The Chain of Lies - By Debra Burroughs Page 0,1

shaking. Every time. When she does, it doesn’t matter how hard she tries to discern who was in the office with him, the shooter remains a dark nebulous mirage.

The nightmares in themselves were bad enough, but add to that, six months after Evan’s murder Emily learned that her late husband had kept a whole tapestry of secrets from her—including his real identity.

Now, over the past few months, she had unraveled some of the secrets, but there were so many more yet to uncover.

Emily peeked over at the digital clock glowing on the nightstand. Two thirteen a.m. She expelled a long sigh of frustration then dragged herself out of her sweat-soaked bed. Emily stumbled to the dry bed in the guest room to try for a few more hours of sleep before the sun came up, hoping the nightmares would not return.


As the sun began to peek through the bedroom window, Emily pulled her hand up to shade her eyes from the glaring light. Disoriented, she glanced around the room and realized she was in her guest room. She didn’t remember getting up and coming in here through the night.

She reclined in the bed with one arm draped across her eyes, trying to remember the night before. She recalled the going-away party she’d attended at her friends Alex and Isabel’s house. The party had given her boyfriend Colin a festive send off back to San Francisco for a time.

“Colin,” she muttered softly, her eyes still closed, seeing a vision of his strong and handsome image in her mind—his thick, deep brown hair, his smoky hazel eyes with a fringe of dark lashes, his strong angular jaw.

Her heart fluttered as she recalled the promise he had made to her the night before, vowing that he would move heaven and earth to come back to her after he’d scooped her off her feet into his well-muscled arms. Emily relished the profoundly romantic gesture.

The mere thought of him caused a gentle heat to spread over her body and she shivered at the light ripple of goose bumps that followed closely behind. She softly touched her finger to her mouth as she laid there and reminisced about his soft warm lips on hers.

Then she bolted upright.

What time is it?

There was no clock in the guest room, so she tore the covers back and dashed to her bedroom. Halting at the door, she noticed the clock on her nightstand read seven sixteen a.m.

“Shoot!” Colin was coming to pick her up at seven thirty to take her to breakfast before heading out on the road back to San Francisco. The oversized t-shirt she had slept in went flying over her head and onto the floor as she ran to the bathroom and hopped in the shower.


A sharp rap at the front door brought Emily running from the bathroom, still tugging her deep purple t-shirt over her head. She fluffed her honey-blonde curls before opening the door and greeting Colin with a bright smile.

“Looks like someone had a good night’s sleep,” Colin said as he stepped into her bungalow. He swept her into his arms and kissed her softly.

Pushing the door shut with her bare foot, she laced her arms around his torso. She knew they only had a little time left together and he would be gone again for who knows how long. She laid her head against his chest and clung to him, enjoying the nearness of his body.

“No.” She closed her eyes, inhaling his masculine scent of fresh soap and a mild aftershave. “I woke up in the night, thinking of you, wishing you didn’t have to leave again.”

He had declared his love for her the night before, at the party, saying those three little words she’d longed to hear, and she had returned his sentiments.

“I’ll be back before you know it, Emily.” He kissed her temple as he held her tight.

“You’d better be, or I’ll have to come looking for you,” she teased in an attempt to cover her sadness.

She and Colin had dated for a few short months before he was unexpectedly called back to San Francisco, where he had moved from not long before they’d met. It was there that he had been dealing with an extended family emergency for the past couple of months, but he had recently been able to steal away from his obligations for a few days.

He had surprised Emily early one morning, showing up on her doorstep with her favorite mocha cappuccino and slices of lemon poppy