What do you do when you run into an old flame at the most awkward place?

August 30, 2008 at 11:00 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you are all having a wonderful weekend, and I hope that you are enjoying my new book, Lake of Lies.

Samantha was in for quite a shock when she went home to meet her new boyfriend’s parents.  Now, she has to deal with the fall-out. 

Excerpt 2

This was turning into a nightmare.  She felt trapped.  She began to think of plausible excuses to return to the city, but she couldn’t find any.  Not one reason that would stick.  Besides, she couldn’t bring herself to lie to Derek.  She was stuck in this situation for better or worse.  Unfortunately, she felt that there was no better, only worse. 

            As she listened to Derek talk her his mother, she tried to regain her composure.  Seeing Nick again made her feel like all of the puzzle pieces of her life were strewn across the floor.  In one minute, her life made sense.  In the next, everything had come unglued.    

            An elderly man appeared at the door.  “Dad, how’ve you been?” Derek asked standing up to greet him. 

            “I’ve been good.  How about you, son?” his father replied hugging him. 

            “Great, I was just telling mom about a new account that I landed.”

            “Now son, you know that I don’t like to talk business at home.” 

            Derek looked away, but not before she saw the disappointment in his eyes.  Derek had taken over the family business for his father.  The business, Daniels Investments, was doing better now than it ever had under his father.  Still, despite the success of the firm, Samantha sometimes wondered if it truly made Derek happy.    

            “Samantha, this is my father, Thomas Daniels,” Derek introduced.

            Thomas reached around Derek to offer his hand.  She accepted it with a warm smile.  He was a tall, lean man.  The silver tint to his hair glinted in the light from the window.  His glasses were perched on the tip of his nose, as he assessed Samantha.       

            “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Daniels,” Samantha replied. 

            “It’s a pleasure to meet you as well, Samantha.  We’ve heard so much about you.  Derek said that you work for an insurance company?  How do you like it?” 

            “I like it a lot.  I’ve worked for this company for about a year, now.  Things are going really well,” she responded. 

            “She knows Nick,” Derek chimed in.  “He sold a computer system to one of the companies she used to work for.”

            “Oh really, where was that?” Thomas asked curiously. 

            Samantha struggled to keep her cool as she answered.  Atlanta.  I moved to Florida about a year ago.” 

            “Why did you move?”  he asked. 

            Because your other son broke my heart, she wanted to say but didn’t.  “It was time for a change,” she hedged.

            “Really?  Why is that?” he prodded. 

            Samantha glanced around the room, as if seeking an escape.  Despite the fact that these questions were meant to be harmless, they felt like daggers.  Daggers she didn’t have any defense against. 

            Luckily, Derek’s mother saved her, by saying, “Would you stop the inquisition, Thomas?”  Turning to Samantha, she put a comforting hand on her shoulder.  “Samantha, you look exhausted.  Why don’t you two go up and get settled?  Dinner will be ready in about an hour.” 

            Derek guided her down the hall to the staircase.  He took her hand to lead her up the staircase.  As they reached the top, he turned to her with a concerned look on his face.  Mom‘s right.  You do look a little under the weather.  What’s wrong?” he inquired.  His thumb came up to trace the line of her jaw. 

            “I’m fine, really,” she assured evenly.  “I’m just tired.” 

            He leaned in closer to kiss the top of her nose before leading her down the hall.  He stopped before a door.  “That’s my room,” he said noticing her view.  He went to stand before a door to the right of his own, his hand on the doorknob.             

            “Derek, I put Samantha’s bags down the hall across from Christina’s room,” Nick explained causing Samantha to jump. 

            Derek’s head snapped around, his irritation clear.  Nick cocked his head to the side walking over to stand in front of them.  “Unless of course, you two want to share a room,” he suggested icily. 

            Samantha suddenly felt like she was in a bull’s pen with nowhere to escape to.  “Who’s Christina?” she asked in an attempt to break the tension. 

            Nick looked at her, his eyes narrowing.  “Derek didn’t tell you about Christina?  I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, since he didn’t mention me,” he reminded, glaring at Derek.  “Christina’s mother was a friend of the family.  She died from cancer when Christina was about 16.  Mom and dad took her in.  Christina is like a sister to us.” 

            Samantha could’ve sworn that she caught a gleam of challenge in Nick’s eyes as he stared at Derek.  Derek glared back, taking Samantha by the hand.  “I’ll show Samantha to her room.”   

            Nick watched them walk down the hall.  Maybe this was the way it should be?  There was no doubt in his mind that Derek was looking for someone to settle down with; and, the last time he saw Samantha, that was exactly what she wanted.  Maybe it was meant to end up like this?  Still, he knew that a life of seeing Samantha with his brother would be no life at all.  Maybe it wasn’t serious?  She hadn’t said that they were sleeping together.  But then again, she hadn’t denied it either.  The thought of Samantha with his brother made him sick.  It wasn’t fair. 

            After all those months of searching for her and his brother is the one that finds her.  Life always seemed to have a funny way of punching him in the gut when he least expected it.  The worst thing was that he still wanted her.  Three years had done nothing to quiet the urge to have her.  It wasn’t as if he had been celebate in that time.  He had dated other women after the break up.  But none of them had even come close to her.  And now, it was too late.  Realizing he was staring after them like a fool, he turned and went downstairs.

            Derek led Samantha into a room to the left of the staircase.  She stepped inside looking around in awe.  The walls were covered with pale pink wallpaper with little blue flowers.  A huge oak canopy bed stood proudly in the center of the room, a pink bedspread covering it.  Matching pink fabric covered the frame of the canopy.  An oak dresser stood to the right of the bed. 

            “Well, this is it,” Derek said splaying his arms wide. 

            “It’s beautiful, Derek,” she exclaimed with a grin. 

            He looked back at the room before turning to face her.  His head tilted to the side, as he opened his arms.  She obligingly walked into them.  They stayed like that for a while, each needing the comfort the other provided.  “It really helps having you here, Samantha.  I’m glad you came.” 

            She wondered if he would still be glad if he knew about her past.  Feeling his arms around her, she vowed that she wouldn’t let what happened with Nick ruin her relationship with Derek.  She couldn’t.  He was everything she was looking for.  Somehow, she had to try to avoid Nick.  If she could just avoid him this week, she could wait to tell Derek the truth when they got back.  Maybe then she would be able to explain things.  She drew back to look at him.  He smiled down at her.  Somehow, his smile made her façade seem all the more heartless. 

            “Well, I better let you get settled before dinner,” he said heading toward the door.  “Have a good rest.” 

            She closed the door behind him leaning back against it for a minute.  How had she gotten herself into this mess?  She shook her head walking over to the bed to unpack her suitcase.   After everything was settled, she sat down.  Her life had been turned upside down in the last hour, and she was still searching for something to hold on to.  But what bothered her most was the fact that Derek seemed to put up a wall where she was concerned.

            Why didn’t he tell her about Nick? 

            He had never even mentioned Christina. 

            Now that she thought of it, neither had Nick.  It seemed that the two of them weren’t ready to discuss the relationship they had or lack thereof.

            Still, what puzzled her most was Christina.  Who was she?  And why did shadows cloud  Derek’s eyes when he heard her name?  As she lay back on the bed, she tried block out the thoughts of Nick but it seemed like he would haunt her even in dreams.  Her dreams were scattered.  Some were of Christina.  Some were of Nick.  The dreams of Nick were intense.  His strong hand caressing her cheek, moving to her neck, the side of her breast.  His lips touching her forehead, her eyes, and her mouth.  In the dream, she kissed him back savoring the feel of his tongue as it plundered her mouth.  Her arms came up to grasp his shoulders with an urgency she didn’t quite understand.  She felt his weight settle on top of her.  His hands moved down to touch the side of her thigh.  She felt her leg settle around his waist.  His manhood stirred against her core causing a gasp to escape her lips. 

            Slowly, her eyes fluttered open.  Her gaze came into focus on the ceiling.  Suddenly, everything was clear.  This wasn’t a dream.  This was real.  Reality hit her.  His tongue stroked the length of her neck making her dizzy.  She had to stop this, before it went too far.  She pushed frantically at his shoulders.  He pulled away his eyes meeting hers.  Samantha sat up against the headboard clutching the bedspread tightly around her.  He looked over his shoulder from his vantage point on the end of the bed.  For a moment, they just stared at each other.  Each one in shock from what had just happened. 

            Nick saw the wary look in her eyes and knew that he had put it there.  God, he hadn’t meant to do that.  Derek had been out at the stables, and he had seen it as the perfect opportunity to find out what the hell was going on.  But it hadn’t worked out like that.  He had come in with the best of intentions.  He just wanted some answers, but she had looked so beautiful lying there that he had felt compelled to come closer.  Then, she had murmured his name.  When he moved closer, she reached out to him.  All rational thought fled the instant he felt her touch.  Her response hit as hard as a sucker punch to the gut. 

            Now, looking into her eyes, he felt like an ass.  How could he have been so stupid?  She was looking at him like he was a rapist?  And, surprisingly, he felt like one.  He glanced over her one last time before getting up and walking to the door.  He heard his name leave her lips as he stepped into the hallway but he didn’t stop.  He shut the door leaning back against it.  His head fell back.  This weekend was going to be hell.  He got hard just looking at her. 

            How could he pretend that the past didn’t matter?         

            Samantha’s fingertips came up to feel the warmth left by his kiss.  She could still feel the imprint of his lips where they pressed against hers.  How could she stay with things like this?  The feeling of his body against hers had been delicious and tempting.  Too tempting.  How could her body still react to him like this after all this time? 

            One weekend. 

            That’s all she had to make it through. 

            Then, she and Derek could go back to a normal life.  Even as she thought the words, a part of her knew it wouldn’t be that easy.   

            At dinner, she barely touched her food.  Luckily, Derek didn’t seem to notice as he chatted animatedly to his mother about work.  Samantha glanced up to see Margaret’s gaze flickering back and forth between her and Nick.  She looked over at Nick to find that he was staring at her.  Her gaze fell back to her plate as she tried to conceal her unease.  All she could do was pray that the meal would end soon.

            While the others had coffee, Samantha went to bed claiming a headache.  She locked herself in the bathroom to settle into a bubble bath.  Even though, she didn’t want to think about him, her thoughts seemed to stray to Nick.  Memories crept into her mind unbidden.  Their first date.  The first time they made love.  The moments played over and over in her head until she wanted to cry out in frustration.  Their affair had been like a fire out of control.  Things were almost perfect, or so she had thought.  She had actually believed that they were meant for each other.  Even at the end, she thought he would come back.  A part of her actually thought he would give in to her ultimatum.  She had convinced herself that all he needed was a push. 

            But that push had cost her everything.   

            Guilt clouded everything as she thought of Derek.  Derek was kind and loving.  He was everything she wanted in a man.  She stood up feeling the water drops slide down her body.  Once she was wrapped in a towel, she let her hair down from the tight bun that rested on the top of her head.  She dried herself and then slid into her terrycloth robe.  As she opened the door and stepped into the hallways, the steam escaped..  She padded across the hallway on bare feet to her bedroom.  Once inside, she breathed a sigh of relief. 

            After the events of today, she was happy to have a few moments to herself.  Somehow, she had to make it through this week.  The party for Derek’s mother would be in a couple of days.  Then, she and Derek would go home, and Nick would disappear from her life, again.  As appealing as that idea should’ve sounded, it didn’t.  Still, she had to stop second-guessing herself.  She was happy with Derek; and, someday, they would make a wonderful life together.  They were good together. 

            Nick may have brought passion to her life, she couldn’t deny that, but he didn’t want the same things she did.  He didn’t want to get married.  Maybe he never would.  Samantha slipped a nightgown over her head, and crawled into bed.  As she stared at the ceiling, she told herself that this was the way things should be.

            So, why wasn’t she happy?

 

Stay Tuned for more of Lake of Lies…

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