Six friends on a luxury yacht. Only five are coming back…
A dream vacation turns deadly in this pulse-pounding, twisting revenge thriller set on the Riviera about dark female friendships.
Do you dare step on board The Lion’s Den?
Belle likes to think herself immune to the dizzying effects of fabulous wealth.
But when her best friend Summer invites her on a glamorous girls’ getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend’s yacht, the only sensible answer is yes.
Belle hopes the trip will be a much-needed break from her stalled acting career and uniquely humiliating waitressing job, but once aboard the luxurious yacht The Lion’s Den it becomes clear that all is not as it seems.
The dream vacation quickly becomes a nightmare as Belle and the handful of other girlfriends Summer has invited are treated more like prisoners than guests by their controlling host, and Belle comes to see Summer for what she truly is: a vicious gold digger who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Belle soon realizes she’s going to have to keep her wits about her — and her own secret close to her chest – if she wants to make it off the yacht alive…
GUEST POST FROM THE AUTHOR
When Friendship Turns Toxic – Katherine St. John
It’s no secret that power corrupts. The news cycle every day is full of examples of power corrupting our successful businessmen, politicians, and celebrities. It’s so common that the real surprise is when someone with billions turns out not to be a megalomaniac, right?
But what I’ve always found fascinating is how personal relationships – friendships, romances, family dynamics – shift with the introduction of money and power.
This is what inspired me to write The Lion’s Den, in which a regular girl is exposed to the world of the filthy rich when her gold-digger best friend, Summer, invites her on a vacation aboard her billionaire boyfriend’s yacht. Our heroine, Belle, witnesses Summer become increasingly entitled and vicious over the course of the novel, willing to do whatever it takes to solidify her position among the super-wealthy.
Like Belle, I worked as an actress and bartender/waitress in my early twenties, and often came in contact with the opulent lifestyle depicted in the book. I had those friends who, I’m not going to say were gold-diggers but were definitely more enamored of the glitzy lifestyle than I was; those friends who actually made it as actors or singers; and those friends who married into wealth. They all changed with the influx of money: some put on airs, suddenly too good for the company they’d kept before; or conversely, some became incredibly generous and invited friends and family to stay in their new mansions, rent-free. And the people in their orbits would change towards them, for better or for worse. The father who’d always scolded his son for his musical dreams became obsequious when his kid had a hit song. The prettier friend who’d always treated her sidekick like her assistant transformed into a loyal bestie when that sidekick sold her app for millions. For me at least, it all became a little hard to navigate over the years as social circles shape-shifted with the changing tides.
I’ve realized the trick is, if you look hard enough you’ll see that sometimes these dynamics match up, and sometimes they don’t. Some of these friends I still have, some of them I don’t.
In The Lion’s Den, Summer feels as though she’s doing her friends a great service by taking them on this exorbitant vacation, showering them in champagne and free designer bathing suits and watches, and expects them to bow down to her in return. Most do. But Belle, while not ungrateful, has no interest in becoming Summer’s yes-woman, which creates a dangerous source of friction between the two.
It’s a story as old as time. But in writing each character, it was important to me that Summer not be a caricature or a stereotype, that she be a real, sympathetic character before she shows her true colors. She breaks your heart as any changed friend would; there is something lost to mourn in her evolution. It was also important to me that Belle be imperfect. She’s not a monk – as much as she’d like to say she’s not into money, she’s excited by the idea of a week on a yacht in the Mediterranean – because who wouldn’t be? She’s definitely not a goody-two-shoes; she’s a normal girl who makes mistakes. But once aboard the luxurious Lion’s Den it becomes clear these two childhood friends have become two very different women, with very conflicting moralities. And those conflicting moralities are going to have to face off.
For me, the clash between Belle and Summer feels analogous to real-life friend break-ups I’ve been through; break-ups that perhaps we’ve all been through. Ruptured friendships can often be more difficult than romantic splits. Especially between close friends with roots. Especially when something as seemingly simple, and yet oh-so complicated like money is the thing that stands between two people. Many of us get married later today (if at all) and live far from our families, so our friends become like family to us. We go through so much while we’re finding our place in the world, and these friendships help us define who we are. One thing I learned in my twenties – as I was changing and so many of my friends were too – was to ask myself: do you like who you are, in the company of this person, of these people?
Summer changes so much over the course of the book that Belle barely recognizes her, and sometimes, even herself in their interactions. It’s fair to say their friendship turns toxic (not saying more, lest I give things away!) – but my hope is that, among women especially, money or no money, changed or not, we support and love our friends, and that your relationships nurture the best in you.
I, for one, no longer have friends who might be described as gold-diggers. And I have to say, I’m happier for it.