“I’ve done something terrible.”
On a foggy Palm Beach morning, Cate Cabot waits at a local cafe to meet her best friend for coffee—and a confession. At least that’s what Cate assumes based on the frantic voicemail Odessa left her earlier that morning.
Only Odessa never shows.
And when Cate drives to her home she finds no trace of her. In fact, Odessa isn’t just missing—it’s suddenly as if she never existed in the first place. Even the staff who run her palatial home in the gated Paradise Cove community are claiming Cate must be mistaken, confused.
As Cate searches high and low for her friend who vanished into thin air on the cusp of a mysterious admission, the only thing she finds … is that the truth might be more terrible than she ever could have imagined.
Liking Odessa was easy. Admiring her perfect life, easier so. But finding her? It’s going to be downright impossible without untangling the cryptic web of lies the missing trophy wife left in her wake.
Mr. DuVernay watches me.
What I wouldn’t give to know what he’s thinking …
Suddenly his gaze leaves mine, traveling to my mouth before stopping at my cleavage, where I left my shirt unbuttoned just enough. The entire thing lasts no more than two seconds, but it happened, of that much I’m certain.
He clears his throat, re-crosses his legs, and glances out the window.
A trumpet wails in the background, screaming as loud as my thoughts.
I’ve spent hours upon hours figuring out a way to get out of here, most of them requiring ungodly sums of money or a safe place to hide—both of which I don’t have. But there’s one route that necessitates neither of those things … an option that would require seducing Mr. DuVernay.
Up until yesterday, I was adamantly against this strategy. I’m not a homewrecker. I’m not a husband stealer. I’m not the kind of person who can hurt someone and not lose an ounce of sleep over it.
But I’m also a woman with dwindling options, a woman desperate to do whatever it takes to break free.
The lingerie in the suitcase changed everything.
Why should Mrs. DuVernay get to have her fun and take a match to her wedding vows, while her husband sits here at home on a Saturday night, loyal and clueless?
Mr. DuVernay is my only ticket out of here. He’s the only way I could ever truly be free from his wife.
I tug down on my shirt with modest subtlety so as not to make it obvious, and then I readjust my posture, focusing on the closed cigar box on the table in front of me. From my periphery, the gentle weight of Mr. DuVernay’s gaze lingers.
He fixed me a drink earlier, and I’ve yet to touch it, though mostly out of habit. Mrs. DuVernay doesn’t allow me to drink.
I reach for the wine glass and take a sip, smiling internally.
Mrs. DuVernay isn’t here now, is she?
“How is it?” he asks, watching me swallow. I lick an imaginary drop from my mouth. His fingers rap on the overstuffed arm of his chair as he studies me. The red wine lingers on my tongue and I catch a trail of his intoxicating Italian cologne. I picture him in the boardroom at his office, leading his team of highly-educated, giant ego’d sharks with his signature effortless confidence, charm, and wit.
He’s a made man, that much I know.
Mrs. DuVernay brought family money to the marriage, but from what I’ve been able to gather, she never shared it with him. After his parents died, he used his inheritance to buy a fledgling drop ship company in West Palm Shores, and over the years he turned it into a multi-million-dollar corporation with international stations in London, Moscow, and Beijing.
“Lovely.” I take another sip.
“Take your time, Zsofia.” He chuckles, raking his fingers beneath his dimpled chin. “The night is young.”
My stomach somersaults.
If I’m reading between the lines, he’s asking me to stick around all night.
There’ll be another drink after this, I suppose. And possibly another.
My stomach somersaults, my fingers tingle with uncertain electricity.
This is wrong.
And this is also necessary.
Sunday Tomassetti is the pseudonym of a Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Amazon Charts, and #1 Amazon bestselling author who wanted an outlet for her passion projects. A thirty-something married mother of three, Sunday resides in the midwest where you can always find her hard at work on her next novel.
Sunday is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.