I very nearly forgot to set up my post. I've had a wonderfully productive day and was about to knock off for the night and realized I was forgetting something. First I wanted to remind my Goodreads friends to enter my giveaway.
If you're not a Goodreads member, you can sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page. I drawn from my subscriber list for a signed copy. I'll also be starting my blog tour shortly and will be giving away at least one copy on a lot of those. Oh, and there's an all day chat on the Harlequin forum… Lots of opportunities to win a book.
Or you could just buy one, lol!
Let's recap where we are with the excerpts from More Than A Convenient Marriage?:
- Gideon thinks Adara is cheating
- Adara thinks Gideon is cheating
- Adara thinks about divorce
- Gideon thinks about Adara
- Adara says they don't talk (Gideon thinks he prefers it that way)
~ * ~
Their server arrived with their meals. Gideon asked for Adara’s wine to be changed out. With much bowing and apologies, a fresh glass was produced. Adara tried it and stated it was fine.
As the server walked away, Adara set down her glass with another grimace.
“Still no good?” Gideon tried it. It was fine, perhaps not as dry as she usually liked, but he asked, “Try again?”
“No. I feel foolish that you sent back the first one.”
That was so like her to not want to make a fuss, but he considered calling back the waiter all the same. Stating that they didn’t talk was an acknowledgment of an elephant. It was the first knock on a door he didn’t want opened.
At the same time, he wanted to know more about this supposed brother of hers. Sharing was a two-way street though and hypocrite that he was, he’d prefer backstory flow only one way. He glanced at the offending wine, ready to seize it as an excuse to keep things inconsequential between them.
And yet, as Adara picked up her fork and hovered it over her rice, she gave him an impression of being utterly without hope. Forlorn. The hairs rose all over his body as he picked up signals of sadness that he’d never caught an inkling of before.
“Do you want to talk about him?” he asked carefully.
She lifted her shoulder. “I’ve never been allowed to before so I don’t suppose one more day of silence matters.” It was her conciliatory tone, the one that put everything right and allowed them to move past the slightest hiccup in their marriage.
What marriage? She wanted a divorce, he reminded himself.
Instinct warned him this was dangerous ground, but he also sensed he’d never have another chance to understand if he didn’t seize this one. “Who wouldn’t let you talk about him?” he asked gruffly.
A swift glance gave him the answer. Her father, of course. He’d been a hard man of strong opinions and ancient views. His daughter could run a household, but her husband would control the hotels. Her share of the family fortune wasn’t hers to squander as her brothers might, but left in a trust doled out by tightly worded language, the bulk of the money to be held for her children. The male ones.
Gideon frowned, refusing to let himself be sidetracked by the painful subject of heirs.
“I assume this brother was the product of an affair? Something your father didn’t want to be reminded of?”
“He was my mother’s indiscretion.” Adara frowned at her plate, her voice very soft, her expression disturbingly young and bewildered. “He lived with us until he left for school.” She lifted anxious eyes, words pouring out of her in a rush like she’d held onto them for decades. “My aunt explained years later that my father didn’t know at first that Nico wasn’t his. When he found out, he had him sent to boarding school. It was awful. That’s all they’d tell me, that he’d gone to school. I knew I was starting the next year and I was terrified I’d be forgotten the same way.”
A stitch pulled in his chest. His childhood predisposed him to hate the thought of any child frightened by anything. He felt her confusion and fear at losing her brother mixed with the terror of not knowing what would happen to her own self. It made him nauseous.
Her expression eased into something poignant. “But then we saw him at my Aunt’s in Katarini over the summer. He was fine. He told me about his school and I couldn’t wait to go myself, to be away from the angry man my father had turned into, make new friends...” Her gaze faded to somewhere in the distance. “But I was sent to day school in New York and we only saw Nico a few more times after that. One day I asked if we would see him and my father—”
Gideon wouldn’t have known what she failed to say aloud if he hadn’t been watching her so intently, reading her lips because he could barely hear her. Her tongue touched the corner of her mouth where a hairline scar was sometimes visible between her morning shower and her daily application of makeup. She’d told him it had come from a childhood mishap.
A wrecking ball hit him in the middle of his chest. “He hit you?”
Her silence and embarrassed bite of her lip spoke volumes.
His torso felt like it split open and his teeth clenched so hard he thought they’d crack. His scalp prickled and his blood turned to battery acid.
“I didn’t ask again,” she said in her quick, sweep it under the rug way. “I didn’t let the boys say his name. I let it go. I learned to let a lot of things go.”
Like equal rights. Like bad decisions with the hotel chain that were only now being repaired after her father was dead. Like the fact that her brothers were still boys because they’d been raised by a child: her.
Gideon had seen the dysfunction, the alcoholic mother and the overbearing father, the youngest son who earned his father’s criticism, and the older children who hadn’t but received plenty of it anyway. Adara had always managed the volatile dynamics with equanimity so Gideon hadn’t tried to stir up change. If he had suspected physical abuse was the underbelly of it all...
His fist clenched. “You should have told me,” he said.
Another slicing glance repeated the obvious. We don’t talk.
~ * ~
If you haven't read the first in this series, and you live in North America, you're in luck! The brother that Adara is talking about above, Nic, is the hero in No Longer Forbidden?, the second title in this 2in1. I just sent in my line edits for the third book in this series, An Heir To Bind Them, which is scheduled for June 2014 and I'm working on the proposal for Adara's youngest brother, Demitri. (He's a rake!)
If you want to hear more about my writing and upcoming books, listen to my interview from Oct 17th with Bernadette Walsh at Nice Girls Reading Naughty Books.