Dr. Renee Hayes is immersed in the lives of people living on the edge while she attempts to hide from her true self. But when Dr. Hayes comes face to face with those harboring their own dangerous agendas, she sees the fragility of her own life. No longer in the prime of her youth, Dr. Hayes feels time is running out for her to find the two things she’s never really possessed and has always craved, lasting unconditional love and passion in her life.
This is the story of a woman’s odyssey in search of her unrecognized source of power and strength. It’s about a woman’s need to be intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and sexually fulfilled on her own terms. Through her own mirrored lens, Dr. Hayes peers at the reflection of her spiritually-grounded secretary and learns from her triumph over tragedy, not only how to survive but how to gain the courage to go after what she wants without shame or regret.
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||519 KB|
Read an Excerpt
BLIND DELUSIONA Novel
By Dorothy Phaire
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2009 Dorothy Phaire
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA lonely French Colonial mansion sat atop a hill, spotlighted by the halo from a globe lamp and guarded by massive sycamores that hadn't yet shed their October leaves. The limbs spread out like hinged ribs on an umbrella-their brilliant yellow leaves now faded. It was now dark outside. Quietness enveloped this secluded Washington, D. C. enclave known as Foxhall Crescent Estates where the Hayes' mansion was the centerpiece on a sprawling landscape. Except for a rising wind that sounded like an old woman's raspy voice, all appeared peaceful.
Inside the mansion, Dr. Renee Hayes sat looking out at the moon from the breakfast window. She had delayed preparing dinner until 8 because she didn't want to eat alone again. Her husband had come home late for the past five evenings with no reasonable explanation. She knew he wasn't working late since he often complained that he hated his job as Senior Technical Instructor at EduTech Computer Training Center. She tugged at her wedding band until it finally slid over her knuckle. She tossed it onto the kitchen counter where it clanked against the marble. She washed her hands in lotion soap before preparing the appetizer, lemon-tarragon shrimp salad on a bed of romaine lettuce.
Removing her wedding ring a halfdozen times or more for the simplest tasks, like hand washing or chopping onions, had become a habit. Mood lights brightened the French Provincial kitchen just enough for Renee to see the seasonings she sprinkled into the Alfredo sauce while the shrimp salad chilled in the fridge. The strong aroma of chicken tenderloins sautéed in onions and garlic drowned out the apple-cinnamon air spray. She had already set the table in their formal dining room. Two place settings of gold-rimmed china and a pair of wineglasses waited at each end of the elegant table that could easily accommodate 12 guests. A crystal lily-filled vase kissed by the flames of two white candles created a lustrous centerpiece while a saxophone jazz tune moaned soothingly in the background from the built-in CD player.
Renee heard the garage door open. When Bill entered the kitchen, glancing quickly at her, then away, all he said was, "Hi Babe."
She tried to sound cheerful but her voice fell flat. "Dinner should be ready by the time you wash up and change."
"No thanks, I grabbed something downtown."
Her insides tightened but she said nothing, too hurt to respond. It was a shame that after fourteen years of marriage, communication had deteriorated to a simple nod and a stiff greeting that could have easily come from a passing stranger on the street. Renee dumped the angel hair pasta down the drain. She had suddenly lost her appetite and in another ten minutes it would taste like paste anyway. Bill shrugged his shoulders, unfazed. Briefcase in hand, he walked down the hallway towards his office.
"You could have called before I went through all this trouble." Her voice sounding hard, rather than hurt. He disappeared down the hall as her voice trailed after him. She couldn't leave things like this. Renee followed him to his office where she found him leaning into the desk with his head buried in his hands.
"Bill, what's bothering you? Talk to me," she said leaning against the door and staring at him attentively.
He sighed and rested his head against the back of the leather chair, eyes closed. "Nothing. I mean, there's nothing you can do."
"Maybe not but I can listen." She moved towards him and gently touched his shoulder.
He lifted his eyelids slightly and stared at her through narrowed slits. "Yeah, I know. That's what they pay you the big bucks for."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Renee raised her eye brows and jerked her hand away from his shoulder.
"Forget it," he said, rubbing his temples, "I'm not in the mood for this."
"No, let's not forget it. Are you jealous because I make more money than you? Is that it?"
Bill grunted out a dry laugh. "Yeah that's it, Doctor. Once again you've psychoanalyzed correctly."
"Do you enjoy putting me down? It's obvious you don't respect my profession."
"Hey, I wasn't attacking your career. I'm just sick of being put under a microscope. I'm not one of those losers stupid enough to pay a week's wages for somebody to listen to their problems."
Renee folded her arms across her chest and ignored his sarcasm. "I want to know what's going on with you," she said firmly.
He turned away from her glare, and flipped open his laptop computer and booted it up. Then he glanced back at her, "Look Renee, do you mind? I have to work."
Renee felt like everything had spiraled out of control. All she wanted was a quiet, romantic evening for a change. What the hell had gone wrong? She'd been married to this man for 14 years and she still couldn't feel his love. As for her dream of becoming a mother someday, doctors had told her she'd never be able to conceive and carry a child to term. So far, they had been right. Her last attempt at motherhood was six years ago-an ectopic pregnancy that had to be aborted in order to save her life. That left adoption as their only option. An idea that Bill was vehemently against for his own selfish reasons, which she could not understand because he had refused to open up and share that part of himself no matter how many times she had relied on her years of textbook and clinical psychotherapeutic training to get him to open up. Meanwhile the clock continued to race forward towards a bleak and lonely midnight. On the eve of her forty-fifth birthday, Renee felt fearful of changing what she instinctively knew was wrong in her life. And, Bill became an easy target for her frustrations.
"For someone who claims to hate his job so much, you certainly devote a lot of time to it," she said in a bitter tone.
"This is not for EduTech," he said without looking up from the computer screen, "In fact, I may not be there much longer."
Renee couldn't believe this man was actually entertaining the idea of quitting his job. "What do you mean? Are you planning to quit?"
Bill said nothing. His fingers raced across the keyboard without looking away from the screen.
Chapter TwoThe next morning the 'wake to music' alarm went off at 5 AM in Renee's bedroom, and she woke up to Lou Rawls's mentholated baritone voice crooning out soulful lyrics on 105.9 radio station's Thursday morning blues program. She closed her eyes and listened to the words that Lou Rawls sang.
Around about the time the sun comes up Early Morning Love The kind of love you just can't get enough of As I slowly roll over ... Early Morning Love.
After having lain in bed awake all night, alone-Early Morning Love was precisely what Renee was not getting and hadn't been getting for several months now.
The day folded uneventfully into the evening, and that night was no different from the previous night. She wondered, could Bill be having an affair? Punishing her for last summer? She didn't want to think about that. Finally, at half past nine Renee gave up waiting on Bill. She couldn't believe that he would come home tonight after 10 o'clock again. She swung open the French doors and strode into her bedroom, dimming the lights. Subdued bursts of accent lighting displayed a rich arrangement of artwork against mauve-painted walls. Modern art peacefully coexisted with traditional oils on canvas and impressionistic watercolors. One modern piece depicted a bare-breasted woman staring out from a triad of bulging eyeballs. Next to it, hung a sunset landscape in delicate watercolor. The bedroom's mellow hues calmed her. But Renee frowned when she spotted Bill's green-eyed, white Persian cat, curled up asleep on his side of the bed, taking ownership.
"Bill's got that cat spoiled worse than an only child," she uttered under her breath.
Despite her frequent pleas to get rid of that annoying cat, it was still there. Lately, she and Bill agreed on nothing and argued about everything.
Renee turned on the CD player then walked over by the window where she sank down on a Rococo Revival loveseat. She felt the whisper of billowy drapes against her neck. Moonlight pried through the floor-length, white linen curtains and illuminated the bedroom. Gladys Knight's mellow voice filled the room with one of Renee's favorite songs, an old 70s hit, 'Neither One of Us Wants to Be The First to Say Goodbye'. She listened closely to the lyrics.
It's sad to think We're not gonna make it And it's gotten to the point Where we just can't fake it Ooh, ooh, ooh, for some ungodly reason We just won't let it die I guess neither one of us Wants to be the first to say goodbye ...
Gladys was singing this song for her and Bill. He still hadn't shared what was bothering him, though she suspected it was something at work. Lately, he seemed more preoccupied than usual with his work. Or was there another woman involved? Though she didn't want to entertain the idea, she couldn't dismiss the possibility that Bill was cheating on her. The thought of answering the telephone in the middle of the night and hearing a woman's voice on the other end asking for her husband, put her stomach in knots. Perhaps he was trying to get back at her for falling in love with a younger man this past summer. She trembled and clutched at both arms, hugging herself tightly as she struggled to wipe away her memories of being with Deek. Her emotions were too fragile to think about Deek and how much she still missed him.
Renee got up and went to the built-in wine cabinet then poured herself a glass of burgundy. After only a few sips she placed the glass down and walked over to the Cheval mirror, the one gift from Bill that she cherished. Its hand-painted frame displayed a whimsical motif of winged cherubs that reminded her of babies and sweet innocence. She let her robe slip to the floor and stared at her naked reflection. The slightly plump figure before her still maintained a few vestiges of its former eighteen-year old, gazelle-ish self. Back then plum-size breasts that once stood at attention were fuller now. At 44, soon to be 45, years old she was grateful that they didn't sag. She loosened the chignon and let her thick, Egyptian sable hair fall to her tender brown shoulders. Still sexy. Still vibrant. Still alive. But the eyes gave her away. Sleepless and vapid, they marked her, as a woman unloved and untouched. Tomorrow was her birthday. Would Bill even remember?
At the jarring sound of car tires outside her bedroom window, she picked up her robe and wrapped it around her body. "It's about time, damn you," she voiced to herself. Then she shooed the cat off her bed and it scurried out the room. Renee shut the door so the cat couldn't get back in. She knew it had to be Bill finally getting home but she walked over to the window anyway, and pushed aside the curtains. She flinched at the sight of a brand new red sports car parked in their driveway. Even more disturbing was Bill sitting behind the wheel. Renee ran from the bedroom and raced barefoot down the stairs and out the front door. She approached Bill just as he slid his six-foot, muscular frame from the new car.
"Where the hell have you been?" she demanded, and then pointed to the new car, "What's this?"
Bill grinned and his white teeth contrasted against his ebony-hued face. "I bought it. You like it? It's top of the line, babe." He rubbed his palm over the shiny red hood and beamed, "It's a BMW M3 coupe."
Renee was still in shock and couldn't speak.
Bill opened the door and slid back into the driver's seat. "Check out these leather seats and all the bells and whistles she's got." He pointed at the dashboard while she rolled her eyes without showing interest. "It's got a high revving V8 engine with 414 horsepower that can hit sixty miles per hour in only 4.8 seconds. It'll eat up a quarter-mile in only 12.7 seconds."
Renee gave him a look that let him know she wasn't impressed. Bill sat ramrod straight and clutched both hands on the steering wheel as he grinned up at her icy expression. "Did I mention it's also got several state-of-the art features like drive by wire throttle bodies, dynamic stability control, dual clutch transmission, electronic damping control, and differential lock?"
"You still didn't answer my question. Where did you get this new car?"
Bill jumped out of the seat. "Good evening to you too, sweetness," he said as he tipped his head forward in a bow. His lips were set in a slight curve that Renee took for his weak attempt to smile. He glanced down at her bare breast peeking through a gap in her robe. "I can see you're glad to see me too."
He caught her by surprise when he suddenly pulled her into his arms and nuzzled her neck. She flinched as his mustache touched her skin and smelled his breath that reeked of alcohol.
"Come on, Renee, let's get in," he winked, opening the car door. "How 'bout a quickie in my new car? We'll break her in."
"Are you crazy?" She shoved him away, tightening the robe around her body and cut him an icy glare.
"What?" he looked at her through drooping, bloodshot eyes, "What did I do?"
Renee flipped up the collar of her robe without answering.
"I didn't know the woman I married would turn out to be so damn conservative and uptight," he snarled and slammed the car door shut.
"And I didn't know the man I married could be so childish." She folded her arms and glared at him sideways.
She could see through the windshield and to her the dashboard resembled an airplane cockpit panel. The interior sported red and black leather trim.
"Bill, we don't have the money for this car. Have you lost your mind? You already have a Range Rover parked in the garage. What do you need a race car for at your age? You're almost 52 years old for Chrissakes."
"I just wanted it, baby, and I had the money to get it. Another company bought out EduTech last week. They laid me off and all the old timers too. But who the hell cares?"
"You got laid off?" she said, incredulously, "You only hinted at the possibility of not working for EduTech. Nothing about them laying you off."
"It ain't no thing but a chicken wing, Baby," he shrugged with a loopy grin, "I'm in business for myself now. I took my severance package and bought this beauty with the money. My buddy and I launched our own software training and brokering business. I don't need EduTech. In this economy you can't count on anybody but yourself"
Bill seemed pleased with himself as he stroked the hood of his new car.
"What kind of rip-off deal have you gotten into this time?" she said, her voice now rising. She took a deep breath to calm herself. "And how are you going to pay for this business when you spent your severance on this car? Have you conveniently forgotten about the thirty thousand dollars you lost three years ago in that risky internet startup company? I carried you when that deal went sour, remember?"
"Get off my back." His playful mood had suddenly turned cold. "Money is the least of our problems. Anyway, you've got royalties coming in from those self-help books of yours. Then there's your practice. Why the hell are you hassling me about my investments?"
"Because what you do affects me. I'm tired of watching you act like a kid with too many toys to play with."
"Can't you for once think about what somebody else wants, Renee?" he said and slammed his palm against the hood of the car. "Instead of it always being about what you want. You're so damn self-centered and controlling."
Renee turned away. She didn't want to admit it but his words hit home and she couldn't meet his gaze. She didn't know how she was able to solve other people's relationship problems but still couldn't seem to follow her own advice.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Bill. I'm not self-centered or controlling," she said calmly.
"Oh, no? Then let me refresh your memory, sweetheart."
Bill proceeded to name times and dates when she had made major decisions without consulting him. "And what about this past summer when you met with that social worker behind my back and started adoption proceedings without telling me a damn thing!"
Excerpted from BLIND DELUSION by Dorothy Phaire Copyright © 2009 by Dorothy Phaire. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.