I stared at the overly large bags that lay by the front entrance with what must have been the world’s largest what the fuck look on my face.
“I can’t do this anymore,” she said. Her words tore me to shreds.
“What do you mean you can’t do this anymore? Julie, you haven’t been doing anything to fix this.”
“I’m done, Paxton.”
I ran my hands through my hair, pulling at the handful of tresses gripped between my rigid fingers. The prickle in my scalp did enough to keep my temper in check and diffuse some of my anger. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
I couldn’t believe it but then again, I could. She was giving up on everything. My love, our life, our family; it had all disappeared in the blink of an eye.
I still loved her but in all honesty, I can also state that I haven’t been in love with her for quite some time.
We’ve been together for nearly five years. In that time, we had built a home; one that was graced with our beautiful three-year-old son, Jasper. My hand ran down my face. Christ, how am I going to explain this to Jasper?
I was willing to try and work things out. Hell, I’d even mentioned marriage counseling on multiple occasions but like everything else, work came first and the sessions had never materialized.
I looked up at the woman who stood in the entrance to what I had considered our home, frustration, anger, bitterness and that subtle feeling of failure were all too overwhelming. “Fine,” I said, “but what about Jasper?”
“Can you keep him for this week? It’s just until I get situated. We can discuss custody later.”
“Where are you going?”
“Todd’s asked me to move in with him,” she said as if I had been in the know about her infidelity the entire time—no, not until a couple of months ago.
I huffed. “So he’s still in the picture.” I hadn’t asked as so much as accused her. She nodded. “How long have you two been…” I couldn’t finish the sentence. Bile rose from my stomach.
“Does it matter?”
“Never mind,” I said in a defeated tone and looked down at my feet when all I wanted to do is ask her what happened to can we try and work things out? I groaned at the memory and shook it out of my head in dismay. “Get out.”
“Pax,” she said and made to step toward me with an outstretched hand. I wasn’t about to seek comfort from the one who’d wounded me.
My blood pressure rose. “I said get out!” I pointed toward the door, my stomach contents churning further.
The woman took off like a bat out of hell.
I was tired of having a one-sided relationship and thus relieved at the woman’s departure. The news of her continued adultery had shocked me, especially when she had sworn to make an effort to sort things out between us. It explained why we had remained in our separate rooms all of this time, living our lives separately as though we were roommates. It more than proved that we were better off apart. This was really the end of my marriage.
When I married, I had intended it to be for life. Well, I guess life had a plan of its own, huh?
With each passing day, I picked up the broken pieces of me. I hadn’t realized that I had stifled so much of myself over the years to try and please a woman that seemed to never be sated with anything I said or did.
Fueled by my feelings of loss and neglect, I made a decision which led me to rediscover an old love. The proverbial flame was rekindled and I began to write again.
For what felt like an eternity, I wrote. When I was done, I read my piece over so many times that my words no longer made sense, forcing me to put it down and go back to it later.
I stared at my finished manuscript displayed on my screen. What am I going to do with this?
I had discovered a site, a few months before I found out about Julie’s adulterous tendencies. It had been recommended by a colleague. The venue allowed people from around the world to peruse and read various works written by amateurs. Some of the work on there I found horrid while others, despite their various grammatical and punctual flaws, you wished you could set your hands on an edited and printed copy, they were so great.
What the hell. I decided to chance it. With a bit of copy and paste, a little restructuring, I hit the publish button and there it was. My first written piece was out for the world to see.
It wasn’t until a few months after I had posted my work that I stumbled upon a comment that I couldn’t dismiss. I ached for constructive feedback but the lack of it was getting to me due to the site being overrun by teenagers. I debated getting rid of my profile altogether up until that fateful day.
That short message was where things began to change for me. With simple words of appreciation, intellectual and heartfelt thoughts, followed by a click of her mouse, she had made me smile.
I sought her profile out and found that she was a fellow amateur writer just like me.
She’s gorgeous, had been my first impression. Despite her evident beauty, something else could be seen in her profile photo; something that beckoned me further, begged my curiosity to look beyond the surface somehow. It was in her eyes—loneliness. Or was I reading into things too much since I was such a novice at these social media-like sites?
For a few weeks, I sat on her words alone as I read through some of her work. She was good, better than good.
I thought that I’d end up with one of those written numbers that didn’t make much sense or that glittered in the night featuring vampires and werewolves. Boy was I wrong!
The woman sure knew how to paint a vivid picture. She pulled off the hot and sexy but kept it real all at once by adding emotion, drama, even a bit of action and suspense to her mix. Her work was altogether something reminiscent of everyday life—the good, the bad, the ugly, the…well, you get the picture.
A few days after reading her last novel, a dream influenced by her work prompted me to finally write out an acknowledgment to her comment. From there, we began to chat through private messages on a near daily basis. We never stopped…
Waiting in the airport terminal, I remembered the last time I had felt like this. The anxiety that consumed me was reminiscent of my first date with Julie, what felt like, what was, ages ago.
I looked up at the screen and saw that US Airways flight 2583 to Jacksonville, North Carolina had landed and knew that in a matter of minutes she would be standing before me in the flesh. My thoughts flittered to that first day, nearly a year ago when we first made contact.
The conveyer belt that carried the luggage snapped me out of my reverie when it ceased moving and the area around me had become deserted. Had something gone wrong, had she stood me up?
I lowered myself to the bench behind me and let my head drop into my hands. I sighed. “Serves you right for thinking she’d show,” I mumbled.
I was trying to convince myself that I should leave when I felt a soft hand on my shoulder. “Paxton?” a soft-spoken woman said at my side, her voice all too familiar.
My heart thumped out of my chest. I felt foolish for thinking the worse and excited that I was proven wrong. I got up to face Alissa who had a beaming smile splayed on her face. Boy was that smile contagious! My lips tugged upward instantly.
She let out a giggle and after dropping her bag, she jumped me with a hug. Without hesitation, my arms found their way around her waist to return her enthusiastic greeting.
“You looked like a man deep in thought.”
I set her back but held on to the sides of her arms. “Can I be honest?”
I breathed easier when she nodded. “I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.”
“I thought you weren’t coming.” I shrugged my shoulders sheepishly and averted my gaze from her.
“Are you kidding me?” My head snapped up. She looked as if I’d slapped her. “I would have called or emailed. Hell, I would have messaged you if anything had come up. We’ve talked about meeting for months, Pax. I wouldn’t-”
Call it insanity or whatever you will, I did the only thing my brain could process at the time and took the one step toward her. Standing toe-to-toe, I let go of her arms, grabbed her face and crashed my lips to hers in an effort to shut her up.
Her hand flew to her mouth when I pulled back, realizing what I had done. Her eyes were wide as I found myself surprised just as much as she was. Where had this sudden forwardness come from? I was just so relieved that she was standing before me in the flesh, evidence that I hadn’t been the only one looking forward to us meeting. And that nervous and flustered rambling of hers…
Yes, things had gotten personal with our countless chats. But despite the numerous times we had flirted, exchanged photos, talked dirty, and even discussed how she had come up with some of the steamy scenes from her stories, I worried that I had crossed a line.
She shook her head and lifted her hand. “I knew that was coming at one point or another, I just didn’t expect…” she said but ended up brushing off what she was going to say next with a small upward quirk of her lips. “Never mind, it was nice.”
I breathed easier and grabbed her carry-on luggage. “Let’s get out of here,” I said, “assuming you’re still up for it after my mauling you and all.” She giggled nervously but took my hand in hers and I walked us toward the parking structure with an added sense of relief for not screwing things up so quick out of the gate but still wary nonetheless.
With her luggage stowed in the back of my SUV, I headed to open the passenger side door. My mind was stuck on our brief kiss.
Before I knew what hit me, she had me pinned against the side of my vehicle, her body and lips smashed against mine.
My hands reached for her hips, pulling her into me as I licked her bottom lip, begging for entrance. My small taste of her in luggage claim had proven one thing—I wanted more and as long as she was handing out samples, I wasn’t going to say no.
With a light moan, she granted me access while her hands found their way around my neck and into my hair. We breathed each other in.
She pulled away first, her chest heaving for air. I was none the better. The woman knew how to kiss; so much so that a certain part of my anatomy had begun to stir.
Don’t judge, it’s been a while.
She hid her face in my chest.
I kissed the top of her head and said, “I guess we’re even, huh?” I chuckled when she groaned. I grabbed her chin, tilting it to reveal a beautiful crimson. A chaste kiss seemed to alleviate her sudden embarrassment. “Let’s get going,” I said, “I can’t have you all over me for everyone to see. Then again, I was no better.” I winked at her. That blush of hers had barely begun to fade when it flared up once more. “I love that look on you by the way.”
I managed to get behind the wheel as she asked, “What look?”
“Your blush,” I said and buckled myself in. “I know you told me about it but it’s nothing like I had pictured. It’s cute, you’re gorgeous.”
“You need to stop that,” she said and clasped her cheeks with her hands in an effort to conceal another wave of red and failing miserably.
In a mocked tone of innocence I said, “What?” I leaned over the middle console to peck her on the nose. “It’s true.”
A soft laugh escaped her and she nodded toward the steering wheel. “Get to driving will you?”
I dropped her luggage as soon as we crossed the threshold. Kicking the door shut, I pulled Alissa so her back was against my chest and hugged her from behind.
“I can’t believe you’re actually here, you hungry?” It was nearly dinnertime and although I’d had a late lunch, my stomach grumbled.
She giggled at the noise. “Mmm…a little,” she said and wrapped her arms over mine. She was a perfect fit in my arms. “What do you have in mind?”
I’m no culinary savant or anything but I’m not the type of person to cook until I set fire to my kitchen either—until tonight that is. Part of it was Alissa’s fault despite the fact that she begged to differ.
White powder filled the room after she recommended corn starch or flour to thicken the gravy—flour it was.
A fit of laughter consumed us as we attempted to clean up, making more of a mess out of ourselves than anything else. I knew that I’d be holding onto that bag of flour with both hands and a sturdier grip the next time around.
She proceeded to wipe at me with a damp tea towel. When she got a little too close to a certain area, I grabbed her wrist to stop her. I pulled the cloth from her grip and wiped at her face while I felt her cool fingers wiping at mine. Our eyes connected and locked, our laughter subsided-
The braised pork chops and boiling potatoes forgotten, we found ourselves wrapped in each other. There was no telling who had started it. The chemistry was instantaneous, we were like two magnets.
When we came up for air, Alissa said, “Is it me or is it getting hot in here?”
From the corner of my eye, something captured my attention and I turned to see what it was.
Our indulgence had resulted in yet another mess. The potatoes were an over-boiled pile of mush; the braised chops were charred as its pan had caught fire; and the gravy did thicken—to the consistency of a dried up hockey puck stuck to the bottom of its pot. Suffice it to say, dinner was effectively ruined.
She was giggling into my back after I had managed to put a stop to the tiny blaze with the help of a box of baking soda and an expired kitchen fire extinguisher.
“How do you feel about take-out?” I asked over my shoulder.
“I think it’s a safer bet.”[hr]
About The Author
Born and raised in small town Northern Ontario, Canada, Carey Decevito has always had a penchant for reading and writing.
More than a decade later, with weeks of sleepless nights, where exhaustion settled into her everyday existence, she finally gave and put pen to paper (more like fingers to keyboard). She submitted to the dreams that plagued her. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Carey Decevito enjoys spending time with family and friends, the outdoors, travelling, and playing tourist in Canada’s National Capital region. When life gets crazy, she seeks respite through her writing and reading. If all else fails, she knows there’s never a dull moment with her prolific story-teller of a four-year-old daughter, her goofy husband and their two cats who she swears are out to get her.
With two published works under her belt, Once Written, Twice Shy is her second and the first book which is part of a five-book series entitled The Broken Men Chronicles.
About the Book
After a bitter marriage, Paxton seeks respite from his loss. Rediscovering his writing, he never expected creating a piece worthy of reading nor for two unsuspecting paths to cross in the most unconventional of ways.
Thousands of miles separated them, yet he’d never felt closer to anyone. Finding out that happiness and love was attainable again, was one thing. Having Alissa, was another.
When the two meet, sparks fly, chemistry is beyond explosive, and emotions reach a boiling point. Their brief love affair ignited the fuse but what Paxton neglected to anticipate was that his son would fall for the sweet, meek demurred woman in Alissa or the fact the woman would be their salvation; in more ways than one.
This giveaway is international
For a chance to win one of five e-books of Once Written, Twice Shy
The winners will be announced at the end of the tour.