Excerpt 9 of Lake of Lies is finally here!

October 20, 2008 at 1:40 am (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

Halloween is getting closer.  My son is gearing up to be Boba Fett!  I hope that you are all enjoying Lake of Lies.  This story will always be dear to me because it was the second book I wrote.  I also hope that you will check out my novel, The Pleasure of Sin, which comes out from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid December 1st.

Chapter 9

The next morning the entire house was buzzing with preparations for the party.  With Derek missing again, Samantha spent the entire morning helping Gladys.  She tried not to think about where he was or worse, who he was with.  What was really bothering was her conversation with Nick the night before.  It seemed like nothing had changed between them despite the time spent apart.  He still wanted her to lay her heart at his feet, while he sat smugly back in indecision. 

            Well, she was through with all that. 

            If he was waiting for her to make some big confession of her undying love for him, he could wait until hell froze over.  By the end of the day, she was exhausted.  Gladys finally told her to get some rest before the party started.  She gratefully took the reprieve rushing upstairs to enjoy a long decadent bath.    After tonight, they would go home, and she would forget all about him.  She wished that the thought comforted her, but it didn’t.  She climbed out of the tub drying off before wrapping herself in her terrycloth robe.    She opened the door to walk into the hall.

Realizing that she was being watched, she turned to find Nick standing in the doorway to his room.  His gaze felt as powerful as a caress.  She could feel it travel the length of her body from the tips of her bare feet to her tousled wet hair.  Heat flooded her body at the intensity of his stare.  His lips parted slightly, as if he was about to say something.  Before he could, she retreated to her room, but not before she saw the look of amusement in his eyes. 

She slammed her bedroom door, leaning back against it.  Damn him!  He knew the affect he had on her, and he was using it to his advantage.  Well, if he could use it, so could she!  She crossed the room to begin getting ready, her lips curling on a smile.  The sexual attraction that was brewing between them was making her crazy, but if she turned the tables…How would he handle it?  She used a curling iron to stream loose curls down her back.  She applied her makeup with a discerning hand so that it was not too dark, but was still alluring.  With that finished, she undid her robe to slide on a pair of black satin underwear and a matching bra.  The feel of the fabric made her tingle.  Normally, she wouldn’t have worn something so risque, but if she was going to fight, she was going to fight dirty.  She quickly misted herself with perfume, before sliding into her dress.  She was trying in vain to zip the zipper when a knock sounded at her door. 

“Who is it?” she called out. 

“It’s Derek.”

She breathed a sigh of relief.  “Come in.” 

He stood in the hallway looking like something out of a James Bond movie.  He took a moment to look at her noting the zipper she had been struggling with.  He offered her a boyish grin.  “I’m just in time, I see.” 

She smiled back.  Still, she couldn’t stop the little pang of disappointment.  The easy comfort she had once prized had been replaced by an awkwardness that was almost suffocating.  He stepped in the room closing the door behind them.  “Okay, turn around,” he instructed. 

She turned feeling his fingers on her bare back.  She closed her eyes as the zipper slowly slid into place.  “There,” he said, when she faced him again.  His gaze traveled the length of her body in silent approval.   Her black heels sunk into the carpet.  Her simple black dress was sleeveless with a neckline that plunged just enough to be provocative.  

“You look gorgeous,” Derek observed. 

She accepted his compliment with a grin.  At some point soon, they would have to talk.  It was inevitable, but that night was not tonight.  Tonight was a celebration.

“Shall we go down?” Derek asked, reaching for her hand. 

She gave it to him.  Despite his faults, she cared for him deeply, and she would do her best to put on a happy face for the evening. 

Tomorrow was another story. 

As they walked down the staircase, she noticed that many of the guests had already arrived.  They turned to stare up at the approaching couple.   Derek led her through the crowd gracefully, mingling with the other guests.  He was the consummate host, answering questions about how they met.  He passed her one glass of champagne after another, until she almost felt tipsy.  She clung to his arm as they moved through the room.  Being with him like this made her remember what she had always loved about him.  He could make her laugh.  Derek had the inherent gift of dragging the fun part of her out of the serious shell she presented to everyone else. 

She was giggling at one of his jokes when they came upon Nick with another woman.  Her mouth fell open involuntarily, but she quickly pulled it back into place.  She would tell herself later that it had to be the tuxedo.  Nick in jeans was a force to be reckoned with, but Nick in a tuxedo was all out war.  His black hair glinted in the light from the chandeliers. 

He smiled easily at the two of them, his gaze immediately drawn to her.  She quickly changed her focus to the girl standing next to him.  Her red hair was held neatly by a clip at her nape, her green dress creating a stark contrast.  The neckline plunged to dangerous proportions making her worry that the other woman would soon reveal far more of her ample bosom than she intended to.  The dress clung to every curve in a way that was almost pornographic.  In ordinary circumstances, she might have thought that the other woman was beautiful if a bit overstated in her sexuality.  But the possessive way the woman was clinging to Nick’s arm made her want to scratch her eyes out. 

Jealousy rose up begging her to give in to its temptation.  The alcohol she had ingested earlier dared her to make a stand.  Still, she refused to let Nick know that his overt display bothered her.  Luckily, Derek intervened, by saying, “Nick, I didn’t know that you were bringing Lauren to the party.” 


Who the hell was Lauren? 

Nick grinned looking down at the woman briefly before his gaze returned to Samantha.  Something in the way he looked at the woman made her hand curl tighter around Derek’s arm.     

“Well, since I was in town, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Nick admitted in a low voice.  “Lauren, this is Samantha Chastain.  Samantha, this is Lauren McCain.” 

The other woman extended her hand, and she realized that she was going to have to swallow the vomit that was rising up in her throat, and take it.  “It’s nice to meet you,” she offered in a clipped tone that barely disguised her anger. 

“You, too.  So, you’re the woman who swept Derek’s heart away,” Lauren observed, giving Derek a playful wink. 

She couldn’t help the glare she cast the other girl’s way.  Lauren, it seemed, was oblivious to anything but the outrageous flirting she seemed intent on doing.  Derek, too, seemed not to notice the animosity simmering between them.  Nick, on the other hand, seemed all to aware of her unease.  And, unfortunately, he was enjoying every minute of it. 

“So how long have you known Nick?” 

As soon as the words left her mouth, she cursed her weakness and the five glasses of champagne.

Lauren tilted her head to the side to look up at him.  “Oh, we go way back.” 

She curled her fingernails into her palm in an effort to stop herself from striking the woman.  Were they lovers?  From the possessive hold she had on him, it appeared they were.  Damn him! 

The look on Nick’s face told her that he was all too happy to be basking in the joy of Lauren’s overt flirting.  To her dismay, she realized that he was also enjoying every bit of her reaction to the situation.  Well, two could play at that game, she thought as she clung to Derek  lightly placing her breasts against his arm. The look of surprise on Derek’s face warned her that she was about to go too far, but he didn’t pull away. 

Nick’s jaw clenched as he watched the display.  Lauren was still babbling about old times, her body edging toward Nick.  His arm came around her and she took the opportunity to press more fully against his side.  “Actually, I was hoping that I could drag Nicky away from the party before too long.  We have a lot of catching up to do,” she divulged, licking her lower lip suggestively.  

He gave her a devastatingly sexy grin as his hand pressed her closer.  “I’d love to catch up with you, darlin’,” he drawled. 

She was about to lose control.  She could feel it.  Nicky?  Did she just call him Nicky?  She knew that the endearment shouldn’t shake her so much, but it did.  Just how long had he been seeing this woman?  Had he been sleeping with Lauren the whole time he had been in town?  Even when he had been trying to sleep with her?  The thought made her feel physically ill.  Still, she wasn’t about to give up without a fight. 

“I know what you mean,” she offered, curling her fingers into the hair at Derek’s nape.  “I was hoping that Derek and I could slip away quietly tonight.  It’s been so long since we’ve been alone together.”  She let the last word roll off her tongue suggestively. 

Derek gave her a look of surprise, which she quickly squelched by planting her lips firmly against his in a long seductive kiss.  When she pulled back, only Lauren seemed to be amused by the display.  Nick looked as if he was ready to kill her and his brother.  Derek looked as if he had been knocked off his feet. 

“Well, we should probably mingle some more,” Derek admitted a little shakily, pulling her away from the other couple.   Once they were a safe distance away from Nick and Lauren, he corned her by the French doors.  “What was that all about?” he asked. 

She couldn’t look him in the eye.  “Nothing,” she lied. 

She could feel the weight of his stare.  “You could’ve fooled me.  You were acting like a jealous girlfriend back there, Samantha.  I’ve never seen you act like that.”

She laughed playfully in an attempt to divert his attention away from the truth.  “That’s crazy.  Why would I be jealous?  I have the man I want right here,” she chided, her hand coming up to stroke his hair.  That’s it!  She was definitely going to hell.

Unfortunately, despite her best efforts, Derek didn’t look convinced.  But after a few minutes of silence, he relented.  “Okay, I’m going to go find Dad.  Will you be okay by yourself for a few minutes?” 

“Of course,” she assured him. 

He wielded his way through the large array of people gathered in the front area.  She watched him disappear into a sea of strangers leaning back against the wall.  She closed her eyes as the room beginning to spin ever so slightly.  Why did she have to drink so much champagne?  It was worse than sodium penithol.  If she wasn’t careful, she would give away all of her dirty secrets tonight. 

Suddenly, she felt a presence beside her.  She turned to find Nick looming over her.  She gave a disgruntled snort and turned away in an effort to avoid him. 

He caught her by the arm.  “What was that little display back there all about?” he bit out furiously.  His eyes blazed as he looked down at her. 

She shrugged his arm off.  “Why don’t you tell me?” she challenged.  She turned to face the other guests trying her best to keep her fake smile in place. 

“I think I know,” he said, his lips dangerously close to her ear. 

She tried to keep herself still, but the feeling of his breath against her neck was doing funny things to her pulse.  “Enlighten me,” she dared, trying to sound nonchalant. 

“I think that you got jealous, and it scared the hell out of you.” 

She gave him a harsh laugh as if the mere thought was outrageous.  “You really should have that over-inflated ego of yours checked out, you know,” she replied wishing she could control her reaction to him.

“Maybe.  But I’m right.”

“Just keep believing those delusions,” she replied in a huff of aggravation.

He cocked his head to the side.  “So, you weren’t jealous at all?”

She rolled her eyes.  “Get real.”

The cocky grin he offered her was almost her undoing.  “Oh, I’m all real, honey.”

She turned to face him trying to circumvent the maddening things he was doing to her ear.  Unfortunately, her plan didn’t work very well, because it put her face to face with him.  He was so close that if she breathed in too deeply, her body would press against his.  The very thought made her pulse skyrocket. 

“Yeh?” she returned, the sound coming out as a breathless whisper instead of the harsh reply she had intended.  Her nipples tightened in response to his nearness.  Why did he have this power over her?  And why did her body always have to betray her at the worst times?

He smiled, his gaze traveling over the betraying buds.  “Careful, Sam, I might actually think you care,” he said softly.  

“Don’t get your hopes up,” she offered. 

He chuckled as if her unease was amusing to him.  Then, his expression turned serious as he looked deeply into her eyes.  His penetrating gaze made her want to turn away for fear he would ferret out all of her secrets, but she couldn’t.  All she could do was stare at him.  One of the corners of his mouth tugged up in a grin that was incredibly sexy.  He leaned a fraction of an inch toward her, and for a heart-stopping moment she thought that he was actually going to kiss her.  Here, in front of all of these people! 

Before he could, Lauren came over to interrupt them.  “I was wondering where you went,” she observed, curling her arm around his. 

He pulled back to look at her.  Lauren looked back and forth between them.  “Was I interrupting anything?” 

She wanted to say yes, but she couldn’t. 

Nick was right.  Even though she had no claim on him, she was jealous.  In fact, she was so jealous that she wanted to smack that smile off Lauren’s face. 

“No, Samantha and I are done talking.  Aren’t we?” he said, his hand covering Lauren’s hand on his arm. 

“Of course,” she quickly agreed. 

They walked away together leaving her fuming.  She hated him!  That smug look of his was enough to make her want to scream.  Why did she allow him to do this to her again and again?  Was she that stupid?  The answer was yes. 

She only hoped that she didn’t prove it to everyone else at the party tonight.


Stay Tuned for more of Lake of Lies…


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