by Jeannie Kaye
Destiny may have orchestrated their meeting, but Iris Kent isn’t supposed to fall in love with Alonzo Locke. She’s engaged to Trip Dunnavin—the most eligible bachelor in Dallas. Her future is supposedly set in diamond encrusted stone.
Alonzo sees through the bubbly exterior of the raven-haired beauty that captivates his heart. Iris is hiding something. Something dark. Not everything is glittery in her privileged universe.
But just as they realize the strength of their connection, Alonzo's own shadowy secret drives a wedge between them.
Now Iris is locked out of love and locked in a world of outward opulence, silent deception and wordless suffering.
Can Alonzo right the wrongs done to them both before it’s too late?
“Any minute now lasers are gonna jet out of your eyes and obliterate that thing.”
The voice rushed into Iris Kent, startling her out of her thoughts. She looked across the desk at Uncle Joe. “Excuse me?”
He leaned back in his leather chair with his arms behind his head, scrutinizing her. “That rock weighing down your ring finger. You’ve been giving it the evil-eye for half an hour.”
Iris pulled in a breath, then a small laugh stumbled out of her. “Oh, Uncle Joe.” Always on a mission. Ever since she came on as his assistant, he’d been hounding her without mercy. She brushed off his comments and jotted down the address to a rental then checked on her list of new leases. How on earth had he managed this real estate firm before she came along?
“I’m really worried about you, Sweet Pea.” Uncle Joe stood, walked around his enormous desk then leaned against it with his arms crossed. “What happened to your confident, free spirit? The smile that never left your face? Where’s that girl gone?”
“I’ve just had a lot on my mind.”
“A lot of doubts, if you ask me. Are you sure about that Trip guy?”
That Trip guy. She cast a sideways glance at him. “You ask me that every day.”
“Because you fiddle with that ring like you don’t want it on your finger.”
Closing her laptop, Iris glanced out the window where the five o’clock traffic filled the streets below. She then walked toward the door. “I’ve got to run by that property you sold. I’ll see you at home.”
Uncle Joe joined her at the exit, resting a gentle hand on her shoulder. “It’s not too late to back out, you know. If you’re not sure, don’t rush into it.”
Iris turned and looked up at the worry wrinkling her uncle’s forehead. Last thing she wanted was to burden him with her troubles. She’d come to Austin to ease his grief and brighten his life a bit, not add more concerns. She leaned up and pecked his cheek with a kiss. “Don’t you worry one bit about me, Uncle Joe.” She patted his arm. “Everything’s fine. Besides, Dad thinks Trip holds the universe in place. Everyone’s thrilled about my engagement.”
“Well, my brother has never been very insightful.”
Waving off his comment, Iris strode down the hall toward the elevator. Yet, anxiety filtered through her. Not too late to back out. If only it were that easy! Fact is, she’d tried to wage the break-up campaign last spring.
She snuffled a humorless laugh and stepped onto the elevator. Probably be easier to separate the moon from the earth than to end her engagement to Trip Dunnavin. His tenacious hold on her felt like iron shackles. Bells would be ringing come December, for better or for worse. She hoped it didn’t get much worse.
Jeannie is many things - wife, mother, entrepreneur, life coach, personal trainer, speaker - but at the heart of all things, she is a writer. From the University of Texas student newspaper and award-winning science textbooks to romance novels, Jeannie’s writing continues to evolve and diversify.
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