Ericka Scott



Lyrical Press • August 2009
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Do you really know the people you love?

Karen Ferguson has it all. She’s on the verge of graduating, has an enormous trust fund, and she’s newly married to a gorgeous man. Life is wonderful until a letter arrives for her husband Tony: His mother has died and he’s inherited a run-down but beautiful country house.

Karen expected Tony to be upset. He wasn’t. In fact, Tony’s curious reaction to his mother’s death bothers Karen so much that she goes in search of answers. Once she unearths the first clues at the farmhouse, she begins to wish she’d left well enough alone. But it’s too late, and what she discovers will forever change the way Karen looks at life, at men, and especially at her husband…

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Read an Excerpt

We slept in Tony’s old bedroom. After making love, I dropped off to sleep almost immediately. Around three o’clock in the morning, I woke up alone. Where was Tony? Perhaps in the bathroom. When twenty minutes had passed, I went in search of him. He was nowhere in the house, but when I looked out the window, I could see a light on in the garage.

Poor guy must have been looking for the box of his mom’s stuff. I really needed to go help him find it. I’d had the workers put some of the furniture out in the garage, and they had probably buried the box. I pulled on my robe and found my way downstairs.

Buster whined from his dog run, and I paused to pat his head. Hopefully Tony would warm up to the pooch and I could let him run free tomorrow.

Through the half-open garage door, I could see Tony. He was picking up things and throwing them. I jumped at the sound of glass shattering. He bent down and picked up an object. I recognized it as the answering machine. It was an old one that used a cassette tape to record the messages. As I watched, he tried to pry the flap open with his fingers, but it was jammed shut. In a fury, he heaved the machine against the wall. It dropped, unopened. To my dismay, he dropped his head into his hands, and I saw his shoulders shake. He was crying. I started forward and then stopped. He hated any show of emotion, especially tears. He’d never forgive me if he knew I’d seen him cry. He wouldn’t believe that it made me love him more and not less. So I turned and crept back to the house, leaving him alone with his grief.

Poor Tony.

Had he ever called his mother? He had to be haunted by the thought that she was lying there, alone and dying, perhaps listening to someone leave a message and unable to tell them she needed help. Tears prickled the inside of my lids.

A dark shadow fell over me. Tony. I was glad I had my eyes closed.

His weight shifted the bed as he crawled in beside me. I hoped he couldn’t tell from my breathing that I was only pretending to be asleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about that answering machine. Would unscrewing the bottom of the unit expose the tape? After Tony had thrown it against the wall, it wouldn’t matter if I ruined the machine by taking it apart.

It seemed like hours, but finally Tony’s breathing evened out. I slipped out of bed. It only took a minute to find the screwdriver in the kitchen drawer where I’d put a few tools. I turned on the light in the garage and went to work on the answering machine.

I was right. There were six or seven screws, but once they were loosened, the whole machine came apart in my hands. The tape slipped to the floor, and I bent to retrieve it, resisting the urge to pump my fist in the air in victory. My delight was short-lived, for suddenly I couldn’t breathe.