Rachel Koller Croft releases first novel

Jane Ammeson Times correspondent

Marrying money is hard work which Bea knows all too well. Sure, when you’re a perfect 10—and she is—it’s easy to meet and date them. But the work is in pretending that they’re the greatest lovers, the most scintillating story tellers, the perfect he-men, and that their jokes are the funniest.

“It’s exhausting having to exalt those types of men, day in and day out, just to secure a Harry Winston diamond, a generous allowance for fillers, Botox and other miscellaneous body maintenance and most importantly, a life of true leisure without a care in the world,” Bea complains in “Stone Cold Fox,” the first novel by author Rachel Koller Croft. “The ultimate safety net. Impenetrable. Though many of my attempts were ill-fated, I stayed the course because I believed wholeheartedly that it would be well worth it, due to a past I never wanted to relive, and I had to make my future different from hers. But none of those relationships with the so-called ‘alphas’ of New York City panned out in the way I had hoped.”

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Persevere she does—because that’s what she was trained to do—having watched her mother marry and dispose of a series of wealthy men. But Bea doesn’t want to be like her mother from her. She just wants to land mega-rich Collin Case and live a life of ease. Unfortunately, though Collin is crazy about her, his family from her—the snooty, well-connected Cases who come from generations of money, are not happy with their son’s choice from her. Little do they know that whatever qualms they have about Bea are nowhere near as bad as her actual past of her. She’s created a false façade, one where almost everything about her is a lie from where she grew up, went to college, who her family de ella was, and even her name de ella. It’s a new personality that cost her a lot to create and she thinks it’s solid as long as she doesn’t slip up by trusting anyone. But convincing Case’s parents is a breeze compared to Collin’s best friend of his, Gale who has always been in love with him and wants to be his wife of him. Gale is no match for Bea’s beauty and ability to manipulate men, but she is just as cunning and determined in other ways.

Long a game-player, Bea enjoys the challenge of outwitting Gale and in “Stone Cold Fox,” the two play a psychological one-upmanship, each trying to outwit the other. It’s a dangerous interaction, but Bea has learned from the best of her —her mother of her. She’s willing to use everything her mother de ella taught her even as she tries to leave her dark past and her mother’s tentacles behind de ella.

Author Rachel Koller Croft says she writes about “b…s” and glamor and in this, her first novel, she certainly has created an enjoyable mystery where nothing is quite as it seems—Bea is much more likeable than the typical gold digger , Gale much more devious, and the other characters we meet all have their own agendas as well.

Croft, a Los Angeles-based screenwriter who wrote the script for the highly-rated country music horror film “Torn Heats,” is an expert at keeping the plot pushing forward and adds so many twists and turns that the reader is never sure what’s going to happen next.

FYI: Rachel Koller Croft book signing will be at 7 pm Feb. 23 at Madison Street Books, 1127 W. Madison St. Chicago. Call 312-929-4140 or visit madstreetbooks.com.

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