Authors: Felicity Sparrow
But maybe just a peek. Erik is such an enigma.
Tugging the album free of its neighbors, I cradle it in one hand and open it with the other.
I’m surprised to find that it’s a collection of wedding pictures.
The man in the photos is thick-necked, broad-shouldered, square-jawed. His hair has been bleached to a pale brown by sunlight. He wears a tuxedo as though he was born to it. He looks like a star football player showing up to be inducted into the hall of fame.
In one picture, he smiles as he cuts a cake. In another, he is shaking hands with a groomsman.
I realize with a jolt of shock that I’m looking at a very young Erik Duke.
But this is not a man diminished by solitude. He’s deliberately strong, maybe a weightlifter.
It’s not the sight of a younger, happier Erik Duke that shocks me, however. It’s the bride at his side in most of the photos. She is a woman with a petite bone structure. A veritable living doll. Her face is round, the apples of her cheeks naturally pink, her eyes bright.
Her hair is also blond and curly. Just like mine.
In fact, everything about her is just like me. Her stature. Her skin color. Her bone structure.
It’s like someone has pasted pictures of me into Erik’s wedding album.
I’m starting to tremble.
My fingers brush against a paperclip on one of the back pages. I tug on it, and it comes free with a clipping from a yellowed newspaper. Once I read the bold headline, I feel like I’m going to be sick: “Man accused of murdering bride on wedding night.”
The photo at the top of the article is, indisputably, Erik Duke.
“What are you doing?”
I whirl to find Erik behind me. His eyes are on the album in my hands, the newspaper clipping, the wedding photos.
He’s holding the ropes again.
Man accused of murdering bride on wedding night.
All of the blood rushes to my head. My knees go weak.
Before I can think to respond, I pass out, and the darkness consumes me.
Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed the first part of All He Asks. I can’t wait to share my next book with you.