One of the reasons I love reading is that it provides the opportunity to learn new approaches to life. One book I read recently was ”The Art of Being Brilliant” by Andy Cope. It’s a book that has many insights but one of the things I took away was Andy’s theory about the 6 things you need to do to live a life in the top 2% of Happiness:
Genre Contemporary Romance:
Vivian Book three of The Three Mrs. Monroes
Release Date: October 9, 2014
Digital ISBN-10: 1631120425 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-042-8
Print ISBN-10: 1631120433 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-043-5
Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html
From loss breeds new beginnings
Vivian Monroe had been jaded. Her husband’s death only compounded the lies she’d only come to learn about.
Clayton North knows a thing or two about loss. He figured it was fate for him to meet Vivian Monroe. He’ll take on the challenge of helping her mend her heart.
Midst new friendships and new romance, Vivian must let go of her pain and face the woman who helped Adam Monroe weave his deceptive web.
About the Author:
Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it.
When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.
A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.
How to reach Bernadette Marie
@writesromance on Twitter
Genre: FICTION / Romance / Paranormal
Release Date: October 9, 2014
Digital ISBN 13 978-1-63112-071-8 ISBN 10: 1631120719
Print ISBN 13 978-1-63112-072-5 ISBN 10:1631120727
Purchase link : http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html
Braving the Darkness
All have sacrificed, but one will sacrifice all…
Just when Olivia thought she’d finally have everything she always wanted, she was never closer to losing it all. Haden rocked Olivia’s foundation when he professed his love for her, and then turned himself in to the High Court. Although it was for the best, watching him walk out of her life was one of the hardest things she’d ever done.
Liam has always been the angel that holds her heart. But nothing will test the bonds of that love more than when a sick twist of fate brings all their lives crashing back together again.
Bitter enemies in love with the same woman, Liam and Haden must put their differences aside to battle an evil whose reach is far greater than either of them ever imagined. It will take all their strength to protect Olivia from an enemy that’s come to claim her and usher in a power-play to overthrow the High Court.
Love, sacrifice, and betrayal… It all comes to a heart-stopping conclusion in Braving the Darkness.
An avid lover of paranormal romance, Melynda was inspired to write her own series after reading the Book of Enoch. She’s always had a fascination with stories about angels, and the role they’ve played in the history of our multi-dimensional world.
She attended Bethel University in Minnesota and graduated in 2003, holding AA, ASN and BSN degrees.
She lives in Northern Minnesota where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua, and a hot cup of coffee, to write. She’s blessed with two amazing children, and a wonderful husband of nineteen years.
“Writing the Redemption Series has been a fantastic adventure, culminating a world of mystery, suspense, love and deception. Have you ever wondered what it might be like to see beyond our dimension? Step into Olivia Norton’s world, where nothing is quite as it seems, and evil lurks where she least expects it.”
Homeopathy and is a House Doctor. For fun she enjoys walks by the water, yoga, cooking, DIY, 60’s retro and anything romance.
Bethany Forrester finished the last page and closed the book – “How to Have a Happy Marriage”. She sighed contentedly as she realised this book, out of the entire “How to…” series was the most relevant to her. She bought Jay Trethedick’s first book, “How to Have an Affair,” after seeing him on Breakfast Time last year. Even though she couldn’t personally relate to the topic she had been very impressed with his theories … plus he was very easy on the eye.
Sadly, the topic of divorce in his second book resonated all too well. Her divorce had not been amicable – far from it, and she could remember rushing through the three hundred pages just so she could tightly pack away all her memories of that time in a box and bury them deep.
But this book was different and each page had been a pleasure to read as it reminded her of the wonderful man she was now lucky enough to be married to. The first page always made her smile and she opened the book to read for the thousandth time, the Recipe for a Happy Marriage.
1 tbl spoon of Sex
1 level tsp of Humour
A touch of Compromise
A pinch of Individuality
Take a couple of individuals in love, add all ingredients, mix together and cook for the rest of your life on earth at 100%.
She thought the concept was so sweet and would love to meet the man who could write such sentiment. There were just two ingredients on the list she was missing, but only one of them played on her mind. The first was sex, but that didn’t really bother her, if she was honest. Adrian, her husband was approaching sixty – ten years her senior – and his sex drive started to diminish not long after his fiftieth birthday.
At first, she took it personally but eventually came to realise it was the pressure of running his own plumbing contractors business and being on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
She knew it was nothing to do with her, as whenever they took a well-deserved holiday and he relaxed, he couldn’t get enough – and she was usually glad when the fortnight was over so she could get some rest.
What did bother her was number one on the list of ingredients – honesty. She had been keeping a secret from everyone she had ever met for all her adult life. It was such a major part of her that, most of the time, she didn’t think about it, until at times like this when it reared its ugly head. One day I’ll tell someone but not yet … it’s not the right time. But sadly, it never was.
Just then her phone rang. It was Leo, her twenty-four year old son from her previous marriage.
‘Hi, Mum, can I borrow your car?’
‘Why? Where’s yours?’
‘Let me guess, your dad’s borrowed it.’
‘His is in the garage. He promises to have it back this week.’
Beth had heard her ex-husband’s promises before.
‘But I need it to collect the girls from school.’
‘If I do that, can I?’
‘What’s the urgency? You usually walk to work or Adrian picks you up.’
Leo was one of Adrian’s best plumbers and had worked with his step-father since leaving school at sixteen.
‘Cat has got somewhere to go this morning.’ Cat was Leo’s live-in girlfriend who Beth had never really approved of. She reminded her too much of herself at that age. The girl was only eighteen and Beth was sure she was only with Leo to escape her controlling parents.
‘So it’s Cat that wants to borrow my car?’
‘Er … yes, but she daren’t ask you in case you said no.’
‘I could give her a lift, would that do?’
‘But that would mean her having to tell you where she’s going.’
‘Yes, is that a problem?’
‘I’ll have to ask her.’
‘Can’t you borrow your own car for a couple of hours?’
‘No, Dad’s gone away until Friday.’
‘So how’s he going to get his own car back today?’
‘Don’t bother, Mum, if it’s too much trouble. We don’t want to put you out.’
This is just so typical. I’m the bad guy again. I’m sure his perfect father could commit double homicide and Leo would defend him.
‘Okay, I suppose so … could she have it back by school time?’
‘Thanks, Mum, you’re the best.’
‘Only when you want something.’
‘Don’t be like that. You know you love me really.’
That’s the problem – sometimes I think I love you too much.
‘What time are you coming to collect it?’
‘I thought you could drop it off on your way to work.’
‘Did you now, and how pray am I going to get to work?’
‘Cat will drop you off.’
‘Okay, I’m just getting ready. I’ll be there in forty-five minutes.’
‘Can you make it half-an-hour. Her appointment’s at ten in Glastonbury.’
‘I’ll see what I can do.’
So instead of the leisurely breakfast she planned, she ran upstairs to take a quick shower. Adrian always dropped the girls at school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday when Beth worked. It saved her dashing around and gave her an hour to get her head together before her busy day. She had recently cut her hours down to three days during the week and all day Sunday since appointing the most brilliant manager for her thriving little coffee house on the high street in Street, Somerset.
Up to the beginning of the year, she had worked seven days a week trying to get the business established. When she took it on, it was an ailing cafe serving a menu of fat, fat and more fat. She had completely refurbished the inside with her husband and invented a whole new healthy menu.
It had taken a while for the locals to get used to eating paninis instead of bacon butties with lard, but eventually, they had seen the light and she had built up quite a regular clientele of tourists and visitors alike. Now she loved going to work and was finally living her dream instead of feeling the burden and stress of the stone around her neck she felt at the beginning.
Lunchtimes were the busiest times and she always liked to be in before ten to help the chef prep the salads and make the soup of the day. Between the three of them, the Cafe Sorrento was finally making the profit she had told her bank manager would be achievable when he finally granted her the business loan over a year ago.
By nine-fifteen she was on her way to her son’s flat. He only lived ten minutes away, but traffic on the Glastonbury road was usually busy until at least ten o’clock. Cat was waiting outside, looking at her watch as Beth pulled up.
‘Thanks, Mrs F. You’re a life saver,’ Cat said as she got in the driver’s side.
‘So what’s with all the secrecy?’ Beth asked.
Cat didn’t speak as she looked in the mirror before pulling out into the traffic.
‘Are you okay, Cat? You look a bit pale.’
‘I’ll be fine.’
‘Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you? I’m sure they can cope without me at work for a while.’
Cat hesitated. ‘Er … no, I’ll be fine.’
Beth couldn’t imagine it could be anything other than some sort of hospital appointment because if it was something simple like an interview it wouldn’t be shrouded in such secrecy.
‘Well if you’re sure. Leo could’ve asked Adrian for the day off, you know.’
‘We didn’t want to make a fuss.’
‘Watch out for that car!’ Beth braced herself waiting for the impact, but luckily, Cat’s young reflexes were sharp and she pulled up with inches to spare. Everything tumbled off the back seat into the foot wells.
‘Sorry Mrs F, maybe I shouldn’t be driving.’ Cat pulled the car onto the side of the road.
‘Don’t worry. It’s always mad at this time in a morning. Everyone goes too fast.’ Beth reached across and stroked Cat’s arm. At that moment she seemed no older than Beth’s youngest daughter … so naive and vulnerable.
‘Please don’t ask me anything, but will you drop me off at West Mendip Community Hospital? I’ll get a taxi home.’
Beth was desperate to know what was going on but she respected Cat’s wishes and said, ‘Of course I will. I’m here if you need to talk or I’ll come and collect you.’
‘Thank you, that’s kind.’
They swapped places again and Cat reached into the back to retrieve all her handbag contents that were strewn about the floor and under the seats.
‘I think I’m missing a lip gloss. If you find one, it’s mine.’
‘I’ll have a look when I get back to work.’
Beth pulled up in the visitor’s car park. ‘Are you sure you don’t want me to come in with you?’
Cat shook her head. Her hands were shaking as she opened the door. Just before getting out she reached across and kissed Beth’s cheek.
‘Thanks, Mrs F, for being so nice. I know we haven’t always seen stuff the same way but you’re really cool for a mum.’
‘That’s sweet of you to say, and remember if you want me to come back for you, I will. Just ring me anytime.’
Cat closed the door behind her and walked off as slowly as if she was heading a funeral cortège.
Beth was reluctant to leave her in this state. But what more could she do? So as soon as Cat disappeared through the revolving doors, she drove away. She parked in her usual car parking space outside work and remembered that Cat had asked her to look for the rogue lip gloss. Under her seat all she found was an old Maynard wine gum, which she was tempted to eat, as it was a red one – her favourite colour. The lip gloss was under the passenger seat hidden under a paper tissue. As she reached along the floor, fumbling for the lip gloss, her fingers touched a piece of card. She pulled it out and saw it had the Marie Stopes logo on the front and an appointment for ten o’clock.
‘Shit!’ She slammed the car door, forgetting to lock it and ran into work.
‘Can you cope without me for a bit? I’ve got somewhere urgent to go,’ she asked Carol, her manager.
‘Yes, of course Are you okay?’
‘I am, but someone else isn’t. I haven’t time to explain now. I’ll be back as soon as I can.’ Beth turned round and dashed to her car, speeding back up the Old Wells Road to the hospital. She turned on the hands free kit and rang Leo’s number.
‘Hi, Mum, did Cat get off okay?’
‘Do you know where she’s going?’
‘Of course I do. Why, do you?’ he asked tentatively.
‘Yes. I’ve found her appointment card. Why is she going to the Marie Stopes clinic?’
‘Oh fuck! We didn’t want to tell anyone until it was all over.’
‘You mean you’re letting your girlfriend have a termination and you can’t even be bothered to go with her?’
‘She said she’d be fine, and we’ve got a big plumbing job on.’
Beth couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. ‘How can you be so selfish? Have you any idea what the poor girl’s going through?’
‘Chill, Mum. It’s no big deal.’
‘No big deal! How dare you. I thought I’d brought you up better than that. It will be the worst ordeal of her life so far, and I doubt anything will ever beat it. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll drop what you’re doing and get to that hospital by any means you can. I’ll see you there.’
‘Okay … okay. I get it, you’re mad, but don’t take it out on me. She told me she was on the pill. We don’t want a baby … she wants to get rid of it as well.’
Beth couldn’t speak for the tears.
‘Mum, are you still there? … Why are you so upset?’
‘I’ll see you soon.’
So much for burying my feelings deep underground in a box. It was over thirty-five years ago, yet right now she felt as bad as when she was waiting for them to call her name. Then, she didn’t have a friendly face offering to go with her … she had an angry, disappointed mother who, all the while in the waiting room, kept telling her she’d brought disgrace on the family.
Poor Cat … she was facing this ordeal all alone. As Beth got out of her car she saw it was already ten thirty. Please be running late! Quickly, asking the receptionist where the clinic was being held, she ran to the lift. Typical, the clinic’s at the other end of the bloody corridor. She was out of breath as she rang the buzzer to be let into reception.
‘I’m looking for Miss Catherine … er … Sykes,’ Beth asked the receptionist.
‘And you are?’
‘Her partner’s mother. He’s been held up in traffic and is on his way.’
‘I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait here. She’s already gone into surgery.’
Beth put her head in her hands and sobbed.
‘Are you okay? Would you like a glass of water?’ The receptionist came round the desk and led Beth to a seat.
‘Sorry. I would please. Is it too late to change her mind?’
The receptionist paused and, trying to be as gentle as she could said, ‘She doesn’t want to change her mind. You know this isn’t her first appointment. We do an awful lot of counselling before we carry out any procedure … Do you want to talk to someone?’
‘I’ve never talked to anyone in thirty-five years.’
‘So wouldn’t now be a good time to start?’
Beth didn’t go back into work – she couldn’t – she felt totally drained. After dropping Cat and Leo back at their flat she went home to be by herself … her staff could cope – it was only one day. While the kettle was boiling, she kept looking at the card on the kitchen work top reminding her of the counselling appointment the receptionist had made at a sister clinic … thirty-five years too late. After making herself a strong coffee, she went to sit in the beautiful conservatory looking out over her long cottage garden with distant views of Glastonbury Tor and thought about her morning.
She expected Cat to be devastated after her procedure, but all she saw on the young face was relief. Beth could understand why she didn’t want a baby at eighteen … she hadn’t wanted one at thirteen, but unlike Cat, she couldn’t go through with it. She had screamed and shouted so much, embarrassing her mother even more, that the whole trip was aborted not the baby.
Luckily, it was the 1970’s and most of the mother and baby units had closed down which meant Beth had to stay at home – a prisoner in her own house for nine months. The baby girl was taken off her at birth and given to deserving parents and the whole sorry incident was never mentioned again. Beth continued her education and was a good girl until she found someone to marry her and then she was off, at not much older than Cat was now.
Beth sat in the same armchair all day until it was time to collect her two precious girls from school. What she couldn’t give her first little girl she lavished on the two she had. Leo was always accusing her of spoiling them and treating them better than she ever treated him. She knew he was speaking the truth, but she couldn’t help it. She had to make it right somehow.
Tuesday was hectic after school – Amy, who was eight, had ballet and tap and Annabelle, who was the eldest at ten, had choir and gymnastics. Eddie Stobart’s Logistical Haulage Contractors couldn’t do a better job of organising the schedule than she did. Each activity was precisely planned down to the last second, and if it all went without a hitch – which it usually did– they were back in the house totally exhausted by eight o’clock, ready for supper and bed.
Adrian supervised bed-time while Beth made the evening meal.
‘Ooh … I know what I forget to tell you. You know that author you’ve just been reading, he’s appearing at the Glastonbury Christmas Book and Craft Festival,’ Adrian said as he sat down at the table to a plate of home-made moussaka.
‘You mean Jay Trethedick?’
‘Yes, that’s him.’
‘Wow. Do you know how I can get any tickets?’
‘Da … da.’ Adrian said as he pulled two tickets out of the back pocket of his work trousers. ‘It’s for his Creative Writing workshop.’
‘How did I manage to be married to the most wonderful man in the world?’ Beth walked round the table and gave her husband a kiss.
‘Just lucky I guess?’
‘Are you coming with me?’ she asked.
‘I don’t think it’s really my thing. I got two tickets in case you wanted to take a friend, or maybe you could invite your mother?’
‘What? So I could hear her moan about how he wasn’t as good as her favourite author. No, she’d only spoil it … I might see if Cat would like to come with me. I think I made a breakthrough with her today.’
‘So tell me what’s been going on with Leo today? He ran off site like a man possessed.’
‘Let’s finish eating first. It’s a long story and might put me off my food.’
For the rest of the meal they kept the conversation light – with Adrian doing most of the talking about his day of plumbing. At times like this she was glad she really loved him, as it was the only reason she would tolerate hearing about a dripping stop-tap and sticking ball-cocks.
‘So?’ Adrian said as they took two cups of coffee into the lounge.
‘Leo rang me this morning to ask me if he could borrow my car. It turned out it was actually Cat who needed it to go to a hospital appointment. You’ll never believe, she was only having an abortion on her own! So I phoned Leo and told him to get down there if he knew what was good for him. I’m sorry if it left you in the lurch.’
‘No, we managed. He never said anything … An abortion and you knew nothing?’
‘I don’t think I’d know now if she hadn’t dropped the appointment card in my car. When I dropped her off I could tell something was bothering her, but I never guessed it would be that. What are we going to do with him?’
‘I don’t know what you mean. What can we do with him? He’s a grown man.’
‘But fancy, letting the poor girl suffer all that on her own. I thought I’d taught him better than that.’
‘Have you spoken to him?’
‘Not on his own. I tried to be gentle with them both when I collected her. Apparently, she hasn’t even told her mum she was pregnant.’
‘Do you want me to have a word with him, man-to-man?’
‘I don’t know what to do. I’m only sorry he felt he couldn’t talk to me about it first.’
‘He probably thought you’d try and talk them out of it.’
‘Why would I do that?’
‘Because I thought you didn’t agree with abortions?’
‘No, that’s not true. I wouldn’t have one, but I don’t think it’s right to interfere in anyone else’s decision.’
Adrian raised his eyebrows. ‘At the risk of having my head bitten off, is that strictly true?’
‘Why do you know me so well?’ She laughed. ‘I suppose I might have put forward the alternative viewpoint.’
‘Hence, why they didn’t tell you.’
‘But Leo tells me everything … or he used to before he started going out with Cat.’
‘Is that why you’ve never warmed to her… because she took away your baby boy?’
‘I don’t know. I’ve not thought of that before … but maybe. I saw a different side of her today … I think I may have misjudged her.’
‘I’ve always liked her. I think she’s good for him. He’s so laid back … I’m sure some days he’d never get out of bed.’
‘Yes, she does seem to motivate him, and he does love her.’
‘I know you think she’s using him, but I think she loves him as well.’
‘From now on I will try harder. I never want a repeat of today.’
‘I assume they don’t either … But don’t you think it was sensible of them? Neither of them is ready for a baby, she’s only eighteen – far too young to be thinking about motherhood. They’ve got the rest of their lives to have children.’
‘But sometimes these things happen and you can’t get rid of something just because it’s not quite the right time.’
‘Sorry, love. I didn’t mean to be heartless. Has today upset you more than you’re letting on?’
‘I suppose it’s been such a shock … I could’ve been a grandma,’ she said resting her chin in her hands.
‘You’re too young to be a grandma. I, on the other hand, am just the right age to be a granddad. I keep hoping Toby will tell me he’s ready to settle down.’
‘I doubt that. He’s too busy travelling the world.’
‘But he’s thirty-five next birthday.’
‘You were nearly fifty when we had Annabelle.’
‘I know. I’m hoping he doesn’t take after me.’
‘Surely two young girls is enough for anyone your age?’ She laughed.
‘Oy, watch it! I think we’d better change the subject! … Do you want to watch something on television?’
‘Is there anything on?’ She picked up TV Chat and looked.
‘I love you, Bethany Forrester.’ He winked at her.
‘And I love you, “The man for any job”… Here’s the remote, you choose.’
When Adrian’s snoring got so unbearably noisy it was agreed that Beth would sneak out of bed and go sleep in the guest bedroom – tonight was one of those nights. It didn’t help that Beth’s mind was working a double shift. During a large percentage of her day to day life, she could put to the back of her mind the little girl she had given away by pretending it never happened to her – it happened to a friend. But after everything that had transpired during the past twelve hours, putting it out of her mind was impossible.
Over the years she had been tempted on so many occasions to search for her daughter, but was too terrified of the outcome. Maybe today was an omen. It was also one of the main reasons she had agreed to go for counselling. The receptionist at the Marie Stopes clinic said all the ramifications of the adoption could be discussed at the appointment and any help she needed could be given to her then.
Ever since Beth had given her baby up for adoption she had kept a diary of her life – so one day the daughter she couldn’t keep could learn all about her birth mother. She hadn’t written in it every day. In fact, she had hardly written in it this year. It was hidden on the bottom shelf of the airing cupboard in a pillow case. She had chosen that specific hideaway because she could guarantee no-one would ever choose to change their bedding or towels voluntarily.
Without putting the landing light on, she crept along the hallway and opened the door to the airing cupboard. Sliding her hand along the bottom shelf she felt for something hard. She pulled the pillow case containing the diary out from underneath a thick pile of towels and crept back to the guest bedroom to read it. The diary was a loose-leaf A5 Filofax which had been added to over the years – it was now over three hundred pages long. In the past she’d thought about publishing it, because even though she said so herself, it was a scintillating read. Maybe, I could have a word with Jay Trethedick and ask for his advice when I go and see him. Only a month to go before I meet my hero. Come on, no daydreaming. You need to write about today.
She opened the diary at a clean page and started to write.
‘Well, what a day …’
heart—especially when new lies are uncovered.
Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part
of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its
release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The
married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says
she can write it, because she lives it.
hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from
her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree
black belt in Tang Soo Do.
5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to
write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.
still. Penelope Monroe sat on the front porch in one kitchen chair with her
feet up on another. With gentle strokes, she rubbed her pregnant belly. She
simply couldn’t believe how uncomfortable she was.
tried not to let it make her stomach churn. She’d been appointed to oversee the
two men putting in the new front window. That wasn’t much fun at all.
time they talked they cursed then looked at her and apologized. She wasn’t a
prude—well not really. She’d heard those words before, even if she didn’t use
head was buzzing with paint fumes, curse words, and the events of the past few
thought. One she’d read about in books. He was a Marine, so his body was
chiseled hard and he carried himself—well, like a god.
laid eyes on him, he’d taken her friend home from the bar. At least he’d had
the sense to offer her a ride home before he drove off with Christina—her ex-friend. There were explicit details from Christina she could do with forgetting.
again. Easy sex from women you picked up in bars wasn’t her style. She’d been a
virgin, after all. She’d been saving herself for her husband. It had been
Christina who thought differently of that. Christina liked the loud music, the
dancing, the beer, and the men. Usually she was considerate of Penelope’s
feelings when they went out. But that night Christina had gotten caught up in
Adam’s blue eyes, his hair, his body, and his voice delivering all the right
she’d been having feelings she’d never had before. She thought, briefly, that
had she been given the chance to go home with Adam she’d have done it. She knew
she’d have chickened out, but he’d had a way with turning her heart to mush.
and—well, again, she’d just like to forget that she knew every detail of that
Christina had abandoned her at the bar for another one night stand, that Adam
would walk in and change her life.
Christina. His moves were gentle and that hadn’t been a word Christina had used
when she’d given Penelope all of her details.
when she told him she was a virgin and she was saving herself for her husband.
Not once did he make a move or cross a line. Then he said he loved her and that
had changed everything.
hesitation. They’d gotten married and, that night, she gave herself to him.
changed in that one night.
Adam grew inside of her, even though he was gone.
buried Adam—the day she’d met one of his other wives and seen the other with
his children. She was only one of three Mrs. Monroes. One of three Adam had
lied to. One of three who now fought to move past him.
months, she couldn’t hate the life that grew inside of her. This child was hers
and in a few days she’d see the baby for the first time. Adam’s other wives
would be there too.
looking over at her. Kindly, she gave them a smile and closed her eyes again.
kind though Penelope was sure she wasn’t used to being so kind But she’d given
her a place to stay and had just friended her when she’d needed someone to
up to. But when she had, they’d bonded. Though Vivian wasn’t more than ten
years older than Penelope, she thought of her as a mother figure, where Amelia
was more of a big sister.
It stretched and Vivian was relentless with the cocoa butter routine. She had
stretch marks from Adam’s other two children and she was going to make sure
Penelope didn’t suffer the same fate.
the entire town changed in fifteen seconds when a tornado ripped through the
sky. There had only been a few injuries and no one had died—thank God!
century-old house on Main and Pine had blown in. Penelope’s car had also been
totaled, but she thought she’d faired pretty well in that deal. Her beat up old
car, which didn’t always run well, had been replaced by her late husband’s
she couldn’t help herself—she loved this one. It sat against the curb within
view. Oh, she might look sexy in it now, from the neck up. But no one would
ever give her a second look when they saw a baby seat in the back in a few
fiancé, pulled tree branches around the side of the house and stacked them near
should go inside,” he called to her.
looked at it, smiled, and walked toward her giving the front window a glance
first. “Why don’t you go in, get yourself a cold bottle of water, and walk
her. “C’mon. Amelia is up there. She just texted me. She has something to show
stood with an umph.
walking her toward the door. “I’ll get you a bottle of water and meet you up
stairs and started up them.
around, they would stain them and the rest of the floors in the century-old
house, which they were turning into a daycare center.
gesture, she thought as she neared the top step. He’d been gracious when they’d
Adam had and turn it into a business to take care of his children. Amelia
hadn’t asked for anything in return. But when pushed, she’d mentioned she’d
like a gym in the basement.
Penelope and Vivian had been working on. She seemed to be preoccupied with what
she was calling her office upstairs.
climb. And now that she was at the top of the stairs and the air was thick and
horribly hot, she knew she’d been right to stay downstairs.
handed it to her.
be the one who goes in unannounced.”
punched in the gut when I startled her too. I’m walking with heavy footsteps.”
pushed it open. Sticking his head around the corner, he pushed it open just a
hard. “Get in here.”
gasped when she walked in.
room with enormous grins on their faces. “Well, what do you think?”
taken the two bedrooms, which shared a Jack and Jill bathroom, and completely
pale green. There was a wrought iron bed with a lacy white spread. Over the
bed, was a painting that she knew Vivian had found in the basement. An antique
dresser and mirror sat against the wall and they’d also added a beautiful
out. “This is what you’ve been working on?”
almost all of it.”
she pointed to the rocking chair. “The Teddy bear. I made it at Build-a-Bear.”
around Penelope’s shoulders. “C’mon, there’s more. Try not to cry too much or
you won’t be able to see anything.”
was painted a soft brown and all the fixtures had been replaced with modern
replicas of older ones.
your eyes out,” Amelia said as she opened the door that led into the next
room with handmade curtains depicting tumbling teddy bears hung from the
window. Matching bumpers adorned a crib against the wall. There was a matching
rocking chair in this room with a teddy bear on the seat.
and smiled. Never in her life could she have expected such love. And to think,
these women and children had been jaded by Adam’s lies too. But they were there
for her and her baby. They embraced her. They loved her.
“Quit crying. You’re going to make me cry.”
over her chest and Sam next to her with his arm around her shoulders. They made
a beautiful picture, she thought. Amelia was very lucky to have fallen in love
her and whispered, “Adam brought us together. We are all family now.” She took
Penelope’s hands in hers. “This is the least he could do to take care of you
and your baby.”
want to laugh. But she’d learned this side of Amelia was as genuine as the side
that liked to kick men’s butts.
get it. It’s probably those boobs putting in the window.”
hand, Sam and Amelia walked out too. She looked down at the sisters of her baby
and smiled. She’d be okay without Adam there or any other man for that matter.
She and her baby were loved. That’s all that mattered.
most. The only real constants in my life are music, Angus my dog and Rhiannon;
person she wanted help from.
Lisa is a happily married mum of one with two crazy dogs and a passion for writing. After relocating to Scotland from England and writing her first novel she gave up on running a craft business to do what she loves full time and is now putting the finishing touches to books four and five so watch this space.
There were no words to describe the physical pain knotting my insides every
time I realised it was true and not just a cruel dream.
people are lost up the side of a mountain like K2. People can lie undiscovered
for years up there, so I’m told.
some bizarre reason my psyche had built up its own series of events and
insisted on torturing me with the movie of Mairi’s death every time I closed my
only a seasonal thing anyway. And although tourists loved the area surrounding
the bridge over the Atlantic, taking a trip out on Little Blue on choppy water wasn’t for fainthearted, unseasoned sailors. So I’d taken on work as a handyman. I was fixing taps, sealing sinks, unblocking drains. Oddly, all the jobs seemed to be water related. Maybe that
was because I had a combination of water and single malt running through ma veins.
stopping me from slipping into a deep depression, and I knew all too well how
easy it would’ve been just to let go and fall into the abyss like Mairi did in
ever falling in love for real. I’d had a shot at it before—Alice was her name,
but the less said about her right now the better. But life likes to throw in
curveballs every so often. And so there I was up by the Buckle, taking in the
scenery and fresh air, when this fiery-haired girl tripped over her laces and
into my arms. She had the most stunning smile I’d ever seen. And her eyes…
Let’s just say when she gazed up at me she melted my heart. We chatted for ages
and it was just… so natural.
watching her as she studied maps and reference books about climbing. Every so
often she’d glance up and catch me staring and she’d just smile, climb into my
lap, and kiss me.
let’s just say that she was a nasty piece of work who messed with my head and
broke my heart, more than once—I swore off love and all it entailed. I didn’t need a woman in my life. Or so I thought. But when I lost Mairi, it was like someone had ripped out ma heart and stamped on it whilst I watched. The pain was excruciating.
climbers. She was an experienced mountaineer too. It’d been her dream for so long. I wasn’t about to stand in her way, and the thought that she may not come back never even entered my head.
service we held was devoid of emotion. It was as if her friends and family were
in some kind of denial.
couldn’t stop myself.
as she slept. She was exposed to me from the waist up and I lay there on my
side, willing her to awaken. I wasn’t going to see her for months and I wanted
to get my fill whilst I still could. I gently stroked her chin, down between
her creamy bare breasts to her navel. It was cruel but I wanted her to open her
eyes. Instead she whacked my hand away and muttered expletives. I burst out
laughing, trying my best to do it quietly but failing miserably.
making me chuckle again. “Gregory McBradden, you’re a total shit. I was having
a really sexy dream,” she whined, eyes still closed.
and let’s make your dream come true, love.” That got her every time. Goose
bumps pricked her skin and she moaned. Her eyes sprang open and she pounced on
me, pushing me onto my back and straddling my waist.
hard, but seeing her like this did something to my insides and brought out the
animalistic side of me. I gripped her hips as I inhaled a deep breath, trying
my best to calm the furnace raging beneath my skin. As she bent to take my
mouth in a deep, sensual kiss, her hair cascaded to my chest. Our tongues
slipped and slid together in an erotic dance, and every nerve in my body sprang
to life just for her. Every fibre of my being was drawn to her; needed her.
to miss you when you’re gone? It doesn’t matter how far apart we are. You’re
still in here,” I said, touching my head. “And in here.” I touched my chest
over my heart. She stared silently at me for a moment and then closed her eyes.
A tear slipped down her cheek and I caught it with my thumb. “Hey, what’s
trip. K2 has been my dream for so long, but now… I’m terrified. What if I’m not
fit enough? What if I can’t do it, Greg?”
me, to the dip between her hip and waist as my eyes followed the journey of my
fingers. I swallowed hard at the feel of her muscles tightening under my
caress, and my breath caught in my throat as I replied, “Come on, love, you are fit enough and strong enough. You’ve been working towards this for so long, how could you not be? You’re bound to be nervous. But you’re fulfilling a dream, and there’s not many folk can say
they’ve done that. You’ll be fine. Absolutely fine. But I might not be.” I
stuck out my bottom lip, trying to lighten the mood. “My heart might break into
a million pieces when I’m left here by mysel’. What will I do?”
her hands down my chest and it was my turn to shiver.
cheer you up.” She rolled her hips, making me bite my lip.
again so I can do this again…” In one sweep of my arms I had her beneath me, my
body between her silky thighs. I sank into her, pleasure radiating from where
we were joined. “… is what I’ll be looking forward to.”
welcomed me in and slipped her arms around my neck. I kissed her everywhere I
could reach, taking each nipple into my mouth slowly and nibbling on the little
buds as they tightened. Gasping, she fixed her eyes on mine as I moved deep
I took in every sensation and every look; my heart aching at the thought of
being apart from her for so long. As she pulsed around me and her orgasm took
her soaring off into the stratosphere, I kept my gaze locked on hers, hoping I
was conveying everything through my eyes that I couldn’t put into words, and I
followed soon after.
I was unwilling to let her go, telling myself I’d hold her for a few minutes
more. When she eventually withdrew from my embrace, I lay back and fought the
fears niggling deep within me.
who loves climbing the way she does? What if she doesn’t miss me as much as I
miss her? What if she loves it so much out there that she decides to stay? What
if? What if? What fucking if?
part of the journey we both sat in silent contemplation. There were so many
things I wanted to say, but the words never came and I cursed myself for being
so fucking useless at expressing myself.
songs to express how I felt and I’d made a CD. The silence in the car was
deafening and so I reached over and hit play. I made eye contact with her for a
few moments as the opening chords to “I Will Remember You” by Ryan Cabrera
filled the small space between us. Turning my eyes back to the road, I saw her
in my peripheral vision, wiping her eyes as her lip trembled.
I knew she must have felt the rapid pounding of my heart as we stood inside the
terminal. Tears threatened. My eyes were desperate to give them up, but I tried
so hard not to make the situation more difficult than it already was.
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I pulled away and gazed into her emerald eyes
one last time.
hate that word and we’ll be back together before you know it anyway. So I’m
going to say have a great time and stay safe. And know that I’ll be thinking of
you every moment whilst you’re gone.”
away. I fisted my hands in her hair and returned the kiss with equal passion.
When I eventually pulled away, I cupped her face in my hands and stroked the
apples of her cheeks with my thumbs. “It’s just a few months, love. Go and show
’em what you’re made of, eh?”
tears spilled from her eyes as she let go and turned to walk away. All my fears
bubbled to the surface once again and I couldn’t hold back. “I love you, Mairi.
And one day I want to marry you!” I shouted.
what’s on my mind without thinking about the consequences, and this was one of
those times. I was filled with dread. Had I just given her a ticket to
Get-Out-Ville? Again, fuck! My heart hammered like it was trying to do a
fucking runner and my mouth went dry.
open in what I can only describe as utter, mind-frying shock. I swallowed hard,
my mind racing to find something to say to take the words back. But a beautiful
smile appeared on her face. She ran toward me and flung her arms around my
neck, her legs around my waist. Everyone around us applauded as I hugged her
into my body before letting her go and setting her down again. With one last
heart-melting smile she stroked my cheek, turned, and walked away.
something she’s not equipped to handle—she can’t even choose a self-help book on the subject, for goodness’ sake.
Have you ever had a child or loved one in intensive care?
My youngest son had his first ambulance ride within five hours of being born and was admitted to intensive care less than thirty minutes later. The experience was intense to say the least. I spent most of the next few days sitting by his crib, willing him to get better.
My new book, A Painted Room was inspired by these events and draws on many of my memories from that time. You can find out more about my book at: http://bit.ly/Abela
come to learn about.
Vivian Monroe. He’ll take on the challenge of helping her mend her heart.
woman who helped Adam Monroe weave his deceptive web.