An Excerpt from the New Release: Live to Tell by, Sophia Henry
Check out this exclusive excerpt from bestselling author, Sophia Henry’s new book, Live to Tell: A Fake Fiancé Romance (Material Girls Book 2)
When I attempt to open my eyes, the sunlight stings like Darth Vader’s trying to pry my eyelids apart with his lightsaber and I can only manage a squint. It feels like I’ve been trapped in darkness for years, when in reality, it was probably only a few minutes.
Blinking through the pain, I make out a figure surrounded by a beautiful, shimmering, golden halo. I’m fairly certain I’m not dead, so it’s not some kind of angel in the religious sense. Erik Raines, our longtime landscaper, kneels next me, rubbing his large, strong hands up and down my arms, as if trying to warm me. That’s when I realize I’m shivering uncontrollably.
The sudden, intense urge to puke takes over. I squeeze my eyes closed and roll onto my side, my body jerking as it expels water. My throat is on fire—raw and scratchy, like the morning after my college graduation when I downed way too many cinnamon-whisky shots.
Erik’s relieved whisper of, “Oh, thank God!” brings me back to reality. Once the coughing fit lets up, I roll onto my back and take a deep breath.
“You’re here? You’re with me?” he asks. Water drips from the tip of his nose onto my chest.
I nod. What in the world happened?
“I’m going to lift you up, okay? I’m going to carry you to the house and get some help.”
“No!” I croak, grabbing the collar of his soaked, white T-shirt.
Terror fuels my panic as the memory of what happened and why I’m lying next to our pool, soaking wet with Erik next to me, floods my brain. I look from side to side quickly, frantically searching for Trent. My heart pounds so fast, I think it might explode.
“How could you do this to me, Madeline?”
I hear Trent before I see him—which is usually how it goes. His angry voice booms as he moves closer and closer. I grip the phone as every muscle in my body starts to tense up. My sister, Liz, is on the other end; I should say something, but I’ve never told anyone about how much Trent scares me. Instead, I wrack my brain, trying to figure out what I could have done to make him angry this time. It’s always something.
“Maddie?” Liz asks. “Madeline?”
“How could you fucking do this to me?” He’s next to me now. His dark brown eyes are filled with rage. And they’re fixed on me.
My voice shakes when I answer, “Do what, Trent? I—”
He raises his hand and I cringe, cowering in fear as he bats the phone out of my hand. My heart races, and tears spring to my eyes as it smashes against the wrought-iron table, screen shattering before it bounces into the pool. When I turn back to him, I can’t meet his eyes. I never can. Looking at him when he’s this angry is direct challenge and it never turns out good for me.
“I’m sick of you disrespecting me,” he snarls. “I thought you were going to dinner with girlfriends last night?”
“Then why did I get multiple phone calls saying you were out with another man?”
The muscles in my legs tighten, as my flight response kicks in. Nothing I say will quell his rage—even if it’s the truth.
“I went out with Lucy and Mary Hill, Trent. Lucy saw one of her colleagues from the hospital and invited him over to talk. I knew him, too, so we all chatted for a few minutes, then he went back to his friends. That’s it.”
“Do you know how that looks for me? You openly flirting with other men?”
“I wasn’t flirt—” I shake my head, denying his accusation. But Trent grabs me by the forearms, his fingers squeezing my skin, silencing me.
“I can’t even begin to imagine how you conducted yourself when I was in DC, but I’m here now and it needs to stop,” he says through clenched teeth. His eyebrows narrow and he squeezes my arms even tighter. “I won’t be publicly embarrassed because my girlfriend acts like a slut.”
He shoves me hard. I pedal backward, losing my balance on the slippery tile, and fall into the pool. My head hits the edge and everything goes black.