Tomorrow, 10.26.2020, CHRISTMAS COMES TO DICKENS releases into the Holiday book-reading world and I am so excited to have one of my stories included in this fabulous anthology of bestselling and award-winning authors!
ANGEL KISSES and HOLIDAY WISHES tells the story of rekindled love – a love that was short-ended, tragically, eighteen years ago.The characters are a bit older, which is fun for me to write, and they’ve already been through the marriage mill and come out on the other side divorced. This scene is from my hero, Keith’s, POV as he sits in Sage’s kitchen and begins to reminisce about when they were teenagers and so in love.
She swallowed again. When her chest lifted a hair with the quick breath she hauled in (and Jesus, was she braless?) he knew her nerves were swarming and she was stalling for time in order to think of a response.
Old habits and tactics he remembered her using a lifetime ago.
“Yeah. You know? Mr. Hamilton?”
“It’s doctor, actually,” she mumbled.
Of course it is. His first name’s probably Alexander.
“And we’re not married anymore.”
His heart rate quickened at the disclosure. “How long?”
“A little less than a year.”
Curiosity compelled him to ask, “Is that the reason why you moved back to Dickens?”
Sage lifted the pizza to her lips, took a small bite and simultaneously shrugged. “Simple and clichéd story. We got married before I finished residency. I thought we were, well suited is the best word, and that we shared common goals we wanted for our futures. I was wrong, though, because it turned out we wanted very different things and neither of us was prepared to compromise. You’re divorced, according to Corrine,” she added. “You know how it is.”
Nodding, he took his own bite of the delicious pizza and wondered if his ex sounded as bitter when she talked about their failed marriage as Sage did. Barbara had no cause to be, but he didn’t think it would stop her from badmouthing him if given the opportunity.
“What didn’t you agree on?” he asked.
She sighed again and he did a quick eye-dip to her chest.
Yup, no bra.
“Family. I wanted to start one. After a few years when it just wasn’t happening, I thought something might be wrong with me.”
Her eyes drifted down to her plate and the tips of her ears went pink. He didn’t need to be a mind doctor to know why she thought as she did.”
“I went to a doctor who assured me I was fine, but wanted to examine Leland to see if he was the problem.”
“He would go in, saying there was nothing wrong with him and we just needed to be patient. He kept telling me how much he wanted kids, but in reality he didn’t. Unfortunately, I didn’t find that out until we were married almost seven years. He’d neglected to tell me he had a vasectomy in medical school.”
“What a dick.”
Her eyes widened.
“I figured you had a houseful of kids by now,” he said. “You’re a born nurturer. Remember when my grandparents’ cat had kittens? You took care of the mamma and her babies for over a month. Every day before we’d start working, you’d make sure mamma was comfortable in the store’s back room, had enough to eat. and that the kittens were thriving.”
The smile he’d loved the very first time he’d ever seen it cross her lips lit up her face at the memory. “I think that’s when I knew I wanted to be a doctor.”
“It’s a wonder you didn’t become a Vet with the amount of animals you took care of back then. Mrs. Barclay’s chickens, old man Paley’s dog.”
“People are easier. They can tell you where it hurts.”
“Truth.” He took another bite of pizza, his gaze staying on her. “So. What did Doctor Hamilton want that you didn’t?”
When she nailed him with a look so filled with hurt and yet so drowning in anger, he knew it was something big.
His hand stopped its assent to his mouth, the point of the pizza wedge dipping down toward the plate. “He cheated on you?”
“Chronically and for most of our marriage. It was his favorite hobby. Most doctors play golf on their days off. Leland played the role of happy bachelor. When I found out and confronted him, he actually told me I didn’t need to worry about any of the other women. They meant nothing to him. It was just sex. His libido was strong and he needed…more, than I could give him.” A rapid flush flew up her neck and face. “But he came home to me every night and I had his name, proof, he told me, that he loved me and me, alone. Seems we differed on the definition of the word. Another thing about us I didn’t learn until several years after we married.”
The sound that shot from her sounded more like a dog’s bark than a laugh, but when she leaned forward and grabbed her napkin he realized she’d snorted out the water she’d sipped just as hilarity overcame her.
His favorite sound as a teenager had been Sage’s laughter. It took a lot to get her to laugh, to really let loose with a belly-shaker. She’d been serious and cautious most of the time around people. But when it was just the two of them, all her inhibitions flew and he was able to draw the real Sage out of her shell.
The thought he’d missed her more than he’d allowed himself to admit over the years sailed through him.
“Sorry.” She swiped at the tears falling from her eyes with one hand, the other patting her chest when she coughed a few times. “I haven’t laughed like that in a long while.”
“Yeah, I can see why having a serial cheater for a husband wouldn’t be a laugh riot. I hope you took him for every penny he had in the divorce.”
10 great Holiday-themed, HEA stories all packed into one perfect gift to give yourself! And there’s even a FREE cookie companion titled IT’S A DICKENS OF A COOKIE that you can download filled with 20 holiday cookie recipes as a gift from the authors.
I hope you’ll enjoy ANGEL KISSES AND HOLIDAY WISHES! And if you do, please consider writing a review – authors live for reviews, not because our egos are so fragile ( although mine is! LOL) but because the more reviews we get, the more Amazon promotes out work.
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