I got an introduction to two fascinating new people over last weekend. One wasn’t actually new to me, but while I always assumed there was a story behind those tormented green eyes, I had no idea what it would be, and didn’t expect to ever learn. Logan MacCauley was an enigmatic and solitary figure when I first met him during the drafting of his brother, Ryan’s, story. He didn’t immediately strike me as the type to ever have any kind of romantic entanglements. That is, until this past weekend, when I also met Belinda “Billie” Cranshaw-Hastings. Billie is a woman with a difficult story to tell, and a secret she’s been able to keep from everyone — everyone except Logan. And, as their story begins to emerge, I understand why Logan has become solitary. Only time will tell if he can find his way back.
Excerpt from Project Prometheus: SOMEONE TO DIE FOR –
Billie hunched down in the driver’s seat of her rented sedan, trying to look like she belonged there among the hedgerows and prize roses of Kensington’s wealthy streets. What she felt like was a first class fraud. Why had she thought this would be easy? Resurrecting a life never was.
She swallowed hard, and her gaze fell briefly to the picture tacked to the dashboard in front of her. In it, a cherubic little face, framed by dark curls, grinned up at the camera. Pain twisted in her chest. Her little Melanie would be six, now. She’d missed so many precious years. Her head thumped down against the hands crossed on her steering wheel, and she fought tears for what had to be the hundredth time since she left Houston. How could she have been so naïve, so stupid?
Roger took her baby away. That was what she got for marrying the first smooth-talking Prince Charming Wannabe to come her way. She should have known better. People like her just didn’t marry rich guys like Roger Lloyd Hastings of the Maryland Hastings. His mother had delighted in reminding Billie of that fact every chance she got in their brief three-year marriage. Until Melanie was old enough to “leave the brood sow” as her mother-in-law so haughtily put it.
Sick, helpless rage roiled in Billie’s stomach, and she wondered if it was stress, or just the fact that she’d eaten nothing but a stale donut in the past three days – ever since that slimy P.I. she hired in DC had turned out to be more interested in her ex’s family money than in Billie’s heartache and need for justice.
“Billie?” She turned at the sound of her name, before she remembered she wasn’t supposed to be her. She’d cut her hair, dyed it, and she was wearing shades. No one should recognize her. And when she saw who half-crouched beside her car door, the donut she consumed about made a reappearance. Logan MacCauley
“My God, Billie, what’re you doing here?” His dark green eyes skimmed over her, his face lined in worry. “You changed your hair.”
Belatedly, it seemed to dawn on him why she was there, which was a good thing, because she couldn’t speak if her life depended on it. This man knew her deepest, darkest secrets. He knew the truth about Melanie’s birth – a truth she hadn’t dared speak in the three years since her divorce.
“You’ve come back for her.”
She couldn’t very well deny it. Billie nodded. Then, clearing her throat, she met his gaze again. “I thought you were in Italy.”
He lifted one shoulder in a negligent half-shrug, then moved around the hood of her car to open the passenger side door. He slid into the seat without asking if it was all right with her, then stared at her again for a long moment. Finally, he drew and released a breath, and shook his head. “Damn, you look good. Even with red hair.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Logan. What. Are. You. Doing. Here?”
He glanced toward the fancy Victorian mansion, then lifted one dark eyebrow at Billie. “I imagine the same thing you are. Except I don’t have a restraining order keeping me from that front door.”
Billie’s throat closed, and she reached out in blind panic to clutch his arm.
“You’re not going to…” She couldn’t finish the terrible idea. She hadn’t spent the last of her meager savings only to lose in a legal battle she couldn’t face, had she?
He watched her with that level, hooded gaze for a long moment, before he finally spoke. “A daughter belongs with her mother.”
Enigmatic to the last, and neither confirming nor denying her fears. And that, more than anything she’d been through so far, scared the life out of her. She had the dreadful feeling she was about to lose her baby forever.