Authors: TL Alexander
Law Inc. Cassandr
a Marcella Mysteries, a continuing series
Case 101: Life on Top
Case 102: Between a Rocker and a Hard Place
The Layers Series
for more information on these books and others.
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I dedicate this last book of the Layers Series to my sister Cindy.
Thanks for all your encouragement, your love of romance, and laughter.
s it possible to be cursed
I was born twenty-eight years ago, the twentieth of July, 10:52 p.m. Was it at a time when Uranus, Mars, and the moon aligned and their gravitational pull stopped time for a nanosecond, and that nanosecond altered my universe? Was my lucky star sucked into a supermassive black hole in the middle of a galaxy ten trillion miles away? Did I step on too many cracks or walk under too many ladders? Or maybe it’s as simple as not owning a pair of lucky socks, panties, or bra?
Maybe I’m not cursed but I curse others? What do you think? My parents and kid brother were killed in a car accident one mile away from my boarding school. On a ski holiday in Switzerland, my best friend and roomie, Hanna, skied into a tree. She died instantly. Karen Ames, a woman who was like a mother to me, died after a long battle with breast cancer just hours after my visit. My best friend in graduate school, Drew, was crossing the street when a drunk driver ran him down. He died on his way to the hospital. My flatmate in London, Joan, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. She died three months later. A crazy woman shot my fiancé, Lane, in the heart—dead. And my best friend and beloved sister, Alexia, has tried to leave me twice. I’m not sure she’s done trying.
Cursed or curser, there’s one common denominator: I loved them. Each of them owned and took away a piece of my heart. How many pieces of heart can one lose before it stops beating? How many do you dare love, knowing your love could be their end?
My sister once told me pain kept her going, kept her sane. Fear is my thing. It doesn’t keep me going or sane, it consumes me, devours me. I can count on one hand the number of days I remember living without it. I fear wanting, fear needing, fear loving, and fear losing. So I love who I must, then I close my heart to all others. It’s called surviving; it’s called my life.
hat do you think?”
“I like it. I love these windows, all the light.”
“It’s only two bedrooms, as I mentioned when you called, but they’re good sized and have their own en suite bath.”
I follow the realtor, Pam White’s, petite form down the hall. She walks me through both bedroom suites, looking up at me every few seconds.
“You’re rather tall,” she says, “and beautiful. Are you a model?”
I roll my eyes. “No.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend.”
Big sigh. “You didn’t. It just gets old.”
Like older than dirt.
“I bet. All those men,” she deadpans.