It’s release day for Keeping Her, book two in The Kensingtons!
More lies. More betrayal. More secrets. Who’s good? Who’s bad? Who can you trust?
In this scene, Pearce tells his mother what really happened in Vegas. (Contains spoilers if you haven’t read Needing Her.)
“Pearce. You need to leave.”
I look up at my mother again. “I’m not done talking to you.”
“There’s nothing more to say. We already know what you’ve done.”
“You only know part of it.” I pause. “When Royce and I were in Las Vegas last weekend, I asked Rachel to meet me there.”
My mother’s arms drop to her sides. “Please tell me you didn’t.”
I nod. “I married her. We got married last Saturday.”
“Shit.” She whispers it as she looks down the hall toward my father’s office. My mother never swears, so I know this is bad. He’s definitely going to kill me.
She grasps my arm. “Why would you do this, Pearce?”
“Because if I didn’t, I couldn’t be with her. They’re voting in a week. They’re making it a rule that you have to marry whoever they choose. And I couldn’t do it, Mother. I couldn’t get married again to someone I didn’t love. I know you don’t approve of her, but I love Rachel. I can’t live my life without her. I know, deep-down, you want me to be happy. So why can’t you accept this and just be happy for me?”
She takes a step back and folds her arms over her chest again. “Your father’s right. You’re a fool, Pearce! A complete and utter fool! It doesn’t matter if there isn’t an official rule in place. You know how it works. You know they make the decision.”
“You said I could have a say in the matter. When you tried to set me up with Sydney—”
“Sydney was on the approved list! I was trying to help you! Give you a woman you might actually enjoy being with. Someone you could someday come to love.”
“I already love Rachel. I love her more than I could ever love any other woman.”
“Then you’re an idiot for getting involved with her in the first place. We taught you better than that. Were you not listening to us all those years? Did you really think you could marry this girl without any consequences?”
“I know there will be consequences and I will take whatever punishment they impose upon me. But I will not give up Rachel.”
“You may not have a choice,” she says, glancing down the hall at my father’s office. “Your ignorance and careless actions are going to cause you harm, Pearce. And this time, I can’t protect you.”
This scene is from Rachel’s point of view.
Pearce reaches into his nightstand and pulls something out. “I almost forgot. This is for you.” He hands me a small box. “An early Christmas gift.”
“The trip is my gift.” I sit up and turn the light on next to the bed.
“The trip is our honeymoon. Now open it.”
I open the box and inside is a small crystal ornament in the shape of a star. “Pearce, it’s beautiful. I love it.”
“I noticed we didn’t have any ornaments. I’ll get you some more, but I thought you might want to pick out the rest.”
“Actually, I was thinking of continuing a tradition my family does where we collect ornaments over the years. Something that reminds us of something special that happened that year. Would you be okay with that?”
“Of course. Whatever you want.”
I hold out the star. “So what does this say about this year?”
“That you’re my bright shining star?” He laughs as he kisses me. “Or the star of your class? You’re graduating with honors.”
“I think it should symbolize a wish. You know how you wish upon a star? We should each make a wish for the thing we want most in our new life together. Not something that’s a given, like love, but something that we really want but may not get. That way, when we see the star every year, we’ll be reminded to keep working toward whatever it is that we hope to have someday.”
“Are we telling each other these wishes?”
“No. So wish for whatever you want. Ready?” I hold up the star.
“We’re doing this right now? You gave me no time to think.”
“Oh. How much time do you need?”
“Never mind. I’ve got it. Go ahead.”
I dangle the star between us. “Okay, make your wish.”
I close my eyes and imagine my wish. It’s a wish that’s not likely to happen, but that’s why it’s a wish. It’s something to hope for.
My wish is for Pearce and I to have a baby. I want that more than anything. So that will be my wish every year when I take this ornament out. A wish I’ll make every year at Christmas. And maybe if I’m lucky, that wish will come true.
Katherine was causing trouble even when she was a teenager, as evidenced by this scene. Keep in mind that Rachel is never supposed to find out about the organization. Knowing it exists could put her life in danger. This is from Rachel’s POV.
“Are you Rachel?”
I turn and notice a young girl standing next to me. She’s very pretty. Long blond hair. Bright blue eyes. She’s maybe 14 or 15 and very thin. She’s wearing a black cocktail dress with thin straps at the top.
“Yes, I’m Rachel. And you are?”
When she says it, I see the resemblance. She looks very similar to her mom.
“It’s nice to meet you.” I smile at her. “I met your parents earlier. Your family has a beautiful house.”
She shrugs. “It’s not that great.”
Is she kidding? Most kids her age would love to grow up in a house like this.
“I’m guessing you’re in high school?”
“When did you start dating Pearce?” She says it in an accusatory tone, almost like I’m dating her boyfriend.
“Last September. So what grade are you in?”
“You know you can’t be with him.”
I raise my brows. “Excuse me?”
“He has to be with a daughter of a member. Someone like me.”
“You? You’re a teenager.”
She straightens up. “I’m 15, and I turn 16 in a few weeks.”
“And Pearce is 25, almost 26.”
“So? That’s not that big of an age difference.”
“It is when you’re 15.” This girl is getting on my nerves. I don’t like her tone or the way she’s looking me up and down, assessing me just like her parents did.
She sets her hands on her hips. “You can never be with him, so you might as well end this now.”
“Pearce and I are engaged. We’re very happy together. We’re not breaking up.”
“The wedding will never happen. They won’t allow it.”
“Who’s ‘they’? Who are you talking about?”
“The organization.” She smirks. “He hasn’t told you about it?”
“What’s going on here?” Pearce asks, as he comes up behind me. “What do you need, Katherine?”
“I was just saying hello to Rachel.” Katherine tilts her head and smiles at him. She’s trying to play sweet and innocent, but I won’t let her get away with it.
“Katherine was saying how we couldn’t be together,” I tell Pearce. “She said some organization won’t allow us to get married.”
Pearce starts coughing, almost like he’s choking.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
He nods. “Yes.”
I turn back to Katherine. “So, Katherine, what organization are you referring to?”
Before she can answer, Pearce says, “Katherine has a very active imagination. She always has, haven’t you, Katherine?”
When Pearce met Rachel, he knew she was the only woman for him. He wanted her, needed her, and now he finally has her. But for how long? He was never supposed to be with her. He didn’t follow their rules and now he must pay for what he’s done.
With his punishment looming, his relationship with Rachel moves forward. They’re looking at houses, talking about having a baby, living a normal life. The life Pearce always wanted.
But he worries it won’t last. He’s concerned about Rachel’s safety, and fears what will happen if she ever learns the truth. Can he continue to keep the dark side of his life a secret from her? And if he can’t, would she forgive him for what he’s done?
Their love story continues, but now it’s become much more complicated.