“Does anyone want coffee?” Esme asked, getting up with some of the plates. The kids were playing in the game room in the basement of the house after dinner.
“Let me help you, Esme,” Bella smiled, following her into the kitchen.
“Dad, you’re awfully quiet,” Edward whispered. “Are you okay?”
“I got an email with information about Bella,” Carlisle said. “Or, at least, some alleged information about Bella. What does she do again?”
“She works for University of Tampa,” Edward answered, arching a brow. “Plus, she’s a published author.”
“What does she write?” Carlisle asked.
Edward and Bella spoke about her fiction writing. With her decision to possibly begin a more public profile, she was okay with him sharing information about her second career as a writer. “She publishes fiction, along with several articles published in library science magazines.”
“What kind of fiction?” Carlisle pressed. “Should I be concerned?”
“No, Dad. You shouldn’t,” Edward said, narrowing his eyes at his father. “What are you getting at? How did you get an email about Bella? Can I see it?” Carlisle pulled out his cell phone and he skimmed the email that was sent from an anonymous source. “Dad, this is bullshit. Yes, Bella does write these novels and she’s going to begin promoting her novels publicly, but she’s not a deviant. You better not be thinking about …”
“Does she practice BDSM?” Carlisle blurted.
“What? No! Dad, Bella is not a deviant as this email says,” Edward hissed. He looked back down and growled. “Her laptop. While we were on vacation, Bella’s laptop was in the middle of the closet. It may be how they got the copy of her latest story. Someone has been following us, or must be following us. The white van … maybe? Dad, this is serious.”
“Serious as in like we may need to call the cops?” Carlisle muttered.
“Possibly,” Edward replied as Esme and Bella came into the dining room. Bella had a tray with mugs and a cake. Esme had a carafe of coffee. Edward took the tray, placing it on the table. “Sweetness, I have a question for you. Have you noticed anyone following you?”
“Following me? No. But, I haven’t been looking,” Bella said, sitting down next to him, looking anxiously between Carlisle and Edward. “Is there something going on?”
“I just got an email from an unknown sender,” Carlisle said. He passed the phone to Bella, who paled as she read the information. “It’s true?”
“These are my novels, but … I was not going public with my identity until my first convention in Las Vegas in early August. The only people who know about this was my agent, publisher and Edward,” Bella whispered. “Not even my dad knows about my novels. Do you think they’ll call child protective services? I would never …”
“Bella, relax,” Edward said calmly, wrapping his arm around her waist. “Right now, that’s the least of our worries. You have someone following you and that’s dangerous. I want you to stay with us tonight.”
“I think you should be here,” Esme murmured.
“No, I’m not going to stop living my life,” Bella said. “However, I think I should come forward before this person, who I think is Tanya, tries to reveal my secret. I’d rather be ahead of the game than playing catch up. I need to make a few phone calls.” She got up, taking her cell phone with her and stepping into the backyard.