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Fading Shadows

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Six years ago, a drunken misadventure stemming from Felicity Sinclair seeking her grief from her brother and only sibling Nate's death, led to Felicity Sinclair being disowned and sent thousands of miles away. Word had it that her actions caused her parents to lose partnership with a prominent family and investor, as the terms of the partnership had been her arranged marriage to an unknown suitor. Now, 23-year-old Felicity Sinclair has returned to Amberfield as Faye Bella, eager to seek the person behind the conspiracy that led her to lose everything in one night. But who is this Maxwell Lockwood, who inherited her parents' company and her birthright after her parents' deaths? How will Felicia get back what was rightfully hers? And what will Felicia face after returning to Amberfield after being away for six years? Read along to join Felicia in her journey of self-discovery and pursuit of happiness.

Chapter 1

“Felicia, welcome home.”

She thought she heard Nathaniel’s voice, hushing her name, but again, it was probably just her imagination. There was nobody, only the wind billowing in the distance. The taxi that conveyed her to the village Sang, located in the heart of her hometown Amberfield, a place where time stands still, was long gone.

Had she a choice, she wouldn’t have come back. Her hometown had nothing but bad memories. This was where she had lost Nathaniel. Her recollection of memories of him were fuzzy.

Nathaniel was her older brother, and the very night of his death following a botched operation, she took to drugs and drinking to nullify her pain. She woke up, alone, in a hotel room the next morning with no memories of what had happened the night before. It didn’t take very long for the rest of the villagers to know of her misadventure. In fact, it led to her being labelled as a callous and provocative woman.

Felicia Sinclair lugged her massive baggage with her, making small, forceful strides that took her away from her insecurity.

“It’s going to be alright,” she whispered to herself. It’s going to be. The words echoed in her mind.

Nobody was going to remember, she reassured her as she walked up the steps leading to her old house. A sudden, loud cracking sound appearing to originate from the wheels of one of her luggage, caused her to stop abruptly.

“Not you too?” She groaned, pausing in her walk. The wheel had come loose, probably from chafing against a sharp, rough-edged rock, but her belongings were intact. Now she had to find a way to deal with the added load that could no longer be pulled along.

This was exactly what had led to her departure from Amberfield in pursuit of a new life overseas. But it was today, six years after the incident, that she returned to Amberfield, hopeful for a new life, with her new face and identity. Faye Bella was the name she had chosen, a name she perceived close to her former identity. Over the years, she was drifting further and further from who Felicia Sinclair was.

Her parents were long gone from the epidemic that had prevented her earlier return. Now handling the company was a man she had never seen, Maxwell Lockwood. She knew not of this man. Neither had she even heard his name mentioned by her parents, but even then, it had been six years since she had last had a word with them. Up till their deaths, she had been an insult to the Sinclairs, that all they remembered was her misdeeds.

Her mistake had robbed them of the chance of commercial partnership with a prominent family through her arranged marriage, but such details were not privy to her. All she knew was that her parents’ business, Feat Private Limited was in debt and needed financial resources from a bigger company.

Her parents had agreed for her to marry the heir of the company for them in return for their financial support and assistance. Such things were often, too good to be true. One of the terms of the partnership had been that she was to not know the identity of the other party, and her parents had even signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

This had been the plan all along, until her brother was lost in the aftermath of an emergency surgery due to severe injuries sustained from an auto accident. The surgery causing his death was later reported to be a botched surgery. However, the surgeon that performed the surgery was nowhere to be found later, and the authorities insisted that she, merely as a sole sibling of the deceased, was not authorised to have such privileged information.

However, she was put on the waiting list for release of information to her in the future once her parents had given them their initial consent for her to have information. This was the reason why she had come back. With her parents’ passing, she now had authority as the next of kin of the Deceased. One thing she had to do first was to prove that she was biologically related to the Deceased.

Felicia closed her eyes and leant backwards on the reclining chair that once belonged to her grandfather. She barely remembered what happened that night, but for the truth to get out so quickly, someone must have sold her out. Even that ‘prominent family’ whom up to now, she didn’t know who they were, was so quick to judge and to sever ties with her family. Her assumption was that they were long-standing friends of her father. Elk Sinclair didn’t trust anyone easily, not even his biological children.

Her parents had given her a small sum of money to leave the country and arranged secretly for her departure. In short, they had disowned her. They struck her off the family tree and forced her to take on a new identity as an adopted daughter of a distant relative, unrelated to them by blood. And for what? To save their reputation, or their business?

Just who was connected to the incident that night that even she couldn’t recall? Felicia lost herself in deep thought. She didn’t have friends nor was she with someone that night. All that remained of her memory was the scent the man had on that night and the feeling of his body brushing over her as they danced. It had been her first kiss and her first time.

She knew because he didn’t leave empty-handed. The excruciating pain in her lower abdomen was more than just a reminder of their copulation. And if that wasn’t sufficient to serve as a painful reminder, he had to brand her with his mark.

But even despite that, she didn’t remember how he looked like!

Nevertheless, Felicia decided she should get to the root of the problem and find who exposed the truth of her one-night stand to her family and spread word of her misdeeds in Sang. The culprit must have known her well enough to anticipate that exposing her would cost her the arranged marriage and her family. Perhaps she that exact club that had dealt her with smuggled drugs and alcohol might bear traces of this treachery. Even if it no longer existed or operated secretly at the location, someone there might still remember. After all, Amberfield wasn’t that big to begin with.

Chapter 2

After changing her outfits for three times, Felicia decided on a bodycon dress that hugged her skin. She reminded herself she had nothing to lose since she no longer had parents nor a reputation to care about. She was free to act and dress as she liked. That would clearly explain the bright-red lipstick she wore everyday when she went out.

Felicia let out a sigh.

Occasionally, her sombre father’s words would flash in her mind, but she barely heeded them. He had resented his family members wearing red and yellow. He called them flamboyant colours, but his opinion no longer mattered. Often, she had to remind herself that he was now six feet underground.

Then she swiped across the screen of her smartphone.

The secluded village had meant that it was close to impossible to hail a taxi, but she was able to secure transportation through a private-hire driver. Fortunately, the tall trees were no hindrance to internet access. After five minutes of wait time, her ride

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