Megan Marie Cardoza, is a twenty- six-year-old Media CEO with a less than impressive personal life. When Meg’s best friend Emily returns to town, she, and Meg’s siblings shake things to the core prompting Meg to reveal her true feelings for her ex Alex, and give in to her needs she has been suppressing for six long years. After a steamy reconciliation between her and Alex, things seem to be falling back into place, until the past comes back to slap them in the face at their engagement party no less. With the arrival of Meg’s parents and the continued interference by Alex’s father, who hates Meg, secrets much deeper than they ever expected float to the surface threatening to rip Meg and Alex apart for good, with fatal results for some. When everything she thought she knew is in question, Meg must decide if the secrets are big enough to walk away for good.
Surprises and Ambushes
“One last glance,” Meg said to herself, as she looked over her appearance in the mirror.
“Come on here sis,” Gio said, winking at her. “You look smoking hot.”
“You don’t think it’s too much?”
“You look great, stop worrying,” he grabbed her hand.
One reassuring look from Gio, and the nervousness in her bright hazel eyes dissolved and was replaced with a brilliant smile. She wasn’t sure why she was anxious, but the way everyone had been acting since they left the store told her that something was going on. Maybe a blind date or something, she thought. With her hand latched to Gio’s, she walked the stairs.
She was dressed in her red dress, looking radiant. Gio always had a way of shattering her nerves and then building her up with killer confidence. The fact that he was painfully honest let her know that he meant what he said about her appearance. When they made it to the front room, Emily was sitting, waiting for them in a beautiful black halter-top dress looking simply amazing.
“You look stunning,” Emily looked over Meg’s appearance.
Meg’s hair was now in deep spirals and pinned into a loose up-do that accented her dress and jewelry. The smile she shot Emily after the compliment put her conflicted heart at ease as she thought about the details of the evening that they left out.
“You dolls ready?” Gio asked, extending his arms out to both women.
“We sure are,” Meg smiled brightly. “Where are we eating tonight?” Meg asked,
once they headed to the restaurant. “La Bella,” Gio answered quickly.
“I love that place, they have the best truffles.” “We knew you would,” he replied and chuckled.
“Are Lele and Maddie already there?” Emily asked knowingly.
“Yes, they have arrived,” Gio supplied, winking at her through the rearview mirror.
When Meg saw the looks exchanged between Gio and Emily, her suspicions were confirmed. “You guys know you’re not fooling me.”
“What are you talking about?” Gio asked innocently.
“I know you’re setting me up.”
“Why on earth would you think such a thing?” Emily asked, feigning shock.
“The clothes for one.”
“Oh honey, you really did need new clothes, date or not,” Gio said quickly.
“Giovanni Ivan Valenzio, you know I can smell bullshit a mile away, now tell me what you’re up to.”
“Oh, okay you got me, I have Brad Pitt waiting for you at the restaurant,” he said, and began to laugh hysterically.
“You know you can be such a cunt,” she flashed him a grin.
“And you can be such a pain in the ass,” he said. “We are just going to enjoy each other.”
Emily, who was just watching the exchange, smiled when she saw Gio’s game face. Only he could go blow for blow with Meg and keep up pretenses. She had to admit, he had nerves of steel.
When they pulled up at the restaurant, the valet opened the doors for the women, and Gio quickly tossed him the keys. Once out of the car, Gio again extended his arms to the girls and led them inside.
“Do you have reservations?” the hostess asked as they approached the front podium.
“We should already have a party waiting for us under the name of Hanover,” Emily replied and began to look around.
“Hanover, which Hanover?” Meg asked warily. “Your sister and Matthew of course,” Gio
interrupted before Emily could answer.
Without being fully convinced, Meg just accepted his answer and walked towards the dining area after the hostess. When they arrived at the table, she noticed Aiden there and got a bad feeling about the evening.
All the thoughts running through her mind disappeared when she saw the warm, inviting smile of her long-lost friend. Sure she had been around Matthew, because he was married to her sister, but seeing the smile from Aiden gave her a sense of reassurance. She thought after the breakup with Alex, he might not see her as a friend anymore.
They greeted everyone and quickly took their seats. Emily gladly took a seat next to Aiden, and Gio next to Maddie and her boyfriend, Sean. With everyone else seated, this left Meg sitting next to an empty chair on the end. Seeing all of her old friends and family in one place made her feel good, but it also made her think about Alex and the way it ended between them. She couldn’t believe how wrong she had been about him.
While Meg engaged in conversation with Aiden and Emily, Gio took the opportunity to ask Maddie about Alex’s whereabouts. “Where is he?”
“He stepped off for an important call, he should be back shortly.”
“Does he know she is here?”
“Not a clue,” she replied and smiled.
Meg found herself staring at Aiden while engaged in conversation. He looked so much like Alex it wasn’t funny. While he was still talking, she drifted off looking over at the empty seat, secretly wishing that Alex was sitting beside her. Despite what happened between them, she still thought about him all the time. She wasn’t sure she would ever stop. When Aiden noticed her looking at the chair, he stopped talking and smiled back at Emily.
“I guess we were right, she does miss him.” “What about him, do you think he misses her?”
He smiled at her question. “Can you keep a secret?”
“Yes. Now tell me,” she insisted.
“He still has the ring,” Aiden said gleefully. “Oh my god!” Emily screamed, drawing the attention of everyone at the table. They were all so distracted by Emily’s outburst that no one noticed Alex heading in their direction.
“Hey, I’m going to run to the ladies room,” Meg said to Aiden and Emily and began to get out of her seat.
When she stood, she bumped into a waiter standing behind her and sent the tray he was holding flying out of his hand. When she began to tumble over, she felt a set of strong arms grab her waist and pull her close. The loud crash startled everyone at the table, but was forgotten when they saw who was holding Meg’s back against his chest.
“I’m so sorry sir,” Meg said to the waiter, before turning around to thank the man who kept her from falling.
“It’s fine. I should have been more careful. I’m just glad I wasn’t carrying anything on the tray.”
When Meg saw the group staring at her with amused expressions, she suddenly remembered the strong set of arms clasped tightly around her waist. When she shifted her weight, he slowly released her from his grasp and she felt a surprising sense of deprivation. Even though she hadn’t seen his face, something about this polite stranger felt familiar. As she slowly turned to face him, she heard several loud gasps from the table of onlookers. When she discovered the identity of her rescuer, she felt her knees go weak, and he reached for her once more.
“Hello, Angel Face,” he said sweetly, while holding her up.
“Alex…” she gasped quietly, still in shock.
Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager, but I’ve only recently gotten into doing it in a professional sense. As a writer, I tend to throw so much of my quirky personality into my characters. My stories are all fictional, of course, but every story has some parts of things that have actually happened in my life. I love to test the waters in my writing. Whether it’s the crazy things they say or the racy romantic encounters, I like to push it to the edge to leave my readers wanting more. In my books or my projects, as I like to call them, I like to show a strong sense of family and togetherness, for the most part. I just throw in what I can to make it interesting and unforgettable.
Get to know the author:
How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I’ve been writing since middle school, mostly poems and short stories. I only recently started to dabble in full-length novels. I love to read, so I was sitting reading a book from one of my favorite authors, and I thought, hey, I can do this. Two months later, I had Circle of Deception, and I’ve been writing ever since.
What’s the story behind the title of your book?
The title lets you know right off that the book will be full of secrets and dramatic events. I wanted to sell the belief that at some point, every character in the book has a secret to be told. Some are insignificant, and some are too large to contain, thus making the whole circle of friends deceptive to a certain extent.
How do you get to know your characters?
My characters and I are one in the same in some ways. The all display some semblance of my snappy personality, but they also have the ability to make you fall in love with their sincerity. I’m a big fan of evolution so you will see growth in my characters as the books go on. Even the most unfortunate of characters have their turning points.
Are any of your characters inspired by real people? Who?
In a way, the characters are like many of my friends and family all wrapped up in one. For instance, the main characters, Meg and Alex, are strong, stubborn, and passionate much like a couple I’ve known for quite a while. Their love gets them through some pretty dark times in the book.
Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
There were so many to choose from, but I would have to say, the scene towards the end where Bianca comes clean about everything past, present, and her plans for the future. In that scene, we get to see how deep Alex and Meg’s connection really is, and how selfless they both are when It comes to protecting their daughter. It gives you so much to smile about in a time of tragedy.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Eric Jerome Dickey & Brenda Jackson
What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
I hate unresolved storylines and predictability. With each of my projects, you can expect a dramatic twist, and if it is not resolved then, you can believe there will be a sequel.
Do you have a routine for writing?
My routine is a bit unorthodox. I work crazy hours, and when I get off of work, it’s like I get a second wind. When I get home, I toss in my headphones with a nice R&B playlist and write until I fall asleep. I have been averaging a chapter every two days or so.
Where’s home for you?
The beautiful state of Texas, Dallas, to be Exact. I love it here, wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Oh goodness, I’m sleeping! No, really, I’m spending time with my husband and family or either at work. My life is hectic sometimes, but I love it!
What are you working on now?
I have been writing a new book every other month. I finished the sequel to Circle of Deception, and a new series called Mixing business and pleasure, the first book of that one is published as well. Like Circle of Deception, it has all the drama and steamy encounters you can stand with an exciting plot and main characters with very strong personalities. I have tons of projects in the works that I’m very excited about.
Find the author:
Email: [email protected]
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