Jasmine Larson Bush returns to her devious ways in this tale of two marriages -- each threatened by lies and betrayal.
She took marriage vows to be honest and true, but Jasmine's still hiding secrets to keep her husband, Minister Hosea Bush, by her side. When Hosea's ex-fiancee, Natasia, suddenly appears in New York, Jasmine knows it's not a coincidence. A former manstealer herself, Jasmine is very aware of Natasia's motives -- even if Hosea is not.
Complicating Jasmine's life is the secret she's kept from her baby's daddy. Luckily for her, Brian Lewis has problems of his own. His wife, Alexis, is convinced he's cheating on her -- but Brian's real betrayal is much worse. Revealing the truth to his wife could lead him back to the biggest mistake of his life...Jasmine.
Two marriages are in desperate jeopardy. Will Jasmine be able to scheme to save her own? Or will she have to choose between protecting her past and compromising her future? Even if Jasmine and Brian find the courage to stop the lies, it may be too little, too late....
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June 01, 2008
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Excerpt from Too Little, Too Late by Victoria Christopher Murray
Even with the cold metal of the gun's barrel pressed hard against her temple, Jasmine's feet would not move.
"I want you out of my house."
Jasmine wanted to plead for her life. Beg for forgiveness and give him at least one hundred of the good reasons she had for telling her husband all of those lies. But her lips, like her feet, were frozen with fear.
"I said get out of my house."
The venom in his voice turned her fear into fight. And she fought with her words. "Please, Hosea, please forgive me for not telling you the truth before. But I'll tell you now; I'm forty-three, not thirty-eight."
The gun cocked.
She dropped to her knees and cried. "And I didn't tell you that I was married before because -- "
Hosea pushed the metal into her skin.
"Please," she begged more. "Please."
He pulled the trigger.
Jasmine screamed. Shot up straight in bed, her skin dripping with the same sweat that drenched their satin sheets for the many nights that this nightmare invaded her sleep.
She heard the calm of her husband's voice, then felt the warmth of his arms. "Darlin', it's just a dream." The kisses he planted on her forehead were meant to soothe, but that didn't work.
"It's all right, darlin'," Hosea kept saying. "Just another one of those bad dreams."
He's wrong, she thought as she settled back in bed. This was not just a dream.
Even as the rhythm of Hosea's sleep breathing returned, Jasmine's eyes stayed wide open. She knew if she surrendered to unconsciousness, Hosea's words would come back. And those words -- far more than the gun -- made fear rise like bile within her.
In her nightmare, Hosea was as cold as the gun he held. As cold as he'd been on the day, about eighteen months ago, when he'd actually told her he'd wanted nothing more to do with her -- right after she revealed that he wasn't the father of their daughter.
For the millionth time Jasmine wished that her lies had ended there. But they didn't. And she knew if her secrets were uncovered her nightmare would turn into reality.
This dream was a sign, a warning -- she was sure. She'd had it two or three times over the past year. But in the last two weeks, the ghost of her deceptive past haunted her with an almost daily vengeance.
She knew the reason why -- it was because in ten days she and Hosea were renewing their vows.
"I want us to stand before God again," Hosea had told her when he first came up with the idea. "I want us to recommit."
Her eyes had widened with surprise. "Baby, don't people wait until their tenth or twentieth anniversary to do that?"
"There're no rules." He'd embraced her. "What's most important is the reason why. And with the way we started..." He'd stopped right there. Jasmine had closed her eyes and remembered the wonder of their first six months of marriage, and then the beautiful birth of their daughter. But when Jacqueline was barely twenty-four hours old, Hosea had walked away -- from both her and the baby. Yet God's grace had found its way to her through Hosea's heart.
"I forgive you" was all Hosea said when he came back to her. He'd held her and Jacqueline and explained that it was God who had put them together, so they were divinely obligated to work through whatever challenges they had.
From that day, he'd loved her, claimed Jacqueline as his own, and together they'd lived in matrimonial bliss. But in the middle of her heaven, she wallowed in hell, terrified that one day the rest of her lies would be revealed.
Now, the fact that Hosea wanted to renew their vows so that they could start afresh made her tremble in terror. How could she stand before God -- again -- and pretend that all was well?
I've got to find a way to tell Hosea.
But even as her spirit longed to stop the lies, she didn't have the faith -- or the guts -- to tell the truth. It was too risky; she could lose Hosea, this time for good. No, she couldn't take that chance. Her secrets would have to stay tucked away in the dark, and she'd just pray that they never came to light.