Twenty-six years of marriage to Dr. Andrew Nash Douglas, Jr., had prepared Arianne for talks just like this with her young son. She’d had them for years with their other three children. The truth was harsh and too much for any thirteen-year-old to handle. Andrew and Arianne’s relationship had been plagued with lies from day one. Never allowing herself to forget that he was married when she started seeing him, Arianne knew he wouldn’t be faithful for very long, and twelve years into her marriage, she wasn’t either – the proof standing before her now with his big brown eyes. Brown eyes like his biological father. Neither of the two men suspected that Pike was Gregory’s child, and Arianne wasn’t telling. Fear and love kept that secret.
Never could two men be as different as Nash and Reece Douglas. They both had the same hazel eyes and dark hair as their father and the same olive skin as their mother, but that’s where the similarities ended. Nash was perpetually angry, always entitled, and unapologetically judgmental. Remembering the sexy and alluring man who took her to his family’s boathouse a year before, Layton could hardly believe she was with the same person. He’d romanced her with red wine, fried chicken, and a dance underneath the stars. And by the time he revealed his true nature six months ago, she was in too deep. She was in love with Nash’s family, devoted to Nash’s daughter; and she’d found her closest and dearest friend in the world – his brother. The odd thing was, as much as he despised Reece, Nash never said a word about the time they’d spent together – further confirmation in Layton’s mind that he’d never love her. She knew who his heart belonged to, and she’d known the first moment she saw them together. Nash was in love with Millie. And she was in love with Reece.
Across town in his office, Andrew opened a locked box and thumbing through pictures, found one of the only tangible reminders of his relationship with Millie. She couldn’t have been more than fifteen sitting atop her Appaloosa in tan breeches, a white shirt starched to perfection, and brown riding boots. It was her first and only jumping competition; but she never stopped riding and lucky for Andrew, never stopped wearing brown riding boots. He wasn’t sure why, but this picture always brought tears to his eyes. Three weeks after it was taken, he left for his tour as a Green Beret to the Demilitarized Zone in Vietnam – witnessing horrors he’d never shared with anyone but Millie. And a little less than a year later, when her mother died mysteriously and she was swept up in the remnants of Ruth’s life, Millie begged Andrew to find love elsewhere. But he could never let her go – clinging their innocence and the purity of the love they shared.
The glint of light from the half-moon reflected easily off the bayou Gregory liked to fish in a few feet away from the graveyard. As usual, he was the first to arrive. Leaning against the sprawling oak, he was thankful little had changed from last summer. It was slightly overgrown with the newness of spring, but Arianne would love the lush green kudzu spreading across the light grey stones. He didn’t come here often, but when he did it was usually to clear his mind, yet Gregory always left with more to think about than when he arrived. The lure to read the broken markers or take a nap under the old oak was as hard to resist as the woman he made love to on a blanket next to the water years before. After the end of their affair, Arianne would bring Pike and the three of them would just sit for hours. It was salt on his open, bleeding wound but it was the only time in his adult life he felt like he had a real family. Gregory realized she’d given him everything she could knowing how much he wished Pike was his. And somehow that was enough. He saw the boy’s first smile, heard his first word, and helped him take his first steps. In the safety of that cemetery – the Potter’s Field – where the unknown and indigent were buried, where their very own sins were laid to rest…their life together found validation, it was real.
Why NOT New Orleans?
When Marie and I were deciding on the setting for our book series we knew for sure it should be Louisiana. First of all, we know it. As children, we lived across the street from each other in Vidalia, a small central Louisiana town. We played on the levee together and made ‘club houses’ in the brush at its base. We went fishing in the Bar Pits, and dredged the back ditch behind Marie’s house for crawfish after every big rain. And when we were old enough to drive, we drove the back roads at night singing at the top of our lungs to Wilson Phillips or Tracy Bonham. Both of us went to college in Louisiana. I went to Tech in Ruston, and Marie, to Baton Rouge and LSU. This state is in our blood, and more than that, our hearts. So when we were talking about where in the world The Waiting would be set….Marie said, “why not New Orleans?” And so, New Orleans it was! We went a step further by accident, and somehow included all of South Louisiana. It has been a joy researching and exploring that part of my state. From Darrow to St. Amant, Slidell, Mandeville, Bayou Des Allemands, and especially New Orleans, I have gained such an appreciation for our heritage as native Louisianians. So here are a few pictures of the past two trips I’ve taken to South Louisiana – most of these places are significant in Book One, and if not Book One, Book Two and so on.
Unapologetically arrogant, Dr. Nash
Douglas has a love/hate relationship with his parents. Simply speaking, he loves to hate them. For years, he’s tried to win their approval, but instead of impressing them, they showered their attentions and affections on their other three children, namely their middle son, Reece. But at thirteen, after accidentally seeing his mother with another man, Nash tells the one person who’d been yearning for retribution against Arianne for his entire life – his father’s ex-wife, Dr. Millie Douglas. Through the years, their desire for revenge brings them closer to power and each other. And now, he wants all of her – mind, body, and soul.
Kindhearted Reece Douglas is in love with the girl of his dreams. Beautiful Layton Beard is everything he wants in a woman and a best friend. Over the past year, they’ve spent countless hours getting to know each other and sharing each other’s lives, and Reece can’t help but hope for the day he can make her his wife. The only problem? She’s dating his older brother.
Good-natured, agreeable Sydney Douglas has spent her entire life trying to earn a relationship with her bold and over-the-top parents – especially her mother. Yet every time she reached out, Millie would freeze and build a wall, insurmountable to scale, making reconciliation impossible. After an unexpected change of heart from her father, Andrew, she vows to go to her mother and give her one more try. But what Sydney discovers in her childhood home shatters her world into a million pieces.
Charming Tiffany Comeaux is completely smitten with her boyfriend, Dr. Gregory Adams. She may even be falling in love. But four months into their relationship, she’s still not been formally introduced to anyone close to him. In fact, he’s avoided it at all cost. So after a real, legit invitation to finally meet his friends, making a good impression is paramount. But some of those friends, as Tiffany soon realizes, need more convincing than others.
Intuitive Lesley Huff has been blessed with the gift of knowing, and it’s saved lives on more than one occasion. Literal and straight-forward, she has the ability to read people and their motivations. But when a reoccurring childhood dream changes, Lesley knows something’s wrong. Someone she loves is in danger. But who? And why?
Ambitious Dr. Andrew Douglas is always looking for ways to have more. More power. More money. More women. But when Slidell businessman, Dr. Bob O’Malley propositions him to bring River City Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, into a black market organ trade, he’s hesitant. How would they get away with it? What happens if they get caught? What happens if he says no?
Conservative and proper Arianne Douglas seems to have it all. A happy marriage, three handsome sons, a loving stepdaughter, and a fulfilling career that gives back to others. But when her husband’s ex-wife discovers her deepest secret, how will Arianne prevent her two worlds from colliding – especially since her secret involves her husband’s best friend, and her thirteen year old son?
Stoic and solemn Dr. Gregory Adams is an honorable man with a heart of gold. Proud of the legacy passed down through his father and grandfathers, he takes his job as Chief Medical Officer of River City Medical Center seriously. But after discovering that his best friend, Andrew is involved with something that is legally and ethically wrong, Gregory doesn’t know what to do. Further complicating his decision, are his long-standing feelings for Andrew’s wife – his one true love.
Brazen Dr. Millicent Douglas has been on a twenty-seven year mission: destroy Arianne Douglas. And thirteen years ago, she was joined by the most unlikely of allies – Arianne’s oldest son Nash. Effortlessly, she persuades her ex-husband to convince his best friend to rehire her at Rivers, allowing her closer to the black market organ trade known as the Operation. With Nash’s help, she infiltrates the accounts of Arianne’s charitable organization, and manages to discover her nemesis’ long-hidden secret. But the stakes are raised when Millie realizes that the relationship between her and Nash is changing and she’s powerless to stop it. Is she strong enough to say no? Or will his love break down her walls?
Ruthless Dr. Bob O’Malley has a score to settle with Andrew Douglas – for more reasons than one. The most recent offense – fifteen years before when Andrew’s gross negligence left Bob’s youngest son in a vegetative state. Together with his eldest son, Sol and a mysterious accomplice named Owen, Bob vows to exact his revenge any way possible. And if that takes them down the road to death, then so be it.