An Illusion of Trust by Linda Cassidy Lewis
ISBN: 9780983336525 (paperback)
ASIN: B00BXR01IA (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Two-Four-Six Publishing
Publication date: March 26, 2013
In this sequel to The Brevity of Roses, Renee Vaziri discovers that even when your dreams come true your nightmares remain.
When Renee Marshall locked the door on her dark past and married Jalal Vaziri, she hoped for a quiet life in a California coastal town. Now, with a sexy, adoring, wealthy husband, one beautiful child and another on the way, she dares to believe happily ever after could be her future. But doors don’t always stay locked. As the stress of living in Jalal’s high-society world increases, the traumas of Renee’s past begin to poison the present and threaten to destroy everything she treasures.
Is it her imagination or is Jalal keeping a secret that will end their marriage and rip her children from her life? And could it involve Diane, the woman who reminds Renee too much of Jalal’s beloved first wife?
When I woke this morning, I never expected to be sitting on a cemetery bench in Coelho, but here I am. A thirty-minute drive took me from the chilly fog of Bahia de Sueños to the warmth of the autumn sun in this impossibly blue sky and brought me to an iron-fenced section large enough for at least ten graves. It contains only one. What I discovered this morning rocks me again as I face that black granite stone.
Jalal doesn’t know I’m here. I had to stop at the office near the entrance to ask for the location of Meredith’s grave. As it turns out, this cemetery is smaller than I expected. If I’d driven around first, the starkness, the loneliness, of her marker would have caught my eye and though it sits back a dozen yards from the road, I wouldn’t have missed the name engraved along its top—VAZIRI. Six weeks ago, that became my last name too.
I’m the new wife to replace the dead wife. The young substituted for the old.
I know more about his first wife than Jalal realizes. During the four months since he finally accepted her death, he’s volunteered glimpses of her when speaking of his past, but rarely are those bits something I didn’t already know from secretly reading Meredith’s journal. One fear she mentioned several times led me here today.
A gust swirls past, whipping the branches of the elm behind the bench and showering me with amber leaves. I glance around, seeking assurance I’m alone. People do this all the time, come here to talk to the dead, right? I feel like I know Meredith from her writing. Somehow, I think she’s aware of me too.
I face the dark stone again and focus on Meredith’s engraved name. I’m trying to ignore Jalal’s name and birth date beside hers. Isn’t it totally stupid to feel jealous seeing their names linked like that? Of course he planned to be buried next to her someday. He loved her so deeply he couldn’t let go, even after she died. He loved her so much he couldn’t imagine ever marrying again. He just didn’t plan on me getting stranded in Bahia de Sueños and walking into his life—literally. But I did. And now I’m sitting here about to reveal a secret to his dead wife.
“Hello. I’m Renee, Jalal’s new wife.” I glance around again and for a moment, hide my face with my hands. I have to do this. I need to tell her. “I know you believed he should have a younger wife, and you’re probably disappointed that he married someone like me, but he seems happy. He’s doing better, at least. And I love him. I’m taking care of him, keeping constant vigil.”
I hope Meredith won’t take what I’m leading up to as a boast, but it’s not an apology, either. “Anyway, you wrote how much you wished this for Jalal, so I wanted to tell you that I’m giving it to him.” I sit up straighter and take a deep breath. The final words I came to say rush out on the exhale.
“Meredith, I’m pregnant.”
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