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Monday, 4 January 2016

Book Spotlight: #99c Destined by Perri Forrest

Tessa DeCarlo is a career woman, and a devoted wife. Her work life is good-fulfilling, even. However, she can't say the same about her marriage. But Tessa loves her husband, and she is determined to make their union work. She overlooks their lackluster sex life, as well as his disinterest in doing 'couple stuff'. It's what she signed on for, after all. For better or worse, right? But, when Tessa is hit with the ultimate betrayal just days before her class reunion, maintaining loyalty inside of a failing marriage is the last thing on her mind. 

Despite what she has gone through, and rather than wallow in self-pity, Tessa decides to attend the event. She has no idea what to expect from the evening, its sole purpose is meant to serve as a getaway. But, when she encounters August, a former college classmate, sparks fly. But not for long . . . There will be twists, turns, and added cast members to bring this story to life. Will Tessa return to her marriage and try to make it work? Will she decide on a road untraveled? Or, will she choose to be alone? 


~ 3 ~

Tessa pulled onto her block of impressive Mediterranean, contemporary modern, and Spanish style homes. Home sweet home. She loved the calm of her tree-lined street. When she married Charles, there was no question that she would switch residences from her modest bachelorette condo near the downtown area. She couldn’t wait then—and even now—to arrive home to her 3500+ square feet of awesomeness. She was still in love with coming home, even after all this time.
The first thing Tessa noticed when she pulled up curbside in front of her house was that there was no sign of a box. She looked around in confusion, and then glanced across the street in the direction of Rachel’s house. She thought she caught a glimpse of Rachel in the window, but when she squinted to make sure, the figure she thought she saw was not there.
Maybe she came and got it after all, or maybe Jim came home and took it inside not knowing when I’d get here.
Tessa shrugged her shoulders. She thought to go inside to call Rachel so that she could retrieve the package, but then once she reached the side of the house, she saw that Charles’ car was in the second garage. He must have taken it in. Cool! Truth be told, Tessa didn’t really feel like engaging in further conversation so soon after work, and that’s exactly what would have happened had she needed reach out to Rachel. 
She entered the residence through the front door, headed past the tiled foyer, and walked past her favorite part of the house—the large sunken living room—and up the stairs to look for her husband. “Honey, I’m home…!” she sang out. She giggled as she mounted the stairs and headed in the direction of their bedroom.

Perfect. This man has come home and gone to sleep. It figures. You could have at least called your wife to see if she’d be interested in coming to lay with you! But I got something that’ll wake you up. Then we can be each other’s stress relief.

At the top stair, Tessa began ditching her clothes…piece by piece…grinning the entire way. All the nonsense of the day stripped away with each garment that fell, and with each step she took.

This should be fun. Wake my man up with some soft kisses and spend the rest of the afternoon in bed. The perfect wind down. A dose of ecstasy is definitely in order. Thank you, Rachel!

Arriving at her bedroom door, Tessa heard the soft crash of the shower water, running. Oh, so he’s not sleeping. That’s even better. She was excited, and ready to touch, and be touched. Now, fully disrobed, she entered the steam-filled bathroom.
She deduced that Charles had been in for quite some time, which was nothing foreign to her. Charles had always liked a steamy bathroom with the water uber hot, which was why she didn’t take too many showers with him. But today she needed a good love down, so scalding water was the least of her concerns.
But wait
Something isn’t right.
Tessa’s smile faded, as her mind sent a flash warning that she was slow to comprehend. She took reluctant steps forward. Her gut wrenched, the hairs on her arms stood, and the thumping in her chest was engaged in a chaotic frenzy.
When she was close enough to see through the steam-filled glass, the view she caught a glimpse of was far from distorted.
This isnt happening
Through the glass shower doors—their shower doors—the full scene played itself out in real life. It was like something in the movies, only it was far from entertainment. Charles’ back was facing her. It was appealing in its own right, almost jungle-like. In a weird way, she caught herself being torn between rage and lure.
Charles had always been a muscular man with an attractive physique. It was what had initially attracted her, in addition to his charisma and dark brooding features, and the weird blue of his irises. Now, she watched as his trapezius muscle, ass muscles, and down to his thighs, tightened as he fervently grinded against a woman…in their shower.
This isn’t happening
But it is
The water cascaded down his backside. The woman’s legs were locked around his waist, her arms snaked around his neck, and her deep moans joined in chorus with shouts of his name. He held her against the shower wall, while forcefully driving his entire girth in and out of her. Even from Tessa’s view, she could tell that his thrusts were filled with hunger.
As much as Tessa had asked…as much as she had set out on failed missions of seduction… her dear husband had never given it to her like he was giving it to the bitch he was so involved with in that moment.
The passion that she was witnessing in that shower, the fact that Charles couldn’t care less that he was at risk of being caught, told Tessa some things: For one, she couldn’t possibly have a husband who loved her. There was just no way. Secondly, Charles and this woman weren’t new to one another. They couldn’t be. Anybody watching could see that. Only anybody wasn’t watching…Tessa was.
She stood in shock. She was rendered her motionless. Stiff. She was unable to move. Hurt. She couldn’t grasp what was happening before her eyes. Shocked. She wanted to scream, “No!”  But no sound could escape—any sound she could muster, was too deeply trapped somewhere between her esophagus and the back of her throat to make an appearance.
Her heart was skipping consecutive beats. When her balance began to give, Tessa used one hand to steady herself against the sink while clutching her chest with the other. “Charles…” she finally managed to gasp. But it wasn’t loud enough; it only felt as though as it was.
All the while Tessa was in pain, the pleasure in their moaning seemed to be picking up momentum.
Tessa was a stranger in her own home. She felt helpless; out-of-body almost. In fact, out-of-body, would have been a better place to be to avoid the humiliation and ruin she felt. Her heart was breaking into irreparable pieces. Devastation overtook her. How could he do this to her after all she had been to him? How? More importantly, why?
“Charles!” she said, again. Only this time there was power was behind Tessa’s delivery. “What the fuck are you doing?!” she screamed.
As bad as she wanted to yank the shower door open, her legs were limp. She was afraid that if she moved, she would instantly hit the tiled floor.
An eerie pause lingered across the room; however, it was short-lived.
Oh my God…!!! Oh my GodCharles!!!” she could hear the woman say repeatedly, with Charles echoing behind her. “Tessa! Oh shit!”
The shower door had yet to open, and the water stream had yet to be cut. Neither Charles nor the woman emerged. Everything was frozen in time. It all felt surreal to Tessa. All that she had ever tried to be in her marriage to Charles…dammit! It was all crashing at her feet—against her chest.
Tessa’s head was occupied by a million thoughts. She thought about all the times she had suggested that they both play hooky for the day and love themselves sick, or into parenthood. He had continually alluded to the fact that the office couldn’t go a day without him. Bullshit! Clarity hit her all at once. Her full strength had reared its head, and brought chaos with it.
She angrily attached a death grip onto the handle of the shower door and yanked it with all her might. Her face held the rage of ten scorned women. Tucked in the shower’s corner was a mere part of the scene Tessa had been afraid to confront.
The woman’s face was not visible. Instead, she was perched on the marble bench, securing herself behind Charles, screaming in fear, the entire time. Charles stood leering at Tessa. His eyes bulged, his lips trembling, his chest was heaving, and his dick had shriveled at the arrival of fear.
I’m gonna fuck you up!” Tessa lunged forward without precaution and began swinging wildly in both their directions, yelling obscenities with every punch she landed. Charles held up his arms to guard himself, pleading for Tessa to stop. When multiple jabs landed against several areas above his neck, Charles grabbed for, and managed to capture Tessa’s wrists within his palms in an effort to subdue her.
However, with all of Tessa’s fury unleashed, his attempt at restraining her was short-lived. In one fell swoop, she managed to break free and reach around him. She violently grabbed a large chunk of the woman’s hair and pulled as hard as she could. Her goal was to get the mistress away from Charles so that she could see her face and beat it until the woman, herself, didn’t recognize it. 
When both women fell to the shower’s base, Tessa set about battering the stranger’s body with fierce blows. The woman was too busy shielding her face to fight back. Charles yelled out, “Tessa! No! Wait!” But Tessa had zoned out and could hear nothing—she could only feel—and that was enough for her.
Bitch! You fuckin’ whore!” Tessa’s screams echoed, alongside tears. “I’ll fuckin’ kill you, bitch!”
Charles leaned down, frantically scrambling to lift Tessa, and free the woman beneath her. However, the slickness of the water on their bodies prevented him from maintaining a secure grip. Once again Tessa was loose, and with a heightened level of rage. It was a blackout moment for Tessa—one where she was unaware of who she was hitting, but satisfied enough with the attack itself.
Somehow Charles managed to spring forward and was finally able to grab Tessa. As he did so, they both fell back out of the shower and onto the flooring, with a thud. If not for sparse articles of clothing just outside, the pain could have been much worse for Charles, who had landed beneath Tessa. Even in the agonizing pain he felt, he managed to shout an order to the woman: “Gooo!”
When Tessa realized the woman was crawling to safety, she fought harder against Charles in an attempt to get off the ground…to no avail. He was able to take control of the situation, which sent Tessa into a frantic state. She bit, scratched, and punched against his chest. She even grabbed chunks of his hair in both hands and tried slamming his head. With every ounce of her strength, she tried to catch pieces of flesh in her hands, teeth, and whatever else she figured she could use to her advantage.
Charles managed to swiftly straddle her, placing her beneath him. He pinned her arms across her chest, in an effort to calm his enraged wife. As Tessa fought unsuccessfully to free herself, she was able to catch a glimpse of her aching hands, only to find they were bleeding.
The sight of blood sent up red flags, but also a sharp level of disgust. The thought of him…her husband…lying on top of her, flesh to flesh, made bile creep up in her throat. She had never felt so much disdain for a single person in her entire life.
She couldn’t believe that she was looking into the eyes of the man she had fallen in love with. They were once eyes so enticing, she felt they were much too beautiful for a man to possess. Yet, now there was nothing there. The firmness of his body atop hers was once her weakness, and filled her with unthinkable desire. But now, she only wanted to inflict pain upon him—pain he couldn’t rebound from.
You punk ass bitch! I fuckin’ hate you!” Tessa spat, through clenched teeth.
“I know you—!”
“You don’t know the half of it!” she cried out, thick puddles of tears gathered in her eyes. She was in pain—physical and emotional pain. “Get the fuck off of me, you bastard! You fucking bastard! She could taste blood on her lip, but she couldn’t recall at what point the injury might have occurred.
Get your dirty fucking dick off of me, Charles! Rightfuckingnow!”
“Calm down, Tessa! Please!” he begged. “Calm down before you hurt yourself!”
Hurt myself? Arrgh!” she yelled. “Let me go, and I’ll show you just who will get hurt, you lying, dirty dick, cunt!”
“I want to release you, Tessa. I really want to. But, please listen to me. Please.”
He cautiously released her from his grip. She looked at her shaking hands. Her body was trembling as well, and her heart felt as though it was trying to attack her from the inside. Charles had slowly risen from his position and moved into their room, where he sank to the floor against the door frame between their room and the master shower. He brought his hands to partially cover his face, and bawled into them.
As if operating off of a silent command, Tessa rose from the spot she had been confined to, and quietly stepped into the shower. She closed the door behind her as she walked into the still-pounding stream of waterfall.
No…this didn’t just happen to me, to my life.
I allowed it…
I allowed it when I taught him how to treat me.
It’s my fault…
No! I won’t do that! I tried…he didn’t.
She was numb, yet she felt everything at the same time.
All this pain because I’m married to a fraud. Her tears had halted, and her lids did not waste time blinking. She watched trickles of blood wash down the drain from her hands, and looked to see a gash in her leg that was a reminder of her earlier fall against the floor.
What did I ever do to deserve this? I’ve done nothing except be a good wife—even when I felt the end was imminent! Look where the fuck it got me! Fightin’ a naked whore in my own fuckin’ housewith MY husband.
Outside the shower door, Tessa could hear Charles’ pleas for forgiveness, and she couldn’t care less. She was nothing short of appalled that he even had the nerve to still be there, in her presence. He held no regard for her when he brought another woman into their home, yet he was standing his ground to remain.
Youre a bold dummy. Wait, noI’m wrong. That’s not ignorance, thats cockiness. Hes seen me be the dumb wife, and he feels that this time will be no different.
Tessa concluded that she had been much too lenient when it came to her home life. Everything had always been as Charles wanted it. Vacations: when and where he wanted. Sex: when/where/how, he wanted. Time spent: any and everything…it was all according to his schedule, his desires.
Yes, I definitely taught him how to treat me. There’s nobody else to blame.
Maybe battling in a man’s world at work had made her overly submissive at home—overlooking things that never should’ve been overlooked.
She grabbed the soap and vigorously rubbed it around inside her wet wash cloth, allowing an army of suds to form before she layered a white mask over her body.  
She wanted to wash away her feelings. She wanted to cleanse. Her mind was on autopilot. She had gotten to the point where she could no longer hear anything around her—no water, no Charles. The only sounds were nagging from within.
Then her body lightly jolted, and from the depths of her soul, Tessa began to sob—this time uncontrollably. She was broken. She was in shock, yet some parts of her psyche were also philandering with denial. It wasn’t that she never knew men to cheat, but now that it had touched so closely to home, she could only wonder, why? She could only wonder how she missed it. Or maybe she hadn’t missed it at all. Maybe it was there the entire time.

The emotions were all-consuming.

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