Lisa Hughston’s life is perfect. With a doting husband, two handsome little boys, and a job she loves as a nurse, she’s done the one thing she always vowed to do: rise above everyone who told her she would amount to nothing more than a high school dropout and drug addict. Just like her mother.
There’s only one problem in her seemingly flawless life … she doesn't know anything about her husband’s past. Christopher knows the truth about who he is and where he came from wouldn’t just hurt his wife. It would destroy her. He’s done—and vows to continue doing—everything in his power to keep that side of him buried forever. But when Lisa unknowingly befriends his estranged family, she sends their once perfect life into a tailspin. Will they survive the fallout when she discovers who he really is and the secrets he’s been hiding?
The shuffling near the front door caught her attention, but Lisa didn't turn around. Tensing, she clung to the couch in an almost futile attempt to gather strength for the fight she knew was coming.
"So you're really not letting me see the boys today?"
"You lied," she whispered, her voice thick and hoarse from tears. "Is Christopher even your real name?”
Behind her, her husband cleared his throat but didn't answer. Nothing would dig him out of the hole he'd created, and frankly he was tired of all the fighting.
"It's funny." Lisa shook her head, forcing out a humorless laugh. "After all this time and after everything I've tried ... I still ended up just like my mother. I watched her—year after year, guy after guy losing herself. Changing herself for these losers that weren't worth her spit. I swore I'd never be like that." She snapped her head around to face him. Guarded eyes stared back at her. A hard set jaw unflinching and unwelcoming. She’s caved to that look dozens of times over the years, but today, she refused to back down. "Then you came along. You are the one who wanted a wife, and a family, and a home. You're the one who asked me you marry you. Everything you've ever wanted I've given you. Everything I do, every breath I take revolves around you and the boys. All you’ve ever had to do was tell me the truth. That's all. I've done everything for you and you couldn't do this one thing for me."
"Would you have said yes?" Christopher’s deep voice cut through the moment. "If I'd told you—if you had known What I'd done. Where I'd come from, and who I was. Would we have had all of this?" He gestured around the room. A broken picture frame still lied on the ground. "Would you have married me then? Would you have had my children knowing the blood that would run through their veins? Would you have fought to make a life with me? Tell me now that my past wouldn't have made a difference, and I'll get on my hands and knees and beg for your forgiveness."
"No," Lisa admitted after a long, reflective stretch of silence.
"Then stop demanding an apology we both know you don't deserve."
"An apology I don't deserve?" she repeated in shock. The words echoed in her ears, rattling her brain and shattering every shred of desire she had left to deal with this version of her husband—this stranger that had infiltrated their lives. Six months ago, he would have moved heaven and earth to make up for something asinine like forgetting the milk on his way home from work. Now, after being faced with their very existence being a lie, she wasn't worthy of getting a simple 'I'm sorry.
Lore Ree is a daydreaming contemporary fiction writer.
When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading sweet romances and binge watching Crime shows.
Born in New York, raised in Florida, and matured in Massachusetts, she considers herself an East Coast baby. At the moment, she resides in Florida with her family. Her debut novel, RICOCHET, was released in July 2014.