Unknown (Unknown Identity #1)

BOOK: Unknown (Unknown Identity #1)
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Unknown Identity Series

Book 1



Lexy Timms

Copyright 2016 by Lexy Timms



All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to an actual person, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.


All rights reserved.

Copyright 2015 by Lexy Timms


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Bestselling romance author, Lexy Timms, brings you a new series that'll steal your heart and take your breath away.

Unknown - book 1 of the Unknown Identity Series

Life has changed radically for Leslie. Her husband has finally succumbed to his terminal cancer and it's time for her to have a change of scenery. Moving across the country and setting up shop, Leslie takes the months to rebuild her life and figure out what she wants in the future.

Pouring herself into her successful mystery books series she's written, she is a reclusive global sensation writing under a penname. 

Leslie realizes that her life is missing the romance she so desperately craved and now she's on the hunt to live her life beyond her grief.

Sooner than she realizes, cupid comes calling in the form of a handsome actor who has no clue she's a successful author. However, he comes with his own personal set of baggage. 

Is new love possible after you've laid true love to rest? 

*This is book 1 in the Unknown Identity Series*




Chapter 1



he always expected it to be raining on this day—if that day were ever to come.

Of course, when she pictured the day she also pictured herself as an old woman, a shell of her former self. It wasn’t supposed to happen on a bright spring day where she could literally hear the birds singing. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be gloomy and the rain was supposed to be pouring down while everyone hid under big black umbrellas while they dabbed their eyes with tissues.

Instead of long black coats, everyone wore short-sleeve black dresses or dark suits without a jacket. There was no need for umbrellas; they were silhouetted around trees that were in blossom and leaves that were beginning to show.

By all accounts it was a beautiful day, which made everything sting all the more as she felt the tears racing down her cheeks. Everyone had come to give their respects to Michael and it warmed her heart to see they had come.

After all, Leslie and Michael had both thought the long, drawn-out nature of the end might have pushed people away. It was hard to gauge such things. But here everyone was, all together and showing their support for her in this hour of darkness, bathed in sunlight and serenaded by singing birds that had just returned from their far away journeys. In the end it all seemed so cruel to Leslie, that she just wanted to sink to her knees and throw her hands in the air as she sobbed and wept. She didn’t know for sure how many times she had cried in the past year, but it felt like she was almost to the point where only salty dust could come out of her eyes.

That was the cruelest point of it all.

She never thought she would come to a threshold where pain and sorrow simply ceased to affect her, that it would all just become something normal, something almost mundane.

Leslie was too young to be in this position. Her mother had told her this, her friends said it repeatedly, and Michael had mentioned it too many times in the past few months. It was only now as she stared at the casket holding her withered husband that she finally admitted it herself, too. When she was eighteen, she had been adamant that she’d found the man she was going to marry and it was true love.

Damn it! It’s not fair!
She swiped at another onslaught of tears cascading down her cheeks.

She had only dated four other men before she found Michael. They had been camp counselors her senior year of high school at a summer camp for disabled middle schoolers. In her sophomore year of college, he went down on one knee in the quad and showed her a diamond ring she knew he couldn’t afford on his own.

Now, four years later, she’d graduated college, continued down the path of her career, and was burying her husband.

She was too young for this. She was
too young for this.

No, she wouldn’t think about the past. She couldn’t think about the horrible fact that she didn’t have a past with Michael. She had a taste of what life might have been with him and now it was gone. It was over in the blink of an eye, and she was never going to get to do any of the things she had wanted with Michael. She was never going to get that trip to Spain or see the ocean with him. There were no children in the future, no grandchildren, and there was no happy retirement out on a beach somewhere.

All she could picture was the vast passage of time toward her death, where she would be alone and forgotten.

She didn’t want that.

She didn’t want to face the world without Michael.

As the preacher spoke about Michael’s much too short amazing life, she closed her eyes and bowed her head, feeling the weight pulling her down. The sorrow was like a whirlpool, churning and calling her name as she sat by her husband’s grave.

This was a moment they had talked a lot about over the past year and a half. Ever since he came back from the doctor, he had wanted to talk about the moment when he would no longer be with her. She had hated him for that. It was hard for him at first, but dying seemed the easy part. It was living on after he was gone that was the hard part, the portion she’d been given. In the grand cosmic scheme of things, she’d been given the short straw and, somewhere, Michael had gotten off easy.

The preacher talked a lot about how much time he had spent with Michael, and how Michael had been given the blessing of understanding his own mortality and facing it with courage. He explained about how Michael, in the final months of his freedom, had wanted to give back to those he loved and spread as much cheer and joy as he could before his illness took his mobility from him.

Leslie knew it was true, but hearing it out loud didn’t make her any happier. She had wanted to take him to Spain, to take him on adventures and travel to see all the things that he’d never been able to see, but he hadn’t wanted to leave the city. That had been hard for her to accept. She hated herself for being selfish.

“See the world when I’m gone,” Michael had told her just after he’d refused her offer to go to Spain. “Go see the world and know that I’m with you. Or forge a new life without me; new experiences and found beauty in the moments that take your breath away.”

That hadn’t been what she’d wanted to hear. She didn’t want to go visit the world and see its wonders with the spirit of her dead husband. She wanted to witness them with him. She wanted to look at immense wonders and tiny treasures with her fingers laced in his, feeling the warmth of him beside her. She wanted to laugh in luminous caves with him and take in the wonders of a great coastal resort with him hugging her from behind. Instead, she would be doing it alone, hugging herself as she felt the emptiness that had come to consume her life. She was never going to go. She knew it the day he told her he wanted to stay home.

Loneliness is a poison that slowly seeps into your life. It’s a riptide that drags you into isolation, and you never comprehend that it’s happening until it’s too late.

It was selfish of her to be angry with a man who’d loved her unconditionally until the very end. It wasn’t his fault he’d gotten cancer. It had been a horrible twist of fate, the turn of the cards, and the writing in the stars that had gotten the best of him. No one ever asked to be susceptible to cancer. No one ever wants to die young. Yet she couldn’t help but feel like he was getting the better deal.

It was proven that men move on from these sorts of things faster than women. There’s something written in their loins that demands that they keep trying to be fruitful and multiplying, whereas women lingered with the loss longer. She knew it would be a loss she’d carry with her the rest of her life. She was so young, and already everything felt like it was shattering around her. There was no recovering from this. She could feel that in her bones.

Of course, they’d talked about it. Michael was a religious man, but the reality that he was leaving a twenty-four-year-old bride behind when he died was too much for him to reconcile one husband and one wife for eternity. Sure, Leslie would gladly wait in hopes that maybe there was some credence to Michael’s faith, but Michael wouldn’t hear anything of it. He’d been the dying husband who urged her to move on, and told her that he was at peace with it. He knew what was happening to him and desperately wanted her to find that spark of love again. Fate was pulling him away from her, and she deserved happiness. How could he want her to move on and find love again? While he withered away, changing into a different person than the one she had kissed under the big oaks in the quad freshman year, she felt her heart breaking every time she looked at him. And he wanted to talk about her life after he was gone?

Even now, as she stared at the picture of Michael on the pamphlet they handed out at the funeral, Leslie didn’t recognize him. It was the face of a young, handsome man who had his whole life ahead of him. It was the face of a man she had known a year ago who had been so full of life and excitement. The only face she could remember now was the bald, sallow face with gaunt cheeks and sunken eye sockets. She remembered the spots on his skin and how he became emaciated during the treatment. He had wanted to go aggressive, to buy himself as much time as he could before the inevitable took him. For a little more agonizing time, she had lost the man that she had married.

In front of her, she watched as they slowly lowered her husband into the earth, praying for his soul and his salvation. He was just a body, a husk of what he had been once upon a time, silent and quiet now. He had been a hollow shell of his former self for a long time now, months even. When the end came, she was comforted by the fact that he would be out of pain and at peace finally. It was a horrible thought to have about the one you loved, but she couldn’t help feeling it for him. It tore at her, angrily biting at her heart as she watched him lowered into the earth.

“At least he’s at peace now,” someone murmured.

What kind of a terrible thing is that to say? Or wish upon the one you love? Leslie watched as the top of the glossy black coffin vanished from view, sinking into the dark, morose hole. Centuries from now, they would dig up her husband and hypothesize who he was and what kind of a life he had. They’d never know the hurt and the loss that she had experienced upon his death. They’d never know the sorrow.

“Come on, sweetheart,” her dad said, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. “It’s time to go.”

Wiping the tears from her cheeks, Leslie stood up. Behind her was the field of friends that Michael and she had collected through their work with the disabled, their college careers, and their fledgling professional lives. The doctors and the staff who had come to know Michael so well in the final months had come, too, out of respect for him. Leslie tried her hardest not to think about their sympathetic and pitying smiles. It burned and ate at her. She would have to face them in a little while and she’d have to have the courage to lie to all of them.

It was time to go home and put on a brave face.


BOOK: Unknown (Unknown Identity #1)
7.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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