To Roberta Peden, a reader who’s followed me from the beginning of my career and has become a friend over the years. Thank you for your sweet, patient, kind and steady support—and the generous donations you’ve made to the Box Grant Program in Brenda Novak’s Book Group on Facebook. You’re an inspiration!

Chapter One

Ismay Chalmers had never faced such terrible weather. A farmer’s daughter, born and raised in a small town in northern Utah, she’d seen the occasional blizzard during winter, a twenty-year drought, and scars left by wildfires once. But she’d never experienced anything even close to a hurricane. “I can’t believe this is happening,” she told Remy Windsor, her fiancé, over the phone.

“You have nothing to worry about,” he said, but his words sounded hollow. She was alone on an island off Cape Cod that was only ten miles long and five miles wide, facing shrieking gale-force winds that seemed determined to claw the house apart, and dark roiling clouds that blocked out the sun so completely it could’ve been nighttime instead of midafternoon.

“Easy for you to say. You’re sitting in sunny LA,” she grumbled. Just imagining the balmy spring weather he was experiencing made her wish she’d stayed in California. She would’ve waited for him, but after passing the bar, there’d been nothing for her to do while he continued to study almost 24/7 for the third and final part of the United States Medical Licensing Exam, which would enable him to become a medical doctor.

Instead, she’d flown to Mariners Island ahead of him to get settled while he finished up. He was supposed to join her in three weeks. Then they’d spend the rest of May and all of June in paradise, unwinding from the pressure they’d been under, both before they knew each other and after—obtaining their bachelor’s degrees at UCLA, passing the exams necessary to get into higher education at the same school, and earning their advanced degrees.

“The storm won’t be as bad as it seems,” he insisted. “Like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Mariners is an outlier that gets far more nor’easters than hurricanes. Those can be bad enough, of course, but they only come in the winter. And hurricane season doesn’t start until August.”

When the wind had first come up, she’d checked the internet. She knew what he said was accurate. But there were always exceptions.

“Hurricanes almost always slam into the coast farther south,” he continued as she moved to the living room window to be able to watch what was happening outside. “They lessen in severity before moving north, or they curve into the Atlantic.”

Feeling the house shudder around her did nothing to build her confidence. Windsor Cottage—a play on Windsor Castle using his family’s last name—was located at the end of a lane called “Land’s End,” because it was on the easternmost tip of the island.

When a jagged bolt of lightning electrified the sky, she could see the angry froth of the sea churning not far away—watched a giant wave rise up and come crashing down on the beach. “It’s hard to feel safe when I’m afraid the house will blow down and be swept into the ocean,” she said.

“The house won’t blow down and be swept into the ocean,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s been in the family for almost a century. Everything will be fine.”

Maybe he was right, and she was overreacting. That wouldn’t be too surprising, considering she was staying in an unfamiliar house in a part of the world she’d never visited before. “I just wish I’d waited for you. I don’t know what I was thinking flying off ahead of you.”

“You were thinking of spending your days on the beach, reading escape novels and getting a tan. You’ve worked so hard. You deserve to celebrate with a sun-drenched vacation on Mariners. That’s why my parents insisted we use the cottage.”

The word cottage was an understatement. Summer home would be a more accurate term. The house was worth millions. But she wasn’t going to argue over semantics. She’d grown up with seven younger siblings and tired parents who worked from dawn till dusk to provide everything they could for their family, but she’d never known the type of affluence Remy had. His father was a diamond broker in New York City—like his father before him—and thanks to his incredible success, Remy’s mother had never had to work. “I just feel so…alone and vulnerable.”

“Stop. You’ll wake up in the morning, the sun will be shining, and you’ll be glad you went ahead of me. You passed the bar in February. You’ve had to sit around twiddling your thumbs enough while I study.”

He was right about that. She’d cracked open her share of textbooks, but she hadn’t had to study nearly as hard as he had, and the fact that he was never available was getting old. She was becoming concerned about their relationship. When they met nearly three years ago, she’d been so impressed by his drive and ability, how he always had everything under control. They’d moved in together a year later and gotten engaged, informally for now, nine months ago. But she no longer felt like a priority. Maybe marriage would be a mistake. She’d recently told him she was having a few misgivings, and he’d said things would change once they had their hardest years behind them.

She’d decided to wait and see, when he wasn’t so stressed.

“I’ll be there before you know it,” he promised.

Enough whimpering about the storm, she told herself. He didn’t have much patience for weakness—much patience at all, now that she thought of it. She was about to change the subject and ask how confident he was feeling about part three, his upcoming exam, when the lights flickered. “I think I’m going to lose power,” she said instead, feeling a fresh burst of panic.

“I’m sure my folks have candles and flashlights and that sort of thing.”

“Where?” she asked, suddenly desperate to find them.

“I’ll call and ask.”

How long would that take? She drew a deep breath. “Okay. Hurry.”

As soon as she disconnected, she started rummaging through the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, thinking she might stumble on what she needed. To prepare for a hurricane—or a bad storm like this—the information online indicated she should have a gallon of water, food, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, a first-aid kit, extra batteries, and a whistle to use to be able to call for help—although, hopefully, it wouldn’t get that bad. The list was even more extensive than that, but she figured she’d be happy if she could just gain possession of the top three items.

Fortunately, she’d purchased groceries once she’d landed and bought filtered water.

After she left the kitchen, she managed to locate a flashlight in the mudroom at the back of the house.

Relieved, she turned it on, then groaned. The beam was so weak. It needed new batteries. She was also worried about the battery in her cell phone. She’d been charging it since before the storm started, but it ran down quickly—in a couple of hours. She’d been meaning to do something about that, but she’d been living on student loans and a modest paycheck from the coffee shop where she worked and would need every cent she could scrape together to set up her law practice this summer. She could’ve joined a firm instead, but she’d chosen to go out on her own so she wouldn’t be beholden to the demands—or whims—of those more powerful than she was and could retain control of her own destiny.

She still considered that a good decision. But putting off getting her phone fixed? Not so much. It didn’t matter a great deal in LA. There, she was almost always near a working outlet. But what if that wasn’t the case here? What if she lost power and it took all night or longer to restore it?

She’d be completely cut off. With everyone having a cell phone these days, Remy’s parents had seen no reason to keep a landline when they had the house renovated last fall.

“Shit.” After returning to the kitchen, where she’d left her phone, she tapped her fingers on the counter, willing Remy to call back. But he’d been so cavalier and unconcerned, so sure everything would be fine, she wasn’t convinced he’d act quickly.

A large boom sounded. She had no idea what it was. It sounded more like something had crashed into the house than thunder. But it convinced her she’d be a fool to waste any more time waiting for him.

Taking only the small flashlight she’d found, she left her charging phone behind to poke through the other rooms.

Surely, she’d find a bevy of stronger flashlights. The house was built on an island, for God’s sake. The only way to reach Mariners was by boat or plane, and bad weather routinely cut it off from the mainland. But no one had spent much time at the cottage since it was gutted and remodeled, so a lot of everyday items hadn’t yet been replaced.

The lights went out before she could reach the second story. She was only halfway up the stairs when it happened, leaving her in a thick humid darkness that felt like plasma. As she listened to the wind howl through the eaves and the house creak in protest, she realized she was going to have to go ahead and use the weak flashlight.

“What a nightmare,” she muttered and hit the switch.

A dim yellow circle illuminated the next step and then the next. The beam couldn’t reach far, which made her nervous. She needed to decide where she’d spend her time until the power came back on, because if she couldn’t find another source of light, she wouldn’t be able to move about in this unfamiliar place. It wasn’t as if she could rely on her phone as a flashlight. She might need what cell power she had for more important things.

Chances were she’d just have to wait out the storm in the dark, hoping the power came back on sooner than later—or that the skies would clear enough by tomorrow morning that she’d be able to see the sun.

Once she reached the landing, she sought out the bathrooms. She was relieved to find several decorative, scented candles by the soaking tub in the master bedroom, but there weren’t any matches. Hoping she might run across a lighter in one of the boys’ rooms, she brought two candles with her and left them near the wall at the top of the stairs before going into the first door off the hallway.

Although this room had been updated, like the rest of the house, there was a graduation picture of Remy on the dresser from when he got his bachelor’s, along with some old baseball and soccer trophies. Remy had insisted she take the master—might as well be as comfortable as possible, Is. We can always switch rooms if my parents make it out to visit us—so she wasn’t staying in his old room, but she knew this had belonged to him. She’d seen it yesterday when she first arrived and explored the house.

She searched his drawers but most were empty, since the furniture was new. She did find several boxes in the closet filled with old clothes and memorabilia and guessed his mother had asked the workmen to put his belongings there for him to sort through the next time he returned to the island.

After digging through clothes, old schoolwork, and things he’d made as a child, she lost confidence she’d find what she needed in those boxes and started to feel along the top shelf of his closet. Could he have hidden a bong or some marijuana with a lighter? He smoked on occasion, and once told her he’d started young.

Although the closet would be the most likely place to find that type of thing, she couldn’t reach all the way to the back, so she climbed up on one of the heaviest boxes and used her flashlight to see.

There was no bong. No lighter or matches, either. She found a ballpoint pen, a random bookmark, and a spiral binder with Remy’s name drawn on the cover in colorful graffiti-like letters and pages filled with incredible drawings.

She’d known Remy was talented. He’d done a number of sketches—including a picture of her dog before she had to put him down three months ago—and quite a few human bodies, showing the detailed anatomy of the organs, muscles, and ligaments. He said it was a great way for him to study, and she could see why that might be the case.

But the drawings in this book weren’t quite so clinical. These depicted violence—knives dripping with blood, torture devices, and mutilated bodies.

With a grimace, she closed the binder and put it back. She couldn’t understand why Remy or anyone else would have the desire to draw such things. But a lot of teenage boys were fascinated with the macabre. Even though she found those graphic images unsettling—disturbing—especially while her flashlight was fading and she was likely to be left in the dark, stranded alone in this “cottage” by the sea, she shouldn’t make too much of it.

Coming to this place had seemed like such a treat before the storm rolled in, she mused. But right now, she’d rather be in the cramped, kitschy, well-loved four-bedroom farmhouse where she’d grown up, even if all her siblings were home and arguing over religion and politics, as they often did.

She was about to scramble down and move on to Remy’s twin brother’s room when a loose board along the back of the shelves caught her eye. There it is. That had to be where he’d hidden his marijuana, she thought.

Lifting the loose board revealed a hole in the wall that contained a small nylon duffel bag, the kind an athlete would use to carry their equipment. She reached for it, then hesitated. She was already a little shaken by what she’d seen in that notebook. Should she really press on? This wasn’t her house. She had no right to invade Remy’s privacy. After all, she’d just seen a part of her fiancé—even if it was from when he was much younger—that she didn’t find appealing. And they didn’t need any more strain on their relationship.

But if this was indeed a bong, and there were matches or a lighter with it, she’d have candles and a way to use them.

She wasn’t doing anything wrong, she reassured herself, and got down so she could use both hands.

After unzipping the duffel, she pointed her flashlight inside it. But she didn’t find what she’d expected. The bag contained several pieces of cheap jewelry, a torn picture of some girl who looked to be eighteen or nineteen, and a handful of women’s underwear.

She picked up a pair of yellow bikini briefs—and quickly dropped them again. Why would Remy have a bag of women’s jewelry and panties hidden so carefully in his closet?

Her mind raced and her heart began to pound. Like the drawings, the contents of the duffel could fall within the range of what was normal for a young boy to have, couldn’t it? Young boys were, of course, notoriously curious about women.

But what she’d found didn’t feel normal. That was the problem. Whose panties were they? Where had they come from? And how long had they been there?

Whatever the answers to those questions, she wished she’d never found the notebook or the bag. She’d lived with Remy for two of the three years they’d been together, but this made her wonder if she really knew him. He was so…highly focused on school, on himself. He didn’t open up a lot. What was going on inside his head?

These items made her wonder like she’d never wondered before.

Intending to get back up on the boxes so she could put the bag away, she turned, but her flashlight died at that moment, leaving her standing in Remy’s old room, blinking widely without being able to see a thing—except those horrific drawings and the yellow bikini briefs in the duffel she was holding, both of which were indelibly etched into her brain.


Chapter Two

Bo Broussard had seen the woman pull into the drive of the main house yesterday. He’d been watching for her. Annabelle Windsor had called to let him know her son and his fiancée, Ismay Chalmers, would be coming to spend the rest of spring and part of summer, and he’d done his job by making sure the cottage was ready.

Bo didn’t live directly on the premises, but he lived on the property tucked behind, which was also owned by Mort and Annabelle Windsor. They provided him with a small caretaker’s cabin, a Ford F-250 truck, and a modest salary in exchange for looking after the property—keeping teenagers and would-be vandals away when it wasn’t in use, maintaining the grounds, and performing minor repairs here and there. His cabin wasn’t only smaller, it was located farther from the ocean, and it was mostly hidden by trees. But he preferred it that way. Everyone else wanted to be right on the beach; he just wanted to maintain his privacy.

Glancing down at his phone again, he sighed. He had to go out in the weather. Annabelle had just texted him to say the cottage had lost power—which didn’t come as any surprise since he’d lost power, too—and Remy’s fiancée was sitting over there in the dark, alone and frightened.

Although he had to make do with a lantern and other emergency supplies, like most regular people in such a situation, the big house had a generator that was supposed to come on. Why hadn’t that happened? He’d tested it when he installed it, and it’d worked perfectly.

But it was the first generator he’d ever dealt with. He should’ve gotten a professional to handle the installation. He would have if it wasn’t so damn hard to hire a contractor on the island. The few electricians, plumbers, and other tradesmen they had were booked weeks or months—sometimes years—in advance. Not only had he installed the generator, he’d helped with other aspects of the renovation. Cub Holiday, the most successful contractor on Mariners, was diagnosed with cancer before he could finish the project. Though Cub was in much better health these days, Bo had done the rest of the work for the Windsors—or as much of it as he could, given his lack of experience. Construction was almost second nature to him, but there were still plenty of things he had yet to learn.

On my way, he texted back and yanked on a coat and boots before grabbing his toolbox, a lantern for the stranded woman, and a waterproof flashlight for himself.

“It’s all about giving the rich people what they want,” he muttered as he stepped outside. But he wasn’t bitter. He’d gotten lucky landing his job with the Windsors, and he knew it. When he came to the island looking for a summer gig in the tourist industry, he’d had no idea he’d still be here. But he’d adopted a fake surname and created a bogus work history and, so far, the Windsors hadn’t bothered to follow up.

He didn’t plan to give them any reason to do so in the future.

It was mid-April, but the weather made it feel like January. Leaning into the wind, he squinted against the rain stinging his face as he stepped over a huge branch that’d been torn from an oak tree and taken part of the fence surrounding the garden down with it. There’d be significant cleanup to do later. But at least that branch hadn’t hit the house. It easily could have.

The cottage sat dark and brooding—a hulking giant perched on the last outcropping of land, seemingly staring with resolute determination at the angry sea.

Bo turned a wary eye on the fifteen-foot waves as he made his way to the front walk. The tide seemed dangerously high. But he’d only

lived on Mariners for two years. He couldn’t imagine this storm was anything notable to those who’d been here a while.

Or…was he assuming too much? There was a first for everything. Who would’ve expected the strange series of events that’d derailed his life when he was only eighteen…

The wind blew down his hood, but his hands were full, so he couldn’t pull it back up. He trudged on doggedly, ignoring the elements raging around him and finally achieving a small reprieve when he climbed up the stairs to the porch, where the deep overhang provided a modicum of protection.

Anxious to start the damn generator so he could return to his own place and get warm again, he pressed the doorbell, then knocked immediately after. “Ms. Chalmers? It’s Bo Broussard, the caretaker,” he called above the wind. “Annabelle Windsor sent me over. I’ve got a lantern here you can use until I get the generator going.”

He waited what felt like several minutes, but there was no response. Figuring he’d just get the lights on, so she wouldn’t need a lantern, he started back down the stairs as the door cracked open.

“Mr. Broussard?”

Ducking back under the overhang, he angled his flashlight below the woman’s chin so he could see her without blinding her. From what he could tell, she had flawless dewy-looking skin, the roundest eyes he’d ever seen—though he couldn’t make out the color—and curly blond hair that was currently pulled back in a ponytail. She was surprisingly tall, too. He was six-five, so she had to be…five-eleven? Six feet?

Was she some kind of model?

Leave it to Remy to find such a stunning woman to become his wife. That dude had the best of everything. Although Bo had only met Remy three times since he’d started working for the Windsors—the summer he was first hired, Thanksgiving the same year, and the Fourth of July last summer right before they started the renovations—he didn’t care for either of Annabelle’s boys. They both seemed unashamedly arrogant and spoiled. They couldn’t even get along with each other. Weren’t identical twins supposed to be close? Almost inseparable?

At least Remy was doing something with his life. He would soon be a medical doctor. Bastian, on the other hand, was supposed to be working in the diamond industry with his father, but Bo got the impression he did more traveling and partying than anything else. Bo had heard Annabelle complain about Bastian’s behavior on many occasions. “Money ruins people, Bo,” she’d say when she came out to help him in the large garden she left in his care when she wasn’t around. “Wealth is a blessing, but it’s also a curse.”

He wished he’d been cursed the way the Windsors had. They’d never been without food on the table, a roof over their heads, that sort of thing. He’d grown up poor, first in Florida and then, when he was orphaned at ten, in a small parish in Louisiana, where he was raised by a great-uncle who lived on Grand Isle with almost nothing—off the grid as Uncle Chester liked to say, which meant he had no government help, taxes, or other normal connections to the rest of society. The bullying Bo had received at school for wearing pants that were too small, or shoes with holes so big the soles flapped as he walked, had been almost unbearable—until he’d learned how to fight. Then the other kids had become too frightened to taunt him. But he’d always known he didn’t fit in.

Unfortunately, so had they.

He tried not to remember the years immediately following the incident that’d taken his mother’s life. Prison, almost nine years later, after a lengthy trial, had been less traumatic. At least while he was behind bars he’d had three square meals a day, clean clothes, well-established rules, and there’d been a clearly understood pecking order.

And since he’d already learned to fight, he hadn’t been scared. That he wouldn’t take any shit from anyone was something he’d established the day they’d first locked him up. He’d spent the next month in “the hole” as a result, where he’d thought he’d go insane, but he survived, and it was drawing that line that’d made the rest of his time behind bars tolerable. Because of that, and his size, he hadn’t had to “click up” with a gang, hadn’t gotten involved with anyone he didn’t want to. The other inmates quickly learned if they left him alone, he’d mind his own business, too.

Still, the memories he most wanted to avoid—right after his mother had been killed—popped up every now and then. Kids found the damnedest reasons to torment other kids. It was probably thanks to those experiences that he preferred his own company to anyone else’s, and that was why this job suited him so well. If he had to get a generator going in the middle of the worst storm he’d seen on Mariners, no big deal. It was a minor inconvenience, all things considered.

He handed the lantern he’d brought to the willowy, slender woman fighting to hang onto the door so it wouldn’t blow against the inside wall. “I brought this for you to use while I start the generator.”

She used her knee to keep the door in place and switched her cell phone to her other hand so she could accept the lantern. “The generator?” she echoed above the storm.

“Yeah, it’s supposed to come on automatically once the power goes out. But it’s new, since the renovation, and—I’ll get it going,” he finished, cutting himself off. She needed power, not a fifteen-minute explanation as to why she didn’t have any.

“Thank you.” She seemed polite and genuinely relieved.

“No problem.” He pulled up his hood and started to turn away for the second time, but she stopped him.

“Fixing the generator is something you have to do outside? In this weather? Will you…will you be okay?”

The wind threw her voice around, but he was able to catch the gist of her words. The fact that she’d even consider his well-being told him she was a better person than the man she was going to marry. “I’ll be fine.”

He got the impression she was watching as he fought his way down the stairs. He wasn’t sure why she hadn’t simply gone in and shut the door, but he tended to draw attention wherever he went—despite his desire not to. Part of it was his size, he supposed. Not many men were taller than he was. And he was broad, too, especially through the shoulders—something that had only become more pronounced since he started lifting weights in prison, a habit he’d continued after being released because it was like yoga for him. The focus and determination it required quieted his mind.

By the time he reached the ground and looked back, she was gone.

A second later, he saw a dim light appear in the window. She’d turned on the lantern, which made him glad he’d gone to the extra effort of bringing it to her.

* * *

Ismay took the lantern the Windsors’ caretaker had brought into the living room, with its many sculptures and other expensive art, and sank onto the soft leather couch. She’d have power soon. She no longer had to fear she’d regret using her cell phone, so she called Remy again.

“Did Bo get the power on?” he asked in lieu of a greeting.

Ismay turned the ring on her finger so she could see the tiny diamond. She and Remy had talked a lot about marriage during their time together, but she hadn’t let him buy her an official engagement ring yet. She’d known he wasn’t really the one who’d be paying for it, not while he was in school, and that bothered her, especially because she knew he’d push her to get something big and expensive. They’d compromised with a dainty promise ring in yellow gold. “Not yet. He’s working on it, though. And he brought me a lantern, so I’m no longer stranded in the dark.”

“Good. I told you everything would be fine.”

An image of the man she’d just met rose in her mind. He had dark distrusting eyes, a strong jaw covered with razor stubble, hollow cheeks, short dark hair that’d been plastered to his head by the rain—and he’d been huge. A mountain of a man. She was six-one and he had her by at least four inches, maybe more.

“You did tell me that,” she said. “Bo seems capable enough. I’m sure he’ll get the lights back on before too long.”

“You didn’t find any candles?”

He’d never told her where they might be.

Ismay wished she’d never even searched for emergency supplies. Then she wouldn’t have discovered what was in Remy’s closet. She wanted to at least mention the underwear and jewelry—wanted to hear what he had to say about them. There was a possibility they weren’t his. Bo had access to the house, which was more than a little unnerving, considering his size and the fact she hadn’t even realized there was a strange man moving about the property. As polite as he’d been at the door, she’d seen enough true crime shows to know what those items in the duffel could signify. The police called them trophies.

Of course, it was the notebook paired with what she’d found in the bag that’d taken her mind down such a dark alley. The items in that duffel could merely be tokens of Remy’s past conquests.

Still, what kind of guy would keep a memento from each woman he slept with?

“Ismay?” Remy said.

She blinked and drew her attention back to the phone. “What?”

“Are you going to answer me?”

“Oh, sorry.” She cleared her throat. “This storm has me…distracted. I found some candles in the master bathroom, but there was nothing to light them with.”

“Good thing you no longer need them. You should ask Bo for a lighter, though, just in case.”

“Do you think he’ll take the lantern he brought me?”

“Who knows? I doubt the generator will fail once he gets it going, but it’s better to be prepared.”

“I’ll ask him.” She nibbled on her bottom lip as she tried to decide what to say—or not say—to Remy about what she’d found. She craved reassurance but the question alone, and what it implied, would upset him.

Should she just assume it was someone else? That it was Bastian, the contractor, or Bo?

She supposed if it wasn’t Remy, Bastian was more likely to have hidden that bag than the others. Although she had yet to meet him, Remy often talked about what his brother was like—said he had no direction in his life, couldn’t accomplish anything, preferred to live off the family fortune and on and on.

In the end, it was the notebook that stopped her from saying anything. Those drawings had obviously been Remy’s—she’d seen his work before and recognized it—which made her believe the other stuff had to be his, too.

“I know you’re busy,” she said. “I’ll let you get back to studying.”

“Okay. You’re in good hands now.”

She almost disconnected, but then she thought of something she wanted to ask. “Remy?”


“How often have you been here since you graduated from high school?” The last time he’d visited had been a little less than a year ago. She knew that because she’d been in Utah visiting her own family at the time.

“Almost every summer, and some holidays. The islanders make a big deal of Christmas and have Santa come over on a ferry and stuff. Why?”

Wishing the lights would hurry and come back on, she frowned at the shadows Bo’s lantern cast on the walls. “Just wondered if you’re going to like the renovations.”

“You told me yesterday they look great,” he said, sounding confused.

“They do,” she reassured him. “But I never saw the cottage before, so I don’t know how much it’s changed. Did your mother have the contractor put the shelves and organizers in the closets—or…or paint them?”

She held her breath, hoping he’d say yes.

“No, it was mostly new siding, a new roof, an open layout for the kitchen, living room, and bar area, and a new master bath along with hardwood floors throughout. Why?”

“No reason,” she lied. “I was just…curious how extensive it was.”

“It was extensive enough. It cost a fortune and took nine months. But nothing happens fast on Mariners.”

She’d heard him say that before. It’s an entirely different pace of life, Is… He called it island time.

“Right. Well, no need to keep you…”

“Okay, I’ll talk to you later.”

He was gone as soon as he said the last word.

She tossed her phone aside. He hadn’t seemed spooked by the mention of closets. Was she letting what she’d found trouble her for no reason?

The lights snapped on, and she heard the heater start soon after—she’d turned the temperature up to battle the cold. Drawing a deep calming breath, she tried, once again, to shove her misgivings to the back of her mind. In some ways, with the lights and heater on, she felt much safer. But in others, having the power back didn’t help at all. Surely, she wasn’t about to marry a man who was capable of doing any of the terrible things a collection like that might signify.

Was she?

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