BY MEG KINNARD, ASSOCIATED PRESS

When John Edwards faced the prospect of an indictment that could put him behind bars, he calmly told his mistress he would probably wind up in a low-security prison in Virginia more like a country club than a jail. She quickly told him she and their daughter would move there to be near him if that happened.

Rielle Hunter details their phone call just days before his indictment in her new memoir, purchased by The Associated Press ahead of its release.

"What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me," also includes Rielle Hunter's mixed views on Edwards' parenting of their daughter Quinn and descriptions of Elizabeth Edwards' outbursts. At the end of the book, Hunter says she still has romantic feelings for Edwards but doesn't know how their relationship will turn out.

The book also provides a window into Edwards' psyche as federal prosecutors began their case against him. Days before his indictment Hunter asked: "So if you went to jail, what kind of jail would it be? One of those country clubs?"

"He said, 'Yeah.'"

"'Where?'" she asked.

"'Probably Virginia.'"

"So Quinn and I will move to Virginia. Virginia is a great state."

The only low-security federal prison in Virginia is in Petersburg, where former Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry once served time.

On the day of the indictment, the two shared a surreal phone call as a newspaper reporter banged on her door in Charlotte, while the man she refers to as "Johnny" throughout the book called her cell phone to say that he was also being pursued.

"'I've got helicopters circling my house,' Johnny said."

New York publishers had said they were not interested in Hunter's book, citing her negative image, so it is instead being released through a Dallas-based boutique publisher, BenBella Books, on June 26.

Federal prosecutors spent a year prosecuting Edwards, culminating in a six-week trial that ended last month. Jurors acquitted Edwards on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions and deadlocked on five other felony counts. The judge declared a mistrial. Federal prosecutors then said in a court order earlier this month that they wouldn't retry Edwards, and the charges against him were dropped.

Neither Edwards nor Hunter testified.

Prosecutors had accused Edwards, 59, of masterminding a scheme to use about $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy political donors to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008.

The trial publicized intimate details about Edwards' affair with Hunter as his wife, Elizabeth, was dying of cancer. Much of the book describes their unfolding relationship and the lengths to which Hunter went to sneak in and out of Edwards' hotel rooms, even after her contract as a videographer ended. She also describes paparazzi chases after news of their affair broke.

Hunter writes that Edwards is a doting father when he's around their daughter but that his obligations to his other children curtail their time together. The book features several pictures of the father and daughter together, smiling. Immediately after his trial, Edwards said during a news conference - with his adult daughter, Cate, by his side - that he loved Quinn "more than any of you can ever imagine." Quinn is now 4 and lives with Hunter in Charlotte.

"He is a great dad to her when he is with her," Hunter writes.

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  • Love At First Sight?

    "And when they left, my friend went over and asked Tony if that was John Edwards, and he said yes. And my friend turned to me and said, 'See, I told you it was John Edwards.' And then I came over to the table, and I said, 'I can't believe that was John Edwards; he's so hot. He's really got it going on. He's got something unusual about him, and I never would have recognized him.' And Tony said, 'Oh, my God, you should have come over and told him that. He would have loved to have heard that.'"

  • An Extraordinary Night

    "We had an extraordinary night, and I did know that this was unlike anything either of us had ever experienced. And as we have all learned, that was accurate! [laughs] He in fact did say to me the first night, 'Falling in love with you could really [screw] up my plans for becoming President.' And of course I said, 'If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.'"

  • The Oddest Connection He Had Ever Felt

    "Well, what Johnny later told me was, he went to dinner and could not stop thinking about me, like, 'Who was that woman, and why didn't I go over and talk to her?' ... So when he walked around the corner and saw me standing there, he lit up like a Christmas tree. And I thought his reaction when he saw me was just so cute. I mean, he looked like a little kid at Christmas. And I just uttered to him, 'You're so hot.' And he said, 'Why, thank you!' And he almost jumped into my arms. Literally. And um, that's how we met. On the corner of 61st and Park Avenue."

  • 'I Had To Sleep With Him'

    "I used to make a joke that I could have helped save the world, but I had to sleep with him. You know? It was kind of like that."

  • Falling In Love

    "I fell in love with Johnny ... He called me the next day. We talked on the phone almost every night for four hours. We met on February 21. On February 25—on the phone, from Davenport, Iowa—I fell in love with him. Head over heels in love. I was a goner."

  • Here's ... Johnny!

    "Isn't that funny? You know, when I first met him, the first week of our relationship, I said to him, 'For some reason I cannot call you John, it doesn't come out. Could I call you Johnny?' And he said, 'That's my name.' And I didn't know that, but that's his actual birth name."

  • Knight In Shining Armor?

    "I had this thing in my head like a lot of women, where you want your man to stand up on a cliff and scream, 'I LOVE HER.' You know, the knight in shining armor. And that wasn't what was going on."

  • On Her Relationship Status

    "I am not engaged."

  • Why She's Talking Now

    "I feel comfortable talking now, because Johnny went public and made a statement admitting paternity. I didn't feel like I could ever speak until he did that. Because had I spoken, I would have emasculated him. And I could not emasculate him. Also, it is not my desire to teach my daughter that when Mommy's upset with Daddy, you take matters into your own hands and fix Daddy's mistakes. Which I view as one of the biggest problems in all female-and-male relationships."

  • Not A Gold Digger

    "I mean, just for starters, I never 'hit on' Johnny. I'm not a predator, I'm not a gold digger, I'm not the stalker. I didn't have any power in that way in our relationship. He held all the power."

  • 'The Wrath Of Elizabeth Is A Mighty Wrath'

    "And I believe what happened in his marriage is, he could not go to his wife and say, 'We have an issue.' Because he would be pummeled. So he had a huge fear. Most of his mistakes or errors in judgment were because of his fear of the wrath of Elizabeth. He's allowed himself to be pushed into a lot of things that he wouldn't normally do because of Elizabeth's story line. And the spin that she wants to put out there. He was emasculated. And you know, the wrath of Elizabeth is a mighty wrath."

  • 'I Was A Bit Promiscuous'

    "I was never, as it's been reported, a drug addict. The word addiction means inability to stop. I stopped doing drugs in my twenties. As for being promiscuous, I would say that I was a bit promiscuous for about six months. But it was because I was partying, and there were a lot of very good-looking available 20-year-old men around that you'd be partying with, and there was a lot of, you know, hooking up going on."

  • A Toxic Relationship

    "[Elizabeth] was in denial about a lot of facts. And I say she was in denial because, you know, their relationship has been dysfunctional and toxic and awful for many, many years. And she was aware of, um, problems and chose to ignore them."

  • 'I Don't Really Believe He Was A Politician'

    "Well, I don't really believe he was a politician. I believe his ego and ambition drove him to that field. I believe he's more aligned with being a humanitarian. That suits his true nature. Just like I wasn't a mistress. You know, I'm not a mistress, but I played the role? I believe he played the role of a politician. It's not who he is. Being a politician was a path of transformation for him, I believe. It's not really what he was put on the planet to do."

  • Not A 'Home Wrecker'

    "And, well, first of all, infidelity doesn't happen in healthy marriages. The break in the marriage happens before the infidelity. And that break happened, you know, two and a half decades before I got there. So the home was wrecked already. I was not the Home Wrecker."

  • Naming Frances Quinn Hunter

    "Her name is Frances Quinn Hunter, and I love the name Frances. Johnny wasn't over the moon about Frances. So I was coming up with names, and Quinn is a name that I loved, and that was the only name that he thought was cool. And so I named her Quinn because Daddy really liked it."

  • Was Andrew Young In Love With Edwards?

    "Andrew [Young] was in love with Johnny...In love with him. Beyond. And I believe he loved Johnny more than he loved Cheri. So Johnny was the third person in their relationship. And I'm sure she hates Johnny, because Andrew took a lot of obvious actions that were for Johnny and not for Cheri. But Cheri went along with them. And they both have a way of spinning things. But a lot of their motivation is money."

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