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FAMILY OF LIES

New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe weaves a stunning portrait of a family immersed in deceit . . .and the women whose happiness depends on the secrets they keep. . .

After growing up poor in Texas, Vera Lomax used every gold-digging trick in the book to land a rich husband. Now living in the lap of luxury in San Francisco, her only job is to fawn over her much-older husband, so it's been easy for her to balance a life of shopping and affairs with younger men with a major secret: the sixteen-year bribery of one of her husband's mistresses to keep her pregnancy under wraps. Vera figures that a little hush money every month will ensure her husband's fortune is hers alone. . .

Unfortunately for Vera, Sarah Cooper is the child Kenneth Lomax always wanted. When the father she never knew shows up at her mother's funeral to claim her, it's a fairy tale journey from the ghetto to a mansion on a hill. But Sarah's life is not as carefree as her father wants it to be . . .because Sarah knows from the start that her step-mother is as two-faced as they come. And after losing all the family she's ever known, she wants a life that's richer than what Vera's got planned for her. Neither woman can be sure who will win Kenneth's heart and fortune. But as Vera and Sarah scheme to get what they want, everyone they know will be choosing sides, taking chances, and gambling it all to come out on top. . .

Praise for the novels of Mary Monroe

"Once again, Monroe displays her gift as a marvel with this sensational novel." --RT Book Reviews on Lost Daughters

"Reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston, but the story has a bizarre, violent edge a la Stephen King. . .a candid portrayal of the cold-blooded yet fascinating Mama Ruby." --Publishers Weekly on The Upper Room

"Monroe's style, like her characters, is no-holds-barred earthy. . .. Monroe's characters deal with their situations with a weary worldliness and fatalism that reveal their vulnerability as well as their flaws." --Booklist on Mama Ruby

"Another witty and wise installment to her God series. . .If this raunchy and rambunctious book is any indication, Monroe's series has a lot of life left in it." --Publishers Weekly on God Ain't Through Yet

"A fast-paced, sexy, tense story that will make readers think twice before getting tangled up in an affair." -- Booklist on God Ain't Blind

"Readers are left on edge. . .Monroe once again skillfully delivers a crafty story wrapped around a host of heartwarming characters battling everyday struggles and obstacles, even as she entertains readers with spurts of unexpected comedy and tragedy." --Library Journal on God Don't Play

"A highly satisfying page-turner--and one that will stand out." --Publishers Weekly on God Don't Like Ugly


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LOST DAUGHTERS

After years of living under Mama Ruby’s commanding presence, Maureen Montgomery is finally taking charge of her own life. With her beautiful teenage daughter, Loretta, by her side, she returns to Florida after Mama Ruby’s death and settles into a routine that any other woman would consider bland. But for Maureen and her older brother Virgil, who grew up with Mama Ruby’s hair-trigger temper and murderous ways, bland is good.

But Loretta has other ideas. Set on becoming rich and famous, she convinces Maureen to let her start a modeling career. And Loretta thinks Miami photographer Melvin Ross is just the man to make her a star. But even with Mel by their side, taking Maureen and Loretta’s lives in new directions, they can’t escape Mama Ruby. Neither can Virgil, who’s concealed one of Mama Ruby’s most shocking acts for most of his life…and is now living with the guilt of his deceit.

Yet, as much as Virgil knows, he could never imagine the depth of Mama Ruby’s yearning for her daughter, or how much Maureen wants her own daughter to feel free to live on her own terms. For them, Mama Ruby will never die…and it’s not until Maureen takes on a bit of Mama Ruby’s strength to face down the past and forge new bonds that she’s able to make a future that is truly hers.

“Reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston, but the story has a bizarre, violent edge a la Stephen King…a candid portrayal of the cold-blooded yet fascinating Mama Ruby.” —Publishers Weekly on The Upper Room

“Magnificent, coarse, funny and terrifying.” —The San Francisco Chronicle on The Upper Room

“Warm, energetic, and charming.” —The Houston Post on The Upper Room

“Monroe’s literary canvas is painted with broad strokes, with verve and humor and passion.” —Christian Science Monitor on The Upper Room

“Mama Ruby fans, this is The Upper Room prequel you’ve been waiting for!” —RT Book Reviews on Mama Ruby

“Monroe’s style, like her characters, is no-holds-barred earthy…. Monroe’s characters deal with their situations with a weary worldliness and fatalism that reveal their vulnerability as well as their flaws.” —Booklist on Mama Ruby


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GOD DON'T MAKE NO MISTAKES

In the sparkling conclusion to Mary Monroe’s bestselling God series, two forever friends face their biggest betrayals yet and learn the hard way that putting your trust in the wrong hands can change your life forever…

These days, Annette Goode Davis has a pretty full plate—literally and figuratively. Although she’s trying to reconcile with her husband, Pee Wee, she’s still seeing other men on the side. A woman’s got to cover her bases, right? With her love life hopping, Annette should be as pleased as punch. Instead, the stress has her eating everything in sight and packing on the pounds along the way.

Meanwhile, Annette’s best friend, Rhoda O’Toole, has her hands full—as usual—dealing with her wild child daughter. Jade has always been a cross to bear, but when her antics almost cost Rhoda her man, Rhoda throws Jade out on the street. But Jade soon finds a way to make Rhoda regret her choice….

Privately, Annette thanks her lucky stars that her daughter, Charlotte, has her head on straight. And she’s been doubly blessed to have a strait-laced neighbor look after Charlotte when she’s caught up in Pee Wee and Rhoda’s many problems. But when Annette’s world is rocked by a terrible revelation, she’ll discover that appearances can be very, very deceiving—and she’ll have to summon every ounce of strength she has to protect the ones she loves.

“Monroe is a masterful storyteller.” —Philadelphia Inquirer



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MAMA RUBY

New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe presents an unforgettable tale featuring Mama Ruby, the indomitable heroine of her acclaimed novel The Upper Room. Now readers will get a peek into Ruby’s early years, as she transforms from a spoiled small-town girl into one of the South’s most notorious and volatile women…

Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, Ruby Jean Upshaw is the kind of girl who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. By the time she’s fifteen, Ruby has developed a taste for fast men and cheap liquor, and not even her preacher daddy can set her straight. Most everyone in the neighborhood knows you don’t cross Ruby. Only Othella Mae Cartier, daughter of the town tramp, understands what makes Ruby tick.

When Ruby discovers she’s in the family way, she’s scared for the first time in her life. After hiding her growing belly with baggy dresses, Ruby secretly gives birth to a baby girl at Othella’s house. With few choices, Othella talks Ruby into giving the child away—and with the help of a shocking revelation, convinces Ruby to run off with her to New Orleans.

But nothing can erase Ruby’s memories of the child she lost—or quell her simmering rage at Othella for persuading her to let her precious baby go. If there’s a fine line between best friend and worst nightmare, Ruby is surely treading it. Because someday, there will be a reckoning. And when it comes, Othella will learn the hard way that no one knows how to exact revenge quite like Ruby Jean Upshaw…


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GOD AIN'T THROUGH YET

From New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe comes a poignant and passionate new novel featuring lifelong friends Annette Goode Davis and Rhoda O’Toole–two women whose best intentions don’t always yield the best results. This time around, Annette is devastated when one of her greatest fears comes true—and there may be nothing she can do about it… Even though her life has its ups and downs, Annette Goode Davis feels lucky to have a family who loves her and friends she can count on. Most of all, Annette is grateful that her husband Pee Wee took her back after he discovered she was having an affair. Now, she’s determined to do whatever it takes to make her marriage work. The trouble is, while Pee Wee agreed to give Annette another chance, she’s not sure his heart is really in it.

Annette goes out of her way to keep Pee Wee as happy as pie, but it never seems to be enough. Rhoda is quick to point out that Annette got herself into this mess; now she has to be patient until Pee Wee forgives her. But time may be running out.

Her suspicions are confirmed when Pee Wee moves out—and in with his new lady. Annette takes the news hard and so does her daughter Charlotte, who seems hell-bent on keeping her mother on edge by hanging out with a wild new crowd.

Annette isn’t going to let her family go without a fight. But she also knows she must prepare for the worst—because one lesson she’s learned all too well is that when life kicks you in the teeth, you have to come out swinging.

“Monroe is a masterful storyteller.” —Philadelphia Inquirer


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GOD AIN'T BLIND

Forever friends Annette Goode Davis and Rhoda O’Toole are about to learn that even the rockiest relationships can survive just about anything—as long as you’re there for each other when it matters most… Annette Goode Davis is a survivor, and while life’s obstacles have often knocked her down, she’s never let them keep her there for long. To Annette, life is all about family and old friends like Rhoda O’Toole. And right now, Annette needs all the friends she can get…because her marriage is in big trouble, and she has no idea why…

Lately, her husband Pee Wee barely has the time of day for Annette and she suspects he may have fallen for another woman. Desperate to regain his affections, Annette goes on a crash diet, gets a total makeover, and looks hotter than she has for a long, long time. Everyone notices—everyone except Pee Wee.

Annette is ripe for the picking when she meets Louis Baines, a handsome young caterer who showers her with attention. Soon, Annette is embroiled in a full blown affair and spending money on Louis like there’s no tomorrow. But when Annette learns a terrible secret about her new lover, she realizes she’s in way over her head. Her life crumbling down around her, Annette turns to the only person she knows she can trust: Rhoda.

With Rhoda by her side, Annette’s determined to find a way out of this mess. But when the truth finally comes out, Annette must face the fact that she may have destroyed the life she loved—and this time, not even Rhoda can help her make things right...



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THE COMPANY WE KEEP

Gorgeous, successful executive Teri Stewart spends her days working for L.A.’s hottest record company—and her nights all alone. Her best friend Nicole is determined to find Teri a man, but she hasn’t had much luck...because Teri wants more than Mr. Maybe. She’s holding out for Mr. Right and won’t settle for anything less. Just when Teri is ready to give up, a man from her past returns to reignite their romance. With his sultry smile and easy-going charm, radio DJ Harrison Starr is one-of-a kind—and Teri can’t deny she’s fallen hard for him again.

With her life finally falling into place, Teri thinks her dreams might come true after all. But Harrison may have a secret that could change everything…

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SHE HAD IT COMING
Dolores Reese is married to two different men at the same time in two different cities and loving it until her jealous best friend spills the beans.

From the moment Dolores Reese met Floyd Watson, she knew with certainty that she and Floyd were soul mates. So when one bad decision sends and innocent Floyd to prison for life, Dolores pays clandestine visits and promises to stick by him - no matter what.

While Floyd's world stands still, Dolores builds a life with Paul, a man who promises her the kind of future she's always wanted. Dolores is sure she can continue to visit Floyd without revealing that she's also married to another man. With her best friend Valerie as her confidante and accomplice, Dolores hopes to pull off the ultimate deception, but if she isn't careful, she just might find out what happens when love, dishonesty, and dangerous jealousy collide...

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DELIVER ME FROM EVIL

A beautiful, resourceful woman is caught in a high-stakes game of money, sex and betrayal—all in the name of a better future… Christine Thurman had the perfect marriage. A girl from the wrong side of the tracks, she made good by marrying Jesse Ray Thurman and helping him build a business worth millions. Together, they were the perfect couple—attractive, successful, and deeply in love. Christine was convinced she’d spend the rest of her life by her handsome husband’s side.

But twelve years later, J.R. has become obsessed with building his video store empire and is taking his wife for granted. Feeling trapped and alone in a dead-end marriage, Christine finds herself tempted by her old haunts and the people she thought she left behind long ago. Suddenly, without J.R. even realizing it, their seemingly unshakeable bond has started fraying at the seams—and Christine will do anything to break free.

Enter Wade Eddie Fisher, a bad boy with good looks from Christine’s past. Wade left their hometown long ago to follow his Hollywood dreams, but now he’s back, penniless, and as tempting as ever. Even though Wade is far from dependable, he offers Christine something she can’t seem to resist. Soon she’s immersed in a sultry affair, and before she knows it, she’s concocted a scheme so risky that it promises to deliver everything she could possibly want—or shatter the lives of everyone close to her…



BORROW TROUBLE

“Nightmare in Paradise” by Mary Monroe

Good-looking and as dutiful a wife as she is a devoted friend, reserved and respectful Renee Webb always does the right thing. So when she gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to let her hair down on a Caribbean vacation with her uninhibited friend Inez, Renee is more than ready to let go. But the sun-splashed isle of Paraiso is not what it seems, and Renee finds out that doing the wrong thing—a sizzling night of pleasure with a sexy stranger—might cost her more than she ever imagined…

“Bad Luck Shadow” by Victor McGlothin

Bad luck’s been shadowing handsome Baltimore Floyd ever since he hopped a train out of New York City. On the run from some of Harlem’s baddest hitmen, Baltimore’s luck takes a turn for the worse after he murders a big-time white businessman and gets thrown off the train in Kansas City. Alone and on the lam, Baltimore’s got only one shot to get out alive—the biggest heist in KC’s history. Lucky for him, Henry Taylor’s got his back, and he’ll have to use every trick he knows to save Baltimore from going down for good…


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GOD DON'T PLAY

Annette and Rhoda, survivors whose friendship has traveled a long and extremely rocky road, are content, having freed themselves from lies, violence, abuse and---at various times---each other. For Anette especially, right now life is good---but someone is not happy about it. Menacing letters, phone calls, and packages target Annette, undermining her among family, friends and community. Rhonda and her teenage daughter Jade do their best to shield her, but when Annette's child is threatened, she prepares to fight back in a face-to-face showdown that will change the lives of those she loves best.

Audio interview with Bill Thompson on Eye On Books

Authors In Your Pocket(tm) Podcast Featuring Mary Monroe Discussing "God Don't Play" Click here to watch and listen to the graphically enhanced podcast!

Bookclub In Your Pocket(tm) Podcast Featuring Mary Monroe and the RAWSISTAZ Literary Group Discussing "God Don't Play" Click here to watch and listen to the graphically enhanced podcast!

IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING

In this exciting and suspenseful new novel from acclaimed bestselling author Mary Monroe, one restless young woman thinks she’s found a free ride to happiness and adventure. But it’s a trip that may land her in prison—or worse…

Twenty-eight-year-old Trudy Bell has never been outside her home state of California, never worked anywhere but the family liquor store—and, for the past decade, never been with any man other than James Young. Now her over-protective, emotionally manipulative father has persuaded her to commit to James and get engaged. But despite the dull, hardworking lifestyle she and James have in common, their ideas of happiness are worlds apart.

Facing a future of cooking, cleaning, and unsatisfying sex with a husband who spends his evenings slumped in front of the TV leaves Trudy deeply depressed. Maybe because of her matronly appearance, she has never attracted, or had the confidence to go after, the passionate relationships and experiences she craves. But with a few months of singlehood left, Trudy decides to make some changes—starting with a new job.

When Trudy lands a secretarial position at a travel agency, she feels like a new woman. And her warm, friendly personality soon wins her the adoration of her colleagues—with one exception. Ann Oliver is a high-level manager and the only other African American employee. She’s also an extravagant snob who despises the low-income black experience Trudy represents—especially when their white co-workers get the two of them confused. But Trudy keeps her cool. No one is going to ruin her new life. In fact, she’s found a way to make it even better. As the secretary who processes the agency’s bills, Trudy has easy access to company credit cards—including Ann’s.

At first, Trudy’s deception involves a few high-priced lunches—but it soon expands to include cash advances, a dramatic makeover, and weekend “business trips” to exotic locations. And when Ann suddenly resigns, Trudy’s spree goes to the next level. Now she’s leading a glamorous double-life—Ann’s life—complete with a secret apartment where she entertains the men she meets at upscale bars. But their worlds collide the night Trudy brings home the wrong man—one who has an angry score to settle. With Ann. Now, unless Trudy can convince him she’s not the woman he’s after, she may pay the highest price of all…


RED LIGHT WIVES

Monroe casts her eye on six extremely different women—haughty and humble, beautiful and plain, young and not-so-young, black, white, Latina, and origins unknown. Lula Mae, Ester, Megan, Rosalee, Helen and Rockelle are “colleagues”—in the world’s oldest profession—and despite their surface differences, all have a gift for laughing in the face of hardship. “Managed” by Clyde, who calls the women his “wives,” they do what wives are expected to do—take care of him, not to mention his young daughter, Keisha, but see no way out. That is until one day, a daring act of defiance changes everything.

Audio interview with Bill Thompson on Eye On Books

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GOD STILL DON'T LIKE UGLY

Growing up, Annette Goode thought all men were as low-down as the father who abandoned her. There was Mr. Boatwright, the boarder who abused her for years—until her best friend Rhoda murdered him. And what about the men she slept with to earn the money she needed to run away from her life? None of them was exactly the picture of chivalry. But now, after decades of soul searching and heartache, Annette has reunited with the father she never really knew. She’s severed all ties with the dangerously unstable Rhoda. And finally her real life has started to take shape. Or so she thinks…

Things start to fall apart at—of all places—Annette’s own pre-wedding celebration, where a guest reveals that the beautiful bride-to-be once turned tricks for a living. When her fiancé pulls a disappearing act, Annette reunites with Pee Wee Davis—the man who has been her on-again, off-again sweetheart since childhood. It’s not a great life, but it’s a pretty good one.

Yet Annette still holds the secret of her ex-friend Rhoda’s murderous past deep in her heart. She knows it’s a burden that will torment her until she can put it to rest. So when Rhoda suddenly walks back into her life, Annette must decide what she should believe—and what she can forgive—as she tries to salvage the one relationship that she just can’t seem to let go…


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THE UPPER ROOM

Mama Ruby may not be all crazy, but she's at least halfway there. She's known for taking things that aren't rightfully hers, like her best friend's stillborn baby—a tiny brown girl that she brought back to life with her legendary healing hands and christened Maureen. She's also rumored to have done away with her husband (True, he deserved it, but still.) Some fear her. Others try their best to avoid her. But most everyone agrees the devil has got hold of Mama Ruby's soul.

With her God-fearing neighbors watching her every step, it's all Mama Ruby can do to stay ahead of the law. One desperate night, she flees to Goons, a dirt-poor migrant settlement in the Florida Everglades—and, strange to say—it feels something like home. There's folks she likes (the low-down, wild-eyed Fast Black), folks she mostly loves (like Big Red, her law enforcement “connection”), and more than a few folks she just plain can't stand. Through it all, she remains downright nuts about the one gift God gave her—her precious daughter Maureen.

But growing up with a mama like Ruby is enough to make any half-sane girl wish for something—anything—else. And when Maureen gets the chance to explore the “real” world, you can bet she's going to take it…and run like hell.


GONNA LAY DOWN MY BURDENS

In the sweltering little town of Belle Helene, Alabama, Carmen Taylor keeps her weaknesses, her frustrations, and her sorrows to herself. She’s too busy dealing with the dramas of troubled friends like Desiree Lucienne, the petite, pampered daughter of a doctor who tries to beat the wildness out of her. But that doesn’t stop Desiree from trawling for men, and trying to drag Carmen along.

It’s not that Carmen hasn’t had her share of boozy pick-ups—only that they can’t compare to the one steamy night she spent with the man she’s loved since they were both kids. Now a local cop, all-too-fine Chester Sheffield keeps showing up in Carmen’s life, wanting to do something about the feelings they obviously share. But that would mean abandoning her “boyfriend” Burl Tupper, and that’s something Carmen just can’t do. Ever since a foolish teenage prank of Carmen’s landed Burl in a wheelchair, she’s been trying to make it up to him. When Carmen doesn’t take her chance with Chester, Desiree does. And although the women’s friendship stays solid, greater challenges await.

On a sultry, reckless moonlit night, Carmen commits a desperate crime of passion, and, with Desiree, hits the road running. But she can’t run from the truth. Now she has two choices—a life on the lam, or a return to Belle Helene, the place where it all began…and the only place Carmen can lay down her burdens and seize her one true chance at love and redemption.


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GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY

In her richly drawn debut novel, Mary Monroe brings to life the bond between two girls from opposite sides of the track—and the shattering event that changes their lives forever.

At the heart of the story is Annette Goode, a shy, awkward, overweight child who keeps a terrible secret. Mr. Boatwright, the boarder her hardworking mother has taken in, abuses her daily. Frightened and ashamed, Annette withdraws into a world of books and food.

But the summer Annette turns thirteen, something incredible happens: Rhoda Nelson chooses her as a friend. Dazzling, generous Rhoda, who is everything Annette is not—gorgeous, slim, and worldly—welcomes Annette into the heart of her eccentric family, which includes her handsome and dignified father; her lovely, fragile, “Muh'Dear;” her brooding, dangerous brother Jock; and her colorful white relatives—half-crazy Uncle Johnny, sultry Aunt Lola, and scary, surly Granny Goose.

With Rhoda's help, Annette survives adolescence and blossoms as a woman. But when her beautiful best friend makes a stunning confession about a horrific childhood crime, Annette's world will never be the same.

Set on the streets, porches and parlors of 1960s and 1970 Ohio, God Don't Like Ugly sparkles with clear-eyed wit and uncompromising honesty. Readers will find this remarkable new novel full of laughter, inspiration, and pure enjoyment.