Price: $4.99 (eBook)
Secret Cravings Publishing
Lies, betrayal and forbidden secrets surround the lives of Sienna and Layla Caxton that threaten to destroy their lives and the lives of the people they love.
Sisters, eighteen-year-old Sienna and seventeen-year-old Layla Caxton are born into wealth and privilege in Rodenham, South Yurickshire, Isle of Albion – Year XII of his Majesty King Victorius’s Reign. As young girls they were very close, but as they grew older Layla becomes quite selfish and demanding when it came to getting her own way and it drives a wedge of resentment between them. When Sienna becomes aware of Layla’s affair with a married man she pleads with her to end it, but Layla refuses and begs her not to tell their parents. Not wanting to widen the rift between them, Sienna agrees to remain silent. Their parents soon learn of Layla’s affair and when she refuses to end it her father sends her to live with her aunt in Nottingwood. In retaliation, Layla marries wealthy Trevor Cabrera after knowing him for only two months and brings him home.
The moment Sienna meets her new brother-in-law she is instantly drawn to this strikingly handsome young man with wavy black hair and the deepest blue eyes she had ever seen. Over time her attraction for him becomes stronger and she struggles with feelings of self-reproach for coveting her own sister’s husband. To make matters worse, she discovers Layla is continuing her affair with her married lover and out of guilt over her growing feelings for Trevor, she agrees to keep her sister’s dirty little secret.
Completely unaware of Layla’s deception, Trevor is somewhat confused and frustrated by her continual passive responses to his lovemaking. He had experienced some disappointment over her lack of passion on their wedding night, but it was discovering he was not her first that truly unnerved him. She never mentioned she had been with another man before him and he was hurt and angered by her deception. In the following weeks of their marriage, her continual passive responses left him feeling frustrated and inadequate. Because he loved her, he chose to believe she considered sex to be a tedious part of marriage and that it had nothing to do with his prowess as a lover.
Several months later Trevor enters his magnificent black stallion, Al-Shama, in the St. Leagers Horserace in Loncaster. Due to an unfortunate accident he is suddenly thrown from his horse and hitting his head on the track railing as he fell renders him
unconscious. When he regains consciousness he has no memory of the past year of his life and faces a world of total strangers. Finding himself married to a woman he does not know sends him into a tailspin and he struggles to regain the lost part of his memory. He becomes even more confused when he finds himself becoming attracted to Sienna and fears he may have betrayed his marriage vows by entering into an affair with her.
Layla uses Trevor’s memory loss as an excuse for not sharing his bed and suggests he sleep in the guest bedroom until his memory returns. He agrees and she spends as much time as possible away from the manor and in the arms of her lover. As a result of her reckless affair she learns she is carrying her lover’s child and her world is turned upside down. Certain he will agree to leave his wife and marry her she tells him she is carrying his child the next time they meet; a decision that leads her down a very dark and dangerous path.
As Sienna continues to struggle against her feelings for Trevor, she finds herself being drawn deeper into Layla’s betrayal of him and feels as though her life is spinning out of control. Midst all the turmoil, Trevor regains his lost memory and learning of Layla’s affair sends him into a fit of anger. He decides to divorce her and return to Nottingwood─ leaving a heart broken Sienna behind. In her effort to get over Trevor, she becomes involved someone else and grows quite fond of him. Unfortunately, her feelings for Trevor stands in the way of finding happiness with anyone else and she ends the relationship. Feeling the need to get away for a while and allow her heart to mend, she makes the radical decision to leave Rodenham.
The Caxton’s arrived in Loncaster to watch Trevor and his horse, Al-Shama, participate in the St. Leager’s Stakes race. Sienna stood with her mother and Layla at the railing that surrounded the track and watched Trevor take his place at the starting gate.
“Why didn’t Nigel come with you, Layla?” Isla asked.
“He wanted too, but he said he had an appointment he needed to keep.”
At the sound of the gunshot the horses leaped ahead and began the first lap of three around the mile long oval track. By the middle of the third lap Al-Shama was slightly ahead and it appeared Trevor was going to be victorious. Suddenly one of the horses veered into Al-Shama’s path and its right hind leg caught Al-Shama sharply in his left foreleg. Everyone gasped as Al-Shama’s leg buckled beneath him and threw Trevor violently into the fence. His head struck the railing in the fall and he lay unmoving on the ground.
Layla raced onto the track and knelt beside her unconscious husband. “Trevor… Trevor…” she cried.
Thankfully, a Doctor Hadenfeld was in attendance and he rushed onto the track. He pushed his way through the crowd and knelt beside Trevor. Upon a cursory examination he determined Trevor’s neck was not broken in the fall and instructed several men to carefully load him into a carriage and take him immediately to the Loncaster Royal Infirmary.
The Caxton’s drove Layla to the infirmary and waited anxiously outside the examining room for word on Trevor’s condition. Finally Doctor Hadenfeld walked out of the room and gave them the news. “Mister Cabrera has suffered no broken bones and I found no evidence of internal bleeding. He is still unconscious so there is no way of knowing the full extent of the injuries he may have sustained until he awakens.”
“May I ask what type of injuries you are referring to, Doctor?” Angus queried worriedly.
“He could experience a loss of feeling in his extremities from the fall itself as well as some mental impairment from the head injury.”
“A…are you saying my husband could be paralyzed?” Layla asked nervously.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say it was a possibility, but I am optimistic about his condition and confident he will make a full recovery.”
“May we see him?” Angus asked.
“Certainly, but he is heavily sedated.”
Angus turned to Layla. “You go in first, Layla. Your mother and I will wait out here with Sienna.”
Layla quietly entered Trevor’s room and stood beside his bed. She looked down into his handsome face and tears of guilt and remorse filled her eyes. She had selfishly married this man to spite her parents and she did so without giving a single thought to the outcome. He loved her without reservation and she had betrayed him by lying in the arms of another man. Still, she was in love with Edward and no amount of guilt could ever change that. “Oh, Trevor, I am so sorry,” she whispered, “you are a good man and you do not deserve any of this.”
* * * *
Trevor remained unconscious for three days and during that time, Sienna and Layla spent the days at his bedside and the nights in a room at a hotel just outside Loncaster. On the evening of the first day, they were in their room at the hotel preparing for bed and Sienna noticed a strange expression on her sister’s face. “Are you all right, Layla?”
“I’m fine. I’m just worried about Trevor that’s all.
“Trevor is going to be fine, you have to believe that.”
“But what if he isn’t, Sienna? What am I going to do if he ends up being paralyzed?”
“I would like to think you would take care of him.”
Layla burst into tears and covered her face with her hands. “I don’t know if I can. I cannot bear the thought of caring for an invalid.”
“How can you say that? If it were you lying in that hospital bed Trevor would willingly spend the rest of his life taking care of you.”
“I’m sure he would, but I am not as strong as he is. I don’t think I can care for him by myself.”
Sienna swallowed against her anger over Layla showing more concern at the thought of having an invalid for a husband than about Trevor himself. “You won’t have to, Layla. You have Mother and Father’s support, as well as mine. Whatever the outcome, we will do everything we can to help you care for Trevor.”
“I appreciate that truly I do, but I am thinking about Trevor as well. He’s a strong, virile man
and I am afraid what being an invalid would do to him.”
Sienna forced herself to respond in a soft quiet voice. “With you at his side, I believe he is a strong enough to accept whatever outcome fate has in store for him.”