The Secret Lives of Doctors' Wives

Austin, Texas

Prologue

He remembered the flash of the blade, the slender hand in the dark. His screams had been followed by eerie silence. Too late he recalled that this house had a history of tragedy.

The dying man could barely hear Rose Marie Castle's flying bare feet on the sculpted stone staircase. Besides her shoes, she was missing several intimate garments that, doubtless, the police would find later.

Run, run as fast as you can….

His hands were bound together with Rosie's silky black bra. Her paring knife was lodged firmly in his Adam's apple. The security cameras would capture incriminating images of her escape, but he would be dead long before she was brought to justice, which could be slow, even in Texas.

The deathblow had been savage. Delicate vertebrae had been smashed, his spinal cord nicked or severed. He'd had no sensation of falling as he'd crumpled to the white carpet, his blood staining it a vivid crimson.

He'd been a fool, ensnared like a stupid fly in a web. Because of her--the bitch.

He was cold to the marrow of his bones.

Downstairs, Rosie let out a panicked little cry. She began to pound on the door with her fists. When it finally opened, and she stumbled outside, the prisms of the chandelier above the grand staircase tinkled.

He thought of his mother and father. Of the old life and its false promises; of all the bitter years when he'd longed for vengeance, which would have been his--except for her.

Down the hill, the big engine of her Beamer purred to life. When she sped away, his useless body convulsed. As his eyeballs rolled upward, he heard the wind in the branches of the pecan trees outside. She must have left the door open in her haste to escape.

The harsh music of the cicadas joined the sweeter music of the chandelier that she'd imported from Paris.

Paris, France; not Paris, Texas. What grand ambitions she'd had before the wedding.

Run, run; you can't catch me….

Like hell.

She'd pay. She deserved to pay.

His body convulsed one final time. He thought about her dreams of being a grand lady in Austin society, married to the eminent plastic surgeon, Pierce Carver. She'd wanted to live down the poverty and shame of her childhood.

Was there enough money or fame to heal such wounds?

The dying man almost felt pity for Rose Marie Castle as he died.

But not quite.