Ian and Francesca are back...
November Book of the Month
“Nothing is certain, is it? Nothing,” Francesca said bleakly as she set down the investment and finance section of the morning paper, the headlines exclaiming over the faltering Japanese economy. Her gaze lingered on one headline: Japanese Conglomerate Hires Investment Banking Firm to Sell. She bit her lip nervously, jumping slightly when her housemate Davie Feinstein touched her shoulder.
“Some things are certain,” Davie said with a significant look she endeavored to ignore. She accepted the steaming cup of tea he offered her and gave him a smile as he sat. He started doling steaming pancakes onto their plates.
“Like taxes and your weekend breakfasts. Like your friendship?” Francesca asked, forcing her voice into an airy tone because they were skimming a sensitive topic, and she refused to go there on this bright December morning. The sensitive topic: Ian’s abandonment of her a half a year ago following his mother’s death. But not just his mother’sunexpected death, also the discovery of the poison truth about his biological father . . . a truth that had been revealed by Lucien Lenault after she and Ian had made love so intimately that summer evening. One moment, their future had been secure and bright. All of that changed in a matter of seconds by the slashing knives of truth.
She knew Ian had been fearful his entire life that his unknown father had at the very least taken advantage of his mentally ill mother, at worst, raped her. The identity of his biological father had remained a mystery to him, however, until that evening six months ago. That fateful night when Lucien and Elise had come to dinner, Lucien had known he’d been providing a shock by telling Ian they were half-brothers, but that wasn’t the worst of it. He’d also revealed that their common parent, Trevor Gaines, had been a rapist and serial reproductionist — a man who got a sick fascination from impregnating as many women as he could. The impact of that revelation, along with his mother’s sudden worsening condition and death, had had a decimating effect on Ian.
Francesca didn’t like to think of that other issue that she’d suspected had been yet another crack in Ian’s well-being, the bizarre coincidence that Ian had asked to videotape her during sex the very night he found out his criminal father got his kicks out of taping both his conquests and victims. She suspected Ian had made some self-condemning judgments after that, but he’d never given her the opportunity to assure him he was a far, far cry from being remotely similar to Trevor Gaines.
She’d wanted nothing more than to comfort and ease his suffering, but he’d left . . . disappeared without a word to her or a personal message. Gone. The man she had meant to marry, whom she loved more than life itself.