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?



October, 2008

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.”

To read the next 34 pages, click here

About the author:

Linda Cassidy Lewis was born and raised in Indiana and now lives with her husband in the San Joaquin Valley of California where she writes versions of the stories she only held in her head during the years their four sons were growing up. The Brevity of Roses is her debut novel.

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Jalal Vaziri has spent his life running away from his problems. He left his parents and siblings in Seattle, moving cross-country to New York to escape family pressure to join the family business. He then leaves New York and moved to California when he decided he didn’t like his job and where his life was heading. The Brevity of Roses by Linda Cassidy Lewis explores Jalal’s motivations and shows that you can’t run away from love or reality no matter how hard you try.

When we first meet Jalal he is hung over in NYC and wondering why he’s continuing down such a destructive path. He doesn’t like his job or where he’s heading so he drives cross-country to California and focuses on his more artistic side as a poet. Jalal knows, or thinks he knows, that he’s a disappointment to his father so he keeps his visits to family as brief and far apart as possible. He also knows that although he is content with his life he isn’t really happy until he walks into a restaurant and meets a woman.

Meredith is an older woman and a widow. She immediately notices Jalal as he enters the restaurant and stares, although she felt she was being circumspect in her observations. What follows is a whirlwind romance with Jalal all but moving in to her home. He cooks for her, he pampers her and she adores him. She even teaches him about gardening and tending her beloved roses. Their relationship has its ups and downs but eventually they marry and have several wonderful years together.

Jalal doesn’t seem to recover from the loss of Meredith and seems to marking time only, until he meets Renee. Renee is a younger woman with an old soul. She has been through a lot in her young years and has a unique perspective on life. As she and Jalal build a friendship, she forces Jalal to revive and rejoin the human race. Can she force Jalal to see that just as the life of roses is brief, so can opportunities to enjoy life and love before it is too late?

Ms. Lewis has provided a tender and thought-provoking look at life, chance, and love. Jalal seems to spend his time presuming what motivates others and often getting it wrong. As an older woman, Meredith was able to change his point of view on some things. As the younger woman, Renee is able to change his point of view on other things, most likely because of her youth, vibrancy and life experiences. Perhaps the primary thought underscored in The Brevity of Roses is don’t assume anything, enjoy life and love wherever you may find it, because you never know when it may be gone. Although romance is at the forefront of this story it provides so much more, because in many ways it is a coming of age story for Jalal. The reader is afforded the opportunity to see him grow and develop from a man in his early thirties to age forty. Yes, in some ways he is overly spoiled, but he isn’t obnoxiously spoiled just incredibly naive in some ways. I enjoyed seeing him grow and the different dynamics of his relationships with Meredith and Renee. (To read chapter one and two of this book, please visit the author’s website at:

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”