A brilliant read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and definitely recommend you read it too
Published: January 2018
When Gabrielle “Bree” Valentine awoke in a hospital bed with a newborn baby, she centered herself and rebuilt. Bree didn’t think about her mental breakdown, lost memories, or the features of a stranger emerging daily in the face of the son she is raising alone. Five years later, on a weekend in the Hamptons, a chance encounter with a man unlike any other jars her—bone deep.
Daniel Hawthorne Baird II, wealthy, dangerous, British aristocrat, gravitates to Bree like caviar on crostini. In his relentless obsession with Bree, their lives entwine despite Bree’s resistance. With the unconditional support of friends she calls ‘family’, Bree confronts the most difficult questions of her life.
Unearthing the painful mysteries behind who fathered her child, who the real Daniel Baird is, and the irrepressible desire driving her towards a man destined to be the end of them both.
I nodded in agreement and then felt my phone buzzing in my clutch. I told August I’d meet him back at the dinner table. I opened the text from Jill.
J: How’s it going, chica?
G: I think I’m in Bizarro World. What are you guys doing?
J: Heading to dinner. The kid wants calamari!
I laughed at my son’s strange appetite.
J: Hold on...special message coming.
G: Hello! I miss you so, so much!
I wondered how much Jill was helping him with texting.
J: I miss u too,
J: I’m sad ur away. Please come back to me soon.
I guess she was transcribing for him. My heart broke a little.
G: It won’t be long and I’m always with you in your heart. Have a good night, my love. xoxo
J: I love you, too.
J: Have fun with your little charade. Wink. Nite-nite sexy mama.
I snorted. That must be Jill again.
“Who was that?” I jumped out of my skin and bumped into something solid right behind me and then leaped away, the train of my gown swishing around me as I faced a very suspicious Daniel.
“Jesus Christ, how do you do that?” I gasped, clutching my chest. “You didn’t answer my question,” he replied firmly, folding his arms. “Are you stalking me?” I peered at him.
He peered back. “Was it another man?” He said it like, ‘you naughty girl’, and then there was that glimmer in his eye again.
“I’m feeling very stalked right now.” I shook my head and tried to walk to past him, but he blocked me.
“Excuse me,” I said indignantly.
“You’re not excused.”
“That’s not up to you,” I countered.
“Oh, I think it is,” he replied confidently and his lip twitched upward, but he resisted the smile.
“No. It isn’t, and I don’t like being deceived,” I challenged, lifting a brow. He unfolded his arms, letting them rest at his sides.
“I didn’t deceive you.” He arched one brow back. “You perceived.”
“And you did nothing to stop it. That is called deception.”
“Is it?” he replied, his eyes searching mine like he knew I thought differently.
“The distinction is obvious,” I retorted, eluding a judgment just shy of an edict. August and I were currently perpetrating a deception much bigger than his, but he couldn’t know that.
“I am not a man of many words,” Daniel replied laconically, in the tone of one who doesn’t explain himself to anyone and didn’t intend to start tonight.
“More the ‘speak softly, and carry a big stick’ type? The only reason you talked to me was to use me. You were just fishing for intel,” I accused but gulped down hard admitting my words were etched into the club that he’d used to swat down Mr. Fitch.
It looked like his patience had snapped. I may have said too much, but the self-doubt he’d created in me triggered my defenses.
“That’s not why I talked to you,” he explained finally. I narrowed my eyes. “Then why did you?”
He just stared at me for a while. I don’t know what was running through his mind—a lot of things it seemed—but most of all it looked like he was deciding something. And after moments of consideration, I watched resolve form in his tightened jaw.
“We should be friends,” he said in decision, not offer—but that’s not what surprised me. “Friends?” I repeated back dumbly.
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About the author:
Nell E. S. Douglas has possessed a deep, abiding love for written words since childhood. The transition from reader, to writer, was a natural one. Her first stories, penned on the lined pages of class notebooks, were inspired by her mother’s poetry and epic tales of travel, and a professorial inquisitiveness inherited from her father. Following college in Florida, Nell exited the world of pure imagination, and entered the one of business, successfully establishing a career in sales, and developing a cup-a-day habit (of coffee). Today, Nell writes everything from story ideas to essays during the spaces in-between domestic goddessing, and contributing as a managing partner to a thriving small business. Nell resides in Florida, with her husband and their children, passing on the traditions of her mother, and sinking her feet in the sand whenever possible.
Her favorite books are Pride and Prejudice, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Her favorite movies are Gladiator, anything by Scorcese, The Time Traveller’s Wife, and Bridesmaids.
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