Another teasing sample -in the absence of Six Sentence Sunday - from my new release from Rebel Ink Press, LOVE NEVER FAILS, a contemporary romance about a second chance at love.
From Love Never Fails:
From Love Never Fails:
When Caroline finished reliving that awful night, she was crying as hard as she had then but when she looked into Reid’s face, she saw tears there too.
“Caro, honey, she never called me. I would've been there if she had. I wish I had been. I wish that I'd known that you lost our baby.” His voice had an edge like a serrated knife. “You tried to tell me, didn’t you? When you came to see me and I wouldn’t listen because I thought you were dating Sam.”
She nodded. A week after her miscarriage, after he failed to come and she heard nothing from him, she'd gone to his apartment. He opened the door, stared at her with hostile eyes, and said, “What do you want? It better be important because I’m busy.”
“I wanted to talk to you.” She whispered to him but he shook his head and shut the door with a quiet, firm click.
“You shut the door in my face.”
“I had no idea. I thought you wanted to tell me about dating Sam.”
“I tried one more time, before I left. Do you remember?”
Reid flicked tears away from his face with one hand.
“I do. You caught me filling up the car at Fastrip and you came over, said that you guessed you were going out to California to stay with your cousin and finish your paralegal training there. I was mad, my feelings were hurt, and I wouldn’t listen to you.”
She remembered so well that it hurt.
“You turned your back on me and ignored me.”
His eyes darkened with sorrow. “I did and I’m sorry, Caroline. I had no idea about the baby. I should've never listened to Julia. I should've had more faith in you. I failed you and it’s my fault for believing lies.”
She should have felt vindicated, hearing his broken voice take blame but she couldn’t. She, too, had fallen short. They'd had the love but not the trust, not the certainty that they should've felt back then.
“It wasn’t just you,” Caroline said, “I let her convince me, too. I knew that you'd come but when you didn't, I let her sway me. We were both wrong, Reid.”
He bobbed his head in agreement and released her hand so he could rise and walk the floor, hands behind his back.
“That doesn’t make what I did right, Caro. We almost had a child together. If it weren’t for your aunt’s intervention, we’d be married by now. We were planning to get married.”
They'd dated since she was fifteen and talked about marriage for the last two years. At nineteen, almost twenty, Caroline was certain she wanted to share her life with Reid and he had no doubts, either. Money was the issue that concerned him and so they'd been saving together, in a joint savings account at the bank. Caroline had forgotten about that, until now.
“What happened to our money in the bank?”
He reached the table and did an about face, pacing back toward her.
He reached the table and did an about face, pacing back toward her.
“It’s still there, all of it and more. At first, I thought you'd come home so I kept putting money in the account. Even after my accident, I wouldn’t touch our money so it’s still there. I kept the ring, too.”
In his agitation, he ran his fingers through his dark hair as she tried to puzzle out what he meant.
“Reid, I don’t know anything about an accident or ring.”
He stopped before her and sighed.
“I guess you wouldn’t but at the time I thought you would. After you left, I went a little crazy. I didn’t care much about anything so I was reckless. Ross got onto me all the time about it. He was the only one that tried to tell me there must be more behind your leaving than there seemed but I wouldn’t listen. I was hurting too damn bad. I drank too much, drove too fast, and did wild things.”
Even though all of it was long past, her stomach contracted with fear for him and all he'd done.
“What wild things?”
He gave a bitter laugh. “I went swimming at night. I started drag racing anyone who would do it. I went down to Tulsa to the roughest bars I could find. I rode a little rodeo, always on the wildest bulls or broncos going. I think I wanted something to happen to me that would either send you home or make you sorry that you left me.”
Reid rubbed his face with his hand. “I wrecked the GTO one night out on the highway going about 90 miles an hour. I was going too fast, I'd had a couple of beers and I just lost control. I ran off onto the side of the road and then into the ditch. The car flipped over with me in it and I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt. I couldn’t get out, though, and I was afraid the car would burn with me inside. When the highway patrol came, they thought the occupant – which was me- must be dead because the car was crushed.”
“Oh, Reid, if I'd known, I would've been here. Nothing would have kept me away, not even Julia.”
He snorted. “Yeah, that was what I thought. I was actually happy as they loaded me into the ambulance because I thought you'd come home. That didn’t last long. I was hurt pretty bad and when you didn’t come, I was miserable.”
Caroline was crying, thinking of Reid hurt and so alone, waiting and watching for her just as she'd waited and watched for him. She thought her heart would burst from the pain.
“How serious were your injuries?”
Reid rolled up the left leg of his blue jeans.
“This leg was damaged so badly they put it back together with pins.” He touched round, white scars, counting them. “I had a hard time learning to walk without a limp but I did. I had some internal injuries too. I was critical for almost a week, serious for two and it was a month before I went home. Ross was worried sick and mad at me, too. He said it was my own damn fault and I guess it was.”
“Mine, too,” Caroline whispered. “Oh, Reid, mine too. It wouldn't have happened if I hadn’t left. I should've tried harder to tell you about the baby. I'm so sorry. No one told me, not ever. I wish someone had.”
“Yeah?” His voice sounded so tired. “I wish they had, too, if it would've brought you back sooner. Come here, Caro.”
Reid opened his arms wide and she walked into them. He held her cocooned in his embrace and as she began to weep, he cried too. They stood together, meshed, and wept for all they'd lost. For the pain of the past and for the love that survived it all. They bawled like a pair of babies, venting all the frustrations and the hurts. The misunderstandings, the barriers that kept them apart vanished, washed away in the torrent of tears. Any obstacles to their full reunion evaporated away. The five years lost, those more than 1800 days and nights, were irretrievable, but from here, they could advance together. They had their whole lives ahead of them.
Caroline could feel the love pouring into her from him and then he kissed her, his mouth claiming what belonged to him with force and pleasure. Caroline responded, joy fueling her passion as she drank from his cup of ardor, head spinning as if she sipped pure alcohol. His hands moved over her with remembered surety and new desire. She pushed her fingers through his black curls as she'd ached to do since the moment she saw him again and he moved his mouth lower, from her lips to her throat, where he nibbled. Her spine tingled as desire teased down her back, the delicious sensation spreading as he reached beneath her blouse to unhook her bra. She shrugged her shirt away and he put his face between her breasts, kissing them with tiny, tender kisses.
Caroline sighed with pleasure, her head back, eyes closed. His hands reached her jeans and undid them.
“Are you ready for this?” He asked, lifting his head to meet her eyes, every naked emotion he felt on his face.
“Yes, I am.” She'd waited five years for this moment and her body ached for fulfillment.
“Are you sure?” He teased.
“I am, Reid.” Her hands sought his belt and undid it. “Love me, babe, please.”
He made love to her with slow hands, unhurried caresses that titillated and teased. Reid cherished her with his mouth, appreciated her body with his own, and gave himself to her, physical and spiritual. After he carried her into the bedroom, he held nothing back and loved her without restraint. His passion swept her into the floodtide and she rallied to meet his challenge, to accept his desire and channel it back. Together they spiraled toward culmination, circling closer to that moment of release and when it came, it rocked them both. They shuddered together as the bed rattled, hitting the wall with the force of their coming together, of reaching the summit together. Reid cried out with wordless joy and Caroline shouted her delight.
Afterward, warm and sated, she curled against him, fingers intertwined with his. Their bodies touched, skin to skin, and their minds were at peace, unified after the long separation. Caroline felt refreshed, as renewed as dry land when the rain fell to relieve the drought.
“I love you,” she whispered soft against his chest.
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“I love you, too," he answered drowsily.