Genre: Women's Fiction
Heat Level: Mild
Buy Links: (Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0058ZWZ78
Julia Steele's world changes forever when she meets and falls for actor, Sam Lyons. But when they are forced to separate, their love secretly lives on. Can a chance reunion bring them back together, or will buried secrets, scheming spouses and a devastating illness destroy any hope for love?
As Julia lifted her arm to knock, the door swung open. Sam stood before her, dressed in beige chinos, a white polo shirt and a nervous smile. From somewhere in his suite, a phone rang and rang.
“Don’t you want to answer that?” She nodded in the direction of the ring, hoping Sam would turn to answer it. His distraction would allow her to run back to the elevator and leave. Seeing him reminded her of the many reasons she should not be there.
Sam glanced over his shoulder but did not move. “No, that’s okay. I’m not taking any calls right now. I should have called the desk. I’ll take it off the hook.” He stood aside. “Please come in. I heard the elevator and hoped it was you. I’m relieved you didn’t change your mind.”
“I did about a hundred times.” Julia walked hesitantly into the lavish room. She inhaled sharply; it smelled of luxury and money.
“Fancy place, no?” Sam seemed almost embarrassed as he closed the door. He walked to a bar. “Drink?”
“No, thank you.”
“Soda then?” He pulled out two different cans, one in each hand. “I have a variety.”
Julia shook her head. “No, really. I can’t stay long.”
“Oh.” Sam put the sodas away, coughed, and grabbed a pack of cigarettes from his pants pocket. “Mind if I smoke?”
“No. You still smoke?”
“I quit at least once a day.” Sam smiled and motioned to a dark, floral settee. “Would you like to sit?”
She sat on the edge of the sofa, placing her purse on her lap. Sam sat across from her on a matching chair. After removing the receiver from the phone, he reached for a lighter on the coffee table and lit his cigarette. She watched him, unsure of what to say, unsure of what she was doing here.
“You had no trouble getting away then?” Sam watched his cigarette smoke rise into the air.
Julia looked away. “John can barely move yet. I told him I was going shopping.”
She shifted in her seat. Sam cleared his throat as if to speak, but then sat there, smiling and smoking. She rose. “I probably should be shopping.”
Sam’s smiled faded. He jumped up. “No, sorry. Please.” He stubbed out his cigarette and glanced around the room as if waiting for someone else to entertain them. His eyes returned to her. “I thought this would be easier. I thought I would know what to say.”
Julia nodded. There were so many things she wanted to say as well, like how she missed him, how mad she was, how he hurt her, what it felt like to be left with a child and nowhere to turn; but words just wouldn’t come.
Sam walked over and touched her arm. “I’ve I thought about you every day of my life, wondering how you were, what became of you.”
Julia tried to ignore the flame that ignited inside her at his touch. Her voice betrayed nothing. “I went on with my life. What did you expect me to do?”
His eyes searched hers for something she tried not to show. “We were supposed to be together, Julia.”
Julia’s eyes widened as she took a step backwards and out of his reach. “We went over this yesterday. You married Deirdre.”
Sam shook his head. “I swear, Julia. It was a farce.” He motioned toward the couch. “Please. Please sit down.”
Julia slowly sat, secretly allowing him three minutes to speak his peace.
Sam sat next to her, folding his hands in front of him and staring straight ahead. “I never meant to stay married to her. I don’t love her and I never have. Polly died and left the McTeel estate in debt. I was broke and couldn’t get a loan. I couldn’t let Polly’s name be ruined by the scandal. I couldn’t lose the home she loved so dearly. Deirdre promised me money on marriage. That money, as you might recall, was mine to begin with. So we struck a deal. I’d marry her and she’d give me the money. Only she didn’t know that I was going to have the marriage annulled and I didn’t know she was lying.”
“But you didn’t have the marriage annulled.” Julia looked him square in the eye, her jaw set. “At least according to the articles I read. You see, that’s how I learn about you. I read about it in fan magazines. That’s how I knew you got married. I saw it on television the summer you promised to be with me.”
“I left messages trying to call you and explain it all. I loved you, Julia. I never loved Deirdre.”
Julia steeled herself from buying into his story. “Well, you appear quite content in the photographs I’ve seen. You have an amazing career. You’re a famous, talented actor with a beautiful socialite wife, living the charmed life in England. If that’s a life worth wallowing in self-pity about, it certainly bodes well for you.” She didn’t bother to curb her sarcasm, the pain and humiliation of eleven years rising inside her and threatening to boil over. She hadn’t realized the anger she buried. She thought she simply missed him, but being with him caused a wall of denial to crumble; behind it, she found a fortress of feelings ignored for too long.
Sam remained calm, but his voice grew tired and hoarse. “Julia. I called to explain about the marriage and your father said you were getting married.” His hazel eyes bore into her, but she found no malice there, just searching and sadness. “You seem angry with me, but how much did you love me if you ran off and married John without even waiting to hear from me?”
“I waited!” Julia’s throat tightened as she choked back hot tears that dared reveal her pain from the memories of that awful time.
His eyes remained fixed on hers, as he reached for another cigarette. “You told me, in England, that you didn’t love John.”
“This isn’t about what I did,” Julia said, unnerved by his verbal volley of blame. “This is about what you did, or rather what you didn’t do.”
“And what was that? I tried to call and explain and I heard you would marry John.”
“Sam.” She willed her voice to steady. “Let’s not do this. Let’s not rehash the past. What’s done is done.”
“Is it? Then why do I still love you? Why did you come this afternoon? Could it be you might possibly still love me?”
Author Bio: Wife, mother, and women's fiction author. Interests include: reading, writing, movies, television, music, health, walking, English history and Renaissance Faires. I live in Madison, Wisconsin with hubby, child and dog. Watch for my second novel "What Dead Women Want", a fun and quirky paranormal romantic comedy, to be released soon!
Where to find Linda:
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Linda's also sharing a free book, so please comment for your chance to win a copy of A Lonely Sky.
Good luck everyone, and thank you for sharing with us today, Linda! Can't wait to see if your cover for What Dead Women Want is as lovely as A Lonely Sky's.
Stacey Joy Netzel