Authors: Riann C. Miller
Copyright © 2016 Riann C. Miller
Editing by Edee M. Fallon,
Mad Spark Editing
Cover Design, formatting and interior design by
Jersey Girl & Co.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products, bands, and/ or restaurants referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/ use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite e-book retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Beneath the lies are emerald eyes.
Growing up an only child, Kate Reynolds lived a normal, almost sheltered life. When the unthinkable happens and Kate is left all alone in the world, and set to inherit her parents’ fortune, she discovers the evils that truly exist.
Gavin Loman has a tumultuous past: losing his father at a young age, a mother with a destructive personality, and buried secrets even he does not truly understand the depths of. Striking out on his own, he is finally making a name for himself...until a green-eyed girl who haunts his dreams comes crashing into his life.
When hidden truths are unveiled and pasts collide, Gavin must protect those he loves from becoming victims to the terrors of his childhood. However, not everything is as it seems...
What would you do if everything you held dear was threatened? When the truth you believed is weaved with lies?
My childhood is proof that my sister is a fighter.
Even with the rocky road ahead of her, I know she’ll continue to fight.
I love you with all my heart.
“Oh, my God, she canceled.” Like normal, my mother’s voice screeches over everyone else’s. “That little bitch canceled less than ten minutes before we’re supposed to leave!”
“Leeta! Not in front of the children.” My mother’s arms flap around wildly in anger.
“James, we have to go now if we’re going to make it on time and we can’t take them.” Not that I need clarification, but her hand shoots out and points at my brother and me sitting on the sofa.
“I’ll call a neighbor to see if I can find someone to come over.”
Before my mother can start yelling again, a calm, peaceful voice speaks up. “I’ll stay with them.” Everyone in the room turns toward the beautiful lady with long black hair who moments ago was snuggled up with my brother.
“Mandy, don’t be ridiculous. You don’t want to stay home with three kids.” My mother practically sneers her comment from across the room.
“Actually, Leeta, I was already feeling uneasy leaving Kate with someone I don’t know. Now that you’re asking random neighbors, I definitely feel uncomfortable. You three go and I’ll stay here.”
Uncle Marcus walks up to the soft-spoken lady. He looks at her in a way I’ve never seen my father look at my mother. “Mandy, are you sure you’re okay with this? I don’t have to go—”
“No. No. No. I’ll be fine. You go and enjoy the evening. You know how I feel about leaving Kate.”
“Okay, it’s settled. We need to get going or we’ll be late,” my mother yells, sounding every bit her normal, irritable self.
My dad picks up his keys from the table. “I left my car out front. We can just take it.”
“No!” I watch the soft-spoken woman wince at my mother’s crazy behavior. “Sweetheart, we should take the Mercedes. I had it detailed for tonight.”
My father, who for the most part tolerates my mother’s rude behavior, seems miffed at how she is acting. “My Jag is out front, Leeta. Like you said, we’re already running late. There’s no reason to take your car. Now let’s go.”
My mother is shocked stupid, apparent by her gaping mouth and wide eyes. She almost looks like she has seen a ghost. My father gives her a solid push on her back then my parents and Marcus quickly head out the front door. I stay in the same spot on the sofa, closely watching the woman we have been left with. She’s smiling at the two of us, almost like she is happier to stay here with us than go out with my parents.
“The time change is really messing up Kate’s sleeping schedule, but I bet she’ll be up from her nap any minute. What do you boys want to do when she gets up?”
I turn my head slowly toward my older brother Tanner and see he is just as uncertain of what to say as I am. I’m only eight years old, but I don’t remember my parents ever asking me what I want to do. As the two of us sit here not saying a word, I hear a little voice coming from a monitor.
“Just like I thought, Kate is awake. Stay here and I’ll be right back.”
Mandy pops up then takes off up the stairs, leaving both Tanner and I confused in her wake. I’ve never seen a person that acts concerned and caring before, which has my guard up.
“She seems...nice.” I live in a world where people come and go, and the ones that stick around aren’t usually nice unless they want something. I look over at Tanner, who seems just as unsure of this woman as I am, but I’m brought out of my thoughts when I hear her voice again.
“Okay, boys, I want you to meet my baby girl. This is Kate.” I can hear the pride in her voice as I turn away from Tanner and back toward Mandy. She’s once again smiling, only this time she’s carrying a little girl on her hip. A mass of blonde, wavy hair covers most of her shoulder while the girl keeps her face tucked tight against her mother. “She’s not quite awake yet,” Mandy says in a singsong voice as she slowly rocks the little girl back and forth. Maybe Mandy is genuinely nice, or at least it’s starting to appear that way. I watch as she starts softly singing a song that I can’t quite make out.
With her smile still in place, she looks down at her little girl. “Kate, can you say hello?”
My eyes stay locked on the little girl as she slowly lifts her head. When her eyes find mine, I feel a jolt through my whole body. Her eyes look like emeralds—a shade of green I’ve never seen on a person before.
“Her eyes...” I mumble as I feel my heartbeat thumping inside my chest.
“Kate’s eyes are very beautiful, but then again, I love everything about my little girl.” Mandy’s eyes dance back and forth between Tanner and myself, like she’s waiting for one of us to say something.
“Well, what do you want to do? Play a board game? Go swimming? Are you two hungry? We can have an early dinner.”
Without thinking, I blurt out, “Why are you being nice to us?” Mandy pauses for a moment, her beautiful smile fading into a frown.
“Why wouldn’t I be nice to you?”