Margaret Mayo, Romance Author

Extract from A SECRET TOO FAR

At the beginning of A Secret Too Far Rianne bumps into Javier, a guy who had been her boyfriend many years before. He had gone to Spain for his father’s funeral and never returned. She is shocked when he pretends not to know her and decides to see how far he will go. But time passes – and in the end she gives up.


“There is something I feel I should tell you,” she says. “I actually knew you before your accident.”
There was a full minute’s silence in the room. The clock on the mantelpiece ticked loudly. Rianne could hear her heart beating, echoing in her ears like the solemn toll of a bell. But other than that no sound disturbed them. Javier looked at her with a totally blank expression. There was nothing in his eyes to tell her what he was thinking, whether he even believed her.
Finally he spoke. ‘If this is the truth why have you not told me? Why have you waited until now?’ There was sudden sharp condemnation in his voice and his eyes glittered. ‘I have lived a nightmare. I searched my mind endlessly for clues, finally giving in when I realised it would do no good. Why have you held this back from me when you must have known how I felt? Or didn’t you care?’
Unable to cope with the accusation in his voice Rianne felt ice trickle down her spine, and yet she had brought it on herself. She should have told him in the very beginning. She should have told him everything. She could understand his rage. She would have felt the same. And now he was going to hate her forever more for hiding the truth.
His voice thundered and Rianne shivered. Every corner, every nook and cranny in the room was filled with him now, with his anger, with his disbelief. ‘I – I wasn’t sure how to tell you.’ She compressed her lips into a straight line and tried to summon up moisture to her parched mouth. ‘I wasn’t even sure whether you would believe me.’
‘Believe you?’ he growled, ‘I’d grab at anything to find out about my past.’
He stood up and began to pace the room and because there was so very little space he walked around the couch on which she sat, not taking his eyes off her for one second. She felt like a tiny animal being circled by its predator and she sat bolt upright, her arms folded in self defence.
‘Well?’ he demanded when she remained silent. ‘You can’t drop a statement like that and not say any more. What do you know about me?’ His voice was gruff, filled with a different emotion. He didn’t even sound like the same man. And she had done this to him! She closed her eyes for a few seconds, wishing that they weren’t having this conversation right here where there was no escape.
‘You – you used to live here in England. You had fallen out with your father. You hadn’t seen him for many years. You never wanted to see him again.’
He stopped pacing and stood right in front of her, his brows beetled once more, his hands on his hips. ‘My home was here? Not in Spain?’
‘That’s right.’ Her voice was no more than a whisper, though she had no idea why. He had become a frightening figure towering over her, like a soldier in battle about to make his kill. It was a surreal situation, one that she wished she had not found herself in. Although in truth she had brought it on herself by not being honest with him from the very beginning.
‘Where exactly?’
‘Right here in Derbyshire. Actually we were – er, friends.’ She could not bring herself to say lovers. Not at this moment. Maybe later when he had calmed down, when he had digested the news. How she wished that her stupid heart would stop banging against her ribs. It was making her feel as though she had just run a marathon. As well she might have! This was the most difficult conversation she had ever had.
Suddenly he dropped down into the chair he had vacated earlier. It was better than him standing over her but nevertheless she could still feel the condemning vibes coming from him. His breathing was heavy, as though he had just run a marathon, and she could almost hear his brain working overtime.
When she dared to look at him his eyes were closed. She could not imagine the torment he must be going through trying to make sense of what she had just told him. And when suddenly his lids snapped open, his glittering eyes on her face, she felt as though he had physically pinned her to the seat.
‘Now I know why you were looking at me so intently in Barcelona,’ he growled. ‘Why the hell didn’t you tell me then?’
It was not a question she could easily answer. What was that saying about truth hurting? Well, she had not wanted to hurt him. Or was it herself she had been protecting? Only pain could come out of it. But she had to say something. ‘I wasn’t sure it would be wise.’
‘Maldeci!’ His curse was like the deep guttural sound of an injured animal and he jumped to his feet again to stand directly in front of her. ‘Not wise? What sort of convoluted logic is that? Who were you trying to protect, yourself or me?
His harsh accusations felt like missiles. And they hurt.
‘Look at me, dammit. I want to know the truth. Every little bit of it. It is the least you can do.’ Without warning he grabbed her hands and hauled her to her feet. Their eyes met and she shivered at the depth of anger she saw there.

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Content copyright © 2006-2014 Margaret Mayo

Text © Copyright 2006-2014 by Margaret Mayo. Cover Art © Copyright 2006-2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
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