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Fool Me Once

First Wives Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Emma Wilder
Series: First Wives, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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Summary

From Weekday Brides to First Wives, a dazzling series about four women and their alliance of newfound friendship, unexpected love, and second chances.

Cynical divorce attorney Lori Cumberland lives by one motto: Love is grand, but divorce is a hundred grand. With one failed marriage under her own personal belt, Lori had fallen hard and early - and it isn't something she plans on repeating. She's content focusing on the temporary marriages of her rich and famous clients. When she joins some of her recent divorcées on a celebratory cruise, her only vow is fun, sun, and new friends. But Lori finds herself tempted by a jury of one.

For Reed Barlow, falling into the world of private investigation was easy. He knows the law and knows how to avoid breaking it - all while doing his job. His rule to live by? No emotion, no involvement...until Lori. His charming smile and cocky attitude distracts Lori and lowers her guard, which is exactly what Reed desires.

But what appears as a one-time-only flirtation may be a plot orchestrated by Reed. As he's taking his investigation to a dangerous level, it's Lori who could end up in jeopardy. Reed has only one shot for Lori to grant him a second chance. But if he comes clean with her, he blows his cover. And that just might cost him the opportunity for an alliance of family...and of love.

©2017 Catherine Bybee (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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    5 out of 5 stars

I just can't get enough of Catherine Bybee's books

I just can't get enough of Catherine Bybee's books. With each series, we meet more determined and feisty female characters and the overprotective men they fall for. Each story enables me to switch off from reality and just sit back and savour a bit of wonderfully written romance with a healthy dash of danger and intrigue.

The First Wives Club comprises Lori Cumberland, the Alliance divorce attorney, Trina Petrov, recently widowed after her arranged marriage collapsed when her husband committed suicide, Avery Grant, the flirty and confident member of the group who is recently divorced and enjoying the high life of being wealthy and single, and lastly Shannon Wentworth, the former first lady of California, who, despite having an arranged marriage, fell in love with her husband who sadly couldn't wait to divorce her.

Fool Me Once follows Lori and the other three members of the First Wives Club as they head off on a cruise to support an emotionally broken Trina. With Lori assuming a cruise would solve their problems in the press and with Shannen, in particular, being well-known in California, a trip around the Mediterranean should be just what everyone needs. Things quickly start to escalate though when it is revealed that Trina has inherited her mother-in-law's fortune as well as her late husband's wealth and with a determined Russian ex-father-in-law out for revenge, the quartet finds themselves in need of a bodyguard, or two, or three.

When Lori arrives on the ship she immediately attracts the attention of Reed Barlow. Seemingly sailing alone, he quickly latches onto the group of single women, alongside some other interesting male characters. What Lori doesn't know if that Reed is a PI and he has been paid to find dirt on Shannen and her ex-husband by a political rival. Despite having a job to do, Reed falls fast and hard for Lori and the duo spend most of their time together. With Reed still trying to understand the background connecting the four women, he knows that he if he wants to keep Lori in his arms, he will have to be careful with what he reveals to his client.

With Lori in the dark about Reed's real job, she happily continues into a relationship with Reed when they return back in the US. With the dangers around Trina escalating though, it's not long before Reed finds himself in an impossible situation, thanks to the mysterious women on the ship, Sasha. When his back is placed firmly against the wall he knows he will have to come clean to Lori but will she forgive him?

As I've said before, the writing, storytelling and overall ambience of this author's books are 100% en pointe for me. Each book always feels different despite overlapping themes and story commonalities. I can become thoroughly absorbed in Catherine Bybee's books in the blink of an eye and before I know it, another book has ended and I'm reaching for the next instalment as fast as I can click onto Amazon. The Audible books make these stories even more special though. There are some really talented narrators portraying all of the characters and they deserve a lot of praise for bringing the books to life in such a rewarding way.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it!

I was not disappointed even though I knew what would happen. I love the way Catherine writes and of course the book was excellently narrated by Emma Wilder.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Fun and surprising

This seems like a fun and diverting series. All the characters are familiar but still nothing was what it seemed. I'll certainly check out book 2.

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Addictive!!!

You are drawn in from first page an action love story which is my new favourite book loved it thank you Miss Bybee. x

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not sure if this series should continue

I think Ms Bybee has taken this series as far as it should go. What started as a unique formula (arranged platonic marriages for the very wealthy) has now become a caricature, and the casual way in which the characters flitted between luxury cruises, private jets, and assorted mansions, accompanied by the obligatory body guards, has become a bit grating.

The H and h were difficult to connect to, as we learnt very little about their lives prior to them meeting. Even now, having finished the book, I feel I know very little about them. I also did not warm to either of them: Lawyer h revealed confidential business details to a man she knew so little about that even her own brother expressed concern, while the H spied upon her, and bugged her home, while encouraging her to care about him and trust him. He even kept secret the knowledge that she was being followed, knowing there was a possibility the person concerned had harmful intentions. Even when their relationship was getting serious, he was still using his involvement in her life to get better access to the “dirt” his client was looking for. Why did he not just quit the job due to conflict of interest?

The book did improve vastly once the H’s activities were revealed, and the last few chapters were good, but the ending left threads of the story unresolved, no doubt as a set-up for future books but that, along with the lack of explanations about other characters, does mean that a reader would struggle if they had not read previous books in this series.

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The life and near death of PI

First class story and interesting and enjoyable enough to read in the day. Looking forward to the development of this new series. Ms Bybee is a top class entertainer. Top class narration by Emma Wilder

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  • Katherine
  • 26-09-17

Loved the Romance and Mystery!

I loved that this book had more than just romance. I loved the mystery of everything. It really kept me guessing. I love Catherine Bybee's books and this was definitely no exception. It was wonderfully written and Emma Wilder did a great job. I love when I run across a good narrator. Especially a female who can read with a believable male voice.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Just My Opinion
  • 29-09-19

Entertaining

I enjoyed the storyline and narration in this book. My only criticism is that I found Avery, one of the secondary characters, so frustratingly irritating that it took away from the story for me. She seemed to play a fairly big part in the book too as she was in many of the scenes and was just so selfish and self centered at one point I was ready to stop listening to the book. (I guess that’s a sign of a good author when a character affects you so much! Lol!) Otherwise I enjoyed the romantic story between Lori and Reed and the mystery throughout the story. Emma Wilder did a wonderful job with the narration adding to the enjoyment of the book.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne
  • 05-10-17

Good, if you like chick lit

I don't remember why I bought this book. It was a mistake. It is a worthwhile story for those who enjoy chick lit or modern romance novels. It is a cute story.

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kimbuckeye
  • 04-10-17

Robotic reading!

I could not get through this Audible version because the performance was so dull and robotic. Lack of real intonation and worse lack of ability to change voices between characters. I want not a fan of the story line enough to want to read the book on my Kindle. Sorry.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-10-17

Great spin off series to weekday brides!

The characters came to life in Catherine Bybee's spin off series. The narrator however had a robotic voice with no inflection.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-09-17

Just could not finish it

They have security checking everyone but she does check on the man in her bed. Hero knows she is being spied on but does not say a word. About as suspenseful as a baloney sandwich.

The last several Bybee books have been disappointing but I could at least finish them.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Trish R.
  • 23-09-17

Great read and almost perfect listen..



I really, really liked this book. There was soooo much dialogue and not once did I roll my eyes or wonder what the author was thinking when she wrote that. I loved Reed and Lori. As well as Avery, Trina and Shannon. They were all fantastic secondary characters. Oh, and it was so nice seeing Sam again, and Neil and Rick from Weekday Brides.

This was kind of a mystery, so that was good. Trying to figure out if Sasha was good or not was fun. Then finding out who she worked for was certainly a shocker.

Ruslan Petrov was a real bad guy and such a creep that he was fun to hate. And I knew something was up with Rogelio and Miguel.

There was explicit sex in this book and the F-bomb was used 6 times.

As to the narration: Emma Wilder did a great job on the voices. The men sounded like men and that’s the most important thing to me, the Spanish accents were great, the women all had their own voice. However, she really needs to work on reading with some kind of emotions in her own voice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Annette
  • 22-09-17

Excellent Storyline

So I loved the Bride by Weekday and had no idea that this would be a continuation of the series and characters. I found this one exciting and romantic and look forward to the remaining characters being further developed. I paid for the audio instead of using credit and have NO regrets! I can also see a spin off on the horizon! Great book and great audio.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Blissfully Booked
  • 02-10-17

Robotic Narration

I wanted to like this. Was looking forward to some Catherine Bybee magic, instead I found myself annoyed by this mechanical noise. It's like having SIRI read to you. I'll just read the book for myself

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Shelley Peters
  • 06-02-20

Girls Only Cruise and the Men They Met

Fool Me Once is the first book in the First Wives Series. This series is a spin-off of the Weekday Brides Series. Lori is the divorce attorney that Alliance employed. Three side characters in this book are all former Alliance Brides, one divorced years ago, one just divorced and one unexpectedly recently widowed. They go on a cruise together to bond and to help all the women adjusting to their life after marriage. This can be read as a stand-alone book, but a lot of the plotline is based on the seven book Weekday Brides Series.

Lori has dedicated her life to her job as a divorce attorney. Alliance, a company that pairs couples in a temporary marriage where one party has a need met, and the other party has a prenuptial agreement for the time of divorce, a financial payment and any other perks that might be allowed (like a home), is her main client. She is taking three women on a cruise ship who are having trouble adapting to their new circumstances. Shannon was the temporary bride of the governor of California before he got elected. She fell in love with her ex and is having trouble moving on, even after three years. Avery is just divorced and plans to enjoy her new freedom, new wealth that isn't dependent on her parents and all the men. Trina didn't get to the divorce part of her Alliance contract before her husband committed suicide. Now she has lots of new problems to deal with. They plan to help and support each other while they enjoy some sunshine.

Reed is an ex-cop and current private investigator. His client had interest in this Alliance group. So he "accidentally" meets Lori at the cruise ship bar. Her nature isn't to trust men, but Lori is comfortable with Reed and the more time she spends with him the more she likes him. Reed begins to fall for Lori also, but he has a paying client to satisfy and a web of lies to untangle without breaking her trust...a pretty impossible goal. Will they be able to work it out as the truth comes out?