Happy Monday everyone! I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Hélene Fermont’s His Guilty Secret. I’ve got a rather enticing extract for you this morning so go feast your eyes!
Big thanks to the lovely Sarah Hardy of Book On The Bright Side Publicity for asking me to join the blog tour!
Secrets & Lies Are Dangerous.
When Jacques’s body is discovered in a hotel room his wife, Patricia, suspects he has been hiding something from her.
Why was he found naked and who is the woman that visited his grave on the day of the funeral? Significantly, who is the unnamed beneficiary Jacques left a large sum of money to in his will and what is the reason her best friend, also Jacques’s sister, Coco, refuses to tell her what he confided to her?
Struggling to find out the truth, Patricia visits Malmö where her twin sister Jasmine lives and is married to her ex boyfriend. But the sisters relationship is toxic and when a family member dies shortly after, an old secret is revealed that shines a light on an event that took place on their tenth birthday.
As one revelation after another is revealed, Patricia is yet to discover her husband’s biggest secret and what ultimately cost him his life.
His Guilty Secret is an unafraid examination of the tangled bonds between siblings, the lengths we go to in protecting our wrongdoings, and the enduring psychological effects this has on the innocent…and the not so innocent.
Hélene Fermont is the author of three books. Because of You and We Never Said Goodbye are also available on Kindle and in print from Amazon.
Everyone queuing in the spacious foyer at Hilton London Gatwick Airport hotel could barely take their eyes off the striking couple at the front desk. The handsome, tall, dark-haired man’s Air France uniform and matching cap, and the beautiful woman’s Yves St Laurent blazer, white satin blouse and black pencil skirt, accentuating her petite frame, jet-black hair and dark blue eyes, were reminiscent of Hollywood stars in their heyday.
What no one knew was how much the stylish couple had been looking forward to that moment before they had to return to their respective lives. He to London and his wife of a decade, and she to Paris and the only person who mattered to her as much as the man at her side.
Is it possible to love two women? the man wondered for the millionth time, his thought disrupted by the woman asking, “Did you check us into the same room as last time, mon chéri?”
“Oui, you liked it, n’est-ce pas?” The man had kept his French accent although, after many years in London, his English vocabulary was better than hers.
“I will stay with you wherever you want me to as long as we’re together,” she replied, holding his gaze.
Feeling her standing so close to him, the only thing he wanted was to make the most of their time together. “We’ve only got one night. After that we must be patient until we can meet again, my darling.” As he held her close, it was evident to the people standing behind how much in love they were.
“Welcome back, Madame and Monsieur Bouchard,” said the young girl behind the desk. “I hope you enjoy your stay with us as much as you did last time.”
“Bien sûr, of course, it feels wonderful to return to your hotel,” the man replied, taking the key card and draping an arm around the woman’s shoulder as they followed the tall, blond porter to the lift down the hall, and stepped inside. “It’s good to see you again, Tom,” the man said in a friendly voice.
“You too, M. Bouchard, and your wife, it’s been a while since your last visit.” Smiling at them, Tom remembered how appreciative they’d been the first time he’d assisted them, leaving him a generous tip when they checked out. The doors opened and as he carried their suitcases into the luxurious room, Tom asked, “Will you stay a while longer than last time?”
“Regrettably, no. We will check out in the morning.” The man’s eyes clouded over.
“You’d better make the most of your short time here with us. Would you like me to serve breakfast in your room like last time?”
“Oui. Black coffee, croissants and fruit will be fine.” The woman’s voice sounded subdued, as she tried not to focus on how miserable she would be leaving the man she loved the following day.
“With pleasure. I wish you a great day and look forward to seeing you tomorrow.” Tom was almost out of the door when the man stepped over to him and gave him a £50 note.
“You must treat yourself and your girlfriend to something nice, Tom, perhaps a movie and bottle of wine? It’s wonderful to see you again.”
“But it’s too much…I can’t accept it,” Tom said, only too pleased to be of service to them without the generous tip.
“We insist, you must take it or we’ll be upset,” the woman said, smiling at him.
The young porter beamed, bowed and reminded them he would return in the morning with their breakfast, before wishing them all the best and closing the door behind him.
Alone at long last, the man’s eyes lingered on the woman seated on the bed. “Je t’aime…you will never know how much I love you. Promise me one thing: when it’s time to leave, you must start to look forward to our next meeting.” His voice was hoarse with emotion.
“I can’t! My heart breaks each time we say goodbye. Why can’t we be together all the time?”
“You know the answer. I can’t leave her…Patricia loves and relies on me, just like I do with her. You and I made a pact that we’d never leave our marriages no matter how hard it is for us to be apart. What’s changed since then?” He sounded as sad as they both felt.
“I don’t love him anymore, I don’t think I ever did…not after I met you. I’m only with him for one reason, as you know.”
The woman burst into tears and lay down on the bed, covering her face with her hands. She’d agonised over whether to put an end to their relationship but it was too painful to imagine he would not continue to be a part of her life. They were soul mates, regardless of the others who shared their lives.
“You are the love of my life. I’m lost without you,” she cried, feeling his arms around her as they lay together, gazing into each other’s eyes.
“I feel the same about you…And her. Patricia is my wife. I’d never have asked her to marry me if I didn’t love her.” Imagining her eagerness to see him after weeks apart, he felt the same turmoil as if he’d betrayed her trust. But the woman he was with meant just as much to him. And he knew he would never be able to choose one over the other. “We’ve got too much to lose. I hate to see you so upset, have you told him how you feel?”
Whenever they were apart, he often wondered if she was happy with the man she had been married to for longer than he and his wife. But long ago they had agreed to never mention their respective lives and spouses while together, except for the one thing that meant everything to both of them.
“What’s the point? You will never leave her; I may as well continue as I am. If it weren’t for what we treasure most, I’d have left him a long time ago.” Closing her eyes, the woman let out a deep sigh then turned to her lover, their eyes, mouths and bodies expressing their desire for each other.
Hours later, their bodies entwined and her face buried deep in his hair, she whispered, “I wish we could stay here a while longer. Must you really leave in the morning? Please say you will get someone else to cover your shift, pour moi?” Her eyes pleaded with him to say yes.
Kissing the nape of her neck, the man sighed and shook his head. “I’m so sorry but I can’t do it, I can’t let her down with such short notice. She loves me. It wouldn’t be fair.”
Nodding her understanding, the woman disentangled herself from his arms and slipped out of bed. Walking towards the large window at the other side of the room, she looked down at the people outside in the street. Most of them were on their way home, some pulling luggage behind them. As he took in her naked body and delicate features, the man felt a sharp pain inside his chest. It wasn’t the first time. He vowed to bring it to the attention of his GP as soon as he returned home.
He joined her at the window, a big white towel around his waist. “I love you just as much as her, you know? Perhaps things would have been different if it was just the two of us, you and me… but I’ve no regrets. Most people never get to meet one person to love and who loves them back. I’m extremely fortunate to have met and fallen in love with two such extraordinary women. If things weren’t as they are, you and Patricia would have enjoyed spending time together as friends. Of that I’m absolutely certain.”
Pushing his comment to the back of her mind, the woman took his hand as they returned to bed and made love a second time.
Who Is Hélene Fermont?
Hélene Fermont writes character-driven psychological crime fiction with a Scandi Noir flavour. Known for her explosive, pacy narrative and storylines, she has published three novels – Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret – and two short story collections – The Love of Her Life and Who’s Sorry Now? Her fourth novel is due for release in the summer of 2019. After 20 years in London, Hélene recently returned to her native Sweden where she finds the unspoiled scenery and tranquillity a therapeutic boost for creativity. Enjoying a successful career as a Psychologist, when she’s not working her ‘day job’, Hélene spends her time writing, with friends and family, or playing with her beloved cat, Teddy. All three novels can be purchased via her website helenefermont.com/books/
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