Discerning Hearts Book 4
UNRAVELED…that’s how Meg is seeing her life. The quiet, academic world she’s built for herself and her daughter is safe, but her college friend Ferrel is deeply disillusioned over the collapse of his long love affair. He needs Meg’s sympathy and support.
Meg’s beautiful daughter Sharon is headed for heartbreak as she searches for the man who abandoned Meg before Sharon was born. Meg dreads the havoc the past will unleash if Sharon is successful.
Topping it off, Meg’s former roommate—also Ferrel’s lost love, Tye—is coming to town, and Meg knows there will be hell to pay at that confrontation. Meg’s reputation, Sharon’s trust, and Tye’s very life could be forfeit when past and present collide.
How can Ferrel, who loves each of them in a special way, derail the catastrophic consequences of a reunion rife with hostility and bring Meg out of her ivory tower at last?
Page Count: 332
Word Count: 88585
“I certainly never suspected Tye and Cass had been married way back in college. The way Tye told it, and she was so convincing, I’d have sworn she hated the guy. It’s about the lowest thing I ever heard, Ferrel, waiting till days before you and she were supposed to get married and then telling you like that. You were together so long, but you didn’t even have a hint?” Laurie dropped another log onto the glowing embers in the fireplace and turned back to her guests.
Ferrel McKenna hunched into the big leather chair, nursing an emotional wound that was all but visibly bleeding. Meg thought she’d never seen so much pain in a man’s face. The last traces of a merry, flirtatious boy had disappeared. A man torn from his world looked out from Ferrel’s shadowed face.
“Not that. I never suspected that. I knew Tye manipulated facts to suit herself. It’s the actress in her. She has to make a good story better, more dramatic. Still, I never doubted the things she told about Cass Haynes stalking her were true. I believed she was actually afraid of him. I even tried to reassure her he was gone from here, so we could move back without her having to face him again.” Defeated and disillusioned, Ferrell hid his face in his hands.
“I never thought of them being married, but I’ve had doubts about her version of that incident for years,” Laurie admitted. “Dr. Abbott had questions, too. If Cass had appealed or made a fuss about the Board firing him, I think she would have insisted they re-open the investigation. The truth would have come out if there had been more time.”
“I did know she’d managed to get him fired, but I also thought she quit school to get away from here and what she called bad vibes. It doesn’t matter, Laurie, not now. Tye herself doesn’t know if she’s married. She’s never started legal proceedings or found out if he did. If she’d cared at all about me, she’d have made some effort to end it or told me the truth when we started seriously talking about getting married.” Ferrel looked up, pain written in every line of his body.
Meg couldn’t bear the torment in his voice. “I should have said something to you years ago. I didn’t know what to say.” She drew the leather hassock near his chair and reached for his hand.
“Meg, you told me Tye’s ambition ruled her life. That she’d always use any opportunity to move up in her career. What more could you say?”
“I knew she got her uncle to intervene so Cass lost his job and his hopes of earning his doctorate here.” Meg bit her lip. “I could have told you Cass Haynes said he’d married Tye in Las Vegas before you ever met her. He told me about it, gave that as a reason for walking away from me when I told him I was pregnant with Sharon. Said he was married to Tye and not free to do anything. He was leaving Corinthia Springs that very day.”
Ferrel looked as if he’d been betrayed again. “You knew? All this time you knew, and you’ve never said anything?”
Meg hadn’t thought Ferrel could draw further into himself, but he seemed to retreat from her. “Cass did tell me.” She put one hand on his shoulder. “Ferrel, try to understand. I knew about the Board action, but I didn’t know if the marriage was real. He could have been lying to me to cover up his real reason for pushing me away. Or Tye could have had the marriage dissolved on her own. Remember, she went off to New Orleans after spring break. She was gone for weeks before she joined you in Boston. I thought if there was a problem, she was clearing up the legal details then. You and she were always talking about getting married.” She slipped her hand into his. “I didn’t know what to tell you, honestly. Or what you’d believe, if I brought it up.”
Ferrel squeezed the hand holding his. He gave her a sympathetic nod. “Yeah, I know. Back then I wouldn’t have believed a word against her, not even from you.”
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