A Sister's Secret
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by Lori Derby Bingley
Description: Brooke Rawlings's life is turned upside down after the death of her sister. Brooke's life as a tough investigative reporter hasn't prepared her for the challenge of being the guardian of her teenaged nephew Jeremy. When he withdraws from everyone, Jeremy's oh-so-attractive-but-arrogant teacher, Matthew Grant, is concerned that Jeremy is involved with drugs. While investigating Jeremy's behavior, Brooke and Matthew uncover surprising information about her sister's death and the disappearance of another student. She soon comes to realize there was much more to her sister than met the eye. Can she unravel the web of secrets and lies and find happiness with the man at the top of her suspect list?
eBook Publisher: Champagne Books/Chillers, 2005
eBookwise Release Date: April 2005
9 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [385 KB]
Reading time: 281-394 min.
"To say this book was suspenseful is an understatement. If you love romantic suspense with plenty of twists then A Sister's Secret by Lori Derby Bingley is a must read. 4 1/2 Stars!"--eCataromance
She stood at the edge of the dock, listening to the sounds of the water as it gently lapped against the pier. The sliver of moon offered little light, yet she was able to see its reflection on the rippled surface of the water.
A slight breeze lifted her hair, and she suddenly wished she'd worn a hood. She felt too obvious, too vulnerable to the one she had come to face. But she needed him to see her, to want to be with her.
She was there to deceive him. Would it work, or was she putting her life on the line, only to pay with her soul? It didn't matter now, as it was too late to change her mind.
The sound of wood creaking under a heavy foot made her shiver, not needing to turn around to know he had come. She ignored the rapid beating of her heart, trying to focus instead on the task at hand.
As she listened to his approach, her mind drifted back to that morning; only a few hours earlier, yet so much had transpired since then. And so much was about to happen. Her fists clenched at her sides beneath her coat, and she licked her lips nervously, wondering if he would see right through her. Her dinner churned in her stomach as she prepared for his touch. She knew it was coming and stiffened, her plan contingent on his belief that she was attracted to him.
"Hey, beautiful," he whispered. His hands were warm as they caressed the back of her neck.
"I wondered if you'd come," she replied as she turned to face him.
She wanted to push him away, to tell him to go to hell and never come back, but she had to play along for now. She could see the lustful gleam in his eyes despite the darkness and shivered involuntarily. She rubbed her arms as if she were cold.
"You made me an offer I couldn't refuse." He pulled her into his arms, his lips gentle at first before his tongue probed hers and sought deeper refuge.
She forced herself to return his kiss with matching passion, fighting the bile that threatened to rise in her throat. He had to believe she wanted him because it wasn't just her life at stake.
He moved away, holding her as though she were a prized possession. For months he'd pursued her, seeming to want her, and she'd been quite effective in keeping him at bay. He'd often followed her to her car, offering her gifts of flowers or candy, along with promises of passion and romance. She had always turned him down, knowing there was no way she could have a relationship with someone like him.
Now it was imperative that he take her home with him. She had to find out what he knew, and was willing to do anything to achieve that goal.
"Do you want to come back to my place?" he asked.
She felt both elated and repelled by the question but smiled up at him. "I was hoping you would ask that."
He gave her an affectionate squeeze and placed a hand under her elbow, escorting her back up the steps and onto the street. He led her to his car, releasing her only long enough to search for his keys. She bit her lip and lowered her chin to her chest, still pretending to be cold. But on the inside she was praying, willing herself to be calm.
Though they were close to the city, no one was around. She had anticipated this, and although she could use a witness, she didn't need any interruptions. She knew she should have gone to the police, but it was too late for that. They never would have believed her until she found proof. That was what she intended to do now.
"I've never seen so many stars in the sky," she commented as he opened the passenger door, needing to delay their confinement just a little longer.
He paused to look, wrapping an arm around her as he turned to face the rising moon. "The gods must know how happy I am to be with you," he responded, helping into her seat.
She slid along the cold leather, wishing she'd worn a pair of slacks instead of a short skirt. She knew he loved her legs--he'd told her on more than one occasion, so she had taken great care in choosing the shortest skirt she could find in her closet.
He closed her door and made his way to the driver's side. She wished he had taken longer, as she wanted to open his glove compartment to see what answers were within her reach. Would the evidence be right there? Could she find it that easily--and not have to go through the torture she was about to face?
He started the car and pulled away from the curb. She could still see the docks as they drove toward his house. She ached to jump out of the car. Diving into the harbor would be better than being with him, but she had her son to think about.
The lights of the city sped by her, each one a lone eye glaring at her with reproach. As she passed by the park where she'd spent many years of her life, she could almost see herself sliding down the slides, or trying to reach the sky by swinging higher than anyone else. If only her life were still that simple.
"Penny for your thoughts." He reached and took her hand, kissing her knuckles one by one.
She cringed inwardly, though she wore a smile. "I just wish you lived closer, that's all."
He nodded and pressed harder on the gas as they came to a stoplight. She knew where he lived and expected him to turn right, so when he turned left instead, she had to wonder what he was doing.
"Hungry?" he asked, still holding her hand.
Something wasn't right. His eyes had taken on a dangerous glow, and she had a terrible feeling he had never intended to take her to his house.
"Not for food." She tried to sound passionate, but her voice cracked under the pressure.
"Well, I'm hungry, my love. And I won't be happy until that hunger is appeased."
She ran the fingers of her free hand through her hair and looked into the night, trying to collect her thoughts. Where was he taking her? She couldn't ask, because then he'd know she was suspicious.
"What are you hungry for?" she asked. "Chinese? Pizza?"
Instead of answering, he pulled over to the shoulder of the road and released her hand. He rubbed his chin as though deep in thought, then she gasped as his hand came flying toward her, connecting hard with her cheek.
Stars of a different nature clouded her vision, and she fought to stay conscious as pain filled her head. She stared at him in shock, not sure what to say. Licking the side of her lips, she tasted blood. Her blood.
"You want to know what I'm hungry for? Do you really?" His voice was no longer soft and gentle. He looked at her like a caged animal that had been forced to stare at its prey for months and had just been set free.
She couldn't respond. All she could think about was how stupid she'd been not to listen to her instincts about calling the police. Or to her sister, who told her to stop being afraid to ask for help. Now she was in need of help more than ever, and she was alone.
A car passed, and she was tempted to signal for help. He must have sensed this, as he grabbed the back of her hair and forced up her chin. She was certain he was going to snap her neck as he leaned in to whisper in her ear. Fear coursed through her as she heard his words, not wanting to believe him.
"I'm hungry for revenge, my love. And you're going to be the one to fulfill my appetite."
A cloud covered the moon, and she knew then she would never lay eyes upon it again. Never see the brightness as it cast a glow over the night. Never feel the romance inside when sitting with a loved one.
When she stared into the once-charming eyes of the man before her, the hatred was pure and adulterated. And aimed at her.
She would not be the heroine tonight. Instead, she would become his next victim.