Today is the day! Forbidden Promises is now available in print, email, and audio. My love of soap operas had a big influence in the Jackson Falls Series. Below is an excerpt to give you a preview into the world of the Robidoux Family.
I hope you enjoy Forbidden Promises and stick around for the rest of the series.
What do you do when you want the one person you can never have?
Get in and get out. That was India Robidoux’s plan for this family visit. But when her brother needs her help with his high-profile political campaign, India has no choice but to stay and face the one man she’s been running from for years—Travis, her sister’s ex-husband. One hot summer night when Travis was still free, they celebrated her birthday with whiskey and an unforgettable kiss. The memory is as strong as ever—and so are the feelings she’s tried so hard to forget.
Travis Strickland owes everything to the Robidoux family. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for them—his divorce could never change that. Still, he has one regret. Impulsive and passionate, India always understood him better than anyone else. And the longer they work together on the campaign, the more torn he is. Coming between her and her sister is out of the question. But how can he let love pass him by a second time?
“Where is Daddy anyway?” Except for the noise of preparations downstairs, the house was quiet.
Elaina smiled widely. The expression was so unlike Elaina that chills of foreboding skittered down India’s spine. “He’s off with his new project. You’re going to love this.” The glee in her voice only increased India’s unease.
“Forget the dramatics and let me know where he’s gone.” Her words were confident, but her stomach quivered.
“He’s off with Russell Gilchrist. The newest young executive at Robidoux Tobacco. Marketing division. Daddy’s bringing in all this new blood to revitalize the brand. Russell’s one of them.”
“Okay, so why are you smiling like Cruella de Vil?”
“Because, I heard Daddy say he can’t wait for Russell to meet hisba by girl.”
India started shaking her head before Elaina finished talking. “Don’t tell me he’s playing matchmaker and he doesn’t even know I’m home.”
“Daddy’s always planning for the future. Apparently since I can’t make babies, and Byron won’t get married and make any, he needs you to carry on the family line.”
India cringed. During her first Skype calls with her dad a few months after she’d left with the Transatlantic Orchestra, he’d told her about Elaina’s miscarriage. India hadn’t even known her sister was pregnant. When she’d tried to call Elaina afterward, her sister discussed the medical details as if she were going over a business proposal before rushing her off the phone. “Don’t talk like that.”
Elaina’s lips tightened. “Don’t patronize me. Look, forget my broken womb and prepare for yours to be claimed faster than the last yeast roll at Sunday dinner. Daddy’s ready for you to get married and make little Robidoux children. Our cousins are being fruitful and multiplying. If we don’t catch up, the company will end up completely in their hands. So, beware of Russell.”
India shook her head. “No, no, no. I’m not going to let him coerce me into anything. I’m only here for a few days.”
Elaina sipped from her glass and raised one slim shoulder. “I wouldn’t complain. Russell isn’t bad. He’s young, smart, good looking. I don’t think you’d find it hard to cozy up to him.”
India scowled. “Then you cozy up to him.”
“I’m not the cozying type.” Elaina waved a hand. “Enough about that. I’ll wait and see who wins that battle after we get through the party tonight.”
“Where’s Byron? If this party is for him, I’d expect him to be here.”
“As if the favored son would dare take the time to plan his own party,” Elaina said without any animosity. Byron had always been spoiled and doted on by their father and late mother. Even India, his baby sister.
“He’s off with Travis. They’ll be in later,” Elaina said.
India’s stomach twisted as if she’d had six glasses of wine instead of half of one. “Will Travis be at the party?” she managed to ask in a steady voice.
“Of course, he will. He and Byron are joined at the hip.” There was one emotion Elaina wasn’t afraid to show and that was irritation, something which was thick in her voice as discussed her ex-husband and brother.
After what happened between her and Travis, every time India saw him with Elaina it felt like jagged claws sinking into her chest. The pain had dulled somewhat over the years, but Travis had never belonged to her. Elaina had been married to him. They’d shared so much. India could only imagine how hard it must be for Elaina to see him so often. “That doesn’t bother you?”
Elaina ran a finger over the rim of her wineglass. “Travis and I don’t love each other. He worked for the company and is my darling brother’s best friend.” The words sounded like a carefully crafted public relations statement.
“That doesn’t answer the question.”
Elaina pointedly looked India in the eye. Her push-me-on-this-and-I’ll-eviscerate-you feelings were very clear in her direct gaze. “No. It doesn’t bother me,” she said carefully. “I don’t love Travis and shouldn’t have married him. Our divorce was the best thing that could have happened to either of us.” She capped off the very mature-sounding words with a serene smile.
The words were little comfort to India. She was happy her sister wasn’t heartbroken, but had they really not loved each other? She’d consoled her own bruised feelings and reasoned that Travis had married Elaina because in the end he realized he had loved her.
That maybe he’d felt guilty after what happened the night of India’s birthday and had tried to make things right. For Elaina to say they never loved each other made the bitter disappointment she’d felt back then come back even more.
That doesn’t mean he would have married you. It doesn’t mean anything would have been different.
She’d been too young, too idealistic and too romantic back then. Maybe the truth was Travis had just been looking for a Robidoux sister to marry so he could further his own goals. Just because he kissed her once on the edge of the tobacco field, whispered words that she’d longed to hear, didn’t mean a thing.
She managed a small smile. “I’m glad you two are still friends.”
Elaina’s shoulders relaxed along with the tightness around her smile. She clearly had not wanted to continue to explore any of her feelings for Travis. “I’d thought Daddy lost his mind, plucking him from that trailer park and training him up, but he’s proved himself to be loyal. That’s all the family needs.”
India opened her mouth to ask what Elaina needed, but footsteps sounded in the hall right before a man walked into the room. India’s breath rushed from her lungs. Time had only enhanced his good looks. Dark brown skin smoother than the finest mahogany. Midnight-black bedroom eyes that used to pierce through her shyness to the bold girl she’d tried to hide from her daddy. He had a swimmer’s body. Tall, sleek, well defined.
He wore a maroon polo shirt and dark brown slacks that complemented his dark skin. His full lips were parted in a big smile. He hadn’t noticed them, as he looked back and smiled at her brother behind him. Yet flashes went through her mind of his lips brushing her neck and his eyes staring at her beneath lowered lashes in the moonlight.
Byron saw them and his grin brightened the room. “India. You’re home.”
Travis swung around. His dark gaze collided with hers. “India?” His deep voice washed over her. She’d forgotten the sound of her name on his lips: low, smooth, intoxicating. As if he savored the syllables as they rolled off his tongue.
Her stomach tightened and she chugged the remaining wine in her glass. Heat prickled across her skin like a thousand needles. She should have gone to LA. She should have realized running from a problem didn’t make the problem go away. Her brain screamed run and her feet twitched with the urgency to obey as the one answer she’d come home to find out robbed her of the ability speak. She was still in love with her sister’s husband.