How far would you go? We all know relationships are difficult at best, often breaking down your hope and tossing away the person you either used to be or wanted to become. When all else fails, would you try domestic discipline? I have a new release, a series of three novellas I wrote a few years ago about a very difficult marriage. Now, I will warn you that there is perceived betrayal BUT there is also an HEA that might knock your socks off.
A little taste…
Before I forget. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter. You never know what kind of goodies and treats might be included!
Shannon rolled over and slid her arm across the bed. She didn’t need to open her eyes to realize David wasn’t beside her. Although she hadn’t waited up for him, sleep had only come in spurts. Her eyes were swollen from crying for hours. Her heart, as well as her head, was aching, remnants of a hangover making her nauseous. Drinking wine certainly hadn’t helped her mood and no doubt escalated the vile argument.
Moaning, she glanced over at the clock, the understanding she needed to crawl out of bed and get ready for work, reminding her that life moves on. The alarm was still sounding, and for a few more seconds she listened to the soft music, the haunting strains of some love song. Closing her eyes, she did everything she could to shove back the uneasy feeling. There was no doubt in her mind, however, she’d gone too far this time by pushing David into a corner. Accusing him of having an affair was terrible, but finding certain e-mails on his computer had driven her over the edge.
Jade.The name slid across her tongue and she was ready to vomit. Whoever the woman was, she certainly seemed to be in tune with David’s needs, his desires. From the tone of the e-mails, the blatant sexual overtures, she knew they were close. But just how close? She’d sat for hours poring over every message, trying to figure out when the emotional affair had started, and from what little she could find out, it seemed they had started their relationship almost six months ago.
At least the first few e-mails were very much about business, given he’d obviously designed her home. They began to go down a more flirtatious path. The last few conversations were as close to sexting as she’d ever seen. Swallowing back bile, she finally eased out of bed and into the bathroom. Her reflection told no lies—she looked like shit. Shivering, she held her arm with one hand as she grabbed her toothbrush with the other.
Had he gone to Jade’s house last night? Was he with her right now, lying in bed and talking about how ridiculous his marriage was? Were they fucking? Had they been fucking and for how long? The questions raced through the back of her mind and she blinked as tears welled in her eyes. Then again, what if they weren’t physically intimate, but carrying on just an emotional affair? The phrase made her want to break the mirror. Was an emotional relationship as bad as if he were sticking his cock into her?
There were too many questions and no answers that would be right anyway, not until she managed to hear the truth. Would David tell her the truth? Well, maybe not after her nasty display. Shannon brushed her teeth with enough fury that she was spitting froth by the time she finished. Damn it, she had to know if their marriage was over. She had to.
After taking a long shower, she brewed a pot of coffee and stood like a lost waif in her kitchen, staring at the flowers. A slight smile crossing her face, she walked closer and brushed her fingertips across several fallen petals. How many days had she longed to have her man bring her flowers or tell her she was beautiful? Sighing, she sniffed as a single tear fell.
She glanced toward her cell phone and reached out twice to grab it before she pressed her finger against the on button. There were no missed calls and no voice mails. David was either letting her cool off, or he was finding his own place to live. The sun was streaming in the windows, birds chirping, and she was nothing but a train wreck. And she definitely wasn’t in the mood to face anyone today, especially at work.
Shannon thought about taking a day off. What would it hurt? She hadn’t had a day off in months and was certainly due. Maybe she’d go shopping and spend a hell of a lot of money, something David loathed. Oh, what didn’t David find bothersome or troublesome about her?
Trembling, she stood staring out at their backyard, sipping her coffee. A new dress and a new attitude would do her a little good, maybe spice up her life, her very lonely life. “Stop it.” The two words seemed to reverberate in the humid air. The day was going to be unusually warm as well as sunny, perfect for playing hooky.
She grabbed her phone, dialing her office. She was positive the receptionist was already sitting at her desk, the little eager beaver. Sure enough, the chipper-voiced girl answered. “Hi Jennifer, it’s Shannon. I’m not feeling very well today and won’t be in. I’ll check my e-mails. If you don’t mind just letting everyone know? I don’t have any clients scheduled, so there shouldn’t be any issues.”
“Sure thing, Ms. Parker.”
Jennifer hung up before she had the chance to correct her to “Mrs.” Shaking her head, she couldn’t help but question the state of her marriage. Well, she was going to have to deal with her accusations later, but right now, she had shopping to do. For the time being, she wasn’t going to dive into a bowl of ice cream to soothe her breaking heart—at least not until much later. As she walked into the bedroom to get dressed, she thought about going to a strip club tonight, instead of burying herself in frozen treats and booze. Snacking on men was a much better way to snap her heart and mind out of her private hell. There was nothing like lust to do just that.
Shannon had walked around the mall at least three times and other than purchasing a new teddy at Victoria’s Secret, she had little to show for her efforts. She didn’t have the heart for shopping or anything else, for that matter. How many times had she checked her phone and almost dialed his number? No, he had the explaining to do, not her. As she stood in front of one of her favorite stores, she felt an overwhelming sadness. She wasn’t the kind of girl who handled opposition very well, and she avoided conflict. Slapping his face with the roses, after screaming at him, was the worst behavior she’d displayed in a long time.
He’d expect an apology and she sucked at giving them. Maybe she’d demand one of her own. Yeah, wouldn’t that go over well?
“Shannon, Shannon Parker?”
Shannon turned around and instantly grinned. “Tina! I can’t believe it’s you.”
“How long has it been?” Tina asked, a smile crossing her face.
“Too long. My goodness, the last time we even talked was at least a couple of years ago.”
“I know. I can’t believe how much time has gone by. That certainly wasn’t my intent.”
Tina had been one of her best friends since college, and she hadn’t even thought about her in almost a year. “I heard you moved out of town.”
Tina sighed. “Well, I just got back into town, and I start a new job next week.”
“What about Joe? New job, too?” Shannon asked, half expecting the sweet hunk to be standing right behind Tina.
“Joe who? You mean, Asshole of the Year?”
“Uh-oh. What happened?” The couple had been together since they were teenagers. Tina and Joe were inseparable, never able to keep their hands off each other for long.
“Let’s just say I didn’t enjoy finding him with our next-door neighbor in our pool, very naked, and the position wasn’t just compromising. The act was more like animals copulating in the wild.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“I was upset and pissed off for a long time, but after some pretty good counseling and one too many bottles of wine, I realized I needed to live my life for me,” Tina stated defiantly. “So, I moved back here and was able to get a great job. I have a little place that’s all mine, with no men to bother me, and I can enjoy being me for the first time in years.”
Shannon loved the take-charge edge in her friend’s voice, wishing she could manage to garner the same bravado. “You look great.”
“I feel great. Just getting a few things for the new job. What are you up to? Lunchtime shopping?”
“Took the day off. Needed some time for just me.”
Tina grinned and raised her eyebrow as she pointed toward the Victoria’s Secret bag. “A hot night with that sexy man of yours?”
Shannon could feel the heat rising from her neck, flushing her cheeks. She shivered and looked away. “Just something for me.”
“Trouble in paradise?”
“Is there such a thing?”
“Hmm. Since you have a day off and it is almost noon, let’s grab some lunch and talk, really talk. How about Ruby Tuesday’s?”
Smiling, Shannon nodded. “Perfect, I’d like that.”
“Good. We’ll have some wine and talk like we used to. It seems like we have more than just a little catching up to do.”
As they headed for the restaurant, they conversed about shopping and jobs, their family and little else until they were seated with a glass of wine in front of them.
Tina leaned over the table, her eyes darting back and forth across Shannon’s. “All right, girl. I know you too well. What’s going on with you and David?”
Shannon twirled her glass, embarrassed at her own story. “We’re just arguing a lot. Who am I kidding? We argue all the time.”
“Do you mean like the last time you two were having issues?”
“Similar, but I honestly think this time we’re headed for divorce.” Saying the words out loud for the first time was almost final, as if there were no fight left in her.
“That bad?” Tina asked, patting Shannon’s hand.
Shannon shrugged and scanned the perimeter of the restaurant absently. Admitting the truth was gut-wrenching and felt as if she were accepting defeat.
I so hope you enjoyed! PS. Don’t forget Roughneck is HOT off the presses and…another new release coming on Friday!