IN A WORLD OF HIDDEN DANGERS, IT'S EASY TO GET LOST....
After discovering her true identity, Willow De Beers leaves her North Carolina town to live with her real mother and her half-brother in Palm Beach, Florida. Now caught up in a world of glamour and extravagant wealth -- where nosy neighbors, fueled by gossip and greed, keep an eye on her eccentric family -- Willow is determined to make a fresh start.
Thatcher Eaton, the debonair attorney, uses his intoxicating charm once again, this time convincing Willow to give him her hand in marriage. It¹s to be the ritziest wedding of the decade, even by Palm Beach standards. But as future plans are made, families feud and rumors fly -- and Willow soon learns the horrifying truth: from the darkest of secrets, there is no escape....
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May 20, 2002
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Excerpt from Wicked Forest by V.C. Andrews
The sound of footsteps in the hallway shook me out of a deep sleep. The shuffling seemed to begin in a dream and continue even after I was awake, as if something dark and ominous and haunting was strong enough to crawl out of the graveyard of nightmares and follow me into reality. A hand of ice slid its fingers down the back of my neck. Under my breasts, shackles of cold steel tightened.
For a moment I didn't know where I was. I had driven nearly ten hours nonstop on the second leg of my journey from Spring City, South Carolina, intending to arrive at my mother's home in Palm Beach, Florida, at an early enough hour to have dinner with her and with my half brother, Linden. Because of some traffic delays due to road construction and a very heavy March rainstorm, however, I didn't reach the Flagler Bridge and cross into Palm Beach until nearly 11 P.M. Everything looked dank and depressed by the weather. Even elegant Worth Avenue reminded me of a glamorous woman caught in a downpour that ruined her expensive hairdo and soaked her haute couture outfit.
Both my mother and I were so excited when I arrived that we stayed up talking until a little after 1 A.M. Linden had gone to sleep before I arrived, and from what my mother had told me, he had not had any reaction to the news of my moving in with them and my decision to continue my college education in Florida. I thought that if there was any doubt in his mind that I was sincere about moving in with them, it would have been erased when my clothing and all of my personal possessions had arrived days earlier.
"Are you sure he understood what I have decided to do?" I asked her, disappointed. In my heart of hearts I had hoped that my decision would erase the gray depression clouding his mind and help cheer along his recuperation. Was it arrogant of me to believe I could bring sunshine into someone else's life just by being there, especially after all the overcast skies that had dominated my world lately?
What I feared the most was that now Linden resented me, resented what I represented in our mother's past. Fathered by a rogue, our mother's stepfather, who seduced and raped her, Linden was already a bitter, angry young man before he had learned all of it. My story and my mother's story simply had added salt to his open wounds by giving validity to the rumors and accusations flung at our mother. I could see the question in his eyes when he first learned the truth: Why couldn't I have kept my true identity a secret, buried forever and ever? An artist, Linden believed ugly secrets should be kept hidden with a stroke of the brush. Once buried in fresh paint, who saw it, who cared?