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When the Camerons reunite for the first time since tragedy tore their family apart more than a decade before, they hope they can finally lay their ghosts to rest. However, some wounds run too deep to heal, and some secrets are too destructive to remain hidden.
“So,” Tim said, filling the painful silence, “how’s business with the vegetables?”
From his stiff-backed position on the sofa, Joel stared coldly at his twin and sister-in-law seated on either side of the drawing-room fire. “Evidently not as prosperous as yours. Olivia and I had to forego buying Lottie a Porsche this year.”
Carla let out a tinkling laugh. The sound stabbed through Joel’s aching head and he cringed.
Tim’s expression flickered at his curtness, but he smiled. “And I’m sure Lottie is much better off for not being spoilt like mine have been. You’re doing all right, though, aren’t you?”
“I’m earning a living, if that’s what you mean. A good, honest living.”
If Tim noticed the slight behind the words, he didn’t show it. “I’m glad.”
“Course I am. You can’t think I’d want you to fail.”
Joel said nothing, knowing the skepticism was plain to read in his eyes, and Tim bowed his head. Silence smothered the room, broken only by the crackle of the fire. Joel’s resentment burned as fiercely as the logs in the grate. How could Liv do this to him? She knew how he felt about Tim and Carla, even if he had never been able to confide in her the reason behind his hostility. Yet, she’d forced him into entertaining them for a whole bloody weekend, when all he wanted to do was fight to save his marriage. If this was her way of paying him back, she couldn’t have dreamt up a more effective punishment.
“Think I’ll go and get ready for dinner,” Carla said, and set her empty wine glass on the mantelpiece. “Okay if I have a shower, Joel?”
He didn’t look at her. “You know where the bathroom is.”
“Joel, your hospitality overwhelms me. With manners like that, you should open this place as a hotel.”
Once Carla had gone, the men sat in mute awkwardness, staring into their whiskey and sodas.
“What’s wrong?” Tim said at length. “Besides your problem with me, I mean.”
Joel raised his eyebrows. “What makes you think there’s anything else?”
“Come off it. We may not be close anymore, but you’re still my twin. I can see when something’s bothering you, and I wish you’d tell me what it is.”
Joel looked away, chest tight. He and Tim were once inseparable, all the closer for being best mates as well as identical twins. They shared everything, celebrating one another’s triumphs and picking each other up when they fell. What a relief it would be to cry on his brother’s shoulder, admit the mess he’d made of his marriage, and let Tim calm his fears as he used to. But that was out of the question. Joel’s fingers clenched around his tumbler. Tim had forfeited the trust between them and there was no getting it back.
“It’s nothing,” Joel said, voice hard. If Tim thought he would forget his betrayal, let alone forgive him, he had better think again.