Excerpt Taming Lily by Monica Murphy

Apr 262020
 

Taming Lily (The Fowler Sisters #3) by Monica Murphy

I’m in trouble. Again. And instead of facing my problems head on, I’ve run away. Far away this time, and no one can catch me—not my two younger sisters, Violet and Rose, not my father, my grandmother, or that witch Pilar who wants to take control of my family’s cosmetics company. Now I’m in Hawaii, enjoying the sun and the sand and water, where nobody knows the hot mess known as Lily Fowler. And I’m loving every minute of it.

But someone is watching me. Following me. He’s gorgeous. And soon we’re talking, and against all my instincts, I reveal bits and pieces of myself to Max. It feels good, though I know he can’t be the man for me. These sudden feelings we share are way too complicated, too fraught, too intense.

Then everything explodes and I’m forced to return home. My intentions have always been true, but now everyone’s mad at me. I don’t know who to turn to anymore . . . except to Max. He’s who I want to trust. But I’m not so sure I should. Maybe it’s worth the risk—and what-ifs be damned. . .

Excerpt Taming Lily (The Fowler Sisters #3) by Monica Murphy

“Well, well, you’re alive,” rose greets me, sounding extra grumpy. “I hope you know I’ve been worried sick. In fact—”

I cut her off before she can get another word in. “I need you to promise you won’t tell anyone that you talked to me.”

She pauses, and I can hear her suck in a harsh breath. “Why?”

“No questions. Promise me, Rose.” My voice is as firm as my resolve. If she can’t promise, I’m ending this call. And I won’t call her again until I’m back in Manhattan.

Not sure when that’s going to happen, though.

“I can’t tell Violet?” she asks. “She’s worried too. I don’t want to keep secrets from her.”

“Especially not Violet.” She’d have no problem continually calling me, wearing me down until I have to answer. And then she’d most likely heap on the guilt, and that’s the last thing I want to deal with. “No one else can know where I am.”

“But why? Are you in hiding or what? The gossip sites have been wondering where you’ve disappeared to.” Another pause. “And what about Caden? I tell him everything. He’s the last person I can keep a secret from.”

I want to roll my eyes but don’t. Besides, the effort would be wasted because no one can see me. Of course she tells her husband everything. They’re so close, so madly in love and wrapped up in their own little world.

And I’m all alone in my hotel suite, my hand patched up and wrapped tightly, a little high on pain medication. Talk about a shitty start to my so-called vacation. “Not even Caden. I’m trusting you, baby sister. Only you, so I need you to promise.”

“Fine.” She sighs, sounding completely put out. “I promise.” Her voice is small and I feel a twinge of guilt for putting her through this.

But then I push right past it.

“Okay, good. I’m calling to let you know I’m all right. I got your texts and I know you were worried but I swear, every- thing’s fine. I’ll be home soon,” I tell her in a rush of words.

I can’t admit the real reason I called her. That I was scared when I came to after I passed out—something I don’t really remember even doing—and found myself lying on the beach, two medics hovering above me and checking my pulse, cleaning my wound and making me yelp in pain. I was so disoriented and scared and I had no one. Absolutely no one to stand by my side and reassure me that everything was going to be all right.

I was alone. I didn’t even have my mystery rescuer to help me out. He’d ditched me the minute I passed out, I guess. The hotel employee didn’t catch his name; he had no idea who he was and neither did I.

They put me in an ambulance and took me to a nearby hospital despite my weak protests. Luckily I didn’t need stitches, just a few butterfly bandages to keep the gash closed and my hand wrapped in white gauze and a weird fishnet-looking covering that kept everything in place. They put me on antibiotics and pain meds, filling the prescriptions right there in the hospital pharmacy before they sent me on my merry way.

It had been a terrifying experience. So horribly real, when I rarely, if ever, have to deal with the real world. It’s as if I’ve lived my entire life playing pretend and when shit finally got ugly and I couldn’t run, as per my usual mode of operation, I didn’t know how to handle it.

That’s why I reached out to Rose. I needed to hear her voice, needed her to ground me and remind me that I do have someone I can count on.

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