To gain power, Rhema inserts herself into the lives of the residents of Sugar Lane. She knows they have secrets, but none of them run deeper than her own. On the outside she is a kind and caring neighbor, but on the inside, something sinister lurks beneath. The media storm surrounding this murder could destroy her secret life and expose her for what she is. But will her lust for power override her desire to keep her secrets?
It’s not the dress. The thought kept repeating over and over like a broken record. Whatever it was, she couldn’t pinpoint it, but she couldn’t escape the feeling that she was about to sell her soul to the Devil.
She fidgeted with the dress. The emotion was disappointment. She didn’t look like the other brides. The ones she saw all over magazines or even the girls she went to high school with on Facebook. They looked perfect. Perfectly slim, dress perfectly fitted, hair perfectly coiffed, and groom perfectly in love. It was expected for the husband to look upon his bride with loving eyes, but Elsea knew that Peter had never looked at her that way. The wedding was tomorrow, and all she could do was question Peter’s love.
The thought didn’t linger when she realized that she was about to be moving out of her parents’ house, getting away from them once and for all. Her heart felt like it skipped a beat in its excitement. The abuse was wearing her thin, and she tired of hearing the same thing over and over about how she never did things the right way. How she could have been anything in life but settled on being a checkout girl. She enjoyed her work there, but everyone else wanted to shame her for it.
A husband. It was the best Christmas present she could have gotten. It was a way out of that house. She looked forward to her honeymoon, but unfortunately for her and Peter, they wouldn’t be able to leave for it until after Hannah’s graduation party. That was the last request that she was going to grant her parents. She dreaded the whispers.
You know that could have been you. That should have been you. Those were the words that her parents had whispered in her ear almost a week ago at the graduation ceremony while she watched her perfect little sister Hannah walked across the stage to receive her B.A., with her law school boyfriend cheering her on like she was a rock star. Oh, Hannah is so mature, they would say. Hannah is so beautiful. Hannah is so smart. Hannah, Hannah, Hannah. She was her little sister, but she outshined her in everything from smarts to beauty. She was confident with her perfect teeth, pouty lips, and natural blonde hair. All Elsea had was a tarnished smile with teeth that didn’t look like they fit in her mouth, adult acne, and mousy brown hair. She was plain. A nothing in everyone else’s eyes except Peter’s, and tomorrow would be her day, and no one could take that from her. She had found a man, and she wanted her due credit for accomplishing such a task. But as she thought about it, the doubt returned.
Harlow Hayes was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the author of fiction and non-fiction books. She has always had a passion for writing and storytelling in its many forms. When she’s not immersed in her writing, she enjoys reading both fiction and non-fiction, watching classic movies, and listening to jazz with her dad. She is the author of 27 Revelations and You Got to Believe: A Guide to Managing Negative Influences and Expectations As You Prepare to Self-publish Your Book.