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by Lindsay Weigel

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Single and known for never finishing a romance novel, Laurie Wilcox is a creature of habit whose work consists of picking up after customers and helping them choose skimpy, yet still legal, outfits. In Fall River, Massachusetts, life is mundane to say the least'"that is, until a handsome stranger walks into her store and changes her life forever.

While the… See more details below


Single and known for never finishing a romance novel, Laurie Wilcox is a creature of habit whose work consists of picking up after customers and helping them choose skimpy, yet still legal, outfits. In Fall River, Massachusetts, life is mundane to say the least'"that is, until a handsome stranger walks into her store and changes her life forever.

While the stranger pays for his purchase, his hand grazes Laurie's. Suddenly, she is fed an image of a man with fangs who is about to bite. As he smiles and leaves, Laurie experiences a weird, almost déjÃ -vu feeling. But when the stranger returns and invites Laurie and her co-worker to a dance club, Laurie is disturbed. Something about Alexander Young is making her feel uneasy, but despite her worries, she finally agrees, opening herself up to new experiences and a potential romance.

But when a part of Laurie's life is put into question'"as well as the people in it'"she must decide whether friendship, life, and most importantly, love is worth all the sweet deception.

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Editorial Reviews

Sharon Goodwin
Laurie Wilcox’s story of a sweet deception is told in the first person and mostly by dialogue. Rarely does the author use an apostrophe for omission and for me this gave the writing an ‘old world’ feeling about the rhythm of the words, which is very fitting for the genre.

At the end there is a twist – I wasn’t expecting this and loved it! I loved that it made me stop and think about everything I had read and I also loved Laurie taking the action

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A Sweet Deception
By Lindsay Weigel

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Lindsay Weigel
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-2080-5

Chapter One


That can't really be the alarm clock already, can it?

I reluctantly rolled over to peek at the device disturbing my dreamless sleep and grabbed for my black-framed glasses in order to check the time. Both my glasses and the alarm clock sat on my nightstand six inches from my bed, yet I still needed the one to see the other. Once my vision was restored, I glanced at the clock, which openly mocked me by displaying 6:00 am. If I were normal and not driven by punctuality, I might have hit snooze a few times, but that's not me. I weighed out the pros and cons of staying home that day. "Well, I could always stay home and just sit here watching TV until it's time to go to bed," I muttered out loud.

That settled my one-sided argument. Talking to myself meant that it was time to go to work.

I threw off my blue-and-gold damask bedspread and staggered to my closet. It's never a tough decision choosing what to wear each day. All of my clothes are business casual, tidy and hanging up neatly. Grabbing the first dress pants and shirt I saw, I staggered to the bathroom, two feet to the left of my bedroom door.

I am a creature of habit, and I follow my routines. While waiting for the mirror to unfog from my usual volcanic-temperature shower, I did the basics of good hygiene: clean ears, brush teeth, apply deodorant, etc. Once my reflection could be seen clearly, I took up the challenge of doing my hair. Basic female grooming—hair and makeup—did not come naturally to me.

I grabbed my usual three different hair products: mousse, scrunching gel, and conditioning cream, along with a rubber band—just in case. I put the cream on first to preserve whatever moisture there was in my already-too-dry hair. The massive chemical treatment it was about to endure would not help with that problem. My hair would never cooperate. But from time to time, my medium-length brown locks would surprise me and actually look good down. I lathered it up with mousse and gel, but it was too flat and stuck to my face. So I scrunched it, hoping to get those perfect spirals that most naturally curly hair sometimes attains. Not mine, though. It would usually, much like today, frizz at the bottom and flatten at the top. As expected, after my brilliant beautician expertise had been applied, I grabbed the rubber band and put my hair in a ponytail.

Once my hair was, well ... whatever it was, I studied my features. Would I attempt to put makeup on or not? Every day I considered this same thing, but never followed through. I couldn't put it on right anyway. In truth, I needed to learn. I needed to find some way to look better. My face was less-than-ordinary. It's too round and wide across my cheekbones. God, I wish they could be shaved down or something. Even my eyes held nothing special. The color was not blue, not green, just a meek hazel color that could be mistaken for light brown, or possibly green on a good day. After deciding that I did not know, as always, how to fix my shortcomings, I looked in the mirror. "That's as good as it's going to get." I put my glasses back on, grabbed my purse, and was ready for the day.

Once outside, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my car had not been broken into the night before. Not that there was anything to steal in my Cavalier. I live in Massachusetts, in a city called Fall River. It used to be a nice place to live, about a dozen years ago. Still, there was something about the hot blacktop, fast-speaking Portuguese, and lack of backyards that made this place home. The population per square foot in Fall River, much like the rest of Massachusetts, was high. Perhaps the town's appeal lay in the commotion, which provided me ample cover to slip away when I wanted to be alone. In either case, the weather was mild, cold in the winter without too much snow, and hot in the summer. Massachusetts has all four seasons, and every season is beautiful in New England.

* * *

I arrived at work in the nick of time, which for me was fifteen minutes early. I am perpetually early with everything. Often I've pondered the reason for my punctuality. Is it responsibility, or obsessive-compulsive disorder? Regardless of the reason, my bosses looked at it as being reliable. Well, one of them did, anyway. The other didn't care about much.

My work consisted of picking up after customers and helping them pick out the smallest bit of cloth possible to make them legal in public. The store I worked at clashed with every part of my personality. It was loud, not just the kind of people it attracted, but the rap music that played from the speakers. I read books in bed. The décor was bold with bright colors: pink, neon green, aqua, royal blue, and orange. I usually wore black pants and a white shirt. Even the mannequins had more style than me, frozen on top of chrome blocks in the newest trends, parading our attire in the windows. But it was a job. It provided me with an income and entertainment, to say the least.

All the sensory overload was nothing compared to the twenty-two-year-old irresponsible rich girl known as Jessica, my boss, who approached me not long after she arrived. "Oh, great," I muttered under my breath. "Another fabulous day."

"Hello Laurie! How was your weekend?" she asked in her sugar-wasn't-sweet-enough-to-melt-in-her-mouth tone.

I was surprised. She was actually nice to me. This couldn't lead to any good.

"It was ... good. Thank you?" The last part sounded like a question.

"Well, that's good. You look ... well rested."

What a compliment, I thought to myself. "Thanks. I feel well rested."

By the look on her face, I knew she would be getting to the point soon. I didn't think it was even possible for her to force any more chitchat between us.

"So, I know that lately I have not been here as much as I should ..."

She trailed off.

I thought to myself, Here's the punch line.

"Honestly, I have to change that; I do. I have had so much on my plate lately. My friend is going through a rough time, and I am just trying to be there for her. You know? Not that it makes skipping out on my duties right, but what can I say? She's my best friend."

She paused and looked at me for a moment, confirming if I had bought it. I didn't need all the babble behind whatever she was going to ask. She did what she wanted anyway.

"I understand, Jessica, it's fine," I empathized, thinking that maybe if I made her think I understood she would get it over with quicker.

"Thank you," she smiled warmly. "Ugh! I hate doing this to you again but ..." She waited for me to take the bait.

"Yes, Jessica?"

"Could you cover for me today? I promise I'll make it up to you. I'll give you a weekend day off, or any day of your choice. Just remind me."

This was all garbage, but covering for her was better than her being here all day. After all, this act she is putting on was bound to end as soon as someone else arrived.

"No, it's fine, Jess. I don't mind. Sundays are only eight to five anyway, and we don't get that busy."

"Oh, you're so nice. I promise I'll pay you back. Just remind me." She made a little x over her heart, and was out the door.

At nine, Ashley came walking through the door. She was about five foot four, medium build, with olive skin, black hair, and brown eyes. She looked similar to many other Portuguese girls that live in Fall River, but she exuded confidence from every inch of her being. To other people, she seemed conceited, but to me, she just seemed to know what she wanted, and even what she deserved. She would never settle for less. I admired her. The way that she could wear whatever she wanted, talk to whomever she wanted, and most importantly, be with whomever she wanted.

She walked right past me. Punching in as quickly as she could, she strolled out of the back room like she had been here all along.

"Hey, hot mama," Ashley said with a shimmy of her shoulders. Ashley was always animated, even early in the morning.

"What was that about?" I asked.

"I'm about an hour late and I have too much of a hangover to hear Jess's mouth, or to tell her off, for that matter. Speaking of the devil, where is she?" Ashley asked while looking around the store.

"She's not here. She already left," I said nonchalantly.

"Well, that's good," Ashley said, sounding relieved. "I have got so much to talk to you about anyway."

"I figured you would. So tell me already!" I exclaimed, in the most enthusiastic voice I could muster up.

"Wait a minute ... you didn't tell me about Jess's bullshit yet. You always do."

"No, Ash, you always do!" I reminded her.

She deliberated on that for a moment. "Yeah, I guess you're right, but anyway ..." she coaxed me to continue.

"Nothing," I said.

Ashley stared at me.

"She was actually decent today, so I didn't mind," I explained.

"She was actually decent today, so I didn't mind?" Ashley repeated.

I think anger was her cure for hangovers.

"You're such a shitty liar, you know that? She was nice to you? Please! What you mean to say is she was her normal, condescending, crotch self and just appeared to be nice because no one else was around. Because you know if other people were here, she would have treated you like crap to make everyone think that she's the big, bad boss."

I loved the way Ashley added "crotch" in all the time when referring to Jessica; it was as if the word was part of her name. But I knew if I let Ashley continue ranting about Jessica, she would not stop until a customer came in. Even then, I might still have to remind her.

"Ash! She's not here, and that was my main goal. Besides, I know you have stories about the weekend you're dying to tell." I knew that would be all the coaxing she needed. Ashley shifted her body weight back and forth as if she were physically weighing the options on either side of her. She wanted to stick to her guns and talk more crap about Jessica. But I am sure she had a lot to say about whatever nameless guy (or guys) it was this weekend. Finally, she gave.

"Right. So you know how I told you I had met that guy at the bar last week? And how he'd been calling me this week, and I had been putting off calling him until it had been long enough to make him wait?"

"The um, painter right?" It only took one sentence or sometimes just one word or a giggle to keep her talking.

"Yeah, him—so I called him Friday night to set things up for Saturday. 'Cause, you know, I was already going out with that other guy Ryan on Friday. You know me, I like to have my weekends booked with variety."

I knew that she would continue for the rest of the day, forgetting a part here and there, filling me in as she remembered. As much as I liked Ashley, she was already part of the background noise in the store. I never cared for listening to anyone's sexploits. Ashley's stories were too graphic. She lacked the essential decorum to realize that her recounting might offend people, or make them queasy, as it did me.

Ashley was who she was and made no excuses for her behavior. I did like that about her; I just wished she could fine-tune some of her stories for me. I know that I was the one who pushed her to talk about her weekend. I just did it to get her off the Jessica topic. It was easy to tune her out when she was telling me her stories. When I did look at her while she was talking, I more or less concentrated on her body language. She was so animated. She used every body part to tell her stories. She assumed that I was intently listening to every detail. My little grunts and one-word answers must have been enough to fool her.

Not long before closing time, a man walked in and immediately caught Ashley's attention. He was unique-looking, as far as people who lived in Massachusetts went. His temple-length blond hair was sloppily parted in the middle. He had light golden-brown eyes and a very distinct bone structure; high cheek bones, with a square jaw line. He would have looked like a surfer from California had it not been for his pale skin. Although he was an attractive man, I had absolutely no interest in him; I never was one for blonds. Massachusetts didn't have many of them, anyway.

Ashley, however, was shell-shocked. I had never seen her utterly speechless before. I watched her, waiting for her to approach him, until I noticed he was looking at me. It was not a typical glance of acknowledging someone else in the room. He seemed like he was in shock, in complete disbelief of what he was seeing. I looked abruptly away from him and focused back on Ashley, who was hypnotically engrossed in him. I could feel him staring at me. I glanced at him again. He was trying to get a better look at me. It was if he knew me. One thing I knew for sure was that I did not know him. Ashley was now on the prowl.

"Hi. Would you like to try those on? The dressing room is back here, and I'd be more than happy to help you."

Yup, that's Ashley, I laughed to myself.

"No thanks, I was going to buy them," the strange man said with a perfect smile.

"Oh. Um. Yeah, sure, the cash register is right over there," Ashley said, without showing him the way.

As he walked to the cash register, he was still staring at me. I tried to look away, but I couldn't. Why, I wondered, is he looking at me that way? It made me feel self-conscious. He put a large stack of men's clothes on the counter. I diligently began ringing them up and taking the hangers out. I didn't look up at him, or at least I tried not to.

"That will be 450 dollars," I said, trying to be polite.

He extended a wad of cash toward me, and as I went to take it from him, his hand gently grazed mine. In the second that his skin grazed over mine, something happened. It was almost as if I was being fed an image, a vision of a man standing in front of me in an alley. Most of his face was out of focus, except for his mouth, which he had just opened. He bared his teeth—his fangs—at me and was about to bite, but then told me to go. I jumped and withdrew my hand from his.

"I'm sorry, did I offend you?" He smiled.

My voice broke a little as I tried to compose myself. "You didn't—it's fine," I said breathlessly. I didn't know what to say. I must have been tired. Maybe last night's movie, Dracula, had been a bad choice to fall asleep to. In any case, that little mental hiccup was nothing that I was going to mention to anyone.

"Thank you, please come back again. And again, and again, and again." Ashley continued speaking even as the stranger walked out the door. She was still watching him as he climbed into his black H2 Hummer.

She turned around and fanned herself off with her hands. "Oh. My. God. Did you look at him? I mean, did you really look at him? He is one of the finest things I have seen in a very long time. His face ... uh, beautiful! His body ... mmm, mmm! Did you see him?"

"Yeah, I saw him Ash; he was only right in front of me."

"That's true. He has some money, too. Between the wad he pulled out of his pants and the car he was driving—he's got some cash. Now that's the kind of man I can actually see dating for a while. I might even be faithful; I wouldn't count on it, though."

I finished my paperwork and closed the register down. Then I went to help Ashley clean up.

"Laurie, seriously, was he or was he not wicked freakin' hot?"

"He was all right, I guess," I said, trying to sound normal, but with limited enthusiasm.

"All right? Are you kidding me? What are you, a nun? Have you taken a vow of celibacy? You know what? That wouldn't even make sense, because even a nun would do him!"

I laughed. "Seriously, Ashley he's not my type. I don't like blonds or big builds." Ashley rolled her eyes at me. "And he was weird; he was really, seriously weird," I said as a final rebuttal.

"I didn't notice anything weird about him," Ashley said.

"No, Ash, you wouldn't have, you were too busy eyeing him like a piece of meat."

She thought for a second before answering.

"You have a point. What was so weird about him?"

"For starters, did you see the way he stared?" That was the only thing I could come up with without sounding certifiable.

"Stared at what?" she asked.

"Well, he stared at me," I said it like staring was a crime, something absolutely unnatural. It was, in a way.


Excerpted from Reacquainted by Lindsay Weigel Copyright © 2011 by Lindsay Weigel. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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