Something's wrong with her perfect marriage, but Kiara Eason isn't sure what. Her ambitious husband, Rashad, is the last person who'd ever cheat--and she never imagined she'd stray. Still, why is she confiding so much in her handsome co-worker, Eddison? And why is she wondering what would happen if she put her marriage to the ultimate test--secretly setting Rashad up with a younger woman to see if he's tempted?...
When Kiara decides to test Rashad for real, her world turns upside down. Not only does he take the bait--it turns out he's had a mistress on the side for years. Now, betrayed and furious, Kiara will take all the sizzling erotic satisfaction Eddison can give--and forever flip the script on Rashad's infidelity. But secrets cut both ways, and Kiara soon finds that the only road to winning this game could lead to losing it all. . .
About the Author
Born and raised in Detroit, Cydney graduated from Cass Technical High School and earned an undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University. She resides in Houston. Visit her online via Facebook, at www.cydneyrax.com, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read an Excerpt
If Your Wife Only Knew
A Love & Revenge Novel
By Cydney Rax
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Cydney Rax
All rights reserved.
Kiara Eason stood at the front of the decorated ballroom. Hundreds of helium-filled balloons bobbed against the high ceiling. A six-member band stood on a tiny stage loudly jamming seventies hits like "Dancing Machine" and "Benny and the Jets."
All the tables held party favors that bore the image of Max Julien in The Mack, in recognition of the first date between her grandparents, Flora and John.
"Mama Flora didn't leave out a single detail," Kiara said to herself as her eyes took in the festive gala. "I'm so impressed."
After a while, the band started playing "The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me." A woman who looked like Gladys Knight but didn't sound like her grabbed the microphone.
"I've had my shares of ups and downs ..." she began. Her singing voice crackled. She held the notes but sounded like a wolf howling at the moon.
Kiara let out a spirited laugh and grabbed the neck of her champagne glass. She strolled over to the female guest of honor and excitedly tapped her glass. Mama Flora dramatically swayed to the music then hugged Kiara after sipping the bubbly liquid.
"Forty freaking years with Grand Pop. I'm so happy for you. Y'all are such an inspiration to me and my hubby."
"Where is Rashad? Isn't he supposed to be here?" Flora asked.
"Of course, he should be here. And I don't know exactly why he's not. But I have a strong suspicion."
"You look like you're pissed, yet I sense you don't give a damn."
"Oh, I give a damn all right. It's just that I don't know how much more I can give to keep my marriage afloat. That's why I'm here tonight ... with y'all. I need some inspiration, or maybe a swift kick in the butt."
Kiara walked a short distance over to the dessert table and grabbed two plates of anniversary cake.
"Want a piece?" she asked her grandmother.
"Cool. That means there's more for me." Kiara laughed. She proceeded to devour one thick slice of cake. Then she wolfed down a second piece.
"You're worrying me, darling."
"Don't be worried, Mama Flora. I eat like this all the time."
"Has Rashad noticed that you're starting to overeat?"
"I doubt it. He's so busy with his contracting jobs. In fact, I'll bet he had to work late tonight. Yep, that's it. His favorite line is, 'A business owner always got shit to deal with.'"
"Do you believe him?"
She then unearthed her cell phone, which was inside her evening bag. She dialed Rashad's mobile number. No answer. She quickly called their house phone. It rang and rang.
Kiara decided to log into their cell phone account.
"What are you doing?" Mama Flora asked.
"I want to know the last time he made a phone call."
"You're checking up on him?"
"Damn right, I am. Because if he's been making calls, I probably have nothing to worry about. But if there are long gaps in between calls, that may mean something different. Something that will make me wonder."
"But didn't you just say that he's working tonight?"
Mama Flora studied her granddaughter, who gave her a distressed look.
"To be honest, Grandma, I don't plan to stay at this party all night. I just swung by to congratulate you and Grand Pop and to pick your brain."
Kiara and Rashad Eason had been married nearly ten years. And all Kiara ever wanted was to have a long-lasting, fulfilling marriage to the man whom she deeply loved. During the first four years, everything was perfect. They built their marital foundation together, striving to do everything they could to be each other's best friend. Then after their son, Myles, was born, things changed. Rashad felt pumped up about being a family man. And Kiara pressed him to do all he could for his precious heir. Rashad agreed. He was motivated by her job at the local college. Kiara was always a go-getter and he was proud to be her husband. The Easons wanted to achieve the American dream. Family, finances, and a badass crib. Kiara took charge of their household expenses, including balancing the checkbook, paying bills, and making investments. And they excelled. But for the past few years, Kiara noticed tiny details that made her feel restless. Their relationship felt too comfortable. And her husband's sex drive suddenly multiplied. But Kiara was exhausted from work, motherhood, social life, domestic duties. That's when she noticed her husband changing. He'd come home late and started petty fights. When she questioned him, he had a convenient answer. Rashad insisted that since the housing market was booming in Houston, he needed to jump on it and make extra money through his contracting business, Eason & Son. So that's why he was home less often, he said, and the pressure of work made him moody. Kiara didn't mind if Rashad was grinding for more money. But it did bother her if he was too tired to spend quality time with her. When he did find time, she felt happy and satisfied. Nevertheless, she desperately wanted to maintain the good parts of her marriage and make sure it lasted for the long haul. And who better to ask than the woman who raised her, Mama Flora, who took in Kiara after her birth mother died from breast cancer when the girl was only two.
Mama Flora raised Kiara to be cultured and educated. And she taught her granddaughter how to balance a checkbook, bake two-layer cakes, and properly clean a house.
"One day your future husband will appreciate a woman who is smart, multitalented, and beautiful. And that's what you are."
Kiara knew her grandmother had her back and she trusted any advice she could offer.
"So tell me, Mama Flora," Kiara asked as she took another sip of her champagne. "How exactly did y'all make it to this day? Don't leave out anything."
But her grandmother got interrupted and had to excuse herself before Kiara could get an answer.
As she waited, Kiara thought about Rashad.
"Where is my husband?" Kiara said to herself. "I swear to God he drives me crazy sometimes."
She skipped away from the pack of family and associates who were gathered in the country club. She crept down a darkened hallway. It was almost eight o'clock. The party had been going strong for one hour and Kiara felt anxious. She told her grandmother that her husband was working late. But what was the true reason why Rashad hadn't shown up?
She hid away inside the empty women's restroom and dialed his number for the fifth time that day.
Rashad finally answered and mumbled, "Hello?"
"Babe, where are you?"
"Mmmm," he groaned.
"Rashad, you sound strange. Are you asleep?"
She felt both relieved and foolish. "I mean, did I wake you? I've been texting and calling. Why aren't you here at Grand Pop's anniversary party?"
"Please don't tell me you forgot, because I just reminded your ass last night. And I told you months ago to put this event on your calendar. Rashad!"
"Why are you copping an attitude?"
"You need to do better."
"Well, I'm so busy sometimes I forget."
"That's no excuse. You're way too old for this."
"Kiara, don't bitch at me. I'm not for all that."
She decided to use a different approach.
"Rashad, I know it's inconvenient, but get dressed real quick and come out here right now. Just to make an appearance. The fam has been asking about you and I know they'd love to see you."
"And it won't look good if I'm not there with you, right?"
The way he said it made her feel like she had committed a crime.
"I just don't like being at parties by myself. Plus, we are married, in case you forgot."
"I haven't forgotten. And I do apologize, babe. Forgive me. But hell, my sinuses were bothering me. I took some pills that knocked me out ... so that's what happened."
"Okay, fine. I know you'll feel better soon. But it isn't every day that a married couple stays together for four decades. This party is not something we're going to see again. So please get dressed and come by, even if it's just for a few minutes, all right?"
"Kiara, chill. Tell everyone I'm sorry. But I'm not up to it. Please give my regards to your grandparents." He paused. "Forty years, huh? That's a longgggg time."
Kiara hated how he sounded when he said that, like he couldn't imagine being with the same woman for that many years.
Kiara knew her girlfriends envied her relationship. She could tell when she invited people to their home. Her guests stared at the spectacular house: the tasteful decorations and furnishings, brand-new appliances, and surround sound home theater system. They complimented its beauty — and rarely visited her again. These hating-ass "friends" compared their lives to Kiara's and couldn't stand that she was doing so well. In fact, Kiara's BFF, Adina Davis, was a woman that Rashad had forbidden her to hang out with any longer. He felt Adina was "messy" and a bad influence. It had been a couple years since the two women stopped speaking. And lately Kiara realized she missed her friend and she could use someone in her life who kept it real.
Nevertheless, although Kiara lost some friends, and other friends' marriages were now splitting up, she and Rashad were still hanging in there. And to celebrate their upcoming anniversary, Rashad booked a cruise to the Western Caribbean that would take place later in October. It would be good to get away from it all and try to restore the romance in their relationship.
"Yep, Rashad," Kiara continued. "Forty and fabulous is the theme of this expensive celebration. You should be here to see it. All that love. All that good food. It just might inspire you. It definitely has made me think. Anyway, I know even a room full of nasty strippers won't pull you out the bed. So whatever. See you when I see you."
She hung up. She knew she should have said her normal, "Bye, baby. Love you." But she felt mentally exhausted. She tried so hard to do the right thing in her relationship. When Kiara Eason committed to something, she gave one hundred and ten percent. This was true at her job. And it was especially true at home.
Kiara decided to forget about Rashad and his lame excuse. Instead she enjoyed getting her drink on, tearing up the dance floor, and chopping it up with family.
Not long afterward, Kiara cornered Flora again; the woman was resting her tired feet after she had tried to twerk to Michael Jackson's "Working Day and Night."
Kiara knelt on the floor next to Flora. "Grandma, please drop some knowledge. How do you stay married for decades?"
"It takes true commitment. You gotta love him even when it feels hard to do."
Kiara nodded and smirked.
"Don't fight over something that hasn't even happened yet. Never go to bed mad. And pick your battles 'cause every irritation ain't worth an all-out war. If you can do all those things, that's what it takes to get to this day." Mama Flora grinned and expelled a contented sigh.
"Hmm, that's all?"
"You sound disappointed."
"I'm thinking a lot of couples have done all this and more, yet they're no longer married."
"True. But I don't know about everybody else. I just know me and that man in there, we're besties. We love hard. We give each other space. And we listen to each other no matter what, even if we don't see eye to eye. And that's not hard to do these days when you wear bifocals."
Kiara laughed, yet she wasn't completely satisfied. That was why when Kiara bumped into Grand Pop minutes later, she wanted his side of the story.
Grand Pop was still handsome even though he walked a little slower since he turned seventy. But he trotted about like an old-school pimp.
"Grand Pop, have I ever told you how much I love you?" Kiara choked up and gave him a hug.
"Aw, sugah, I love you, too."
"And I want you to know that I'm praying that my husband will be just like you — strong, stable, smart, and dedicated to his wife." She shook her head. "It's unbelievable that you two have been blessed to see this day."
Grand Pop averted his eyes. He gazed at the ceiling and cleared his throat.
"Well, sugah, I hate to tell you this right now, but you would've found out about it anyway. I-I am filing for divorce before the end of the year. Sooner rather than later."
"W-w-hat did you just say?"
"You heard. We may have been together for forty, but I'm telling you now, ain't gone be no forty-first anniversary."
"Grand Pop! Nooo!"
"Sugah, you young but you ought to know by now that shigitty happens. That you can have it good for a long time, but good don't always stay good."
"I just can't believe I'm hearing this." Kiara stared into space and pondered the shocking revelation. "I mean, I've been to your house. I've seen all the beautiful photos that Mama Flora displays everywhere, in every room. She's smiling. You're smiling."
"They're photos, sugah. That's what you do. You smile ... for the camera."
"Does that mean you weren't sincere? That your love for Grandma wasn't genuine?"
"It means I loved her the best way I could. In life, people try to stay happy, but things happen. Life gets changed around. Happiness turns upside down."
Kiara's heart sank inside of her. She reached out and hugged Grand Pop. She leaned her head against his chest.
"You two are my inspiration. Now what am I going to do? Does Mama Flora know? Why is she acting like everything is okay when it's not?"
"Baby girl, she's hurting. She just hides it. You may want to go find her. Talk to her. Give her your love. She'll always be your family."
She kissed Grand Pop's cheek as tears streamed from her eyes.
"I wish the best for you," she replied. "You will always be family, too. And thanks for letting me know what's going on."
She gave him one last squeeze and said good-bye.
The information was more than Kiara could bear. She decided to leave right away; she wasn't in the mood to party any longer.
Kiara finally made it home. She and Rashad lived on a quiet tree-lined street in Fresno, a suburb located south of Houston. Their corner lot residence had supreme curb appeal with its brick and stone elevation and opulent landscaping. It boasted a two-story living room, island kitchen, a game room, a spiral staircase, four bedrooms, and a custom-made deck built with Rashad's own hands. Kiara drove into the garage and turned off the ignition. Once she got inside the house, she hurried to their first-floor master suite and got undressed. The hot water from the whirlpool jets massaged her as she cleaned herself inside their glass-enclosed Jacuzzi shower; then Kiara crawled into their king-size bed. Rashad was spread out and snoring. She kicked him. He didn't move. She kicked him harder. He sat up.
"What? Damn. What?"
"You're not sorry. Why'd you kick me? What'd I do?"
"Oh, my God, everything isn't about you, Rashad."
"If you kicking me like a damned kangaroo, I've got to assume it's about me!"
"Babe, forgive me. I-I'm just so wired up." She waited for him to ask what happened. When he lay back down and turned away from her and snatched the comforter back on top of himself, Kiara continued. "Rashad, I know you're sleepy but you gotta hear this. My grandparents are heading to Splitsville."
"Is that a small town in Texas?"
"Rashad, stop playing. I think it's ridiculous for old-ass married folks to be breaking up. Grand Pop loves women. What's he supposed to do now? Register with OkCupid?"
"Hell, if he's a true G, he might."
"Oh, that would be so disgusting. At his age, where is he gonna find a woman that's better than Mama Flora? I think he's tripping. Whatever problems they had, surely they can work 'em out, don't you think?"
"Dunno. None of my biz."
"Why you sound so shocked? Couples crash and burn every day. Nick and Mariah. Wiz and Amber. And um, each time Kim Kardashian breaks up with a man it's almost like a national holiday."
"Humph! That's what you call hooking up with a famous penis. But we're talking about my family and people we actually know. This situation is serious."
"You're right. It is serious. And even though I'm acting like I'm not surprised, well, hell, I am surprised."
She sprung off the bed and started pacing alongside it.
"I didn't see this one coming. Women have so much to deal with already."
Rashad grinned as he watched Kiara vent. Even though they first met more than ten years earlier, he still admired his wife's beauty. Her oval-shaped face, flawless honey brown complexion, doe eyes, big boobs, and curvy shape made her a looker. She was his own little Ashanti, since she bore a strong resemblance to the attractive singer.
"Hello? Men have a lot on their plates, too."
Excerpted from If Your Wife Only Knew by Cydney Rax. Copyright © 2016 Cydney Rax. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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