The Wright One (Wright Love Duet Book 2)By: K.A. Linde
The cemetery was empty this morning.
Save for the ghosts.
I picked my way through the dusty stones, avoiding the path and staring aimlessly at the rows of the dead. Despite the mid-August Texas weather, it was actually kind of cool with that breeze blowing in. It ruffled the end of my floral skirt and kicked dust into my white tank.
My feet knew the destination well.
My late husband’s grave stood like a beacon in the gloom. I stopped before him and replaced the dead flowers I’d brought last time with new ones.
“Hey.” I ran my hand along the top of the stone and read Maverick’s name etched into the rock. “I’ve missed you. And I’ve had a shit week.”
I turned my head up to the sky and held back the torrent of emotions that lashed through me. Sadness, depression, despair, anger, fear, rage.
“I started seeing someone,” I confessed. “You never knew him. He’s the CFO at Wright Construction. He works with Morgan now. I thought it was…right. But it’s not.”
That was an understatement.
To say the least.
“David Calloway…or David Van Pelt, I guess. He waited a year after you left before approaching me. It felt too real to ignore. We talked. We laughed. We…well, we don’t have to talk about that. I confided everything in him. He was so understanding. Mav, I don’t get it.” I blinked away the tears I’d sworn I would not shed. “He lied to me. He’s a liar. He’s not a Calloway. He’s a Van Pelt.”
Maverick had already known the bullshit with the Van Pelts, a family who ran a New York–based investment firm. They’d stolen millions from the Wrights when my dad was running the company, and then they’d been turned over for investment fraud eight years ago. The patriarch of the family and David’s father, Broderick Van Pelt was serving a ridiculously long sentence for his crimes.
We hated them. David knew we hated them.
“And he never once told me. He lied about everything in his past. Now, I’m left wondering…who is he?”
I rocked forward and back, trying to calm myself down. Anger was the chief emotion now. I just wanted to unleash it. But I didn’t.
“I’m sorry I’m telling you all this. You were my best friend, and now, you’re gone. I can’t talk to anyone else about this. I’m so mad at him, Mav.” I paced in front of the grave. “I want to go back to the house, close the doors, and live in a bubble. It’s easier than living in this world.”
I threw my arms wide in frustration.
“I put myself out there, and for what? To just get betrayed?” I spat.
I circled back around and saw his name written on the stone. Maverick Wright. He’d changed it for me. Even though I’d said I’d change my name, he had known what that name meant. It had been his suggestion. He hadn’t been whipped. He’d just loved me.
The wind blew out of my sails. I dropped down, cross-legged, in front of his grave.
“It was so easy for us,” I whispered.
My eyes traveled to the tattoo on my wrist. The dandelions blowing in the breeze. I’d gotten it done soon after Maverick’s death. My brother Austin and his girlfriend, Julia, had taken me. Maverick had given me a dandelion the first time we were together. He’d said that I was too good for him. And I’d fallen for him on the spot. Insisted on proving him wrong. Things had escalated quickly. Jason had come about unexpectedly. But I’d thought it was fate. I’d thought our little happy family was destiny.
How wrong I was.
“I want it to be easy, Mav. I want dandelions blowing in the breeze. I want sorority events and keg parties and those good times. Now, my sorority friends won’t even speak with me. I hardly drink. You’re gone. There are no more good times without you.”
I shook my head. Maybe nothing would be as easy as it had been with Maverick. Maybe an easy life wasn’t in the cards for me.
“I thought David would be a new beginning.”
I dropped my head into my hands and fended off the tears. I wasn’t sad. I was pissed. I was devastated. I’d put my heart on the line. If this was living, I didn’t want to be a part of it.