Do fairy tales really come true?

December 21, 2008 at 3:30 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

 

I can’t believe that Christmas is next week!  Things have been so busy around here with the release of my new book, The Pleasure of Sin, from Whiskey Creek Press,  I’ve barely had time to breathe.  I hope that you are sharing the holidays with loved ones and enjoying the true spirit of the season.

 

Have a wonderful holiday!

Excerpt 16

When she awoke again the next morning, he was gone, and she couldn’t but feel a sense of longing.  She got up taking a leisurely shower before dressing and heading downstairs for breakfast. 

Margaret was sitting at the table eating on a piece of toast.  “Hi honey, how did you sleep?” she asked. 

She pulled a chair out, taking a seat beside her.  “Good.  Where’s Nick?” 

Margaret got to her feet getting her some toast and juice.  “Oh, he went with Thomas to pick up Derek at the airport.  Christina will be flying in this evening, too.  Everyone is so excited about the wedding.” 

She took a bite of toast, ignoring the way her stomach rolled.

At her silence, Margaret eyed her curiously.  “Samantha, I know that it’s none of my business, and you can tell me to butt out if you want to, but you seem very unhappy.” 

Her gaze rose, her surprise evident.  “Why would you say that?” she hedged.

“Well, for one thing, you’ve been walking around here like a zombie since you got here.  Don’t you want to marry my son?  You know, just because I’m Nick’s mother, it doesn’t mean that I can’t be your friend as well.” 

Tears formed in the corners of her eyes.  She wanted so badly to have someone to confide in, but how could she tell his mother the truth.  “I’m fine, really,” she replied, putting on her best fake smile.

Margaret pursed her lips.  “Do you love my son, Samantha?” 

She offered the other woman a sad smile.  “Yes, I do,” she admitted softly. 

Margaret sighed, relief evident in her face.  She reached over patting her hands reassuringly.  “Don’t worry, dear.  Everything will be okay.  Nick loves you.  You’re probably just having a little bit of pre-wedding jitters, that’s all.”  With that, she left to confirm their appointment at the bridal shop.

For Margaret, it seemed that everything was tied together with a pretty bow.  Unfortunately, Samantha knew the truth.  She wished that she could believe that Nick wanted to marry her, but unfortunately she lived in the real world.  She had to be honest with herself.  And if she was honest with herself, she had to admit that he was just going through the motions for appearance sake.  The realization made her heart sink.  Tears began to slide down her cheeks.  Despite her best attempt to quell the flow, a sob escaped her mouth.  She missed her mother.   She had never felt so alone in her life. 

Suddenly, the door flew open behind her.  She tried her best to wipe the tears from her cheeks as she turned around. 

Unfortunately, Derek’s look of concern let her know that she wasn’t fooling him. “Samantha, what’s wrong?” he asked, coming over to kneel beside her chair. 

She wanted to tell him everything.  She wanted to tell him that Nick didn’t love her, that it was all a show.  But she couldn’t.  With the award winning performance Nick was putting on, no one would believe her even if she did.     

“Come here,” he instructed, climbing to his feet.  He took her hands pulling her up to stand in his embrace.  She clung to his shoulders trying desperately to stop the flow of tears.  He whispered in her ear that everything would be okay, as his hands softly caressed her back.  She heard a door open behind them.  The stiffening of Derek’s body alerted her who was standing behind them.  She slowly moved out of his embrace to turn around. 

Nick stood in the kitchen door, a halo of morning light outlining his body.  His gaze flew back and forth as he took in the pair.  Derek quickly dropped his hands from Samantha’s waist.  She held Nick’s stare, unable to turn away.  For a moment, no one moved. 

Derek was the first to cave.  “I had better go tell mom that I’m home,” he explained, quickly excusing himself.  He hurried out the door making his escape. 

Seeing her in his brother’s arms had infuriated him to the point of madness, especially since she had been holding him at arm’s length for the past few weeks.  “I guess old habits die hard,” he bit out sarcastically, trying to control the strong urge to pummel his brother. 

“What are you talking about?” she retorted, her eyebrows arching. 

He crossed the distance to loom over her.  “I’m just wondering how many times I’m going to discover you in my brother’s arms.” 

She shook her head trying to turn away.  “You are being ridiculous, Nick,” she replied, her irritation clear. 

He grabbed her arms spinning her around to face him.  “Am I?  I mean, if you weren’t pregnant with my baby, whose bed would you be sleeping in, Sam?  Mine or his?” 

Before she could still the impulse, her hand came up to slap him, but he caught her arm before she made contact.  His eyes glittered, as he shook his head.  “Not this time, sweetheart.”

She jerked away from him, furious at the way he was behaving.  He was talking to her like she was nothing more than a cheap whore.  She responded in the only way she could, by striking back.  “I hate you,” she cried out vehemently, feeling tears burning the backs of her eyes but refusing to let them fall. 

His lips curled up in a cruel sneer.  “I think that we’ve established that already, haven’t we?” he asked through gritted teeth.  He spun on his heel leaving her alone.

She ran up to their room, slamming the door behind her to collapse on the bed in tears.  Why had she ever agreed to this sham?  Why hadn’t she refused his bargain?  She knew the answer.  She had wanted to offer her child a true family, but how could they be with all of this animosity?  And at what cost would it be provided? 

He stormed out, heading toward the stables.  He wanted to shake her.  It seemed as if she wanted everyone to pity her for the fact that she was marrying him.  Was he really that terrible?  Did she hate him that much?  If her words were any indication, it certainly seemed as though she did. 

He paced the length of the stables, his hands curling into fists as he tried to reign in his temper.  Unable to stop himself, he punched the side of the wall.  Pain shot through his knuckles but he barely felt it.  What was he going to do?  What did she want from him?

He sat on the bench, his head in his hands.  The worst part of it was that he did know.  He knew what she wanted.  She wanted to be free of him.  The thought made his chest ache.  The only thing that would make her happy would be for him to let her go, and he just couldn’t do it.   Everyone told him to fight for what he wanted, but how could he fight her?    

“Nick,” he heard Derek say. 

He winced under the cover of his hands.  The last thing that he wanted to do right now was deal with Derek. 

“Nick, I think that we need to talk,” Derek said a little more firmly this time. 

He raised his head to find Derek standing several feet in front of him.  It was obvious that his brother was still keeping a safe distance just in case.  He couldn’t say he blamed him after his earlier outburst in the kitchen. 

“What?” Nick asked in exasperation, raking a hand through his hair. 

“Nick, about what happened in the kitchen…” Derek began pensively. 

He held up a hand to let him know that there was no need for further explanation.  “You don’t have to explain Derek.  I know that nothing is going on between the two of you.” 

Derek’s eyes narrowed.  “Then, why?”

He got up, walking over to lean against the door to an empty stall.   “Because I think that I’m losing her, and there doesn’t seem to be a damned thing I can do about it,” he admitted. 

Derek walked over to stand directly behind him.  “Nick, what are you talking about?  She’s marrying you in a couple of days.” 

He smiled sardonically as he looked around at the interior of the empty stall.  “Yeh, she’s marrying me, and she hates me.  All she wants to do is run away.  It should prove to be a perfect match, don’t you think?” 

Derek was silent for a moment, as if mulling that over.  “Have you talked to her about it?” he asked hesitantly. 

Nick laughed, the sound coming out harsh.  “We don’t talk, Derek.  We argue.  Besides, with her telling me how much she hates me every chance she gets, I don’t think that a heart to heart would change things much.” 

Derek put a hand on his shoulder.  “No matter what she says, I know that she loves you Nick.  After all, she passed up a chance to be with me for you.  That’s gotta say something,” he joked, in an attempt to lighten the mood. 

Nick chuckled.  He knew that his brother was only trying to make him feel better, but his words had the opposite effect.  Samantha didn’t love him.  Maybe she had before, but that was a long time ago.  No, as much as he wanted her, he had to admit that he was winning her by default. 

 

Samantha awoke the next morning to find the bed empty.  She glanced around the room realizing that she must have fallen asleep accidentally.  Her clothes were still intact.  The bed was still made.  She couldn’t believe that she had slept all day and all night.  She wondered why no one had woken her up. 

Her stomach growled, making her all too aware of the fact that she had missed dinner.  She got to her feet grabbing her robe and heading next door to the bathroom.  After a quick shower, she returned to their bedroom.  With the haze of sleep finally wearing off, she realized that he hadn’t even slept here last night.  She couldn’t help but wonder where he was, and what bed he had chosen to sleep in.  Apparently, he couldn’t even bear to share a room with her anymore.  She couldn’t say that it surprised her.  After all, the tension between them was becoming unbearable.  Her stomach rolled reminding her that the child in her womb was not concerned with where he slept but when it would be fed. 

Still, she couldn’t help but feel the anger bubbling up to the surface.  She stormed down to the kitchen determined to get some answers.  How dare he question her faithfulness when he himself was missing in action?  Images flashed in her mind.  Lauren’s arm possessively curled around his.  Was he with Lauren last night?  Had he spent the night at her house?  The thought made her want to throttle them both.  How dare he jump down her throat over a simple hug yesterday, when he couldn’t even be accounted for? 

She burst through the kitchen door to find Margaret and Christina eating their breakfast.  Margaret’s head snapped up at the abruptness of her entry.  “Oh, Samantha, I was just coming upstairs to get you.  You had better eat something quickly, because we have to be at the bridal shop in half an hour,” Margaret said.  Samantha quickly got a plate and began to load it.  “I almost forgot my dayplanner,” she remarked, scurrying out of the room.

Samantha shifted in her chair uneasily.  Both women stared at their plates unsure of what to say.  The tension in the air was almost palpable.  A few moments passed before Christina spoke. 

“Nick wanted me to be in the wedding, but I don’t have to be.  I told him that you should have your own friends, instead of me, but he wouldn’t listen.  Anyway, I would understand if it would make you uncomfortable to include me after what happened.” 

She thought about the other woman’s words for a minute.  It would be nice if she did have someone in the wedding she could claim as her own, but in truth she hadn’t invited anyone.  After everything that had happened between her and Nick, she just couldn’t.  She didn’t want to bring anyone else into the farce that Nick had concocted. 

Christina waited, her unease evident.  Despite what had happened, she longed to make peace with her.  Besides, how could she blame Christina for what happened?  Hadn’t she done the same thing?  She knew better than anyone that feelings didn’t always come in a pretty packages.  Sometimes, they ruined everything.  If Christina felt anything for Derek like what she felt for Nick, she could completely understand the lack of judgment. 

“It wouldn’t make me uncomfortable.  Actually, I was going to ask you if you would consider being my maid of honor.” 

The surprise in the other girl’s eyes was obvious.  “You’ve got to be kidding?” 

Samantha hesitated.  “Well, if you don’t want to, I understand,” she said softly. 

“Are you serious?” she asked surprised. 

“Of course, I’m serious.” 

Christina’s gaze lowered to her plate.  A single tear slid down her cheek.  “How can you be so nice to me after the things that I’ve said and done?” 

Samantha reached out to put her hand on top of the other girl’s.  “I think that I understand why you did what you did.  You love him a lot, don’t you?”   

Christina’s eyes fell shut.  “It doesn’t matter,” she replied. 

“I’m sure it does to him.”

“It would never work.”

“Are you sure?”

Her gaze rose for a moment, and Samantha could see the hope shimmering in her eyes.  “You’re going to make a beautiful bride,” she beamed, effectively closing the subject.

“You think?”

Christina’s grin widened as she nodded her head.  “I know.  It’s going to be just like a fairy tale come true!”

            Despair clutched Samantha’s heart.  A fairy tale?  If only that were true.  But she had never heard of a fairy tale where the prince was forced to be with the princess.  She wished that she could share Christina’s happiness, but this was no fairy tale.  It was just a lie that they would both have to live for the rest of their lives.

Stay Tuned for more of Lake of Lies…

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