Home > Beneath These Lies (Beneath #5)

Beneath These Lies (Beneath #5)
Author: Meghan March

Look, but don’t touch . . . she might as well wear a neon sign that says it. It just makes me want her more.

She might be above me in every way, but I still want her under me.

I’ve got no business touching her rich-girl skin, but that won’t stop me from stealing a taste. Because rules were meant to be broken—especially when the prize is so fine.

In a world where nothing is as it seems, what’s buried beneath these lies?

 


Beneath These Lies is the fifth book in the Beneath series, but may be read as a standalone. However, if you prefer, it may be best enjoyed after reading Beneath This Mask (Beneath #1), Beneath This Ink (Beneath #2), Beneath These Chains (Beneath #3), and Beneath These Scars (Beneath #4).

 

 

Book number nine! How did this happen? Many long days and late nights, crazy ideas that ran wild, and an amazing team.

Special thanks go out to:

The Meghan March Runaway Readers Facebook group, for being the most fabulous collection of ladies I’ve had the pleasure of (virtually) meeting. Your support and dedication blows me away every day. I’m so thankful for you.

My readers—I’m infinitely grateful that you’ve picked up this book. Without you, I wouldn’t be living my dream. I will always work my hardest to bring you books I think you’ll love.

All the book bloggers who take the time to read and review this and any of my other books. Your time and dedication are truly appreciated.

Angela Smith of Grey Ghost Author Services, LLC, my amazing PA and best friend. Can you believe we’ve come so far already? I wouldn’t know what to do without you in my life. I never want to find out.

Angela Marshall Smith and Pam Berehulke, editors extraordinaire, for once again helping me deliver the best story I’m capable of writing.

Danielle Sanchez and the Inkslinger PR team, best-in-class publicists, for handling this release with professionalism and style.

Natasha Gentile and Jamie Lynn, my fabulous beta readers, for not asking any questions when I sent you this book to read. Wasn’t it better that way?

Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations, for another stunning cover design.

Stacey Blake of Champagne Formats, for the gorgeous interior design and amazingly quick turnaround.

My family, for their constant support of big dreams. I love you all.

 

 

“I’M IN LOVE. IT’S OFFICIAL.”

My head jerked up from the invoice I was scanning at the sighed words. Lowering my pen to the blotter, I stared at one of my gallery employees as she wiped down the front glass door, letting the bright sun of the French Quarter glitter through without tourists’ fingerprints marring the surface.

Trinity had been wiping down that door for two years as an employee, and before that, from time to time when I’d bring her to the gallery as my “Little” in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.

“Excuse me?” I said.

Trinity was all of eighteen years and three days old, and I was pretty sure she didn’t know any more about love than I did. At thirty-two, I’d given up on the concept. Well, I’d given up on men in general, and since I wasn’t into the ladies, that ruled love out of the picture.

“I’m in love. With Derrick. He’s the one.”

Her tone was emphatic, hopeful, and incredibly naive to my thinking. If she were a cartoon, there would be stars in her eyes and a giant red heart pounding from her chest.

She’d been with this Derrick guy for almost four months, and I didn’t know much about him except the fact that he was so different from the boys in school. Different wasn’t always good, so it wasn’t shocking that I was rather skeptical.

“Well . . . that’s exciting.” I wanted to be supportive. Trinity hadn’t had the easiest upbringing, and I wanted nothing but the best for her. Including the full-ride scholarship she’d earned to art school in the fall.

She tilted her head and crossed her arms over her chest. “You need to take that down with love and I don’t ever need a man attitude and keep it on your side of the room. Not all of us want to be crazy old cat ladies when we grow up.”

From my perch at my minimalist desk, I winced. Ouch. That stung. I don’t even have a cat, I wanted to argue. But that was a moot point.

“I just haven’t found a guy worth my time. That’s all.”

“Maybe if you’d talk to men, you might actually decide to give one a chance.” Trinity’s gaze was sharp on me, and as usual, she missed nothing.

“I talk to plenty of men.”

Her dark eyebrow arched. “Hate to break it to you, but customers don’t count, Valentina.”

“They have penises, so I’m saying they do.”

But her point was well taken—none of the customers I interacted with spurred the least bit of interest. The tourists were transient, and I wasn’t getting involved with someone long distance. The local guys who came in here and thought they saw something they liked had a tendency to flash their money around. I was happy to take it because it kept my bottom line healthy, but there was nothing attractive about a man who felt the need to use money to get my attention.

How about a flirty conversation that actually got my blood pumping? Witty banter? Apparently that was too much to ask. Hence, why I’d given up on men.

Trinity’s mouth dropped open. “You said penis. At work.”

A smile tugged at the corner of my mouth. Eighteen years and three days did not an adult make.

“And you’re eighteen, as you’ve informed me a dozen times in the last few days, so I’m assuming this isn’t a new word for you.”

“No, but . . .”

At least I knew I could still scandalize my employees by throwing out the word penis on occasion. “Face it, I’ve seen more of them than you, and I’m really not impressed with what comes attached to them.”

Especially because you couldn’t tell whether the man attached to the package fell into the category of man or monster—or a combination of both. My humor fled at the thought, but Trinity didn’t pick up on that.

“Well, if you saw Derrick’s package—”

I covered my face and groaned. “No, thank you. I do not need that visual.”

A husky laugh interrupted us.

Crap. I cringed as I thought about a customer overhearing this particular conversation. But when I jerked my hand away from my face and caught sight of the person in the doorway, relief flooded through me, along with the reminder that I really needed to get that door chime fixed.

Yve Santos smiled as she strolled inside on fabulous red platform sandals and a retro yellow dress. Actually, it was Yve Titan now.

“If you’re talking about packages, I’m down for this conversation.”

I pushed away from my desk and stood with a smile. “I bet you are. What brings you in today?”

Trinity eyed Yve with awe. My friend had become something of an idol to her. Yve had also grown up in less-than-ideal circumstances, but now owned a successful shop in the Quarter and was married to Lucas Titan, a rather infamous businessman.

Yve crossed the wide wooden planks of the gallery to meet me in the middle. “I came to invite you to my belated bachelorette party. Tonight. Sorry for the late notice. I wasn’t going to have one, but Elle badgered me into it. As soon as I said yes this morning, she had it planned in about five minutes. I think she’s afraid Lucas is going to find out and kidnap me before she has a chance to start ordering shots.”

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