Saturday Excerpt: The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
Time to start the weekend off right with an excerpt from a thriller you won’t be able to forget!
About The Marriage Lie:
Iris and Will have been married for seven years, and life is as close to perfect as it can be. But on the morning Will flies out for a business trip to Florida, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt: another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board and, according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers.
Grief stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. Why did Will lie about where he was going? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to uncover what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she finds shock her to her very core.
I awaken when a hand winds around my waist, pulling me head to heel against skin heated from sleep. I sigh and settle into my husband’s familiar form, fitting my backside into his front, soaking in his warmth. Will is a furnace when he sleeps, and I’ve always got some place on me that’s cold. This morning it’s my feet, and I wedge them between two warm calves.
“Your toes are freezing.” His voice rumbles in the darkened room, the sounds vibrating through me. On the other side of our bedroom curtains it’s not quite morning, that violet-tinged moment between night and day, still a good half hour or so before the alarm. “Were they hanging off the side of the bed or something?”
It’s barely April, and March hasn’t quite loosened its icy hold. For the past three days, leaden skies have been dumping rain, and a frigid wind has plummeted temperatures far below average. Meteorologists predict at least another week of this shivering, and Will is the only soul in Atlanta who welcomes the cold by throwing the windows wide. His internal thermostat is always set to blazing.
“It’s because you insist on sleeping in an igloo. I think all my extremities have frostbite.”
“Come here.” His fingers glide up my side, his hand pulling me even closer. “Let’s get you warm, then.”
We lie here for a while in comfortable silence, his arm snug around my middle, his chin in the crook of my shoulder. Will is sticky and damp from sleep, but I don’t care. These are the moments that I cherish the most, moments when our hearts and breaths are in sync. Moments as intimate as making love.
“You are my very favorite person on the planet,” he murmurs in my ear, and I smile. These are the words we’ve chosen instead of the more standard I love you, and to me they mean so much more. Every time they roll off his tongue they hit me like a promise. I like you the most, and I always will.
“You’re my very favorite person, too.” My girlfriends assure me this won’t last forever, this connection I feel with my own husband. Any day now, they tell me, familiarity will fizzle my fire, and I will suddenly start noticing other men. I will stain my cheeks and gloss my lips for nameless, faceless strangers who are not my husband, and I will imagine them touching me in places only a husband should have access to. The seven-year itch, my girlfriends call it, and I can barely imagine such a thing, because today—seven years and a day—Will’s hand glides across my skin, and the only itch I feel is for him.
My eyelids flutter closed, his touch stirring up a tingling that says I’ll likely be late for work.
“Iris?” he whispers.
“I forgot to change the filters on the air conditioner.”
I open my eyes. “What?”
“I said, I forgot to change the filters on the air conditioner.”
I laugh. “That’s what I thought you said.” Will is a brilliant computer scientist with ADD tendencies, and his brain is so crammed with facts and information that he’s always forgetting the little things…just usually not during sex. I attribute it to an unusually busy time at work combined with the fact he’s leaving for a three-day conference in Florida, so his to-do list today is longer than usual. “You can do it this weekend when you’re back.”
“What if it gets warm before then?”
“It’s not supposed to. And even if it does, surely the filters can wait a couple of days.”
“And your car could probably use an oil change. When’s the last time you took it in?”
“I don’t know.” Will and I split our household duties neatly down gender lines. The cars and house upkeep are his department, the cooking and cleaning are mine. Neither of us much minds the division of labor. College taught me to be a feminist, but marriage has taught me to be practical. Making lasagna is so much more pleasant than cleaning the gutters.
“Check the maintenance receipts, will you? They’re in the glove box.”
“Fine. But what’s with all the sudden chores? Are you bored with me already?”
I feel what I know is Will’s grin sliding up the back of my head. “Maybe this is what all the pregnancy books mean by nesting.” Joy flares in my chest at the reminder of what we are doing—what we’ve maybe already done—and I twist around to face him. “I can’t be pregnant yet. We’ve only officially been trying for less than twenty-four hours.”