byron Terry arrived to meet her at the Dorchester Hotel on London's posh Park Lane, Karen Dial wasn't alone. She was having drinks with Prince Saddem and two models, Jennifer Bean, a nineteen-year-old blonde with frizzed hair and an Oklahoma drawl, who was represented by Terry, and Peace Johnstone, a stunning, twenty-five-year-old black with almond-shaped eyes, a fine-boned face, and skin the color of burnt honey. Harper's Bazaar had flown the two from New York to model antique jewelry found in England's stately homes.

Saddem poured from a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne. "I have invited the ladies to dine with me. You are welcome to join us. We leave in forty-five minutes."

Karen Dial held onto Byron Terry's arm as they headed to the lobby. "It's going to be super. Saddem's flying us to Paris then bringing us back in time for work tomorrow morning."

The agent's smile was nothing more than a forced movement of his lips. He wondered if he had worked all of his life only to achieve a success indistinguishable from panic. "I can't think of anything I'd rather do," Byron said, "than fly thirty-five hundred miles for a bowl of onion soup."

Karen Dial enjoyed the life, the partying and good times that came with modeling. The Life. Travel, sex, drugs, fame, and $5,000-a-day modeling fees. It was living in the fast lane, a choice brought on by fear of growing old and the knowledge that a model's career rarely lasted more than seven years. It was the chance to work and play in Hawaii, Cairo, London, Palm Springs, Rome, New York, Acapulco, Beverly Hills, the Caribbean. Above all, The Life was loving and being loved by new and beautiful faces. The word was now, for in modeling only the face and body mattered, and when they faded so did the money, fame, and love. Enjoy all of it now. It was today's pleasure versus tomorrow's promise.

The empty taxi, followed by the Rolls, halted in front of the ancient six story building housing Lapérouse restaurant. Immediately, a woman in shabby black clothing stepped from a doorway, her body sunken and bent by age. She shuffled toward the Rolls, a thin arm extended, a faded yellow rose in her wrinkled hand. Other roses drooped from a side pocket of her patched overcoat. After helping the models from the car, Byron Terry walked over to the old woman, greeted her with a kiss on each cheek, then covered her small hand holding the flower with both of his. When he spoke softly to her in French, her sunken mouth moved in a toothless smile.

Taking her flower, the agent snapped off the stem and carefully inserted the decaying yellow rose in his lapel. Then handing her two fifty-franc notes, he removed four roses from her coat pocket. He handed a limp flower to each of the three women, keeping the last for himself. "Her name is Paulette," he said. "Picasso introduced me to her. During the war she became the mistress of a very important Nazi colonel. They fell in love. Toward the end of the war, he decided to leave his wife for her. They would go to Spain."

Byron looked at the dark building. "Lapérouse was their favorite restaurant. For their last dinner in Paris they came here. After dinner they went for a quiet stroll and the Resistance took them. It was time for revenge, you see. The colonel was tortured, beheaded. Paulette, beautiful Paulette, was gang raped and her head shaved and her face, it was beaten until it looked like a butcher's apron. All of this destroyed her mind."

He looked at the silent models. "Paulette was not a bad girl. She wanted to survive and have a good time, that's all. She waits here for her colonel to return."

A misty-eyed Karen took his arm. "God, did they have to do that to her?"

"Picasso thought it was jealousy, not patriotism. Men she'd rejected, women who resented her beauty and powerful protector. Patriotism was an excuse for getting even."

A sniffling Karen removed a compact and tissue from a small beaded bag then handed the bag to Byron. "Hold this while I make repairs. And stop telling me sad stories before I make a grand entrance. I don't want to walk in there and have Cardin or someone from Elle catch me looking like a zebra."

She moved closer to a lamp post and peered into the compact's mirror. Byron, without thinking, tucked the last yellow rose into her bag and that's when he saw the folded telegram. Curious, he tilted the bag to the left to catch the available light, brought it up a few inches and squinted: He froze. The telegram was signed "Annie Laurie." Byron saw his $800,000 pulling away from him. The pain was almost physical.

He placed both hands behind him. No one was looking. Prince Saddem and Jennifer and Peace were clustered around Paulette. Karen was making repairs. Now's the time, thought Byron. When he handed Karen's bag back to her the telegram was balled up in his right fist. Terry's law, he told himself. It is immoral to allow others to keep that which may be useful to you.

Lapérouse had a faded glamour, the dark oak and brass handrails of La Belle Epoque, that beautiful time of gaslight, parasols, and horse-drawn carriages. A headwaiter led the way up a narrow staircase to les salles, the private dining salons on the second floor. Prince Saddem had booked the popular Salon des Amours, which sat eight and had elegantly paneled walls, mirrors, and murals of cheerful pink cherubs. Byron seated himself on a red velvet couch, his arms along its back, his long legs stretched out in front of him.

"If those cherubs could speak the conversation would be salacious, indecent, predominantly sexual, not to mention naughty."

"I was telling Jennifer about these rooms," said Prince Saddem, stepping aside to allow two waiters to enter with champagne, ice buckets, and glasses. "There are sixteen of them, each one decorated in a different style, and they form a most interesting tradition. These rooms are for lovers, for those who wish to dine and indulge other appetites as well."

He pointed to the door. "Look. Just one doorknob and that's on the inside. There is no knob on the outside. It insures privacy."

Jennifer Bean looked at both sides of the door. "How about that? People, all I can say is this beats doing it in a Volkswagen."


Excerpted from A Dangerous Glamour by Marc Olden. Copyright © 1982 Marc Olden. Excerpted by permission of MysteriousPress.com/Open Road Integrated Media.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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