Check out Excerpt 7 of Lake of Lies!

October 5, 2008 at 4:24 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.  Things are going well here.  I am in the process of working on my next erotic romance novel.  Make sure to check out my new novel, The Pleasure of Sin, which is coming December 1st from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid!

Have a great week,

Shauna

Chapter 7

Samantha spent the entire day Nick was gone with Derek.  He showed her around town, shopping with her in the quaint boutiques the town had to offer.  By the time they returned, she was exhausted.  She returned to her room telling Derek that she needed a quick nap before dinner.  In truth, she was trying to prepare herself to face another dinner of tense stares.   Family meals were usually a nice event for all involved, except when most of the participants were fighting.  She couldn’t imagine having dinner with people who were barely on speaking terms.  Part of her thought that was the exact reason Derek had chosen to take her into town.

            To escape.

Later that night, her suspicions were confirmed.  The table was completely silent.  The only time anyone spoke was to answer Margaret’s incessant questions.  Nick returned to the house shortly after dinner.  After a brief hello, he went upstairs to unpack.  She sat downstairs for a while drinking coffee and trying her best to still the impulse to run upstairs to see him. 

Derek disappeared shortly after dinner, and Christina went straight to bed.  They seemed like a family who was trying to act like a family instead of actually being one.  The worst part of it was the feeling that she was intruding here.  She could feel the tension in the house.  It resonated in the walls. 

She walked upstairs, pausing by Nick’s door, before hurrying down to her room.  She wanted to talk to him.  She couldn’t deny that.  But what could she say?  He had all but told her to stay away.  She slipped her satin nightshirt over her head, and climbed into bed.  Gratefully, it didn’t take long to fall asleep.  Her dreams were unsettling.  Derek was standing by her side.  Then, he turned, as if hearing someone call his name, and Nick appeared.  She tried to speak to him, but he turned away from her too.  When he did, she woke up.  She glanced frantically around her room, trying to get her bearings.  She fell back onto the bed taking deep breaths for a few minutes, until her heart rate steadied. 

Finally, she got up, and slipped into her robe.  She padded across the hallway on bare feet.  After a quick shower, she returned to her room to get dressed.  The dream shook her, and not for the obvious reasons.  Why had it hurt more when Nick turned away than when Derek did? 

She walked downstairs to the kitchen to find Gladys in the kitchen.  “Where is everyone?” she asked, getting a cup of coffee and sitting at the table. 

“Derek took off early this morning.  He said he had some things to take care of.  Margaret went with Christina to finish preparing for the party.  Thomas is out at the stables.  I’d swear that man spends more time out there than in here.  And Nick hasn’t come downstairs yet.  He must still be sleeping,” Gladys mused. 

Yes, Nick was a late sleeper.  She remembered that from their time together.  No matter how many times she tried to get him up, he would just sleepily pull her back into bed.  She could remember many mornings when they had lunch in bed, sometimes dinner too.  She shook her head.  She shouldn’t be thinking about that.  Remembering the times they had together was just adding fuel to a fire that was already out of control. 

After she finished her coffee, she walked over to stand beside Gladys putting her cup in the sink.  “How long have you worked with the Daniels’?” she inquired. 

The other woman looked up at her.  “For as long as I can remember,” she replied jovially.   “I love them like they were my own.” 

The grin Gladys offered her was contagious.  She started to turn away, but Gladys grabbed her arm.  She ushered Samantha over to the kitchen table, sitting down across from her.  “I’ve been watching you over the past couple of days,” Gladys said softly. 

She couldn’t stop her look of astonishment.  She was being watched?  Why? And, exactly what had been revealed by the investigation?  “You have?” 

Gladys smiled patting her hand.  “There’s someone else in the house who has the same look on their face that you do,” Gladys observed. 

She stared at the other woman unable to speak.   Did Gladys know the truth about her relationship with Nick?  How could she?  Unless Nick told her, but why would he?  Caught in such a precarious position, she did the only thing she could do.  It was what she had been doing for the past few days. 

Deny, deny, deny. 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said stiffly. 

Gladys shook her head at her attempt to refute the truth.  “Oh yes, you do.  I understand if you don’t want to talk about it, but I just want you to know that I’m here to listen if you need me.” 

She stared at the other woman, her mouth hanging open.  Somehow, the woman had been able to guess what she had tried so very hard to deny.  She barely mustered a “Thanks.” 

Gladys patted her hand again, before getting up to go on with her business. 

Samantha stood up on wobbly knees.  How did Gladys know?  She hurried outside dragging in a steadying breath.  She wanted to run.  To get out of here.  She started walking toward the lake, but her legs speeded up of their own accord.  She followed the path, not really knowing why.  She ran until she reached the large rock that Nick had been sitting on the other day.  She collapsed beside it. 

When had her world become so reckless? 

She had always prided herself on being in control.  Now, she felt like those days were gone forever.  All he had to do was show up, and she felt like everything she had fought so hard for was spinning toward oblivion. 

Suddenly, she heard footsteps coming through the brush.  She kept herself hidden, not wanting to see Nick right now.  As if she had conjured him with her very thoughts, he came through the maze of trees dressed only in swim trunks.  His sleek body glistened in the sun’s gentle rays.  A towel hung haphazardly around his neck.  The muscles in his arms bunched in tension.  Crisp dark hair swirled on his chest blazing a trail lower to disappear into his trunks.  He flung the towel on to the ground, diving into the water. 

She crawled to her feet still concealing her location from him, but allowing herself the guilty pleasure of watching him in this unguarded moment.  He took the laps swiftly, his breaststrokes long and confident.  His head came up for short intervals as he maintained a steady stride.  She took the opportunity to watch his lean legs kick with a driving force.  His arms sliced through the water with a vengeance. 

She stood transfixed by the sight he made.  She couldn’t move.  His head came up as he traveled back to the embankment.  He pulled himself out of the water.  The water fell off his body, sliding down ever so slowly.  She ached to call out to him, to talk to him about what happened.  Her body burned to feel his skin against hers.  Her tongue tingled with the itch to lick the water from his body. 

His head began to turn, as if he sensed her presence.  Feeling stupid standing there drooling after him, she quickly ducked behind the rock.  She didn’t dare move.  She didn’t hear a sound, which added to her discomfort.  Had he seen her?  Was he coming over here?  Oh God, she wasn’t ready to face him.  Not after the incredulous thoughts that had just been in her head.  She stayed still, silent.  Finally, she got up the courage to peer out from her hiding place just in time to see Nick retreat back down the path.  She collapsed behind the rock.  Why did he have this power over her?  It was becoming dangerously obvious that she could no longer control her desire for him. 

After a few minutes, she heard a noise from behind.  Had he come back?  She peered around the rock to see Derek striding up the path in shorts and a tshirt.  He came to stand beside the water looking across the lake.  She was about to reveal herself when she heard Christina’s voice. 

“Derek,” Christina said coming to stand beside him.  “We need to talk.” 

Derek turned to look at her, his apprehension clear.  “What is there to talk about?” he asked sharply. 

Christina winced at his tone.  “Derek,” she began trailing off.  The othe woman looked down at the ground avoiding his eyes. 

Samantha sat watching them.  She knew that she should say something, that she should let them know she was here.  But she couldn’t.  She had to find out what was really going on between them.    

“If it’s about Samantha.  I don’t want to talk about it,” he replied. 

Anger smoldered in the other woman’s eyes.  “Why did you bring her here?” 

He turned toward the rock causing her to burrow further behind it.  “I brought her because she’s my girlfriend.  What did you expect Chris?  That I would never have one?” 

She eased around the rock to peak at them.  “No.  I knew that someday you would bring someone home.  I guess I just didn’t expect it to be so soon,” she replied, looking at the back of his neck. 

Samantha watched Derek’s face.  She couldn’t describe the look she saw there.  She had never seen it before.  “I couldn’t wait forever, Chris.  Things change, wasn’t that what you said before?  Well, now things have changed.” 

Christina turned to stare across the lake.  “Are you going to marry her?  Mother seems to think you will,” she inquired. 

Derek closed his eyes.  Samantha realized now what it was that she saw there.  Desperation.  When he opened them, they were cold, colder than she had ever seen  “Maybe…..I don’t know,” he said in a low voice. 

Christina turned toward him.  She raised her hand stopping in midair before placing it gently on his back.  His jaw clenched when he felt her touch.  “Whatever you decide, I hope that you’re happy, Derek.  That’s all I want for you.” 

She started to turn away, but he grabbed her arm.  He held her hand in his staring at her for what seemed like a long time.  “You, too, Chris,” he whispered before letting her go. 

Christina practically ran back to the trail.  Derek turned away staring out at the lake.  He stayed there for a long time, and Samantha was getting more anxious that he might see her.  She hated eavesdropping, but she couldn’t help it.  Finally, he, too, retreated back toward the path leaving her with more unanswered questions.  What was going on between Derek and Christina?  That was definitely not a brother-sister conversation. 

The one thing she couldn’t deny was that she had never seen that look on his face when he looked at her.  There was something in his eyes, something she couldn’t quite describe.   It bothered her more than she wanted to admit.  Were they lovers?  The question crept into her mind like a plague taking over and killing anything good and decent.  No, surely that couldn’t be true.  They were practically related!  They had grown up together as brother and sister.  There had to be another explanation.

If there wasn’t… 

Samantha got to her feet, thinking that she had better leave before anyone else showed up.  Apparently, the lake was a hot spot for dangerous encounters.  It seemed to have the ability to bring secrets out of their hiding places.  The thing that scared her most was that the secrets it was bringing to the light were secrets that could destroy them all.

 

Stay tuned for more of Lake of Lies…

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