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No Perfect Secret
Written by Jackie Weger
Anna suspects differently. What she learns over the coming hours, days, and weeks shatters every facet of her well-ordered life. Her confidence plunges, her husband doesn’t come home, her dream job has to be put on hold, and her mother-in-law comes unhinged. All she wants to do is indulge in her misery, but Frank Caburn won’t have it. He has a droll and infuriating sense of humor. He forces laughter from her lips when all she wants is to indulge her misery. Man to the bone, Caburn’s smile could take him from a cocktail hour to a bedroom, but he finds Anna enduring, unassailable, and far too intelligent to be swayed by mere charisma.
He wants off the investigation. But his boss is a rock, and his colleague is a hard place, and both have their own agendas. Caburn is on his honor to do the right thing. He knows the secret and is forbidden to reveal it. Yet, he’s promised Anna he will always tell her the truth. He realizes he will have to tread very carefully to gain her trust—and her bed. Coping with one disaster after another, Anna longs to lean on Caburn, absorb his strength, and yes, she wants to release her pent-up passion. She feels like some mad god is urging her to go to bed with the man, enjoy it, and then get on with her life. But that isn’t what the Fates have in mind … .
No Perfect Secret
She could cook. Not only ordinary everyday meals but fabulous concoctions that pleased the eye and did not disappoint the palate. She’d used a portion of her inheritance from her widowed mother to treat herself to a year in France. She had not squandered her time. She had attended Le Cordon Bleu, sharing a miniscule flat in the fifteenth arrondissement with another student from Ottawa. Not only had she learned to cook, , the experience gave her otherwise dull resume élan. She kept the house clean and her decorating skills had been honed by visits to museums, villas great and small in the French countryside, wineries, and elegant shops.
I have a job that pays well. That, too, was a bonus, especially in these difficult economic times. She was a Senate research assistant at the Library of Congress, a job that was neither exciting nor glamorous. But the holy truth was that, outside of politics, few jobs in D.C. were glamorous. On the physical side, she wasn’t pencil-thin chic but all soft curves, and her flesh hugged her bones. She wore her rich brown hair parted on the side and kept it professionally cut so that it framed her face and loosely brushed her shoulders.
A flirty old Frenchman had once told her she had eyes that lived, that saw and recorded life. Enchanting eyes. After which he’d invited her to his apartment for an aperitif. When she declined, he laughed and said, “Ah! You Americans—so prudish.” Enchanting eyes. Perhaps that had been true ten years ago. But all the mirror reflected these past months were her brown eyes made darker that did little to hide her unrest.
She had one of those oval faces people always thought were so photogenic, no compression, no sultriness, with a high forehead and well-shaped mouth. The funny part was she didn’t photograph well at all.
Clara Alice bolted into the bedroom, startling Anna into a sharp adrenaline rush.
“Anna! There’s a strange man sitting in a car parked behind your Saab. He’s just sitting there, staring at our house.”
“Clara Alice—please! I’ve begged and begged you. Knock, and wait for me to—”