Nina wasn’t the type of woman who sat around waiting for things to happen but Phillip had her at a disadvantage. His sudden reappearance was a precursor to something much bigger and she shuddered to think what that might be. She’d told Marc enough white lies to ensure he didn’t ask inconvenient questions but she also knew lies had a way of unraveling. When they did, lives usually changed forever. And Phillip knew all her secrets.
She busied herself preparing breakfast in the large eat-in kitchen of the modern four-bedroom colonial she shared with Marc. He protested initially when she wanted them to purchase it, arguing they didn’t need a three thousand square foot house for the two of them, but Nina always looked at the big picture. For her, that included kids running around and breaking things. Their home was in an affluent suburb of eighteen thousand, thirty miles west of Boston— a town voted by Money Magazine as one of the best places to live in America. That was a major selling point for someone who had her entire future planned out. The local schools consistently scored high in the rankings of top public school systems in the state.
Nina turned around and caught Marc Kasai and his muscular six-foot-two frame leaning against the kitchen doorway with a lazy grin on his face. “It smells great in here. Do you need help?”
“I think I have it covered. I made all your favorites.” Nina deposited a plate of scrambled eggs with bacon on the kitchen table and made a second trip to the stove to pick up the steaming hot Belgian Waffles. A quick trip to the refrigerator yielded a large carafe of freshly squeezed orange juice. Marc took care of the glasses, plates, and flatware and then sat down.
“Where did you go last night?” Marc asked, through a mouthful of eggs.
Nina was startled by the question but tried to sound casual. “What do you mean?”
“I reached for you in the middle of the night and you were gone.”
“I couldn’t sleep so I went downstairs to watch a little TV.”
“We have a TV set in our bedroom.”
Nina knew she was being defensive, but she wondered why Marc was making a big deal about this. It’s not like he didn’t know she suffered with bouts of insomnia. She just wasn’t about to admit that this latest round was induced by a heartless bastard.
“I didn’t want to disturb you. You were sleeping so peacefully.”
He seemed satisfied with her answer.
The house telephone rang while Nina was clearing the dishes, shattering the serenity of their Sunday morning. An aggravated Nina answered.
“Yes?” she snapped.
“Why didn’t you answer your cell phone?”
There was only one person she knew who exhibited this particular brand of arrogance.
“Why the heck are you calling my home?” She dropped her voice to a whisper so not to arouse her husband’s suspicions. “How did you get this number?”
“You’d be amazed what you can find out if you know where to look.”
“What do you want?”
“It’s been five days since our last conversation. You only have two days left to accept my offer. I’m even willing to double your fee.”
“That’s two days to figure out how to get you off my back. Anything can happen.”
“Don’t get smart with me Nina. It’s not a good idea.”
“Really?” she asked sweetly, and then hung up.
“Who was that?” Marc asked, not missing a beat.
“A very pushy head hunter with no respect for boundaries. Nothing I can’t handle.”
“Strange you would get a call at home on a Sunday. Which firm does this headhunter work for?”
“It’s not important. He won’t be calling any more.”
“How can you be so sure?” Marc insisted. “With the publicity you’ve been getting, Baseline’s competitors are going to try and poach you.”
“Well, they can’t. I signed non-compete and non-disclosure agreements.”
Marc looked like he wanted to discuss things further but Nina changed the subject.
“Don’t you have a soccer match to get ready for?”
“I do. Thanks for breakfast,” he said, dropping a quick kiss on her right cheek.
Nina reached for her purse on the counter after Marc headed upstairs. She took out her cell phone and went through the call log to see if Phillip’s number had shown up. It was logged as an unknown number.
Nina punched speed dial number three. The call went to voicemail.
“Hey, it’s me,” she said. “Tell your playmate to go home. We have a category five storm on the horizon.”
Charlene Hamilton was a force of nature, all ninety-eight pounds of her. The self-proclaimed chocolate fox and hair-styling maven had blown into Nina’s life twenty-one years earlier when they were freshmen at Westwood High School. Charlene threatened to rearrange the intestines of a badly behaved boy who had been giving Nina a hard time. The discovery they shared a common Caribbean heritage sealed the friendship that had proved unbreakable over the years.
“How many people did you run off the road to get here so fast?” Nina teased as Charlene plopped down her favorite Coach bag on the kitchen counter.
“Child, please. You can’t be throwing around words like ‘category five’ and not expect consequences.”
“There’s somewhere I need to be this weeken—”
Marc appeared around the doorway in full soccer garb. The conversation came to a halt.
“Looking luscious as always Marc,” Charlene said shamelessly. “Don’t hurt yourself on that soccer field now. We need you in peak condition.”
“I won’t break anything, Charlene,” he said, humoring her. “I promise.”
Nina shrugged her shoulders and gave Marc the you-know-how-she-is look. Marc bid both women goodbye and disappeared from view.
“Girl, if you ever get tired of him, I’ll take him off your hands.”
“Only if I’m in a box in the ground with worms for company.”
“I can wait.” Charlene grabbed the white porcelain jar marked cookies off the counter and headed for the kitchen table. She set the jar down and reached to the bottom and came up with an oatmeal raisin, her favorite.
Nina heard the engine of Marc’s car roar to life in the garage. It was her cue to speak freely.
“I need to sleep over Friday night for a Saturday trip to Baltimore.”
Charlene lived in Quincy, and from there, Nina could make it to Logan Airport in less than half an hour since Route 93 North weekend traffic was a cinch compared to weekdays. She would tell Marc she was spending the weekend with Charlene for some female bonding and retail therapy.
“Phillip came to see me at the office. It was not a happy reunion.”
Charlene almost choked. “Stop lying.”
Nina gave her best friend a recap of Phillip’s visit.
“What are you going to do?”
“That’s where Baltimore comes in.”
“Who’s in Baltimore?”
“A friend with special skills.”
“Details, girl. Don’t make me beat it out of you.”
“The computer guy?”
“He’s much more than a computer guy.”
“Do I even want to know?”
“Why don’t you just tell your man the truth?”
“That’s not an option,” Nina said stiffly.
“How are you going to handle Phillip? Do you even have a plan besides Sonny?”
“I’m making it up as I go.”
Charlene rolled her eyes at Nina. “You’re asking for trouble, keeping this from Marc.”
“How do you figure?”
“Tell him about Phillip before it’s too late. Don’t you think you’ve been hiding long enough?”
“You’re my best friend. You’re supposed to be helping me plot and scheme,” Nina said half-jokingly. “I’ve kept the truth from Marc this long to protect us. Whatever Phillip has planned, I have to face it head on.”
“Secrets have a way of coming back to bite you in the ass. I’m just saying.”
“I can’t worry about that right now. There’s too much at stake. You have no idea.”
“Such as?” Charlene asked sharply.
“Nothing you don’t already know.”
Nina hated lying to her best friend but there were certain truths she couldn’t share with anyone, not even Charlene.
#1 Amazon Bestseller in the suspense and women's psychological fiction categories.
Boston executive Nina Kasai has been living a lie since her days as a student at Stanford University. But she's about to learn that some secrets are too big to stay buried.
Years ago, Nina fled from her life of wealth and privilege and vowed never to look back. The horrifying truth has been locked away in her hidden diary, and in the mind of a disturbed woman who will never tell, ever. However, the perfect life she's since created is about to come crashing down when Phillip Copeland --a ghost from her past with political ambition and secrets of his own, makes Nina an offer she can't refuse: her silence in exchange for his.
Soon, it all goes horribly wrong when a shocking double-cross sends Nina reeling, and devastating loss threatens to push her over the edge. To make matters worse, her diary, the only link to her secret past has been stolen.
To reclaim her life and bring this twisted game to its stunning conclusion, Nina must confront the past she's been running from, and find the courage to make a life-altering decision that leaves multiple casualties in its wake.
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Genre - Psychological Suspense
Rating – R
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