Title: Circle of Hurt
Author: Lauren Campbell
Genre: Contemporary Romance with elements of cheating
Release Date: March 13, 2020
For years, infertility followed me like a cloud.
But finally, the sun has risen.
Finally, I am pregnant.
Except now a new storm rages in the distance—one I have no choice but to pass through.
I have no idea if the child I’m carrying belongs to my husband … or to the man I’ve betrayed him with—a man I’ve come to love but whose name I don’t know.
What I do know is that I’m a cheat. A liar. Undeserving of this baby inside me.
I don’t know how this will end. But I do know it won’t be without casualties, because this is a story in which a true happy ending cannot exist.
A story of how my love for one grew into three but must end with only two.
Pain relievers. You stare at the multitude of options at your fingertips, a whining toddler at your feet. Vitamins. I back away from them. Watch you ruffle the shock of blonde before taking the tiny hand that claws at your leg.
The commotion in the store falls silent. I’m paralyzed, my throat constricted, hands sweaty, eyes burning out of fear that I’ll blink and you’ll be gone.
You bite your lip, your eyes scanning the back of a box of Dimetapp before mumbling something to the girl. She is persistent. Throws a tantrum. You pick her up, my eyes trained on the strength of your arms — the muscular lines that cut across your skin.
You are beautiful.
A small gasp leaves me as I force myself to look at my husband, all four chambers of my heart ripping as I wish for something else. “Yes,” I whisper, hand snatching up the nearest bottle of what I came here for, and allowing my hair to shield my face.
“Well, hurry up. I’m ready to go.”
Your head turns at the frost in his tone, the little girl now snug on your hip, snot glistening from her upturned nose. When our eyes connect, I surrender. A wave of longing erodes my veins, and I see the same in those tired eyes of yours. They widen at me, need and desire and understanding packaged beneath one bow.
I can smell a cheater from a mile away.
I know them because I am one. Once a cheater, always a cheater, right?
I want you.
And you … your scent is strong.
Lauren Campbell lives in Atlanta, GA, with her family, and is author of The Evolution of Ivy: Poison.
She was raised in Columbia, SC, with her three sisters who annoy her greatly.
Lauren’s social life is pretty boring, but she loves reading, coffee & hot tea, and living in her pajamas. She’s a glutton for punishment, and regrettably signs up for things like Room Mom in her children’s classes, leaving her up all night doing things like baking dozens of cookies between swear words. Her favorite food is avocado. If she could, she’d find a way to put it on everything.