As We Lay

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2009-03-24
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine
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Indianapolis architect Breck Lawson has just received the call of her career: Eric Warren, a prominent property manager, is considering her to design a multicultural center in Boston. It's a break that could launch Breck into the who's who of the architectural world. But soon it's clear that Eric is offering more than just a business deal. As she develops a friendship with the married man, which eventually turns into something deeper, Breck reassures herself that she's content to remain "the other woman." But after a tragic accident, she learns that the survival of Eric's child, Darius, and the well-being of Eric's wife, Gaby, depend entirely on herand her willingness to share the truth. But the revelation could destroy her reputation, her business, and the lives of two families. Now Breck must decide if she has what it takes to put it all on the line.

Author Biography

Darlene Johnson lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her two sons and her nephew. In addition to writing, she works full-time in information technology. You can visit her on the Internet at www.darlenejohnson-online.com.

From the Trade Paperback edition.


Chapter One

The workplace attire in the small, three- person office Breck leased each month was business casual or whatever you happened to put your hands on that morning. When it came to style, Breck was the worst. Most mornings she strolled into the office wearing the jeans she had thrown over her bedroom chaise the night before. Her secretary, Tachi Tanaka, Chi for short, was the fashionable one. Her name was pronounced “Kie”; however, most people who only saw it written said “She.” Whether or not Chi corrected them was determined by their importance. “It’s not worth the breath,” she explained to Breck one day when her name was called for a table at a restaurant.

Chi was blessed with the type of beauty and petite frame that always made her look good no matter what she wore. She had both women and men falling all over her and throwing credit cards and gifts at her just to take her out. She accepted the gifts, of course, but it was only the women she was interested in. She never deceived the men about her sexual preference, but most of them still vied for the chance to be the one to “convert” her. The ones with the largest egos insisted that after one night with them she would never look at a woman again.

Even with her flawless beauty, Chi was extremely self- conscious about her breasts, or lack thereof. So she took a two-week vacation and had the problem rectified. “What Mother Nature didn’t give me, Dr. Anderson did,” Chi sang as she pulled her shirt tight around her enlarged bosoms.

Breck hired Chi straight out of junior college, where she’d received an associate’s degree in business administration, but the only thing the school had prepared her for was a high-level administrative-assistant position. Chi knew how to use all of the office software programs, write business letters, and run an office efficiently, thus making her perfect for the position. The initial interview lasted over six hours; she and Breck ended up leaving the office together and headed to a local martini club for a drink.

The third person in the office was the part-time CAD specialist, Jonathan Franks. By day Jonathan was a computer opera- tor. He’d taken the extra job to support a wife and three kids. He worked nights during the first part of the week, and Breck hardly saw him. The only evidence that he even existed was the computer-image file he left for her.

breck sat in her office overlooking the canal. Every time the phone rang, her pulse hammered until Chi verified it was not the call she was hoping for. Was Eric Warren ever going to call her back? It had been nearly a month since he’d phoned her after she had been recommended to him by one of her other clients. Breck had spoken with him briefly then about designing a convention center in Mansfield, Massachusetts. His voice sounded formidable as he questioned her about her previous work. Nothing she had done in the past was on the scale of what he wanted. But she had convinced Mr. Warren to look at her designs, and he had invited her to visit him and his partner, Stephen Peterson, to go over the ideas for the center and see the actual building site. Naturally, Breck had accepted. She would have been a fool not to.

Breck had flown to Boston and shown up at the Warren & Peterson Property Management office dressed in a brand-new Donna Karan business suit, only to be greeted by Eric Warren’s fashionable secretary, Gloria, with the news that he had been called away on an emergency and would not be able to make it. Stephen Peterson would accompany her to the site and answer any questions. Gloria escorted her to Mr. Peterson’s office.

The contemporary interior decorating coupled with an impeccable view of Boston Harbor made the Warren & Peterson offices extraordinary. You could see the ocean from all the east-wing offices.

Excerpted from As We Lay: A Novel by Darlene Johnson
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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