Lidia pranced into the restaurant happy whenever she caught the eye of an admirer. She was well aware how
good she looked in her cocktail dress. Smiling and winking at those she passed Lidia enjoyed the irritated
glares of their dates almost as much as the leers of the men.
“Sorry, I’m late,” Lidia greeted as she joined the girls at the bar.
The others forced smiles some rolling their eyes when they thought she wasn’t looking. Though she knew
these five for several years they weren’t friends. As socialites they couldn’t afford to be friends or even
friendly with each other. The social world was dog-eat-dog and none of them were going to let themselves fall behind the others which was the only reason they got together for these girls’ nights in the first
“So glad you could join us,” Anne said. She was something of the group leader but that position was honorary
and subject to change if she lost enough favor and support from the others.
Lidia never tired of trying to chip away at that support, ‘Traffic, you know.”
Anne raised an eyebrow but didn’t challenge the poor excuse. She had far better ammo for testing Lidia. With
a fake smile she asked, “So what’s this I hear about your sister-in-law returning?”
“Oh, she wishes,” Lidia laughed. “I always knew she’d try to crawl back but it won’t do her any good. When my
brother makes a decision it is final. He’ll never take her back.”
“Really? Is that what it looked like to you, Andrea?”
“They looked pretty close to me when they were at Good Eats,” the brunette answered. “They were all cozied
up at the same table.”
“Maybe you were seeing things,” Lidia glared at her. “My brother is in love with Madeline.”
“It’s been four years,” Anne said. “He hasn’t even proposed. In fact he hasn’t taken her out even once.”
“Well…it would look bad if he got engaged right after his divorce.”
“Really?” Anne smirked nodding to Andrea.
The other took out her phone and showed the screen picturing Lucas seated next to Sarah. Between them sat
a three-year-old looking very much like a miniature version of Sarah. But that couldn’t be…
“He doesn’t seem concerned to be seen out with them,” Anne smiled enjoying Lidia’s discomfort. “I wonder
who the kid’s father is.”
Lidia’s cheeks went red. Lucas never said anything about a baby. In fact he claimed he never touched Sarah, not once. Feigning confidence she said, “Must be someone else’s. I know for a fact Lucas never slept with her. He would never touch her. There is no way that kid is his.”
“Really? Because he looks quite happy with her,” Anne said as Andrea displayed another picture of Lucas carrying the three-year-old. He did look quite happy with the little one in his arms.
“I don’t know what kind of trick she’s up to but I got rid of her once I’ll do it again. She doesn’t have a backbone to stand up to me.”
“Be careful you don’t cross the line,” Anne warned with a frown.
“Oh please. I’m untouchable!” Lidia laughed.
Anne smirked, “You know Marilynn thought she was untouchable too. So did Katherine and Jenna.”
“Katherine Trent, Marilynn Carlisle and Jenna Ryker,” Anne said. “They all thought they were untouchable… until they crossed the line.”
Lidia frowned. The names sounded familiar, especially Carlisle. She shrugged, “So what happened to
“Well… Katherine busses tables and works at a grocery store part-time to take care of her man-child boyfriend
who can’t hold a steady job to save his life,” Anne said. “Marilynn’s father cut both her and her mother out. I
heard they moved in with her mother’s family somewhere on the west coast. She’s still waiting for her big
break. And Jenna…she’s doing ten to fifteen for fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement and drug charges. If you
don’t want to end up like them I suggest you be careful.”
“My brother won’t let that happen. Besides a few text messages and she’ll be gone.”
“Are you serious?” Anne scoffed. “How dumb can you get?”
“Did you use a burner phone?” Anne asked, “at least they wouldn’t be able to trace the messages back to you.
“What? I deleted them.”
“Yeah, from your phone. What about hers?” Anne asked. “If Sarah kept them you’re screwed.”
Lidia bit her lip. Sarah had never responded to any of her messages so she assumed the other simply deleted them after reading. Who would keep them? Unless…Unless Sarah intended to drag them all through the mud. What if Sarah kept her mother’s texts too? Or Madeline’s? Lucas would blow his top to say nothing of a lawyer if Sarah decided to make a case of it.
Anne smirked at her expression and Lidia felt her face heat up again. Compounding the problem was what happened at the party. Madeline had confronted Sarah expecting the latter to shrivel up and retreat. Instead the likes of Silas and Ava Prescott stood up for her and Sarah turned the tables openly mocking Madeline in
front of everyone.
Madeline had no choice but to retreat and seek out Lidia for support. They planned to double-team her as they used to but by then Sarah was seated at a table with the likes of Silas leaving them sorely outnumbered. What was worse was the gossip about her dress, how gorgeous she looked, praise for her outgoing personality and how close she appeared to be with the Prescotts.
spread and now there was a child? What did Lucas
think he was doing letting himself be photographed with the kid in his arms? What if Sarah showed him the
Whatever Lidia did she would have to do it quickly.
“Oh, have you heard?” one of the girls suddenly asked changing the subject. “Rosemary Thomas is finally going to reveal herself to the world!”
“I love her books!” another said. “Do you know when?”,
“At the end of the month the publisher is going to have a book launch party for the tenth book. They are
making it a masquerade so everyone will be wearing masks and at the end of the night Rosemary will reveal
“I love it! You know Rosemary had to have pitched them the whole idea. She’s so creative. I wonder if I can get
“I heard it’s really exclusive. The publisher only sent out like a hundred VIP invites but I guess they also sent
out a bunch of special tickets for people to win. Like their website is hosting a Rosemary is my favorite
author essay contest.”
“I heard on the radio they got a couple of invitations they’ll be giving away at the end of the week.”
“What radio station? How do you enter?”
The conversation continued as they searched on their phones for more information. Normally Lidia would
have joined them. She wasn’t much of a reader but she hated missing out when it came to events. At the
moment, however, she was consumed with what to do about Sarah.
Four years ago Sarah disappeared and Lidia was certain she would never return. There had been no word, nó rumors and no contact. There was no reason to suspect she would ever be seen again. And yet, now she was
back and not just back.
Sarah was a completely different person. The dress she wore at the party was bold and gorgeous. The Sarah Lidia remembered wouldn’t be caught dead in something like that. What was more she wasn’t afraid to stand up to Madeline. The old Sarah never talked back. She always quietly faded away. What happened to her to make such a dramatic change? In fact Lidia wasn’t certain her old tricks would work on the new Sarah.
And what about the child?
That was something that couldn’t be ignored.
They absolutely had to get rid of the kid. It couldn’t be that difficult to fake a paternity test, could it? If Sarah was using the kid to get child support she would have to prove Lucas was the father. Lidia would have to
figure out what hospital she used then pay the technicians to fake the test.
Yeah, that would work.
Maybe Lucas already thought of that. Maybe he was planning the same thing. She would have to talk to him. It wouldn’t be good to interfere with his plans with her own. If they worked together they could get rid of Sarah that much faster before she revealed any compromising information.
But first thing was first…
Lidia took out her phone to send Madeline a text.
We need to talk. We need to make a plan for how to deal with that b***h. I’ll let you know when I’m on my