Authors: K.L. Kreig
lack Swan Affair
Copyright © 2016 by K. L. Kreig
by K. L. Kreig
ePub: ISBN-13: 978-1-943443-13-0 ISBN-10: 1-943443-13-0
mobi: ISBN-13: 978-1-943443-12-3 ISBN-10: 1-943443-12-2
ll rights reserved
. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author.
his book is
a work of fiction. The characters, events, and places portrayed in this book are products of the author’s imagination and are either fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
over Art by Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design
Editing by Nikki Busch Editing
in the United States of America.
who has loved and lost then loved again. It’s there. You just need to be open to it.
Black Swan Theory
is a metaphor describing an event that comes as a surprise, results in major impact to the environment or our personal lives, and tends to be rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. Because we’re humans, we try to invent explanations for an occurrence that doesn’t necessarily have one, so it makes sense to our small brains. We try to use that event and those explanations to predict future events like it. To learn from them. Deal with them better, maybe. Stop them from happening again, I suppose.
n the sixteenth century
, when the phrase itself was coined, the black swan was presumed an impossibility, assumed not to exist. Therefore the
Black Swan Theory
in and of itself has no merit.
. I am living proof of the
Black Swan Theory
and that sometimes there is no rationalizing events away. There is no simplifying the complex. Some things happen simply because they happen. And in the end knowing why doesn’t change a damn thing anyway. The damage is already done.
averick DeSoto Shepard
y gown sells false truths
. Makeup covers the lies. Fake smiles and soft words divert and deceive. Three carats on my left hand blind all, except me.
I know the truth.
I take myself in, from the perfectly coifed hair to the French-manicured toes peeking out from my sling-back shoes. I stare at myself in the full-length mirror, not recognizing the superficial woman staring back.
A frown turns down the corner of her mouth. Condemnation clouds her unusual green eyes. Sorrow plays in the thin lines on her face and in the slight slump of her bare shoulders.
She’s judging me.
I’m a horrible, awful person.
In less than ten minutes, I will let my father walk me down an aisle lined with fresh flowers and silk bows tacked onto the corners of every other pew.
I will reach the end, let Daddy kiss my cheek with tears blurring his vision, and give me away to another man.
I will take my fiancé’s hand in mine, gaze into his puppy dog eyes overflowing with joy, and betroth myself for life to someone who is noble and loyal and kind.
I will promise to love, honor, and cherish him all the days of my life.
I will exchange in-sickness-and-in-health-forever vows in front of God, our family, and friends to a great man out of spite and revenge. A ploy. As a giant fuck-you to the man I really love but can’t have.
I will marry a man I genuinely respect the hell out of and love…but just as my very best friend.
Who does that?
A destructive, selfish bitch. That’s who.
I let my gaze fall down the length of my body, trailing over the hand-beaded lace wedding dress that hugs my rounded curves. The same dress my best friend sobbed over the second I walked out of the dressing room, telling me
“that’s the one
I didn’t pick blush or ivory or cream or even something unconventional like gray.
Oh no. I went with stark white.
The symbol of purity.
A satirical laugh escapes my scarlet-painted lips.
I’m anything but innocent. My soul is lost. My heart cold. I’m a devil in angel’s skin, trapping a man for life who could have any woman he wants but for some reason wants me.
Because I’m a masochist, I guess. Though I should be running as far away as possible, I can’t seem to do anything but run in the direction of the one man I’ve loved my entire life: his brother.
The only man I truly want even though he betrayed me in the worst possible way.
There’s still time, Maverick. Do the right thing.
I should call it off. Tell Kael this was all just a big mistake. Confess I’m not in love with him the way a wife should be. Tell him the entire time I’ll be saying my vows, I’ll be picturing his brother standing in front of me instead. Let him find true love because he’ll never be that for me.
I might as well write my own ticket to hell. If I go through with this, that’s exactly where I’ll burn for eternity. I already feel the flames of deceit licking the soles of my feet.
Do the right thing for once in your godforsaken life, Mavs.
I find my eyes in the mirror once again. I already know I won’t listen to that small part of me that begs to be righteous. I can’t. The bigger part of me is contaminated with retribution and anger and the need to hurt
just a little. The only way I’d call this off is if—
A knock on the door startles me and I jump.
I take a calming breath in. Blow it out slowly. Turning away from my deceitful eyes, I make my way to the door and open it after only a brief hesitation, expecting to find my father on the other side.
But instead of graying hair and deep laugh lines framing a soft smile, I’m greeted with a melted dark chocolate stare and thin, angry lips.
My “if” has arrived.
“Killian?” I breathe, hope rising in me like a tidal wave. I discreetly pinch my arm to make sure this isn’t a dream. Nope. I look both ways down the hall to find we’re alone. “What are you doing here?”
He steps inside and closes the door. Then he gets right in my space, grabbing my face between his monstrous hands. My soul sighs, and I close my eyes to focus on the touch I’ve been paralyzed without.
This is happening.
He’s come for me at last. It’s almost too late, but that doesn’t even matter.
Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me
, I silently scream.
When I don’t feel his lips on mine, I pry my lids open. Killian’s staring at me with turmoil on his face. My heart sinks. He’s standing here, touching me, yet a whole gulf still separates us.
“I love you,” I vomit.
It’s the same words I spoke to him on his own wedding day two years ago. To my sister.
I begged him to choose
But he butchered me, marrying her instead.
“Don’t do this, Small Fry,” he pleads, his voice strained. “I’m begging you not to do this.”
I used to love that endearment…now I fucking
it. Every time he says it, it reminds exactly what he thinks of me.
“Leave her,” I demand. “Tell me you’ll leave her and I won’t.”
His face screws up. His eyes close. His head drops heavy on his neck. It’s the same response he always gives me.
He’s not here for you, Maverick. He never is.
I yank out of his hold, pushing him away. The half sandwich I ate an hour ago threatens to make a reappearance. “Get out,” I choke, stabbing my finger toward the door.
He squares his broad shoulders, standing to every inch of his six feet. “You’re being reckless and immature. You’re not in love with him.”
“Fuck you. You don’t know shit.” He hates it when I curse. Says it’s “unladylike.” Well, fuck him and the fucking gentlemanly horse he fucking rode in on. Fuck has now become my favorite fucking word.
“Don’t,” I whisper, close to breaking, which I swore I would never do in front of him again. “Unless you’re here to finally admit you married the wrong sister then just get the fuck out.”
“Just wait. That’s all I’m asking.”
? Wait for what, Killian? Wait for you to grow back the balls Jilly cut off and tucked under her pillow? Wait for you to tell her that you know what my pussy tastes like or how you can’t forget that I made you come harder than you have in your life when I deep throated you? Wait for you to confess that all you can think about is fucking me and you can’t stand the very sight of her in your bed? Wait until she gets hit by a car so you’re free to be with me? Tell me…what
is it I’m supposed to wait for?”
“You’re being crude and petulant.” My eyes track the crossing of his arms. I hate that I throb in my very center, knowing what every muscle and ridge under that tux feels like.
“Well…bleeding out on the inside tends to make me snarky and bitter.”
His clean-shaven jaw clenches and his stare turns flinty. He’s here begging me not to marry his brother, but that’s all I’ll get. Sorrys, empty promises, no commitment. Nothing. Always nothing.
A wave of incredible—almost debilitating—sadness washes over and through me, threatening to drown me in a lifetime of permanent sorrow at the prospect of being without him in the way we both want.
I don’t get it. I don’t understand how we got here…to
very moment. I don’t know where the wheels fell off, changing our course or why he won’t just admit he made a mistake marrying someone who treats him like a worthless pile of shit.
Killian Shepard loves
. He always has, and that’s not the neurotic projection of a psychotic woman feeding into her own mental illness. It’s true. It’s
been true. Which makes his own farce of a marriage to my sister all the more confusing. She must have a golden fucking vagina and mind-altering powers. Could be. I haven’t met a bigger witch than my sister, Jillian.
“You need to leave.”
Before I drop to my knees and make a bigger fool out of myself than I already have.
He opens his mouth to no doubt try some other tactic to get me to change my mind, but the voice of my father bellows from behind him.
“Shep, there you are. You need to get back up with the guys.”
Neither of us moves. I feel frozen, dead. Empty.
I cringe inwardly at my father’s childhood nickname for me. How ironic that he gave me a boy’s name but tries constantly to turn me into a lady. It’s a lost cause I wish he’d just give up on.
“Yes, Daddy,” I answer evenly, my eyes never leaving Killian’s.
Don’t let this happen
, they beg.
Don’t make me choose
, I assume he replies.
, I say.
Fuck you and your misplaced honor.
I see Daddy’s head peek around Killian’s broad frame. “Come on, sweetie, almost showtime.”
. I couldn’t put on a bigger fucking sad play than if I’d scripted it myself. I catch his joyous eyes lined deeply with wrinkles and adoration and smile as brightly as I can while I let myself mourn inside.
Then, I skirt around Killian Shepard, take my father’s hand, and leave him behind, wondering how you go about falling
of love with one man and
love with another. I’ve tried for years and still haven’t mastered it.